The plants and trees in my yard have struggled this summer.
The unusually high temperatures and the lack of rain wilted them often. I’ve regularly watered flowers near the house with hose and carried buckets of water to sapling trees at far ends of the yard while sweat poured from my face.
Those little trees planted in spring have lost leaves and grown new ones time and again. Their roots are still struggling to go deep into the ground.
Sometimes I struggle.
I try to cover it most of the time.
I have developed the art of applying a little mascara and blush, of combing the hair and putting on something bright and accompanying it with a smile. I respond to the question, “how are you” with “I’m OK.”
But sometimes I’m not.
Sometimes I’m barely holding my head above water. Sometimes the load is too heavy. Sometimes I just want to cry.
I want to be a faithful woman, a faith-filled woman. One who counts it all joy when I enter into trials of every kind knowing that it is meant to produce perseverance in me.
But lately, I have felt more like a wounded solder in a dugout somewhere, wondering if I will survive this battle.
I don’t want my faith to falter or my hope to be less or my joy to wane.
I should be more than I am. Growing. Maturing. Joyful. Loving. Full of faith. Rooted deep.
I should be more like Christ, reflecting His glory in ever-increasing ways.
Paul’s words to the Romans reflect me. “What a wretched [woman] I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”
I want desperately to be past verse 24 of chapter 7. I want to get on to verse 25. “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Jesus is the Banner over me, the One who brings victory. I don’t want to lie in the dust of defeat.
A friend sent an email to ask how I was doing. I responded:
“I am where God has put me right now. . . . Like Paul, I am learning to be content, tho’ the process seems slow for me. . . . trying not to fret over anything, praying with thanksgiving, knowing the peace of God is mine when I think on what is true, honest, pure, lovely, and good. I look purposefully for His grace throughout my day, and what do you know, it is everywhere!
All the above my spirit longs to do well and to be an obedient servant. My flesh struggles with it, and I bow often and ask for forgiveness for not doing it good enough.”
Yes I long to do it well. But sometimes I struggle.
I am very poor in spirit.
And yet I remember . . .
The Name that I whisper most often and silently pray all day long is “Jesus.” I know in my heart that He is my only hope and help.
The first waking moments of my early morn surprise me with a song. My thoughts are singing words that encourage me and lift up the only God. Who could that be singing to me but the Spirit?
My early morning quiet time finds me looking at the Word on the page and knowing it is true even if it doesn’t “feel” like it nor seem to make sense at the moment.
When I try to encourage a fellow sojourner who is on her own hard road, the words that come out of my mouth or that are typed into an email are Spirit and they are Life. I know no other Truth. And where does that come from but the depths of my soul that has seen His glory?
The Light that shines within me that came when I was just a child and believed is still there. Though the darkness has tried to extinguish it, the Light shines on. Because darkness cannot overcome it.
It is not the Light of a mere mortal. It is not of my own making. It does not depend on how I feel!
It is the true Light who gives light to everyone who asks.
So I consider that my struggles are not with flesh and blood, not with my present circumstances, not even so much with myself. I struggle against the powers of darkness, the enemy of my soul who tries to reign but cannot because Jesus has claimed that place.
And He will not let me go!
Each early morning as I walk outside with our little Buddy, I look over the garden of flowers. The cooler nights and dew it brings makes things look a little less stressed. Today I noticed the morning glories are blooming sky blue and fuchsia red. I have looked forward to them this year.
Though the heat has threatened to sap the life from them, they reward my efforts with their glory.
And I remember the words of Jeremiah the weeping prophet who did not fully understand his suffering.
“ Yet I call this to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish for His mercies never end. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
There are glories yet to be discovered. The Lord’s tender compassion, His care, His love last longer than the suffering.
And one bright morning I will find myself in a place where my struggles will cease and my tears will be dried and my faith will be sight. I’ll see clearly He who controls my life and had a plan all along. His glory will shine brighter than a 104 degree sun.
And it will be worth it.
Leave your comment, sweet fellow traveler.