I am convinced that everyone, at some point on the journey between here and eternity, will face a Really Big Battle. Most of us can easily reach into our memory bank and remember the moment the battle lines were drawn.
My friend Vickie can still hear the loud ring of the first shot while she was in the hospital delivery room and the doctor whisked her baby off to intensive care before she could even get a good look. Hours later, she would learn that they were facing the giant of Down syndrome.
Jill recalls the moment like it was yesterday. A note from the city on the door of their twenty-year-old family business informed them that, because of a legal technicality, the building no longer belonged to them. When the dust settled, her family was left without a business, a home, and nearly all of the material security they had once known.
Debbie suspected a battle was looming because her husband kept going to the doctor but wouldn’t tell her why. The shot rang out on the day she happened to be driving a few cars behind him and watched in horror as his van began to swerve in and out of his lane. When he finally pulled over, she ran to his side and found that he was having a seizure. She would later learn it was the result of cancer that had metastasized to his brain.
Do you remember a day when you heard a shot ring out and you realized you were in a battle for your joy, your marriage, your finances, your health . . . your future? Maybe you are engaged in something fairly fierce right this minute and are looking for hope that you will breathe again, laugh again, trust God again. Perhaps you are wondering why you are still standing. Or maybe you are on the other side of your battle, but it cost you nearly everything, and you’re trying valiantly to believe that God is for you and with you, even though you feel quite desperately alone. I understand, friend. Oh, how I do.
My Goliath is an insidious motor neuron disease and all the emotional, physical, and financial implications that go along with it, but so many different battles rage around us every day. I have run into plenty of women who are also fighting a Really Big Battle, and you will meet some of them in this book. I’ve also been studying the battle stories in the Bible, looking for principles that can help me in this fight. Nearly all the heroes of our faith were tested, trained, and made stronger through their time on the fighting fields. These glorious, victorious examples from the past and the present are teaching me that war is hell, but God is good. And He who is the great Giver of every good gift creates some of the most brilliant and beautiful things in the darkest, most daunting seasons. He does. I promise.
If our roles were reversed, and you were telling me your story, I know that together we could find something beautiful that you have already gathered in the course of your fight. I’m also willing to bet that with a few intentional but relatively simple adjustments, you could find yourself with more treasure than your arms could hold or your heart contain, not in spite of your battle, but because of it. But finding that treasure is a trick sometimes. It can be difficult because so often we invest so much energy in surviving a battle that there’s little left for discovering what wonderful things might have happened inside of us in the process. My deepest hope is that this book will help you do just that.
As we travel together through part 1, we’ll look for treasure. We’ll sift through the soil of the battleground to discover the gold that glistens beneath the surface. Once we know it’s there, the next step is to face our fight with faith and ask, How do I win this thing? Part 2 will focus on battle-proven strategies for winning the battle. Now, for our purposes, “winning” doesn’t necessarily mean that God has worked everything out as we had hoped (though it sometimes happens that way.) It means that God has worked everything together to make us stronger, better, and more beautiful. Do you have faith to believe that you could walk off this battlefield more alive and free and ready to face your future than you have ever been before? Please, believe it. It’s possible, friend.
I don’t know exactly what you’re facing today, but I want you to know that I am praying for you. I know that you’ve scraped together all your courage just to open the cover of a book that promises this fantastic opportunity to revisit the battle-ravaged country of your soul. I am praying for you. That life will spring from the pages, His voice will ring in your ears, and you will know for certain that the Captain and Commander is bringing life from ashes, order from chaos, strength from pain.
I am praying for you. That the tears you cry as you walk this road will bring healing as they flow and will usher in hope for a new and lovely season where laughter is not a rare guest, but a welcomed friend. I am praying for you. And I want you to know it.
Let’s find some beauty, shall we?
An excerpt from Beautiful Battlefields by Bo Stern ©NavPress, used with permission. For more about Beautiful Battlefields and Bo Stern, visit www.bostern.com, or connect with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beautifulbattlefields) and Twitter (@bostern).