Get Back Up

It’s unfortunate. It’s painful. It’s lousy. It hurts.

Life knocks you down.

You know what I mean?

The thing happens that you were praying wouldn’t.

Those words are said and they cut you so deep your heart physically hurts for a while.

He is sick or she is sick or you are sick and it is scary and it is hard and it hurts.

You’re forced to say goodbye way before you expected, and you just weren’t ready.

One way or another, one cause or another, sometimes you’re on your back, looking at the ceiling. And sometimes, you’re not even completely sure how you got there.


At first, it hurts to be on the floor. It hurts to be down. It hurts to be laid low, and it hurts to feel it affect how you live. The light in your eyes is gone. The joie de vivre is missing. Your hope grew feathers and flew away without you.

After a while, you wonder how long you can stay down. And, sometimes, you think… maybe I should just stay down. Big dreams end with big heartache, so I’m staying small, you think. It’s not so bad laying low, being close to the ground. Less likely getting hurt down here anyway.

You’re still breathing, sure, but sometimes, you kind of stop living.

A few decades late to the punch, I devoured the Rocky films a few years ago. I loved the portrayal of the inner fight so much more than anything happening in the ring. The story (in Rocky I) of somebody who felt like a nobody pouring every ounce of himself into a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change his destiny — it was a story about heart that someone who didn’t care an ounce for boxing could still relate to.

We’ve all at some stage felt like a nobody who believed they had more inside of them to live for and to give to the world, than just this.

But the most compelling aspect of the story (for me) at nearly every turn, was watching Rocky’s decision to get back up.

When he faced a super-trained Soviet giant, (Rocky IV) and all the odds were against him, and he was outmatched in size and strength and he had nothing but his own determination to avenge the death of an old friend, he got in the ring. He took the hits that came his way, and sure, steady, consistently, he fought round after round after round, winning a crowd who began the match completely against him — simply because they were amazed by how he fought with heart. How he got back up.

What compelled him to get up again and again, what compelled him to keep going, every time he was clocked or decked or nearly knocked out?

I can only think that he kept getting back up because he still believed he had a chance at victory. He fought to win. And he always fought with everything he had in him.

We get knocked to the mat in life, too. And it can feel like we’ve got an opponent standing over us, willing us to stay down.

And the truth is, we do.

Paul warned the Corinthians — Our enemy will try to take advantage of us. We cannot afford to be ignorant of his devices. (2 Cor. 2:11)

It would suit our enemy well for us to get knocked down and to stay down.

To choose safe over brave.

To choose comfortable over purposeful.

To choose to keep breathing, but to kind of stop living.

But what a wild thought is this: could the victory be the thing that gets us off the mat?

Could hope be the thing that challenges us to forsake safe and dare to be dangerous?

And don’t we have the victory already?

It was two years ago today, when I said that hard goodbye to my Dad — a heart-heavy see you on the other side.

And I remember the haunting words of that song about Home — the ones that felt like a God-whisper:

The trouble, it might drag you down,
if you get lost, you can always be found…

And I see fresh truth: the troubles we experience in this life can literally drag us down. Pin us to the mat. Convince us it’s okay to stop living and just keep breathing.

I’ve walked that road a time or two.

We can get lost, wandering through those troubles. Grief, and hurt, and heartache — they can be winding paths that feel like labyrinths we can’t find a way out of.

Sometimes the decision not to cry anymore is also a decision not to laugh anymore. Numb is the easy route.

But friends, there is always hope. With God, nothing is impossible. Do you believe that deep down, in your soul?

When the odds seemed completely stacked against us, when the Saviour of the World was crucified, dead and laid in a tomb, when anyone who believed would’ve been sure the Light of the World had been extinguished — and when it seemed like hope was completely foolish — by the power of God, the Spirit of God brought about a Resurrection.


“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” {Romans 8:11}

There is a power at work in us — there is a hope that we can hold onto. Because we are not just the servants of the Crucified King — we are also those who worship the Risen Lord.

There is nothing too hard for God and there is no reason for His children to live pinned to the mat.

Have you let a place in your soul give up and lay down?

Get Back Up.

Have you decided to stick with safe at the expense of stupendous, stellar, spectacular?

Get Back Up.

Is there any place in your heart that has been given to despair?  Or just quietly resigned to the fact that “this is how I’m always gonna feel, and this is how it’s always gonna be?”

Get. Back. Up.

It’s written in Black & White: If His Spirit lives in you, He can give you LIFE.

He came to give you LIFE, and give it to you MORE ABUNDANTLY.

And? He is the way, the truth, and the LIFE.

Troubles might drag you down, but if you get lost, you can ALWAYS be FOUND.

Because you can never be separated from the love of God, poured out for us in Christ Jesus.

Find yourself in Him today, and there you will find the strength — no matter what — to get back up.



— For Missy

Wisdom, Hope and the New Year Bleh

Listen to the creak of the door — I am opening the honesty box again. Not to tell you about how I am a bit grouchy because I’m sleep-deprived {or that someone once told me what you’re doing on New Year’s day is what you’ll be doing all year long so I was careful not to do any cooking, cleaning, or laundry yesterday} but rather to be honest about the fact that this is not my favourite time of year. It is not.

Not. Not.

When I look around the house and see all these lovely Christmas decorations that need to be packed away, and when I feel daunted by the year ahead and the fact that I don’t know what it holds and the last one was both wonderful and full of wonderful challenges, I don’t always smile.

The New Year feels a little… bleh.

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But thanks be to the Lord, two things have coincided to assist in changing my bleh attitude. First, the Bible reading plan I’ve been working my way through — The One Year Bible — stretches out the Psalms and the Proverbs so that you get your Psalm on and, have some Proverbial input every day all year long.

That glorious Proverbial input has been a constant reminder to look for wisdom and seek out understanding.

Also, my dear friend Pam is doing a 2012 Romp through the Proverbs, and I’m sharing there today on Proverbs 2.

And a beautiful promise is contained therein: that if you look for wisdom, the Lord gives it. If you tune your ears to it, and cry out for understanding, He will meet you.

And despite the challenges, and even the discouragements of the year gone by, this gives me HOPE. That wonderful anchor to our soul-boats, that hope that doesn’t disappoint, is mine.

I’ve done a bit of snowboarding in my day, the Hubs, much more. He often speaks about the importance of believing you can do it. The minute you think you’re going to fall — when the thought has barely crossed your mind, you find yourself on your bum — kaboonk — with a what just happened and a dern I was cruising till that thought crossed my mind!

It is essential that we believe for better, else we won’t be able to receive better. It is essential that we hope and pray, believing our prayers matter, believing God does move.

I’ve been praying for wisdom to mark my New Year, and funny enough, I think holding on to hope is one of the wisest things I can do.

I may still feel a little bleh — partly because I like Christmas decorations, partly because of fear — but my hope is being renewed. Great things are ahead. God is sovereign over everything.

As I was writing this, I received a wonderful message from my friend Michelle and her words sum it up so well:

This year I am making it my goal, my mission to live my life with the most hope ever. And to leak this hope where ever I go. I say all of this for the reason to encourage you to let go and let hope. There is a grace to leave discouragement, hopelessness and disappointment behind if you will only receive this Hope invitation from Him.

I am hope-full, that God will meet me with wisdom, as a wife and a parent and a writer, a daughter and a hopeful baker of tasty bread this year, but whether I find the wisdom to navigate each area of life, somehow I’m certain the decision to hope can permeate every area, and always for the good.

Let’s Let go and Let Hope this year.


When a Season is Like a Straitjacket

We are firm believers in the swaddle. Any clue what I’m talking about? I’m talking about the baby swaddle — the thing you do with a blanket, where you put it beneath a baby, put their arms down by their sides and wrap the blanket tightly around them, tucking it underneath so that it constrains them and holds them snug. At first it might seem like an unpleasant thing for the baby, constraining them with the baby version of a straitjacket, but by and by perhaps I’ll convince you that it’s a good thing.

Something you may or may not know about newborns is that when they’re fresh out of the box, so to speak, they have absolutely no control over their arms or legs. Maybe very little control, but it seems pretty much like none. They hit themselves in the head and wonder who did it. They scratch their own little faces with their sharp little baby nails, and then cry as if to say, “Who’s scratching me? Stop it!”


With the Bear, and again with the Tank, we found swaddling a really effective method of sleep training. Wrapping them up tightly inside a blanket or a thin sheet (when it was summer and too hot for a blanket) became a signal to them that it was time for a snooze. A swaddle, a pacifier/dummy/binker/whateveryouliketocallit in the mouth, a snug spot in the crib and they don’t need much more direction for the route to dreamland. Apparently it also mimics the feeling of being snuggled up inside the womb, which is a bonus.

Initially, both of our boys fought the swaddle.


You’d wrap them up snug and they’d wriggle and squirm and sometimes cry. The Hubs often stood by their cribs, holding each of them to his chest, firmly swaddled, and he’d gently swoosh them back and forth while they struggled against his firm grip. Eventually, it {almost} always settled them down, and once they learned that it was a cue, it became a tool for good.


I believe there are seasons in our lives when God “swaddles” us. For one reason or another, His hand is holding us firmly in one place, even though we feel like we’re ready for movement, for breakthrough, for a chance to use the arms and legs we’ve been given.

You might feel swaddled:

  • By a job you’re ready to be out of, but the job hunt is getting you nowhere.
  • By your finances constraining you and hindering your movements
  • In a relationship with a roommate, a professor, a colleague at work — you’re ready for it to be done, but you’re stuck for now.
  • In a season of life that’s just hard, but not over yet.

The thing is, sometimes we’re kind of like the newborn flailing her arms because she doesn’t know any better. God in His graciousness is appointing this time and this season, as a time for growth, perhaps a time for us to rest, a time to learn to trust Him, and a time to gain strength.

Most of us know that a beautiful butterfly doesn’t start out that way. They start out as little caterpillars, not particularly exciting creatures, definitely incapable of flying. But after munching on leaves for a good wee while, their metamorphosis begins. And during the pupa, or “chrysalis” stage, growth and differentiation occur. The caterpillar is becoming a butterfly.

The hard skin that surrounds the butterfly, called a chrysalis, keeps it swaddled until this life phase is finished. Once the butterfly is ready to shed the chrysalis, she uses her wings to break through. The strength that she gains while pushing her way out with her wings is a necessary part of the process. Once she’s out, she’ll sit on her old shell, harden her wings and get ready for take off!

Without the chrysalis stage, the butterfly will only ever be a caterpillar. But if she allows the process to do its good work, she will emerge on the other side, strong enough to fly.

If you’re in a season that feels like a straitjacket, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to sit still. You are a part of the process that will grow you and help you become who you are meant to be. When the caterpillar is fully grown, it makes a button of silk to attach itself to a leaf or a twig, and then it sheds its skin to reveal that chrysalis layer — the hardened skin underneath. Some butterflies are able to move their abdomen while inside their chrysalis to make sounds or scare away potential predators.

Isaiah 30:18 says:

Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.

Trust the God who created the seasons as a part of life — the God who is also sovereign over them. Though it seems like He is waiting, He is being gracious. Though it seems like He isn’t listening, He is showing mercy. Like a year of work at a pawn shop, or a week of extra waiting for a baby’s arrival, the Author and Finisher of your faith has blessings in store for those who wait on Him. And in the waiting, you’ll gain the strength you need for the road ahead.


On Keeping the Faith

The story is told in Mark 5 of a certain ruler of a synagogue who came to Jesus. His name was Jairus, and he found Jesus and begged Him to come to his home. These words are recorded:

“My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed and she will live.”

Jairus had the faith to find Jesus, and to ask for the healing. And Jesus followed Jairus — He followed his faith — and they started on the journey to Jairus’ home, where Jesus would perform a miracle.

It was while they were on this journey that another woman crawled through crowds to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment with the thought, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”

The power of God met her faith and she was healed from a health problem she’d struggled with for years. And Jesus turned around in the crowd — pausing in the midst of the journey — to find out who’d touched Him. {Though He certainly already knew, the story was not yet finished.}

He had the opportunity to speak to the woman and encourage her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.”

I imagine that Jairus, seeing this, would’ve been encouraged all the more that Jesus could indeed heal his daughter, too.

While all this was going on, word came from Jairus’ house that his daughter had died. It was a word of fear: “Why trouble the Teacher any further?” The situation is hopeless. Let Jesus be on His way. There’s no longer anything He can do for you.

But Jesus met Jairus with these words: “Do not be afraid; only believe.”


Is there a situation in your life where you’re waiting for God right now? Is it a situation that seems to have gone from bad to worse while you were waiting? Does it seem like all hope is lost?

Life deals us those times — when you want to hold on to hope against all odds, but everything around you seems to tell you it’s hopeless.

The voices in your own mind, and even the people around you, say it’s hopeless. No one is going to want you. It just doesn’t happen like that. Maybe for someone else but not for me. Give up. It’s impossible. Let go of that dream.

But bring it to Jesus, and let Him meet you with these words: “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

In one of my favourite lines from the movie Faith Like Potatoes, Angus Buchan says:

“The condition for a miracle is difficulty, however the condition for a great miracle is not difficulty, but impossibility.”

Jairus believed, and continued the journey to his home, taking Jesus with him. He brought Jesus to his daughter. Though the people there mourning and weeping ridiculed Him, Jesus took control of the situation. He put all the disbelief outside, and went in to the room where the child lay, took her by the hand, and said “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

The impossible became a reality for Jairus. His daughter got up and walked. His faith brought about her healing. His faith-words to Jesus became faith-walking reality: “Come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.”

Though what you are hoping for may seem impossible, bring your faith to Jesus. And keep on bringing it. Let Him kick out disbelief. The woman’s faith moved her mountain. Jairus’ faith moved his. Keep speaking faith-words. Keep looking forward to faith walking. Let Him whisper to you, strong and true:

Do not be afraid; only believe.