Monthly Archives: August 2013

Excuses, Excuses

My last post still left us in the time of Judges in Israel. Deborah and stay at home Jael had just played vital roles in taking down some of Israel’s enemies. *Blows on knuckles, rubs on shirt* Yea, those boys needed some help. The warriors weren’t cutting it, so God sent in some women and his angel army to help. Judges 5 ended with “Then the land had piece for forty years.”

Well, times up. When Judges 6 picks up those forty years are over and God needs some new warriors.

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The First Lady Killer

You heard me right, the first lady killer. This is not about the first guy to kill a woman, but the first woman to kill a man. Why am I interested in this? Why am I writing about this? Because it is a story, and I feel that it is an intense one. (Ha, in-tents, that was a pun, but you have to read on to really get it).

Jael

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Chapter 2. The Beginning.

Why does Batman get head to toe kevlar?

Why does Batman get head to toe kevlar?

If the words, “You just know a bunch of guys made this,” cross my lips, then you will usually find our Xbox controller in my hands. On the screen will reside my character, there stands my female heroine, the poor girl. If she lived in this world most people would stereotype and sneer that she is the butch side of a lesbian couple. If it is not the roid raging body builder dressed in ugly armor, then it is the overly feminine, curvy yet skinny, and scantily clad heroine to save the day. It always amazes me how she can, with all of the other soldiers and assassins dressed head to toe in armor, it cannot be practical to enter a battle with so much skin showing.

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The Beginnings of A Warrior

There, in the living room, above the couch there lives a family inside a beautiful frame. Their matching outfits and smiles look out over the kitchen. The cookie jar sits on the counter, next to the ingredients that are laid out for tonight’s meal. When the meal begins the table will be set with place mats that match the plates, that match the glasses, which match the seasonal decor of the dinning room. Desert will be fluttered out with tiny spoons in small glass and frosted dishes. It ends in a reading, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. . . ”

Housewife

This was what I was taught that my life would be. Through school, church, and family this picture of this virtuous, and its synonym domestic, woman was brought before me time and time again. All the traits of femininity were paraded in front of me, and I was reassured that I would indeed grow out of my tomboy phase.

This 40's lady inspired me more than the housewife pictures.

This 40’s lady inspired me more than the housewife pictures.

Now all of that is fine and dandy, and I do not think less of the women who cherish the woman portrayed in Proverbs 31, or the 40’s housewife, but it was not for me. As the other girls wanted to be play princess, I wanted to play warrior. As I grew up I was torn. I did want to be a princess, but I wanted to be my tomboy, fighting self as well. As far as I knew, these where two opposite ends of the spectrum and would never be able to mesh. It was one or the other, I was constantly torn between my high heels or my chucks. Then I heard someone say it, Warrior Princess. I heard this whisper that as a female of faith, the daughter of the King, I could be called to be a warrior, but a warrior who doesn’t have to be a pure tomboy, but one who can mesh this with their femininity and become a Princess Warrior.

This idea consumed me. I researched, I read books, I thought, and prayed, and prayed, and thought. This morning, I took a chunk of my time and searched the word “warrior” in biblegateway.com, using the NIV translation. Now, let me tell you what I found.

The first time the word “warrior” is used in the NIV is in the genealogy of Genesis 10. It lists off the sons of Noah, and then their sons, and theirs sons, just names and names and names. then, in verse 8 a paragraph pops out from the one liners.

“1 This is the family tree of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After the flood, they themselves had sons. . . .

The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, Sabteca.

The sons of Raamah: Sheba, Dedan.

8-12 Cush also had Nimrod. He was the first great warrior on Earth. He was a great hunter before God. There was a saying, ‘Like Nimrod, a great hunter before God.’ “

Verse seven lists the sons of Cush, well all but one. Nimrod gets a special paragraph and a description. He was the first great warrior on Earth, a great hunter before God. It seems that being a warrior is something of importance, it was something special. No one else had their vocations or attributes listed behind their name, only a great warrior received that recognition. Sweet.

The next verse that was listed in my warrior search was in Exodus. After Moses and the Israelites marched from Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, they turned around, safely on the shore, and watched the waters crash down on the following Egyptians.

” Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea.

“The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
    the Lord is his name.” – Exodus 15:1-3

The Lord is a warrior! The strength of our God defeated the horse and their driver. He crushed an army and destroyed its soldiers. The simple joy of these two passages drove me deeper into searching the Bible for what it had to say about warriors. There is so much more to come, be prepared to hear more about the biblical warriors I found, but this post is getting long enough, so I will end with rejoicing with Moses using the paraphrasing from The Message.

“1-8 Then Moses and the Israelites [And Me!] sang this song to God, giving voice together,

I’m singing my heart out to God—what a victory!
    He pitched horse and rider into the sea.
God is my strength, God is my song,
    and, yes! God is my salvation.
This is the kind of God I have
    and I’m telling the world!
This is the God of my father—
    I’m spreading the news far and wide!
God is a fighter,
    pure God, through and through.”


You Got A Friend In Me

I slept terrible last night. There was a lot of tossing and turning and waking up and being uncomfortable. I woke up this morning already stressed and afraid. I am afraid that I messed something up at work, and now the event I am planning will fall to pieces. . .

So to divert my mind I entered another world for a while. I picked up a book and started reading. I love to get lost in the pages of a good book. Right now I am reading The Shack. My parents gave to me about four years ago, and strangely enough I never had the urge to read it until now. The Shack is the story of a man who meets God for the weekend. The whole Holy Trinity is there, in some most unsuspecting forms.

One of the things the main character, Mack, is enthralled with during his time with God, Jesus,and the Spirit, is how the three that are one interact with each other. The relationship is full of love, full of respect, full of fullness. He asks the age old question, who is in charge here? Obviously God is really the one who gives the orders right? And after some joking around They explain that this idea that someone has to be in charge for there to be order is a human thing. We feel that we need authority, rules, laws, and punishments to help contain our problems. We would not need a hierarchy to control us if we were able to love and live and build relationships as God does, as God intended for us.

After reading a few chapters that morning, I went to start my day with breakfast and devotions. When I asked God what I should read from His good book I got Philippians 2 in my head pretty quick. Now I have been struggling with knowing for sure if this is my head suggesting things, or if it is a leading from God. So as I saw one of the rainbows from my crystal dancing on the floor, I asked, kind of jokingly, “What about something with rainbows, so I know for sure?” Genesis 6 was the quick reply. So I turn there first. Oh look, the story of Noah and the flood. Okay, okay.

Philippians 2

Imitating Christ’s Humility

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Hmm. Didn’t I just have a word picture painted for me on how Jesus behaves in a perfect relationship? If we would love and live this these verses describe, this is the kind of relationships that could live outside of order, power, or hierarchy.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others before yourselves. Huh, easier said than done for sure. But it is so crazy it just might work. You see, I recently realized that besides James, I have not been able to solidify for myself a truly close friendship since we moved here. In college I had my housemates and my best friends. I had plenty of people I could easily confide in. Here, I have been working on finding the perfect replacement. Everyone I hang out with goes under scrutiny, could they meet my needs? Are they as good as my last group of friends? Hmm, do they seem to “get” me and share common interests?

Now, you might already see how this is not working. I put myself first. I put myself on top. I was in charge and was holding tryouts. If I had changed my attitude, if I had worried more about how I could be a friend instead of trying to find a friend for me, maybe my relationships would have been more fulfilling for everyone involved.

Maybe we should try to give more in our relationships and take less. I might need to read this verse every couple of days to remind myself. It is time to start being a friend.


Football Wannabe, Rugby Player, Kickboxer, Warrior.

During supper I would hear the cars pull up, the doors slam, and the fans seat themselves. I could watch the bleachers start to fill up through our dinning room window. The lights would turn on and fall onto my eager face. When supper was done I would be excused and given permission to go watch the game. Eagerly I would cross the street and climb over the back fence. The football game, however, was not my main goal. There in the back corner was a patch of grass large enough for the grade school and junior high boys of the public school to assembled. There they played kill the carrier and I would join them.

Sometime during my grade school years my tomboy side came out and I wanted to be the girl to play football. There were two problems standing in my way. One was the fact that they probably would not allow a girl on the team. The second, I went to the Christian school and we only had a soccer team. The public school had the football team. So I settled with playing kill the carrier with the boys, who would soon grow up to be guys, the guys on the football team.

In college I heard that there was a rugby club forming. I was so excited. For three years we struggled to get a girl’s team going, but in the meantime I practiced with the guys. For three years my life was guys rugby. I practiced, I scrimmaged, but I could not play in their games. Again I was stuck playing only a version, playing kill the carrier, and watching the real deal from the sidelines. It took three years, and a few other dedicated girls, but during my senior year we finally got a team up and running. When I finally put on my own jersey and walked out onto the field, I was ecstatic. I ran, I passed, I tackled, I was tackled, I scored, I bled, I hurt, I celebrated, I succeeded. Too soon it was over, I graduated from college and moved to Fargo.

Now, I go to kickboxing class. Some may call me an athlete, others say I am a tomboy, even a few saw I am “butch”. I know the truth. I like to be pushed and to push myself. I like the sport I play to resemble real life, so there has to be some pain. There is excitement and failure, there is success and agony, there are times where I strike and times where I am struck at.

I am a warrior. My body has always wanted to be and now I am realizing that my spirit longs to be one too. I have chosen to ignore the spiritual warfare and the large pains of the world. I have never pushed my spirit and my faith to its limit. I never let my spirit and faith be pushed. It is time for that to change. It is time to train my soul, my heart, and my spirit as well as my legs, my arms, and my abs.

Sure, I went to church, to Sunday school, I memorized my verses and my Heidelberg Catechism. In high school it was youth group every other Wednesday night and Catechism class on the opposing Wednesday. I went to a Christian college. I sang in church, I played my flute in church, I took communion. I grew some, I experience some, I loved God and He loved me. I have been saved since age 5. All of it was good, all of it was a stepping stone, all of it was just a kill the carrier version of the real deal. I am now trying to prepare for the real game.

James and I run together. Usually my phone comes with, blasting music to help energize me. Last night, we tried something different. Last night I pulled up biblegateway.com and looked up a verse that I had felt called to a week or so ago. Psalm 119. Our goal is to use our running time to memorize this chapter, all 176 verses of it.

Now, just memorizing verses is not going to help me be a better me. It is not, in and of itself, going to help my faith to grow. As an athlete I have learned that to be truly great, you must learn proper technique. I can go into my gym, put my gloves on, and go to town on the punching bag, but if I just flail, if I just try to power through, if I just go to town, I will walk away with sore wrists, arms, and fists. If I do not use proper technique, my attack is going to be weak and I will suffer from it. Reading the Bible, memorizing verses, this is all apart of learning spiritual technique that will help me through, but I must also put it into practice.

Psalm 119

Aleph

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.

During our one mile run, we were able to memorize through verse 4, only 172 more verses to go. So ready or not, here I come.


That Exhilarating Finish

Run

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12: 1-3 KJV

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” Hebrews 12: 1-3 The Message

 

Sorry for the repetition, but it usually takes me a few hits to the head before I catch on.

Daily Prompt: On The Edge. What keeps us from going over?

Photographers: Show activity.

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