This time of year always finds me looking back over the years to find markers of where the Lord has worked in amazing, miraculous ways to answer prayers for me and my children. Recently, a friend asked me to recount one of those moments for her blog. This is one that came back to me very strongly, testifying to the truly amazing, compassionate God we serve.
As you read it, I hope it makes you think of a time or two when God surprised you with the reality of His presence in your life - as Your Defender; Your Provider; Your Healer; Your Savior... or some other unique way that you knew, for sure, God was with you. Please join me in whispering a prayer of thanks to the Amazing God we serve for His constant love and care. Without Him, where would we be?
The Lord is My Defender...
Trying to raise four children on a very meager $8 an hour job, quickly brought me to the brink of disaster. My ex-husband, financially secure and reveling in his newly minted play-boy life style, glanced at the situation and saw his opportunity to end the burden of paying child support. He sued me for full custody of our children, something he knew I would never voluntarily allow.
He had the financial resources and the connections to hire the best attorney in town. I had no resources to hire an attorney at all. In complete ignorance of the way the legal system worked, I thought I would just go to court and I would be assigned an attorney, since I didn't have one! I didn't know this only applied to criminal cases – not child custody battles. He taunted me in the days leading up to the court appearance that I should just not even bother showing up – I didn't stand a chance of winning since he was a well-respected professional in the community and I was a 'nobody'. Even though I was intimidated by the whole court scene, I had no intention of walking away from my children without a fight. He should have known me better than that.
Behind all of the saber rattling from my ex-husband, I turned to the only source I knew for help – the Lord. With all of the excitement and passion of most new born babes in the Lord, I 'ate' the Word of God like a starving woman – I simply could not get enough of the Word. I was desperate for God. I knew it and He knew it. I told Him every day. 'I need You, Lord, I need You. Every hour, I need you...'
On the day of the court hearing, I went to court with my knees knocking and my hands trembling. I was aware that I was vulnerable and could lose custody of my children – many of my friends had done just that. This was a crucial turning point in my life and theirs. I walked into court alone. Except for the Lord...
I sat in a back row and watched as one case after another (all custody hearings) were called before the court. One after another, I saw the judge rule in favor of the one parent that had shown up in court. There was no contest. The parent that didn't show automatically gave away the children to the other parent. It was chilling to me and heartbreaking that a parent would dispatch his or her children so easily. Suddenly, my name was called and I approached the bench, as my husband and his high priced attorney jaunted forward, seemingly so sure of themselves that they were almost laughing on the way up the aisle to the bench.
Almost before my name was read, my ex-husband's attorney announced that I should lose custody of my children because of my inability to provide for them adequately. My ex-husband quickly added that he had brought witnesses with him that could testify to my inadequacy as a mother. Before he finished his sentence the judge slammed the gavel down, silencing the verbal onslaught from my husband and his attorney. Leaning over his desk and looking at me directly, I heard this judge ask me in a voice dripping with compassion, “Honey, do you want your children?” Answering immediately, all I said was “Yes, Your Honor, I do.” My ex-husband interrupted quickly to remind the judge again that he had brought witnesses with him to speak against me as a fit mother. The judge glared at him over the desk, and advised him sternly not to interrupt again or he would be found in contempt of court. Once again leaning over the bench like an affectionate father, he advised me that 'this man' (my ex-husband) might push this as far as it could go and, in the event that he should bring me back to court again, I should look into finding a lawyer to represent me well. Ending by smiling at me with a look of understanding and wisdom as to the game that was being played, he slammed the gavel down once again and ordered that the children be returned to me immediately as their mother.
I have never forgotten that day. I knew that God had gone into the court room with me and, against all human odds, had presided over the court proceedings on my behalf. He had placed a judge on the bench that saw through the facade of money and prestige that my ex-husband thought would win the day. I had no lawyer. I had no money. I had no knowledge of the court system and how it worked. All I had was The Lord. He showed up that day and fought for me. I had met My Defender. And He was all I needed...
Romans 8: 31 “If God is for us, who can be against?”