Get the Smelling Salts!

SmellingSaltsI used to think survival was a weak term. I liked overcomer so much better. It just sounded more . . . victorious. Stronger, I guess. As I walked through the journey of breast cancer I never thought of myself as being a breast cancer survivor; that just sounded so frail and weak to me. So I continued to say, “I’m an overcomer.”

That made me feel stronger (and I believe I was actually declaring my own outcome, which is good and scriptural), but I think I could have missed something very valuable. Yes, I was speaking by faith for my future—which is what the Word of God says to do—but I think there was still a present tense, in-the-moment experience that I needed to acknowledge and learn from.

When the theme for this Women of Faith season (From Survival to Revival) was shared, it really caught my attention. I found myself studying both terms: “survival” and “revival.”  So, now when I look at this term ‘survival’ I see it much differently.

As I read about survivors, I thought about the courage and strength that it takes to keep an “I’m not gonna give up” attitude. I’ve watched films made from real-life stories of people who survived what seemed impossible odds. No matter what journey we are on in life, I can promise you at one time or another you are going to need a courageous heart and an “I’m not gonna give up” attitude of your own.

A survivor is one who has made it through a very difficult circumstance in life, and that’s great! Survival is the end of that particular traumatic experience. It’s at that point that we breathe a sigh of relief. But our strength can be totally depleted and we may even collapse under the weight of the circumstance.

I have seen boxers revived with smelling salts after being knocked out. The trainer grabs some smelling salts and puts it directly under the boxer’s nose. They wake up quickly! It’s like they snapped out of a deep slumber. They shake their heads and try to regain full consciousness, as they struggle to their feet.

In our everyday life we can fall into complacency. We can receive a verbal, physical, or emotional hit and feel knocked to our knees. That’s when we may need smelling salts. A spiritual revival has the same effect on our life as smelling salts has on our body.  The Spirit of God awakens us and revives us.

My hope for all of us is that God will bring us those supernatural smelling salts and wake us up! Survival is the end of a difficult experience, but revival is the beginning of a greater experience!

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 3:14

Judy is a prayer intercessor who travels with Women of Faith to events to pray over every aspect of the weekend, including requests received from women in the audience.


  1. Thank you for sharing this revelation and truth. It ministered to me for the season I’ve been in. A journey of 2 years with my Son with courts, prosecutor, counselors, and rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol, and numerous court dates. Just as I wanted to give in, pass out, God is so good and faithful to remind me that I’m not done and greater is He in me…God Bless You.

  2. 3 months ago
    Raewynne Breman says

    God bless you Ps Judy…Awesome and very timely Word.

  3. With God all is possible. I believe we are all survivors of some kind of challenge. But living in Jesus make a world of differences.

  4. 4 months ago
    Mbali says

    I am inspired.
    thank you very much

  5. 4 months ago
    Jodi Michaelides says

    Your words are a blessing. I am a survivor with the strength of the Holy Spirit. I overcame severe effects of very, very long-standing abuse of all forms from my family of origin. When I had no strength or mental clarity left…God filled me with the Holy Spirit and this took place in last Nov or Dec 2013. Every month now, I am getting my mental clarity and cognitive functioning back, however I have a lot of rest to catch up on. Survival to Revival…

  6. 4 months ago
    Jennifer Umphenour says

    Thank you for this post this morning! I saw this orginally on WOF FB page and I posted it to 3 women in my life who are all going through horrible divorces or family disputes and all had court dates today! They are all so brave and doing their very best to lean on God through this rough patch in their lives but they are still in survival mode. I know that the revival is coming for them and so I posted this on their page to encourage them! But it also encourages me because I have been in survival mode for about 5 years after the birth of my twin boys and raising my older son. Between being in a challenging marriage, raising 3 boys, and trying to figure out where I fit in this world since I gave up teaching to raise my kids, I was just doing enough to get by. But I don’t want to be like that anymore. It is a horrible place to be and I hate feeling lost. This post reminded me that I need to wake up, live the life that God has intended for me and be at peace with where I am in life. Thank you for the “smelling salt” and waking me up :) God bless!

    • 3 months ago
      becky bodnarchuk says

      I am so thankful too for this article. I am so glad for your 3 friends that they have a compassionate sister friend who passed this hugely encouraging article to them. It is packed with wisdom. And encouragement. I was sooo grateful to hear the author talking about surviving. As an RN, daughter of mom who has lived thru breast and skin cancer and gratefully calls herself survivor, sister to a valiant woman who lived with ovarian cancer nearly 3 years and who now lives in heaven, and who has survived some difficult fights myself, it is SO not a weak word! and being ‘victimized’ by some of the evil in the world is no reason to be ashamed.
      I so love how you call their good fight a ‘rough patch’. Helps keep things in perspective;) And it helped me too. I soo praised and thanked our Poppa for His smelling salts today!
      Oh, and consider yourself hugged, mom of twins to mom of twins and and an older brother myself. Hang on to our Poppa baby girl. Poppa really does help us live our lives well, to love much and authentically…especially when we cry out to Him for help.

    • 3 months ago
      Helen says

      Oh Jennifer
      your spirit filled words are my smelling salt today! I am going thru similar circumstances trying to figure out where I fit-in in this world. I am resting on the finished work of Jesus our Lord. but some days like today I do face challenges, but the word of God always comes thru unexpected voices (like yours) to calm any storm arising in me. God will never ever remove his watch eye over us.

  7. Judy,
    The Holy Spirit rescued me with the spiritual equivalent of smelling salts Sunday evening after receiving deeply disappointing news. I was slipping quickly into a pit of self-pity when, suddenly, I heard the Spirit yell, “Fight”! His sudden presence rescued me from self-interests and helped me back up on my spiritual legs so I could intercede about the situation. The next morning, my devotions included passages from James 4. “You may think that the situation is hopeless, but God gives us more grace when we turn away from our own interests….So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. if you do, he will run away in failure. Now that’s a promise I will hold onto. Thanks Judy for sharing an effective, memorable word picture with us.

  8. 4 months ago
    Olayinka Odulate says

    This is so edifying thanks so much

  9. 4 months ago
    Jennifer Shelton says

    Survival for me is The Holy Spirit, every day He carries me, and ever day I survive. I amaze people who think I have ‘ over come’ , I haven’t overcome on my own merits, I have survived, and over come, and it is not down to me it is down to God, who has given me this perseverance to end the day, and be a winner at the end of it
    In my own case ,my husband, and partner, who, I had been with for over 30years and who I loved so much had a massive heart attack, and died. God is with me every day so powerfully, I do succeed I survive

  10. 4 months ago
    Sharron Munro says

    Pastor Judy,
    Your message was just what I needed today! God has clearly used you to minister to me. My family is going through a very difficult situation. As for my household, we get our strength daily from God’s word. I am trying to be the strong woman he has called me to be. By God’s grace and inspirational people like yourself, I will be a “survivor” as well. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!

  11. I LOVE this analogy of using the “smelling salts” to get back up “quickly”. I think for some (including myself), it takes a lot of resting in the Lord before we deem it “ok” to get get up and survive through our many situations, but the Lord who lives in us and greater than he who lives in the world! What a awesome perspective and great read, Judy!

  12. 4 months ago
    Kathy Williams says

    Thank you Pastor Judy for sharing your thought on survival/revival. I agree with you 100% that I live overcomer better as it makes us sound stronger knowing it’s in the Lord that we overcame. I was a victim of breast cancer and rejoice with me that I overcame this battle. To the Lord be praise as Jesus is my healer! I too am an intercessor as I pray alot for people that the Lord bring into my mind/heart who needs prayer for whatever their needs are. God bless!