Sarah sat at my kitchen table and told me her story.
She was battling her ex-husband in the courts to prevent him from being alone with her two girls, ages three and eight.
It wasn’t safe.
Her oldest daughter refused to be in the house when her father visited, and stayed in the backyard until late at night to avoid him.
“After the divorce, my ex-husband took me to court four times to do away with child support and to allow him un-supervised visits. The barrage of harassment from his lawyer was nonstop for several years.
“Finally, the lawyer sent me a letter threatening to take my children away if I didn’t allow the girls to be alone with him. Their case sounded bulletproof. I would never win.
“I lay on the bed, my heart thudding, and talked to God. It’s okay, isn’t it Lord? You’ll keep them safe, won’t You, if they’re alone with him? Because I can’t do this anymore. I give up.”
The next day was church, and Sarah found a seat halfway down the center aisle. A young visiting pastor stood on a low stage by the pulpit. He walked down the aisle, stopped diagonally two feet in front of her, and started to speak.
“For some of you, life may be caving in, but I have a word from the Lord for you.”
“I waited, wondering what was coming next.”
“Then, in a quiet voice, he said, ‘Don’t … give … up.’
She stirred her coffee. “He repeated the same words, slightly louder this time. ‘Don’t … give … up.’
Sarah took a sip. “He didn’t give any scripture references, or tell any Bible stories. I glanced around the room, wondering what other people thought.
“He said it a third time, louder. ‘Don’t … give … up.’
“A few people sat up a little straighter in their seats.
“A fourth time, even louder. ‘Don’t … give … up.’
“By the sixth time, everyone was looking at him. ‘Don’t … give … up.’
“He kept going, twenty times without pausing, until he was shouting at the top of his lungs. ‘Don’t … give … up!’
“I looked over at the church secretary who was going through a divorce. I hope Jen is listening.”
“Don’t … give … up!” The pastor’s voice thundered around the room.
“I noticed a student in the high school group. Kids at school were bullying him. Michael really needs to hear this.”
“Don’t … give … up!”
“An older gentleman who had just lost his wife to cancer stared down at his lap. Mr. Hernandez should pay attention, I thought.”
“‘Don’t … give … up!’ The pastor’s voice was deafening, spit shooting out of his mouth.
Sarah’s voice softened. “And then something dawned on me. Was God trying to speak to me?”
“Don’t … give … up!”
It was then that Sarah realized that the Lord wanted her to fight for her children. He was on her side and she wasn’t alone.
Nor are you.
Your heavenly Father is with you.
Don’t … give … up.