My last post was an admittance of sorts about how maybe I have a little problem with control. When it comes to me and Spencer, Leah and Macie, I don't want anyone telling me what to do . . . even my husband. In this post, I was going to further explain how we are both letting go of our control and how much more amazing our marriage is for it.
I've been in this amazing Bible study lately by Priscilla Shirer that talks about The Armor of God. It's one of those topics that when I talk out loud about it, it almost sounds like an episode of Days of Our Lives, (you know that old storyline with John and Marlana being possessed, etc. . . ) Talking about spiritual battles is just so not mainstream America, whereas in many countries and cultures in the world, the spiritual world is just as real as the tangible.
I hate to get all churchy, but it does say in Ephesians 6, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." So . . . do I really believe that??????????? It doesn't feel like my struggles are in the heavenly realms. It feels like they are right here in my marriage and in blending this family and in physical health, etc. . . . But if the struggle is really against the powers of this dark world, then the weapons I am trying to use are not going to work.
My weapon of choice is my words. I am someone who takes about a millisecond to process and a micro millisecond to respond to my processing. Words fly out of my mouth long before I think about the damage that can occur. So, there for a few weeks, I was getting pretty good at laying down my choice weapon and picking up a weapon that can be used in a spiritual battle. It seriously seemed like a miracle each time I would choose not to defend myself or choose not to attack, but just pray or search for the actual truth in each situation. I mean, sometimes I would leave a conversation feeling like I was choking on words that I just wanted to spew out, but by morning, they were all gone. Or even on occasion, Tony would call me and apologize for something he said. Or, even more shocking to me, was when I realized I might be the one with the off perspective and I would have not seen it had I spewed my initial response.
However, if Tony were reading this now, he'd probably be dying of laughter, because I haven't been as good at it lately. Naturally, as soon as I posted something about how I'm doing such a A+ job of changing, the heat gets turned up and I want my old weapon back. It reminds me of a day, way way back in my 20's. One of my dearest friends, Kate, was attempting to give her out of town brother a good old fashioned Colorado experience, by means of going four wheeling with me and a friend (who actually knows how to four wheel drive). The driver was not going to take some pansy road that day. Instead, he took us to some icy cliff and I'm not exaggerating (because I would never do that). As the ice on the "road" got worse and the cliff on the side got steeper, we thought it would be best to turn around. Seeing as how the road was not more than a glorified bike path, we had to basically do a u-turn heading up the icy mountain. As the jeep started heading up, Kate broke out into a, for reals prayer, for our safety and survival. But as the Jeep started to slide towards the cliff, she anxiously yelled, "Never mind! Let me out!" And there we have it. That is me.
I can trust when it is seems like it is working, but as the intensity grows, my faith flounders and I want to fight the battle my way, the most tangible way, and with the most immediate results. I also wonder if it's almost like I felt like I was the one who was getting so good at it. I didn't need to be in prayer as much, because I was getting this keep your mouth shut thing down. I was laying down my weapon of choice that is just so comfy and easy for me to swing around and fight with, but I wasn't picking up the weapon that was useful and difficult to trust. It sure takes a lot of faith, to live this way.
That is another thing that I am learning in this study. I'm not sure how I missed this for four decades, but faith is applying what we believe. I mean, surely I knew that before. It's not just believing that God is real and that Jesus died for our sins and rose again. It is believing that prayer is more powerful than my words in a battle for control. I actually have very little faith, if I refuse to stop slinging my words around.
Recently, at the IF:Gathering conference, Jennie Allen said something that rocked my world and has convicted me in so many ways. She said, "When you have nothing to protect and nothing to prove you are unstoppable." #majormicdrop
I feel like those words cut straight to the struggle you're talking about, Holly. A struggle we ALL deal with to one degree or another, I'm sure of it. When I'm tempted to spew ugliness I'm fairly certain it's because I want to protect and prove my reputation, my image, my sanity, my worth, my place -- you name it! BELIEVE ME, I don't always get it right (not only is my husband laughing, but he's contributing a hearty "Amen!") but when I do, when I take the time to slow down and look at life through the compassionate, loving eyes of Jesus, the peace that comes ultimately controls me. I'm definitely still learning, but as I do, my heart rests so much easier. I feel your pain, sister. Carry on, prayer warrior!!!!
Relationships, man. They are THE most difficult and THE most necessary part of life. I see you so in love with Tony even though not every conversation is a walk in the park. There's beauty and there's pain and the 2 hold hands.
I am moved by the way you seem to be working this out right in front of our eyes with successes and failures both accounted for.
The ability to just be quiet in the midst of feeling something SO strongly, especially for women, is important. Sometimes I could seriously chew a hole through the inside of my cheek because I am trying to keep my mouth shut. Other times I can see all the casualties of my mis-used power laying all around me. This little moment to just NOT talk can give us time to breathe deeply and it might give us a millisecond of perspective we need. Women have a unique power within the home over the atmosphere. I think you're aware of that and marching towards a lot of success and atmosphere-change.
I can barely post this in any good conscience after the morning I have had. The whole morning I knew I would post this, so I was trying so hard to practice what I preach. I did not win the good fight this morning. I picked up my words weapon and it was not pretty. I'm pretty sure Satan knew I was going to post this. Call me crazy, which it kind of is, but I seriously think it is true. You can pray for our family this weekend. This blending families is no joke, people.