Rejoice In Each Day!

Today is the day the Lord has made; rejoice, and be glad in it! Psalm 118:24

Today started out rainy with thunder and lightning. By 8:30 am, blue sky conquered the clouds and winds ushered out the remaining ones. I’ve had a lot on my agenda today, but the day has not overwhelmed me. I went to deep water aerobics after a two week absence. She worked us hard, but it felt great to be back.Thank goodness the thunder and lightning cleared before then!

Then, I returned home and sorted laundry. Woohoo! Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? I managed to get one load done before I left the house mid-morning. I had an appointment and needed to drop our car off at the shop-it started clacking during acceleration and sounds awful. I dropped it off and managed to cross the busy road to my appointment without major mishap. Seriously, this is a challenge that makes my heart pound a bit harder each time. 

After my appointment, I checked on the car, and the horrible noise was an issue under warranty! The car has close to 250,000 miles on it, so I’m amazed when the word “warranty” comes out of the mechanic’s mouth. Still, I had to wait a few more hours, so I caught a ride to a lunch place, ate a leisurely lunch, then decided to walk back to the car shop. Now for some of you, that’s no big deal, but it’s a bit of a trek along the same very busy road. And, if you haven’t heard, South Carolina ranks third in the nation for pedestrian deaths. To walk and cross the myriad of street intersections can mean disaster.

BUT I couldn’t resist. Why? It’s such a gorgeous day, and there was no hurry.

Spring is here, and most Fridays represent chaotic running around to finish my errands before the weekend. I have that list, but not the requisite car to fulfill it. I could stress. I could worry, or I can do as I’ve done and rejoice in the glorious day God has given me.

I chose rejoicing. How about you?

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Navigating Mountains and Valleys in Life

Mountains and valleys

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

If you’ve been following my story, then you’ve met me in my teen years and walked with me through teen pregnancy, teen marriage, domestic violence, divorce, single parenting and all of the trials and blessings that came from those experiences.

These events occurred so many years ago that it doesn’t even feel like my story anymore. It’s my distant past, not my present or future. Not to say I haven’t had my share of trials and hardships since. There have been mountain and valley experiences, but a strong faith in God helped me navigate the valleys.

Faith can help you turn mountains into mole hills Click to Tweet. In other words, I went through the fire and became stronger and more able to withstand what the world threw at me.

See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
Isaiah 4:10

What Were My Afflictions?

Disappearing Children

My ex disappeared with the children after an altercation where his own father called the police and reported him abusing our daughter. Luckily, he returned with the kids on Sunday, but we spent the entire weekend worrying about their safety and whether they would return. As horrible as this event was, it gave us the fuel to fight his visitation rights.

A Legal System with Issues

The investigator who arrested my ex on charges of criminal domestic violence asked the judge to cancel his visitation until the hearing. The judge agreed, but by the time my ex appeared before a judge, a different one presided over the hearing where he was charged.  That judge refused to order him to stop visitation until the court date.  Still, the investigator took him aside and advised him not to see the children.

A No-Win Decision

Did he listen to the investigator?  Of course not. While we waited for our case to go to court, I found myself weighing the options of what might happen if I refused him his visitation weekends.  To the average person, the answer was obvious—don’t let them go—but it wasn’t that simple. My attorney advised me that if I allowed him his visitation, I could be cited for negligence by the courts and possibly lose custody.  If I denied him visitation, I could be charged with contempt of court, arrested, put in jail for disobeying a court order, and lose my children.

Defensive Tactics

So I faced a catch-22 decision. No one should have to make that decision, but I did. I denied him his visitation. Each time his weekend rolled around, he attempted to get the children. To prevent the school from having to deal with his requests to pick them up (something they legally couldn’t deny him), I began picking them up from school early on those days.

He caught on and tried sending his current wife to the school even earlier. For some reason, I anticipated his move and got there right before she did.

My Daughter as Witness

The day of the hearing, our oldest daughter testified against her father.  The guardian ad litem stood between her and her father, so he couldn’t intimidate her by staring at her.  Her attorney did not give her the same understanding.  She was twelve years old.  The hearing left all of us drained, but he lost his visitation rights.

Employment Ups and Downs

During the months between the altercation and hearing, I lost my job. I found another one quickly, but that employer didn’t want to give me the whole day off for the hearing. She couldn’t believe the hearing would last more than an hour.  It lasted all day and almost went into a second day. My job involved speaking to businesses, organizations, and churches about protecting yourself from a crime. Here I was dealing with a very personal crime against my children, and she booked me to speak to a group that night. I made it, while my children went home with my mother and my father went with me. It wasn’t right, but that’s the hand dealt to me that day.

Refined Silver (Blessings)

Not everything during that period was bad.

  • My oldest daughter got a part in a huge production of The Nutcracker. The dance troupe she performed with was the best one in the upstate, so this was a huge honor.
  • My second daughter did NOT have to testify against her father.  I’m glad, but she was upset about it.  She wanted to participate, too.
  • I bought a house!
  • I started dating a wonderful man whom I later married. With him, I gained three more children to my family.
  • My experiences all added to my ability to reach people with my crime prevention messages and later created the opportunity for me to work with single mothers through a welfare-to-work training program.
  • My children and I grew very close to my parents.
  • In all that happened, the church stood by us and cared for us.

In each life, we will have mountains and valleys. Although we don’t love the valleys, we aren’t meant to live on a mountaintop Click to Tweet where the view is amazing, but it’s cold and windy, and offers no life-giving resources like water. We must move off the mountain and experience the valleys. Life can be good on the downhill and uphill trek if we rely on God to guide us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weathering the Storm: Facing Crises in Life

approaching stormI sunburn easily, so a trip to the beach requires an umbrella to protect me from the sun. A few years ago, while vacationing in Florida, we rented an umbrella and two chairs from the lifeguard.  During lunch, a storm blew in. As we ate our lunch on our screen porch, we observed the lifeguard closing all of the umbrellas and thought nothing of it. Then, he started packing up all of the chairs and umbrellas.  Before we knew it, the protection we’d rented was gone with the lifeguard, yet the storm lasted less than an hour.

Frustrated, we confronted the lifeguard the next day. He explained that his boss checked the weather, determined it would rain all day, and told him to pack up. We felt scammed and so did several other families experiencing the same problem.

Sure enough, the next day, a storm blew in around lunch time. We stayed in our chairs and watched the lifeguard begin to pack up. He glared at us and the other two families choosing to weather the storm in order to keep their umbrellas in place.  An hour later, the storm cleared and our lifeguard remained until the three families packed up their belongings for the day. Throughout the week, we continued to leave at least one of us to weather the storm in order to keep the umbrellas we paid for available once the rain cleared.

Over the years, I’ve experienced many of life’s storms, and I’ve observed others doing the same.  What strikes me the most about this is each person’s approach to a storm. There are those who will weather it, face the storm head on, and emerge victorious on the other side.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

These people recognize that strength comes from perseverance, that they are not alone in their struggles. Christ gives them the ability and strength to weather their trials.

Then, I’ve witnessed an alarming number of people who stick their heads in the sand, unwilling to face the future.  This never seems to work.  It only opens the door to more problems, but time and again, I see them running from the storm only to be swept away.

The psalmist reminds us of a significant point that I’ve tried to live by in any circumstance:

Today is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118:24

No matter what comes, no matter what happens, we have a promise:  each and every day comes from the Lord.  Whatever is coming, He is in control and we must stand up and face it with Him in the lead.

What storms have you weathered?  How did you survive?