I was up late last night. Not that being up late is unusual for me, but last night was even later than usual. I was chatting with a dear friend who has been and continues to face a serious struggle. For their privacy, I will leave it at that. But I have and continue to ask for prayers on their behalf. Being up late, I did not physically attend church services this morning. There are reasons behind that, but I will leave it where it is. Since I did not physically attend, I brought up the live broadcast online.
The message was brought by a visiting pastor, as today is Homecoming at our church. I may be missing the physical meal, but I did not miss the spiritual.
The pastor’s message, was on ‘until then’ the scripture from from 2 Chronicles chapter 20. One verse standing out, loud and strong to me is in verse 15, “For the battle is not yours, but God’s”
I have been an individual who tries to take care of things under my own power. Time and time again, God has shown me, the battle is not mine. I can’t win, I’m not meant to win, not under my power and resources.
When my now late husband lost his regular so called nine to five job, and was having problems finding another, our church family stepped up and kept us afloat financially. Their gifts were amazing. Whether five dollars or fifty-five, those gifts added up and kept us from losing anything much less everything. At one point, my son was given a job and needed steel toed boots. My husband told me to go get a credit card we had put away so we could get his needs. We’d figure out how to pay for it later. I opened the draw to retrieve the card and there was a bank envelope resting on the very top of the paperwork inside. When I opened it, I was stunned. I carried it into the room where my husband sat and handed it to him. I’m imagining the expression on his face mirrored mine from moments earlier. There was enough for the boots, some heavy socks and some food.
Now, I could say that was money that had been left over from a prior vacation, but I had been in the drawer many times and not seen that envelope. Blinded until the right moment, maybe. Either way, the need was provided for and we didn’t need that card.
When my husband was found deceased in his truck so far away from home, so many stepped up. My son and I received so much support from so many different people and places. They took care of us until the financial need had passed. They did not have to do this. The people I worked with at the time broke every rule in the handbook and took up a collection for me. People who made so little, gave so much. Provisions.
After my husband died, I faced grief and loneliness I had never faced before. Then, in 2020, I was laid off from my almost, just about thirty year job. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to change that status. I tried to figure out how to change my attitude and thoughts so as to overcome and defeat the sadness the emptiness of my life. I had placed so much on the parts of my past, that with that gone, I was adrift. I did suffer, until…
Until I realized the battle was not mine. Today’s message reminded me.
I have learned to be less stubborn and prideful. I have learned, to take my battles and give them to God. I have an area off to the side of my yard where I walk, and talk with God. I walk, and talk until I feel the peace take over. I have reached a lot of realizations in the past year. Being released from my job, because I wasn’t going to walk away voluntarily, has given me the gift of time. There may be another job for me in my future, until then..I can be here for my parents and help with their needs. I have time to be here for others.
I did take early retirement. I had commented time and again that I would work up until the day of my funeral. I saw no reason to retire, especially since my husband had died. I had bills, I wanted things. I felt that I was needed where I worked. I was in fact, a bit prideful over that job. Finding out I was actually not essential or needed destroyed that pride.Not being able to just buy what ever catches my attention was difficult at first. I have since come to understand that those are ‘just things’ and unnecessary. Again, there may be another way to increase my finances in the future, until then, I trust in God’s plans.
My husband has been gone for four and a half years. I have dated very little. I was told I was stubborn, too self sufficient, had walls built. Maybe so. Instead I think that my continued single status gives me the ability and time to write and share. And pray. There may be someone in my future, until then, I’ll share what I hope to be encouraging words.
I will admit, I have been a worrier. My mother was for so long, she would tell me, “I fear the worst that way when it doesn’t happen I’m relieved”. She is no longer that way, but it has taken me a very long time to unlearn that lesson. My soon would get so very frustrated over my worrying. Exclaiming how I worried over ever little thing. How I was so afraid. I will admit, that I am not as bad as I once was, but I’m still in progress over that one. The recent episode of going to Darlington and the brakes getting so overheated in my son’s car is a prime example. I know though, that I’m not as bad because prior to now, I would have been in full blown panic over all that event. Instead I sat patiently in the car, repeating the first phrase that came to mind, ‘faith over fear’. There was nothing I could do over the brakes, that was not my battle. I know that I will overcome the habit of worry and fear, until then, I will remember and trust, and had it over to God. It isn’t my battle.
I hate that I missed the in person service (and the meal later- those folks can cook) but I am so glad that I did not miss the spiritual meal. My soul fed, my heart blessed. We are all on a journey in and through this life. We will face much, endure much, it will not be an easy passage. It isn’t meant to be easy. This life, is not the destination, our destination awaits in eternity. Along the way, we should and are instructed, to share the Good News, to share Christ’s love, to share, compassion. Soon enough, my time here will be done, I will join others who have gone on before me in my heavenly home. Until then, I will continue to offer the word of the gift of salvation and love. Mercy and grace, forgiveness and peace.