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Finding God’s Light in Dark Times

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Finding God’s Light in Dark Times

Author and speaker Patsy Clairmont shares the spiritual lessons she learned as she journeyed through breast cancer with her best friend, a fearful time that was redeemed by insights from God's Word.
Original Air Date: April 12, 2010

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

Author and speaker Patsy Clairmont shares the spiritual lessons she learned as she journeyed through breast cancer with her best friend, a fearful time that was redeemed by insights from God's Word.
Original Air Date: April 12, 2010

Episode Transcript

Excerpt:

Mrs. Patsy Clairmont: Behold, what a great word. It means “Be right where you’re at. Be in the moment. Hold on to what you’re about to hear because it could change your life.”

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Well, if you need some encouragement today, uh, if you need to know that God really cares about what’s going on in your life, this broadcast featuring Patsy Clairmont is just for you. This is Focus on the Family with Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, we all have dark times in our lives, and when we experience those, we need to know that God is with us, even if we can’t feel His presence. And Patsy Clairmont has been through some very difficult seasons. In fact, for many years she was afraid to leave her house and some days, she couldn’t even get out of bed.

John: Well, that’s right. And we, uh, just aired her story, her personal story, about overcoming that crippling fear and anxiety just a few weeks ago. Uh, let me just direct our listeners to our website where you can get that as a free download. It’s focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: What’s really amazing is that after facing her fears, Patsy became a public speaker – something that terrifies most people. And she was one of the founding members of the Women of Faith speaking team. I mean, that’s amazing.

John: It really is. What a remarkable story. And here she is now at a Women of Faith conference. Patsy Clairmont, in a rather upbeat mood, on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Patsy: Morning!

Audience: Morning!

Patsy: Hey, what do you think? Do you like my jacket?

(CHEERS)

Patsy: I love reflective things. I like things that catch the light. Well, now I don’t like all reflective things. Let me get that straight. I mean, like the morning mirror…

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: …I don’t know. Not like the highlight of my day. Then I found some Bible verses that help me to understand. “In the beginning, it was formless and void…”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: “…And darkness moved over the surface of the deep.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: But then I like what happens next and that is when it says, “Let there be light.” That’s when I get my makeup out.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: It used to just take a few little items. Now I have the front loader…

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: …Bring the products in. That’s a little disconcerting. Another thing that kinda gets me in the morning that isn’t like a highlight is when I realize that I am on a D-I-E-T. You see, at my age, I don’t like anything that starts with the word “die.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: Do you know what I’m saying? But I’m a Scrabble player. I love to move letters around and see what other words are in a word. And that’s when I discovered that in D-I-E-T is “edit.” And I thought, “Well, I don’t mind being on an ‘edit.’”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: I can do this. I can do this. So, recently when the doctor wanted to edit out my bread, I was initially offended.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: I mean, it is dough that holds me together.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: So, this was like an issue to add to all the other issues that I seem to have. And I thought, “What am I gonna do?” And then someone came along, and they gave me a tube full of hockey pucks – those pressed Styrofoam – you know, those rice cakes.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: They don’t taste like rice. They don’t taste like cake.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: And I promise you, there’s no icing on ‘em. But Mary Graham said to me, “You know, if you would toast those, they’d taste a lot better.” So, the next morning when I woke up, I thought, “Oh, no, hockey pucks.” And I thought, “I’ll just toast them.” So, I went headed into the kitchen and dropped two hockey pucks into the toaster.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: But I’m an impatient woman and I didn’t want to wait around. I thought I could be doing something productive with this time, so I thought, “I’ll go make my bed.” Now my bed’s an issue. I – it – it’s my own fault it’s an issue, ‘cause I picked it out. But you know when you’re in those great big, um, rooms, warehouses – you don’t really capture the size of things in there until it’s placed in your house. Well, my bed scared me when it got in there.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: The bed and I were the same size. We were the same height.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: And I hadn’t considered that. So, we invested in a two-step step stool for me to get up into bed.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: And I have found that if I start in the kitchen and I get up a good run…

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: …And I hit those steps just right, I can end up on top of the bed standing up.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: I – it – it’s really very aerobic.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: A little bit disconcerting to my husband when he’s still in the bed.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: But, hey! I haven’t been married 46 years for nothing. I say, “Keep ‘em guessing.”

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

Patsy: Now you might wonder, “Well, why do you want to be standing up in the bed?” And that is because I have a duvet cover. It is about the size of Arizona and…

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: …Inside of it is a, um, comforter. And it’s not comforting to me because my husband gets up and down all night long to go into the – into another little room in the house.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: And every time he tosses the duvet cover back, the comforter slides. And by morning, it’s in a huge pooch…

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: …And I’m not fond of “poochiness.” I have to look at it in the morning mirror. I don’t want it on my bed.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: So, I have found that if I stand up on my bed and I get over where the worst part of the poochiness is and I begin to jump it over like this…

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: I can eventually get it all so that it really looks good. What? You don’t do this?

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: You might want to try it. It’s pretty effective. And so, I’m standing there thinking, “I think I got it. I think I’ve got it,” when suddenly, into the room there wafted a fragrance.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: And that’s when it hit me. “My hockey pucks!” I went down the steps, went running into the kitchen, got to the door just in time to see shooting flames.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: Yeah, we’re not talking a little smoke dribbled out of the toaster. We’re talking shooting flames. And I had forgotten to pull the toaster clear of the cupboard.

Audience: Oh!

Patsy: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: And – and so, it was hitting the underneath of the cupboard and then it was lapping around the edge and right up the cupboard door. Now usually I have more words than anyone would ever want to hear, “Patsy Loquacious” right here. But this day, no words! I – I was like stuck there…

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: …And nothing was coming out. And then when it began to come out, I sounded like Dick and Jane primer.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: “Oh! Look! See!”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: Later when I thought about this, the most brilliant thing I heard myself say was, “Stop!”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: Well, finally, my brain cell kicked in. And I ran over and I unplugged it and then I picked it up.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: Dilemma was, what to do with a flaming toaster?

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: Never had this opportunity before. I didn’t want to get my toaster wet, so I began to run around. And I was trying to think, “What can I do to put this out?”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: Finally, I put it in the sink, and I got a towel and I sacrificed the towel and smothered out the flames. Well, now I had a mess, because my cupboard was looking all charred and black and I’m thinking, “Oh, I gotta do something before old what’s-his name see this.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: And so, I began to scrub on the cupboards until finally, I had it down to a small bruise.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: And I thought to myself, “Well, the old boy’s dimming up a little himself. He’ll never notice that.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: Afterwards, I thought, “Patsy, where did your words go right in the midst of that crisis when it was at its peak? Where did your words go?” Have you ever gone out with friends and everybody’s talking and you’re not and later, you relive the conversation in your head, and you think, “Why didn’t I say this? Why didn’t I say that?” Boy, give me another chance and I’ll have a thing or two to say. Probably God’s mercy protecting our friends…

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: …But I found out that is a common issue to have.

When I went into the book of Luke in the 13th chapter, I met a woman there and she seemed to have lost her ability to speak. It says, “Now when He” – meaning Jesus – “was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.” I don’t know what Jesus was thinking. He really riled up a bunch of people when He did that.

And then it says, “And behold” – isn’t it interesting, there seems to be a change of emphasis at this point – “and behold there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity, a spirit of weakness 18 years and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him.”

Now I said to myself, “Self, why didn’t she say something to Jesus?” His reputation had spread throughout the land. Surely, she knew He was the One performing the miracles. He was the One healing people. So, why didn’t she say, “Jesus! Down here! I have been down so long and so low. Don’t overlook me like others. Jesus, see me here.”

And we see that she had suffered for so long. Can you imagine being downcast that long? Being physically unable to raise yourself up? It must have been extremely lonely and isolating. I wonder if she did not speak because she had given up hope. I wonder if she did not say anything because she was full of shame.

And yet, I think it must have been hope that took her to that place. It was a crisis. I’m sure it was that moment where she had thought, “I will try one more thing, one more time. Please see me down here because I’m too broken to raise back up.”

And Jesus saw her. And He called her to Himself. I’m sure that most of the gathering was men. I’m sure that it was not easy to spot her in the crowd all bent over and low to the earth. But Jesus saw her. Never underestimate the ability of our Savior to see you. He cares for you and about you and He has not – He has not forgotten you.

John: You’re listening to Focus on the Family and a great message from Patsy Clairmont. And, by the way, you can get her inspirational book. It’s called Catching Fireflies: Teaching Your Heart to See God’s Light Everywhere. We’ll send that book out to you for a monthly pledge or a one-time gift of any amount. Donate and support the ministry and ask for your copy of Catching Fireflies when you call 800-A-FAMILY. Or at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s go ahead and hear more now from Patsy Clairmont.

Patsy: Some of you are in really hard and difficult places, but God is not surprised by our situations. And He longs for us to trust Him with the design. He knows exactly where He’s placed us. And He’s gonna give us a view. He wants to as we sang with Mandisa, “Open our eyes that we might see in new ways.” That was about to happen to this woman who was all bent over.

I know about being bent over in different ways through grief and loss. In fact, I have a friend, a long-time friend. Her name is Carol. We have been girlfriends for over 50 years. That’s a long time to be girlfriends, isn’t it? I’m so proud of her. She’s hung in there.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

Patsy: She still laughs that when we originally met and I had a ponytail and it’s the first day of school and I went bounding up and said, “Hi, I’m Patsy. Wanna be friends?”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: She was quiet and reticent. I like that in a friend.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: I had enough words for both of us. I thought I could fill in the gap there. We’ve been through a lot of things.

She watched in puzzlement at my agoraphobic years. I walked with her through a painful divorce. Been through a lot of things. When news came that she had breast cancer a couple of years ago, we were startled, took the breath right out of our body. And I said, “Lord, not Carol. She’s the scaredy cat. She can’t handle this. She is the one, if she sees a spider in her house, will run out the door and down the street, screaming.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: “And we all have to chase after her to get her to come back home. This is too big and too hard.”

And she was bent over with the news, as was I. And after awhile, I stood up and gradually I watched her stand up. And as she drew up, it was amazing, because I had a whole new view of who she was. In fact, she had a new view of who she was. Suddenly, she had more words than usual. But there were moments, she was getting downright feisty with us.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: But we saw such courage, courage come up in the midst of that. We didn’t know that potential was inside of her and I had known her the longest. I didn’t know that was in there.

She was given an all clear. We were thrilled, but then news came that the cancer was everywhere. It was in her shoulder and it was in her lung and it was in her liver. And she went down, as did I. Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. And we wept together.

Eventually I began to pull up, but Carol did not. She wasn’t getting back up. I didn’t want her not to be able to get back up. I wanted to minister to my friend, and I didn’t know how, because I hadn’t ever been where she was at. I did not want her to look at just the dirt of the earth and the sandals passing by.

And I said, “Lord, You got history on me. And You know right when I most want to say the right thing, it doesn’t work so well. I say something that fits crooked inside somebody. I don’t want to cause my friend any additional pain. So, I need You to help me. Here is Your Word. You show me, Lord. You show me. What would You have me say to her? I bet it’s something here in the Psalms, because David wrote with such compassion about sorrow and loss. Is it one of these Psalms, Lord? Is this it?”

And as I listened, I was startled by what I heard. He didn’t say, “This Psalm.” He said, “Let there be light.” I thought, “Well, that can’t be it.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: That’s for when I get out my makeup.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: “Okay then, Lord. Let’s go over to the New Testament. It’s newer than the Old. It says it right here, ‘New.’”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: “We’ll go – we’ll go to the red part, you know, where You said things in red. I appreciated You put those in red, ‘cause I can find them easier.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: “So, is it a parable? Do you want me to give her a parable?” “Let there be light.” (Whispering) Made no sense to me. “All right, I’ll do it.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: “I’m not happy.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: So, I called Carol up and I – I said, “Hi, Carol. How ya doing?” “Okay.” I said, “I have a verse for you.” She said, “You do?” You know that sound, “you do?” like longing that you’ll say something that will make a difference? And I said, “Yeah, I do.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: I said, “Well, (clearing throat)…”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: “…What I want to say from God’s Word is ‘Let there be light.’”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: “Excuse me?” “Let there be light.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: She said, “Is that it?”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: And I said, “Basically, yeah, that – that’s pretty much it.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: I said, “Well, it must be important. It was the first words that we have recorded that God spoke that we get to hear. He talks about light in the Bible. I don’t know. I don’t get it.” I said, “You could use it like a prayer. Every time it comes to your mind, you can say, ‘Let there be light.’”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: She said, “Right.”

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: “Thanks so much for calling.” And so, I talked with her over the next week and a half from time to time, always low and heavy. And then, I got a call and her voice was full of joy. I said, “What’s happened?” She said, “I can’t wait to tell you.” She said, “I went to the doctor and he began to tell me every place that the cancer had moved. And it – it was going to a lot of different part of – of my body through my bones. And I didn’t want to hear it, so I – I went into denial. I stopped listening.”

But she said, “You know how it is when you stop listening, but you still hear, but it doesn’t make it through to your brain till later?” She said, “Three o’clock in the morning, I sat bolt right up in bed and I heard…” “What’d you hear? What’d you hear?” She said, “It was my doctor’s voice. He said, ‘When I am looking at your bone scan, what I am searching for are flashes of light, because everywhere there is a flash of light, your antibodies are killing the cancer.’”

(APPLAUSE)

Patsy: I didn’t know that.

(LAUGHTER)

Patsy: She didn’t know that. He knew that. “Behold, there was a woman and He saw her. And He called her to Himself.”

Listen. Listen to what happens. He said, “Woman, you are loosed from your weakness, from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her and immediately, she was made straight. And she began glorifying the Lord.” Let there be light.

(APPLAUSE)

John: Hmm, let me echo Patsy’s last line, “Let there be light.” What an inspiring message we’ve heard today from Patsy Clairmont on Focus on the Family as she was speaking at a Women of Faith event.

Jim: John, that was very moving, and let me share the rest of the story. Patsy’s friend, Carol, lost that battle with cancer and went home to be with the Lord. And as we’ve heard on this broadcast, people who have died, and have come back to life, describe the experience as going through a dark tunnel toward a Light. And I believe that’s true, and it’s wonderful to think that Carol ultimately saw the Light and went into the presence of Jesus Christ.

John: Yeah, there are so many thousands of recorded accounts of those “life after death” experiences, and they all seem to – or most of them, at least – seem to include the idea of this radiant Light.

Jim: Hmm.

John: And that really helps, I think, validate that, uh – that hope of Heaven we have, especially when we lose a loved one.

Jim: Yeah. And I know that many of you may have lost someone over the past few months, especially with the coronavirus pandemic impacting so many lives, in so many ways. And if you are hurting, please give us a call. We would welcome the opportunity to hear your concerns, pray with you over the phone, and have a counselor give you a call back if necessary. This is a free service we provide, so that we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in your time of need. In fact, a recent caller said, “I felt like I was buried under a bunch of bricks. When I talked to a Focus counselor, I got the perfect help I needed. Thank you!” And let me say, we thank the Lord and our donors for making it possible for us to have such a highly credentialed and compassionate group of counselors here at Focus. And if you would like a simple way to help hurting people, please consider becoming a monthly donor to Focus on the Family. We’re here year-round and we have those monthly bills just like you do, so we really need that consistent support. And when you make a pledge of any amount, we’ll send you an inspirational book by Patsy Clairmont called Catching Fireflies: Teaching Your Heart to See God’s Light Everywhere. And that’ll be our way of saying thank you for partnering with us. And if you can’t make that monthly commitment right now, we understand. We’ll send Patsy’s book out to you for a one-time donation of any amount. Just get in touch with us today.

John: And our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or online we’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Next time on this broadcast, Debra Pegues will provide some Biblical advice for overcoming anger and frustration, especially during these challenging days.

Teaser:

Mrs. Deborah Pegues: Listen, you gotta start your individual track and say, “I’m going to make a difference. I’m not going to be stuck in anger. I’m not going to be stuck in hate. I’m going to stop wishing for a better past. I’m going to start working towards a better future.”

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