I have an amazing friend for you all to meet today, her name is Tara! She's been walking some really hard things lately. I've known her for years and her story/walk with God is inspiring...I've invited her to share a little of her struggles and victories with you and I pray it's an encouragement to your heart! 💗
Before I begin, let me share a little history about myself:
I was a competitive runner for many years training vigilantly to be ready for every race. As an athlete, my coach and father were my guidance, encouragement, and assurance (long before I knew Jesus). On race day, my daddy's eyes were the last thing I focused on before stepping onto the track. His eyes always blazed with excitement and communicated confidence. Searching him, I knew I had what it took; I prepared for this. I was ready.
In the race of life, we are all running, whether we realize it or not. We are up against barriers and obstacles, spiritual and physical, that attempt to trip us up as we carry the torch of Jesus Christ, sharing His love and message of hope every day. Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to drop off our baggage (sin, insecurities, lies, doubt, past mistakes) to run the race set before us with endurance. Last Spring, three words brought me to my knees and changed my life. One minute, I ran with the wind in my hair, and the next, I was face down in the mud.
In May 2022, at 37, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (BREAST CANCER!?) I couldn't believe what my eyes had just read, and emotional shock set in. I cried as I watched my two young kids playing so carefree. So many thoughts passed through my mind. All I could do was cry. My best friend held me as the tears, snot, and the weight of my emotions flowed (that's love, church family, and a story for another day). One thing was unmistakable, God, my Heavenly Father, was with me, and I needed to lock eyes with Him before anything else. Searching Him, I found eyes ablaze with victory – He knew the path before me. Every turn, hill, terrain, and surprise were no match; my God was in complete control. I grabbed hold of Him; He already had me. Abiding in Him prepared me for this; I was ready.
It took time, but in seeking God, I found peace. His joy and presence are what sustain me. I have had surgery and completed chemotherapy. I rely daily on His strength to press on through radiation therapy and induced menopause. It is exhausting, and this battle is easily overwhelming. I must decide Every. Single. Day to renew my mind with God's Word. I am encouraged by Jesus' words in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (emphasis mine).
Overcomer - the enemy of your soul is SCARED. He wants you to focus on one line, "in this world you will have trouble." We are ineffective if we remain trapped by our circumstances and weighed down with baggage, hopeless. He is scared because he knows how POWERFUL WE ARE. The Spirit of God abides in His children; therefore, WE overcome! Life will give you bad news, but victory is ours, through Christ! 1 John 4:4 tells us, "The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." When you feel like giving up, or your circumstances are too big for you to handle, don't quit, remember who you are. You are more than a conqueror through Christ. He is your strength and shield in times of trouble; take refuge in Him. No trial or pain is too big for God. Jesus came so that we could have hope and a future and live out (boldly) His good plans for our lives.
I encourage you to:
Pray big, bold prayers ("...come boldly to the throne of grace...we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:16).
Read your Bible every day (My daughter and I say to each other, “Girl. Read your Bible!”).
Trust. Trust what God can do. Your faith will grow as you see God's hand in your life. Peace comes when you know that you are held by a good and faithful God who works all things together for your good.
God is with you now, and you need only to be still.
You are Loved,
“I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him...He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.”
Psalm 62: 1-2, 5-8