John has a yearly board meeting in the U.K., so we tend to take a couple of extra days when we can, to see something new. This year we packed a lot into two days.

My husband is much more into history than I am, so when he got excited that we were going to be near a battlefield outside Hastings I said “Woohoo!” without much true enthusiasm.



Turns out the Battle of Hastings in 1066 is a pretty big deal and was a fascinating visit with an audio guide that revealed several leadership, marriage, and faith lessons I’ve been thinking about ever since we left.

The bottom line in this battle is that Harold, new king of England (by questionable means), was defending Great Britain against William the Conqueror from Normandy (his name kind of gives away the story), who wanted to be boss of the island too.

At one point in the battle, William’s French soldiers mistakenly got word that he had been killed. They lost heart and started to retreat with the British soldiers hot on their heals.

William got wind of this and galloped his horse over to that part of the battle. He lifted his helmet/mask thingy, revealing his face and yelled something like, “I’m alive! Don’t lose heart! Victory is in front of you, only death behind!”


The men, energized, inspired, and encouraged, turned around and eventually they won the battle.

I just keep picturing this leader, lifting his mask so his troops can look him in the eye and know that all is not lost.

I think of God, lifting His mask and showing us His face in Jesus.

I think of all the times that the battle seems too much…

We’re discouraged, tired, overwhelmed, lonely. We feel beaten up.

We forget who we are and whose we are.

But every time we open the Bible, God lifts His mask again. We see Jesus and we receive encouragement, inspiration and the assurance that He has the battle in hand.

This is what the Lord says to you_ ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.