This last week must have really left Satan giddy with excitement as he watched powerhouses fall. One after another. I can imagine he was smug and his chest puffed full of pride.
It came in the form of hard hitting, gut wrenching situations attacking some of the most faithful individuals I know. A relationship crisis. A devastating medical diagnosis. Financial collapse. Overpowered by addiction and its path of destruction. Just a few of the "headlines" going on in the lives of some close fellow believers.
It came in the form of one of the most respected and powerful speakers/authors/ ministry leaders in women's ministry announcing her marriage was ending in divorce. The pain of her words in her announcement was clearly evident. A choice not taken lightly or without trying everything possible to avoid. A choice that become no longer a choice.
And then in the last 24 hours, the announcement that my most treasured ministry geared toward the Christian mother dissolved over financial issues . It's a devastating loss to many. Not only those of us that benefited greatly from its conferences, blog encouragement and interactions with speakers, but also devastating for the employees and volunteers. Personally speaking, this ministry rescued me at a crucial time in my life. Without a doubt, I credit it for being the catalyst of restoration and healing many times. My heart aches today. It aches for my own loss, but most importantly for that mom needing a lifeline and not getting it like I did. My heart hurts for the founder that has come to mean so much in my life. Though she changed her role and focus in the last year, it was still the vision of her heart. Over the years and multiple book launches with her, I've come to really know her beautiful heart and passion for mothers and marriage. I've sat on her porch and eaten at her table, feeling first hand her belief in loving others through hardship and pointing them to Christ and His grace and fullness.
Each of these individuals or ministries didn't just claim to be founded on faith, they lived it out. They didn't just talk the talk, they walked the walk. They lived the gospel. They embraced the broken. They pointed to Christ, always. None were perfect, because that isn't possible, but their hearts and actions reflected Christ.
What does this all mean?
Should I feel defeated?
Should I throw in the towel on trying to live a "good" life since it's obvious that some stronger, better versed, and with a greater support system are falling or hurting?
After some introspection, prayer and multiple conversations, my heart has an answer.
Realize NO ONE is immune to hardships, failure, or extreme difficulties. It can happen to you. The moment you think it can't is the moment you're truly fooling yourself. Even the holiest, most faithful, and strongest face battles. Perhaps, they face even more. Satan doesn't attack the weak. He has no need to fear them. He also attacks at the point of greatest negative impact. If he can weaken our marriages and our families, he can do unlimited damage. Marriage and family is our core, our backbone.
Putting on the armor of God isn't just a Biblical suggestion. It's a necessity. Every day that we fail to purposely be connected to Him is a day that we are walking unprotected. (Key: we must be purposeful or we'll find ourselvest too busy or distracted). If we aren't in His Word for ourselves, in communication through prayer, spending time in worship, surrounding ourselves with other believers in community, or protecting ourselves from temptation and evil... we are walking through fire without even as much as a breath of oxygen. Would a fireman enter a burning building without his gear? Do we stick our hands in a hot oven without some type of hot pad to wrap around the pan? Would you jump out of a plane without a parachute? (Ok, I still wouldn't jump with one. Just sayin'!) In other words, it's not logical and even downright stupid to enter a battle without armor or weapon. We still run the chance of not coming out unscathed, but our chances of survival greatly increase. That armor also helps us make better choices and avoid danger in many cases because of the Holy Spirit. Fully suited in our armor, we find that the ploys of the world don't chain us down as much. We can't shack up with the devil and expect God to pay the rent!
We have to choose to live victoriously and full of hope. Love and support others through their defeats. Help bind their wounds. Don't add daggers to their already battle scarred hearts. Build community. Decide that we've been given a wake up call and that call isn't to lie down and give up. Yes, it seems others have been defeated or wounded at least. We can lie down and say, "Go ahead, stab me. Take me down, too." Or we can remember who lives in us AND....
NO Satan. NOT TODAY! You can't have my marriage, my child, my finances, my peace or my hope. You can't have my joy. You can't have me. I belong to the chain breaker, way maker... and He bought and paid for my victory. So, I fight. I go against what the world says is normal. I tell my flesh and pride no. I invest in my marriage. I put priorities different. I remember that in my weaknesses, He is the strongest. I guard my heart and mind. I fix my eyes on Him. And fight on.
Carry on, Warrior, carry on.
You may lose a battle (and it may look like warriors are falling EVERYWHERE), but we win the war.
Wake up. Suit up. Rise up. Fight.