I haven’t been writing. I’ve been a little worried that if I let my fingers start brushing across the keys, pieces of my heart might get exposed that I wasn’t ready to deal with. And those pieces certainly weren’t for public viewing. I couldn’t bring myself to even do everyday posts about life and celebrations and my adorable kiddos because each day was wrapped in a sense of guarded-ness. A desire to not let anyone know the dark and ugly struggles of my heart.
You see, like many of you, I’ve experienced battle. Real, nearly tangible, arrows flying, wound-creating, battle. And I’ve seen this spiritual battle impact people I love in ways that left me reeling, left me reexamining what I’ve always thought to be true, left me raw. But this is a story that doesn’t end there. It doesn’t get wrapped up with a pretty bow, but it doesn’t end with me on the ground.
I got up. This is that story.
Recently, I watched as people I love stepped boldly out in faith. To do one of the most selfless things I can think of. It is their story to tell, but just know that they nearly danced out into the storm believing they were going where God had asked them to step. But then, they just came home. They returned seemingly washed back up on the sand like driftwood. In a turn of events that can’t be explained, they went to bring home a child, but came home with hands empty. Hearts aching. Wounded.
I’ve also struggled mightily to understand why the situation RRL and I said “yes” to is not yet resolved. Why offering hope and help and JESUS has not seemed “enough” in my human measure of resolution. I’ve doubted, I’ve questioned, I’ve literally threatened to give up. Wounded.
I’ve struggled to stand with many who question why children get so very sick. Why families aren’t restored. Why precious ones die. Why the help we offer seems futile. Wounded.
Hear me. I believe.FULLY.that there is HOPE. That in the rewards of eternity, these deepest heart struggles will be but a blip on the timeline. But in the same breath- if it is even possible- I can not reconcile that hope with the pain of wounded believers. And recently, as a result of that, I got mad- really mad. I didn’t reject God. But I let Him know that there wasn’t an ounce of me that could understand. Not much of me that could be happy. That could see the GOOD. I limped. Wounded.
Through the exposure to pain, I fell to a deep spiritual low, and it was there that I found myself believing I was a victim. The health struggles, financial frustrations, disappointment in people, despair in trying to offer help, heart-ache at knowing that children suffer. I believed all of it was a battle. An attack from satan. On me. and I wondered why God wasn’t stopping it. If you’ve been there, you know- it is dark.
Praise the LORD he didn’t let me stay there. Thankfully he sent person after person- some directly and some through written words- to remind me of TRUTH. And over and over he’s been implanting Truth in my heart. And the truth is this:
We are not the victims. We are not even the targets. RRL and I, we have nothing for satan. Our souls are already claimed. Our victory is won. We could lose everything else, and it wouldn’t change that. So, why in the world would he bother with us?
Unless there is more. Unless it isn’t me that he is after. Unless, instead, he’s after what I defend. The souls of those I love. The hearts of people I may not even know. Those who haven’t decided. Those who haven’t chosen. Those who haven’t heard and believed.
Like a soldier in an army is not the target of the attack, maybe neither is the believer. Like the soldier is part of a wall set to defend the city, maybe also is a believer.
There is a part of me that believed that if I crumbled as the arrows cut deep, as battle wounds festered, the enemy would stop to celebrate. But maybe instead, he would march right over me and plunge deeper toward his ultimate goal. The souls of the undecided.
I have come to believe that I have a choice.
I can be a victim. I can see the arrows that fly as attacks on me. And I can be consumed by that. I can crumble under my own struggle to understand and in my own doubts.
Or, I can be someone who chooses that no matter what arrows fly my way, I will continue to be part of this army. I will GET.BACK.UP. and share hope through my words and actions and family. Even if I do it so very poorly and even if I have to limp, I won’t give up. Because I am not the victim.
I cannot tell you honestly that I’m thankful yet for battle wounds. I cannot tell you that I understand that my wounds are small scratches compared to the persecution others face. I can’t tell you that I’ve reconciled my faith with the pain I see. I don’t understand wounds and though I believe in redemption, I can’t fully fathom it.
BUT I know I don’t fight of my own strength.
And because of that I think that maybe wounded and limping soldiers are the best kind. Maybe the only kind. Maybe the only way to fight for others is just to be willing to get up. Again. And again. And again.
I’m not going to say that this perspective shift has changed the fact that I am frustrated by the pain I see.
I’m still wounded.
And I’m not going to say it has made me any less human in my interactions with others, in the words I speak and in the way I respond.
I’m still limping.
But today, I’m getting back up. I’m not giving up. I’m choosing to believe in miracles and choosing to believe in victory. And tomorrow, when my body aches and my soul is tired, I’ll choose to do it again.
Because it isn’t about me. I have nothing to lose, and they have everything to gain.