Just a week ago, I sat behind the wheel of my mini-van at church after dropping my kids off for VBS (I promise I have volunteered for the past 20 years…..I just needed a break this year!) crying so hard I could barely breathe.

One of my dear friends had simply walked up to my window to “chat” for a minute and just happened to catch me at one of those moments when I felt the weight of life crushing my shoulders. As she began to speak, I thought to myself, “I can make it through this conversation without losing it.” However, one comment led to another and before I could even catch myself, I let my “fake” smile go, leaned my head back on the seat of the van, and literally sobbed til I could sob no more. (Well, actually I sobbed until I realized I needed to leave before a crowd gathered around my van.) I then drove home sobbing and folded an entire load of laundry sobbing. While trying to continue my housework, I answered the phone to hear yet another friend’s voice and the sobbing began again…..only to be interrupted by a call from my husband who also got the pleasure of hearing me have the biggest meltdown I have had in a loooooong time!

See, the devil had a plan. He did not want me to have joy. He started chipping away at my soul before our family even returned home from Nick’s Make a Wish to the Bahamas. While on Paradise Island, he thought it would be great to see Nick with a pulled muscle in his neck. “How perfect,” he must have thought, “I’ll make Nick’s trip be a little less enjoyable for him, and I’ll give Tammy something to worry about!” The flight home was another test for the devil. By then, Nick could not even turn his head from the right to the left and was in excruciating pain. My heart carried Nick’s pain across the ocean back to the states, so by the time we landed in Louisville, you could have stuck a fork in me. I was done!

Unfortunately, the tricks and schemes of satan continued. Nick’s neck got worse, one of our other kids got sick, another was having friendship troubles, and my husband and I were on the brink of not speaking for, hmmmmm, maybe forever….it seemed. It was just a tough, tough week.

On top of this, I had planned to attend She Speaks (a writer/speaker conference) for the weekend, and my husband and I were actually supposed to “get away” from everything for a few days while I took in this conference.

Well, when one of your kids is having anger issues and verbalizes unkind things to you,that’s enough to stop you right in your tracks from feeling any sort of calling to write or speak. Then when you are concerned with another child’s health, your desire to leave home begins to diminish rapidly. Top this off with the stress of a marriage which has been under the pressure of cancer for six years and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.

Did I even mention that I didn’t feel as prepared for my publisher meetings as I had hoped?

Thankfully, my husband is an encourager even when I am possessed by a demon; and thankfully, my friends keep pushing me even when I want to just sit on the path of life and have a little pity party.

Because of these blessings I can sit here this morning and reflect on a life-changing weekend. See, I now have at least 8 new friends, several of which have walked the road of cancer just like me. I also have two book proposals in the hands of publishers! Most of all, I am refreshed. I feel validated. I feel able to face today. You can meet some of my new friends at http://theviewfromthefrontporch.blogspot.com/. This is the group of women God led me to sit with on Friday evening, and WOW! all I can say is, “God is so good!!” We bonded within minutes and determined to sit together at every meal and every worship service! By the end of the weekend, we were “front porch sisters” and have decided to start a blog where we can all share life from our different views! Isn’t God amazing!?

I guess I say all of that to say this,

The devil wants to steal your joy. He wants you to say “no” to opportunities to grow closer to God. He wants to rob you of opportunities to not only share your story but also learn from other’s stories. If you feel attacked right now, smile. Not because pain is fun, but because God has a plan and the devil is just trying to slow it down. The good news is this, if we follow God’s will, He will win every time! The devil has no power over us. He can trip us, deceive us, discourage us, and sometimes even cripple us, but he cannot STOP us from doing God’s will. As a matter of fact, God is able to take every stubbed toe, every lie, every moment of sadness, and every disability and USE IT FOR HIS GLORY!

Praise God…………..HE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you all so much!