It was junior high. I was “brace face” and she was “the fat girl.”
She was a year older than me, and quite pretty with her bold red curls, except no one allowed her an identity beyond her weight.
Certain things can mark us for life. And we can wear unfair labels for years.
I wonder if she went home every day in tears at the way she was treated. But she came to school and smiled again and did it all over.
Again and again.
And in seventh grade I learned defeat can be like that, coming down torrential day after day.
Perhaps defeat comes in many flavors but when it comes the Exodus 17 way? Well that’s just vicious. You know, when the Amalekites came up behind the traveling Israelites in the wilderness on their way to the promised land? Those slaves-turned-free were just minding their own business. The Amalekites had no bone to pick. Yet they showed no mercy. They attacked the weak, the young, the ones who were already struggling and lagging.
They attacked from behind.
We have an enemy who attacks us at our weak places. He doesn’t come head on, he slithers up from behind and gets us where we struggle the most. And he laughs while doing it.
The fat girl’s name was Pam and I liked her. When she came back for tenth grade, she was different. She wasn’t fat. She was a striking red headed beauty. I would have been intimidated to talk to her, except I knew she was kindhearted.
“Pam, what happened? How did you change so drastically? Your appearance is amazing! What in the world did you do?”
She smiled, beamed really. “Over the summer break, I decided I didn’t want to live like that anymore.”
“I prayed to Jesus and asked Him to help me. Then I got up in the morning~ every morning~ and went for a walk. Each day I prayed and asked Him for help and walked out my front doors and He helped me!”
I should have learned it from her then, but I didn’t, that Christ is our victory. That Christ is the only victory. That there is no hope apart from Him but that with Him, there is all the hope in the world.
Scholars say that in the Bible, “Amalekite ” refers to our flesh, the old self that clings and trips us up and weighs us down time after time. It attacks us from behind, it devours us when we’re weak and it sabatoges all our plans for living in the Promised Land. We talk much about being the intercessory Moses and keeping our hands up in the air, but we need also remember our Victory.
Yahweh God said, “Write this as a memorial in a book, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And it says it right there in that memorial record that HE Himself wages war against Amalek from generation to generation.
He’s waging it in mine.
He’s waging it in my children’s.
He is waging war against our Amalek, against enemies that sneak in unsuspecting and bring us low and in His name, we can have victory.
“And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, “The LORD is my Banner (Victory).”
It’s something Pam learned in between ninth and tenth grade. She learned the LORD was her victory and every day she flew the banner of the victorious and under the safety of that banner, she opened her front door and stepped out and walked.
The girl walked.
The first day she walked around the block, huffing and puffing. The next day she did it again. By the end of the week, she could walk a block and a half; by the end of the summer, she was walking several miles.
Pam, she taught me some things.
Today, I raise the Banner and step out into the fray. The Banner flaps victorious overhead.
“We will sing for joy over Your victory, and in the Name of our God we will set up our banners.”
Personal Note: If you’ve ever been called “the fat girl,” even if only by yourself, please know that you are not defined by your label. You are defined by your Savior. Part of being victorious is letting Him define you. Joining hearts and praying for our labels to come off today, friend.