What Are You Wrestling With?

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

As a teenage girl full of brokenness, I wrestled hard with condemning voices from the enemy. Struggling with suicidal thoughts, I opened my green Living Bible one day and made a connection that changed my life forever.

When reading scripture, the voices stopped. When I quit reading, the voices attached to feelings of being unloved, alone, and rejected returned.

That day I fell in love with God’s Word.

I found peace in every word I devoured.

It was during this time that God called me to ministry. I didn’t know what that ministry looked like or when it would arrive, but I knew He called me to tell others how to find peace. 

Where would I be without Jesus?

But the enemy is where all my hardship originates. Just as God has plans for our lives, so does the enemy.

As a teenager, he tried to snuff my life out. He tempted me to quit my marriage as a young bride. As a floundering mother, he wanted me to trust my ways instead of God’s. As a restless housewife, he didn’t want me to step out in faith and return to school. In grief, he hovered over me with depression, chaos, and rejection.

He deceived me into putting walls up around my heart to keep friends at a distance. The betrayals, the hurts, they were too painful to open my heart back up to possible future hurts. 

And the Devil didn’t stop there. That wicked old deceiver has tried to take me out in other areas of ministry. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but unfortunately, the enemy will use flesh and blood to mistreat us and knock us out of fulfilling God’s call on our lives.

As Christians, we must work harder to do no harm to one another.

Go the extra mile.

Be brave enough to have the hard, honest conversations that depend on our integrity.

Love even when it’s hard.

Stand up for those oppressed even if it’s not returned.

Defend each other’s character when necessary.

Refuse to follow the lead of those who want to judge and make unfair assumptions of others.

And last but not least, forgive when it seems impossible.

I’ve wrestled hard with this … but where would I be without Jesus helping me, right?

My family and I returned from a much needed, COVID cautious vacation last week. A few days before we left, we kept our 16-month old granddaughter overnight. That precious baby girl fights sleep like a pro. I wrestled her into the wee hours until God spoke to me.

“You’ve been wrestling hard with me these last few years, Mel.”

“Yes, I have God. I’m sorry,” I whispered into the dark. 

Immediately, I felt compelled to reread Jacob’s story of wrestling with God. So, on the long ride to the beach, I started reading and researching this divine event in Genesis 32. Each morning I awoke and opened my laptop to online concordances, devouring all I could about Jacob.

On Wednesday, four days after I started this study, I took my granddaughters to the pool. Sitting down in a low-to-the-ground, lounge chair, I felt a breath-taking, sharp pain in my lower back and left hip. I was in so much pain; I had to call my family to come help me.  

Nothing gave me relief: ice, heat, Tylenol, nothing. I found myself in a chiropractor’s office early the next morning. I sought treatment for two days before we left for home on Saturday. Needless-to-say, it was an extremely uncomfortable ride home.

Later that evening, I opened my notes and carefully read over a few that I had compiled during the week:

The events at Bethel and Peniel are important milestones in Jacob’s life.

His nighttime face-to-face encounter with God remarkably transformed Jacob.

God renames Jacob … giving him the name Israel.

Israel means “God prevails.”

This wrestling event with God was a significant turning point in Jacob’s life.

In that moment while revisiting my notes, I heard God say … “This is your turning point, Mel.”

I gasped and immediately went to tell my husband. I realized my injury was no coincidence.

God used my sleep fighting granddaughter, the details of Jacob’s story, and my injury to bring about a turning point of a hard wrestling that’s gone on long enough.

So, these last few days, my Lord has sweetly ministered to me about my future. I’m listening, praying, taking notes, and digging deeper into His Word.

I’m grateful that He brought me the assignment to write for Proverb’s 31 Ministries, First 5 App, during this hard season. Honestly, I don’t think I would have ever written another word without the desire to study His Word and tell others. Being apart of this team kept me writing. 

Where would I be without Jesus?

And truly … that’s the fuel that gets my heart going, friend … I just want you to know Him greater. I want you to realize that even when life is hard, you’re not alone. I want you to let Him lead you out of the hard wrestling of your darkest days.

I guess my simplistic mindset is that Jesus can make it better even when it’s hard because He did for me.

We live in a time of many unknowns. Loss abounds all around us. Broken hearts are in abundance … its understandable we wrestle with God and fallen world circumstances. Life isn’t fair, but don’t let what the Devil brings to harm you, cause you to quit.

But I pray you know that the answer to my question leads to hope. Without Jesus, there is no hope.

I challenge you to spend time with the Holy Spirit and let Him show you what you’ve been wrestling and why.

I pray you find the courage, to be honest with yourself. I pray that you find peace like I have so many times from His precious Word and presence. 

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

I pray that you have called upon the name of Jesus and made Him the Lord of your life if you’ve never done so.

The truth is, I would be as lost as a ball in high weeds without Jesus. He’s everything to me, and I desperately want you to find this hope too.

Wrestle well, my friend.

Love,

Mel

If you don’t know Jesus, this simple video from Charles Stanley will help you find true peace.