Even in the midst of what seems like a losing battle, recognize the small victories

Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some…”

Even If, MercyMe

My intent is for this to be a short little post. However, my mother claims that I wake up talking and fall asleep talking so I’m not sure how succinct this post will actually be.

But I’ll try.

This is about recognizing those small victories even in the midst of a losing battle. Because these small victories might actually help you turn the battle around.

Last week I wrote about the victory that came with properly dealing with pain after a fall. It may not seem like such a big deal but the devil got me with that one for years. No matter how good I was doing, pain was my downfall. So to power through the pain with just a few Tylenol was monumental and I publicly claimed my victory.

There’s probably very little the devil hates more than you announcing his defeat in your life.

So I should’ve been prepared for the attack that followed.

But I wasn’t.

I got extremely hurt over three things that happened in the same night and, as most people do, when hurt becomes unbearable, it turns to anger.

The next morning, I was mad at the world. I knew exactly what was going on. It was an attack because I’d written about the earlier victory. But I couldn’t stop the feelings of hurt and anger. These were people close to me. I mean, I’d given birth to one of them, married the other, and worked daily with the third.

Now, in fairness to them, I must say that I completely overreacted in each situation. Somehow I’d let the devil nest in my mind without realizing it and he made mountains out of molehills.

But at the time, I didn’t see any of that. I was just mad. And I don’t do mad silently very well.

I hopped in my car to go to the library and the grocery store, knowing I needed an attitude adjustment before my parents arrived for a weekend visit.

I was less than a quarter-mile from my house when I just HAD to listen to “Even If” by MercyMe. I’d insisted a dear friend in the ministry listen to it when she was having a rough day and it was time for a dose of my own medicine.

I love the song but it just wasn’t speaking to me right then. At least not fast enough. I was on the second verse when I heard the Lord.

“What are you listening to?”

You know that neat way that the Lord can ask you a question, you can answer it and know the message He is giving you all at the exact same time?

That’s what happened.

Because I knew instantly He was reminding me that for many years, even years after salvation, I’d keep a very angry, very explicit chick rock CD in my car to listen to when I got mad. I liked to feed the anger; it soothed me. I’d get right with the Lord and throw the CD out, get mad again and buy a new copy. I don’t even know when it was but at some point, I threw it out and never replaced it. I didn’t need commiserating music to soothe my soul; I needed music that affirmed the word of God.

I never considered listening to anything else that morning. I didn’t want to stay mad. I didn’t want to sulk and I didn’t want a pity party. I wanted to be right with God. The rest of it, I knew, would fall into place once THAT relationship was righted.

And it was. Immediately.

Because I recognized, with the Lord’s help, that even in the midst of my ugly mood, my heart still just wanted to be right with Him. It definitely hadn’t always been like that so even though I’d been losing that battle, I claimed the small victory. And I felt the tide turn. 

Claim your victories, no matter how small, and let the Lord help you emerge victorious.

Jesus is MY Greatest Showman

Did you see the movie The Greatest Showman?

If not, run to the nearest Redbox right now and rent it. Better yet, go buy a copy at your local superstore so you can watch it over and over. Or, if you are young enough to stare at me blankly while I talk about my old cassette tapes, just download it.

It is a great movie that was robbed at the awards show. ROBBED! Especially the music. I don’t remember which song won the Oscar for Best Song but it wasn’t “This Is Me” and it so should have been.

Watch any amateur talent show and you’ll see wannabe stars agree. I heard it no less than ten times on reality competitions this season alone.

The song is sung by a group of circus performers, an odd group of misfits put on display for the world to stare. But their hearts are huge and you can’t help but feel their collective pain and determination as they declare that they won’t be broken down for there’s a place for them in this world.

You don’t have to be 2 feet tall or a bearded lady to relate.

We all have those feelings of being bruised and sharp words cutting us down. We all know the fight to keep shame from sinking in and marching on.

You don’t even have to be in a dark place to have those moments.

All it takes is one little setback to feel that round of bullets hitting your skin.

For me, it was a terrible fall. It was a freak thing and a mistake I will never make again. As always, I tried to get just a couple more things done before heading to the bathroom. Soon it became apparent those bladder muscles aren’t as tight after five childbirths and I  sprinted to the bathroom. Unbeknownst to me, my husband had doused it down with Febreze as a favor to me (thanks, hon) and about two feet from the toilet both of my feet came flying out from under me and I landed flat on my back. My right foot hit the trash can, garbage flying everywhere, my head hit the concrete floor that looks like wood. (It may look like wood but it feels very much like concrete btw) My forearms somehow shared the brunt of the fall with my rump. That was a two-edged sword. The extra weight provided a cushion, yet my poor bones had to absorb the shock of what definitely falls on the obese chart in the physician’s office.

It was horrendous.

Nothing was broken so going to the doctor wasn’t an option. I can Google self-help for falls and save myself the charge. I used it as an excuse to read a new novel and watch Hallmark Christmas movies. I called that my silver lining.

But it wasn’t easy.

I did have to fight the devil constantly whispering that only pain medicine would make it better. (That would be like an alcoholic having just one drink because it was the holidays. It’s never just one.)

I moaned and groaned because I don’t do “feeling bad” very well.

Yet I refused to give in.

On Day 2, I made myself get dressed (lipstick and all) and go into town.

By Day 3, I found myself singing:

I won’t let them break me down to dust….Look out cause here I come…

The pain is slowly subsiding but it did not win. All of those battles lost seem insignificant when you know you are on the team that wins the war.

But my Savior isn’t P.T. Barnum; it’s Jesus Christ.

Because of Him, I can make it through anything.

I can do ALL THINGS through Christ, which strengtheneth me. Phillipians 4:13.

A Verse for Children of All Ages

Paul wrote the book of Ephesians to a group of believers at the church of Ephesus to give them a manual for Christian living.

As young children we are taught Ephesians 6:1: Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

But as we grow older we think the verse no longer applies to us and we often miss the next two verses as well.

Ephesians 6:2-3: Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

First, we see the promise. Honor your parents that your days may be long. The opposite must be true as well: dishonor your parents, shorten your life.

But let’s go back to verse 1. Children…

Even Cracker Barrel acknowledges CHILDREN OF ALL AGES in its menu. We may have surpassed the mirror of youth but we are all still someone’s child. Whether living or not, you are to still show honor to your parents.

There are no preclusions here. No if your parent is saved..No unless your mom wasn’t maternal or only if your dad wasn’t abusive.

That doesn’t mean you are to put yourself in harm’s way or subject yourself to mental anguish. It does mean you are to honor them. With your words, with your prayers, with your actions.

I’ve seen people rip their parents to shreds on Facebook over differing beliefs.

I’ve heard people stand up in services and pray that their parent burns in hell one day.

This is not honoring your parents.

On the opposite side of that, I’ve seen recovering addicts use this verse to mean they must go home to the parent who’s also their former drug partner and within two days they are back in throes of addiction. That wasn’t necessary nor is it what “honor” means.

In a nutshell, honor your parents means to speak life. Whether you are talking to them or about them, be uplifting. Sometimes just speaking kind words can bring about a changed heart.