"You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance."
It's been an incredibly hard year.
There has been much loss.
My dad. My aunt. Our sweet pet, Bayley. People who moved out of our lives as quickly as they had moved into it.
There's been a lot of sadness and uncertainty with my mother going on hospice care, and with her need for full-time caregivers.
There's been much confusion and disappointment that certain relationships were not what they seemed, and that things that I thought were sure and constant weren't.
This past year I've dealt with certain health problems that, thankfully, have not been serious or life-threatening, but have been persistent and unresponsive to professional treatment.
There's been struggles shared and known by others. And struggles held close, known only by My Father.
I have been well aware that I have been on a battlefield, and that on that battlefield I was never alone.
I had the idea that when it was time, I would walk off this particular battlefield whole and strong.
The battles aren't over. But after a year, I do believe that there has been a turnaround and that I see myself walking off of this particular battlefield.
But I am not whole or strong.
I've wondered why.
God promised me I was an overcomer in Him.
Limping, wounded, and worn down, I don't feel like an overcomer.
I've felt ashamed because of my weakened and weary condition.
But the last few days I've had this scene in my head.
It's a scene from a movie that my grandmother took my cousin and me to see a very long time ago.
The movie was Shenandoah.
Jimmy Stewart plays the father of a Virginian family during the civil war. Although he decides to not take sides and get involved in the war, his family is drawn into it. His youngest son, who is just 16, is mistaken for a confederate soldier and is taken captive by the other side. His father and brothers search for him, but to no avail. He seems lost. There are many more tragedies that take place during the story. There is tremendous loss. At the end of the movie, Stewart goes to church with his family. He is grieved beyond words. As the congregation stands to sing, the back door of the church opens, and there is his young son. He is wounded, on crutches. Beaten up. And worn out. But he is home.
It's funny how God would speak to me through a memory planted in my mind so long ago.
But I will gladly listen and receive what I believe He is trying to tell me.
We come off the battlefield in many conditions. Some of us my come off riding a float, decorated with medals and glory. Some of us might come off stronger than ever, ready and willing for the next fight.
And then some of us come off wounded, on crutches, worn down, and weary.
If I had my way, I'd be the one riding a float, waving to the crowds, showing off my medals and my faith.
But God knows me. And He knows what other battles are in front of me and what I will need to be victorious in them.
So I accept bandages instead of medals. I accept crutches to help me walk, instead of riding upon a decorated float. I accept loneliness over a cheering crowd and a victory party.
And I will leave the shame behind.
God has been faithful.
This I know.
My wounds, my weakness, and my weariness will be my weapons in the next battle.
They will force me to be dependent upon The One who is strong and mighty. The One who never grows weary. The One who has already put everything under His feet.
" . . . This is what the LORD says:
Do not be afraid!
Don't be discouraged by this mighty army,
for the battle is not yours, but God's."