Becoming an Overcomer

Last summer I blogged about the importance and effectiveness of acknowledging and celebrating the tiny victories in the midst of life’s struggles.  I have continued to hold onto these moments, to be grateful for them and to encourage my friends in their own times of overcoming. In particular I contemplate with pleasure and gratitude the baby shower I held for my friend at our home last June.  Looking back now it feels a little bit strange to think that it was such a huge decision to carry it out, but at the time it was a monumental occasion of realising that thanks to God’s grace I could be more than I thought possible in the face of my own disappointment, hurt and longing for a baby.  In the middle of my despair and frustration giving this gift felt like the pinnacle of overcoming – something I was desperate to see in my life.

This last week, however, God has shown me that it has been His intention for me to go even further still as He has continued to shape and mold me in the months since that baby shower.  It’s funny how quickly we forget that God’s plans for us are so much more than we see for ourselves, especially when we feel like we can’t see internal changes occurring or a situation just doesn’t seem to be budging.  On Thursday a very pregnant friend of mine was in need of a lift to the hospital for her final scan.  Agreeing to that favour was a no-brainer.  Yet it wasn’t until we arrived onto the maternity unit and entered the waiting room that I began to realise what I had let myself in for.  These were corridors that I have never walked before as we have always been ushered to a different set of rooms to sit alongside a smaller band of women who do not qualify for entry.  Stepping over the threshold felt surreal and significant.

As I sat and waited for my friend, surrounded by posters about breastfeeding and women with baby bumps at various stages of development, I was a little gobsmacked to discern that I felt absolutely fine.  In fact it was more than that – I felt peaceful, hopeful, joyful.  Gone were the feelings of intimidation and fear, bitterness and longing, and in their place were a quiet calm and acknowledgement that this was another momentous turning point of overcoming.  As I sat and waited I turned this thought over and over in my mind – overcoming the unimaginable, faith for the impossible, safe in the hands of the All-powerful.  I am more than what I see when I stare in the mirror because my identity and security is in Him.  I am advancing even when it feels like I’m stationary.

And as if to confirm this quiet moment of pleasure, later in the day I was rewarded with God’s beautiful, powerful display of how able he is to align hearts and minds to confirm His heart’s desire for us.  There is nothing better than sharing these small moments of triumph with our close ones and as I dropped a message to a friend outlining the afternoon’s activities, she poured forth the lyrics of a song she had simultaneously been writing about that deep call to overcome in so many areas of struggle in life.  Unaware of our separate encounters we marvelled at the parallel cries of our hearts for all to overcome.

Recently God has been revealing to me that one of the things he is teaching me is the importance of building authenticity and authority in the ‘wilderness times’. I have never struggled to be honest with people – if I can’t be real about how life is then I don’t see the point in conversing!  That’s not to say, however, that over-sharing is acceptable etiquette or that sensitivity and an active filter aren’t relevant, but that if I am going to have a passion for life for me it means embracing and sharing it in all its mess and glory.  Infertility has taken this desire to be authentic to a new level because it has rattled my core identity and forced me to be vulnerable and open in deeper and unexpected ways.

What I am learning, however, is that with each moment of winning in the struggle, of choosing the opposite to that negative inclination, I am gaining authority in how I view and declare God’s words over my own life and the confidence with which I speak into the lives of others.  I am receiving fresh wisdom.  I am acquiring new boldness and seeing beauty in the world around me.  And I am watching those roots grow down a little deeper into the rich soil of God’s truth.  And it is good!

My friend has caught this same sense of the truth of what it is to choose hopefulness, faith and courage even when the landscape seems wild or barren.  Her song is a soaring refrain of our ability to view our weakness through the lens of God’s strength and still advance,

We do impossible things in our brokenness.
We believe impossible dreams in our weariness.
We hold onto possibility where there is none.
We overcome. We overcome.

 

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A Poem for a Tuesday

The Bright Field by RS Thomas

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it.  But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it.  I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it.  Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.