***NOTE: I will be posting regularly, about 3 times per week, we just had to settle in on our first week. =)
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding, look to Him in ALL of your ways,and He will make your paths straight.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6
Little Victories – the awareness of how God provides, loves, strengthens, encourages, and works for you in your day. Count them and you will find you can press through the hard times with joy!
Several years back when I walked through a trying time in our marriage, and being pregnant with our youngest, I can vividly remember the enemy work hard at overwhelming me with fear, stress, and deep hurts. I struggled to press into God while trying to walk out of a deep depression. Many days I sat on my bathroom floor rocking myself in tears, repeating scripture, and crying out to God. God allows us those times in which we have to grieve, but we must pull ourselves from the ungodly grief that tries to settle in and steal the life that remains in you. This ungodly grief turned into a massive pity party in the bathroom of our home on a daily basis for a few months. Some might look at that and say, “It’s understandable, you were going through a lot.” But, I want to share with you that it’s not God’s will for us to wallow in self-pity because He died so that I/we may have an abundant life. Therefore, self-pity is a choice. In that, you are either choosing to be pitiful or powerful, but you cannot possibly do both.
One day, as I was rocking myself in tears in self-pity, a note was slipped under the bathroom door that I had locked as I was the only guest attending my own pity party. The note was from one of my children and it read, “Mommy, I love you. I hope you feel better. We miss you.” In that moment, God spoke to me and said, “How long are you going to keep being pitiful? I’ve called you to be a mother and they (my other 4 children) need you. Your mother was not called to cater to you in your pity parties, manage the home, and manage your children.” That day I began the work of ending my pity parties because I realized they had a ripple effect and I was the one who had control over it rippling in a negative manner, or in a positive manner. It’s not making you godly to cry out to God about how unfair things are and pray that you want things to change, but fail to realize that the change begins with you.
A believer’s worst enemy is their own feelings. God says that one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control (Gal 5:22). When we fail to exercise self-control because we give our feelings a vote, God fails to use us. Feelings are fickle and we can’t let our feelings do the talking. We must throw up the yield sign to the Spirit of God within us, and that begins in our mind. Feelings cannot be trusted; they come and go, they’re up and down, you can be happy one day, and the next you are waking up on the “wrong side of the bed.” You have to choose to recognize the “feeling” which is usually polar opposite of God’s fruits of the spirit; “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control –against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
I’m reminded of a teaching I have heard from Joyce Meyer (who God used in a mighty way to smack me back into submission to His will – Lord knows I can be a stubborn one!). In John 5:1-9, the Lord heals a man by the pool of Bethsaida:
“Jesus/Yahshua went up to Jerusalem. And, in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethsaida, having five porches. In these were lying a great number of those who were sick, blind, crippled, paralyzed, waiting for the stirring of the water.
For a messenger was going down at a certain time into the pool and was stirring the water. Whoever stepped in first, then, after the stirring of the water, became well of whatever disease he had.
And a certain man was there who had a sickness for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus/Yahshua saw him lying there, and KNOWING that he already had been there a LONG time, He said to him, “DO YOU WISH TO BECOME WELL?’
The sick man answered Him, “Master, I have NO man to PUT ME INTO the pool when the water is stirred, BUT while I am coming, ANOTHER STEPS DOWN BEFORE ME.’
He said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’
Immediately, the man became well, and he took up his bed and was walking.”
Every time I read this story, I am reminded of how I would plead to God, “But he did this… I can’t… No one understands me… I just wish… How come he/no one does…” It was my pity party just like this man who was sick by the pool for 38 years expecting someone to put him in and make him well! I was looking to my husband to say and do the right things to “make me well.” I was looking to God to take things away from me to “make me well,” when the only person that can make the choice to be made well was me. And, I didn’t want to stay that way any longer, definitely not 38 years! How many of us choose to let a circumstance define us only to lose out on life? I had to take up my own bed and walk forward, move forward for myself and for my family. No one else can do the walking for you. God wasn’t going to begin to heal my marriage if I didn’t take my rightful place and attitude in Him. God will use people to help along the way, but no one is going to want to be around misery and that included my husband! Misery isolates. So, I began to purpose to be made well by spending time with God and counting the “Little Victories.”
Each day I would focus on how God showed up, what He had done, what He was doing, and believing Him for what He will do. I had to speak life into our situation and “call those things that are not as though they were.” I was putting the “valley of dry bones” and Paul’s admonition of Romans 4:17 into daily practice, all the while believing God for a closer relationship with my husband and family, for overcoming, and for choosing to enjoy my life.
I share this with you as a precursor to our past week with the change in our family dynamics as AJ and the rest of the PopTribe all settled back into our home.
Home provides us comfort, and it also provided some challenges as we were facing things on our own without any help from nurses. So, AJ and I both submitted our list of complaints to ourselves and at times to each other. Our first week was a trying week because once you give voice to your feelings, the enemy has you dwell on them, making you weaker in God and stronger in the flesh/carnality. So, as we tried to catch up on sleep, and the new changes, we missed out on much needed time with God to get us through as we were learning to adjust to life at home. I’ve learned over the years that when my flesh acts out more, it’s because my spirit is low on God-gas. Once cannot expect to go a week on 1 tank of gas, or on very little for the day. Sure we prayed, but our time to sit and study was eaten up by the tasks of the day;
- the process of moving in and out of bed
- the process of getting ready for bed
- going to the bathroom and the constant need of assistance in it as her good hand is out of use for the moment
- needing to strengthen her weaker hand so that she can be more mobile
- the process of moving from to room
- getting dressed
- being completely dependent on someone for all things that we do daily
- bathing and creative ways to wash hair
- limitations to what can and can’t be done with a left hand versus a right hand
- limitations to life in general; where she can go and what she actually can and can’t do right now
- constantly re-organizing spaces to fit at-the-moment needs then, readjusting them again so they weren’t in the way when we were done with that space
- homeschooling and being a mom to my other 4 pops, caring for their needs
- cooking and cleaning (my mother has been a big help here)
- paying bills and making necessary phone calls
- trying to run errands quickly in case she needs to go to the bathroom
- dad working a lot and not being able to be home to spend time with the family
- getting necessary rest
You got tired reading the list, right? It has been tiring for us both, for us all. And when the tiring sets in so does the complaining, so does the pity party. There were many times that the realization of being handicapped and caring for the handicapped set in, and we both complained out of being tired and new to this change in our lives. We must be really careful when our soul and physical man gets tired because it affects all who are around us, and limits God’s power in us and through us.
“Truly, truly I say to you unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” ~John 12:24
We have to die to self; die to our thoughts, our feelings, our pity parties, our selfishness, our pride, our self-righteousness, our right to be offended by others who don’t understand or “don’t live this 24/7.” If AJ and I, or anyone of us for that matter chooses to give our fickle feelings, our flesh, a vote and not die to self, we will remain alone in misery – in our pity party. When we are in this place we are unable to bear any fruit. I believe the wilderness is a place where we deal with our flesh; and until we choose to die to our flesh, we cannot move on to the “Promise Land.” The “Promise Land” is made up of many “Little Victories” along the way as we fix our eyes on Him and what He has done, is doing, and will do. God’s spirit LIVES IN His children; therefore, we are all filled with the completeness of Him (Ephesians 3:16), and because of this we are able to overcome the wilderness and move on to our promise land being used by Him along the way to encourage others in their wilderness, on the way to their promise land.
AJ, our family, and myself all have had wilderness moments this week, and we will continue to battle them as the road to recovery is a long one, BUT God is faithful to make our crooked paths straight as we lean on and trust in Him. We are adding to our “Victory Wall” as a reminder of what He has done, is doing, and will do. Some days are easier than others, but two steps forward and one step back is still forward progress!
We do have our many light-hearted moments, we have to – there is power and healing in joy. I can be somewhat of a clown at times, and in doing so, our Pops have been influenced by it. So, we laugh hard and love hard. We do our best to seize the moments and the right timing of jokes as we press on in our day.
For instance, when AJ goes to the bathroom, I leave until she texts me. When she’s done, she’ll text in her best Dory (Finding Nemo) whale speak, “Coooooommmmme Baaaaaaacccckkkkk!!!”
We do joke with her about running marathons and such, and exercising in weird ways as we do physical therapy with her. We are purposing to enjoy the moments as we move from temporary state to temporary state.
This week’s “Little Victories”
- Thoroughly washing her hair!!!
- AJ has gained strength and is able to go to bathroom in bedside commode.
- She has gained strength in her legs and is able to bend both while laying down, almost touching her bottom. Her left leg is weaker, but she’s pushing through!
- She can lift both legs up better than she did before to help herself get situated in a seat, couch, etc.
- She has gone longer without pain medications, and is learning to use them in an as needed basis while trying to taper off the amount she uses.
- Purposing to use her left hand more; we are purposing to write and color with her to strengthen it and become ambidextrous.
- She went on her first outing to the police department’s “Police Family Day” which we thoroughly enjoy each year with our police family!
God laid on my heart to prepare her for passing her accident scene as we make preparations for doctor’s visits next week. As a survivor myself, I had to share that it’s a choice to push past it so as not to limit yourself in life by the trials we have faced. The enemy would love nothing more than to keep you bound by your past and in fear of your future all the while stealing you from living and enjoying your life today. The abundant life is lived by choosing to face and overcome our past and greatest fears in Him. Well, in our trek to our joyous “Police Family Day,” she passed her accident scene twice, and although tears were shed, her spirit was intact and rejoicing with the many who were able to witness her progress that day. We had a great and victorious day!
Thank you for making our journey bearable through the support of your love, prayers, and encouragement. God has used many “Jonathans” as we sat and sit in wilderness moments. Remember, David was in the wilderness in his trials of evading death by King Saul, and in his lamenting God sent his best friend, Jonathan, to encourage him to press on. Thank you for being the necessary “Jonathans” and encouraging us to press on!
~Laurie for the PopTribe, #TeamAniyah
@popsoflife and @somuchtosay21