If I had any doubt that I was supposed to write this blog, the case of the missing mouse tells me I'm on the right track. I mean really, how far can a computer mouse run? But I shall not be deterred...I am determined that this blog post will see the light of day!
It was the second day of our trip to Hilton Head. Ted was out in his boat for the morning and I was thinking on what to do by myself. Remembering that I needed a good read for the trip, the idea of biking to Barnes and Noble appealed to me. It was only a couple of miles on a well groomed bike path, a ride I had done many, many times in the past.
I could picture myself, free as the wind, beauty all around me and a good book and cup of coffee ahead of me.
Hurriedly getting ready, excited over what lie ahead, I was surprised when suddenly a blanket of doubt smothered me, causing me to stop mid-stride.
"You know you are going to fall. Why do you think you can do a ride like this alone? You are a klutz...think about how many times you have fallen in the past. And you know people coming at you aren't always paying attention. And how easy would it be for a car to swerve off the road and hit you?"
By then I was convinced this bike ride was not a good idea. At all. I needed to wait til Ted came home and we could do it together. Safely.
I walked out on the deck, my bubble of excitement and fun totally burst. And I wanted to cry. How many times had fear done this to me? Stolen opportunities and thwarted my hopes?
It was then I did something courageous...so outside my normal scope of reference. I got mad. Mad enough to say, I'm going to do it anyway! Granted I was still afraid, but something in me snapped and I was willing to take the risk.
So off I went, a little wobbly at first, praying the whole way that I wouldn't fall or hit an oncoming biker or collide with a car at one of the many intersections. With every stroke of the pedals, my confidence grew and I felt the weight of fear fall behind me, shattering on the bike path.
I was doing it! I had stood up to my fear! Thankfulness bubbled up inside me when I safely arrived ALIVE at Barnes and Noble! I wanted to scream out, Who's the woman? High-Five, God!
Have you ever felt that way? Like you are just NOT going to be able to do something? I have. Way too many times. In fear, convinced I will fail, I have short-circuited too many opportunities. I have listened to the lies in my head, not the God of my heart.
Which leads me to the point of this blog...
Once I got inside the store...which BTW is absolutely the BEST Barnes and Nobles ever...I prayed from the deepest recesses of my heart, Lord, You know I am burned out. I have come this week desperately hoping to meet You here. I can't remember the last time I felt joy and peace. I have been living in a very dark place but I want out. Please, please guide me to just the right book. I desperately need to hear from You, to have hope again.
So I started wandering...up and down aisles, picking books up, putting them down. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find anything that spoke to me. I felt hope eroding away and the same old doubt resurfacing: "God doesn't care about you. Why would you think He would? Look at all the pain He's caused you. And you think you can trust Him?"
I wanted to cry. But holding back the tears, I kept on searching. I didn't realize it then, but it was my second faith-act of the day, and God was waiting to meet me in it.
And that's when I found it...
Whoa! I immediately thought, How cool is that? Followed by, "Ah, a New York Times Bestseller, probably written by some liberal millennialist who has lots of words but nothing to say."
But I was desperate, so I purchased a Chai latte and plunked myself down to skim through it. It was only a few minutes later that I knew...this was God's answer to my prayer! Seriously, I could have written the book! There have been only two books in my life that I have pretty much totally underlined and marked up: Shattered Dreams and this one.
Suddenly, everything else I had planned for our time at Hilton Head fell away. God had handed me a gift and I clutched it like a life preserver. Just the thought that He had seen me! And knew what I needed! And had answered my prayer gave me hope.
And the author? Thankfully she did not live up to my fears. I could relate to her hopelessness...her lostness...her depression and blindness. I felt I could link arms with her and together we would find our way Home again...out of the spiral of toxic thoughts and lies I had been living in. And together we could step into a healthy, God-filled place...a place I had been homesick for for a long, long time.
I wonder, can you relate to this? Do you wonder why you just can't rise above and over the thoughts that continually condemn you? Thoughts that are negative and destructive and entangling?
I have been walking with the Lord for almost 35 years now, and yet I still fell prey to the lies and deception of the Evil One, the one whose goal is to keep us blind and captive and despairing, and whose intent is to turn us from God and into ourselves and the world's thinking...rendering us all but useless.
The Deceiver has mastered the arts of camouflage and deception! Masquerading as an angel of light, seducing with a lie here and there...planting seeds of doubt and condemnation that over time strangle any hope of God's goodness and His love for us. Slowly, we enter a very dark place...one that we can only be delivered from by the Light of God's Truth.
On the last morning of our time at Hilton Head, I took the book down to the pool. While there, a Wren made it very clear that I was to pay attention to him. He jumped up near to me and literally stared me down, as if saying, I have something important to say so listen. I mean he was in my face! So I asked God to help me to understand and this is what I heard, (the Wren looking up for awhile) Look up to God and (the Wren, looking from side to side over and over again) do not look around. Then you will stand on the high places. And what do you think the next chapter was on? Yup, keeping our eyes on the beauty and wonder of God and not on people or circumstances. I rest my case.
It's been a week now, and as I have worked through the book, Light has begun to seep into my thoughts and hope into my heart. I have been given a manual for war, though granted it will take time to implement it all and become successful in it. But the tools and the strategy are there, and that gives me hope! With God I will win these battles, and ultimately the war. Now I want to tell others that they can overcome also!
Dear one, I don't know where you are, but I do know many of us feel defeated. And tired. And the thought of spending a lifetime this way is overwhelming. Take heart! We were meant for so much more! God will enable us as we throw off the shackles of doubt and fear, and turn in trust to our Lord, who will not only walk with us through the battles, but provide us with everything we need to fight victoriously!
If you are Fearful. Doubting. Anxious. Battling thoughts and beliefs you just can't overcome, consider this book. No, I'm not getting any payback from recommending it...just the joy of passing on a gift that I was given.
May it be a key that unlocks a door that you have been staring at for way too long. A key to all the good that God has for you.
Oh, and the missing mouse? Still MIA. In the past, I would have said, Forget the blog, it's too much work without the mouse. And I would have let go of the opportunity to share all that I have. But I recognized the enemy's fingerprints all over that situation and wrote it anyway. So there, Satan!
Dear one, you are loved!