There are days when I can barely get out of bed, get out of my pajamas, into a shower, off the sofa, or out of the house, each step requiring prayer, determination, accountability, and more strength than I have. I have used many supplements, coffee, tea, food, exercise, and mental gymnastics to get through each moment of every day. I make tons of calls, texts, Facebook and Instagram posts daily; all under the guise of creating community, camaraderie, solidarity to remind myself that I am not alone in these struggles. Nevertheless, some days I still hide. Hide in T.V., in busyness, in laundry, in routines because facing my emotions becomes too overwhelming and exhausting. Through all these moments, I have come to realize that my strength comes from Him, and Him alone.
Recently I been continuously reminded just how true this is. About a week ago, out of the blue, I was invited to a Holocaust Remembrance event. I thought to myself, I don’t have a connection to WWII, the atrocities committed, or the church presenting the event; why should I go? Yet I felt a pull, like I knew I needed to go, take time with my friend, and go, so I did. I met a few ladies and then the music began. It was beautiful, sung in Hebrew and English. Finally, a tiny, elderly woman was introduced, Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsvath. She began talking about the war and a bit of history on where she was living when things began to become unstable in Europe. Immediately I felt a connection. Her family was from Austria-Hungary, the country was renamed after WWI, and she grew up in the countryside of then Hungary. She went on to talk about how in the late 1930’s her family walked from the countryside to large city of Budapest. There, with the help from her former nanny, her family hid from raids that came to take Jews to the camps. As I listened, riveted as to how her family survived by the grace of God, the strength prayer, and her 23-year-old friend Erzsi, I began to remember the story of my own grandmother journey from Antunovac, Yugoslavia (aka Austria-Hungary pre WWI, now Croatia) to Canada in the early 1930’s.
What strength these women, this whole generation of people, had to possess. As I listened, this beautiful Jewish woman made it quite clear where she believed her strength came from. Love from above, in the earthly form of her beloved Christian friend, Erzebet, who helped her family find refuge. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1, ESV). Then as Lisa and I drove home, Lisa began to spread her love on me. She asked how I was doing, and I began to detail how my life was beyond overwhelming…cancer hurting my family, in transition as our home was being remodeled, relocation, promoting a book, and my fight with anxiety and depression. Quoting Psalms 92:12-13, Lisa reminded me to plant myself near God. Her words brought calmness to my mind and heart, while it filled my soul with hope and strength. I remembered 2Chor 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (NIV).
Then just a few days ago, I meet Ms. Dorothy. It was her 81st birthday and she was spending her day with her friends at the Ladies in Touch luncheon; it was my first time attending. Ms. Dorothy explained that Ms. Jerrie and her worked the ladies church gatherings circuit throughout the North Dallas area. Together they enjoyed the fellowship, worship, and great speakers. They get all dolled up, join in praising and learning about our Savior, and find their strength in the joy of the Lord (Neh 8:10). Next thing I know, I find myself in the restroom with Ms. Dorothy, washing our hands at the same time. She proceeded to tell me that I have an aura round me; I need to wait on the Lord and know that He is working great things in me. She goes in to details; mind you we just met five minutes ago. Tears began to fall, as she hugged me. After the luncheon, who is waiting outside and spots me again, that’s right, Ms. Dorothy. She continued to share her wisdom with me, telling me that I need wait on Him. Not to go before Him, but stay close to Him. “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of you wings until the disaster has passed” (Ps 57:1, NIV).
Finally, my beloved friend Jode held my feet to the fire, so to speak. She put up needed boundaries, as my actions were not of Him. I was using my tongue to hurt out of my exhaustion, frustration, and overwhelmed life. But Jode wasn’t having it. She told me straight out that I wasn’t leaning on Him, and I wasn’t walking in faith. She wasn’t going to stand with me. At first I was shocked and hurt, but then I cried out to my Father and He was there. Ps 145:18 says, “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on him in truth.” I was leaning on my own weak strength and leaning on others, but I wasn’t leaning on Him. Jode’s love kick in the pants forced me to look ONLY to Him. I looked to scripture to remind me of His promise of strength. Phil 4:13, Is 40:29, Eph 6:10, Mark 12:30, Hab 3:19, and too many Psalms to list.
Again and again, the Lord promised He is here for us. When we seek Him we will find Him. These last few weeks have been filled with God’s strength. Each day, He provides me what I need, just as He promises in Deut 33:25, “and your strength will equal your days.” Look, and you will see He is there for you as well. He always was. Always is. Always will be.
Dr. Lynnette Simm is a professor by trade but a writer by heart. Based in North Texas. She loves to spend her time with her family and friends. She has a way with words that encourages others and lifts them so that the mirror of truth is seen. When she is not knee deep in boxes…yes, she finally moved into her new home, she is writing blogs, and attempting another book. Her first book, And the Day Came, was released this last October. She is available to speak. Connect with her at drlynnettesimm.com, on Facebook, and Instagram or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org