I'll be honest - this has been a very hard few weeks. It sort of culminated last Thursday night as I passed the night hours wide awake, fretting and worrying about all I needed to get done the next day.
You'd think after three days at home, I'd be all caught up and relaxed. But I wasn't. I'd been fighting a very bad cold all week, and while I was exceedingly grateful for the three days of rest, I didn't get a whole lot done.
So last Thursday about 3 a.m. (how cliched is that? lol) I woke up since my cold meds had worn off, and my nose was all stuffed up and my cough had started up again. I trotted out to the kitchen to get some medicine and something hot to drink.
Just as I started to climb back into bed, the dog started whining. Now, those of you who know me, know I love my dog. But I have to admit, I wasn't feeling the love as I stuffed my feet back into my slippers and let him outside, shivering in the laundry room. I was feeling even LESS love when I let him back in and realized why he needed to make a middle of the night potty stop. Doggy diarrhea. Did I mention my dog has a lot of long hair? Yeah - yuck!
I climbed back into bed. As I laid there, the reel of things I needed to get done started running through my head. Anxiety piled onto worry onto fretting. Why does it seem somehow more desperate and difficult in the middle of the night? Maybe because it seems like you are the only one awake anywhere. Meanwhile, my dear husband snored on.
After tossing and turning for another hour, I just started to drift off to sleep when my husband's alarm went off. Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang announcing a school delay. Some 40 minutes after that, my husband's alarm went off AGAIN, just as I started to doze AGAIN. And yes, I felt a little bitter about it at that point.
It wasn't until several hours later, after I dragged myself out of bed, gotten the kids off to school and sat down with a cup of coffee and my Bible that I figured out something.
Ever since I started writing my column in our local paper, things have been hard. I haven't had this many viruses right in a row since my youngest son was a baby (and he'll be 10 yo in June!). Discouragement, weariness, anxiety - all these things have dogged my steps in the five or so weeks since I started.
I hesitate to say this because somehow it feels sort of puffed up and prideful or something, but it began to occur to me that maybe, just maybe, I might be under spiritual attack. Suddenly, the past weeks seemed different to me - like a training ground. In the movie screen in my head, I heard the clash of steel swords against heavy shields. I saw soldiers sweating and grunting and working at learning how to defend and parry blows.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces and wickedness in the heavenly places." ~ Ephesians 6:12
My weeks of difficulty were not just happenstance. But still I was hesitant to label what I had experienced spiritual warfare. That seemed something reserved more for people who were in "real" ministry. Writing a weekly story in a small local newspaper hardly seemed worthy of any kind of attack.
As I closed up my quiet time with God, I got out my notecards. I am trying to memorize Scripture. Not being as young as I once was, this is a challenge - not only to memorize it in the first place, but then to keep it memorized. It had been a little while since I got out my latest project - Isaiah 61.
This passage had called out to me to be memorized back in December. I don't even remember how I came across it again, but that is how it is - a passage will speak to me and I know I need to get out my notecards and start memorizing.
The first verse in the passage is, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners."
As I read this verse, it just hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. THAT is what God has called ME to do. It was the word "news" that drew my attention like a magnet. The stories I write, the things I cover ARE to bring good news to people. I am hoping and praying that they DO set people free and help the brokenhearted. I hesitate to even type that because it sounds sort of conceited, but in reality, it is very humbling.
Ever since I was a little girl, I've wanted to write. I've loved stories and words as far back as I can remember. The reason is because things I have read have helped me, and I have always wanted to do that for other people - whether that was a good fiction story or an article. To think, something that brings me great joy in doing could help someone else, could be something God was using to help others, it just sort of blows my mind.
I'll close out with this quote I found while studying for my Sunday school class lesson in Romans 12 by F.B. Meyer. "It is urgently needful that hte church understands it is not a company of invalids that need to be cossetted and nursed and handfed with the senior pastor being seen as the head physician and chief nurse. But we need to see ourselves as a tough, capable garret of soldiers in enemy territory - each with an assignment to do."
~ Blessings, Bronte