By: M. Charlotte Oliver 

 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14-King James Version (KJV)

This stage of my life…the stage where I do not have to write anything unless I want to, the one where my future in academia is no longer determined by the feedback of my committee, but instead now, by their advice. And, the one where I still experience some emotions, but hopefully emotions not so dreadful as before. Sustenance of this welcomed stage!  

The month of March and of mostly April of this year, came with severe emotions. Joy, anxiousness, fear, happiness, relief, plus so many others. I was concerned about my writing. Did I follow all the preventing plagiarism guidelines? Did I use APA 7? Or was it APA 6? Perhaps both? Did I cite even personal communications as required. Did I use any researcher’s or writer’s work without giving due credit? With 55 pages of references, I must have. No, let me check again… 

Yes, the reassurance of integrity in my writing kept me awake many nights. A topic, always of great importance to me. And, one I watch for in other writers too. Seeking to find and use without acknowledgement, is just not cool. Ya know…

Sleepless nights came with these concerns. Nights with eyes wide-open sending emails to my research chair at 2am on a Sunday morning. I prayed, then prayed. I thought of family and of friends, baked bread in the middle of the night, then prayed and prayed again.

On prayer, Christian poet James Montgomery (1771-1854) wrote:

“Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,

Uttered or unexpressed;

The motion of hidden fire

That trembles in the breast.”

As I’ve mentioned before, at night time I sometimes find some channels on YouTube welcoming and indeed quite soothing. One early morning as I waited for feedback on my writing, I decided to start watching the series Edwardian Farm. As one who farms, I’d sporadically perused this show before. Now that I had the time, I watched two episodes on that early morning. I completed the series just this Monday. Two weeks after all my unnecessary concerns were settled. 

After watching the show, I learned so much about the farming life of that era. In almost any series depicting the English countryside, there is always a vicar, and a church service or two. Life back then was so difficult. From the weather conditions, famines, family dynamics, wars, work situations…so much, in all of it. This made me wonder with life being so challenging then, how did the people of this time control some of the very emotions I mentioned above. How did they go through the day with such faith? How did they manage the workload, issues, and constant problems? How did they?

They did so by living nearer to the original and core teachings of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They lived and remained at the root of God’s original words. His initiatives of protector and giver of all good. The people who attended church during this time were in complete service and obedience to God. Work began at sometimes 3am in the morning or if it was wash day, perhaps 2am! Washing day took approximately four days to complete. But, they sustained, and remained “Conquerors through him that loves us.” (see Romans 8:37). Their original Christian faith kept them well. God listened to prayers then as he does now. Our Father is inerrant. He never changes.  

Like the farmers in the Edwardian era or perhaps even those in the United States (US) during this time, last night I did not have to heat and wrap a brick with cloth to put under my sheets, just to stay warm during the night. I just pressed a finger on the thermostat to make sure it was on 68 degrees. This took me five seconds to do.

Yes, I have more time than they did.

More time to make sure I continue to live nearer to the originality of God’s Words. To adhere to compassion, as one compliment to his teachings. To remain patient and faithful, in the joy of God’s earthly ether. To serve him with great capacity. To witness his unfailing glory even on challenging days. To reap the harvest he provides in his own time, as the full proof of my life when I stick to the creativity of his intentions.

I know how the Edwardian farmers held on. Their labors of external principles to feed the people in the cities and to feed their own, were exemplary. Their earliest thoughts and ideas, through devotion to God’s Words, were remarkable. No unbiblical negotiations to harm the wall of evidence were needed. No untruths! But instead, simply, just faith!

This stage in my life offers a real good place of spiritual profit led by the Spirit (see Revelation 1:10). A stage of repose based on tranquil labor and verbal thanksgiving to God. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (KJV). Lord, I try…

My prayer:

Heavenly Father, may I continue to walk on the path of your living stones, just like some, of time gone by. And family members who are now in your arms, who knew that all their generational transgressions, accompanied Jesus to the Cross. In Christ, I don’t have to pray to release their offenses. Your Word tells me so (See Exodus 20:5-6, John 8:31-36, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 3:13, 1 John 2:2). For instead, I must reside in your teachings, to consistently apply them in my daily walk and rest only on your uncomplicated truth.