Deborah said it in Judges 5v21 – but then she was quite a warrior, singing her song of victory over fallen enemies. I do generally rather like to identify with the great singing prophetess – the female judge and co-deliverer of Israel – as a role model of course, rather than making any claim to match her achievements. Well, like her I do make a habit of ‘sitting under my palm tree’ dispensing ‘wise advice’ and often like to tell male leaders what they should do… and my husband is called, errr – Lapi-top.
Seriously, it’s good to have Bible characters to emulate. There are a few good women in there as well as all the men – and of course both male and female can learn from all of them, regardless of gender. Who wouldn’t want to be someone who changed a nation through hearing strategy from God and then encouraging the young general by tagging along with the army to tell them when to strike?! Perhaps it’s a bit scary and depends how brave you are feeling today… so no wonder she stopped in the middle of her victory celebrations to encourage herself with these words.
March on, it’s March – the first of the month and St David’s Day – a beautiful spring day where I am, like the kiss of summer. Now I’m ‘allowed’ to blog again I have amused myself with looking back to what I wrote about on 1st March last year – and you will not be disappointed to discover it was another play on words: March forth! I was then, as now, marking out the months and seasons on our journey, looking at the opportunities and plans for the weeks leading up to Easter, holding onto hope for Sam, glad winter was nearly over and feeling the touch of Spring. But as I do that again this year I am all too aware how these 12 months have wearied us and as another month begins, however full of promise weather-wise, it is a bigger effort to ‘gird my loins’ and ‘strengthen myself in my God’, to keep putting one foot in front of the other and, just like Deborah, tell my soul to be strong. To be honest, depression crouches at the door.
March on, my soul: be strong! I have been doing my best! After the soap opera of 2011 – media moments, Jessica and the broken engagement and Sam’s 2 month trip to Canada – I have been making more space for myself, resting and playing, and more recently working. I am pleased with my headway and growth in confidence as I led the recent prayer gathering I’d planned for 25th February and have since started running a 6 week training course for church. On one level I am being successful – perhaps a bit like Deborah in her overcoming moment: it feels good to do well and accomplish a goal. Meanwhile, Sam has his house and cats and has seemed fairly well, trying to start up an internet business to make some money.
So somehow I push down the dead feeling inside and make the necessary choices each day – and it is only a very small, childish part of me shouting, “I’m bored! I’m trapped! I’m stuck! I’m lonely! I want to escape!” And it mostly only does it in the dull evenings when Martin is tired and has to work and so bedtime gets earlier and earlier because sleep is such a welcome escape and a small tablet of zoplicone is so wonderful… oh dear.
But as those tired hours between 6 and 9 were beginning last night as I was making the dinner Sam shouted down the stairs in anger: “My computer has broken again!!!” – and everything in my stomach tensed up in panic. I quickly realised it was an old memory of my father yelling when I was little that caused such a reaction, but it still left me feeling too sick to eat. (A large gin and tonic helped… oh dear again). It is the 4th time Sam’s laptop has broken down – overuse?! – and he did adjust remarkably quickly, calming down and calling tech support within half an hour. In fact the evening turned out really well because with no internet escape, he started to talk to us both about his feelings and fears in a way he hasn’t for a long time. We realised what is driving him at the moment – wanting to ‘get rid’ of this sore feeling that is always in his head, driven to ‘beat this thing’ but desperately needing funds to both pay off his debts and then pay for more cannabis oil from Canada. He is sure that is the only thing that can help – he calls it his “life saving medicine”. As he sat on the sofa with Martin’s arm round him watching the England v Holland football match, there was a rare moment of family unity that only comes from honest sharing of hearts. We continue to be afraid about what will happen, as Martin said – “when this thing comes back” but Sam can only choose to say “It won’t”
March on my soul; be strong! Another sudden twist in fortunes as now, rather than Sam being here in our house all the time using our broadband until his is installed – it seems I bought 8c for the cats to live in! – with no computer he can stay in his house more and find other things to do until it is fixed … and perhaps even until the new cable is finally laid for his own connection, and until the benefits office process his form for backdated Employment Support Allowance – please, God.
Wait, wait, wait, wait, weight, wait. Patience is like a muscle that has to be painfully worked, tensing up in the stomach and holding it in. Keep walking, one day at a time, through another Lent so different from 2010 when it was radiotherapy and Prayer Gym for 7 weeks, but challenging in a different way. In the middle of some victories I gasp the prayer of Deborah: ‘march on my soul; be strong!’