Heroes of the Faith….

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                         This Week’s Heroes- –  written by my sweet friend, Jackie Brown                             

One sister feels so alone that she indulges the flesh just enough to provide a thrill of companionship.  It leaves her with aching wounds.

Another sister drops a careless word to connect with one but is overheard and divided from another.  Her sincerest apology falls on deaf ears who only want to believe the worst.  It leaves a trench of regret.

The third sister lives in a dessert where love and appreciation are lacking.  She’s there on purpose to bring light yet finds the darkness suffocating her own heart.  It leaves her weary and alone.

Another, overwhelmed with responsibility, cares for an aging in law, applying her love with tenderness to the harsh treatment of cancer.  She longs for a pause in the juggling, and it leaves her deflated, pounded in the head by the falling balls dropped every now and again.

Another cries in the dark.  Her addiction and her façade crush her with the threat of exposure.  It leaves a mantle of fear she can no longer bear.

The sixth sister, stunned by the unexpected diagnosis, faces heart surgery when she only wants to read Good Night Moon and bear another child.  It has been a long year, burying both her dad and her husband’s.  “Another mountain to climb so soon?”  It leaves her numb and confused, too weak to feel any more.

And there is little time to mention the ones who parent painstakingly to special needs, whose marriage disappoints, whose finances near bankruptcy, who . . .

Me?  My name could be written by most of their struggles.  But this week?  I lash out in anger, sounding more like a wolf than a shepherd to three little lambs.  Trying to control perfection can only produce rage.  Ice cold or red hot, it fuels a rage one way or another. I’m left with defeat – again.

Alone, each sister slogs on in our own broken, fallen world.    They are my heroes who inspire me to get up and walk on, women who cling to hope, cry out to Love, admit their need and dare to believe.  Their refusal to give up and give in to bitterness carries them one more day where they know more struggles await.  The only righteousness they wear is not their own.  They see the unseen – the invisible new mercies that give the grace to love, the strength to forgive and the courage to trust.  A hardened heart they refuse.  Though raw, aching and weary, their beauty glows softly in the dark.  “The world is not worthy of them.”  And this is the life of faith, not the get rich, live easy pseudo-spiritual religiosity paraded on TV.  It’s the road of Calvary, the way of the cross.  The cross, that horrifically beautiful moment when all reality is exposed in the God-man, reigns high in their minds, and they expect nothing more or less of their own lives.  Sure we know the beauty of life, the moments that take our breath away with a smile on our face.  But we are warriors, women warriors in the war of wars, awaiting the final victory when these battles will be won, the world be made new and we will rest in the sight – the SIGHT of the face of the One who loved us all along.  A woman who wages war to wait for the one who loves her is a rare splendor.  It’d be far easier to turn aside to other lovers; their alluring offers call out to us all along the way.  But this one, she forges on through briers and brambles, thorns bigger than her which tear her to bleeding and through mud so deep it bogs her down. She presses on to embrace the One who called her name.  Some say by longing for heaven, we deny the beauty of this life.  But we say the beauty of this life beckons us like a trail of crumbs through dense mine-filled forests toward the great feast we know lies on the other side.  We feel alone scattered to the corners of the earth, often hidden by the thick brush.  Yet we are cheered by knowing that our other sister-warriors are battling too in this same war toward the same promise.  “Life is a battle through enemy territory headed toward our heavenly home” where we know our Lover meets us.   The great promise – the reality of what is but not yet.  So today we choose the battle, to both rest and wait, to seek and fight.  We dig into His word for food to sustain us; He left it there knowing we’d need the words of life in the battle against death.  And we choose to struggle wanting one thing, the one thing to see HIS face.

(Ps 27:4, 1 Peter  1:3-9, John 16:33, 2 Tim 1:12, 2:1-8, Heb 11;35-40, Matt 5:3-16, Heb 3:12-15, James 5:7-16)

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