Like you, I was glad to see 2020 go...but I acknowledge that in my heart and spirit I have felt that 2021 would be even more challenging. My first couple of days of 2021 have already been so hard that I feel like I can't put one foot in front of the other. Maybe a lot of that is sheer exhaustion. If you have ever been on this journey of caregiving for a loved one with Dementia, you understand. But the real reason these two days have been so sorrowful for me is that I veered off the road.
"What road?" you may be wondering. I'll call it the Overcoming Road. We are each sojourners on it, but each of our roads has a different name, a different direction, a different way to the finish line. What our roads all have in common is the goal: to be an Overcomer. To be a pure, spotless bride. To be molded, refined or burned into the image of our Messiah. No one road is harder than another. That is because our Maker knows what it is that needs to be chiseled, burned or cut off of our flesh. Therefore, no matter how different our road to overcoming may seem from others, all roads require the same cost: ABSOLUTE HUMILITY, TOTAL SURRENDER.
When I first sought help in caring for John, I was blessed to find a precious, loving, believing mentor who has founded an organization to help people navigate this road. She gives three rules that are absolutes for caregivers:
1. Be kind, not right. He is the expert, you are not.
2. Use statements, not questions.
4. Never, never contradict!
When I fell off my road the last couple of days, and found myself contradicting John and insisting that I was right and he was wrong, the Holy Spirit came and absolutely invaded my soul, convicting me of my error. I saw the destruction I had caused as we began to disagree and argue and lose all the shalom we've had for so long. I went to take a hot shower (my "mikveh") and could not tell my cascade of tears from the drenching shower. After my time of repentance with the Lord, I knew what I needed to do. I knew I needed to better understand why this goal of "overcoming" is SO important for us in these latter days of the journey. What is it really all about anyway and how does it relate to Yeshua/Jesus? I needed to really understand the road and why I must stay on it. I want to share with you what I found in the hopes that it will help you set your course for this next year too, and press in with all your heart and all your soul, as I hope to do.
1 John 4:4: For everyone who is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Rev. 2:7: To him who overcomes I will give the right to eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.
Rev. 2:11: He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.
Rev. 2:17: To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
Rev. 2:26: To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.
Rev. 3:5: He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and His angels.
Rev. 3:21: To him who overcomes I will give the right to sit with Me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne.
So, I am to OVERCOME as Yeshua did. And in doing this, I will have the right to sit with Him on His throne! My name will be written in His book of life and I will live with Him forever, unscathed by the second death. I will overcome the world and the devil and have eternal victory! And so I looked to see how Yeshua Himself overcame death and sat with Father God on His throne:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.” (Acts 8:32)
In other words,
I do not have to be right
I do not have to receive justice
I do not have to open my mouth
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Messiah Yeshua: 'Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself of no reputation, taking the very nature of a servant... (Phil 1:3-7)
O Holy Spirit, strengthen and empower me to stay on this Road of no Reputation, finish strong in faith and humility, and OVERCOME!!!
Just for the record, dearest friends, despite the great crisis our nation faces, I do still believe that we will see miracles in the days ahead of us. I believe our God will move in ways we could not have expected or predicted; but our Lord also tells us that we WILL go through great tribulation. Ah, but then He adds, "...but take heart, for I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!" (John 16:33)
Kelly Ferrari Mills