(Depending on your view of the reality of the spiritual realm, you may want to skip this post and come back later when I go back to posting cute little girl pictures.)
So, remember when I mentioned that I wanted to cultivate the traits of fearlessness and serenity? Well, as I mentioned before, the trouble with wanting to develop new character traits is that they need to be practiced. And, silly me, when I thought of the word 'fearless', I thought about it in terms of caring what other people thought about me. But, I forgot that "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." (Eph 6:12, ESV) When confronted with this, the mere opinions of others seems like a somewhat frivolous concern. I guess that's step 1, isn't it?
You know the aphorism that tells you to "Be the kind of woman that when her feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says, 'Oh no, she's up!"? Well, I've always liked it, the trouble is, it doesn't tell the whole story. You see, I don't think that the devil merely stops at that, rolls over, and gives up. I think that it means she has drawn attention to herself and instead of the powers of darkness giving up, the real battle has just begun.
Over the past few years, the more we, as a family, have desired to follow God and made decisions based on what He desires and not necessarily what is easy or acceptable, we have experienced more and more push-back. But, nothing like what we have experienced since we said yes to adopting H. Any one event or feeling or occurance would not cause us to think twice. Stuff happens. It's the build-up, the so-called coincidences, the oppression (for me) whenever we try to work on adoption-related stuff. It starts to seem odd. You find yourself using the words 'uncanny' and 'odd coincidence' one too many times. Whether you are prone to thinking in these terms or not, you start to think there are other forces at work. Forces that don't seem entirely friendly. You start to see yourself as a warrior in a battle that you hadn't really realized you entered. The command to pray without ceasing stops being a nice ideal to live up to and instead becomes a lifeline and a matter of survival.
This might sound a bit over-the-top to some of you... and five years ago I might have agreed. But too much has happened since then. Sure everything could be given some type of natural explanation, but at some point it all becomes too much and even the dimmest of us (I'm referring to myself here, not one of you) start to begin thinking in other terms. It seems that when you begin to wake-up to the Holy side of the spiritual world, you must begin to contend in a real way with evil side as well. To be fearless takes on a whole new meaning. In that light, I think I should finish with the Ephesians passage:
"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. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication." (Eph. 6:13-18 ESV)
God does not leave us defenseless and we fight in a battle that is already won. We may be in the middle of the story, but we can flip ahead and read the last page. We know how it ends... and the Good Guy wins.