A few weeks ago, we sang in church about our weapon being a melody, and fighting our battles with prayer. This was super convicting to me- getting ready for church had NOT gone well. Maybe you know what I mean. We overslept, the whole crew needed baths and showers, nothing got put away the night before since we had gotten home late, we were out of milk, etc. And of course our oldest had worship practice earlier, so that adds an element of chaos getting him out. Everyone bickered and sniped, we couldn’t find the littlest one’s shoes (she takes them off constantly) and we just tornadoed our way down the highway. Yuck.
Dusing worship time, I realized that these moments, the ones that are SUPER HARD and CHAOTIC *are* my battles. It seems ridiculous, but it’s true.
I know some mamas walking through the shadow of death; some who have just lost their husbands; some who deal with health issues of their children or themselves; and the list goes on. Some women face incredibly hard, all-encompassing struggles that last for months or years. I pray that God gives them an extra measure of grace and peace.
What is a struggle? Or a battle, worthy of the promises that come with it? I think it can mean a much broader spectrum.
I think a battle can be any time we are losing our self control to the issue at hand. When our anxiety skyrockets, our blood starts pumping, our voice takes an edge, our patience wears thin, and our joy wavers. This is the battle- in the everyday trials of life in this place.
This all flooded over me during worship. I bawled while I sang- and prayed that He would help me recognize the battle, while I was in it. What a beautiful thing it is to struggle- because then we can access the promises from God! Here are a couple of my favs:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
Unfortunately, I got to test it and see if my new lens held up. Our precious, wonderful, fabulous feline, Emily, snuck into the van that night when we were unloading. Of course, we didn’t notice until the following day. Well, I had a PILE of errands that outnumbered my afternoon, and I was planning to take my mom along, who is housebound, to get her out for a bit. Of course, we got out the door later than I hoped. And the smell. I’ll let you imagine it. I found the location of the bulk of the mess. Since kids aren’t supposed to wear their coats in carseats (a really fun new rule!), and since it was warm when we got home, all their coats were left in a pile on the seat. Apparently, that made a nice nest for dear Emily. All their coats needed a few washes (I think it only hit the top one, but I was still undone.) Did I mention that my washing machine was broken, and the repairman couldn’t come until Thursday?
Instead of losing my salvation, I simply hummed. “This is how I fight my battles.” Something changed: I could feel it. I didn’t laugh; I didn’t see the “good” in it. But I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t frustrated. I didn’t speak sharply to the kids, and I didn’t carry it in my neck and shoulders, or for the rest of the afternoon. It was over. Something changed.
I got it cleaned up pretty quickly, and we were on our way. This may not seem like a big deal, but honestly, things like this seem to happen a lot, and they just break me! I do alright with patience when it comes to humans- but silly, annoying circumstances make me crazy. It’s always made me so frustrated and angry with myself. Finally, I feel hopeful that by identifying these little, tiny moments of struggle, I can use them to be closer to my Father.
How about you? What are the things that just “undo” you? What triggers you to lose your self-control? How have you seen breakthrough in your struggles? I would love to hear about them.