Faith,  Family,  Friendship,  Marriage

Arms Held High

I would have rather been punched in the gut by Hulk than hear the words that came out of his mouth. “I want a divorce,” it knocked the air straight out of me. Then he hung up the phone. I stood speechless on the sidelines of our oldest son’s soccer game. I was never speechless, especially at a sporting event. But words couldn’t move past the lump in my throat. What was I going to do? How would I tell his three children? Would they think we were working on soccer agility if I grabbed my kids and sprinted to the car?

I had never felt so alone. Shouting my issues through a megaphone is not my thing, but I did have a small circle who I trusted. But none of them could relate to what I was going through. I was heartbroken and alone. So I began to search for a group who I could relate to and feel safe with. I found a church within a short drive who was starting DivorceCare the next day. I showed up and walked to the front of the church, “I’m here for DivorceCare,” I whispered to the lady at the front. “Oh, honey, we forgot to update our website, that’s not starting until next week, I’m so sorry.” I sobbed all the way back home.

I kept racking my brain…there was a big church in Nashville that I had been to for a few special events, surely they would have something. That’s when I found a class for women on marriage restoration. Not exactly what I was looking for, but close enough. I sent an e-mail inquiring about how to join the class. In no time, I received one back asking if she could give me a call. Of course! All of the silence was deafening, I needed to hear a voice.

We talked for an hour. She told me her story; I shared mine. I cried and when I couldn’t catch my breath, she caught it for me with her encouraging words. Kelly. My new mentor, friend, truth speaker, prayer warrior. She saved me a seat on Sundays, dove deep into my spiritual life on Wednesdays, and provided wise counsel on the days in between. Her ears were always ready to listen and mouth there to impart wisdom.

One particular Sunday, I slipped into the spot next to her amongst the mass of people. Worship had just begun so everyone was on their feet. I couldn’t even lift my head. Defeat engulfed me. I didn’t say a word, she knew. She knew the battle that was going on inside of me. She knew the battle that raged at home. The words that had slayed me, the ones I fought back with and the unspoken ones that I tried to keep from my innocent babies. She knew the war that was being waged for my family, it was gut wrenching, and the enemy had his cross hairs directly on my heart. She knew.

As my head hung, tears streamed off my face, splashing on my sandals. I couldn’t have uttered a word from the song had I tried. Then she reached over, grabbed my hand, and next thing I knew, my arm was in the air with hers. She didn’t waiver through the entire song. She stood there, strong on my behalf, in a posture of praise, holding up my arm. She wasn’t waving a white flag in defeat, but declaring that victory was coming. She didn’t run away because my mess was too messy or the battle too gory. She stood by me and lifted my arm when I was too weak to raise it myself.

I left church that day and praised God all the way home. I remembered the story from Exodus 17, when Joshua went to battle with the Amalekites. Moses, Aaron, and Hur stood on top of the hill overlooking the valley where the battle raged on. When Moses held up the staff of God in his hand, Joshua and the Israelites would gain ground towards victory. But there was a problem. Moses’ hands grew tired and he couldn’t keep the staff in the air. When his hands dropped, the Amalekites became overpowering in the battle. So, Aaron and Hur placed a stone under Moses’ tired body for him to sit on. Then, as friends on each side, they held up Moses’ arms.

I picture the scene that day, sweat dripping from Moses’ forehead, his eyes squinting from the pain. Aaron and Hur with his arms hoisted on their shoulders as they look out over the valley, giving Moses the play by play. Encouraging him to keep going. “We’ve got you, Moses!” “I know this hurts, Moses, but hold on a little longer, victory is on the way.” And they watched that day as their enemies were defeated. Moses walked away with sore, weary arms but arms that were also full of praise and triumph.

Aaron and Hur raised Moses’ arms that day, and “AS A RESULT, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle” (Exodus 17:13, NLT). Had Aaron and Hur not been there that day for Moses, there would have been a different result in the valley. Defeat. The enemy would have overcome them and danced back home. But that’s not what happens when people step into our battles and war alongside us. Lifting us up, encouraging us along the way. There’s a turn of the tables and victory shouts from a distance. “I’m on my way, hold on a little longer!” That’s what friends do. They stand in the gap and help hold you up.

That’s what Kelly did for me. She used her own strength to hold my arms up when I didn’t have the strength. Not just that day, but others. She prayed with me, spoke the truth in love, redirected me to stay focused, and cheered me on louder than Cub’s fans when one goes out of the park at Wrigley Field.

I didn’t go home that day and throw in the towel. I continued to stand for my marriage and fight the real enemy, Satan. It was a long road uphill, but my marriage was restored. The enemy was defeated, and we danced in victory! I say “we” danced in victory because it wasn’t just Jason, the kids, and myself. It was Kelly’s dance too. So much of where we are today is a result of Jesus shining through someone who was willing to raise my arms in battle.

I had never met anyone like her up until that point, and now every woman I meet, I want them to meet her…in me. I want to come alongside other women in their struggles, whether it be marriage, parenting, finance, whatever it may be. I want to cheer them on, help them keep their focus on Jesus, and hold them up when the battle is raging.

That’s who we need in our corner and who we need to be for others. AS A RESULT…our enemy will be overwhelmed and defeated. Let’s be sisters who lift each other’s weary arms. Victory is on the way.

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