• Kristen Hepner

Wrestle Well


Life has felt difficult and hard lately.


There have been more moments than I would like to admit that I have felt like I just can’t get it together. There are so many hurting people all around me. Deep hurts. Deep grief.

Yet I have felt so “not OK” in my own skin that I have disqualified myself; feeling unable and inadequate to show others God’s love.


I have caught myself asking God, “where are you?”

I complained about His distance.

Confusion surrounded me…AND I chanted what I know, I remembered, that God is not a God of confusion.


“Why can’t I just get a grip?” was what my accusing self-talk consisted of.


I would lay down to try to take a nap…just turn off my ever-working brain for a brief minute; another escape that holds promise to this flesh of mine.

This time my thoughts are in the middle of reality and dreamland.

This is the space of consciousness that I believe is unfiltered and raw.

The place where I can cry out to the God of my soul and He whispers back…sometimes.


This time the thought of the front of a journal that I gifted a younger sister who often speaks life into my heart came to mind. The off-white cover that was made to look old and tattered with two words etched across the cover: “Wrestle Well”.


I had loved the thought the moment I saw it.


Two words that held so much meaning for these bodies we have to live in. The constant battle that wars within us between our flesh and His Spirit.


“Wrestle Well.”

Is that what I am doing? Is that where I am at? In a season of wrestling with the Lord?


I can’t help but think of the story in the Bible where Jacob wrestled with the angel of God.

I turn to it in my Bible.


I read the story. I think about what it could mean. I look deeper into His word. I know He has a message here for me.

In the commentary, it is pointed out that only AFTER Jacob wrestled did he begin to refer to God as his God.

Interesting thought. Is this wrestling to solidify my faith? I thought I was already pretty solid?


Another point. Jacob walked away changed. The angel touched his hip, and he was never the same.

God, are you trying to change me?


I sit with this story for a little while and I decide to claim this understanding for this season of “hard”.

I am in a wrestling match.

I am encouraged that I am being engaged.

There is action in the journey.

Not a staleness or a lull.

He has not left me or given up on me.


Determination floods through my thoughts that the Creator of the universe sees me worthy enough to engage me in a wrestling match.


I laugh at that thought because the truth is that He loved me enough to die for me.


Of course, He wants my spiritual muscles to be built up. He wants all of His people to be strong in the faith. How could I be so deterred from my race...what unseen force has tripped me up? (Galatians 5:7).


Sometimes life is hard.


When we go through hard seasons of life, God is with us. This is truth.


He continues to open old scars and wounds in all of us. He wants us to be healthy. Sanctified.


He is the one that wants to barge down the door that we thought was so tightly guarded.


At least that is what He has been doing in my own heart. And I have to believe that it is for His good purposes.


Maybe I am in this space, in this valley, to watch Him turn these ashes into beauty; so that I can testify of His goodness? To share my experiences with others who also have nagging spaces that they too have neglected for awhile.


“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).


Maybe you have felt like me at times.

You have ignored that in which He is trying to bring into the light.

Maybe, like me, you just let things pile up in there. It is yucky in there. It really is a mess.


And to be honest, you have no idea where to even start organizing emotions and thoughts.

Maybe you are like me and feel overwhelmed just as if it were a real room with a real tangible mess.

And you want to quit.

Like me, you keep “walking” in there and walking back out because it just looks so overwhelming.

Maybe tomorrow,” you tell yourself.


But He is telling us to wrestle…be involved, stay engaged.


The only problem is that this wrestling takes all of your attention; this wrestling business is not for the weak.


We doubt ourselves so much. But He is able.


We can be a complete mess. But He loves us anyways.


We are selfish. But He looks beyond our failures and He sees. He sees the depths of our needs.


There is just so much to do. We fully understand this.


And maybe this space of understanding pushes us even more to His grace that we are so unworthy of.


We must remember this beautiful truth; Jesus heals everything that is brought into the light.


“Wrestle well, my dear daughter,” He whispers to our overwhelmed hearts.


“Day by day, minute by minute. Wrestle well!”



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