God has allowed me to stay in this ‘place’ for an extended period of time for His purposes, so I will continue to write authentically and vulnerably through this season and pray that God uses it to speak to someone whose path may be parallel to mine in some way.
As most of you know, walking has been getting more and more difficult for me over the past couple months. As a result of decreased strength, ability, and stability, my gait (walking) has become very poor. Before I received answers for the decline, the struggle made me feel quite self-conscious and handicapped. Let me explain…
Overall, (take this year out of the picture) I do not feel ‘handicapped’ and do not live in that mindset. The challenges I face on a daily basis are my norm and I choose to focus on what I can do rather than on what I can’t. Additionally, I am surrounded by people who support me just the way I am and make me believe that I can do anything. I just don’t feel ‘different’ nor am I treated differently by those in my world.
Of course, my height is the first thing people see about me, but it is the last thing that makes me feel disabled. I like being different in that way and when I pray for healing, it is never to grow; rather to be able to walk freely. It is in the seasons that lead me to need another surgery that I feel the most disabled; when my abilities are challenged, compromised and threatened.
So, when the pain and inability increased many weeks ago, my self-esteem decreased as I allowed the enemy to use my circumstances to wreak havoc on my mind and emotions. Of course I was discouraged because of my failing body, but I also felt so weak, timid and insecure. After weeks of this internal battle, I stepped back and questioned who I had become. I am a confident, positive and faith-filled woman; an overcomer and a fighter, yet I allowed the enemy to dress me up as someone else…someone very different than who God created me to be.
During those weeks I could have cried at the drop of a hat and several nights tears stained my pillow as I tried to fall asleep. In the middle of the night one night, I finally broke as did the oppression. I cried, “Jesus, Jesus, help. I need You, Jesus”. It was after this breaking that God spoke so clearly to me, reminding me of who I am through different ‘messengers’.
First, He put it on one of my friend’s heart (who knew nothing of my mental/emotional battle) to be praying, “…for more Courage, for more Strength…” Then she said, “I am overwhelmed by the Spirit at work in YOU to make you an OVERCOMER!” Another friend who also knew nothing of what I was going through said, “So admire the strength and courage I see in you, even though I know you’re strongest on your knees behind closed doors.” And finally, my ‘uncle’ emailed me (again, fully unaware of my battle) and said, “This morning I was reading the 139th psalm and immediately you came to mind. I have learned that when the Spirit drops words, thoughts, impressions into my heart I need to respond. …his Holy word declares that He saw you when you were formed and He knows every single detail about your life. He knows every thought and word you have before you even utter them. He declares that you are beautifully and wonderfully made. Michele, embrace these words.”
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because I don’t think I am the only one the enemy has been lying to and holding back. Satan’s goal is to disqualify us from the plans God has for us and will do everything in his power to keep us suppressed – if not through our circumstances, then through how we perceive them. I believe every one of us has something in our life that can either empower or weaken us. In the face of debilitating lies (from Satan, others or within our own minds) we must remember that the kind of impact our circumstances have on us is our choice. We also have to remember who we are in Christ and who He is in us!
Since God is the One who created us, let’s see what He has to say about who we are as believers: We are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13), we are fearfully & wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and we were made to rule (Genesis 1:26). Okay, so THAT is who we are.
Isn’t it funny how quickly I forgot all of that? …and a little scary too. It’s my fault though; I allowed myself to focus on the pain and difficulty of each step rather than on the One who sustains me. To be honest, my circumstances didn’t need to change nearly as much as I did.