It’s Sunday morning and no matter how we prepare to avoid it, try to derail it, we board that weekly crazy train that sends the whole day into a tailspin. Children bicker over shoes and outfits and hair accessories and through our own gritted teeth we say how much prettier they would look with a smile. And on this particular Sunday I’m so thankful we’ve decided only to go to Sunday school, so I don’t have to referee the arguments during the sermon.
And it’s clear this day is going to be a doozy, because the arguments they pick up right where they left off after church and one child wails angry and another does everything in her power to aggravate. One shuts herself up in her room and another is trying to figure out who to side with. And I just want to run away.
It’s Sunday night and we sit, the six of us, all crowded into our little sitting room, and we discuss angels and demons and the very real battle that is always taking place around us. We discuss the full armor of God and how we are to dress ourselves, prepare ourselves, to engage in this battle, because even the most non-confrontational among us will be called to the front lines.
We talk first about the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of readiness given by the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. And then we talk about how we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). We talk about how our Enemy the Devil, he wants to distract us and confuse us and he does want us to wrestle against each other and how he does a victory dance every time he drives a wedge or builds a wall between us. He doesn’t want us to love each other or be kind or obey or control our tongues and when we fight and bicker against each other he gains a foothold and he wins a battle for our hearts. We talk about our instruction to be light to the dark and to help the poor and needy and to raise up children who love the Lord and how much Satan hates us for trying. We affirm that we know Who ultimately wins the war, but these battles we fight every day are important and we can’t give up even one just because we’re too tired to fight. We purpose to work together to fight this common enemy, rather than letting our enemy divide us. We agree that God has given us each other to love and care for and protect, and to make us more like His Son, and that we are a team and we’re all working toward the same goal.
And privately, we wonder do we make too much of this spiritual warfare thing. No one talks about it much since our high school days and Frank Perretti books and perhaps it’s a bit too charismatic and maybe this is just life? But in the past two years we have seen it, we have lived it, and my spirit knows somehow when it’s life and when it’s war. The battle is real and Satan fights dirty and he knows the chinks in our armor and will aim his fiery arrows straight for us. But we wait for a coming King, whose kingdom is not of this world, so why would the battles we fight be merely flesh and blood?
And in a small way that grows big, we can fight the battle of discouragement and discontent by daily listing His gifts – the good and the hard gifts. Because if it all passes through His hand and it all has the ability to draw us closer, make us more like His Son, then is it not worth thanking Him for? Is it not worth writing down and remembering? Is it not worth a whispered, “Yes, Lord, even this….thank you.”?
2116. cooler days
2117. chilly nights with windows open
2118. feet and legs that ache
2119. hope that new shoes will help
2120. continuing the hard struggle with one girl
2121. an impromptu date night – a few hours away from the “sick ward”
2122. God’s grace when I don’t deserve it
2123. hope when I am discouraged
2124. days that go horribly wrong
2125. words of encouragement in the morning
2126. hope overflowing
2127. Haitian girl actually speaking to us over Skype
2128. her silly, sweet smile
2129. an unplanned “in service” day to give this sick mama time to rest
2130. more rain
2131. more coughing
2132. never quite feeling caught up
2133. an unexpected hour and a half in a quiet house
2134. a lovely lunch hour run
2135. laughing with my girls
2136. heart burdened for one in particular
2137. weeks that I’m happy just to make it through
2138. a to do list too big to finish alone
2139. a God who sees me
2140. a beautiful fall Friday
2141. a thirty minute nap
2142. a home school soccer game
2143. full moon hanging low over western sky
2144. fog draped over grass
2145. husband who gives up his morning workout to ride his bike with me while I run in early morning dark.
2146. good friend who (literally) goes the extra mile (or two!) to help me finish my long run
2147. jeans that feel looser
2148. neighborhood cafe and incredible chips and guacamole
2149. country dancing with everyone twenty years our senior
2150. a good date night
2151. family talks about spiritual warfare and the battle we all really face
2152. learning to fight together rather than fight each other
2153. putting on the whole armor of God
Praying that as you fight your own battles this week, you will be able to see His goodness in everything.
For His Glory ~