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. His lawyer harassed me nonstop for two 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 could never win.
“I laid on the bed, my heart thudding so hard I could barely breathe. It’s okay, isn’t it Lord? You’ll keep them safe, won’t You? Because I can’t do this anymore. It’s too hard. 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 might be pretty tough right now, 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.’
Sarah stirred her coffee. “Then he repeated the same words, slightly louder this time. ‘Don’t … give … up.’”
She took a sip. “He didn’t give any scripture references, or tell any Bible stories. I glanced around the room, wondering what other people were thinking.
“He said it a third time, louder. ‘Don’t … give … up.’
“A few people sat up a little straighter.
“A fourth time, even louder. Someone hard-of-hearing could make out his words by now. ‘Don’t … give … up.’
“By the sixth time, everyone in the sanctuary was staring 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 and thought, ‘I hope Jen is listening to this.’”
“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 it hit me. Was God trying to say something to me?”
“DON’T … GIVE … UP!”
“That was when I realized that the Lord wanted me to fight for my children. He was on my side and I wasn’t alone.”
Nor are you.
Your heavenly Father is with you.
DON’T … GIVE … UP!