Kirsten Panachyda

Writer and Speaker

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Three Little Dots

The text made my heart pound.

“I just need to tell you before you find it and freak out.”

My college freshman had been home for three days over Easter weekend. The text came on Tuesday, twenty-four hours after I had hugged him goodbye in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts and watched him leave with three carpooling students.

What? What was I going to find? A piece of glass and empty bandaid wrappers? Bloody sheets? Suicidal song lyrics? An upsetting youtube video? Drugs?

I watched the three little dots blinking on the screen.

“It’s just stuff for a prank we’re going to play on a friend. But I forgot to grab the bag and bring it back to school. So there’s this bag full of wacky stuff. Can you mail it?”

I went and looked in the bag. Wacky, indeed. Immature. But perfectly fitting for a joke being played by a bunch of 18 year olds. Fine. I’ll mail it. Whatever.

Those three little dots though. They had drilled into my peace. One ambiguous text and I was right back there: stomach churning, hands shaking, breath gasping. My body has not forgotten the feel of crisis.


It is not the same. I’ve had years of work done in my soul since the first crisis with Nicholas. My body may still react with a rush of adrenaline, but my mind retains the healing transformation.

“Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.
One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:3-5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The lesson that stitched up the wounds in my heart, the wisdom that applied healing balm to the tender scars was this:
My life is in God Alone.
He is my One Thing.

In the end, the texts, the heart-pound, the three little dots can only drill down so far. The bedrock is too much for that puny tool.

I know it might not be over. Crisis may come again. But it won’t be the same, because I am not the same. I am forever changed by how I have already experienced the love and healing of the Unchanging One.

Friend, I hope in those moments when you find yourself “back there,” you will ride out the reaction with a secure knowledge of God’s love for you.

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