Dear future little one,
I write all of these letters and store them on this blog for two reasons:
1. You never know what life will bring. When Kyle’s mom passed away last year, the little notes she’d write us, her online journal entries, and the sweet texts she’d send became some of our most precious possessions. I want to be able to share these little nuggets of inspiration I get with you in case I can’t give them to you myself, and hopefully they’d be a cherished support for you like Mom’s are to us.
2. This is how my brain works. This is how I process what I’m reading, what I’m learning, what I’m thinking. Life teaches you innumerable lessons, usually learned through a fair amount of effort and heartache. But are the lessons worth all of the struggle and growing pains if you don’t actually process and remember them? My brain has so many things running through it all of the time that things zip in and out of my conscious brain faster than I can store them. So this is me processing and remembering the lessons God has taught me, making the pain I went through to learn them worth while and not in vain.
I’ve always been awful at setting goals and then sticking to them. Honestly, I think I just lack self-discipline, and it’s something that I’ve been working on.Well this year, five times a week I try and run in the mornings with Happy, our cute little dog. That’s my goal. Running isn’t my favorite activity ever but I REALLY wanted to set a goal and stick with it! And so far I have… kind of. About halfway through our run, Happy gets tired and starts trying to walk, and I have to try and motivate him to keep running. But I usually end of slow jogging/walking with him because it’s too much of a hassle and I’m tired too. It’s easier just to quit and walk.
But this morning I was DETERMINED. The weather was beautiful (under 70 for the first time this Fall!) and I have recently rededicated myself to my goal of running every morning, NOT walking. Well about halfway through Happy starting getting tired, per usual. Nuh uh. No way. I was GOING to keep running. Almost the second I had that thought run through my head, the winds picked up and started blowing flat against me. Now I’m not talking little breezes. I’m talking about frigid (to a Texan) 25-30mph winds. The kind that you can’t ignore and that make you feel like you’re running through molasses. That force pushing against me was REAL, making it even more difficult to keep on running and reach my goal.
As I was mentally battling with myself on whether or not I could keep going, I was reminded of a scripture verse that says “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his MIGHTY WINDS, yea, his shafts in the WHIRLWIND, yea, when all his hail and his MIGHTY STORM shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you.”
Satan wants nothing more than for us to give up. He doesn’t want us to reach our goals, he doesn’t want us to feel healthy and happy and proud of ourselves. He wants to DISCOURAGE us, DISTRACT us, and make us as miserable as he is.
I felt that this morning. The wind I felt was real and had very real impact on my body and on my mind, just like Satan and his influence is real and can be felt both mentally and physically. But I was determined not to give up! I kept pushing through despite the wind (and Happy was a total champ too!) and the feeling when I reached the end of my run was exhilarating! I was so proud of myself! It was the total opposite feeling than I usually have when I get to the end of a run where I walked the second half.
I was encouraged instead of discouraged. I was even more focused instead of distracted. I was proud and happy instead of miserable.
None of us are immune to the effects of the Adversary. Satan is going to try to influence your life no matter who you are, what you believe in, or whether or not you recognize it. He’s going to try to make you resent the things of God. The prophets words, the scriptures, the time commitment to becoming more like Christ. He’s going to try and make you angry against god and the world when hard things happen. He’s going to try and divide you from the love of God that is ALWAYS there for you. He’s going to try and discourage you from being your beautiful, light-giving, faith-filled self that makes more of an impact on the people around than you’ll ever know!
Please don’t let him.
Satan’s influence is real but Christ’s influence and love is just as real and MUCH more powerful! When you feel those winds blowing against you trying to distract and discourage you, turn towards Christ and the love and strength He provides. Turn towards Him and be encourage and uplifted and loved. I promise you that as you do the little things God asks of you (studying his scriptures, praying to him, serving His other children, being patient in trials) He will gift you that same peace and joy in life no matter what you might be going through. He loves you and won’t leave you flounder alone if you just ask for His help.
Now I’m not saying that praying to God will fix all of your problems. It won’t. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression on and off for most of my teenage and adult life and am just now realizing it. Our church leaders have encouraged us to be more open about sharing our experiences and struggles with mental health problems because they recognize that they’re REAL and impact our lives more than almost anything else. They also recognize that just trying to be more spiritual isn’t going to fix the problem.
Yes, you’ll find greater joy and belonging if you do all those things I mentioned above that God has asked you to do. But just like you can’t expect reading your scriptures to heal a broken leg, you can’t expect it to heal a mental health condition either. Prayer and scripture study will comfort you while your leg is broken, but the tremendous pain cripples you both physically and mentally. making it difficult to focus on and feel the effects of those actions. It’s the same with mental health conditions. The peace and comfort WILL come, you just might not be able to feel and recognize it through the mental pain and haze that comes from your anxiety or depression.
But you don’t have to do it alone.
And I think that’s what I’m trying to get at here. Satan has so many tactics he can use to drag you down and make you miserable just like he is. But you don’t have to let him. Act on your faith in Christ by doing the things he’s asked of you, and then choose to find joy no matter what comes. The joy comes when you recognize that you’re not alone; that Christ is walking beside you every step of the way. He will comfort and uplift and love you. It might be hard to feel that sometimes, but it’s there. He’s there. And He isn’t going away. Ever.
Forever and Always Yours,
Withstanding the Whirlwinds | How to Keep Going When Satan Pushes You Down
July 31, 2020