Enjoy this devotional from FlourishWriters student Rosemary Jones
I sifted through the mess sprawled across my floor—Barbies, books, and baby dolls. Quickly, I shoved all my treasured belongings into the small closet by my little white desk. As a six-year-old little girl, I became proficient at rapidly hiding and stuffing my mess into the corners of my closet. I had no need for sorting when stuffing was easier.
This routine happened so frequently I often was unaware of what broken pieces or once-loved treasures lay beneath the mountains of memories behind the closed closet door. My childhood room looked clean and in proper order. However, only a thin door stood between me and my messy reality.
Thirty years later, instead of stuffing baby dolls and books into my closet, I packed unwanted emotions, heartache, and pain into the lonely corners of my heart. My feelings hidden, my life felt cleaned up. I didn’t need to sort through my weakness or past brokenness when stuffing was easier.
At least that’s what I thought before the day I received my diagnosis.
Only moments after walking in the door of our home from the doctor’s office, the phone rang. The MRI revealed a massive brain tumor. Immediately, I started stuffing. I packed my anger and fear into corners of my soul, and I didn’t have time for tears. I went straight to logistics—phone calls, doctor appointments, childcare needs. I would get through this storm, one way or another, if I stayed in control.
We’ve got this, I told myself, as my husband and I packed our four kids into the car and started heading south to my in-laws. They would watch the kids while we went to the specialist the next day.
After tucking the girls safely into their beds, I sat in the dark hallway with my husband. The darkness covered me like an unwanted blanket on a hot summer day. If I threw it off, others would see the reality of my brokenness. If I sat there any longer, I might suffocate silently from the heat of the day.
I’ve got to regain control, I thought to myself.
Aloud, I told my husband:
“I think talking to a pastor would be good for you—but I’m not going.”
These were the words that came from my mouth. But my soul whispered, Are you sure?
I could feel the internal battle. Stay in control or surrender to the reality that sometimes life is messy? Stay in control or admit my heart was broken and let the tears fall?
An old friend of ours, Pastor Mike, served at a church not too far from my in-laws. Perhaps I could compromise. I could ride with my husband to the church, but I would sit alone and wait, while he spoke to the pastor.
Yet, when I walked through the door of the chapel, the door of my heart flew open as the tears fell. The brokenness of my soul poured out like a salty river at the foot of the cross.
Despite the salt water on my cheeks, I heard the words “thank you” bubble to the surface of my soul.
“Thank you for finding the problem,” I prayed. “Thank you for never leaving me and always being a safe place to cry.”
My spirit had words my heart needed to hear.
As I sat in the front row of that chapel, my tears turned to gratitude. The diagnosis was still the same, but my heart changed. Through my salty surrender, my soul met my Savior at the foot of the cross, and He transformed my tears into songs of praise.
You may not have received an unwanted diagnosis, but I imagine at some point you’ve found yourself grasping for control or desperately hiding your pain. The truth is, we don’t have to be in control. When we feel we can’t handle the fear, the doubt, the anger, and the unknown, we can cry out and surrender control to our God.
David models this in Psalm 42:5 when he said,
“Why my soul are you so downcast within me? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God”1 (NIV).
Even though his flesh was struggling, David knew he was not alone. He praised God despite his pain. Through his praise, God remained his source of hope.
Then in Psalm 55:16-17, again David says,
As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening and morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. (NIV)
David didn’t call out only once. He called out to his Savior morning, noon, and night. Sometimes we are in seasons of distress that require daily—or even hourly—surrender to the Lord who saves.
I found healing on the floor of the chapel, but it didn’t mean my fight with fear was over. The brain tumor wasn’t gone, but my heart was now positioned like David’s to cry out to the Lord, surrender control, and put my hope in God through a posture of praise.
What about you?
What heart cries do you need to take to the cross today? In what circumstance do you need to surrender control to the Lord?
My prayer for you is adapted from the words David prayed in Psalm 61:1-5 …
Hear our cries, O God. Listen to our prayers. From the ends of the earth, we call to you even as our hearts grow faint. Lead our broken hearts to the rock that is higher. For you, Lord, are our Refuge. You are our Strong Tower against all darkness. We long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings for our heritage comes from you.
Rosemary D. Jones lives with her high school sweetheart and homeschools their six children on their small homestead in Virginia. She is a writer, teacher, and women’s ministry coordinator, but in her free time, she loves long walks, good books, life-giving porch conversations with friends, and fall bonfires under the stars. Her calling is to encourage women to walk through each moment of life with the hope and confidence of Christ. You can follow her ministry at virginiahomestead.com and on Instagram @insideroseshead.
Sabrina Parsons says
Rosemary, this is a beautiful reminder to all. Thank you so much for sharing this!
Suzie Johnson says
Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful testimony of His love.
Marcie Sextro says
Rosemary, that was so beautiful. I felt like I was on that journey with you. I recently learned that God wants to hear from me when I am hurting, so this was a confirmation for me. I love the Scriptures that you used. I am writing them in my journal right now! I pray that your words help many see the love God has for them!
Marianne Memarian says
I love all your metaphors, which drew a very recognizable picture of hiding emotions and needs. Thanks for sharing this right to the point story!
Tamara WANNER says
You captured emotions with vivid word pictures. Thank you. When our hearts are positioned in a posture of humility, God can lift us up.
Anna Gibson says
Rosemary, this is beautiful! I can relate to your struggle in many ways. I am challenged, in this new year, to open the door and bring my burdens to Jesus. I pray the outcome has improved for you physically, and that God will bring your family strength and comfort.
Jennifer Frnka says
Rosemary, thank you so much for sharing your journey. My heart leaped with joy as I read how your spirit guided you through the front door of the chapel and how you listened to the words that your “heart needed to hear.” So often this is the piece for me that I have to remember.
I couldn’t tell from the article, so I am wondering are you still undergoing treatments for the tumor?
Nancy Lee says
This is so beautiful and inspiring, Rosemary; thank you for sharing!
Sarah de Orlando says
Thank you for sharing your story with such humility and grace, Rosemary. I found hope in your words.