A fair fight.

After sharing about my difficult and disheartening day, I received thoughtful notes from sisters sharing words of encouragement, empathetic statements and promises to pray. Each one lived out the beautiful verse, A person finds joy in giving an apt reply - and how delightful is a timely word! Proverbs 15:23
And I praised God for them!

I woke up this morning thinking about yesterday, wondering how I was able to be knocked down so easily. I know my enemy. I know his methods. I know he knows my weaknesses. I even knew the "when" of his attack because of our leap of faith into the foster care world. A world he wants to control. And yet, I was blindsided.
Even the greatest military general has been surprised. But what makes him great? Being prepared to fight back because his men are always ready. It doesn't matter if they see the blow coming or get thwacked in the back of the head. They are armed, trained, and ready for battle.
And that is where I made my mistake.
KNOWING the enemy is going to attack is one thing.
Being READY to face the attack is quite another.

Yesterday, I was blindsided. But getting knocked out was completely my fault. I was not prepared to defend myself.
Instead of suiting up in battle gear, I was wearing running shorts, swim fins, and wielding a toothbrush. I couldn't have stood my ground if I tried!
So why was I surprised when I fell flat on my face and needed help up, only to find myself battered and bruised? Why was I surprised the enemy chose to attack me instead of the guy wearing the titanium vest and swinging a bronze sword? Why was I surprised that I was surprised?!?
There is only one answer: I was not PREPARED.
This sobering fact reminded of the verse,
If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! Proverbs 24:10
Friends! I do not want to be a woman of small strength! I want to be a woman who stands firm. A woman who is immovable. A woman who can bear up under the trials and pressures of life.
Yesterday? No one would have trusted me to take care of a gerbil, let alone defend them in a spiritual battle.

But today ...
I stayed in bed, refusing to let my feet hit the floor until I worked this out with the Lord.
I prayed. I confessed. I repented. I called to mind every Scripture I could remember about being a soldier of Christ. And the Lord met me where I was, graciously pouring HIS strength into me until I was able to stand up and declare, "I am READY for today, Lord! Let's GO!"

Like any day, it was not a perfect one, but - every battle was a fair fight.
How grateful I am the Lord never EVER leaves His children to fight alone!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
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.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:10-18