Three Reasons to Stay in the Fight
We live on a giant roller coaster—one day at Disney World and the next in the hospital, one day at the beach and the next in the ICU room on life support. The down-hill ride is thrilling, but the uphill strain is sheer suffering. The certainty of inevitable uncertainty wars against our flesh. This ambush of fiery trials stalks us down, mocks our faith.
The tears I’ve cried over my husband’s 20-year battle with chronic kidney failure and all it entails have been countless, eye-burning, Bible-staining tears. I have wept pools of anger, mixed with sympathy and deep anguish — some too ugly for words. And there have the “can’t catch my breath tears,” and also the sharp, painful tears that seem bottomless.
Our journey is one of unceasing dialysis every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Monday. Wednesday. Friday. Monday. Wednesday. Friday. Treatment approaches every other day with a violent reminder of the bondage in which we are held to kidney failure. No vacations, no days off, no relief.
What do you do when you receive news that is so scary it literally stuns you—reports that oppose everything you believe? We hear information like this almost weekly. The emotions endured leave us in a swirl of contradiction.
I’m not afraid of Joel dying. As Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, “I face death daily.” I’m heartbroken over the loss of time and experiences that have been stolen from us—ruthlessly ripped from our fingers. Sometimes I fight back by yelling, red faced, steaming mad. Sometimes I am just broken.
Five long years I’ve been in this battle with my amazing hubby, and no area of our lives are untouched by this disease. Countless hospital visits and living sleep deprived are our normal quality of life. The fray is obvious at all times.
Meals, daily routine, and even conversation all controlled by kidney failure, which seems to unceasingly shout commands of surrender to the sadness of it all. Hopelessness begs to take over.
Despite the intensity of suffering that persists, I have found that what breaks me, makes me.
I’ve become a caregiver. A fighter. A minister. An encourager. Most importantly, I am wholly dependent on Jesus. I’ve become so much more than I ever thought I could be. I’ve become who I was created to be.
Instead of pushing back the tears I am going to push back the bitterness, questioning, and doubts with the tiniest amount of strength I have left to fight. I won’t win by giving up. I win by fighting. I win by forging ahead.
When I’m down for the count, even picking my head up off the ground counts as combat, I want to be authentic in the battle. My husband and I press on every day. We fight for hope and joy and strength to persevere. Kidney failure doesn’t win in our house. It never will.
God sees every tear we’ve cried. He cares for us deeply. His arm is not too short to save. He isn’t surprised or aloof to our suffering. The same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead lives in us. This suffering is forming us and encourages believers and non-believers all around the world. Suffering for Christ is a privilege.
I have resolved in the journey of joy and suffering to stay in the fight even when I feel that I am down for the count and staring up at the sky. Here are three good reasons that give me strength.
- It is a privilege. “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together” (Philippians 1:29–30).
- The pain is shaping me to be the best version of myself. “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 2:8) NLT).
- I have good reason to stay in the fight. “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize” (1 Corinthians 9:25).
I am keeping my focus on Jesus and taking these comforting words as my sword to stay in the fight! “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).
Stay strong beauties,
Guest Author: Amie Stockstill
With a passion to reach young women, Amie's life demonstrates practical ways each and every believer can impact the lives of others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her humorous and personal communication style give her the ability to take on the tough issues facing this generation. Through the last 6 years she has walked with Joel through some very difficult trials in his health and the Lord has used this to birth a strong faith, ability to overcome fear, and impart hope.
Check out their ministry at joelandamie.com