Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fighting Valiantly

In this post:  motherhood, marriage, the dichotomy of envy and pride

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” an imperative that goes deeper than chatting over the fence once in a while. (Matt 22:39)  Loving my neighbor is right in the center of a spectrum that describes my outlook.  If I feel worse than my neighbor, I envy his strength or her beauty.  I might even be happy if he stumbles or she embarrasses herself.  If I feel better than my neighbor, I have pride in my heart.  I’m critical of the things he does or smug in my own standing.  Theodore Roosevelt’s “man in the arena” has no illusions about his achievements because he knows how little they are. "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." (see image for full text)

Image courtesy Chris Tan
One arena I fight in is called motherhood.  I hope for the day when my face won’t be dirty but with a crawling baby, a potty-training toddler, a reluctant reader, a couple of tarantula-hugging youngsters, a pre-teen and two real teens to wrangle — I feel like I ride a bucking bronco most days.  In Texas we say, “the only way to drive cattle fast is slowly.”  And that’s about how progress goes in mothering youngsters.  On a good day, the sink is clear of dishes.  And those kinds of days are rare.  Victory may be coming but it’s too soon to call.  Defeat is nipping at my heels.  The secret is to hold on tight and not get thrown.  

Image courtesy Brandy

Paul said to the Galatians, “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” (Gal 6:3-4)  When my face is marred by dust, sweat and blood, I’m too busy to be better than my neighbor.  It’s when I’m idle that I get to deceiving myself with comparisons.  

In another arena I’m a wife and companion.  Marriage is not a lazy river.  The battle is about staying connected, staying engaged and being true.  Lately I’ve recovered some lost ground, but its been a losing streak.  The weight of pregnancy, business travel, church assignments, community service, everything good we do puts pressure on that knot we tied at the altar.  Defending marriage is not for mercenaries.  I fight this battle because I care about my children, my unborn grandchildren and all the people who are connected to me through the ties called family.  Marriage is what connects us all together.  Family is the fabric of society and it is a worthy cause that the brave fight for on a daily basis.

“The Lord needs valiant servants,
To do his work in the latter day,
Who follow the teachings of Jesus
And serve his people in a loving way.
I will be his servant
And keep my cov'nants valiantly.
I'll stand for truth. I'll stand for right.
The Lord can depend on me.”

(Lyrics by Vanja Watkins to the song “I Will be Valiant”)

I believe that I’ve been given a lot to fight for…home, family, truth.  I’ve had a few wins and a lot of losses.  I haven’t given up yet and neither should you.  We’re prepping for the knock-down drag out fight prophesied in the Last days.  A fight about truth, family, power and dominion.  I believe that the valiant will win the fight for Christ.  Isaiah prophesies, “I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.”  (Isa 60:15) I’d like to see that joy when the fight is finally won.

To read Roosevelt's speech click here

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