What does it mean, when everything in your life, first comes with a fight? When you’ve spent most your life fighting to be seen, fighting to be heard, fighting to be taken seriously, fighting to be cared about, fighting to defend yourself, fighting to keep what you love, fighting to be understood — When everything is a fight?

Everything that I’ve ever had, came first with a fight. I was nine years old with a degenerative condition that was creeping in to slowly limit my abilites, with a promise of eventual immobility. I had to fight to have some normalcy outside of this. I was sixteen, fighting the unrelenting pain I was in, just to be in class. I fought to get married, fought to have my children, fought to carry my pregnancies to term. I fought to keep my child healthy and alive when he was born terminally ill. When the doctors told me that I would never be able to have a healthy child, I fought that and went on to have two healthy, smart, precious children. I fought to keep my marriage going, no matter how bad it was, fighting for the commitment I had made. I failed once and had to start all over again to fight for another marriage that was consistently under inside attack. I fought to keep my friendships, always battling to clear my name. I fought to be taken seriously in my career and to be given equal respect. I fought gossiping people always running off at the mouth about me, my kids, my marriage, my family — I fought. I fought to keep my head upright, when I felt like I couldn’t stand another day. I fought an illness that was trying to steal my life from me, I fought. Over and over again. For every breath I had in my body. Every ounce of determintation that told me to keep going. Every cheek that I turned when I was being lied about, everytime that I chose to forgive without apology, each moment that I felt like I wouldn’t make it, I fought.

What I didn’t realize then, is that I was cutting my teeth on these battles. Nothing that has ever come my way has been able to take from me that which it set out to — Because each of these battles I had been fighting for most of my life, had made me more resilient. At the time, of course I thought these battles were going to destroy me. How do you hold your child as they die, after already watching their life bleed slowly from them for years, and not crumble up and disintegrate? How do you go on to have several more miscarriages, lives that you prayed and begged God to have — And not be ready to throw in the towel? How do you deal with physical pain every day of your life and a condition that constantly reminds you of all that you will never do, and not give up? How do you handle all of these things, one after another, and not buckle under the added weight of people you love telling the world who you are, when you don’t even know who you are anymore? How do you keep fighting, when you’ve given so much of your energy on the first battle and have been fighting on fumes, ever since?

God was cutting my teeth on each and every circumstance I had faced in my life and yet I couldn’t see it. I kept asking why — Why this? Why now? Why them? Why me? And God kept saying, “I am making you into who I have purposed you to be.” Countless times I told God that I couldn’t handle it. It was too much, that I could not do this again, and he just kept saying, “Wait.”

The thing is, it’s not in perfection where we are made perfect, it is in the fire. The fire that strips away all impurities. The fire that heats us up to becoming pliable, moldable. The fire that shows us just how much we can endure and still survive. Each one of these battles was another fire, to break away the callousness of bitterness, of anger, of insecurity. To show me exactly who I was beneath all of the calcifications hardening itself around my heart, my mind, and my spirit. It was the fire that melted those away so that I could see myself in the image that I was created in. So that I could understand the purpose that was set for my life, long before I ever took my first breath.

I fought the battles, cutting my teeth one after another, only to realize that whatever God means for my life, it cannot be stopped. It is unshakeable. No attack will succeed in bringing it down. No weapon formed against it will prosper. That which God has set out to do, will always come to fruition. These fights, grew me. They raised me up, out of my old way of thinking. They allowed me to shed my former ways, in order to see Gods ways. To bring me to the understanding that in some things, you just have to fight. You can’t meet it with indifference, you can’t be complacent and waiting for it to pass — You have to get in, as battle weary as you are, as tired as you have become, and fight. That God sees our willingness to step to the forefront of the battle with a rock and sling shot, to slay the giant standing before us, and in this willingness to fight — He raises us up and promotes us through our battles. He stands alongside us, with dominion over all things and says, “No weapon formed against this one will prosper.”

In this, I have learned to thank God for every fight that I’ve had to endure and prove myself in. Every attack on my marriage, that only made it stronger. Every attack on my family, that only brought us closer together. Every attack on my children, that only stengthened their character. Every attack on my body, that forced me to slow down, self-reflect and realize some things that needed changing. Every attack on my heart that showed me who I really was and what I was made of. Every battle that seperated the weathered skin from the fruit underneath. In each one of these fights, I learned, I grew, I changed. I was brought closer to understanding about myself, that which God already knew about me. In each fight, I walk away stronger. The next fight can’t take me down, after what I’ve been through, seen and learned. The next time can’t shake me like the time before did. I cut my teeth and am no longer in my infancy.

These battles are not to destroy us, but to mold us, change us, force us to see who we really are. To cause us to realize our own strength and fortitude and reveal to us, ourselves, in the same light which our Creator sees us in. Whatever it is that God has purposed for you, will never just be handed to you. It will never come without great sacrifice, without the fight. Without being thrown into the fire, first. Even if you receive something through grace, eventually there will be a time to fight to keep that which was given to you on trust. These battles are what seperate the wheat from the chaff, the precious resource from the unuseable. Be grateful for the battles, realize that they are only to make you better, stronger, wiser, different from who you used to be. Be strong, grease up your face, gauze up your knuckles, and FIGHT for whatever it is that’s right on the other side of the fire.