When a child is born two creatures are birthed, the baby – precious and helpless, and the warrior also known as 'mother'.
Like any mother I am fierce when it comes to my children. I want the best for my precious girl and my determined son, so when my healthy four-year-old boy began to show symptoms of an illness at the start of this year I began to fight for his health, just as any loving parent would.
Day after day his condition persisted; we did everything we knew how, we followed doctors orders, we talked to others with young children, but nothing seemed to help. His condition grew worse and it began to impact upon our lives in a way we had not imagined could happen.
I am a strong believer in the power of prayer. I have seen and experienced God’s healing throughout my life. So when this challenge first appeared I did what I knew worked, I prayed. I prayed for healing. I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for strength. I prayed for wisdom. I prayed and I prayed. Every morning I prayed and every evening I prayed.
I prayed so much I was prayer fatigued!
Have you ever felt like that?
That you have poured your heart and soul into your prayers and... nothing.
Nothing seems to change, it feels like you will never make it passed this point. You feel alone and adrift on an ocean in a tiny boat, with no glimpse of a shoreline in sight. Lost without any understanding of which direction to even begin to row in, and you can’t even find a paddle to start!
Maybe your battle is not health, maybe it is financial or relational; we cross many oceans during our lives. And they are big. They are not the 'here today gone tomorrow' issues, the streams or even rivers that rise up quickly and just as swiftly abate. They are the marathon ocean-crossing issues that need our inner warrior to arise. Everyone is born a warrior that desires to fight, whether it is for our children, spouse, parents, or friends. We have a fighting spirit within us that seeks the victory that we have been promised.
A breakthrough or a sudden shift that will propel us forward, hoisting us from victims to victors. A key that will locate the paddle, reveal the shoreline and motivate us to start rowing with all the might within!
As I have travelled along this journey I have discovered, and sometimes re-discovered, these seven keys that brought a sudden shift when it was needed the most. If you are in need of a victory, a breakthrough, then my hope is that one of these keys will also help you.
We will never avoid the ocean storms, as much as we try; what matters is how we manage ourselves during the storms.
I am all for a smooth journey, I loathe pain of the battle of life as much as the next person, but we need to accept that there will be times of great challenge in life. That is a truth that cannot be escaped.
James clearly states that we will face trails (James 1:2). The disciples, those closest to Jesus, faced many difficulties throughout their lives. One memorable moment for the famous twelve was when they found themselves on a boat in the middle of the sea battling a life-threatening storm (Mark 6:45-52). These trusted companions of Jesus found themselves in the midst of adversity, afraid and uncertain. I think it is safe to say that if those closest to Jesus faced adversity on the ocean of life, we will too.
It can be dangerous to believe that because we are Christians we will never be touched by sickness, trials, persecution, and poverty. This doctrine has left many confused about God’s goodness and deeply wounded when they do face adversity. A wounded heart can’t fight a winning battle.
As much as adversity is a truth, so is God’s goodness in the midst of it. Guard your heart and renew your mind by speaking God’s promises and truth over your situation.
How did the disciples manage in the eye of the storm?
Despite their vast fishing experience on the ocean – or maybe because of it, they were terrified by their circumstances. The miracle they had just performed a few hours before in feeding 5000 people was long forgotten as the storm gathered momentum around them. Afraid they would not make it through the treacherous night to see the sun rise again, they must have been wondering why Jesus had left them alone and if He knew or cared about what was happening to them.
While they felt abandoned and forsaken, they were not. Mark tells us that Jesus was very aware of what was happening. Mark 6:48 says “Then He saw them straining at rowing...” In the midst of the storm it can appear as if our prayers are unheard, our burdens unseen, but Jesus always hears and sees. He knows when to let us go on ahead and when He needs to step in and hold our hand.
Often we want to be rescued right away; He has other plans and gives us time to practice what He has been teaching us. The disciples had just witnessed a miracle of power over nature by feeding the multitude. Now they faced nature trying to dominate them. It was the perfect opportunity to test their new kingdom knowledge. I don’t think Jesus will ever feel disappointed in us if we just give it a good go. He does not want us to remain helpless babes who need to be rescued at every turn. He wants us to learn to calm the waves; we are in partnership with Christ. Ephesians 2:6 tells us that He has made the way for us to be seated at the right hand of the Father with Him. If we can’t calm our own waves how will we be able to help others do the same?
Trust is intricately woven together with faith; one does not exist without the other. We must trust that He is for us and that He is with us no matter how high the waves are, He died for us so to think that He would then abandon us is ridiculous. When we grasp this truth, it releases faith to speak to the circumstances we are in and eventually they will begin to calm.
It is the hardest thing to do when we are exhausted. When our hearts are heavy and our minds are confused. Yet I find it is the only thing I can do throughout the battle that keeps me moving forward. Every time the battle is thick I stop life, I draw aside and I begin to praise; it is here the load lightens and strength returns. The truth of this is repeatedly shown throughout scripture, particularly in Psalms and Isaiah 40:31 “Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength...”
The enemy relies upon threats of what may happen, ridicule and blasphemy to try and subdue us. There must be little else that annoys the enemy than God’s people still choosing to praise God despite the circumstances.
In Isaiah 37 King Hezekiah was being threatened and mocked by the Assyria kings; he went straight to the house of the Lord and began to praise God. “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel... You are God. You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.” Fast forward to the New Testament times and Peter and John are being persecuted for the gospel. Once again they turn to thanksgiving by declaring “Lord you are God, who made Heaven and Earth.” (Acts 4:24).
When we give thanks to God and we acknowledge Him it brings us into alignment with Him. As Graham Cooke explains, “The Word of God is alive and as we speak it, in alignment with His will – something is always happening! We need to give thanks to Him for what He is doing!” (Crafted Prayer). Thanksgiving is an active step in faith that acknowledges that God is at work.
When we are in alignment with God we can listen to God. This is an important key to breakthrough. It is in these moments we will know what to do, we will find our paddle, and we will locate the shoreline.
There is no formula for breakthrough, only keys that can help us on the journey. Each battle looks different. That is why we must be aligned with God and listening to Him; He has the battle plan and knows what strategy will work. Here is where relationship surpasses religion. He knows when to row, when to rest and when to let the wind take over, but if we try desperately to work it out for ourselves we will end up exhausted and confused, feeling as if God forgot about us- just like the disciples. All the while, He is calling to us and we are too busy to hear.
These are big battles that we face and our prayers must be about agreeing with God, we should not try to manipulate Him to get the answer we want in the time frame we desire. It is one thing if He has given us an instruction quite another if we have give it to Him. We must align ourselves to His will, the God who made Heaven and Earth, and then when we ask we stand in faith confident that he hears and will answer because our heart and His are one.
When my son was at his sickest, and I felt totally overwhelmed, I drew aside and began to pray. The phrase “Jesus at the center” just kept coming to me. I remembered the song that had swept through the Church a few years ago by Israel Houghton and I began to hum it. As I did, I realised I had allowed this sickness and its affects upon us to become the center of my world. I had placed me in the center. Sickness had become bigger than Jesus. When I put Jesus back at the center, I stepped out and He stepped in. I positioned Jesus back in His rightful place. Ephesians 1 explains that Christ should always be our center. He is the center of God’s plan for humanity, everything should revolved around Him.
I would then go into my son’s bedroom at night, while he was asleep, and I would sing this song over him, declaring that Jesus was at the center of what was happening. Within a week we began to see significant changes.
Learning to listen and positioning Jesus in His rightful place – at the center, will always bring breakthrough.
This one is tough. The ability to persist despite opposition is often a key that will finally unlock the door we desire to see opened. Sometimes we can wait months, sometimes years to see God move.
She is not known by her name, only by her condition – the woman who had a “flow of blood for twelve years”. She is described as ‘suffering’ at the hands of physicians who tried to heal her for over a decade only to be left unclean, unhealed and in poverty. If anyone could have been forgiven for giving up, it was this woman. If anyone needed a breakthrough, it was this woman.
This woman inspired me that even after twelve years she never gave up hope. Wow! Can you imagine that? She kept her heart soft and continued to believe in God’s faithfulness to her despite more than a decade of circumstances that screamed not to.
Mark writes “When she heard about Jesus she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. Saying, ‘if only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.’ Immediately... she was healed.” (Mark 5:25-29) The word “immediately” can make us forget that this miracle was twelve years in the making. That this woman’s faith had outlasted the circumstances she lived in every day, she had contended with the doubts, the circumstances, and the fears. She had shed tears as she proclaimed the Holy Scriptures over her life and she had kept her hope, ready to move when God showed up. Now that is a persistent faith that knows a faithful God will deliver and it is that tenacity and warrior spirit that sees a breakthrough arise.
The Body of Christ
Throughout this year, when I felt stuck and out of answers, I can specifically recall two instances where I asked members of my church family to pray for our son and I saw a breakthrough. The church has a responsibility to uplift each member when it is needed. And it is such a blessing to us when we see God respond to our prayers.
God has placed us into a family of believers and it is here that we are strengthened (Psalm 133; Eccl 4:9-10). We were never meant to walk through life alone and it is desperately sad when we don’t care for one another as Christ asks us to, or when we feel so hurt by past experiences that we isolate ourselves from other believers.
We are the body of Christ and we should operate as such. When one part of the body is suffering the other areas take over and assist. We are to carry each other, in this covenant bond of Christ, and when we do a blessing is formed and miracles are birthed. When Peter was in prison the body gathered and “constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” As the body wrestled for Peter, he was set free. (Acts 12:5).
There is a reason that we are commanded in Hebrews to keep gathering together, no matter what! (Hebrews 10:24-25). We need to be intentional about fellowship and friendship. Always remember that being a part of the body of Christ is immensely important. There is just as much blessing in receiving a miracle as there is in being a part of creating that miracle.
Be strong and courageous - don't give up, lean in and take hold of all that God has for you in this season.
Tho the battle be fierce
I have equipped you
The victory is ours
Take up My sword
Carry My shield
And rise with Me
Daughter of the King
P.S. If you have some keys for breakthrough that you would like to share, I would love to hear about them, leave a comment below.