Journal Entry ~ 09/21/17

1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.
7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. - 2 Timothy 2:1-7

I just love that God brought me to this passage last night at our ministry year kickoff - His timing is perfect. It was a challenging day for me yesterday as I received more news in my diagnosis, and this verse ministered so powerfully to me. He knows exactly what we need, and He is faithful to give that to us.  

That first verse in particular speaks to me in this trial. How tenderly Paul calls Timothy with "my child", it's as if He's saying, "listen to me, this is important." It brings tears to my eyes as I can feel Him gently calling to me, lifting my chin up.  Then his words that follow minister to my heart in a way I can barely describe - be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Though some translations say "be strong", they don't speak to me as powerfully as "be strengthened".  Be strong puts more of the responsibility on me...Pull your shoulders back and stand up straight, soldier, you can do this. I need that sometimes, but not yesterday.  Yesterday, I needed to hear someone will stand in the battle for me, and with me. 'Be strengthened' reminds me that my strength does not come from within me, but rather it comes from the grace of Jesus. We need to continually be strengthened by the grace we are given from Jesus. This battle we're in is just too hard to stand in our own strength.

At the end of the kickoff, they shared a video of a woman standing in a boxing ring, sharing her struggle with breast cancer. As if that didn't specifically minister to me enough, God had something planned for me that was greater - you see, that video held a soft spot in my heart. I saw the woman in that video share her testimony years ago at a Women of Faith conference, and I remember specifically thinking, "Wow. To have faith like that in a battle with cancer, I can't even imagine the struggle, but I want that kind of faith in my life."  I so wanted to be a woman of God who could stand in the ring, and here I am. God is so good. I smiled at the irony of Him giving me this glimpse of the broader picture of my life, taking me back to a time when I was a newer believer, desiring to grow, to now...the battles He's already won for me, the way He's been faithful to show up for me, and the way He gotten me ready for this. He has strengthened me by grace for so many years. It was a powerful moment for me. 

I can't stand in this diagnosis in my own strength. Realizing I'm probably walking into chemo as part of my treatment was like a punch to the gut yesterday, it literally knocked the wind out of me. But God. He shows up in powerful ways when we lean in and choose Him, when we make Him our priority over all the other silly, little things going on in our lives. He rushes in and strengthens us in His grace. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗


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