It’s said that before you can win the war, you have to win the battle…or something like that. All I know is that a war is something much bigger and it lasts longer. The outcome doesn’t happen in a day. Many battles, however, have been fought in a day. Battles are almost like smaller nuisances of a much bigger problem.
This past week it was all about the battles of life. Nothing major happened, no large scale conflict that you could compare to a war. No, it was one small thing after another that when put together…well, it felt like a war!
Believe me…I do try very hard to keep things in perspective. There are others around me dealing with some real hard hitting situations in life. They are those punch-in-the-guts without warning type of situations…cancer, death, divorce and the list goes on. No, my life is not that difficult but it has certainly been more than a little bit uncomfortable.
As challenging as I found the summer to be with taking in two young children and the struggles to become their foster parents, the lifestyle changes we have had to make and the schedule we have had to maintain…I had no idea what I was in store for when I went back to work this week. It was not just going back to work but it was also my children returning to school and our foster children returning to daycare. It was quite an adjustment for all of us. Of course, I tried my hardest to make it as smooth as possible for my family, which unfortunately meant that I took on the brunt of the stress.
Going into this week, I tried my hardest to alleviate the stress. I am an organizer by nature so it was nothing to get my house ready and in shape, to have the school supplies where they needed to be, to put together a schedule, to get all of the kids’ clothes organized, and whatever else was necessary to face the week.
I was not prepared, however, for the little battles that would creep up during the week—the chaos at my work, at one point not even knowing if there was a position for me as a preschool teacher, new co-workers as four of them left over the summer, new children—getting up so early again—waking five children up at 6 am and trying to get them all out the door within an hour—carpooling—figuring out how I was going to get the foster kids to their mom’s house—trying to keep on top of laundry—just one thing after another.
My first day back at work I got a headache that later turned into a migraine and throughout the remainder of the week, I was either dealing with headaches, migraines or just having that feeling of the edge of a headache. I was worn out, frustrated and discouraged. I thought to myself that there was no way I could do this.
Then one morning I was reading in I Samuel 29-30 about David. One small verse jumped out at me that really hit me. David wanted to help the Philistines fight their enemies but the Philistine rulers didn’t trust him. He and his men were sent back home. Unfortunately, while they had been gone, the Amalekites had raided their homes. They found their city burned by fire and all of their wives and children taken captive. Not only had David experienced great loss but so had the men in his company. They were so upset about it, that they were ready to stone David.
David wasn’t in a war…but he was facing some real battles. He had been rejected and distrusted. He lost his home and his family was no where to be found. The men he was leading had lost all they had, as well. I am quite sure he felt a tremendous amount of responsibility for that. Then to top it off, his followers were ready to kill him. Everything seemed pretty hopeless. Yet…I Samuel 30:6 says But David found strength in the Lord His God.
I had a sneaking suspicion that my headaches all week were because I had not found my strength in the Lord. I was trying to do battle on my own. I don’t know how it works for you but I know when I have allowed stress to take over me I experience headaches. That is almost always the way my body reacts. When I have been strengthened in the Lord, the battles don’t go away. Oh no, they are still there but suddenly I find ways to face my enemies. David found strength in the Lord and went to action. He didn’t give up.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have wanted over the summer to give up. It was at times a daily battle to not call up the caseworker and say, “That’s it! We are done!” When I went back to work this week, I wanted to give up. I wanted to say it wasn’t worth it, that I needed to quit. I would beat myself up often over the way I felt…that it was wrong to feel such a desire to quit. I told a friend one time that everyone thought our family was a hero for stepping in and taking in these children. I didn’t feel like a hero because I knew the attitudes of my heart and the thoughts that swam in my head. Yet…God began to show me that even though the desire to quit was there…I didn’t.
I know there are battles out there that you are all facing…in fact; you might even be in the midst of an all out war. DON’T QUIT! Don’t give up! Don’t retreat! Don’t turn tail and run! Face the battle but do as David did, find your strength in the Lord!