Sometimes I smile out of habit. I know that sounds strange, but I have inherited a set of cherub like, cheeks from my mom’s side of the family. I have been to enough family reunions to know how important it is to keep these cheeks perched atop a smile. Yep, eventually the years and gravity cause what were once youthful, rosy cheeks to turn into jowls capable of dragging down even the brightest of smiles. So, over the years I have made an effort to smile more than not. (I like to think of a smile as really cheap alternative to plastic surgery)
One of the problems with always smiling is that others do not know if it’s only cosmetic. Sometimes it’s important for those around you to know you are not smiling on the inside. Sometimes we need our family or friends to know we are struggling. I LOVE that I never have to wonder if God sees past my smile. I know God knows my struggle and meets me wherever I am. Just today He showed Himself to me in the beauty of events that could only have fallen into place at His hand.
I’ve been in a bit of a funk. By “funk” I mean that unexplainable, often unsharable, feeling of yuckiness. It was only made worse by the guilt I felt for being in such a pit. I know in my head I have NO reason what so ever to be in any kind of “funk”. I am healthy, financially okay, nice home, nice family, good friends, currently not facing any real challenges or hardship, so who am I to feel so down? In comparison to world events and the hardships others I care about are dealing with, my “funk” is like a hangnail as opposed to a broken body part. And yet, it was unshakeable. I still smiled.
Satan whispered in my ear daily. He knew just where to place each hobbling blow. My parenting, my writing, my spouse, my service in church, my goals, my faith all took hits. I tried to shake his words. I could feel myself falling for it all. In my head I argued with myself and rebuked the negative thoughts, but I felt so very tired. Like a very heavy blanket the feelings of ineffectiveness, lack of focus or success, self pity and uselessness began to wrap me like a shroud. I still smiled.
I knew the Word of God held the key to breaking out of this trap. I knew seeking God’s Words would set me free and keep Satan from stealing my joy or derailing my service. I taught Sunday school, went to Bible study, and yet never got passed trying to motivate myself to “snap out of it”, “pull myself up by the bootstraps” sort of thing. I still smiled.
I was smiling, but inside I was at war…God saw past my smile. That’s when He set in motion a very long, detailed chain of events. As is obvious by my past history on this blog, and this posting as well, I am not good at telling a long story short. But let me try to reduce these events into a shorter version:
*Daughter calls distraught from college
* Community college she attended here never sent final transcripts there
*Daughter can’t register for next classes…much wailing and gnashing of teeth
*Many phone calls to said school to arrange for transcript
*Registrar is busy, forms needed, Spring break looming, classes closing, and panic ensuing
All leading to me sitting in the outer office waiting, not unlike a stalker, for the registrar to walk past.
I felt like Jacob who wrestled with the angel in order to get a blessing….I was not leaving there without a transcript.
Planning to sit it the outer office for 2-3 hours, I stopped by a local store and picked up a bottle of water, $5 of quarters (all visitor parking is metered), and a random book.
I settled into the uncomfortable waiting area chairs and pulled out my book. There He was….God. I had not read past the introduction to the book, when the author shared a verse that changed my heart (God’s word tends to do that).
No doubt God would have revealed Himself to me sooner and perhaps in a less inconvenient way, had I truly looked to Him for my help or encouragement. Instead, He had to send my daughter into crisis and me into battle for her just to get me to find His Words. What was that verse you wonder? What verse did God lay before me that squelched all Satan’s attacks?
Psalm 84:11& 12 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. How blessed is the man who trust in thee!
Now when I hear Satan whispering reminders of all the ways I fail, when he tells me I will never reach my goals, or tries to convince me to just give up, I will proclaim in my heart….My God shines light on my path, HE is my shield, HE gives grace and glory…I only need to trust in Him and keep on walking as uprightly as I can. THAT is worth smiling about!