He Whispered to My Soul
by Janet Perez Eckles
I sat on the couch, wrinkled tissue in hand. “I don’t think I can do it,” I said to Gene, my blue-eyed husband. “It’s just too hard.”
I wiped my tears off my cheek and wished I could wipe away the reality that darkened our marriage.
“I need to work closer to home,” he said. “You need me here to help with the boys.”
Why does he have to be so logical? Of course, I needed him home. Only a year prior I was devastated by the retinal disease that caused complete blindness. That tragedy turned my world dark in every way. And even months later, the adjustment was still painful.
But suppressing that sorrow, I did my best, fighting the fear that hovered around me. I felt my way around the house with my fingertips to feel the gallon of milk, to prepare sandwiches and care for my 3-, 5- and 7-year old sons. They needed me. And I needed my husband to help.
For that reason, moving closer to his employment was the wisest choice. But the unknown terrified me. Without sight, navigating through a new house and new surroundings and finding friends who could understand made my stomach cramp.
That looming change triggered anxiety in me. “Anxiety can be defined as fear of the unknown,” Dr. Richard Mabry, M.D. asserts. “It can be triggered by many things, but they all have one common factor: change. We’re afraid the good times will go bad. We fear that the bad times will get worse.”
And he spells out precisely what rumpled inside. I already faced a dreaded change from being sighted to blind. I already had limitations. I already faced a different life. I feared I couldn’t take one more change.
One evening, while our sons slept and Gene worked at the kitchen table, I slipped on my headphones. And while folding clean laundry, I listened to God’s Word. I understood and sighed with comfort as I internalized each passage. But one verse in particular sang to my heart, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” Psalm 119:105 (NIV).
I put down the towel I was folding, paused and glanced up as I allowed those words to saturate my heart. God’s promise was meant for me. And it’s also directed to those who walk in the darkness of fear and anxiety because of unplanned, unwanted and unexpected changes.
But, He, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, never changes. He provides the unchangeable reassurance that makes each trembling step firm.
- When facing changes, He directs us as to what to avoid and what to do: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
- When the destructive weapons of worry and anxiety attack, He promises protection: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:7 (NIV)
- When we’re in the cage of fear we cry out, and God answers. He sets us free: “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 (NIV)
- When uncertainty steals our peace, He whispers reassurance by promising the change will produce a good outcome: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
- When we’re dragging, exhausted because we resist change, His invitation soothes the soul: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
- During sleepless nights, we lay our head on the pillow of worry about the unknown. And we ask over and over again, where will we find the help and strength to adjust to the change? Yet God’s whisper is constant: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
I packed those promises in my heart. And also got busy packing boxes, preparing for the move. God’s promises sang sweet reassurance. I filled my mind with expectations of the new neighborhood, adding faith to believe that I would cultivate new friendships.
We stood at the doorway of our new home. “Give me your hand,” my husband said.
He turned my palm up. And with his fingertip, he traced the lay-out of the house. He touched above my wrist. “Imagine that this is the foyer.”
He followed the line toward my thumb, “that’s the den and across are the living room and dining room. Here are the stairs to the second floor.”
Gene’s patience mirrored God’s. Through His Word, He had also traced the map in my heart. He showed me where His promises of comfort and strength were located. With His love, God helped me navigate through new territory. That help was timely. His help was constant.
Years later, another change came about—boldness to operate a computer with a screen reader. I began writing, authored books, and became a public speaker. What a delightful turn! I had resisted change but the change took place inside me. And now, as Gene and I sit on the couch, with gratitude overflowing, I relate details of my latest travel to a speaking engagement. He knows how I use my white cane to find my way around and adjust to new cities, sometimes to new countries, and unfamiliar hotel rooms.
But no matter how unfamiliar the surroundings, adjustment to changes are now treasure chests God places in my life, filled with gems of adventures and pleasant surprises. With each change, rather than dreading the mystery of the unknown, I hear the Master’s sweet whisper to my soul, “Do not fear. I will be a lamp for your feet and the light unto your path.”
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