2 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
For my whole life my mother has truly been a spiritual hero to me and our entire family. There are few people like her. It is a supernatural thing to observe that in the context of a life of trial and loss she has ending up with a life that shows grace, mercy, and determination. Diana, my mother, is an overcomer–her life is a sermon vividly telling a story of Christ’s triumph.
In researching our family tree with her, I found out she never knew her mother or her father. She essentially was an orphan, on her own as a teenager who later in life was also abandoned in a marriage, later becoming a widow who lost a love to cancer. Twice, she was a single parent, raising five boys. There is a lot of detail to such a well-lived life, but the simple story is of a person who has overcome rejection, abuse, mistreatment, and loss through faith and a vibrant life of prayer.
I am now learning to take notes to be sure I remember well her wisdom. Phoning my mom usually results in God’s voice speaking deeply to my heart. (Yes, that is true mom!) I hope I can live like she does, and since she lives across the country I want to be sure my kids remember what she has to say.
I thought I would share with my readers “Seven lessons on how to be an overcomer from my mom.” These are things my mothers lives and says often to women she ministers to who have seen abuse in their lives. These are principles from her contemplations and life story, and ones that I know many can learn from.
Being an overcomer means making choices by faith that point you in the direction of grace when you are mistreated. Here is the recipe my mom uses. Personally, I vouch that her coaching is sound advice. So, I’m gonna post the first in a short series here with lessons from my mom.
Lesson #1 – Pray for the offender: My mother is a person of prayer. And, it may sound trite, but the reality is bringing a person before God and asking him to intervene is really healthy. Imagine acting out of emotion before being at peace with God in the conflict or hurt?
Matthew 5:44 (NKJV) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you
- We pray because we need spiritual power to overcome. All the steps needed require acting in a way that is literally supernatural. We cannot in our own strength love an enemy or have the emotional fortitude to bring an offender before God in prayer. We need God’s intervention.
- We pray to see people as God values them.This advice from Jesus amplifies a counter-cultural response to being mistreated. Praying does not mean you are no longer hurt or angry over the situation. It does not mean you agree with the wrong being done to you. It means that you value people the way God does.
- We pray because God can restore relationships. Don’t you think it is more healing to learn to want the best for others than desire harm? When we pray, we can ask for something only God can truly give–restoration of relationships. Sometimes, only prayer can move our hearts and the offender together. When we are in conflict, God promises his presences as Jesus says, “where two or three are gathered (in the context of conflict) I am there also.” (Matthew 18:20).
How are you praying for those who have hurt you, both in the past and in the present? Have you seen God change your perspective on others from that?
[Come back this week for more lessons from mom…]