“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about .” – Unknown
Life is full of unpredictable seasons. There are times when it seems as if we are flying high and moments when we are literally crawling on our knees to just get through the day. Like you, I have experienced many moments of great victories and others times, huge disappointments. One thing that has remained true in these seasons, is once I got through the hard times I discovered a new strength and an ability to endure more than I thought I could, but experiencing the many seasons of struggle were essential for me to truly grasp this lesson.
A struggle will cause us to do one or two things. Dig deep to withstand the storm or give up. There really are not any other options.
So what happens when we decide to stand? There really is not any magic to it, but when we say, “I’m going to fight this one until the end”, something inside of us rises up to face the challenge. This choice doesn’t necessarily take away the feeling of fear, nor will it always lay out a clearly defined pathway for success, but it will allow for our faith to take action and give us the impetus to believe again.
The Bible says all we need is faith the size of mustard seed to move a mountain, but what do we need faith for if there is no mountain to be moved?
So if our struggle is represented by the mountain, here lies the opportunity to exercise our faith. Not in a religious way with man-made rules, but in a way that connects directly with God. The type of faith that Peter (according to the Bible) had when he walked on the rough seas.
The word struggle means to contend with an adversary or opposing force. This typically means that something or someone is coming against you. These are times when most people have left our side and we are forced to face the circumstance(s) alone. For sure it can be a scary season in our lives and perhaps everything in us is saying, “run to the hills, quit, or give in to whatever your facing”, but there is also that small still voice telling you to plant yourself and charge on.
I am not here to judge you on any decision that you have made in your past, because I have been in both shoes. The standing and the quitting shoes, but I have learned when I did chose to quit or give up, it just delayed the lesson, so eventually I had to face it again at some point.
One of my greatest stories of strength is about my new wife. Monique is a kind-hearted woman, with a calm and icky sweet demeanor. For years, as much as I appreciated her warmth, love and compassionate disposition, if I am honest with myself, I also felt it was a weakness. I thought she was too nice and didn’t stand up for herself, but I learned later from her that when you chose to love, there are things that you willingly surrender and when people think they are getting away with something they really are not because you already chose to freely give that “thing” away. Sometimes this can be a harsh reality, but I am learning it truly is the best way to live, because it allows you release people and focus on the bigger issues.
I have also learned that my wife has an ability to stand during duress like no one I have ever seen. She will plant herself and become immovable. I am grateful for this characteristic she possesses, because it is probably the one thing that allowed us to become husband and wife today. Despite every odd and what anyone had to say, this woman truly believed in us. She has taught me a great deal about strength and struggle and I am thankful for who she is and very blessed to be her husband.
I recognize there can be no real appreciation of light without darkness and no gratefulness for joy without experiencing some pain along the way. It causes the fight to be all the more worthy and winning the battle much sweeter. My marriage is an example of a battle that was won. We have both endured and came out stronger, better and much more beholden to one another. Our relationship, which was bound to be doomed has become rock solid, and it was through the darkness of our struggle that our strength and love was able to take root and become something that we can be proud of and tell the world that good things don’t come to those that simply wait, but to those that endure and go through.
Now I certainly do not look forward to the next struggle I will face, although I realize they are all a part of life. But I do know that in them can lie treasures of knowledge and wisdom, essential self-discovery and a courage that I have no idea exists within me.
So what are you struggling with today? Yes it is hard, yes it will test you and even possibly bring you to your knees, but it will also reveal a strength in you that is just waiting to be discovered. Not just by others, but by you as well.