“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” — Isaiah 26:3-4
“For the past 10 years or so my life has been an emotional rollercoaster,” Donna Coleman, long-time member of Brook Hills, begins. “If it were not for my faith in Christ and knowing that He was always with me, I would have fallen apart.”
Her life seemed a perfect storm. With her youngest son serving as a marine overseas, her daughter at home facing a drug addiction, and her marriage threatened by broken trust, the turmoil seemed to be continually battering her heart.
During a particularly difficult time in her marriage, Donna began journaling. “At first, it was to get the anger out in a safer way,” she shares. “But I found myself just ranting and raving on the page, lashing out at my husband and saying exactly what was going through my mind. It wasn’t pleasant, and it wasn’t very godly. I started feeling like it was consuming me.
“Then, I basically broke down and thought, ‘I can’t keep doing this.’ So instead of waiting until the end of my day and going through how I felt, I started writing in my journal when I got up in the morning. I began every page with, ‘Good morning, Lord. I give you this day.’ And I just talked to Him. It started calming my nerves, and I felt more at peace.”
Donna searched Scripture for verses about peace, and she came across a passage in Isaiah.
“When I came to Isaiah 26:3, it just really stuck in my heart. I typed it out and printed it. I put it on my desk, on my bathroom mirror, by my bed, and in my Bible just to keep it in my mind. But then I found I didn’t have to. It was like God had really written it in my heart.
“I was still angry and hurt but didn’t want to throw my marriage away,” she continues, “so we decided to keep trying. I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned, because when I said ‘I do,’ I was raised that meant forever. And that was where my heart was. But after about 10 years, I found that things had not changed. I kept praying and praying, and God just gave me a peace. It was like He really told me, ‘It’s okay. You can turn loose now.’”
In the midst of navigating her heartbreak, Donna’s youngest, Nick, joined the marines for a five-year stint. “There were times I would text or try to call him, and I wouldn’t hear back. Sometimes it was a month before I heard back. I was so scared that something was going to happen, but God brought him out of the marines five years later, safe and sound.”
While Nick was overseas, Donna’s daughter, Natalie, faced a drug addiction. “I kept trying to fix her — I tried and tried, and I kept being discouraged.”
Donna slowly started to see what the Lord had been showing her all along.
“I always wanted everything to be perfect, and I found myself trying to control things to make my life look the way I felt it needed to look. Then, all of the sudden, it became so messy. It was like every time I turned around there was something else.
“But when I was confronted with these things happening in my life I couldn't control, He kept bringing those verses to my mind. Little by little, He was showing me that He was my peace. He was telling me, ‘Let it go, I’ve got it.’ And when I finally did what I felt He was leading me to do, my daughter ended up in a Christian rehab center for almost a year. Every time I saw her, it was like I saw more of Him in her. And I hadn’t seen that — I was so afraid of losing her — but He allowed her to be in a place where she learned to rely on Him. She would speak that to me, and I saw Him in all of it. She’s been clean now for about three and a half years and is happily married.”
Then, through a lengthy divorce, God continued to reveal His faithfulness to Donna. “After a year, the divorce still wasn’t final. I kept thinking, ‘God, why can’t we just get through this? Why can’t you fix this?’ But when it finally did go through, I saw puzzle pieces that fell together perfectly. So then I knew, HE knew what was going to happen, and I didn’t. He was holding onto me and my future.”
As she faced each storm, Donna knew where she could turn.
“Because I knew God had kept me in the past, I guess I’ve never doubted that He was there. It was hard in the beginning for me to turn loose and let Him really have it all. But when I did, that’s when He gave me that peace. And it’s such a better feeling than falling apart,” she smiles through tears. “I knew there was nowhere else to turn but to Him — I could not have made it through anything without Him giving me peace and keeping me.”
Donna Coleman first came to Brook Hills about 19 years ago, and she has served on staff for 16 years. She has three children, twins Nathan and Natalie (28) and Nick (27), and one granddaughter, Mia (4).