Sitting here across from a gorgeous waterfall, I cannot help but wonder why God’s peace often seems so far away.  Looking up through the trees, I see evidence of new growth sprouting forth from every limb.  Spring is here.  A new beginning.  Yet, I feel that I am trapped, unable to fully sense the complete beauty of God’s budding creation all around me.  There once was a time when I considered this to be the most peaceful place on earth.  Nearly three years ago, in the blink of an eye, it transformed into one of the most disturbing places on earth, at least in my mind.  Since that night, I have been praying diligently for a new perspective, a new set of eyes that allow me to see the peaceful beauty, as opposed to the images of the most difficult night of my life.

Since that horrific night, I have had countless nightmares recounting the details of that frightful experience.  For me, returning to our camper in North Carolina could be likened to returning to the scene of an accident.  Only in this case, there was no accident.  Still, the images of the night seem as if they will be forever etched into my permanent memory bank.  When I sit on our sofa, I think of that night.  When I walk over to our neighbors, I think of that night.  When I stand anywhere inside or outside our camper, I think of that night.

The moment my Mom sat up, her eyes staring straight ahead, my heart fell to the pit of my stomach.  I cried out, “Mama!  Don’t leave us!”  I prayed, “Jesus, bring her back to us.”  On the phone to 911, I pleaded with them to hurry.  I ran next door to get our neighbor, so my Dad would have help administering CPR.  I did everything I could do.  But no matter what I did, nothing changed.

That night, my Dad and I sang the most difficult song we have ever sung as a duet.  We sang the song, “Living by Faith,” to my Mom.  Undoubtedly, the hardest song I have ever sung.  Yet, somehow, even in the midst of the circumstance, the words brought a little comfort to my sorrowful soul.  While I could not have answered any questions concerning our future on that particular night, I knew that we would press on, entering the future with our heads held high.  And all the while, we would be living by faith.

As we stood outside the camper in the wee hours of the morning, we called our immediate family.  When I looked out toward the mountains, I could see the silhouette of the mountain in the distance.  God brought to mind the scripture that says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV).  Even in the darkest hour of my life, God’s presence surrounded me.  He knew that I needed His loving arms wrapped around me, holding me up when I could not stand on my own two feet.  And He sent little reminders of His promise to never leave nor forsake me, even in the bleakest of nights.

Still, I am human, so the trauma of the night began taking its toll on me.  It was after 4 o’clock in the morning before I finally laid my head down on the pillow.  I had no intention of sleeping, but I had no desire to keep reliving the last five hours over and over in my mind either.  That night, something happened that I will never ever forget.  I had gradually fallen asleep, but was awakened by what I thought was someone entering my room.  I turned to look, but did not see my Dad.  It was as if my Mom was standing there with a glow about her.  She simply said, “It’ll be alright.”  And just as quickly as the vision had appeared, the image vanished.  While I didn’t know it then, I have since realized that yes, it will be alright.  How?  I don’t know.  When?  Only God knows that.  Even so, I have the assurance that God will be with me, whether He is guiding me through nightmares or dreams, or sorrows or joys, or tears or laughter.

Now, three years later, I see things with a slightly different perspective on life.  For this, I am grateful.  Still, there are other things that I seem to be looking at with the same pair of eyes.  It is my prayer that one day God will give me a new pair of eyes, so to speak, so that I can once again clearly see the peacefulness that permeates our mountain home.  I want to be able to find a new sense of enjoyment at this beautiful location He has so graciously allowed us to call our second home.  I hope that I will one day be able to solely focus on the fond memories, as opposed to the devastating ones.  I know that God will continue to work in my life, as He has done so many times before, molding me and shaping me into the person He wants me to be.  And in His timing, I know He’ll give me a new set of eyes, so that I can see the beauty all around me once again.

What about you?  Are you struggling with nightmares of the past?  Do you find yourself dwelling over a tragic event in your life?  Is it hard to find peace or joy, despite your many attempts to gain a new perspective on life?  Friend, I am here to tell you that there is only One individual who can guide you through the treacherous storms you may face.  Jesus Christ is the Shelter from the storms.  He will calm your fears, erase your sorrow, and restore your joy.  If you are looking for a new set of eyes, call out to Jesus.  He is waiting with open arms.  He wants you to enjoy life.  He wants you to live a life full of joy.  He will cleanse your soul, renew your mind, and yes, He will give you a new set of eyes, too.

In Christ’s Love,