Thursday, April 18, 2019

On that Day in 1988

Darling Auntie Iris gave me a photo of my family taken on my graduation day in 1988. It's a nice picture of my dad with my mom and I in happier days. My dad looks so young in this picture and my hair looks so big.

My parents gave me a pearl necklace at the time of my graduation. I still have it, though I rarely wear it. But I see it now and then. I cherish it. But I don't clutch many pieces of my family tightly. I think it is far too painful.

On that day in 1988, I was young and fresh and vibrant. I had the whole world at my feet, and I believed I would conquer it. I knew some basics about Jesus. I was a daughter with parents still married to each other. I was a sister to Staci and Scott. I was a girlfriend to a man I reckoned I would marry because he was so good at always doing what he said. I was a friend to an eclectic group of people. I was college-bound with a bright future. I thought I knew who I was and who I would contiue to be.

I didn't know then how many of those things that seemed like promise would actually hold me away from the life I was made to live. I didn't know then that changing my mind was an option. I certainly didn't know then how to listen for the Holy Spirit to guide me to the right path. I didn't know how much of myself I would lose and how uncertain I would become about everything - even to the point of no longer knowing who I was or what I was supposed to be doing.

I thought I had it all on that day in 1988. And for the next several years it only got better. College went well. I married my sweetheart. I had my babies. I went to work with my family.

When my life feel completely apart and I was left separated from my family and my spouse and my friends and my career and my church, I was devastated and truly floundered for several years. What took the place of all those years of expectation and rejection and emptiness is truly beautiful. God has done great work in me.

I am blessed.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Get Your Armour, Man! The Battle is On!

I wonder if there is a soldier alive who would march into battle unprepared, armorless. Certainly over the years armor has changed. Neverthless, all soldiers have their own armor they don for protection. And none would think of engaging in battle without it.

The Armor of God (from Ephesians 6:10-18)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguiush all the flaming arros of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

There's more on armor in Wisdom 5:17-20: The Lord will take his zeal as his whole armor, and will arm all creation to repel his enemies; he will put on righteousness as a breast plate, and wear impartial justice as a helmet; he will take holiness as an invincible shield, and sharpen stern wrath for a sword, and creation will join with him to fight against his frenzied foes.

And still more in Romans 13:12-14: The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenenss, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and ndo not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Evidently, the instruction to don our armor is important.

What is it we battle? Demons are real. Satan is real. Hatefulness toward ourselves and others is real.

Still, the exortation is not to go and fight out own battle. To the contrary, every piece of armor points us to trust in God for our strength and our protection. So we pick up these spiritual tools, lean on and in to God, and march into battle, fearless and courageous. We were told in Isaiah 54:17 long before that "No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgement you will condemn. That is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from me," says the Lord.

Christians who live with and by Holy Spirit live embattled. Spiritual warfare is a real thing. But those weapons formed against us? They powerless until we give them power. We give them power by hearing the lies, by condemnation, by letting sin have freedom.


Take up the armor. Salvation. Righteousness. Peace. Faith. Truth. And Holy Spirit. Do it by resting in the Word. Share it with others. Worship. Breathe it in.