By Debra Vernon
It’s early morning on a Monday as I write this to you. I love the long days of summer when the sun rises early and sets late. It provides a lot of hours of daylight to fill with either activity or rest. I am a morning person. I do not mind getting up early and enjoying the quiet time before the start of the day. But if you expect much out of me after 9 pm, you’re certain to be disappointed, as I turn into a sleepy gremlin around that time!
I especially cherish this morning, as my outlook on life has improved from where it has been these last few weeks. The long days of summer bring heat, and I don’t do well with heat, even in my air-conditioned world. It causes me irritation and frustration, and there are times I let that fester and grow into a season of discontent. Joy becomes reclusive during these times, and a smile is not as quick to show on my face. The quiet I usually cherish becomes dismal due to no one to talk to. And it sneaks up on me, hardly without notice, until something or someone mentions a change. I was reminded of this on two separate occasions just yesterday: first at worship and then at prayer group.
During worship, a missionary our church has supported for years came to provide an update of their work in South Africa. And a mighty work it is! I am so enthralled and appreciative of those who pack up their family and their home and move to a land far away to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! There are hardships for sure, but evidence shows there are blessings unmeasured in following His will to go into the world and tell others of His love. The speaker mentioned that people go through seasons; and challenged us to find our season and the purpose of it. So, I took the challenge and reviewed my situation.
My most recent season has been one of some mild physical ailments, work which has taxed the limits of my expertise and ability, and an unusual feeling of loneliness. What’s up with that? As I age, with a birthday this month, I guess some physical limitation is to be expected. I am blessed to continue to work through the pandemic and into the recovery period, but the stress of trying to help all those who call upon me with their problems has stressed me out. And then, though I speak with folks daily on the phone and some in person, the end of the day has me wondering, “did anyone think of me today”? What is my purpose during this time I am in the valley instead of on the mountain top?
I was still pondering this as I arrived for prayer group. I almost did not go. It was hot, I was tired even after a nap, and I just wanted to stay home. Not exactly the picture of someone with a purpose in life, right? As it turns out, the gathering was small. Tis the season for summer vacations, so that attributed to some absences, and health issues to others. But the ones that were there greeted me with a smile and a hearty hello as I arrived, and I was happy I had come.
Our prayer group is such a blessing to me, and others! We share our hopes, dreams, hurts and frustrations. In other words, these folks see me “warts and all” and still love me. You cannot ask for more than that. And it was there, as we met together and prayed for our families, our church, our community, and a host of other things we stormed the gates of heaven with, I became aware that satan was being vanquished. For you see, I had allowed him to occupy my thoughts, and he did what he does best: kill, steal, and destroy. He was killing my desire to gather with other believers, stealing my time away from being in The Word and destroying my joy!
Well, let me tell you. A great burden was lifted from me last night. And I believe others felt it too. Will I succumb to the valley again? I can guarantee it. Will I be able to lift myself out of it? Only through the One that loves me like no other. But with Him by my side, as well as my prayer buddies, I am defeated no more.