"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you,
then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...
But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
Choices and overcoming... those has been my ponderings this weekend as the occasions and events of the last weeks have brought memories... many which have tumbled over each other with only the clearest landing in my mind... often of a moment when a decision was made.
The decision to remain in a marriage when it was no longer fun when friends were telling me to go. The decision to leave the corporation, when it was still fun, to raise our daughter. The decision to homeschool when we saw what the public school system was doing to our ADHD son. Even those seemingly small decisions made on the spur of a moment after a quick prayer was sent up to Heaven... and realizing much later that it led to something bigger than us.
If the decisions had gone the other way? I would have been a single mother working long hours in a corporation and never had the son join our family. None of the decisions at the time were the easiest but all brought about great reward... here and There (I am certain).
I remember a morning long ago, reading the Letters to the Churches in the book of Revelation... among my favorite sections of the Bible. They are so clear as to what pleases God and where He finds fault.
I'm not certain why the word overcomer suddenly jumped out at me after dozens of readings of these verses, perhaps it was during a season of trials... but I realized how over and over the promises were given to he who overcomes and that would make an assumption that there was a lot to overcome in this world.
How many times our beliefs have sent us in a different direction than the world, leaving behind family and friends as we took the road not often taken. Each decision made during a fork in the road and as Joshua proclaimed... "you may... but we shall".
Giving up sadly friendships of those whose understanding did not include leaving behind some of the things of the world as we became more careful of the environment we allowed in our home... authors read, movies watched, TV shows blocked... often called too protective of our children as we walked that path.
Family members turning their back and talking about us, invitations not given, space needed... trying to show love while explaining why we took the path we did to live by the standards we felt He desired... at times love not returned by those few who could not comprehend our life's decisions.
But the rewards of choosing... as one of us is in late middle age and the other just into the "official" senior citizen status (that not being moi')... oh, the rewards. A husband and wife and daughter and son... a son-in-law and three granddaughters and two grandsons... all on the same hymnal page so to speak. Watching as our child teaches her children to love God and walk with Him in all their ways.
Sitting up at night chatting with the other child as he speaks of a young woman who loves God and whose family shares similar values... smiling that this is so important to him. Having prayed him through and gone through many long conversations as he realized God has no grandchildren and he must come to his own conclusions about belief... his own choosing... and he coming out on the other side stronger.
I shudder to think how easily it all could have gone the other way if we had taken the easier path. No, life is about overcoming obstacles in front of us and clinging to Him when the winds of adversity are blowing and it is no longer fun. There are moments of bliss followed by days of tears and the knowledge that He gives the oil of joy for mourning as the dark days turn back to gold.
Did we make the perfect decision every time... far from it. All of us will leave this planet with some regrets and bruises along the way, wishing we had done this or not said that... a life lived imperfectly in a world that does not know perfection. But there will be a Day when imperfection meets Perfection and there is nothing left to overcome.
As C. S. Lewis put it so well in The Last Battle...
“But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia
had only been the cover and the title page:
now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story,
which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever:
in which every chapter is better than the one before.”