A New Beginning

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV84). 

On January 24, 2013, my husband’s heart stopped beating…and shortly thereafter, God brought my heart back to life.

Before that day, I thought my life was just fine. In fact, I couldn’t have felt more blessed. I had a wonderful family and so much more than I could ever need. I was fulfilled by the comfort of my circumstances and quite happy with my own little world.

But then…in one quick moment my sweet David stopped responding to me. His eyes were distant and still. Someone said, “He’s going to crash.” And with that, I was ushered out of his hospital room.

Walking in a daze so very slowly to the cold, deserted waiting room I suddenly felt that everything was going to crash. Did I just see my precious love for the last time? Was this wonderful life I held so dear falling apart? My head was spinning, and I felt all alone.

Then, in the midst of my shock and disbelief and fear, I sensed Him. There in the quiet, still waiting room with its empty chairs, I felt HIS warm, embracing presence. I was not alone. The Lord was there with me…holding me…comforting me. Speaking to me in the stillness: 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, NIV84).

Oh, how I desperately needed Him. And He was there!

In those long, agonizing minutes that seemed hours, God was speaking to me lovingly, filling me with His precious peace and amazing grace. And in the way that only He can, He gently revealed my wayward heart. Through the years, without even noticing it, I had lost my first love. My devotion for the Lord Jesus had taken a back seat to my devotion for a comfortable life.

In light of the possibility of losing it all, I saw how my life and, indeed, my husband, had become more important to me than my precious God. And it broke me.

In that moment, I knew my life would never be the same, no matter what words I heard when the nurse returned. My precious heavenly Father had used those paddles of life to jump start my crashing soul and my heart was revived.

Now, ten months later, I look upon my sweet husband, sitting across from me at the dinner table, with awe—not of him, but of our magnificent God. He not only brought David back from the edge of lifelessness, He brought my heart back from the edge of spiritual lifelessness. And I am so very grateful!

I read with great joy the words of our Lord in Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

No matter what we’ve done in the past…no matter how many times and how many ways we have failed the Lord our God, He forgives us through the blood of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 43:25 says “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

We must move forward from regret of past failures toward this new beginning. The Lord is doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it?

In the desert and wasteland of my heart, God is making this new thing! A new way! And I am excited to see where He will lead!

Psalm 9,1

This Thanksgiving Day is a day of new beginnings…

 …new devotion to the Lord.

 …new focus.

 …new excitement.

 …new hope.

How does one sufficiently give thanks for new life? Simply by living that life to the fullest for the purpose it was intended, with pure devotion to the One who has given it.

Dearest Lord, help me not to waste any more of my life on myself. Let me not dwell on my past failures. But with my eyes focused on You, let me embrace this new thing that You are doing and live my life in undivided devotion to You. May I glorify You in everything. Thank You for this new life…for new beginnings. Thank You, Lord. THANK YOU!  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Photo by Sabra Penley, 2012




Filed under New Beginning, Thankfulness

8 responses to “A New Beginning

  1. Susan

    Thank you Sabra, for sharing yourself with us. You truly have a gift of written expression. This message in your first blog means a lot to me! Love ya, Susan


  2. Kathy Sapp

    Simply, Jesus. Strip away everything that seeks to distract us from the only One who matters – Jesus. You encourage me, Sabra, with your journey and God’s faithfulness. Thank you for sharing from the overflow of your heart and blessing mine. I am thankful for you and for your precious family. To God be the glory, great things He has done!


  3. Wendy

    Thank you for sharing your brokenness with me you have given me a lot to think about for my own situation. I have lost my love but not to death. I have gone to God and I have prayed and I know he will show me what I need to do but the wait is the hardest, allowing it in his time, and just wanting to take back the reign even when I know that isn’t how he works. Thanks again for your words of wisdom.


  4. Mark & Evva Jamison

    Good evening Sabra,
    Thank you for being so faithful. This has been such a rough time for so many of us. We wanted you to know that we are following very closely and praying constantly for all of us. There are so many of us under attacked. May God in his all powerful wisdom bring us through this valley. We miss all of you and think of you always. Thank you for being such good friends. May Christ bless and protect us and heal the ones of us who need healing. We love all of you and pray you have a blessed an restful evening.
    Your Brother and Sister in Christ Lord.
    Mark & Evva Jamison


  5. Don Louis

    In light of the possibility of losing it all, I saw how my life and, indeed, my husband, had become more important to me than my precious God.

    This phrase really helps me as I continue to grow in my understanding of what has been a very difficult passage for me to truly understand-Luke 14:26. I have been taught over the years how I am supposed to interpret the verse but your post gives me something tangible to consider. Thank you.
    Don Louis


  6. Love this Sabra! You paint such a beautiful picture with your words. I am inspired by your faithfulness.


  7. Sally Peter Leong

    Dear Sabra,

    GOD is real in our lives, HE is soverign & knows us thru & thru.
    You are caught in an unexpected situation just like I’m facing my husband who recovered from his 3rd strokes in a decade. It is heartbreaking to accept the consequences at times, however JESUS knows & will carry us thru.

    GOD is love. Every person has special qualities that make us unique. The need of love outweighs all of our other pursuits. Without love, all else will fail. Surely GOD’s presence in each of our lives I Peter 1:2-25 sustain us with a Living Hope.

    Sharing “Through it ALL” – Andre Crouche

    I’ve had many tears & sorrows, I’ve questions for tomorrow; There’ve been times I didn’t know right fr wrong. But in every situation, GOD gave blessed consolation that my trials come to only make me strong.

    I’ve been to lots of places, & I’ve seen a lot of faces; there’ve been times I felt so all alone, but in my lonely hours, yes, those precious lonely hours, JESUS lets me know that I was HIS OWN.

    I thank GOD for the moutains & I thank HIM for the valleys, I thank HIM for the stomrs HE brought me thru. For if I’d never had a problem, I wouldn’t know that HE could solve them, I’d never know what faith in GOD could do.

    Through it all, through it all, Oh, I’ve learned to trust in JESUS, I’ve learned to trust in GOD. Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon HIS WORD.

    sally fr Singapore


    • Thank you, Sally, for your encouraging words. I’ve clung to God’s sovereignty and love this last year and a half. And He has richly blessed us in ways we could never have imagined. Praying blessings for you and your husband–that God will continue to fill you with His peace and joy.


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