This week has brought me back to the place of continuously thinking of life, death, heaven, and relying fully on God’s strength. As another dear family member fights for life I keep thinking of heaven’s cheerleaders. I reminded our loved one that many people are praying and that he has a cheerleader in heaven, my dad. A single tear came from our loved one laying there unable to communicate with me. Little movements of his fingers at mine, a small nod of the head, “yes”, and the single tear were the signs given that he was still there and listening to my words.
The thought of heaven’s cheerleaders has overwhelmed me over this past year since my own father’s death. There is a humbling gratitude I feel for the blessing of being the offspring of a legacy of Jesus followers and having come to my own personal decision to follow Jesus. I know who is on my side and I am on the winning side. I am never alone. There are many saints who have gone on to be with Jesus who are cheering in heaven. God’s angel army is cheering and fighting for and with me. Best of all my greatest cheerleader, Jesus Christ, who fought my battle over sin! How awesome it is that when I feel darkness of sorrow trying to swallow me whole I just cry out to Jesus and joy overcomes the dark. The light of Jesus stomps out every hint of the darkness of despair. With God all things are possible and I am watching and waiting with great anticipation to see how God is going to answer my prayers in the next days and weeks. I can not imagine living life without Jesus and without my cheerleaders in heaven!!! Is Jesus your cheerleader or are you trying to rely on your own strength to get through this life?
Mark 10:27 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Isaiah 41:10 ” Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Jeremiah 32:17 “‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. “
We all suffer temptations to all sorts of sin weaknesses. My weakness may not be your weakness and your weakness not a weakness of my own. Through my own observations of human behavior there is a weakness that at some point in time in our lives we all fail miserably when the temptation arises. This is the tendency we have to choose to be a victim. The “I am a victim” weakness starts at a very early age. Hang around with siblings or a room full of toddlers for an hour or two. You will hear “How come she gets that?” “I never get a turn!” “I never get to go first!” “He got more cookies than I did!” Oh yes the comparisons to others and becoming “a victim” starts very young. What is it about us that we have to keep score? Why must we continuously look at what others have and focus on what we do not?
This is a temptation that knows no cultural, physical, age, or gender boundaries. I have been tempted by it and have witnessed others who have succumbed to becoming “a victim” throughout all my walks in life for my entire life. Sometimes the greatest conviction I have is here at home. At home my guard comes down. While at work my focus turns to my patients and their needs. Just the other day I told a friend and coworker that sometimes work is a vacation from my own life. It is a time to completely focus on the needs of others. Helping others in their time of pain and need somehow brings my own struggles into the proper prospective. At home as messes pile up it often seems and actually is a fact that momma is the only one cleaning. As the temptation to turn into “a victim” and fatigue wear me down I will start whining to my family about their lack of consideration and laziness. The conviction that I am really not teaching my children anything when I whine and yell is overwhelming. To teach them it takes even more effort than cleaning the messes on my own. To raise responsible adults it means taking the I-pod away until the mess in the kitchen is cleaned up. It means taking the time to teach my children and sometimes husband how to clean. When I go into “victim” mode all that I am teaching is how to become “a victim” and it builds resentment within my children. Becoming “a victim” decreases our credibility.
Often when we focus on what others have or are getting we are missing the big picture. That person may have had to give up something or have an unseen struggle we know nothing about. The constant comparing and score keeping does nothing but steal our joy. By allowing ourselves to become “a victim” we are applying layer after layer to the wall of bitterness around our hearts.
When our family first moved into the home we currently live in we struggled in figuring out what to do for afterschool care for our oldest daughter then in second grade. My husband worked it out with his boss that he would go into work early and work through his lunch in order to be off work in time to get her picked up from school. This only lasted for about two weeks. A couple of co-workers of his decided to become “victims” they saw him getting to leave work early, became jealous, and complained to the boss. As a result the boss had to tell my husband that since others were complaining he couldn’t let him come in early and skip lunch in order to leave work in time to pick up our daughter. His co-workers chose to only see what he was getting and not what he was giving up. Anyone who knows the man knows he really likes his food! We made other arrangements and it all turned out fine. Just the perfect example of how our human nature will focus on what we are not getting, but miss the big picture of what has been sacrificed.
As God has placed this blog on my heart there has been story after story personally and through social media that has driven His point even further in my heart. Some friend’s dear daughter with muscular dystrophy pouring out wisdom beyond her years how that even being bound to a wheelchair she knows that things can always be worse. God provides her with ways to give back to this world that are further reaching from her wheelchair than she could ever reach on her two legs. An inspiring video of a runner who fell flat in a championship race, got up quickly, came from far behind to actually win the race with just two hundred meters to go reminded me to always get up. When we fall always get up and keep pressing on toward the goal. The only time we are a failure is when we give up. She could have sat on that track, become “a victim” and cried. No she walked off the track as a champion because she got up and finished the race.
There are people struggling and in pain all around us everyday. It is a daily prayer for God to reveal to me not what everyone else is getting in life, but to see the needs of others and how I can give. Asking God to give me the attitude of “how can I give my all and expect nothing in return” actually brings freedom. It frees me from my own tendencies to become “a victim” and prevents the disease of bitterness from consuming my joy. Psalm 71:20 “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”
Proverbs 14:10 “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”
Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”