Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Warrior Princess

I skipped a chapter in my blogs again, because it was about "Mothers, Daughters, and Sisters". It was a very tender subject, one that God is still dealing with me on and I don't quite feel ready to talk about it. It came with it's very own testimony - but you'll just have to get the book!

However, I loved "A Warrior Princess". I love it when Christian authors emphasize spiritual warfare, something a lot of churches don't anymore. And basically, I have always believed (and have been freshly reminded) that sometimes we put up with things in our lives because we accept them, and we won't pray against them.

It's good to emphasize here that just as women are beautiful in the image of God, men are warriors in the image of God. Men were designed for fight - they have stronger pectoral and abdominal muscles to protect their insides, the bulk of their strength is at their arms and their shoulders... where as women, our stronger muscles are our thighs (for flight instead of fight), and our abs will never be as hard as men's because ours were created to enlarge with child-bearing. And when a good man uses his strength to fight for the things that God wants won over, it brings glory to God.

But there is still something warrior like, even fierce in all of us. We can look through history, at our families, and even back in our lives and know that we have the strength to fight if need be. We've also, solely as women, fought some battles of our own. And in some battles, we were designed to join with men and fight alongside each other. After all, we look at movies like X-Men, The Lord of the Rings, or Mona Lisa Smile, and something inside us chicks knows intuitively that we can kick butt if the occasion arises. Just have any one mess with our friends, our spouses, or our kids... and the Lion of Judah comes right out of us!

And now we think - what could we possibly need to fight for? Well God has a battle that is uniquely for WOMEN, because only as WOMEN would this battle be won - and He desires us to engage in this war as soon as possible: The battle to recover hearts that are lost without Him.

Men can protest and vote against abortion (and they should fight in favor of women even though it seems to be an exclusive "woman" issue), but it takes a woman full of the glory of God to reach out to a soul who has had an abortion or is considering one and nurture her, love her back into God's kingdom.

Men fight against the principalities, the powers, and the authorities - women fight spiritual warfare to recover the hearts, because it's only in the feminine that the qualities to open doors for healing and restoration are found. We desperately need to pray and fast and seek God for all the people who have been so hurt they don't believe in God. We desperately need to find out ministry and our place to put our prayers to action. We as women need to intervene in the lives of those God has placed around us, and out of our compassionate hearts, really fight for them spiritually. After all, we are relational beings... Men see the logic, we see the emotions. We are given tools to pray for the hearts (the living, bleeding souls) behind the problems unlike most men are!

What does spiritual warfare mean? It means putting on the armor of God and moving away from "bed time prayer" to what I call "banging on the gates of heaven in Jesus Name and pleading upon the Lord to make things right". Let's look at the scripture where this armor of God is found:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. - Ephesians 6:10-13

This is where it starts, letting us know that we (all believers) need His armor to stand against the devil's schemes - the Enemy of our souls, with a special hatred for us. It reminds us that to fight may not necessarily involve physical violence as much as it involves taking a stand against Satan and his demons in all they are trying to accomplish. They are holding unbelievers captive... And they still have a lot of strongholds and chains camped up inside many Christian's hearts! Why? Because WHEN the day of evil comes (not if, but when) we can stand our ground - for our children, our marriage, and whatever other battle God places our way to make us stronger - and still be standing at the end!

How many marital arguments have started through simple miscommunication? Through reading each others signals different from what they were intended? Who else would be more desiring to sabotage our marriage than Satan himself? Who comes to steal, kill, and destroy?

Who else is better suited to stand in the gap for their husbands when they get laid off, but us? We know, here on earth, our husbands' hearts better than anyone. We know the wound in their hearts that Satan custom-fitted just for them. We know the feelings and the lies that bombard them when they can't provide for their families the way they should. This is where we, as women, step in and fight to recover their hearts - that they may continue to hope, and trust in God for what's He will provide next.

How many medical and educational diagnosis have been placed upon our children, in such a way that instead of bringing a solution to their struggle only handicaps them further? And yet so many moms take it and accept it and live with it... To the greater harm of their child. Might I add here that I know one Mom who has 2 special needs kids with a specific diagnosis. Understanding their condition doesn't mean she's not fighting for them - quite opposite, actually. She pursues, year to year, all the therapy they would need to be fully functional children and hopefully adults. And she doesn't stop praying. And she doesn't stop seeking ways to overcome obstacles so that her kids experience as full of a life as possible. But for every one Mom like her I know of 5 that resigned to the fact that their kids "will never be smart enough", resigned to possibly unnecessary medication, and to letting their kids fall further and further behind. The battle for our kids is one our hands have been trained to fight - we come armed with the God-given instinct. And this is one where the Enemy likes to hit us most where it hurts; with our ability to bear children and mother them, because it seems it's what we were created for!

Sometimes we just need to recognize the Enemy for what he's trying to accomplish (take your stand against the devil's schemes) and say, "No. In Jesus' Name, No!" The verse above never guarantees that it's a one-battle war, quick and easy. But He does promise that if we are wearing the armor, no matter how long the battle wages, we'll still be standing in the end!

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. - Ephesians 6:14-18

  • Belt of truth: Live in the truth, proclaim the truth in God's Word. Learn to recognize when a thought or a feeling in you is a lie from the devil and combat it with God's Word! Quote scripture into the air when you or a loved one is struggling with depression, illness, or any other attack.
  • Breastplate of Righteousness: Seek to do the right thing, the God-honoring thing, in all circumstances. This is where we leave manipulation, control, and deception behind... tools that wounded women are excellent in using. But we are made whole in Christ. We may think its easier to manipulate in order to change the circumstance - but that leaves us open to fatal blows right to the heart.
  • Feet fitted with the Gospel of peace: Be ready to share the gospel, share Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace even in this on-going battle for the souls of this world. Make no mistake, right now there is a raging battle and an all-out invasion of His Kingdom... and we need to take it back! But the truth of what Jesus did on the cross, and the power of His blood, brings healing to all hearts and undoes everything the Enemy has tried to accomplish.
  • Shield of Faith: when we choose to believe what God says, absolute over what anyone else in this world may say, we extinguish the attacks that Satan will always try to dump on our minds.
  • Helmet of Salvation: Be saved! Take authority by what Jesus did on the cross for you! See your life now, and the lives of your loved ones, through the lens of Salvation that God has worked out for us. That's why we pray in Jesus' Name. There is power in His blood shed for us.
  • Sword of the Spirit: the Word of God. We can't come back to the lies of the Enemy with God's promises if we don't know them or don't believe them. We can't even engage in a battle if we don't know the heart of God and the things that are breaking His!
  • Be alert, and pray: Our greatest, most immediate weapon against the Enemy. Pray for everything, and anything, and over everything. Pray without ceasing. This war, and the attacks that are happening for your soul right now, make it too risky for us as believers to "be asleep". Is there a struggle in a particular church ministry? Pray. Is something you are trying to accomplish not coming out quite right? Pray. Is there a friendship that seems to have been estranged, maybe falling further away? Pray. Are your kids being more difficult than usual? Pray. The problem and the defeat for many believers is that we accept all these things as normal before we take them to God and ask for His heart in the matter. The Lord will tell you when to let somethings go as "normal" or "natural", and when it's an attack from the Evil One. But we will never know unless we pray.
Just between yesterday and today God was preparing my heart for this chapter. Yesterday I couldn't even read the book (barely my Bible), because I was dizzy. Flat out dizzy. Nauseous as a result of being dizzy. It lasted the whole day. I couldn't stand, I could barely eat... and I let the TV take care of my kids most of the day because I didn't have what it took to engage them. And then in the introduction to this chapter, the author (Stasi) shares how for years she struggled with dizziness and assumed that her "spells" were normal, until she was challenged to come against them. So John and her (the authors) began to rebuke and come again the dizzy spells when they came - and they would leave! She said it opened her eyes to warfare and she never had them again. But she struggled with them as long as she did because she thought it was normal. This spoke to me volumes because I never prayed against the dizziness I felt all day! I assumed it must be some kind of symptom of something. What if it was just an attack? To cause chaos in my home, to keep me from being the mom I needed to be to my kids? We are not unaware of the devil's schemes.

Another warfare issue that transpired between yesterday and today was that Paul and I have been expecting, for about 2 weeks, a couple of deposits to our bank account. One was a reimbursement that Paul was waiting on to pay off his government travel card. Another was some money that he had mailed to our bank branch to be deposited. By last night, neither had gone through. Now up until then we kept trusting that God would take care of it. We were worried, but we weren't exactly praying and fighting for it. Until last night. I couldn't sleep over it and I decided to ask God to provide - to move the hands of those that needed moving so that these things will fall into place and fall into place NOW. I also prayed that there would be no dishonesty, no glitches in the process but everything would happen as is supposed to. And today everything is there the way it's supposed to be... which leads me to think - shouldn't we have prayed earlier? We thought the wait was normal. We assumed the process was normal. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't have covered it in prayer, have asked God to make sure it moves in a timely manner. Our finances is one of our biggest faith struggles in our marriage because we had been held bondage to lies and discouragement for so long. We became used to trials, glitches, money taken from us when we shouldn't have had to pay... falling short... It wasn't until recently when we decided to say, "No more" and fight this battle knowing God is on our side. And the Lord isn't removing every financial obstacle, but rather "training our hands for battle" and teaching us to wear the armor of God even in this "non-violent" area of our lives! It matters to God that I fight this battle too (and not just Paul) because God is concerned for MY heart, MY wounds, and MY faith!

Our hearts (individually and personally) as women is the first thing we need to fight for. It's the first thing we need to recover from the Enemy's camp. The men of our lives should help. But the battle for OUR hearts will never be won unless WE engage in battle for ourselves! The Armor of God is not just for our spouses or our pastors bur for US - and for everyone who comes to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We need to partner with the Lord and fight for our souls by handing it over to Jesus without taking our souls back. We need to partner with the Lord and fight for our bodies, too keep us healthy and strong... because we are not effective for His Kingdom if we are sick, or have hormonal imbalances! And we need to partner with the Lord and fight for our hearts, to make sure we know that we belong to the Kingdom of God, to keep ourselves protected with the truth of His Word and no longer accept any wound the Enemy may try to inflict on us. Our hearts are worth fighting for, and they are worth the effort from us!

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