I had a marvelous time last weekend at the New England Christian Writers Retreat.
The accomplished faculty as well as the talented attendees poured into my life in amazing ways. Early morning prayer gatherings and worship song sessions along with quiet work and devotional opportunities contributed to the richness of my experience. I came away with a treasure trove of insights and excitement, dreams and goals.
Can you guess what happened after that?
Oh yes, it was a blessing to come home and share with my Honey. I detailed my personal highlights Sunday evening and have been going through my notes with him ever since. As we discussed the information and ideas we created categories and lists. The first blush of all of that was mutual excitement and inspiration.
Until . . . Wednesday.
That’s the day my Honey was stuck in bed with a sore back. Our first serious ministry powwow that morning didn’t happen. I had to let him to rest while I tried to figure out what I could do on my own. The progress balloon lost its helium and my face hit the dust.
What now, Lord? Did You bring me way up high just to let me crash?
Some of you may be thinking I’m pretty dense. After all, it often happens that when a child of God enjoys an especially meaningful or productive season in His presence the unseen world reacts. There’s a sort of backlash from the enemy to engulf the newly acquired energy and enthusiasm in flames. It didn’t take me long to realize that scenario was likely what was going on, but the smoke-filled funk continued.
It was as if there were a firestorm going on inside my mind and body. I couldn’t think straight and caught myself simply wasting valuable time. My heart kept trying to convince me to give up and go back to bed. I slumped around in my bathrobe for hours making superficial attempts to get something … anything … done.
I was feeling sorry for myself and getting nowhere fast.
By mid-afternoon I finally gave up and did what I needed to do. I called out to the One who understands my confusing plight. He knows what it’s like to press forward in the Father’s call amidst the realities of this fallen world. I pleaded for help from the One whose compassion and power are endless and ever-available.
And He heard me.
“The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.” Psalms 145:17-19 NIV1984
I told the Shepherd I was lost and couldn’t find my way. A common sense strategy came back to me. When you’re lost, go back to the last place you knew where you were. I took my heart and mind back to the retreat where I’d enjoyed a special closeness with my Abba Father.
Gradually my spirit revived. I sat at the keyboard and developed the first draft of my personal agenda, coming out of the responses to the survey many of you provided.
I am a writer, speaker, Naomi.
I inspire women to take on the realities of life with confidence, conviction, and courage as we move forward toward balance, fulfillment, and joy.
That might not seem like much for a full day’s work, but those statements represent a huge step forward in the vision God is building into my Honey and me. I am grateful beyond the moon.
I continue to ponder God’s intervention that day. I know it came to me not because I was experiencing victory, not even because I was fighting with vigor. God reached out and rescued me because He is the Rescuer. He chose me before He even spoke the words, “Let there be light.” He knows all about me and my life and has stationed a rearguard to help me when the spiritual battle rages.
A rearguard is the soldiers positioned at the back of a body of troops to protect their comrades from attack either as they advance or retreat. The rearguard provides whatever support is necessary. Wikipedia says rearguard tactics include “blocking, defending, delaying, or interfering with advancing enemy forces in order to gain time for the remainder to regroup and reorganize.”
That’s exactly what happened. My heavenly rearguard stepped in and gave me time to remember what I know is True. They blocked the enemy’s messages so I could re-tune my ears and heart to the Father’s words. Then they interfered with the feelings of discouragement and brought clarity to my mind. I revel in the faithfulness His promises.
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you.
and the glory of the LORD will be your rearguard. Isaiah 58:8 NIV1984
I’m beginning to think a rearguard is a standard provision to those who love God. Have you ever met yours? When was the last time they revived you?