The long road that leads to the end of ourselves <3

The handful of comments I have received from this series – whether typed or spoken to me in passing – have got me swelled up with tears so often.

Satan likes to wield what’s known in the boxing world as a sucker punch.

And even when we are purposely wearing God’s armor, that blow can knock the wind out of us as it slams up against that shield of faith.

The armor is divine but the warrior wearing it is 100% human and we can reel and stagger when the enemy roars hard in our life.

But if, in the midst of recovery, we can gather enough breath to ask God this one prayer…

Lord, don’t waste an ounce of this season….

this is a prayer He delights to answer.

If you will fight the good fight through the ups and downs of your very human reactions and responses….through your fits and through your rants…through your breakdowns and your meltdowns…through the surrender and the temptation to retaliate…God will work in ways that not only bless you but make you a blessing to others.

But you sure don’t feel like it a lot of days.

Because as I stated yesterday and will declare til the day I am standing perfected BY HIM…before Him…

I am … you are … a WORK. IN. PROGRESS.

On the road to healing we will stumble many a time.

We will not always be gracious to the ones who have wounded us.

We will not always rejoice with our friends who are getting more while we mourn our less.

We will not always want to forgive and forget.

We will rehearse the wounding.

We will allow our minds to play out scenes that we feel should be happening if everyone had played fair.

We will struggle to find joy and contentment with what we do have because we can’t shake off what we don’t have.

And yes…we will then beat ourselves up for all of the above and we will look around at our friends and mentors and think how much better each of them would be handling this and we will sink into an even deeper level of recognizing our failures.

So we need to remember this other forgotten aspect of prayer.

Confession…recognizing before God what He has known all along…our humanity…our frailty…our tendency to think that we should be better than all of those things I just mentioned…and acknowledging that we really are not.

Repentance…saying it is not okay to be that way when we see it in ourselves…no longer excusing our bad behavior in the grief process by saying it’s just the way we are and God loves us anyway…reversing the things above, literally….

Lord, I want to be gracious towards those who have caused me pain, because YOU were gracious to me when I was apart from you

Lord, give me joy and gladness when my friends receive the blessings I have lost. Help me to be happy for them and to rejoice with them in true fellowship.

Lord, you have forgiven me much and cast my sin and iniquity into the ocean of forgetfulness and mercy. I choose to forgive and forget because of this grace you have extended to me.

Lord, help me to stop myself when I am tempted to go over the details of the whole event long after You have asked me to lay it down. Like someone pulling out old home movies and cherishing the good times and then mourning the bad, I repent of dwelling in what no longer is and I choose to live in the present. I will actively engage in today and trust you for tomorrow. You were always writing the future and You have not changed.

Lord, I will not use my vain imagination to compare myself to others and waste precious time today conjuring up images of how well they would be doing my journey. My friends and mentors are fellow travelers. By assuming they could carry my backpack better than I am, I am robbing myself and them of the camaraderie we should be sharing as we link arms and help each other along.

Forgiveness…by faith I am forgiven my gaffs and faltering steps as I progress through the season.

By faith, I find my prayer to be a cry for mercy…and in His answer, I am enveloped in peace.

I am reminded in closing of one of my favorite teachings from Beth Moore on the difference between Satan and Jesus and it is also a boxing reference.

She said once that Satan is like the boxer who targets his opponent in a place of wounding. He pounds relentlessly into the open cut under the eye. He shows no mercy and will repeatedly attack in the place of weakness.

Jesus takes a nail scarred hand to that same wound and He presses hard to stop the bleeding…to draw healing into the pain.

My friend…if we are beat up in our sorrow…it is not from God’s hand.

Oh…conviction hurts…but it leads to healing.

Guilt and condemnation are not from God.

I pray today in all areas of grief and loss and sorrow that you know the Hand of God holding you tightly throughout the process and that you will yield to His loving guidance.

Remember YOUR sucker punch, right back at the enemy of your soul, is the conviction and prayer that nothing of this season will be wasted but that all will be used one day to bring glory and honor and praise to the God who brought you through <3