But greater is He who is in you than He who is the world.

But greater is He who is in you than He who is the world. (1 John 4:4)

sound icon Christmas Letter

Every couple of years I put together a family Christmas letter to send out. While it’s meant to keep us connected to our long-distance families and friends, it’s also a family history, if you will. I always look forward to sitting down and reflecting very intentionally over the many ways God has shown up in our lives.

This year’s letter couldn’t have been complete without the celebration of our 17-year-old’s health after a long medical crisis. In June we saw the surgeon for the last time and all of us rejoiced over this huge milestone. Anna’s kidney was finally completely healed! So even though, at times, I’m a little hesitant to share such victories too loudly because “you know who” might hear me, I needed to for all of us and for all those who have followed our journey these last five years. So there it was in print for the entire world to see. We were beyond celebrating!

A month later I was facing the temptation to doubt, panic, and relive that medical nightmare. Anna didn’t go to school today, because she is having kidney pain. (For the first time in almost three years!) To see that old familiar fear in her eyes this morning resulted in that awful feeling of helplessness. To even write down those words sends a quick and cold chill throughout my body. When we had to drag out the heating pad last night (a regular ritual while she was sick) I could almost hear the enemy laughing in my face. “See, God didn’t really heal Anna. He didn’t answer your prayers. Why don’t you just get it over with and admit He didn’t work like you told everybody He did?”

“NO,” my heart battled. “I will trust God and keep choosing to trust Him; you will not shake my confidence in God!”

Isn’t it just like the enemy to masterfully slide in just in time to try and steal the show ─ to steal away some major victory, some major healing, some major spiritual progress we’ve made in our lives replacing it with doubt, fear, and discouragement?

But greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world1 John 4:4

What happens when healing doesn’t come, or a medical condition resurfaces, or the pain doesn’t subside, or our circumstances continue for years? Each day is a new day to respond faithfully to God because faith that moves forward triumphs.

So where am I at this moment? A part of me is trying not to go to the worst-case scenario. Like before, I know I need to take a deep breath and trust God’s character and what I know to be true about Him. I am choosing with my will to put myself in the same trust mode that has held me for the last five years.

Like all of us, I don’t know what tomorrow holds. Maybe it’s just a fluke – Anna’s pain doesn’t mean anything – maybe it isn’t. I don’t know at this point. Maybe, it’s God’s gentle reminder to me to never forget the years in the wilderness. Maybe God never intended for me to breathe a sigh of relief, but rather has wanted me to maintain that same kind of desperate dependence on Him that was so second nature in the wilderness. How easy it is to let go of His hand when times are good, when the pressure is off, when in reality, His plan for us is to never let go of His hand. Whether I realize it or not, I am always in desperate need of God.

I have walked this journey long enough now to know that He is walking it with me and He knows the way ahead so I don’t have to be afraid. He sees around the corner of my tomorrow and my fearful mother’s heart and He is adequately prepared for it.

And because of that, so am I.

Today Psalm 16:8 has been a comfort to my soul, “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” In other words…I will not be shaken by fear, heartbreak, doubt, disappointment, brokenness, illness, flashbacks or any other thing that can be thrown at me. My confidence is secure. His right hand will keep me, and nothing I face will ever shake me because I am setting the Lord always before me holding on in desperate dependence!

*First published December 2012, Just Between Us magazine. **Republsihed with permission.


I Will Not Be Shaken

by Shelly Esser | Read by Natalie Ogbourne

More Posts from Shelly

Shelly Esser

Shelly Esser

Editor of Just Between Us magazine

Shelly has been the editor of Just Between Us for 30 years. She and her husband have four adult daughters and two sons-in-law, and live in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. 

A Different Dream for My Child: Meditations for Parents of Critically or Chronically Ill Children

Jolene Philo 

The devotional meditations in this book address the spiritual needs of parents of chronically ill children as the author shares her own life lessons, as well as those of other parents who have walked this road. No matter how difficult the road, Philo says, you do not have to lose hope.


Mornings in the Word

Mornings In The Word

Tammy Mashburn

Mornings in The Word was birthed out of my relationship with God. My years of a shallow relationship led to a longing for deeper relationship. This book is for the women who have gone before me, who walk along beside me, and behind me. My longing is for you to find deep and abiding relationship in God.


Parenting and Chronic Illness


​Raising a child with chronic illness – a blessing in disguise. Parenting a child with chronic illness requires more strength, resolve, perseverance and courage than we likely ever dreamed possible, yet it also blesses us with the gifts of compassion, perspective, presence, and profound love as we are daily drawn closer to Christ.


Notecards, Postcards & More

Letter-writing is a vital and life-giving ministry not only to those who are hurting, grieving, recovering, homebound, lonely, ill, depressed, or isolated, but to the writer as well.

Encourage and inspire others by putting #PenToPaper with one (or more!) of our creative notecard or postcard collections. How about tucking one of our professionally printed guides in the envelope?

Support the mission and ministry of Chronic Joy with every purchase from the Chronic Joy Store.

We pray and serve, we create and give, and God ignites change one precious life at a time.

Axe Head Prayer

Axe Head Prayer

Redeeming your spiritual edge.


As we open our hands in surrender, speaking honestly with God about where we lost our edge, what feels like loss actually draws us deeper into God.



Thank you for signing up!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This