I just read a new book recently, “The Foundling” by Georgette Heyer. Regency Romance fluff. Except it wasn’t a romance. It was about a young man, a Duke, who was orphaned at birth, raised by his doting uncle and his staff and now, as a young man is finding his very protected, cosseted position rather suffocating. He wants to go out in the world and prove that he can actually take care of himself without the help of all of his faithful retinue. A coming of age type book. With a lot of humor. The main character is Gilly and he is a slight, short, gentle type, not very remarkable in his looks, but very kind. He is raised with an older cousin Gideon who is tall, handsome, muscular, in the Life Guards, fought in the war, and very fond of his little cousin. Gideon helps his cousin take off on an adventure, but later discovers the adventure got a bit too dangerous so he sets off to save the day. But when he arrives he discovers that his little cousin has already saved himself and has jumped head first into a whole new set of mishaps that he handily manages on his own. Several times Gideon is ready to jump in and help, but learns along with everyone else that his little cousin is very capable of taking care of himself and does not need the level of protection he’s used to offering.
Ok. Sorry, long summary. There is a point. In the story Gideon was my favorite character. He was a protector. Capable. Everyone is safe when he’s around. I’ll come back to this in a second.
Lately my foster parent life has been fraught with conflict. I have had to stand my ground in conversations with lawyers and angry persons and people who are just trying to stir up conflict because that’s the only world they know. I have had to be confrontational about wrongs done and I’ve had to deal with some really difficult topics. Y’all, that is not me. In the dictionary there is a picture of me next to the word nonconfrontational. I hate conflict of any kind. I hate people being angry. I hate awkwardness. And in one sense, this is good. I do not jump into fights, I diffuse them. I need peace at all times. And if I don’t have peace, I feel like I have done something wrong. But God has been showing me that a lot of times I avoid conflict and end up with unresolved problems that just fester under the surface and get worse. I don’t confront people, but maybe there are some things that need to be confronted. So that justice can happen, or maybe simply growth of character. I am having to learn that conflict is not my enemy. I am just at the baby steps of learning this, but it seems like God is throwing all kinds of situations my way so that I can get some practice.
Back to Gideon. I have been wanting a Gideon to just show up in my life and slay the enemy. Run interference. Fix the problem. I am obviously too small and slight and weak to have to be handling this.
This morning during our worship service I was still a ball of nerves from the latest confrontation and I was crying out to God for help. Protection. Why are you letting all these things come my way, why aren’t you keeping all this craziness far away from me? And while I was praying and singing I got a brief vision. It was me and I was all dressed up in shiny armor with a big shiny sword and I was battling some unseen enemy. And the thought that came to me was, you don’t need a warrior to protect you, you are the warrior and you are one protecting others. And I was looking at this person and thinking, that’s not me, I’m just a weakling, but then I could see that everything I was doing was being powered by the Holy Spirit, like a lightning bolt just resting on me, feeding me power.
A little later I suddenly remembered this book “The Foundling” again and I realized that I had missed the whole point of the book. The whole point was that Gilly had been trained and taught by his Uncle and all his various tutors and teachers and he was ready to go out and face the world. And when he did, he slayed all his enemies and proved himself Capable and Resourceful, ready to be his own person. He didn’t need Gideon to be his protector any more.
I admit, I do not like the idea of myself being the warrior. Safety and protection are a big deal to me, but Ephesians 6:10-17 talks about putting on the full armor of God. Paul seems to be talking to everyone. Not just the men. Not just the strong people. Not just the pastors. Everyone. Everyone needs to put on the full armor of God and be ready to stand.
“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.” Ephesians 6:12
I appreciate the leadership of my husband in our home and the protection he gives to our family. I appreciate the leadership and spiritual protection that our pastors give to our local church body. But I was called to join the struggle too. Walk in that Holy Spirit power and fight. Fight with prayer. Fight with truth. Fight with confronting wrong and standing up even when it makes me uncomfortable and awkward and longing for someone else to just come in and take over for me.