Spirtual Trenches

Life as it is: I wake up, I take a shower, I have my quiet time with God, I walk to work to allow me the space and freedom to pray, I eat breakfast at work, I sit at work and I work. I walk some more at lunch time to pray again to my God and to get his strength and the inner peace that He gives each of his children, I work some more.  I shut down the computer and I walk home again to pray silently and to give thanks to God for giving me a wonderful and beautiful day.  Each day I commit the day into his hands, and he sustains me.  Hallelujah God!  Hallelujah.

Only this week it was slightly different.  We have had torrential rainfall.  My work schedule went kind of haywire.  Monday I had to go to the doctors because of my migraine and I needed something to relief me of the pain.  So I barely walked because I had no strength inside of me.  Tuesday it was raining in the morning so I didn’t have a chance to walk into work (which can be frustrating when you need the thinking space and the fresh air to hit your senses.  I love being outside.  I love smelling the fresh air.  I managed to walk some of the way home on Tuesday, however we were hit with hailstorms right after so I ended up having to make a mad dash for my apartment building with strange Roma men cheering me, as I was waiting for the lights to turn green which seemed to be taking forever.  I was saying ‘come on, come on’ and I could hear the echo of the Roma men saying exactly what I said, and snickering behind their hands probably talking about my impatience, and having a quiet laugh at my expense.  Wednesday morning I walked to the shop and back and prayed, and again I walked at lunch time to clear my senses, and in the evening I went for a run.  This morning I couldn’t walk.  We had torrential rainfall.  I don’t like how everything goes out of place in my life.  I like it when I can follow a certain routine.  I guess I have to learn to zone out even when I cannot pray when I am walking.  So I am on a learning curve here..

Boy, do I feel like I am going through spiritual trenches.  One minute I am full of peace, and then peace seems to sidestep me at times.  Like last night, it seemed to dodge me gingerly. Slightly panicked.  But I gained quickly control over the rising negative emotions in my head, and managed to focus on God’s word, and relax in his presence.  Thank God for that blessing.

God is teaching me so much in the past week.  All about patience and self-control.  Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good Godly attitude while waiting. I wait, and whilst I wait, I will have to exercise the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5.22-24).  I often wonder if I will be able to achieve that.  If I will be able to achieve this trial.  I am sure I will.  Often times, people tell me ‘Hannah you are so resilient and so strong’.  But that strength does not come from me.  It comes from God.  And truthfully, it irritates me sometimes. Because their reasoning is – ‘Hannah is strong and resilient so therefore she will be able to overcome any obstacle in her life’.  For instance when my son died, all I heard was ‘You are so strong Hannah, you will get through this’.  And all I wanted was to hear ‘Hannah, it is OK, you can cry sometimes, it is OK to be weak and vulnerable’.  But the moment I showed any sign of weakness, it was quickly brushed underneath the carpet and I was told to pick myself up and be strong.   The thing is the strength does not come from within me.  God has given me the strength to survive these complicated and difficult hurdles in my life.  God has sustained me over and over and over again.  And he hasn’t given up on me yet.  Nor has he forsaken or rejected me!  So, when I hear people say: ‘you are strong, Hannah, it is well, you can overcome this’.  It makes me cringe.  It makes me annoyed and frustrated, and it is about the only thing in the world that makes me angry. I don’t get angry over many things, but this is one thing where I ask people to refrain from.

It is OK to be weak and vulnerable sometimes.  In fact your weakness makes you strong.  It says so in the bible.  2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  In my moments of extreme weakness, and in allowing myself to be vulnerable the Lord sustains me and He carries me through my storm. It isn’t by my strength that I managed to survive nearly two years without my Sebby, four years without Elouise and nearly 7 years without my Micheline.  It wasn’t with my strength that I managed to leave my ex-husband and start my life over, in complete new circumstances.  It wasn’t by my strength that I was able to find a job shortly after my son’s death.  If I did not have God in my life I would be in a ditch somewhere.  Dead. Being eaten by the vultures.  But because of God’s grace, and God’s love for me, He has sustained me through some of my most trying and difficult moments in my life. Time again and again and again he has rescued me from the lion’s den.  God has given me countless chances.  And He hasn’t given up on me.  So, the least I can do is keep supporting and being an encourager to my dearest friend as God has given me countless times of support when I needed it the most.  When I was going through the spiritual trenches in life.

Psalm 40.2-4 – He lifted me out of the pit of despair, He has given me a new song to sing.  Oh the joy of those who trust in the Lord.

Do I trust in the Lord?  Yes I do.  Do I live by faith?  I believe I do?  Am I a sinner?  Yes, I am.  And every day I battle between the desires of the flesh and the desires of my spirit.  I want to live for God.  I want to trust God.  Sometimes I struggle with trusting him because of a lifetime of abuse and people hurting me to the point that I lost my trust in humanity.  Well most of my trust.  But God once told me a while back to take a risk in trusting, and so now I trust a couple of people in my life, and I know deep within my heart, even with their long silences that they have not rejected me and that I still mean a lot to them. It is merely the circumstances that they are in now that prevents them to show me that they appreciate me and that they care about me deeply and that they love me.

The devil tries to undermine me, and tries to weaken my resolve, by inflicting all sorts of hardships on my tired weary shoulders.  No-one has ever told me that life is this difficult.  And I have to learn to have peace through each trial that comes, and I have to learn to put my trust and hope in God.  It is not always easy.  But one thing I am sure of and it is this:  God will sustain me regardless, and He will carry me through when I fall down.  It is not I that picks myself up when I fall, but it is God that picks me up when I fall, it is God, which sees my every tear and collects them in a bottle.  Psalm 56.8 – You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.  God knows my every thought and actually that is quite comforting, He puts the Holy Spirit in us and the Holy Spirit gives us ideas, which will bear fruit eventually.  The Lord is our greatest comforter, and our greatest sustainer.  All you have to do is open your heart and allow him in, and to relax in his presence and he will give you peace.  It doesn’t mean that from here on out that life will be plain sailing easy.  Because it won’t.  You will be hit with trials, and this is your chance to live by faith and to draw closer to our heavenly Father and to place our trust in him rather than trying to control the outcome of the event.  What is the use in worrying about tomorrow?  You can’t do anything about it.  Tomorrow is out of control.  1 Thessalonians 5.16-18 – Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. So I challenge you to live by faith, and to not let your circumstances bring fear in you, but live by faith and allow God to be in control of all areas in our life.  For in God’s perfect timing everything will work out for the glory of his kingdom.  Hallelujah!

Matthew 6.34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Peace be with you my friends.  Shalom.

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