Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's Real, Alright

Ephesians 6

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Yesterday.    It was an awesome and a terrible day all rolled into one.  If I ever doubted for even a moment that spiritual warfare is
a real "thing",  I'm a full-fledged Believer now.

Yesterday made this theologically reformed, not-exactly-Pentecostal Believer want to start binding and rebuking everything in my path.

The morning started off hard and painful as I woke up at 5:30 am to find out a man our family has known and loved for fourteen years passed away after a battle with melanoma.  It was a blow. He's a husband and a father. 
Just  a few hours after this tough news arrived, my social worker came bouncing in, smiling, and informed us that our license to operate fully as a shelter/orphanage was complete and we could pick it up the next day!! We have been waiting for this license for quite some time. It allows us to admit EVERY CHILD on our waiting list right now!!!  The sun began to peek through the clouds of loss that had settled over us that morning. I considered this news quite a gift in lieu of what the morning brought.
We began to make plans for the admissions and call the referring agencies to get the documents prepared.
And then, we had to discipline one of our older sons and he decided to positively over react and try to pack a bag to "leave".  
So after more than an hour of talking, crying, praying and discussing with him and another person involved in the problem, he settled down and began to think straight. He stayed.
Meanwhile, a younger child of ours who is almost always kind to everyone was caught being downright mean to someone younger.  We have not seen this side of said child. It did not bode well for him.  The hammer fell . . . AGAIN. 
Thereafter, our social worker decided to type a form and her typewriter began to smoke and then, with a POP and a flash of light, simply blew up.
I did the only thing any normal woman would do in the face of such blatant "murphy's law" situations. 
I took a long, hot shower.
And I thought about the events of the day.   And I began to have such significant doubts about EVERYTHING that I scared
I wrestled with this calling.  If my own children are going to act like absolute goobers at the drop of a hat, what business did I have bringing even MORE kids into the mix?  Who do I think I am?  Superwoman?  If I can't "manage" the five in my direct care right now . . . . Oh, so THIS is why certain denominations don't endorse missionaries with teenagers.  Yeah. I get it now. . . It's all been one grand delusion designed to copy some of my favorite heroes of the Christian faith but I am NO Amy Carmichael and my husband is no
David Platt. . . so what ARE we doing out here while the whole thing falls down around our ears?  Amateurs!  And the gall to bring my sons  BACK to their country or origin AND try to raise them in an orphanage?  I've cheated the very children I vowed to help heal.  
So in that vein, the internal battle raged
My tears mixed with the  water that we can shower in but dare not drink.  I had to cry as quietly as possible because there is absolutely no privacy in this echo-chamber of a home.   
Just when I had imagined   what our NEW life would look like back in America, close to my biological children once more,  I was reminded of Ephesians 6: 12-13.   
It's real.
It's hard.
I don't particularly care for it
But I know what to DO about it.  Two things are commanded in Ephesians 6.  I am to stand firm and I am to put on the whole armor of God.     If I had a dollar for every sermon I've heard on the "Whole Armor of God",  I'd be building us a new orphanage tomorrow.
And oh, how THANKFUL I am for that litany of sermons.   What I heard while sitting comfortably in my seat at church, probably holding a cup of coffee and scrolling through my Bible app, came in pretty darn handy in my shower in this developing country with my little gaggle of orphans walking home from school at any minute.
So it was then and there I knew.   We're standing firm.  We're staying.  I am not going to let my mind play around with leaving The Philippines everytime we have a hard day.  That's not fair to anyoneLeast of all, the kids in our care.   That's like getting married but keeping the divorce papers signed and in the top drawer "just in case . .. ".      
As far as putting on the whole armor,  I decided to start with the Sword of the Spirit.  I went to the Word. I read about the life of David.  Spent some time in prayer.  Asked for wisdom.  Poured out my heart.   And He really is so faithful and an ever-present help in times of trouble. He is everything His word says He is. 
Do any of you remember that gospel group from years ago called "Cloud Eight"?  They had a song called "If I Know God"
I  am such a music lover but of all songs to come to mind, this one is most obscure.  I haven't heard it or thought about it since the 90s, I'll bet.  It doesn't even have the most pristine theology, truth be told.   But the chorus says:
If I know God, He'll find a way to bless me
It's just like Him to turn things around.
He'll take a bad situation and work it for my good.
That's how life goes, if I know God.
And those words, coupled with  the sweetness of the scripture I had been reading and the communion of just talking to Him created such peace and clarity in me, that  any  doubts I had, ceased.   Especially any doubt I may have been harboring about the reality of spiritual warfare and the need to recognize it and do what the Bible says to do in the face  of it.
The temptation to run to facebook
                                      or the phone
                                      or my journal
                                      or even my husband
                                                       was overwhelming.   But God asked us to stand firm and to come to Him in the face of such battles. 
I am SO GLAD I did this time.   Spiritual warfare is so real, my friends.  But so is the one who can win every battle for us.    He warned us it was coming and He taught us how to confront it.  What a good and loving Father He is.
p.s. our orphanage/shelter  "Mercy House" has been nominated to win a $10,000 grant from a company called Kind Snacks. Please consider copying the link below to vote for us. It's free and winning would be a HUGE blessing to the kids in our care.
Thank you!!!