The Missing Puzzle Peace

~ By Darlene Franklin ~

My problems today are nothing compared to what I’ve already been through: my daughter’s suicide. I should remember that more often.

When my first book came out twelve years ago, I was the happy middle of a three-generation sandwich: myself, my mother and my grown daughter. I also worked for a decade at a satellite dish company with pleasant company. Flexible hours allowed me to write.

My daughter’s suicide shattered my world. Grief overwhelmed me in the wake of the unbelievable loss. The testimony of her faith, written in her own words, reassured me that she was living pain-free in heaven. My tears were for myself.

People around me wondered how I could have hope while in such pain.

My daughter Jolene’s difficulties stemmed from abuse and the resulting severe mental illness. God gave me a steel core deepened and developed by faith through years of dealing with past abuse and raising two emotionally disturbed children. Apart from that strength, I wouldn’t have made it through most days.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27 NIV

Today Jesus whispers something else to me. “That steel core was My peace that I gave to you. I didn’t give you an absence of conflict. Instead, I gave you Myself and My strength.”

God hadn’t crafted that strength at my core. Instead, He Himself had been that peace.

After Jolene’s suicide was, my life catapulted into change. My mother moved to assisted living. I left my job to live near my remaining child in a different state. Mom died. My health failed, and I too ended up in a nursing home.

Again, God has been my peace. So many who end up in long-term care resent it. Not me. My problems have been addressed and steps taken to restore my health. I am much stronger now than I was when I first moved in, although independent living still isn’t a possibility.

This has been a place of healing. It has also been a place of amazing growth and opportunity.

Shortly after moving in, I lost my publisher and my agent. I was an author without a place to tell my stories. I wondered if God had ended my writing career at the same time as my independence.

I kept writing and joined a small press. My publishing track has risen meteorically.

When God has given me His peace to survive such big losses, why do I reject it in my daily struggles?

Because I think I can handle things like when I go to bed and if I have enough supplies on my own. I need to be reminded I need His peace in every circumstance.

His peace lives in my heart. When life happens, I want to open my heart until His peace fills every hole.

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