Bundled in layers of woolen garments with melting snow dripping from my hat, I slip into the cathedral, seeking a quiet place for prayer. I am overwhelmed, anxious and depleted.


Michaelanne and Tim, with John’s mom, June announcing they are expecting.

2014 ended with beautiful news: our oldest daughter, Michaelanne, is expecting her first child in June, and our youngest daughter, Becca, will marry in October. But it also ended with difficult news. As I approach the five-year mark of being cancer free, the lymphatic system in my left leg has shut down. There are no signs of cancer, but a 4-hour daily regimen is highly recommended if I want to keep the swelling to a minimum… for the rest of my life. I also lead a small non-profit that is poised to take giant leaps forward if we can develop and implement a sustainable funding plan this year. It’s been my dream to see this come to fruition.

The first two weeks of January I tried multiple solutions for squeezing all I need to do daily into a 24-hour period to make this year work. It doesn’t.  And the real wake-up call came last night when my daughter told me she had cancelled tonight’s wedding dress fitting. She thought I was too overwhelmed to join her.

Becca Thomas:Cory:fiancee.IMG_5013

Becca with her two favorite guys. Corey, her brother (left) and Eric her fiancé (right).

I return to those tried and true questions when I find myself like this.

  • What goal or thing, if I don’t get this year, would make me tumble into despair?
  • What is my greatest fear about this year?
  • What am I trying to get by working myself to exhaustion (and to the detriment of my health)?

I was surprised by the answer. I expected it would be something I’ve struggled with before. But it wasn’t—or at least, it wasn’t something I’d acknowledged before. I knew I had hit pay dirt because as soon as I named the issue, a huge sense of relief washed over me. My fear is a realistic possibility. And I would be incredibly sad and frustrated if I don’t get what I want.

As I wrestle with the story God has placed me in, I can continue to work myself to utter exhaustion to achieve my goal. Or I can hide under the covers and try to flee what he has given me to do.

But I believe there’s a third possibility, and it calls for deeper trust, deeper rest, and deeper faith.

Christ’s finished work on the cross on my behalf means I don’t have to work and fight and wrestle to get what I think I need this year.

I can leave the outcome up to Christ. I can recognize and accept the story he has placed me in. I can faithfully work with the hours I’ve been given as well as care for my health and enjoy my daughters this year. The outcome is his.

Regardless of how I live this year, there is nothing I can do or not do that will change what Christ has already done for me and its impact on my life right now. I get his blessing, his love, and all the promises that pertain to Christ—they are still mine!

What about you? What is keeping you from a deeper trust and rest in Christ?