Monday, January 25, 2016

The Warrior's Road

Ephesians 6:10-18
10 This is the last thing I want to say: Be strong with the Lord’s strength. 11 Put on the things God gives you to fight with. Then you will not fall into the traps of the devil. 12 Our fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world. It is against the demon world that works in the heavens. 13 Because of this, put on all the things God gives you to fight with. Then you will be able to stand in that sinful day. When it is all over, you will still be standing. 14 So stand up and do not be moved. Wear a belt of truth around your body. Wear a piece of iron over your chest which is being right with God. 15 Wear shoes on your feet which are the Good News of peace. 16 Most important of all, you need a covering of faith in front of you. This is to put out the fire-arrows of the devil. 17 The covering for your head is that you have been saved from the punishment of sin. Take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
18 You must pray at all times as the Holy Spirit leads you to pray. Pray for the things that are needed. You must watch and keep on praying. Remember to pray for all Christians.
Has it ever struck you that you are a warrior?
Maybe I jumped the gun here.....Have you ever thought about the fact that you are in a war?
Last year, the movie War Room came out and rocked a culture. My husband and I took it in on a date night and my prayer life has never been the same. If you haven't seen it, I challenge you to do so. I'll be speaking to a different version of a warrior today, but this particular movie paints a vivid picture of what we fight against and what we are fighting for.
My life has changed drastically in the last decade. There have been large and seemingly small events that have led me to where I am in this moment. I once was a little girl with such horrible self image issues and debilitating fear that I couldn't get through a simple piano recital without crying.....and then I promptly quit those lessons. Truth be told, I quit most everything in my early years.
One of my favorite things to do now is train for fighting, train other fighters, and teach self defense. This once shy little girl now speaks to groups both large and small about the best way to dislocate a jaw bone and break a knee....and I love every minute! You see, through these events I was able to uncover the warrior that God had created me to be.
I couldn't help myself :)
Now ladies, before you begin to beg to differ with me and tell me that God doesn't use women as warriors, let me introduce you to some friends of mine.
  • Jael (Judges 4). Jael drove a spike through the temple of Sisera after luring him into her tent. God used her obedience and cunning to stop the leader of an army of 10,000 threatening His people.
  • Hanna (1 Samuel). Hanna was barren and greatly ridiculed by her husbands other wife. She prayed for a son and dedicated him solely to God's service. Her strength is in her complete obedience to God and sending her child away at a young age to serve.
  • Abigail (1 Samuel). Abigail was described as beautiful, however, she was married to a pig headed man. When David asked for hospitality, Abigail's husband nearly cost them all their lives with his curt reply. Abigail went ahead and bowed before David in reverence as she brought gifts and apologies. We can overlook that she overstepped her husband, and that would constitute severe punishment. Her obedience saved many lives, including her own.
  • Esther (Esther). Let's not overlook the fact that Esther's obedience was so important that she got an entire book of the Bible! Esther put her own life on the line for the many lives of her people and was blessed greatly through generations.
  • Deborah (Judges). Oh my, how I love Deborah (and not just because my mom and daughter share her name). Deborah didn't sink back just because she was a woman. She was actually a prophetess, Bible woman during one of Isreal's most trying times. She was appointed by God at that time!
In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael. The highways were deserted, and the travelers walked along the byways. Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel. They chose new gods; then there was war in the gates; not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. My heart is with the rulers of Israel who offered themselves willingly with the people. Bless the Lord! . . . The Lord came down for me against the mighty. . . . Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.
The Story of Deborah in the Bible - excerpts from Judges 5, NKJV

I encourage you to read through the stories of ALL of these ladies, especially if you are struggling with your own purpose.

God uses women. That is a Biblical fact you can stamp on your forehead sister. If you feel as though you haven't been used, maybe you haven't yet offered up the use of your full self...

One of the facts of fight training is that you must FIRST learn how to fall because you will get knocked down. The second lesson is how to get back up. I have found these to be the two BIGGEST lessons in training and in life.

I have fallen many times in this life. For a few years, I simply stumbled from one thing to another. Then I had a fall that would change my life forever. A fall that would ripple to all around me and begin to change the fabric of my faith.

Several years ago, I felt like my husband and I should have another baby. No big deal right? Well, when your kids are teens and you've been perfectly content with life, you second guess it. After prayer and a lot of talking, I was pregnant. Everything was going swimmingly, and as stated before, the doctor was surprised by how quickly the baby grew. I myself thought I was growing a super human :). Anyways, at my 16 week check up, there was no heart beat. The baby had died and I, as his/her mother, didn't even know. I smiled, assured the doctor I was just fine, made my appointment for a D&C, and then met my husband at home for a glass of wine and copious amounts of fudge (it was right before Christmas). The following weeks are what truly made a difference...

To say that I was mad or angry is an understatement. I was livid. I was confused. I was broken, and I didn't like it. I stopped reading my Bible and absolutely refused to talk to God. He had taken from me, and I was acting a bit like a scorned toddler. My sense of self was skewed and I really didn't understand why He had left me here at all.

Why bring this particular story back to life again?

Because I came to a crossroads at this time in life. I could choose to believe when God said He meant everything for my good, or I could choose to ignore that fact. In the middle of a church service, the Holy Spirit (persistent guy...) broke through my self imposed barriers and begged me to believe.

This changed the question of GOOD for me. You see, I cannot see the whole picture, all I am shown is but a glimpse. The whole picture of my life and God's plan would dumbfound me (and God knows I already struggle with that). I am only show what I can handle in that very moment, so everything else is faith. Like Esther, I must step out in faith and be obedient. Like Deborah, I must step into my warrior gear and prepare myself to lead the charge. I cannot sit by apathetically any longer, simply wishing life was more comfortable.

Your encouragement for today is twofold: Read the opening scripture and pinpoint ONE part of the armor of God to work on this week. Next, read the stories presented of strong women of the Bible, then seek out more stories. Immerse yourself in His Word and the good you are so desperately seeking with be shown to you.....but it may not be what you expected.


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