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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Setbacks won't shift my focus

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I took off last week to enjoy spring break with my children. When we moved home last year, we left the Beautiful Miss Brooke in Phoenix. While she was home to visit, everyone we bumped into had the same comment, "I've never seen you look so happy."

Moms of grown children know the feeling of having all your chickens together in the same nest. I delighted in the time we spent together, and held my tears until I left the terminal after taking Brooke back to the airport last Friday.

These last weeks have been a time of uncommon joy in my life. I've prayed for a season of peace, and have relished in it when it arrived.

Ever have one of those Sunday mornings where the process of getting everyone ready and out the door for church puts you in a not-very-spiritual state? Easter Sunday was one of those.

"You're not going to steal my joy, devil," I thought, putting on my best Polyanna face.

Transmissions are not a strong suit of the manufacturer of my particular SUV. Our Arizona trials included the need for one when we could ill-afford it, and our cheapest option at that time was to get a used one.

Turns out that transmission only had about 15,000 miles left in it, a fact we discovered on the way to church on Easter Sunday.

"Lord, I trust you to provide," I prayed. My faith allows me this -- the ability to pray, to submit and then walk away from worry. Our husbands are hard-wired differently though, and mine wanted something more practical, like more zeros in the checking balance.

Worry is contagious, and I confess I let it deflate me this week.

When you drive a ten-year old vehicle, breakdowns are just a part of life. They are not to be regarded as spiritual setbacks, however.

I read this from Bill Johnson, "The enemy lies to make the problems we face appear larger than the solutions we carry."

I forget sometimes that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but ... "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:11-13)

Wikipedia explains the C.S. Lewis classic The Screwtape Letters this way, "In the body of the thirty-one letters which make up the book, Screwtape gives Wormwood detailed advice on various methods of undermining faith and promoting sin in the Patient, interspersed with observations on human nature and Christian doctrine."

The mentor Screwtape explains to his protege the difference in plans that God has for us, "We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons."

The devil is a crafty sort of guy. When life happens (and especially when it relates to unexpected expenses) he likes to sneak up on us and whisper in our ear: "Holy cow! This is awful. What are you going to do? This is impossible. Guess God wasn't really looking out for you after all."

Screwtape tells Wormwood, "(God) wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them."

I fell off my spiritual high this week, but I'm getting right back up there. It's not a feeling or a faith -- but a conscious choice to know that I am a blessed and beloved child of God, who is in charge of all the details of my life. It's enough for today, Lord.

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Tracy Simmons
Spirited Scribe