‘Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.’
Ephesians 6 v 13 The Message
Take all the help you can get. All of it.
A couple of morning this week I’ve woken up and wondered when will the battle be over? Will there come a time when the devil does not exploit my weaknesses? Will there ever be a time that I gain some ground without something pushing me back or knocking me off my feet?
I think the answer to my question is that unless I leave the battle and surrender to the enemy then it’s going to be life long. If I want to live loudly for Jesus, if I want to fly his colours in places where they’ve not been seen before then I’ll be on the hit list for a while longer.
I choose that. I choose to stay and fight.
Which means that I really need to heed these words of Paul.
Take all the help you can get.
In the past that help has looked like turning to the bible daily for words to guide me, prayer, attendance at church, christian leadership in partnership with others.
Now it looks very different, but its breadth is making me stronger. I’m still utterly reliant on the bible. I pray, in as much as I turn my heart, my mind, my eyes to try to see God wherever He is, so that I can hear what He’s telling me. I let people know about the battle. I no longer think I need to look like a soldier who’s doing really well. Often I’m on the ground reeling from another blow, but I want to get up again, and others help me back on to my feet. I’m not a lone fighter. I’ve a community of women with whom I share life and words and images, and all of them, in their differing ways, in their wide interpretations of scripture and religious traditions, keep telling me that God is good and He loves me, and He loves that I’m still in the fight. I can’t tell you how much that helps.
This morning I identified a new source of strength. It’s one I’ve been using increasingly in the past year but this morning, as it totally transformed a battle ground into a meadow with flowers and laughter I realised just how powerful this weapon is.
Last night, I once again had a dream which featured the other heavily. It was my subconscious playing out some of the issues which have caused me anxiety and negativity this week. I woke and had to keep telling myself that it was a dream and not reality for quite a few minutes, before I began to really believe it. Usually when I have dreams involving the other I don’t share them with my husband. Sometimes I make vague references to ‘bad dreams’ but no specifics. I reached for my bible and as I read the words in Ephesians I laughed as I read that our battles are not with flesh and blood. I know that mine are with dreams and thoughts in my head and I identified my dream as a new battle being waged.
So I told my husband about the dream. I told him the detail. I told him how it had made me feel.
And he laughed. He laughed so hard that he almost cried.
I should say at this point that he does have an ability to laugh at the most serious things I tell him, and it’s not always been a wise move, but actually my incredulity at his laughter slowly changed to a smile and then a laugh as I saw, as he so clearly did, just how ridiculous and therefore funny the dream actually was when held up in the morning light to a man who has lived through the worst days of the battle and still chooses me and chooses God.
It took away all the power of that dream. Instantly.
Today I used all that I had available to me.
I used every weapon that God has issued to me.
I used the weapon of my husband and his laughter and his love for me, which was able to be used in battle once I’d put on the belt of truth.
We will win the battle. We will be standing at the end.