Last month I attended the Catholic Writers Guild Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois. It was an amazing experience learning from and networking with fellow Catholic bloggers and published authors. Thursday morning, there was a special breakfast for both the attendees of the Writer’s Guild Conference and the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show (which was taking place in conjunction with the Writer’s Conference). The plan was for all the bloggers from CatholicMom.com to sit together for the breakfast. As a fairly new blogger with a passion for writing, I was very much looking forward to this opportunity to meet everyone and enjoy fruitful conversation. Well, as it turned out, I was presented with a plethora of obstacles from my opposing army to simply get to the breakfast!
Living only 45 minutes west of where the Conference was taking place, I commuted daily with a friend. The Wednesday night before the breakfast, the electricity at my house went out due to a huge thunderstorm in the area. Due to the fact that our house was about 100 degrees from the intense heat outside, I came home from the Conference that night to my exhausted husband, sitting in our air -conditioned family van with all five children. With the uncertainty of when we would regain power, we both agreed that we needed to just rough it out and try to all get some sleep in our sauna! The reason our home was so intensely hot was due to the fact that the air conditioning had broken earlier in the day and with no one home to realize it, our house had become unbearable over the course of the day with no windows open. Then the storm hit and we were unable to open the windows due to the raging rain, lest we also wanted a waterfall in our house.
After a sleepless night, which included lightning striking our already-broken air conditioner, I decided to go to the gym to shower for the Conference breakfast since our power was still out. God bless my heroic husband who encouraged me to go, after assuring me he would hold down the hot fort filled with cranky kids. After leaving the gym at 6 AM ready to get on the road with my girlfriend to attend the 7 AM breakfast, it started pouring outside again. Not a big deal until the sunroof on my vehicle decided to open ON ITS OWN — YES — ALL THE WAY OPEN IN THE POURING RAIN! Hmmm?? Somebody did not want me at that Conference!
Thankfully, my friend, Donna, had an umbrella that covered most of the opening until we returned home and were able to cover the car with a large tarp. I can only imagine how silly we looked driving down the road with an open umbrella literally plugging the rather large hole our open sunroof created! My son’s car was available that day, so we hopped in it and got back on the road to the Conference.
We made it in time for the last five minutes of the breakfast.
All in all, it was quite comical, but I definitely recognized the spiritual battle at play. Living our faith with passion and purpose is one thing, but when we not only live our faith, but also strive to encourage others to do so through various mediums of evangelization, it is a double whammy to our opposing army. He ups his ammunition to try to stop us in our tracks. There were so many obstacles to get to the Conference that day, but I knew God wanted me there and so with His grace, I persisted. A very important connection was made that opened my heart up to the direction of God’s will in a particular area in my life. Had I given up from the burden of my opposing force, that divine appointment would not have taken place.
When we focus on God’s will and pursue it, despite what obstacles are presented to us, life becomes a great adventure filled with promise and purpose — driven with the knowledge that God is the travel guide that we must trust despite the times that life may throw us curve balls, present us road blocks and dishevel our best-laid plans.
Do you every think of yourself engaged in spiritual warfare? Oftentimes those words evoke thoughts of exorcisms and intense scenes of battle. The reality is, if you are striving to live the Christian life, you are also choosing to be engaged in a spiritual battle. Living the Gospel is a form of spiritual warfare. The good news is that God equips us to confidently fight on the front lines! The Church is our map, the sacraments are our ammunition, the Holy Spirit carries us and prayer is our spiritual fuel.
St Paul reminds us that our struggle is “not against flesh and blood, ……..but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) Recognize who your enemy is, arm yourself with spiritual weapons and never forget that the ultimate battle has already been won.
With God’s grace, YOU GOT THIS!
Copyright 2017 Kathleen Billings