Who is fighting for you?

IMG_4021A few weeks ago a friend played a song which included the line “ Praise the one who fights for me and shields my soul eternally” – I was so struck by those words that I haven’t been able to quite shake them off and they have been going round my head on loop.

It is probably just me being a bit late to the party but I had never really thought about the fact God fought for me. I know God loves me, that he longs to know me, to be my number one, that he longs to bless me and that he is my protector, my redeemer, my saviour but that he goes into battle for me well that has blown my mind a little.

Fast forward a few weeks on and I hit a situation which hurt my heart and I couldn’t quite place where God was in it all – a situation where I really needed to know God was protecting my heart. One of my best friends in the midst of it sent me a text to say she was praying over me a verse from Exodus (14 vs 14) which says “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” I had never heard that verse before but was immediately taken back to the words of the song.

It started an internal wrestle with God which found me on a weekend run asking God over and over whether he was in fact fighting for me – 3 or 4km of me saying “are you really fighting for me in all of this” over and over and then I just felt in my spirit God say to me “I have fought for you from the first breath you took and I will fight for you until your final breath, many battles that you will never see or never fully comprehend – I have this and I am fighting for you.”

The next day I was flicking through Instagram and again that same verse in bold letters popped up “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Only yesterday with a few hours to spare in London before my train home I went to Evensong at Westminster Abbey – in the midst of the seriousness and old fashioned language the words “I will fighteth for you” jumped right off the page.

I love the fact that God is so patient with me, that when my humanness and my weakness means I struggle to accept a truth he keeps telling me over and over again. The truth that the one who holds the whole universe in his hands fights for little old me! That whatever situation I find myself in he is right there with me, on my side, he has my back and I don’t have to fight or battle because he is doing it for me and his fight is so much better than mine. All I need to do is be still – to be honest that is so much more of a battle for me than letting him do the fighting. I just have to be still, to surrender it to him and to wait and watch.

And as my heart found that peace that he was fighting for me it renewed my fight for people I love who I know need to know he is fighting for them too.

I don’t know what you are battling, big or small, but I know there is one that wants to fight that battle for you, to give you that hope and reassurance knowing he is in control of it and he has the future. All you need do is be still x

When there are no answers

Do you ever doubt? Or is it just me?

Do you ever question where God is in life and how he works? Or again is it just me?

I don’t ever doubt God is real or that he is incredibly good and loving but sometimes I just don’t get the way he works and I can become like a dog with a bone, I wrestle and wrestle, until I am exhausted with wrestling, I lay it down again until something happens that means those questions come to the forefront again.

I came into this year excited about what was ahead, expectant, full of hope and faith – it felt like a new season, I had experienced God move amazingly in my life in the last few months of last year and again into this year and it felt like the past was truly the past. Then the other week, out of nowhere one of those phone calls came that left me curled up in a ball on the floor screaming “No” and “I don’t understand” over and over again. One of those phone calls that means that your family is changed forever, again.

My heart broke because even though the news on the end of that phone wasn’t a direct loss to my life it was news that has shattered the lives of two of the most important people in my life, the two people who are the closest I will ever have to sisters, and I knew the depth of their pain and what is ahead.

And so the questions and the doubts and the wrestles came flowing back and to be honest left me feeling lost, a little bit scared and very heavy hearted.

Does God have a plan for our lives? Is he there and working for our good? How does he choose when and how and when not? I have lost so much sleep over the past 10 days trying to work out the answers to these questions – even though the last 9 years should have taught me I will never have the answers. As ever there are angels there who listen and help me process, who reminded me that it is always about truth and grace, and that sometimes truth is messy but that grace is always grace. That doubt and wrestle can sit side by side with worship.

I said to my brother that his work were going to start thinking he was making up things, given the number of times he had to phone in and say there had been a death or medical emergency – to which he responded that he had only said the same thing that morning.

He then went on to say that we were going to keep choosing life.

Since that phone call I feel like I have been walking a tight rope where I literally could fall one way or the other, one being right back into the valley of death, that valley which I know God lifted me out of. I feel like there has been a battle raging inside me.

Last night as I spent time talking to God and being quiet and I felt a peace return – I felt that all God had done in the last 6 months was coming to the forefront again. I want to keep choosing life. That doesn’t meant my heart will stop hurting for those I love, I have a feeling I will be hurting for them in some shape or form for a long time to come but I want to be their hope when they can’t hope for themselves, I want to be the one who is strong for them, as so many people were strong for me, I want to be able to push them forward when they don’t have any strength left.

I don’t want to keep asking the questions, it exhausts me, it takes away my peace – I want to remember God’s faithfulness in the past, in the way he moved in John’s life, in my Dad’s life, the way he bought me through, the enormous blessings I have in my life, the way he showed up and pursued me at the end of last year when I was ready to throw the towel in and the way he breathed life back into me – that same God who was faithful in the past, is still faithful today and will be going forward.

This world and this life can be overwhelmingly hard at times but it can also be breathtakingly beautiful. I love that unexplainable feeling of seeing God at work, the excitement that it brings that is so difficult to articulate. I love the people he gives us, I love that we don’t have to do any of this on our own, so yes there are times in life where the pain is unbearable, where the loss feels too great but he puts us in families, in communities and in relationship which help us to survive, heal and thrive again. In the first few days after that phone call I wanted to hide away, to stop caring about people because actually it hurt too much and it hurt too much to see people I love hurting but the reality is my heart is already too entangled with them and so many others to simply stop loving. It is just not the way I am wired or in fact any of us are wired – we have no choice but to love people despite the potential costs.

I still don’t understand but I am putting the questions down and learning to trust that I may not know but he does, he knows the answers, the reasons but also the pain, he holds it all and us in the midst of it – I keep coming back to the fact that I can’t but he very much can.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brene Brown.