In the last few years, the Lord has been stripping away big chunks of my identity, one by one. First, I retired from my position as Associate General Counsel for a Fortune 500 company, ending my 35 year legal career. At the time, I thought much of my new free time would be spent continuing my involvement with my church, where I had been actively involved in church leadership and had a prayer and counseling ministry with women.
Less than a year later, I made the wrenching decision to resign from my church leadership position over fundamental differences with my pastor. It was one of the most painful and distressing experiences of my faith walk. With the loss of my church home, I also lost the ministry to women that I carried out at the church.
Then at the beginning of this summer (May, 2018), I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had loved and prayed for others with cancer, including some dearly beloved close friends. But there is nothing that quite prepares you for walking through the door of a building that says “cancer center” and realizing that now you are one of “them”.
Over the next several months as I progressed through my cancer journey, I found that I was down to the bedrock of my faith. I still had the love of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit, but all my “Christian stuff” had been stripped away – “quiet time”, devotionals, bible study, attending church, etc. Reading scripture had become like eating cardboard to me. I seemed even to have lost my ability to pray – including for my own healing from cancer!
The only thing I had left to hold on to was the name of Jesus. At night when I was trying to sleep, I just said “Jesus” over and over to myself, again and again, as I tried to hug His love to my heart and bring His comfort to my soul. During the the long minutes as the radiation machine whirred and clicked over me, when fear was threatening to take hold, I found I could simply focus on my breathing – breath in the name of Jesus and breath out the name of the Lord.
How could I have possibly gone from someone who has been blessed with such amazing visions and spiritual experiences, to this point – where I had nothing left to hold on to but His name? Well it turns out, when our journey takes us through the valley of the shadow of death, THE NAME OF JESUS IS ENOUGH to get us through!