SGLY: Beautifully his

By Tiffany Chartier
Special to the Prosper Press

A few days ago, I was notified that a shockingly defamatory comment about me was posted on the Internet — a stranger armed with the power of a keyboard and vicious intentions. The words themselves were false but affected me still. I feared impending rumors and erroneous accusations. The thought of having my loved ones see this cruel lie made me physically ill. It frustrated me beyond words how easy it was for a faceless person to post something damaging and how difficult it was to get it removed. With help and time, the post was taken down.

During this time, I felt attacked. I realized it was more of a spiritual attack. I have a list of shortcomings and sins to choose from, but what the stranger posted was not one of them. The intent was to discredit my faith and witness; however, this stranger failed to understand that my faith is built on who God is, not who I am. I know very well who I am: an easy target. My failings are long; I know them far too well. My witness is paved by the testimony of a girl who only stands by the grace and mercy of God. Even still, God has allowed light, joy, and peace to settle into the marrow of my soul and redeem me as His.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).

On the heels of all this, I was reminded this morning in the simplest of ways of an important life lesson: God’s love and strength are unfailing. God may not stop the biting winds of life, but He will defend His children from Satan’s ultimate destruction. I do not beat the air with aimless fists; instead, I allow my Savior to hold me and shield me — to protect me. Even when my grasp is weak, His is strong. I know this to be true from experience: God will take our lowest times and turn them into doors of hope.

I stood in the utility room behind the partially opened door leading to the garage. My narrow view allowed me to see my son backing his truck down our driveway. He was returning to the military base: his holiday leave over. I have always seen him off. As a parent, you know the feeling. The one that takes your breath away and swells your heart with love and sadness simultaneously. Grateful for the time; pained that it is over. I could say the same about so many things and times in my life. I have collected beautiful memories that provide a constant warmth despite the day’s weather.

On this particular morning, icy winds whipped and bullied, pushing against the other side of the door. The small opening I peered around provided a safe place to see my son off. The wind bent around the door and moved past me. I was shielded from the worst, even though I still felt the chill. I was thankful for the protection that allowed me the opportunity to blow kisses and give my son a departing smile.

As I closed the door and took a seat at the kitchen table, I could not help but be humbled by the many ways God cares for us — the many ways He is for us. I often lose sight of His presence by questioning the motives and meanness of the world — the harshness of hearts. The only proven way I am able to return fully to peace is to rekindle an intimate knowing and knowledge of God. No matter who says what, true or false, good or bad, it is God who knows me and loves me the

most, equally at my worst and best. God bends the devil’s fiery arrows upon my shield of faith so Satan’s aim does not destroy me. No matter what pushes against me, I know the One who stands beside me is stronger.

When the fleeting powers of this life attempt to discourage and derail us, we must shift our focus from the temporal to the eternal. We must raise our voices in praise and center ourselves in the uncompromising power of the Lord. The battle begins in the mind, dear friend. Stay in the Word, not in the world’s thinking. The Word of God is our sword, our offensive weapon to protect the mind, body, and soul. God sees beyond the surface of things. Our job is to remain obedient and trust Him. Remain in the Lord: He is our safe place.

There are the unsettled who find temporary comfort in unsettling others. They point out our faults and put them on display, often twisting the truth in an effort to disparage God and our character. As Believers, we will be criticized and harshly judged by some. We must remember our peace and purpose do not come by way of our successes or failures nor from any person or position other than our position in Christ — the One who died for all. There is a spiritual battle being fought daily. May we hold firmly to our identity in Christ. When we fall short in thought or action, let us remember that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are given the opportunity to surrender, repent, be cleansed, and follow Christ daily.

Repentance says, “Even though ___ (fill in the blank), Your grace is greater still.”

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12).

This week let us focus on seeing the many ways God is FOR and WITH us. May we continue to work in faith, labor in love, and hope in the Lord. Do not allow this world to steal your smile. You are beautifully His.

SGLY, dear reader.

Tiffany Chartier

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.