“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” – Steve Jobs

2017 threw a few bricks at my head. Some days, it felt like more than just a few. The craziest thing is that from all outward appearances, it was a great year. A lot of wonderful things happened, but the bricks that got chucked at me were the “our battle is not against flesh and blood” sort. (Ephesians 6:12 HCSB) Only that kind of battle can devastate when everything else in life is better than ever. Honestly, it’s the hardest kind of battle to fight, and often the loneliest.

When things from the past that you’ve tried to forget come rushing back in, the panic attacks return. When the fear, humiliation, and helplessness from the memories takes your breath away, the anxiety shows back up with it. When you question your sanity and your salvation because good Christians aren’t supposed to feel like this, the depression creeps back in with a vengeance that you haven’t seen in years. When it got that bad, there were days when only two things pulled me out of bed and kept me going:

  • My kids still need their mom.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16 HSCB “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.”

We do not give up.

Words lifted right out of scripture became my mantra, my saving grace. When I couldn’t even string together a prayer because the darkness was so deep, I would whisper, “We do not give up.” Somewhere along the way, “Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief,” was added to my whispered prayers. (Mark 9:24 KJV) It didn’t matter how many nice-sounding Christian platitudes I repeated, the only thing that helped even a little was praying the scriptures. It wasn’t instant, and I’m still not completely out of the dark yet, but bit by bit, those prayed verses were enough. The grace of God, poured out through His Word.

I don’t have easy answers. There’s no magic pill to fix everything broken in us. I wish there were, desperately so. And yet, there’s grace. There’s the kind of grace that takes five words, “We do not give up,” and puts power behind them. The power behind them isn’t in me though, I don’t have that kind of strength, but God does. Those five words are from His Word, and they serve the dual purpose of reminding me not to give up and of becoming a plea for the strength not to give up. When I had nothing in me to rely on, “grace abounded much more”. (Romans 5:20 Geneva Bible)

I started 2017 with lofty goals. Then life threw bricks at my head. Turns out that I needed to dodge a few bricks, and get whacked with a couple of them in order to be ready for my 2018 goals. Those bricks, and the grace that was poured out on me because of them, put things in perspective. My prayers this year were lifted out of scripture, and so are the three words that I want to sum up 2018:

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Faith. Hope. Love.

I’ll blog more about that later, so stay tuned!

I know that the holidays can sometimes be really, really hard. If it gets so hard, that you can’t even figure out how to pray, then please look to the scriptures. Sometimes, praying God’s Word is exactly the kind of prayer that you need.