IMs from God?

30 06 2011

This little box of Theo's reflected a mysterious rainbow. Photo by Amy Rauch Neilson.

I was crying when I called my sister-in-law Carrie the other day. A couple of months ago, she made me a CD mix to get me through the toughest moments. The very first song is Katy Perry’s Fireworks. Carrie picked that one because she knows the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. And she loves the lyrics.

When I called her the other day, I said, through sniffles and sobs, “What if there’s only a hurricane for me, and no rainbow?”

Without hesitation, she said, “The rainbow is already out there, sweetie. You just can’t see it yet.”



She knew I was referring to these lyrics:

After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed

So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road

We talked a lot about that rainbow, the one that will appear after I make it through the hurricane-force winds that blew into my life following my Stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis in January.

My fear, I told her, is that after the hurricane, there isn’t going to be a rainbow. Just devastation.

But Carrie won’t hear of this. She doesn’t tell me there’s a rainbow out there because it’s what she thinks I want to hear. She tells me this because she believes it to the very depths of her soul. Never, she says, has she been so certain of something.

This calmed me and after a few minutes, I was able to pull myself back together. I had to. Theo was at summer camp and it was time to go and pick him up.

As I was backing out of our driveway, our neighbor, Dave, walked up to my car. I rolled down the driver-side window, offered him a handful of Cheez-Its. He looked at me and said, “I saw you the other day. You weren’t looking very happy.”

We share a narrow, one-lane road with three other houses, a straight path that leads to the lake like a spoke on a wheel. It’s a private road, which means our mailboxes are at the end, where our street meets the service drive. So, getting the mail means a tenth of a mile trek to the end.

As I was scrolling through the moments when Dave might have observed me, I thought about a day last week when it was dreary and drizzling and I’d made the trek for the mail. The neighborhood was quiet; the kids inside doing puzzles or watching movies on a rainy summer day. A few tears on my cheeks could easily be mistaken for raindrops, should anyone cast a glance out the window.

I was just having a moment. And Dave, who has lived next door for the dozen years since we moved in, reads me well.

“You weren’t looking too happy when I saw you last week,” he said.

I looked him in the eyes and said, “I’m afraid…” But I couldn’t finish. I waited a minute, then tried again.

“I’m afraid I’m going to die,” I said, this time staring straight at the steering wheel.

“You’re not going to die,” Dave said. “You’re going to outlive me.

“You have changed the way I think. You don’t realize how much you influence people, how what you say and do changes the way they think. That’s really powerful.”

I thought about that for a minute, trying to figure out what I do or say that makes that big of an impact. Then I took his words and deposited them into my heart.

Earlier in the day, I’d come across this little box filled with shark’s teeth at a gift shop. I thought of Theo and knew it’d be two bucks well spent. I gave it to him when I picked him up at camp. He was ecstatic and for the rest of the day; it was like nothing else existed save this little, tooth-filled clear plastic box.

Then the strangest thing happened. I was making dinner and Theo called me into the family room.

“Look, Mommy,” he said, pointing to the lid of his little box. “There’s a rainbow.”

Indeed there was. The plastic lid of this tiny box was acting as a prism to the light streaming in through the windows, reflecting the colors and shape of a rainbow. What were the chances, on this day, at this moment, in this way? If the conversation with Dave, the observation by Theo, are not Instant Messages from God, then what are they? Dave said my words and actions are powerful, but they pale in comparison to the messages coming from above.

Maybe all the doors closed so God could lead me to the perfect road.

And yes, I do believe there will be a rainbow.

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson



16 responses

30 06 2011
Monica Lesnau


30 06 2011

Amy, You are a very powerful writer. It is true, you touch many people with your words and the way you present your life and your struggles. You are a huge influence on many people and have changed the way, I too, think. I have used things you have said in your blogs many times speaking with different people, and not necessarily people that are struggling with health issues. I admire and am so thankful for your testimony to our Lord…and I think you are right when you say, God is closing doors to lead you to the perfect road…because in the end all of God’s children end up on the perfect road to the perfect place! (John 14:1-6). I’m praying for you.

30 06 2011

As Mom would say, “Aren’t you sumpin’.” Heart ewe.

30 06 2011

You are the rainbow!

30 06 2011

Your words are powerful and awe inspiring!! I had many tears reading this; tears of sorrow for the hard road and tears of happiness for your notice of the IM’s from GOD – WOW just to have figured that out is awesome. You are a very bright rainbow for all who are blessed to read your words in your blogs. You are going to live because there are so many of us that need your strength and encourgement to move forward in our own journeys.

30 06 2011

Thank you for sharing your IMs from God with all of us. The messages are all around us. We sometimes forget to look. Thank you and praying for you.

30 06 2011
Linda Stanislawski

I love those special moments sent from God. He does care, deeply about every aspect of our lives. May deep, abiding peace enfold you on this journey. You continue to be in our prayers.

30 06 2011

ditto to all of the above
: )

30 06 2011
Laurie Horn

Chills!! Rainbow talks with a friend and shazam you are sent a rainbow. Love it!! You’re my rainbow, Amy.

30 06 2011
Sandy Sherman-Sarlund

Tears, your blog and your readers always inspire me. I wish you a wonderful 4th…enjoy your anniversary!

30 06 2011
Deborah Ann Peters

Wow…….enough said!
Enjoy your 4th of July!!!!

30 06 2011

I am fortunate to not be fighting stage four breast cancer (but for what it’s worth I am a complete hypochondriac – and quite sure that at this very second some rougue cell has just divided improperly or some free radical – no doubt from my dryer sheets – is sending me on a way one street to the oncology department). When I first was turned onto your blog I thought – I’ll be polite and check it out – but what could be in it for me – and won’t it be terribly depressing? (I’m also a little self centered). I just want you to know that I read every entry, and find your insights incredibly uplifting. I also want you to know – that the rest of us have those grip the steering wheel “I’m scared _________ (fill in the blank) moments”. We are all simply mortal – and we are all scared silly about something. What your blog has taught me is to not focus on the scary. I could have the best genetics in the world but the unfortunate timing of finding myself lying on the beach in the exact spot the fuselage from a airline disaster chooses to lodge itself. All any of us have is today. And you are the reason I look at my today with a lot more reflection and gratitude than I ever afforded any of my yesterdays. I don’t want to minimize what you are going through – because it IS scary. I just want you to know that you are not alone – and that you are touching and improving the lives of complete strangers – and we are all in this together now! AND if you are ever sunbathing on the beach and find yourself in a huge airplane- shaped-shadow… roll!

30 06 2011
Ken and Gay

Dearest Amy, A rainbow!! A sign after the rain that there is waiting for you just around the corner something as awesome as a rainbow!! A promise from God!! Yes, when things fall into a sequence which is beyond coincidence you can be certain without a doubt that they are NOT coincidences!! God is tapping on your shoulder or sending you an IM saying I am here, have no doubt I love you more than you can ever imagine and I will be here always and forever by your side! Luv Ya Amy Sue. See you at the fireworks!

1 07 2011

Goose Bumps Amy ;o)
Theo seems to always find ways to show you that God is there with you. Someday we are all going to see the biggest, brightest rainbow from above that God is shining just for you!!!

2 07 2011

Praying for that rainbow to get here soon for you, and for many more 4th of July celebrations!! Hugs!

6 07 2011
Sharon L-S

Hope your 4th was filled with awesome fireworks and lots of great family fun!

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