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6 Ways to Trade Defeat for Triumph Even When You Are Sick

There’s something about the elevated heart, the pounding feet, the sweat, and the tired muscles. There’s something about the burst of power. It’s an unmatched awareness of our bodies. An unbridled freedom. Shedding of all encumbrances with no room for defeat. Only triumph.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. –Hebrews 12:1

We do not need to live in defeat

I love to exercise. I was wired to love intensity. Pushing. Exertion. Energy. Feeling alive.

But then I got sick. Unable to exercise for months, it has been a struggle for me. It’s not one I’m unfamiliar with, but it is one I’d hoped I’d not experience again.

Time and time again injury or illness has forced me to give up my love for sports and exercise. Now, once again, some difficult-to-diagnose illnesses have kept me sedentary as we search for answers.

Instead of out for a run or keeping up with our family’s schedule and needs, I have been in doctor’s offices in an attempt to figure out the reason behind a great deal of pain, fatigue, and food intolerance.

I’ve been frustrated, exhausted, and sad. And at times, I have surrendered to defeat.

Succumbing to thoughts of never finding a diagnosis. Never improving my quality of life. Never finding relief from the incessant migraines.


But “never” can’t be found in the land of triumph. It only lives alongside defeat.

Finding yourself using the word #never? Be careful -never only lives alongside defeat! #hope #chronicillness Click To Tweet

Friends, my faith is strong. I believe in a God who saves, who heals, who redeems, and who brings hope. A God who, through Him, gives us victory and triumph.  And I believe that to the very core of my soul.

But have you been there with me before? When the thoughts of “never” seem to find their way into your mind? Has illness or another situation taken its toll on your quality of life? Does it whisper threats of defeat?

Has illness taken its toll on your quality of life?Does it whisper threats of #defeat? #hope #triumph Click To Tweet

Do you have days where you ask,


And even other days of asking,

“Where are You, God?”

Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. –Psalm 22:2 NLT

I do. I have those days. I’m a follower of Jesus, but I still have those days. And Jesus gets it. He’s feeling my frustration along with me. The fact that I am a follower will never make me perfect. I will still have those days. But I won’t stay stuck in them.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. –Psalm 56:8

Because shortly after I land in that pit of “never”, clips of the past run through my mind. I remember the times I could only crumble in a heap of tears – defeat written all over my heart. Then God would take those illnesses and injuries and make good on His promise. He would teach me to trust Him.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28 NLT

He made me stronger. More compassionate.  Smarter. Resilient.

And He designated each moment its proper placement as a preparation for the blessings of today.

Friends, the land of “never” is filled with defeat. That is not where any of us want to live. Ever. It is exactly where the enemy would like to place us, though. It is where he can keep us miserable and ineffective. Instead, with Christ, we can live in the land of triumph.

Here are 6 ways I have traded my defeat for triumph.

  1. Believe God is bigger than any circumstance, including our disease. This will keep hope alive.
  2. Pray without ceasing. Thank Him in advance and believe in the good work God is and will continue to do.
  3. Embrace the season of life for what it is. When we accept it, we can find the fruit still within it.
  4. Find the good in the moment (Yes! There is always some good to be found!)  Focusing on good lifts our spirits and keeps our joy alive.
  5. Love others. It keeps our minds off ourselves and allows God to work through our pain.
  6. Refuse thoughts of guilt or condemnation. Fill your heart with grace for yourself and replace those thoughts with God’s Word of Truth.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever be back to hearing the pounding of my feet on the sidewalk. I’m not sure at all what tomorrow brings. But what I am sure of is that I can trust God.

Somehow … someway … I know He will work all these things together for good. And I know He will do the same for you.

Don't stay stuck in defeat.Live triumphantly! #hope #help #prayer #faith #Christ Click To Tweet

Friends, I would love it if you would chime in on the comments with ways you live triumphantly even in the midst of illness. Your experiences can serve to be just the word that another needs to begin the journey to victory!

If you are new here, I’d love for you to sign up to receive my email updates and access to my Library of Hope filled with all kinds of resources to encourage you and give you hope! I love knowing who’s in this with me and I love getting to know my readers better so I can serve them in the best way possible.

I often link up with these encouraging bloggers! Stop by and visit! And don’t forget to come back on Mondays for #MomentsofHope right here!

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  1. Lori, what a beautiful message of hope– to live in the land of triumph instead of the land of “never!” God is using your pain to comfort others in theirs. I’m praying for you dear friend!

    1. Thank you so much, Valerie! I treasure your encouragement and prayers!

  2. “Joy comes in the morning.” I pray that this will be true for you, and you will find joy again, in every circumstance.

    1. Oh, Nancy! One of my absolute favorite verses! Thank you for those prayers!

  3. I think if we are honest with ourselves, many of us find our way to the land of defeat at one time or another, even if only for a short moment. God made us and with us came our emotions and feelings…He understands this. The point is, we are not to stay parked there are we? And I don’t 🙂 Great post!

    1. Thanks so much, Debby! And Amen! No parking in the land of defeat! Thanks so much for visiting!

  4. I’m so sorry you are dealing with an unexplained illness, Lori. Chronic illness alone can be so trying, but even more so when doctors can’t seem to find out what’s wrong. I know by experience how chronic illness can limit us from doing things we love to do and how we can so easily slip into that “never” land. I really needed to read this hope-filled post along with the encouraging verses. I think I especially struggle with the last point on the pic – to refuse thoughts of guilt and condemnation. Thank you, Lori, for reminding me to live triumphantly no matter what situation we are in. I pray God will give the doctors wisdom to diagnose and treat you, that God will heal you, and that He will enable you to reach for His hand whenever you feel sucked into that “never” land.

    1. Hi Trudy 🙂 I’m so sorry you have experienced chronic illness. Your kindness and beautiful spirit shine so brightly. You have not let it stop Jesus from working through you. You are a testimony of triumph. I am so thankful these words were encouraging to you. I understand those thoughts of guilt and condemnation. Those thoughts that come from not being able to do all that you wish you could. I watch my husband doing so much more than I would ever ask and see the “no’s” I must say to my kids because I just can’t pull it off. Then I feel guilty. Each time I must put up a mental stop sign and replace those thoughts with truth! I will think of you each time and speak that truth over you as well!
      Much love, my friend!

      1. Thank you, Lori, for your understanding and prayers. I will remember you, too, in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Thank you, Christine! Thank you for hosting!!

  5. My 14 year old daughter just had foot surgery and is facing another when this foot is healed. It’s only day three after the surgery and she is already telling me what she is learning through it: she realized that she has taken the simple things for granted and now she appreciates the little things so much more–from walking to showering. Gratitude will get you through a struggle like nothing else! Praying for healing for you Lori!

    1. Oh, Angela, that poor sweetie! What a great big heart and mature mind to look at what she is learning! It is so true, though. Not until we lose something do we really understand its full value. I know each time I was able to begin running again, I felt like I was dancing on clouds!! You are right, gratitude is SO powerful! It DOES get us through the worst of situations.

  6. Oh sweet sister, I know these kinds of thoughts and feelings all too well. I was recently diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) Hypermobility Type … a diagnosis that took an entire year of doctor’s appointments, misdiagnosis, injury and illness before we actually could pinpoint what it was. Unfortunately EDS is incurable, so I have a battle to face while I pray for healing … and this battle has left me definitely wondering “Where are you God?” from time to time. I also am now unable to do some of the things I used to do and I understand how hard dealing with this can be!! I will be praying for you as you continue to work toward discovering what is going on. So glad to have found your site today. I will definitely be following!!

    1. Hi Lauren, I have heard of EDS, but do not know a whole lot. I will be praying for you … for strength, for healing, for God to fill your doctors with His wisdom and guidance, and for your hope and joy to be continuously renewed. The medical world is such a difficult system to navigate. I have found it so frustrating when dealing with adult issues, but have had so much more ease with pediatrics. My daughter has so many special needs and some very rare issues, but doctors seem to have a broader spectrum and deeper desire to keep pursuing causes. I am so glad you found my site and stopped! I look forward to connecting more! I’d love to be a support and prayer warrior for you along your journey!!!

  7. Oh my goodness, Lori. I think you know my story as we’ve connected in our writer groups and on my own blog (which is specifically about dealing with chronic illness), and I remember being in your shoes. I suspected RA long before I was diagnosed, and I know the feeling of frustration with not being able to be more active. It has taken me a long time to accept my limitations and setbacks, but as a result of taking better care of myself (and letting my hubby help), I am now feeling better. Don’t lose hope! Come see me over at Spring Sight for a dose of encouragement and maybe we can get on the phone sometime. God bless you! I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    1. Thank you so much, Linda! I stopped over and subscribed to your blog so I make sure to not miss any of your posts! I have seen you become active again. My favorite pic is the one with the bowling ball! 🙂 You are such an inspiration!!

  8. Lori, what a powerful message! You are such an inspiration, Love! Thank you so much for sharing such heart-felt and hope-filled encouragement! And know that I am praying supernatural healing and divine health over you in JESUS’ name! GOD bless you, beautiful friend! 🙂

    1. Hi Tai, Thank you for your prayers! Oh, if only I could sit across from you when you pray. I have a feeling you are one of those people that makes it feel like the heavens have opened and God’s warmth is pouring down when you pray! 🙂

      1. You are most welcome, Love! And I would be honored to pray with you in person, sweet friend! I’m going to be a part of an event at my friend’s church that’s for girls and women of all ages on the 30th of this month entitled “Highly Favored”. We going to be pampering women with free make-up, hair cuts, manicures… etc… and then we’re going to minister to them and pray for and with them. We’ve been praying over these prayer clothes that we’re going to use as we’re praying for those who need healing. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, just email me and I’ll get you the details. In the meantime, I will keep you lifted before THE LORD’S PRESENCE! You are so loved and cherished by HIM! 🙂

  9. Lori, I pray soon you will hear the sound of your feet running along the pavement. But I’m thankful you see the good in today and are making the choice to live victorious in Christ. Thank you, friend, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday. : )

    1. Thank you for your kind words and prayers, Crystal! And thank you so much for the beautiful job you do hosting Intentional Tuesday with such love and encouragement. Many blessings!

  10. Lori I’m so inspired by your faith and hope amidst yhis mystery illness. I know you are seeking God with all your heart and pray relief will come, too. Food allergies can cause so many illnesses ..I’ve had versions of my own. I hope soon God reveals what you need to know to heal. I will be praying for you!

    1. Thank you so much, Kathy, for your prayers! I think they are getting to the root of things. Some are saying fibromyalgia, but my spirit isn’t feeling peace with that one. However, an mri showed a lot of problems with my spine. The nerves are being significantly effected which is causing a lot of the pain. They have begun some nerve ablations to eliminate the migraines. That will be a big improvement!! I so appreciate your kindness and support! You are a treasure!

  11. Lori, your message is inspiring! I’ve dealt with changes in my health during this season of my life as well. For a time, my circumstances required me to slow down to the point that I felt isolated and fearful of being forgotten. It has now become one of my most precious memories. Jesus met me in that lonely place in a way that has changed my understanding of who I am in Him… beloved and treasured, for who I am not for what I can accomplish. Thank-you for writing with such hope in our loving savior.

    1. Oh, Wendy, I just love this testimony! I am believing it to be my story as well! Jesus has been meeting me in these moments in so many ways! I have also felt that isolation and honestly, that fear of being forgotten as I have stepped away from much of my serving at Church. It has made me sad, but I know Jesus is here in this and working such good. Thank you so much for your love and encouragement!
      Blessings and smiles,

  12. Timely post for me, Lori! I’m in the midst of a rough season with a chronic back thing, and there’s always the fear and the frustration — just can’t get enough done when I’m moving slowly. But then, I’m reminded – as I have been today by your words – that God is in this as well, and my times are in HIS hands! Thank you for the gift of your words.

    1. Amen, Michele! He is in this and He will multiply even our little time and show us His glory through it! I will be praying for you as well. The back pain is so frustrating and debilitating. I am praying for relief and healing!!!

  13. Lori.
    I am sorry to hear about your illness but I understand your pain. Thank you for this message of hope today. I needed it this morning. Since the stroke, I have felt pain almost every day but God has chosen to use my pain for His purpose. I thank you for all the reminders that God is in control. I trust Him as sit here in pain today. I pray that your illness is revealed and you are completely healed. Then you can hit the pavement running again! I am so glad I found your site via Thankful Thursdays and I love what you do here. Thank you for sharing your heart and may God bless you and yours in all your endeavors in 2016!l

    1. Hi Horace,
      I am so thankful and humbled by your visit and kind words. So many comments here have given voice to power of Jesus in the midst of all circumstances. Chronic pain has the power to sink us into a pit of believing the lies of the enemy, but instead stories like yours point to the victory that can never be stolen from one who has Jesus in them! I will be praying for you as well, dear friend. Please let me know if there is anything more I can pray for! I am honored to go before the Lord on your behalf!

  14. I think we all have times when we feel defeated. I love the steps you identify for living triumphantly. Praying for healing for you, and for peace as you wait for answers.

    1. Thank you so much, Carly! I am humbled by your kindness.

  15. I am glad to connect with you from Suzie’s site. Great words of encouragement. Keep up the good work.

  16. What a lovely group of comments from those who go before you. I’m so sorry that you are dealing with health issues and I pray for a solution soon. It took over 2 years for my diagnosis, more than 25 specialists, over 200 blood tests and more than $200,000 of bills after the insurance had paid. But, although I did spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself, mourning the life I had to let go of, and feeling guilty, I began to see that God was leading me where He needed me to be. Because I got sick I was able to understand my sons illness and fight for him, I wouldn’t have understood before. I am able to be there for him when no one else can comprehend what it’s like to have an invisible illness. I am more empathetic, closer to God and able to see things through new eyes. God chooses those He can trust to carry on His work, although I may not like where I am some days, I can feel good about the fact that God trusts me to do what He needs done. Hold on to that fact and breathe, you will change but what you do with it is the real challenge, and I know that you are up to it. xx

    1. Thank you so much, Nikki. Your encouragement means so much. You are such an example of strength and a testimony to faith in a Jesus who makes all things good. Thank you for being you and blazing a path of example! Many hugs, Lori

  17. Lori, I’m sorry to hear about your health, I just said a prayer for you and the doctors. I found myself walking through the land of defeat just this afternoon. It wasn’t until I remembered how God is faithful through it all when I stopped and told the Lord about it and how I was trusting Him in it. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. Thank you, Lori, for your prayers. Your friendship means so much to me! Thank you!

  18. I completely understand how you feel about exercise. It is a gift from God. I appreciate your wisdom to be able to use the underrated gift of free will from God so effectively. That in itself is an encouragement I think to anyone facing trials.

    I’m praying for you, sister. And while you’re temporarily away from exercise… you’re still running the good race.

    1. Thank you, Floyd! Ahhhh…yes, the gift of exercise. How I miss it! I appreciate your prayers so very much along with your kinds words. Thank you for visiting. I hope to connect more in the future! Blessings and smiles,Lori

  19. Dear Lori, I suffer with chronic illness and so my heart goes out to you. Stopping by from Weekend Whispers. Sorry you are not feeling well. Blessings my friend.

    1. Hi Diana, Thank you for your kind comments. Please know I am lifting you in prayer right this moment!

  20. Amen to this. Unless I am too sick to even think of an idea or sit still for a long time to type, I keep on doing what I love/have to do. 🙂

    1. Hi Lux, It’s so great to see you visit! I always look forward to your comments! Blessings, Lori

  21. I’m so sorry for your recent challenges, and I also want to say thank you for the encouraging post. Our family had a sudden influx of new challenges this year. Nothing physical health related, but difficult nonetheless. The challenges were so big, that we knew we could not face them alone. As we have begun to share our struggles, the words of encouragement, prayers, and wisdom we have received, has been incredible. We are seeing God at work in the midst of our struggles, and I believe that He is working in the middle of your’s as well.

    Thank you for the reminder to keep praying, trusting, and staying faithful. I am finding these simple encouragements to be exactly what I need. I am praying for healing and wishing you a blessed week.

    1. I am so thankful these words were timely! And a resounding AMEN from me! God is always at work – sometimes it’s difficult to see it, but our faith sees the unseen and believes in what He is working to our good! Thank you for visiting and joining the conversation! Blessings and smiles, Lori

  22. I’m sorry that you’re suffering! I pray the doctors can find out why you are experiencing such pain and soon!

    1. Thank you so much, Carrie! You kindness and prayers mean so much! Hugs, Lori

  23. I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through this, Lori. I’m praying that the doctors will be able to determine a diagnosis, so you can get back to doing what you love. It’s so refreshing to hear your faith through this. I think we all have days (and weeks, and months) when we question where God is. I have come to find that in His silence, is usually when He is busy working on the best scenario for us. Prayers to you and thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂

    1. Hi Kelly, I am claiming that for a prophetic word!!! “I have come to find that in His silence, is usually when He is busy working on the best scenario for us”! I’m holding onto the best being around the corner! Thank you so much for your kindness and friendship!
      Blessings and smiles,

  24. Oh I know the feeling when I am sick it’s hard to stay on top of it all and not feel defeated completely in all aspects of life. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

    1. Hi Jenny, Thanks so much for visiting, friend!
      Blessings and smiles,