Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will.
There are words written on my heart, like a tattoo burned into my soul. I have read these words, recited and repeated and memorized them. I have clung to them like a child clings to a teddy bear.
I have prayed these words publicly, pleaded with them silently. When I had no words, I imagined the Holy Spirit intervening before me in the presence of God.
But I still had nightmares as a kid. Nightmares of demons and long dark roads and whispers so cold they pierced my heart. I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. I would fear falling back asleep, because I knew as soon as I did I would descend once again into darkness. So I would keep myself awake, repeating the lines I learned in AWANA. I would repeat them over and over, like they were mandala beads running through the fingers of my mind to keep me centered.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” I would say. I am thankful for the nightmares, Jesus. I am thankful for the demons. This is your will. Your will be done.
But it never worked. I would always fall back asleep and I would find myself alone in my terror.