Sisters, Soldiers, and Spectators
I received her text early in the day; it told me that they were heading into court and had some unexpected concerns arise. She was unsure what would happen, how these changes would affect the hearing, and where things would end up. She wanted to be covered in prayer. I immediately stopped working on my project, everything out of my hands, and prayed over her and all involved in the battle.
Later, when she called to tell me how things went, we talked about the fight. She knows that I fight a similar battle, and I know well the enemy. He is one who comes not directly against us, but like a guided missile toward the children we love. He desires to remove our children from safe, secure homes and create turmoil, while he tears them away from those who seek to love and protect them. It is an emotional and intense fight, as we pray and beg for God’s divine intervention. At times, the only thing that even comes close to comfort is to know that we are not stepping before God alone, petitioning Him with only one voice, but to trust that our beloved friends are bowing before Him as well, and petitioning Him on our behalf.
This is what makes the difference between the people in our lives who are spectators and the people in our lives who are soldiers. You can stand on the sideline all day long and comment and clap and even throw out little Christian catch phrases, like holding up a sign at a football game. And that’s okay, but it’s not the same as walking onto the battle field with me and covering me while I run out against enemy fire. Here’s the thing – I don’t need spectators. They make a lot of noise, and they may cheer a little, but at the end of the day, they don’t really help you win the battle.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
So, for the people I love who aren’t really willing to get dirty in the fight, please understand when I pull away from you. You will still have a place with me for coffee dates, movie nights, and other light-hearted fun. But, while I am in battle, either suit up or step aside. Hit your knees or hit the road. I love you, but there is no place for you here.
…while I am in battle, either suit up or step aside.
To those who walk out beside me onto the battlefield, you have value beyond gold. You remind me to get up, when I think I have nothing left. You speak to God on my behalf, when I feel like my prayers are depleted. You aim words of truth at me when the enemy’s lies have me fooled. You carry me wounded off the field, and take me before the Great Healer. You encourage me to keep fighting, when I think I have already lost. You remind me that victory belongs to the LORD, as do I.
May we all have and be the kind of friend who grabs their armor when the rest of the world grabs their seat.
Moving to Standby
Change. Change is tough. Change is uncomfortable. Change is uncomfortably tough. So, why do we insist on it? Because one thing is more uncomfortable than change – not changing.
Change this week came in the form of my daughter registering for her first college classes. She is only 16, and I still struggle to accept that she can drive away in the car without me beside her. Certainly, she needed my help to sign up for college! Right? Well, no actually, she didn’t. In fact, as my wise and wonderful friend who works at the college insisted, as she directed me away from the registration computer, my daughter needed to do it herself. And so, I moved back as my daughter stepped forward, and with each click of the mouse, learned to register herself for a semester of college. And my discomfort as a parent who was not the one in control became my pride in a young woman who didn’t need my help.
Once that occurred, it became clear to me that this would be the only time that I would stand beside her in that building. This would be the only time she would need me to be there. The introduction had been made; it was time to step aside. To continue to walk beside her would make me the third wheel in her relationship with college.
I made sure to refer her back to my wise and wonderful friend, should she need help. In the bookstore, she met another of my friends who works on campus. That friend too offered to help with anything she might need. Leaving campus, my daughter talked on and on about her plans for the new year – how she would study harder, work extra hours to earn her car, and set new boundaries to keep her focused. None of these goals required my hands on the wheel.