Today’s Truth

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

Ephesians 6:10

Friend to Friend

It was the end of the school year. The sun was blazing in the sweltering high 80s with not a hint of shade to be found on the treeless playground. The boys were stinky from their sweaty schoolyard endeavors and the girls were now wilted versions of the fresh flowers they had been that morning.

It was almost time for the big wrestling competition. Electric excitement lingered in the air. I was a fifth grader at West Hempfield Elementary School in Irwin, Pennsylvania and I had signed up to participate in the wrestling match. Yes. You read that correctly.

To this day, I’m somewhat amused and perplexed that I would’ve thrown myself into the middle of such a barbaric display. Wrestling certainly wasn’t my sport of choice, or even a faint interest of mine. So, as we all gathered around the red and white striped gymnasium mats for the annual, end-of-the year wrestling tournament, I was sweating bullets… not just from the relentless, yellow ball of heat in the sky, but also from the nerves that consumed my body.

Before the match even began, I was a captive to the bully in my brain. What do you think you are doing? This is ridiculous! Caroline is not only three inches taller than you, but she’s meaner than you, and she’s in the sixth grade! You are going down, Gwen. Prepare to be humiliated in front of every fourth, fifth and sixth grader in the school.

At the sound of the whistle, the match was on. Caroline and I danced around like two alley cats with their backs raised high. She had a confidence in her eye that was foreign to me at that moment. A series of unskilled and ungraceful moves followed. (Cringe with me here!)

She lunged and I retreated. I lunged and she retreated. Then came contact. Within seconds we were on our hands and knees battling for control. Battling for the win.

The sounds of the crowd were deafening as Caroline moved in to get the better of me. All I could think was, Just DON’T let her get you on your back! Feelings of hopelessness and desperation flooded my heart as she and I exchanged move for move. There were several points allotted and several restarts from Mr. Gordon’s whistle. In the midst of this primitive battle, my goal had changed from trying to win to just trying NOT to be pinned… therein lies the defeat.

As the match came to an end and the final whistle blew, it was Caroline’s victorious arm that was raised high in the sky. I was defeated in front of half the school. Cheers went up for Caroline as I shrunk back into the sea of students, longing for super powers that would render me invisible. I was exhausted from the match, humiliated from my failure, and defeated by both Caroline and my own mind.

That was a dark day for me as a young girl. But as dark as that day was emotionally, I was able to clearly see my opponent. Ladies, when it comes to spiritual wrestling matches, we do not have the advantage of sight. The Bible says: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV)

Many of the battles we contend with each day are spiritual. We can’t see our enemy. And while at first glance this may seem disarming, look again at Ephesians 6. The Bible clearly tells us that we can be equipped to stand firm with the Armor of God!

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:13-18, NIV)

Though the wrestling match with Caroline seemed overwhelmingly daunting, the battles that I face now are so much greater. I’m thankful that God’s word clearly says the victory is ours if we are in Christ. If God is for us, who can be against us? {TWEET this!}

What are you wrestling with today? Is the enemy speaking lies to you? Do you feel weak? Strength comes when we call on Jesus! We can stand firm against the schemes of the devil when we put on the armor of God! Suit up girls…a battle is going on all around you. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power!

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I thank you for being a mighty God who longs to cover my weakness with Your strength. Please equip me for all that lies ahead today, protect me from attacks and schemes of the enemy, and help me to be strong in Your mighty power. Cover me with Your peace, truth, faith, and salvation so I can stand firm in the battle.

I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus,


Now It’s Your Turn

  • Make a list of the top struggles you are currently facing.
  • Take each struggle to the LORD and ask that He would equip you for the battle.
  • How will putting on the Armor of God help you trust Him more? Stop by my blog to take this conversation deeper.

More from the Girlfriends

Hey friend. I hope you’re suited up and ready to do battle now. If you are struggling to see how you can get from the wrestling mat to the winner’s circle, be sure to get a copy of our GiG book, Trusting God: A Girlfriends in God Faith Adventure. (Today’s devotion is an excerpt from Trusting God by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith and Mary Southerland.)

14 Responses to “The Wrestling Match”

  1. Carol says:

    Thank you Gwen, God led me to you this morning. My husband is going for his Fourth Major surgery in two years tomorrow. He will be spending some time in Intensive Care. I am very much having to take my thoughts captive, cast my cares on Jesus, and trust that whatever happens God is in control. Someone said that I should be used to this by now. It is like being in a place I am familiar with, but it is pitch black, BUT there is a light and as long as I follow that light, Jesus, I know I can get through this valley and support my dearest husband and give strength to our grown up children, thank you again.

  2. Marie says:

    Satan know that he has had me down for a long time and I’m trying to break free. If Satan takes me down (to suicide) or to staying in severe depression he takes down my whole immediate family with me! Please pray for me!

    • Senny says:

      Marie, Just call the name of Jesus. Put your hope in Jesus. Say His name out loud Jesus. He loves you so much and your family. I will continue to pray for your. Your sister in Christ Senny.

    • Tiffany says:

      I’m singing and praying this over you this morning, Marie! He has won your victory! The enemy is defeated!

    • Mandy says:

      Always remember God’s LOVE for you and family. Turn to Romans 8:38 when you need a lift and know your fellow Christians are lifting you as well. Romans 8:38- For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
      Always remember Jesus’s love will protect us from any such forces, Satan and his fallen angels as well!! My heart prays and lifts you to Jesus!

  3. Lynne says:

    I am moved by your reactions to your husband’s continuing struggle. In the past, I have undergone major surgeries several times,in conjunction with the unexpected deaths of three people I was very close with. My husband was there for me, and encouraged, empathized with and held me while I cried out to God. Like you are to your husband, he was my rock and my anchor. What I am trying to express is my gratitude to God for providing me and your husband with such partners. I am praying for you both, and thanking him for his great mercies.

    • Carol says:

      Thankyou so much Lynne for your encouragement and your prayers. We are being held by the prayers of our family in God, and it is such a comfort. We were sent a worship song today which will be our anthem over the coming weeks, it’s called ‘Great Things (Worth It All)’, it reminds me that God is with us in our darkest moments.
      Your message touched my heart – thank you.

  4. Senny says:

    Marie, Just call the name of Jesus. Put your hope in Jesus. Say His name out loud Jesus. He loves you so much and your family. I will continue to pray for your. Your sister in Christ Senny.

  5. Marynell says:

    Marie, i was there a week ago. Call
    two or three friends, ask them to pray scripture for you, you cry out to God and DONT GIVE IN. the battle is over and satan wants you to forvet that. In the name of Jesus and because were covered in His blood, holy spirit lift up Maria now, on her feet and lead her outside to see the be a uty you made for her. Maria, sing praise songs out loud or in your mind and keep doing it. Tell satan to butt out and leave you alone because angels are around to protect you. Believe it. Believe it.

  6. Linda says:

    Marie…I’ve been there more times then I care to admit. Can I tell you today to change your testimony. Talk to God about how big He is and how small the enemy is. You my friend can find strength and power in that. Think about the words you say and think….they allow the enemy to grab us. The enemy likes to come at us with partial truths. thats where he gets us. You are a new creation in Christ. You don’t have to live there anymore. It’s not going to change over night my friend, but change your testimony. Change how you speak of your life, change how you speak of yourself. Define your life through your relationship ship with Christ and NOT your circumstances. God will armor you my friend. Sending prayers!

  7. Dawn says:

    Marie, Don’t give up! Call on the name of Jesus. Dear heavenly Father, you know what my sister is struggling with right now. I lift Marie up to you right now in the name of Jesus. I ask that you give her peace right now. God please remove the darkness within her and let your Holy Spirit take over. God please help her to take authority over these negative thoughts and feeling. For your Glory always! We love you, praise you and thank you for everything! In Jesus name Amen Marie open your Bible and read psalms out loud when you feel this way. I know it is so hard in those particular moments but make yourself! The enemy will flee!!! A really good book to read is Joyce Myers “the battlefield of the mind” it has a work book too. We love you! Keep pushing forward, don’t give up. The devil is a lier. Don’t let him steal from you and your family any longer! Take back your life!

  8. Janet says:

    Please pray for my husband, daughter and myself. I believe the devil has come into my husband life. Ross is not acting normal and asked me for a divorce after getting wrong advice from a friend. My husband started drinking again and will not even try Christian counseling. Please pray for my family.

  9. Sheila says:

    i’m praying for you Marie! I had major depression/anxiety issues a few weeks ago. I was fearful over everything, especially my salvation. Last Friday night I was in a serious accident, I was riding with my husband in a semi. Cars slammed on breaks in front of us. We were pulling a heavy load, there was no way we could stop. We were in heavy traffic. I saw what was happening and knew that there was nothing I could do but pray! “Please help us Lord!”. We clipped several cars as we swerved into the emergency lane and then into the ditch trying to avoid the cars that had also swerved into the emergency lane. The truck turned on its side, my side. I saw leaves, dirt, and grass coming toward my windshield. The truck stopped. Miraculously my husband nor I were hurt. He unbuckled and climbed out to go check on the people in the cars. I was praising the Lord for answering my prayer! I knew He protected us. I could not climb up and out of the topside of the truck. A young man, just a bystander, climbed down in the truck with me, he encouraged me. I couldn’t do it. So they told me to go into the sleeper area and see if I could climb out the side door which was now on the top. I couldn’t, so Eric, the young man, said that he would lay on his back and hold his feet up and that I should step on his feet and he would lift me up to the door. I didn’t think he could, I’m a big girl, but he did it, with God’s help,he did it! Another bystander helped pull me up too. I was told to get away from the truck, there was a fuel leak! I can’t help but think that Eric and the other gentleman knew and that is why they were trying so hard to get me out. When I think of Eric I think maybe that must be what an angel looks like. I feel that My awesome God sent that accident and those people into my life to show me that I have a purpose in His plan. I don’t need to be afraid, God is in control! I hope this gives you hope. Seek God, turn to Him, ask the Christians around you for help, get medical help too. I pray that God will lead you through this. We had hit three cars, but no one was seriously hurt! Praise the Lord! Don’t give up.

  10. Regina says:

    GIG’s thank you for the encouraging devotions. What a blessing they have been to me over the last few years. I am undergoing serious attack from the enemy right now. The enemy has tried to destroy my marriage and has not succeeded! Praise the Lord for that. However, everyday is a challenge for me as I have to bring myself to forgive those who have done so much damage. Today, a co-worker raised a war against me for no reason and I know that this is the work of the enemy. He wants to bring me down at any cost, but greater is the Lord who is with me than he who is in the world. Help me pray GIG’s that the Lord give me the victory as He teaches me and I obey. My desire is to be closer to God so, the enemies oposition is real. Thank you for this devotional as I really needed to hear these words of encouragement. GBU all!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8