“It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again.”  ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I have no fight left in me.

I have only love.

I have only the desire to be a prophet in the desert proclaiming someone greater, someone whose sandals I’m not worthy of tying.  

The other week, a video was posted, mocking my Servanthood post on Prodigal. I was at Jumping Tandem at the time, and someone told me about it but said not to bother watching it but of course, I went back to my room and I did.

And I spent about half an hour writing out what I felt was a kind and gentle, loving response and then it all disappeared when I went to publish it. And my roommate, Michelle DeRusha, told me not to bother spending anymore time trying to respond but, partially because I wanted them to understand what I was really trying to say in my post (pride) and partly because I wanted them to know I wasn’t angry, that I was being Jesus in my response to them, I tried to re-write it.

And then Jennifer Dukes Lee ran into our room looking for a phone and I ended up telling her about the video and she became angry on my behalf and said not to bother with the response, either and then I burst into tears.

I couldn’t stop crying. And I closed my laptop and walked over to my bed and just cried and cried.

Because my sisters were taking care of me. And their love was in such sharp contrast to the disdain I’d sensed in the video.

Sometimes we can’t defend ourselves.

But always, our job as Christian women is to come along and pick each other up and pray each other up and protect each other up so we might try again.

I had already made public and private apologies–and both to one of the girls who did the video. I had thought she’d forgiven me for the hurt my post had put her through. And then, this.

It felt like a stab in the back.

Yet I wasn’t mad. I ached for the women who’d posted the video, because in the end, they will be accountable to Jesus. We all will be. And all we can do is try our best, to say sorry when we hurt someone, and then, pick ourselves up and keep picking ourselves up and keep running the race that is set before us. 

To strive valiantly.

I have no more fight in me. I’m not sure where it went, except that Abba Father took that angry little girl and heard her. Saw her.

And now I’m a sober woman in love with a Jesus who was mocked and ridiculed and crucified. A Savior who appeared to be weak. A Savior whose last breath was “Father, forgive them,” and all I can hope is that these would be my final words, every single day.

But friends?

Let’s have each other’s back in this blogging community. Let’s allow for open dialogue and for each other to have differing opinions and to use our words for life, not death. Let’s be light. Let’s strive together for truth. Let’s rally around each other as we all seek to work out our salvation.

Let’s use our personal stories like flashlights to shine on the footprints of the one who walked the hill to Calvary.

And let’s never quit loving.