Uplifting, encouraging, words from a woman who has lived through a lot of life lessons.

The Good Fight

The Good Fight

“You can quit with your mind or you can fight with your heart.”

The following blog post is not a message I can really take credit for at all. In fact, my husband just stood in our kitchen and preached this message to me a couple of hours ago. It spoke to the core of my heart so I decided I would share it with all of you. I truly believe you’ll be encouraged.

Okay before I get to the point let me be super honest and share why I needed this message. Justin and I have been in a really different season for the past 9 months or so. I feel like we’ve grown so much. That being said it hasn’t been the easiest or most comfortable season we’ve ever been in that’s for sure. We have trusted God when nothing around us made sense. We fought for our finances. We fought for our sanity. We fought for our marriage. You name it I’m sure we fought for it.

The flip side of this season is that we’ve seen God reveal himself to us in mind-blowing ways. He has been so faithful. There were times we didn’t know how we were going to pay rent and within minutes the phone would ring with a job opportunity. There was a time we didn’t have food to eat and a friend we hadn’t seen in years knocked on the door with a car full of groceries. I remember many nights feeling like I was literally going to lose my mind. All I could do was cry out to God for peace and just like that the world around me seemed to hush and sleep would come.

We have recently come to the place where we can see the light of Gods promises in the distance. Ministry promises I felt God had spoken to me are coming into focus. Doors are opening for Justin’s ministry that are blowing our minds and exceeding our wildest dreams. We still have a lot of questions and not a lot of answers but our faith is strong.

We had been having a few really good weeks and really felt like we were on the downhill side of the mountain we just climbed. Well, that was up until a couple of days ago we got hit out of no where with a doozy.  It rocked me to my core. It’s still in its healing process so I’ll keep the details vague. It was as if we had our guards up in all places but one area. It was an area we felt wasn’t a threat and then Bam. Guess where we got hit? You guessed it that one unguarded area.

Okay let’s jump to last night. I so wanted to stay up diving into the inspirational books Justin and I are reading. I wanted to sit up and dream of the future. I just couldn’t seem to feel anything. I felt like I had fought all this time only to have the bottom fall out and shatter around me. I felt like I was in a daze.

Fast forward to this morning. I stood looking like a zombie waiting for my coffee to finish brewing when Justin walked in. He walked in and honestly I’m not even sure what he said to me. All I know is I melted into a ball of emotions and began spilling all my fresh hurts, fears, and anxieties. He stood there quietly listening until I ran out of things to say. When I was finished He began to speak one of the most on time messages right into the depths of my soul.

The following is bits and pieces of that message:

He began by saying, “Mellie, last night as I was reading my book I looked over at you and it was like I could feel your weariness. I exited the room a little bothered by it to be honest. I went into the guest room to study and have a little prayer time. I felt like God spoke to me and said Justin your wife is weak. She has been fighting a good fight but her strength is low. I am going to need you to encourage and coach her through the next couple of days.” He went on to say he planned to figure out a way to start a conversation with me about what God had spoken to him but when he came into the kitchen I beat him to it with my meltdown. (He didn’t say melt down, I think he knew better. Those are my words)

He began to talk to me about his fighting days. He told me about fight camps and how much they would push themselves before their fights. (He used to be a cage fighter and holds an 18 and 3 fight record). They would push themselves to their limit only to go home, sleep, and get up the next morning to do it all over again. He recalled times he would forward calls from his trainers because he was so burnt out, only to have them show up at his door and knock until he reluctantly headed to the gym. They would eat different then everyone else. They would talk and act differently then everyone else because their head was in training mode.

You see the thing is training feels a lot like the fight most of the time. It’s not this leisure vacation leading up to the fight. If you never fall in love with training you won’t likely ever win the title fight. If you are only focused on the fight and not the training you won’t be properly prepared to dominate your opponent. If your goal is to be the best, you’re going to have to train harder than the rest. Many times what happens in the cage is only 10% of the fight.

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

~Muhammad Ali~

You see it’s the same in our spiritual fight. So many times we live for the victories and never fall in love with learning Gods process. No one likes cutting the Fat of our spirit man. In fact, it seems conviction is a dirty word these days. We definitely don’t want our Pastor/Husband/Friends/Family/Trainer telling us to adjust our technique. We don’t make time to read the book and spend time with the master. Yet we can’t understand why we always feel like the loser. God’s plan is for us to be the head not the tail but we don’t want to work toward the goal.

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

The first part of training is getting in shape. Building strength requires breaking your will and submitting to the goal ahead. This is a painful process. It requires blood sweat and, many times, tears. You strip yourself of all luxuries and selfish pleasures to focus fully on training.

Muscle Damage and Repair. Whether you build muscle by lifting weights or using exercise machines, the effect on your muscles is the same. Damage occurs within the muscle fibers in the form of tears. Your body will then repair this damage during your recovery periods. ~ LIVESTRONG.COM~

I remember Justin telling me about this one fight in particular that he had trained so hard for. When it came time for the weigh-ins he literally had to strip down naked to make-weight. Everything had been taken away in order for him to even be able to step in the cage! He recalled being totally humiliated but if you don’t make weight you don’t fight. If you don’t fight you don’t get paid but more importantly all your training would be in vain. Without making weight you surely can not hold the title.

How many times have you felt like you have been stripped of everything? How many times have you felt like you’ve gave all you have to give? I know I have stood before God feeling completely naked and ashamed. I have fought, studied, and prayed only to be standing on the scale holding my breath hoping to qualify. Oh what a sweet feeling it is to know you have passed a test. To know you have entered into a deeper level in your relationship with Christ is the greatest feeling. All the shame melts away and you can dance like David humbly before the Lord.

Back to my conversation with Justin in the kitchen that day. He told me about cornering a friend for one of his fights.  I’ll call him “Mark” in this blog. This was Mark’s first professional fight. He had trained hard and was a great fighter. His opponent was a former belt holder. The goal was for Mark to have a lot of movement but he went straight in forgetting all his training and took an overhand right. That hit rung his bell pretty good. Instantly he went a little loopy and started running around the ring in an attempt to disengage.  When the bell rang he came back to the corner spit out his mouth piece. The first words out of his mouth were, “He hits so hard! I don’t want to fight anymore!” He wanted to quit right then and there. Justin grabbed his mouth piece and said, “I’ve fought this guy and I know how to beat him. Everyday of camp we drilled on how to beat this guy. We wouldn’t have taken this fight if we didn’t think you were good enough to beat him. You went out there and you let fear get the best of you. You can quit with your mind or you can fight with your heart. You have to go out and execute the game plan we came in here with. I can promise you if you do that you’ll win this fight!” The bell rung he put his mouth piece back in and instantly he began follow the game plan. Moving away from the opponent strengths and forcing the opponent into Marks strengths. Mark won that night. The opponent was more experienced but Mark had a fighters heart.

You see the thing is so many times we live for the mountain tops. We can’t seem to find joy in the training so we lose most of the fights. My husband read me this scripture that day in the kitchen. It filled my heart with joy.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap IF we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

I was encouraged to dust myself off and try again. There is more fight in this heart of mine! I don’t have to have it all figured out. I just have to have enough fight for today. God has given me grace to keep pushing ahead.  I’m going to keep fighting the good fight. I hope you will too.

Fight on my friends! Fight for your faith! Fight for your promises!  Fight for your family! Fight for your marriage! Fight for your lost loved ones! Fight for your babies! Fight for your health! God is for you not against you. He is in your corner. Train your ear to hear him over all the fear, pain, and distractions. He wouldn’t have allowed you to take this fight if he didn’t know you had it in you. You are chosen for such a fight as this! You got this baby! Get out there and show them what you got. Give em heart!

May the Lord bless you, keep you and give you peace,

Melonie Howard

A Premeditated Response

A Premeditated Response