Magnificent Strength of Heart

Tough-minded people are not easily shaken; they are the ones who navigate adversity and come out stronger on the other side. Welcome to Magnificent Strength of Heart, a place for tough-minded Christians who like to wrestle and question.

I love tough-minded people like Viktor Frankl, Elie Wiesel, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Joni Eareckson-Tada. They are my heroes because they were vulnerable about their pain, did not deny it, minimize it, or exaggerate it, but were raw and real. They wrestled with pain and with God.

Both Viktor Frankl and Elie Wiesel were Holocaust survivors. They recount their suffering in books. I’m moved by their honesty and courage about suffering. They were surrounded by evil but not overcome by it. We need people like that today.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor Frankl

Harriet Beecher Stowe considered herself a moderate in the debate around slavery in the 1800s in a heavily polarized political atmosphere. She felt God calling her to write; she wrestled with this for a while before she accepted herself as a writer. She wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin as well as many books and articles but one influenced a nation.

Joni Eareckson-Tada’s story is about a teenager who became a quadriplegic in a swimming accident. I read her book when I was a teenager living in a country at war. She wrestled with God. Joni inspired me during my most difficult years and I want to inspire others.

In this blog, I will explore what it means to have strength of heart in three areas: change, adversity and reformation. The Christian church is going through a change and people are freaking out. What does it mean to follow Jesus now? I admire people who are willing to think fresh thoughts and do the hard work in search of truth. No easy answers; no simple pithy sayings.

As a person of faith, I’m frustrated with easy answers that gloss over pain and refuse to wrestle. I’m not interested in the same answers that the church has been giving for the last 100 years. It feels like we are on the verge of a reformation of faith. I don’t know how it will look on the other side but I see it unfolding before me. I want to explore this new thing that God is doing and hold my assumptions lightly. That explains my tag line:

Explore | Question | Wrestle | Repeat

Do you ever get that feeling that something is stirring in your spirit and if you don’t get it out, you will burst? That’s how I feel about this blog. This blog is about developing into a person with Magnificent Strength of Heart. This is the place to think about pain, change and reformation. And like a woman in labor, we lean into the pain so that something beautiful is birthed.

©2017 Belinda McDanel


19 thoughts on “Magnificent Strength of Heart

  1. Belinda, your blog is not only cutting edge in speaking on the times we living in but it is also challenging. We believe all need to be involved in this journey of self exploration. I look forward to the next thought provoking blog on the “Magnificent Strength of Heart”.


  2. God bless Belinda. You mention things like “wrestle with God” and “lean into the pain”. I don’t understand where you get that biblically? In Christ we are a new creation – all old is done away. To continue to live life in the worldly sense and not to lean into Christ, God and the spiritual kingdom… is your dilemma. The answer to all your or anyone’s striving is the finished work of Jesus Christ and developing a personal relationship with God in total trust in Him and His Word. As a Bible researcher…who lived years in “religion” – I know what it’s like to have my “hope deferred” – Proverbs 13:12. Finally seeking God first for myself – I was able to see the difference between religion and relationship. You mentioned you are a woman of faith. Faith IS total trust and confidence in God and the promises of His Word. I noticed you don’t mention ONE bible verse…that’s confusing to me seeing you were a Pastor, a seminary student and a faith filled life coach. Don’t misunderstand…life has it’s challenges to be sure…but the answer is only as hard as WE make it…seeing as God has already provided the answer. “Be not conformed to this world – but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may know what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God” – Romans 12:1,2


    1. Thank you for your comment Christine Clinton. I hope you stay and read more to come. I will explore an ancient Hebrew tradition of wrestling as a tool in discipleship, not to mention the Psalms.


  3. Good stuff Belinda. I would love to see more posts from you like this. I was always turned off some of the Christians I’ve met who reacted as though questioning and doubt were apostasy so your blog is a breath of fresh air.


  4. “As a person of faith, I’m frustrated with easy answers that gloss over pain and refuse to wrestle.”

    Well said.

    I don’t think our faith is deepened by minimizing complexities of life and faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Belinda – great blog. I so admire your goal of developing a Magnificent Strength of heart! I am dismayed by many Christians who look at wrestling and searching as something to be ashamed of and chastised for. And are angered by anyone who questions or wrestles! I think it only strengthens our faith!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It IS risky, and it has been said that Faith is spelled r-i-s-k. It takes great courage to be transparent, to be “naked and laid bare” in our as yet imperfect spiritual struggle-journey. But as I read it, that is how Paul, and Peter and yes, the Lord Himself modeled it for us. They all spoke Truthfully, from the heart. Faith increases through tests, and tests require exertion. Just know, Belinda, that there are many “out there” who will recognize and validate your wrestling, because they experience it themselves. I am looking forward to wrestling together, much more fun (productive, fruitful, successful…) than wrestling alone. Prov 27:17

    Liked by 1 person

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