Once upon a time I dreamed of being a figure skater. I imagined gliding over the ice on perfectly white skates, twirling and jumping in perfection. During the winter months I was glued to the television, watching athletes masterfully dance across the ice. It looked so glamorous. And don’t even get me started on the outfits. Glitter? Yes, please.
Sometimes dreams die. My figure skating dream died the day I was skating on a canal behind my elementary school and I twisted my ankle. I fell flat on my face and when I hit the ice, I realized I didn’t have the skills or the grace to make that dream a reality.
While I wasn’t to broken up over the death of that dream, I have had others die that have been harder to process. Little did I know not being able to figure skate was going to be the least of my worries – and that not being able to walk was going to be one of the worst.
You may know I was recently diagnosed with an untreatable disease called Lipedema. While this disease comes with a significant amount of pain, it also comes with disfigurement and loss of mobility. Essentially, Lipedema is a fat disorder that allows excess fat on your limbs, excluding your extremities. In short, it is just all around ugly. Living with the pain that goes along with this disease is not easy, but far worse is living life in our world as a “super sized” woman.
The good news? I never had dreams of being a super model. I could handle not being able to wear the latest fashions, but I still had to let go of some dreams I didn’t want to have to abandon. One of the hardest dreams I have had to let go of is being just like everyone else. To let go of my independence in my 30s instead of my 80s. Can I be honest here? I needed to let go of the ability to do the little things like putting on my own socks. And the harder things, like going on family hikes. (I am not sure that was ever a “dream” of mine, but I do want to spend time with my kids – and if it that means going on hikes, I wanted to be the kind of Mom that could lace up her boots and join in). Instead, I have had to sit out on a lot of activities with my family, because I can’t walk well, and when I do walk I am painfully slow.
But let’s just pause for a minute – because we need to remember this – we are in a spiritual battle. My battle and your battle might look very different, but they are the same. We are never guaranteed an easy life, so when troubles come like the inevitably will, we need to choose to fight. The devil will try to take a foothold in our lives and cause us to stumble.
I would be wrong if I led you to believe I do this well. I am so far from a perfect warrior. I struggle to fight sometimes, and when I struggle to fight there are casualites. My worst wounds come when I choose to let the comments of people who do not know me slice deep into my heart. People who see my body but do not see my heart. I may have physical imperfections, but far worse are the battle scars my heart has endured.
But here’s the thing – we don’t need to fight this fight alone. Yes, sometimes we have to let go of our dreams, but only because God’s plans are bigger. Surrendering our dreams to live out God’s plan for our lives can be difficult because sometimes we are walking in blind. We don’t know what He has in store for us. We don’t know that plan is. So we just wait.
And while we wait, we fight our battles. When the blows strike, as they often do, I remember God is good to me. I remember I am His. It isn’t always easy to let the words fall around me without injuring me, but you and I have the greatest armour ever.
The Helmet of Salvation – When we believe Christ died for our sins and are part of God’s family, we all wear this.
The Breastplate of Righteousness – This is basically the breastplate of grace. When others hurt us, it means being honest, and good and fair. When others are hurting, it means standing with them and standing up for them.
The Shield of Faith – Our protection for when we are tempted to doubt. Remembering that God WILL keep His promises.
The Belt of Truth – This helps us to keep our hearts and lives in line with God’s will and plan for our lives, even when it means going against everything that makes sense to the world.
The Sword of the Spirit – Our biggest, and our strongest weapon against anything the battle throws at us. The Bible, God’s truth. Read it. Memorize it. Use it, friends.
Feet prepared with the Gospel of Peace – Ahh, here it is. This is what is means to be content in all circumstances and to have peace regardless of what the battle brings.
Oh, that I could be more prepared. Instead, it is when I am at my worst that I remember my armour. After the words have wounded me. After my heart has been broken. After I feel hopeless, when I feel like I am worthless because the world tells me I am. That’s when I hear that gentle whisper telling me to put my armour on.
See, I already told you I am a lousy warrior – most soldiers put their battle armour on BEFORE the fight. But when I remember, when I hear that quiet voice, that is when I rise. That is when my spirit soars with the truth that I am His.
That is when I remember that the battle we are fighting has already been won.
And while I am here, surviving this disease and saying goodbye to dreams, that is when I remember my worth. That is when I the Gospel of Peace slides on to my feet and propels me to keep going. Because the world can’t tell me how and when I matter. Only God can. The world can’t tell me I am ugly, because God tells me I am beautiful.
So put your armour on with me. Fight with me. The battle is His.