Today, my phone warned me that my storage was almost full so I set about deleting accumulated content. Then, I came to a dear friend’s messages. She was the maid of honour at my wedding almost 23 years ago. But more than that, she was someone who was always looking out for what was best for me. A gentle person, she nevertheless never shied away from telling me uncomfortable truths. She wasn’t always right; sometimes she was dead wrong. Still, the bond between us ran deep and tight.
When I came to her messages today, I knew that I would have saved any that I wanted to keep so with one swift move, I hit Delete. Sure enough, everything went – save one:
Do not be afraid. I am your shield, your very great reward. ~ Genesis 15: 1
That was my dear friend’s New Year message to me this year and seeing it now, my heart was pierced. I knew God was speaking through that verse.
I have a lot to to be anxious about. The Delta variant is wrecking havoc as far as the eye can see and I have no faith in my government to lead us through this. Last month, I also began discerning a major move in my life. While I’ve made some progress, I’m still some way from a confirmation. I’m handling my work stress so much better now – but it hasn’t made me like my job more. There are all these little hills in my life, the terrain far from smooth.
I haven’t forgotten what the past months and years have been like. The pain and the hurts remind me to be thankful for the present gentle hours, even on days when it’s easy to forget life was so hard a short while back. And so I tighten my grip on gratitude.
But I’ve always been honest in my writing and here, I will not pretend that I am strong and positive now. The past weeks have seen glorious, stunning sunrises and sunsets. Pinks, golds, tangerines…all the colours of joy and hope that reach out and just catch your heart each day. July has never been an easy month for us for many years now.
But I don’t remember a July as beautiful as this one has been. Every morning for more than a week now, the angel has woken us up with a surprise in the eastern glory of the sky. All through the day, the winds sing their hymns among the trees and flowers. Sometimes, in a quick foray to my garden on a busy work day, the winds quieten momentarily as I work in the flowerbeds – only to spring forward in a sudden gust, like a little child springing a jolly surprise on his mum. And every evening without fail, someone was sure to point to the sky’s western breast where the sun painted his last words in a spill of colours we know so well yet which still startled us.
Somewhere over the weekend, I sensed the word, Faith, being written on my heart. It was easy to skip about when the sky is painted in hope and joy, and faith was not difficult to summon then. Then, August Queen prayer came and I knew the days were about to change. On Monday, a strong wind blew for hours and sealed the sky with thick gray and white fleeces. By night, the rain poured its grief upon the land. Nourished from the beauty of recent days, we welcomed each change unafraid. Soon, however, the thick white of the clouds descended deep into my heart, and faith needed a bit more work to reach for.
Let me hear your voice, I called to heaven. Leave me not bereft.
St. Anne heard me and gently spilled light into my heart this afternoon. Doing some writing and finding the going a bit tough, a friend came forward expectedly and shone needed light on my path. How my heart jumped in happiness! That alone sufficed and I continued working with the renewed vigour that insight often brings.
But God was not quite done.
In the evening, when the sky was an unyielding white, He spoke through the love of my old friend, touching the wounds I did not try to hide from Him,
Do not be afraid. I am your shield, your very great reward.
So, I’ve come to place His words here. To let them touch and heal and soothe any passing hearts, for even the bravest souls will meet the hour that breaks their courage.
Here then are His words for that hour.