“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
-John 16:33, NIV
You are a person. I know it’s crazy. But, you are. You are a person with a soul and a calling and a God who loves you so much He appointed you to be in the exact season that you’re in.
We so often forget our humanity. Our microwave, media driven culture makes us think we can be awesome constantly and immediately. We should be robots that crush our goals, speed through to-do lists, get what we want out of life, and look awesome while we do it.
However, the reality is that we are indeed human. We need rest. Life is hard and we cannot run from our emotions forever. We wake up with bedhead and bad breath. Where we want a resounding “YES!” God sometimes says “no,” “not right now,” or is even silent. Sometimes life knocks us down and we feel taken out of the fight.
I wrote a devotional book called “Matrimony, Motherhood, and Me” because this entire season of marriage and motherhood was anything but what I expected.
Around three months after our wedding day, my husband and I came to the harsh realization that we were burnt out in ministry and had started our marriage off on the wrong foot. We quit our jobs and moved across the country with only what would fit in our car. Staff housing for our jobs in Aspen, CO was a transformed motel room where we cooked on a hot plate and washed our dishes in a bathroom sink for a year. Honeymoon phase, what?
The beginning of motherhood was just about as movie script worthy. I plummeted into postpartum anxiety after our first child and don’t think I felt the release of its constrictions on my mind until after our first daughter turned one. It was dark, hard, and full of sleepless nights and panic attacks.
I wanted to be able to trade in my humanity for instant results. I didn’t have the energy to fight anymore and I wanted to quit. “God, remove this!” “God, deliver me!” “God, do you even see this mess??? Clean it up!”
He didn’t. So, I stopped asking God to snap His fingers and make my problems disappear in exchange for begging Him to guide me through this process, join me in the struggle, and fight on my behalf.
And, He did. Every. Single. Time.
Clear as day, I can remember the moment when I started to change my prayer strategy. After battling through another sleepless, anxious night, I came bawling to my husband. As a former professional wakeboarder, he started to coach me as any good sports enthusiast would.
“Listen, Kaley. You just keep letting your insomnia and anxiety hit you in the face. Quit taking it. When are you going to hit back?”
As if I was a boxer training for a fight, I let his words sink in. From what I understand of boxing, which is very little, you not only have to hit back, you have to anticipate, guard your face, protect yourself, and be one step ahead of the opposition.
Biblically, there are three ways we can proactively pray:
1. Pray with audacity, knocking relentlessly on God’s door until He gives us what we need (Matthew 7:7). The adage “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” seems to also be true for our prayer life. If God hasn’t said “no,” then keep going. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16).”
2. Dismiss Satan’s lies with God’s truth (Philippians 4:8). Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). If there are disordered thoughts in your head, those aren’t from God. Start with writing down the lies you’re believing and out beside each one, put a truth from God’s Word that counteracts it. This is how Jesus defeated the devil in the desert (Matthew 4). If it was a good enough fight tactic for the Son of God, it’s probably a great one for us too.
3. Fight from victory not for victory (John 16:33). We are on God’s team and know the end of the story. We get the K.O., belt, trophy, and heaven. When we fight as if we’re losing, we often start striving, panicking, or want to give up. If we can put the big picture into perspective, we can remember how the story ends and then track the rest of the battle backwards. This is just a light and momentary struggle compared to the eternal timeline we have in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:17).
God’s call for us all is to let our human depravity come into a direct encounter with His divinity. Where we’re weak, He is mighty. When it’s dark, He is the light. Our story of hurt, He uses to heal. When we want to tap out, God gives us the knockout hit we need to overcome our enemies.
Want the truth? I’ve been wrestling with anxiety for years and I’m still fighting. In the week that I’m writing this, I’ve had a terrible time with insomnia and panic attacks. I wish I could tell you that I have a magic recipe for making struggles go away. However, the verse I use at the top of this blog plainly states that “WE WILL SUFFER.” Hardship is unavoidable but (this is the good part) in Christ we can TAKE HEART.
I’m walking through these three steps daily, right beside you. This is incredibly hard. We may not be delivered when we want to be. However, we can rest assured that fighting the good fight is always worth it and that, with God, we never walk alone. Maybe not today, but victory will come.
I wrote this poem to help you remember that, through Christ, you are an overcomer. You can tell Satan to shove it. Whatever you’re fighting for or through today, keep swinging. You’ve got this because God’s got you. Here it goes:
I’m not afraid of the dark anymore
You don’t have to turn on the light
Satan, what you meant for evil
God will only make right.
Send me into the valley
Just try to bring me down
One day you’ll be cast out
And I’ll wear a heavenly crown.
You can try to burn me up
But you’re only fueling my fire.
When you tried to bring me down
God raised up a fighter.
That pit you tried to throw me in
Taught me how to climb out.
That prison you tried to lock me in
Taught me to praise break out.
I am beauty from ashes
Gold refined in the fire
Thanks for creating the battleground where
God raised up a fighter.
Remember, next time you try to bring me down,
God raised up a fighter.
A prayer for you today:
“Lord, I know that I’m human but sometimes I want to be a robot. I want You to be able to press a button and instantly take away the hardship. Today, I surrender and admit that I am fully human and You are fully God. I hurt, feel and am desperate for You. Will You join me in my suffering today? Will You fight for me when I’m too weak? I want a Healer more than I want my healing. I want Joy more than instant gratification. I want the Victor more than the Victory. If You haven’t delivered me, then You’re developing me. So, meet me where I’m at and take me, step-by-step, in the direction You want me to go. If You have overcome the world, You can certainly carry me through this. I trust You.
In the mighty name of Jesus,
“Matrimony, Motherhood, and Me” is a workbook style devotional for married moms with young kids. It’s snappy, to the point, and will inspire you to build community and rethink your legacy. Find out more about ordering HERE.
Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, and worship leader. Her passion to see women love God and each other authentically has led her to lead worship for ministries across the greater Charlotte area and write devotional books for over a decade. When she’s not writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She is the wife to TWELVE sports ministry leader, Gage Thompson and the mom to two little girls, Lina and Lili. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson.