How Can I Keep from Singing: Never Once

Fear.  That’s what I lived with last week.  A fear that that shook me to the core.  And Satan had a field day.

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It started on Tuesday with Kelly’s visit to the orthopedic surgeon.  Since going through chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) last year and being in remission for almost a year, he has suffered unexplained pain in his ankles, knees, and left shoulder.  The news from the doctor wasn’t bad in and of itself — a partial tear in the muscle in his shoulder, a tear in the labrum, and signs of arthritis which are a little advanced for a man of fifty.  Dr. Newman feels like physical therapy will be of great help in managing the pain and he didn’t recommend surgery.  Our question was, could Kelly return to work in law enforcement and be able to pass the Police Officer‘s Physical Assessment Test (POPAT) that is required by NCSU Campus Police policy?  Dr. Newman said not immediately, but in time perhaps Kelly could go back.  He wants to check on the problems that Kelly is having with other joints.  It’s a wait-and-see kind of thing.

But, we had no time to wait and see.  Kelly’s job had been open at the NCSU Campus Police Department for over eighteen months.  Since this is not an on-the-job injury, the university needed an answer about his future employability.  Kelly had a  decision to make:  return to work by today, April 23rd,  (and be able to pass the POPAT in two weeks’ time) or the university must begin to separate him from employment.  (Which is a fancy way to say “We’re relieving you of your duties.  You no longer have a job.”)

Although Kelly is on extended short-term disability at the present time, it’s a not a guarantee for him after August of this year.  He’s five years away from retiring in law enforcement and after twenty-five years of service to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and NCSU Campus Police, I saw the pain of this realization in his eyes.  And it made me so angry.

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My anger was like a bull fresh out of the gate at the rodeo.  I bounced around the ring, exploding on everybody that came in contact with me.  I had a huge argument with Kelly.  I ignored Claire.  I railed against NCSU and how cruel they were being to a faithful employee who didn’t ask to get sick.  I couldn’t even bring myself to call my parents and explain what was happening because I wasn’t sure that they wouldn’t be caught on the savage horns of this anger that just kept swelling and writhing inside me.  When I sat down to write my posts on Wednesday and Friday, I had nothing.  No good word was sent my way.  It was as if I had never written a single thing in my life.  I was blind with rage and in no condition to share anything with anybody.  God knew this.  In retrospect, it was a good thing that He withheld His words from me.

So, last Friday night, I let God have it with both barrels:

“So, you brought Kelly through the cancer only to send us to financial ruin.  Is that how it is, God?”  I yelled this aloud to an empty living room because no one in my family could stand to be around me.

And God whispered, “For I know the plans I have for you.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

“Do you even care what we’re going through?  Do you not see how much we are hurting?  What is going to happen to us?” I whimpered as the tears began to stain my cheeks.

And God whispered, “I will never fail you.  I will never abandon you.”  (Hebrews 13:5b, NLT)

I fell on my knees and raised my hands to the sky, crying, “What am I supposed to do, God?  We’re stretched financially just about as far as we can stretch.  What do you expect me to do?”

And God whispered, “I expect you to do nothing.  I will handle it all.  I’ve told you before:  Trust in [Me] with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek [My] will in all you do, and [I] will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)*

By this time, I was so weary from the weight of my fear, all I could do was cry.  I cried because there were no words for the pain.

And God whispered, “Come to me, [Sandy] you [are] weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT)*

I promise you, I felt the warmth of the Holy Spirit surround me.  It felt like a hug.  The tears subsided and I suddenly felt the shame of losing my faith — of not believing God.  I begged Him for forgiveness and the heavy weight of the fear lifted.  In its place, God gave me this feeling of calm.  Suddenly, I knew that everything was going to be all right.  I can’t tell you how I know this, but as Joyce Meyers loves to say, “I know that I know that I know that I know.”

Joyce Meyer

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I keep a journal for each family member and for my church, community, nation, and world.  It is my habit to find Scripture and write them into a prayer in the notebook of the person for whom I’m praying.  I picked them up and thumbed through them.  Did you know that each Scripture God used to answer me during my little meltdown was Scripture that I had prayed for someone else during the past month?  Now, that’s a “God-incident” if I ever saw one!

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The writer’s block that the fear had created dissipated over the weekend.  God reminded me of Matt Redman‘s “Never Once.”  (I’m pretty sure God wants this to be my theme song for the time being.)  Matt once said that this song came to him spontaneously at a time of great transition for him and his family.  He had just sold his house in Atlanta, Georgia and the entire family was moving to England.  His future was uncertain and yet, the words to this marvelous praise song came to him and he sang them in the middle of a living room devoid of furniture and walls that echoed back the chorus, “You are faithful, God, You are faithful.”  It speak volumes about trusting God in the unknown because He’s been with us through every valley, every stuggle and proven Himself to be faithful in every circumstance.  It describes this season of my life perfectly.

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Over the weekend, I realized that NCSU is only doing what they have to do to run a business (and it is a business that sometimes must function by rules that might seem unfair).  Please don’t start a letter-writing campaign to NCSU — we believe we are fully in God’s will now.   I find a great deal of comfort in the fact that the folks in Human Resources are fully prepared to go to bat for Kelly where his disability is concerned.  In further conversations with the Chief today, Kelly found that if he’s cleared for duty, he can re-apply to work at the university again.

But that may not be God’s plan.  Other people have approached Kelly about possible job openings that are right here in Fayetteville so that he wouldn’t have to make the hour drive to and from Raleigh several days a week.  One of these jobs is law enforcement-related.  Kelly is qualified to do this job and there are people in position to help him get hired, if it’s God’s will.

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I don’t have any more answers than I did when I went temporarily insane last week.  I just don’t know what’s going to happen.  And that’s okay because my God is faithful and He’s given me His peace over whatever this season in our lives may bring.  I can truly say, “You have brought us thus far, Lord.”


“Never Once” (Matt Redman)

*All substitutions in these verses of Scripture are mine.

Related Articles:  “Face Your Fear”

“Prayer of the Broken Vessel”



21 thoughts on “How Can I Keep from Singing: Never Once

  1. I sat here and read your story 3 times and cried. I know what fear will do to a person. Praise God I have been doing great the past 2 weeks. I could feel his arms and wrap around me and hold me and tell me don’t fear I have my hand on you and I will never leave you alone, just trust me. And I want to thank you for letting me talk to you. I know you did’nt have to but you did. I still looking for a job but I know God has a plan and all he wants me to do is to leave it in his hands. Your a blessing to so many people who read your stories. I will be praying for you and Kelly Thanks Karon

    1. Girl, I love you so much. God put us in each other’s lives for a good reason. You are always in my prayers — that community prayer journal has YOUR name in it. (Along with Hebrews 13:5 that I’ve prayed for you!) Stay strong in the Lord. Sandy

  2. All will be good, I know it will, for I feel it in my soul for you both. You and Kelly have been two of the luckiest & blessed people I have ever known to always have a door opened to you while another one is being closed. God knew you needed to vent, he made us each our way, and knows our ways of venting, and he waits until after our storms to step in and give us calm. I pray that all these trials will become a blessing and maybe even get Kelly back ‘home’ to work for the remainder of his career. Love you both and pray that the path will be lit brightly to what God has in store in this next phase of your lives.

    1. You know, after I got over the insanity of last Friday, I was encouraged and excited for what the Lord is going to do. It will be another opportunity for us to say, “For your glory and honor, Father.” Because we are nothing without Him. Thank you for your prayers. I love you with all my heart, Renee. Sandy

  3. Wow, I am in tears after reading this. God is awesome and an on time God. I am so glad you released it to God. His promises never go void. Sometimes we are tested to see if we really trust God. Sometimes we only trust Him when things are going good for us. He has a purpose and plan for us that are not our ways.

    Sometimes we go through similar situations that we have seen others go through but we failed to be loving to our neighbors. It is not punishment but it is reaping what you sow. Not saying this is the case with you guys. Just making a point of how life present itself. I am glad you have found comfort in God and now trusting His plan for your family.

    Will you pray with me IBTK.
    Gracious and loving God, you know this family need for meaningful work. Send your Holy Spirit to guide them through their search for employment. Help them to recognize the gifts and talents you have given them. Deepen their desire to follow your will. Inspire them as they contact potential employers. Father God lead them to a righteous employer not just any employer. Give them patience as they wait for responses. Shelter them God from feelings of rejections as they wait so patiently.
    Protect them from discouragement. Let this time of searching become an opportunity to grow in faith, and to cultivate the virtue of hope, and to experience your unrelenting love that does not go void. Lord provide healing where you see fit. In Jesus name I ask you to hear my prayer Savior, of the entire human race. Amen.

    I love you with the heart of God.

    A Woman After God’s Own Heart ♥

    1. Thank you so much. That prayer was much needed. I just believe that God will see us through. I am proud to say, “I don’t know.” Because my God DOES know! Sandy

  4. Sandy, I cried as I read this blog… Like you, my faith went through major ups and downs last week and I am ashamed to say – I had 2 hissy fits last week. I was so mad at God and yelled at Him for 2 nights. Mike knew I was at my wits end and caught a glimpse of someone (me) that he has never seen. I even asked God, “Where are you? Don’t you care? How can you just sit there on your throne and allow us to suffer?” I even tried to play the “look at all we have done for you” game. I even scared myself because on all of my years I was pretty close to losing it. I’m still “working through” the issues but I want you to know that reading this blog gave me scripture that I can cling to as I work through my crisis. I am praying that both you and Kelly (and myself) can keep our eyes on seeking the will of God for each day. I know God doesn’t promise us a life without obstacles but really God, I don’t want to live in the brier patch. I guess those are the times that our faith grows the most. Love you and praying that this week we all can all serve God even in the tough times. Love you,

    1. Were we living parallel lives? (((HUGS))) to you my dear friend. You are in my prayers. Whatever you’re going through, God will see you through. Call if you need me. I love you, Sandy

  5. May God continue to bless your writing…you may never know how many faith seeds you are planting. I will continue to pray for you all. Love You!

  6. I’ve learned never to be ashamed when you have reached your weakest points. Those are the times when you actually show your strength – not weakness – and faith by reaching out to God and by reaching out to others. There have been more times than I can count when I have looked up and said “God, I’m not Job, I can’t handle anymore, I know you know my limit, but I feel I am way past it, please help me”.
    I know there are alot of people that say you are not supposed to talk to God like that, but my feelings is that if you are talking to God, that is exactly what he’s wanting you to do.

  7. Sandy – This was a very strong blog. How is it that when we are all stripped down naked and bruised that His love shines even stronger? Why do we feel His presence so intensely at these moments? I think it has to do with identifying with Christ at those moments. In the darkest fear and despair… here His grace shines most brilliantly. Thank you for this post. You are in my prayers Sister.

  8. Sandy, this was gorgeous. I am learning similar lessons – I have a tough time letting go of control and really believing in Jeremiah 29:11-13. But truly, He DOES have our best interests at heart.

  9. Sandy, I want to share a little poem my grandfather gave me many years ago.

    When I have no one to turn to
    And I am feeling kind of low,
    When there is no one to talk to
    And nowhere I want to go,
    I search deep within myself
    It is the love inside my heart
    That lets me know my Angels are there
    Even though we are miles apart.

    A smile then appears upon my face
    And the sun begins to shine.
    I hear a voice, so soft and sweet
    Saying, ‘Everything will be just fine’
    It may seem that I am alone
    But I am never by myself at all.
    Whenever I need my Angels near
    All I have to do is call.

    An Angel’s love is always true
    On that you can depend.
    They will always stand behind you
    And will always be your friend.
    Through darkest hours and brightest days
    Our Angel’s see us through
    They smile when we are happy, and will cry when we are blue..

    He is always there my friend, everyrhing will be just fine!

    Walk daily with God at your side.


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