It's hard for me when it comes to promises. I'm afraid when people make them because then I am immediately afraid that they will break them. I am guilty of having broken promises. I didn't set out to make those promises so I could break them but it happened no less. Certainly, we don't make promises with the intentions of not following through, but it happens. I have also been the victim of empty promises (example here) and I know firsthand the raw pain of when one shatters before your eyes and simultaneously shatters your heart.
As children we become obsessed with the magic that promises hold. Cross your heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye- I promise. Pinky Promise and with an interlock of two pinkies and a kiss to the hand a promise is formed. There's this comfort in a promise, an assurance that no matter what- it's going to be okay, for it was promised.
Then as time marches on we are inundated with becoming men and women of our word. Some men attend conferences titled, "Promise Keepers," where they pinky swear for hours on end until their pores seep promises. Okay, not really. But, you get the point. We want to give promises, we want to keep those promises, and it is a sweet melodious sound in our ears when someone special makes us a promise.
While I want to keep every promise I have spoken, there is one I fully intend on keeping. I made a promise, a solemn vow, to God and to my husband, that I will love him always. That I will never forsake him until death do us part. YIKES! What a promise! I know, I know...go big or go home. And I go BIG. But that's my promise and one that I committed to on our wedding day and the same one I recommit to each and every morning (and depending on the day, sometimes I have to go back to that promise multiple times). Promises I made and promises I will keep.
My dad rarely makes promises. Well, at least with me (if you know him and he's been promising you things, I'd like to know. Take this as your cue to get in contact with me). It's not that my dad is a man who doesn't follow through, it's quite the contrary. He is a man of his word and he makes good when he agrees to something. But, when I ask my dad for help, to agree on something, do a task, etc I often try and lock it down with one question. "Promise?" His response, "I will do everything in my power to make it happen." What a trickster. Sly, fella if you ask me. Truthfully though, he says those words because I believes he knows the feeling when a promise can't be kept. He knows the pain of when a promise falls to pieces and simultaneously takes pieces of your heart with it. He has made a few promises to me and I believe that he will always keep them. Through my physical and emotional pain he has promised that he will always be there. He has promised to love me no matter what and has promised that if He could he would take all my pain from me. I get choked up even writing about it because I know that his promises are true and faithful. I believe this man, this lovely man that is my father, is the closest thing I will ever experience to Christ, here on this Earth. He is gentle, strong, a comfort, and someone I can always count on. Yet, I know that one day my promises with him will run out. He won't intentionally break them, but there will be a day when He won't be able to make good because he won't be here. That is my biggest fear. Losing him. Losing my mom. Having to say goodbye to my sister or brothers. But, it will happen. We are no match for death. It has the power to extinguish our promises and I often live in fear for the day that it will come. When Nate and I will have to be apart until we both reach Heaven and for the moment where my dad won't always "physically" be here for me.
With that being said, the time to remind myself of God's promises is now. It can't wait for later. I must repeat these promises until they are written on my heart and with each blink of an eye they are renewed. His promises are everlasting. For it is written, "nothing can separate us from the love of God." (Romans 8:38-39)
While that is a promise in itself, today's promise is this:
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
I am with you. I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you. I breathe this in and I find sweet relief. He is with us. He can help us, strengthen us, and He promises to hold us up. I prefer to just picture Him holding me. I am not alone. No matter how I feel, how far I have fallen in the pit, and when I have misplaced my hope- I am not alone. He is with me.
There is a Rascal Flatt's song called, "I Won't Let Go." It's a beautiful song. It is a song of promises. The lyrics sing of the promise that no matter what, "I won't let go." It's a beautiful song to dedicate to your lover or to give as a gift to your child. But right now, I encourage you to close your eyes, listen to the lyrics and hear it as God singing to you His promises in a song.
I Won't Let Go
And I won't let you fall It’s like a storm That cuts a path It’s breaks your will It feels like that You think your lost But your not lost on your own You're not alone I will stand by you I will help you through When you’ve done all you can do If you can’t cope I will dry your eyes I will fight your fight I will hold you tight And I wont let go It hurts my heart To see you cry I know it’s dark This part of life Oh it finds us all And we’re too small To stop the rain Oh but when it rains I will stand by you I will help you through When you’ve done all you can do And you can’t cope I will dry your eyes I will fight your fight I will hold you tight Don’t be afraid to fall I’m right here to catch you I wont let you down
It wont get you down You're gonna make it Yea I know you can make it Cause I will stand by you I will help you through When you’ve done all you can do And you can’t cope And I will dry your eyes I will fight your fight I will hold you tight And I won't let go Oh I’m gonna hold you And I won't let go Wont let you go No I won't
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." I won't let go.
He is with us. We are not alone. He will not let go. He is the promise keeper. Cross my heart, pinky promise. And for today, I will remember this- and keep breathing. I promise.