Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Tag: battles (page 2 of 3)

When The Small Looms Large

It sounds silly to say, but sometimes the smallest things can loom over us in scary-big ways.

I know because I just came through the most awful and seemingly horrendous ordeal.

I very nearly couldn’t write this post.

There was something keeping me from getting anywhere with it.

Something huge and menacing.

The earth almost seemed to come to a complete stop as the reason for my paralysis loomed large over my workspace.

I sat, too fearful to move.

This hindrance looming above me was, in a word, enormous.

And I’ll tell you all right now- if you had a creepy giant centipede on the ceiling waiting to drop into your hair or your keyboard and then scurry around maniacally, as only a hundred legs can, to wreak havoc through the rest of the room, you’d be quaking in your slippers too!

You heard correctly.

A centipede.

So you understand, right?

And although this thing was only technically the size of my pointer finger, that was big enough for me! I nearly toppled my chair over backwards at the sight of it directly over my head, whacking my foot on the printer table, veering crazily to the other side of the room on one good foot, and I’m pretty sure the sound that came out of my mouth resembled that of an opera singer on speed.

And is it just me, or can centipedes read your mind?

I grabbed for a broom, my closest weapon of choice, and it suddenly backed up and pulled a Crazy Ivan.

Wait… that’s a nautical term.

When I would attempt to deke left, it would deke right.

When I approached from the right, it moved up to the left.

When I haphazardly smacked my foot on the desk again and hopped on one foot and cried, it matched me hop for hop.

No it didn’t, I made that part up.

But I could swear it shook its head in disbelief.

I was Goliath to it’s David. And we all know how that account went!

Such a relatively small thing… causing so much chaos.

And after I valiantly crushed it with the broom and then shrieked again like a little girl because three legs and one antennae were still moving about, separate from the remains (hey, if I have to suffer, you all have to suffer) I got to thinking.

I could really creep you all out today.

Ha. NO, that’s not what I was thinking.

All silliness aside, I got to thinking about all the little things we allow to loom over us.

The small things that we suddenly give control to, give weight to. They get given a chance to snowball and grow. They’re given a chance to interrupt and distort and create unfounded fear. And they begin to tower large over us and we forget our greatest provision, so powerfully voiced by John, somewhere in Ephesus, in 1John 4:4.

That “greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.”

What a promise that is!

And the biggest most horrific battle, the battle of our lives, for our lives, has already been won on a cross and transferred out of the tomb, stamped with eternal victory.

Although the enemy would like us to see it differently, any battle, any fear now, is small potatoes compared to that first one taken on by Christ.

And hear me sweet friend, they are still battles, and they still matter.

But we’ve seen what happens when God decides to step in.

So that cancer prognosis. He looms bigger.

That wobbly job security. He’s sturdier.

That fight with your teenager. He’s lovingly relentless.

Bigger than that, smaller than that, doesn’t matter because He’s got this.

When The Small Looms Large

Those things that once loomed large over us, in His Presence, become mere shadows whose perspectives were distorted and enlarged because of where we stood.

Maybe we change our perspective. Get on our knees and watch what looms over us, shrink down to size.

Like the tiny mouse projecting a hulking shadow on a wall, we now can rest assured that we serve an even bigger God who can put everything in perspective.

And we can place our trust there.

Isaiah wrote this from Almighty, to each of us; “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

The first time I read this verse, I was undone. The Creator King, Almighty God, The Beginning of Everything and The End, the Great I Am,  is an active participant in our comings and goings, day in and day out and doesn’t preside from His untouchable throne room but is near enough to take our hand in His.

Can you imagine?

Can you even try to conjure up the beautiful picture of assurance that this paints? His blessed assurance.

Let the small things try to loom large from now on.

His Word says they really don’t stand a chance.

That’s good enough for me. I can place my faith there.

Oh. And now that my heroic tale is out there for all to enjoy, I’m waiting to hear if anyone’s interested in the rights for a possible movie.

So far, no takers.

But I have faith…

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It’s Wednesday, and that means linking up with Holley Gerth and the #CoffeeForYourHeart bloggers! Will you join me?
Hit the hashtag above and enjoy!

Take The Honey- A Guest Post

So today is very special!

For a couple of reasons!

First, it’s a total delight to be able to introduce you to my friend Jeannie Pallett on the blog today! She’s the very talented writer behind the blog Greater Than Gold, and is such a Bible warrior, and has the sweetest heart on fire for the Father.

Second, she is also the author of the beautiful book Beckoned By The King, a revelation, a journey, an intimate view of Psalm 119 that will motivate all who read it to a “deeper place of intimacy with the King of Glory.” You can find info on making a purchase HERE if interested.

Beckoned by the King by Jeannie Pallett

But here’s the thing! The exciting thing!

Precepts & Life Preservers and my sweet friend Jeannie, in celebration of the 1st Year Anniversary happening next week, want to give away a copy of Jeannie’s book to a reader! This is the first reveal I’m issuing this week concerning May 4th’s P&LP Giveaway. And I’m just so stinkin’ excited! There’s more to be revealed tomorrow, with all the details for how to win some great gifts, to come!

So pull up a chair and your cup o’ java and let Jeannie speak to your weary heart today. Talking about battles and provision and God’s heart for a weary band of warriors. I know I’m ready.
{And watch this page for more surprises tomorrow!}

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My name is Jeannie, which means gracious gift of God, but after reading in 1 Samuel 14, I wouldn’t mind being called Jonathan!

I could relate to Jonathan.  He wasn’t afraid to step out from among the crowd and be different.  It’s not that I am fearless when it comes to stepping out from the crowd or that I glory in my uniqueness, but I have learned what God has gifted me in and that I embrace.  Despite the fact my legs may shake at the podium and words may seem to elude me.

I am His vessel and He will fill me.

Jonathan was a friend who was willing to step away from the crowd and peruse the troop’s enemies from a different perspective.   He was a leader in his own right.  I want to be a friend like that who is willing to lay down my life for a friend, to do something for the greater good of my friends, for His body…

{ continue reading Jeannie’s full post here… }

When The Weapon Is Joy

“… joy emanates from the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us.”
– Margaret Feinberg

Fight Back With Joy


It’s been very much the topic of discussion around here lately. For a couple of reasons.

Over a week ago, Fight Back With Joy, the much-anticipated book from celebrated author and real life inspiration, Margaret Feinberg, landed on shelves, physical and cyber alike, and it’s touching the lives of anyone who reads it.

Myself included.

I was anxious to read her thoughts and experiences on joy in the midst of trials and illness, and even though our circumstances were completely different, cancer versus depression, the use of joy as a weapon is very much the same.

And when my advanced copy came, I took my time. I could have rushed the reading, and said a few witty things on the blog, thrown in something deep at the end, and moved on.

But when I realised just how much it would have cost Feinberg to lay out her personal journey for all to see, in order to get this message to us about the power of real joy, I knew I couldn’t just dial this blog post in.

This has to mean something.


Before reading Margaret’s book and blog, I had always just kind of used joy as the choice at the end of a situation or as a natural personality trait. An excellent quality, something to strive for. I knew joy came from God, I knew we had a choice in how to respond, but I always used it as a response at the end of a circumstance. Does that make sense to anyone besides me?

Growing up in the church, I saw real joy often. Either people seemed to live these blessed lives from the get-go, or it seemed to kick in after the struggle, like they simply refused to be beat. And I thought, wow, those people just know how to finish coming through everything and somehow ending on joy! What’s the trick?

Now, here I am older, and barely wiser, but I have come to understand the truth that Feinberg so eloquently states, that “All of us are in a fight. Others can fight with you, but no one can fight this for you.” [emphasis mine]
We all have something we battle. And some of us have mastered how to use joy to battle it.

And we don’t just have to get to the end of those battles, exhausted and bruised and scarred, and then suddenly take the higher ground and choose to be happy regardless… but Feinberg teaches us to arm ourselves FIRST with joy, God’s joy, before we face the battle.

“More than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life’s battles.”
-Margaret Feinberg

This stopped me in my tracks.

A weapon. Not an afterthought.

I had taken this specific kind of joy for granted. An arming, shielding, wielding, precedes-the-ugly, brings-the-victory kind of joy. Not saved for later when you’ve exhausted all the other options, as noble and spiritual as they may be. But joy right out of the gate and into the fray from the word go. I had forgotten how to access that.

And I had been looking at the battlefield all wrong.

I had been viewing each battlefield as the “possible” end of everything on the off-chance that the Almighty wouldn’t come through. Some faith, right? Instead I should have approached each battlefield as the opportunity to mine the unstoppable love and power of an unstoppable and powerful God. A God who doesn’t hand out doom to fight doom. A God who, in His infinite wisdom, said My grace will be sufficient, My love victorious and fierce, and when you equip yourself with those things, you wind up with My joy as the tool of choice.

And it will bring down strongholds.

And it will anchor.

And it will defy darkness.


It has to stem from a holy awareness in those moments before the struggle where, as Margaret puts it, “we face it confident that God is with us and for us.”

Which we all know, and yet, that awareness could and should be borne out of joy. A declaration holy gladness that starts with the truth that we belong to Him!

So we become warriors, not out of spite, fear, necessity or pride but we become warriors out of the desire for pure joy, joy that never backs down, joy that never runs from the scary things, but arms itself with the actual thanksgiving and proclamation that we belong to the One bigger than any big thing out there.

And that the Author of all joy  goes with us.

And so joy begets more joy.

No matter what else comes.

Because we were created for joy.

I want to end with this powerful truth. One that Margaret explores so wonderfully in the early parts of her book.

Our purpose, she says, and our heritage.

When was the last time we were challenged, really challenged to think of joy this way? To really define it. And then to utilize it. To claim it as our destiny.

As I work through some current battles, I will start to allow joy to do exactly what it was meant to do. Margaret’s words bring the choice to live fully in the presence of God and His fierce love,  and no longer fear what’s ahead.

This will change everything. And this is just the top layer of all that God’s joy will do. I highly recommend you let it do the same for your battles, whatever they look like today.

Joy is this valiant beautiful gift. Revealed through the heart of one woman on a quest to Fight Back With Joy.

I’d hate to think of this post as just as book review. Consider this my personal declaration that sometimes it takes someone else’s discoveries and battles before we realise what we’re missing. Margaret is this amazing, beautiful, joyous teacher, weaving together holy truths and revealing powerful plans taught to her by the Author of All, in the midst of it all.

I for one have become a fellow warrior armed with joy.

And I really can’t tell you enough how powerful a weapon you’ll have when armed with joy.

So I hope you’ll let Margaret Feinberg inspire you.

Have you ever read a book that changed your whole approach to life? Have you begun to read Fight Back With Joy, and loved every minute? Let me know in the comments below, and follow the links throughout to find out more about Fight Back With Joy!

The Right Approach Means Everything

I’m watching my son and my dog in awe.

They’re making quite the picture. He’s brushing her calmly. She’s taking it in stride. In fact, she’s being still. They may have to revive me, I think I’m in shock.

The awe is because she is NEVER still. The awe is because she hates being brushed. The awe is because this is NOT the pretty scene I get to be apart of when I attempt this near impossible feat.

Instead the routine is rather less elegant than the scene I’m watching now. First I ask the dog to come to me, sweet as pie, which she instantly does NOT buy. She eyes me up and down and promptly heads in the opposite direction of me. Then I call her again with authority. Now she slinks over, and just as she gets to me, she runs. I grab at her collar, she spies the brush, I spy the whites of her eyes… and it’s a free for all. Dog hair flying, limbs and paws in a tangle, a few choice words muttered by both of us, and we find ourselves pressed in a corner, panting and a mess. We look and feel like we just lost the bucking bronco round at the stampede.

Sometimes for days afterwards, I even walk like it.

But my son, he approaches her on his knees. He gets down low, he scoots up beside her, and he rubs her head with one hand and starts brushing with the other. And what was torture becomes no big deal.

You’d think I’d immediately follow his lead… but sometimes I need conked on the head with a coconut flown in by an African Swallow before the obvious is more, um, obvious.

And now we come to the moral of the story. Sometimes, this is how I keep approaching life.

I want to feel better, I want to strike a blow to the depression that keeps lurking in the background ready to tackle me, I want what feels like torture to be no big deal. But my approach is all wrong.

I fight, I pull, I push, I rebel. I jump to conclusions about treatments, I make hasty decisions, I react fearfully. I avoid my doctor, I avoid my life, and then I avoid my faith.

Stop me if ANY of this applies to your own significant situation, and your own unique battles.

And sometimes I think our approach heralds a battle where none was even needed.

Yes, I see that hand.

If that’s the case, we need to change our approach.

I always went into the dreaded task of brushing the psycho dog (said with utter affection) with trepidation and with some stress.
I had the overwhelming bigger picture in mind… must tackle WHOLE dog, must get her to cooperate for the WHOLE task. EVERY single time. We were going to get this right, gosh darn it!

Sometimes the big picture keeps us from accomplishing the easier victories, and when that happens we need to simply change our approach, adjust our perspective. Like my son.

He chose to change his approach. He made a choice to get to the task at hand on new terms. He went to her, he got low, he spoke in love, and he brushed what he could. In turn, she cooperated, and he got his task finished in no time.

We keep thrashing through life, taking on things too big to do alone, and then wondering why we’re exhausted and beaten at our own game.
But if we come at our situations on our knees, asking the Father to provide enough grace, patience, endurance, and wisdom, and then take one step at a time, appreciating what He accomplishes through us, we’ll find ourselves on the other side of our circumstances, and we’ll have brought new lessons, and blessings, with us.

Grace enough to know when to ask for guidance. Grace enough to heed it, too.

Patience enough to understand that He’s in charge of the big picture, not us. Patience enough to know He’d never take us where He wouldn’t be answer enough.

Endurance enough to make it day by day, moment to moment. And at the end of each to be able to reach for His protection, and refuel with His strength.

Wisdom enough to know that we have never accomplished anything on our own. That every good and perfect thing, every little victory is a thread in a more magnificent fabric woven by the Father. And in turn, we give the victory back to Him.

And we do it again.

And again.

And like the Philippians 4:19 God that He is, He keeps supplying, over and over again. So what are we waiting for?

Crazy dog, or crazy life. Either way, He has things for you.

He’s already well aware, that the right approach means everything.


image by c.duncan

image by c.duncan

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