“…Count it all joy when you fall into various trials. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3, New King James Version).
January 2023 was a very challenging month. For those who are new to my blog, I want you to know that I suffer from anxiety. During the month of January, God taught me how to have more patience while walking through a tough trial. Let me explain… On Thursday, January 19th, I checked my USPS Mobile Informed Delivery App. When I opened it, fear sunk it’s claws into me, and my stomach started doing flip flops when I realized a Jury Summons was on its way. I told my husband, Matt, what was coming in the mail. Many people get called to Jury Duty every day; but for me, this made my anxiety worse because of my disabilities. My mind began to race. I am visually impaired and imagined struggling to see evidence that could impact someone’s future. On top of this, how would I get there? The courthouse is 25 miles from my home; and because of my visual impairment, I cannot drive. My husband is completely blind and does not drive either. Unfortunately, our budget would not allow for me to use a taxi service or an Uber for a week’s worth of travel to the courthouse. Later that afternoon, I trembled as I opened the envelope that contained my summons. I struggled visually to read it. At first, I thought I understood the summons to say that if I did not return the enclosed questionnaire and excusal note from my doctor within 10 days I would face a stiff fine and / or imprisonment. My anxiety already in overdrive went into turbo charge at the thought of being fined and going to prison. I thought how ironic it would be for me to need jurors to determine my fate for not getting my jury duty paperwork filed on time. I did not know when I could get a doctor’s appointment or how long it might take for her to write an excusal note. Fortunately, I was able to get a ride to my doctor’s office on Monday to drop off the paperwork for my excusal letter. By then, four days had already passed. I still was not certain how long it would take for my doctor to prepare the letter of excusal for the courthouse. I was in a state of sheer panic. My anxiety, however, began to subside a little bit when I learned that I had misread the summons. It was only the questionnaire that needed to be returned within 10 days, and they allowed six weeks for my doctor to prepare my excusal letter. After breathing a sigh of relief, I knew the clock was still ticking, however, on mailing my questionnaire. The next day we went to the post office and sent it off via Priority Mail—which cost $11.00. The postal clerk promised me that the courthouse would receive my questionnaire on Thursday—which would have been within the allotted ten days. I felt like I was strapped into an emotional rollercoaster when I called the courthouse on Thursday afternoon and learned that my questionnaire had not arrived. Even though the courthouse clerk was understanding and told me to call back on Friday to see if it arrived then, it did very little to comfort my troubled spirit. I was not practicing patience nor was I feeling peace which are both fruit of the Holy Spirit. I was not allowing God to take ahold of the situation, nor was I letting him take care of me. I knew I had two answers to this event in my life: Either God was going to allow me to have peace by being excused from Jury Duty, or he would give me peace by walking with me even if I had to attend. But I knew my actions, my worrying and anxiety, did not line up with my belief. That’s when I began to find some solace by worshipping Jesus, particularly when I listened to the soundtrack from a play we had recently seen at Sight &Sound called David.
“Be strong and courageous, Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
When I called the courthouse back the next day on Friday, the questionnaire still had not arrived. Time was running out, and I couldn’t believe that it hadn’t been delivered since we sent it Priority Mail. I downloaded another questionnaire from the courthouse’s website, filled it out and went back to the post office on Monday. By then, it was the eleventh day, and my questionnaire was now late. The post office couldn’t find nor explain what had happened to my questionnaire. We then paid $27.00 for overnight delivery. It was money we didn’t really have. When we got home, I kept worrying that the sheriff would be knocking on my door to arrest me. I listened to the soundtrack David for the umpteenth time. Then I called the courthouse to let them know what was going on. The clerk was very kind and understanding. She told me not to worry and to call back the next day to see if it had arrived. When I spoke with her the following morning, she still hadn’t received my questionnaire yet, but she had great news. My doctor had already faxed over my excusal letter, and the judge signed off on it. The clerk promised to send a green postcard with my official jury duty excusal on it. A few days later after it arrived, my anxiety turned into praise.
“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.” (Psalms 34:1) God truly had a lesson for me. I need to trust Him at all times—even when I can’t see Him working.