Monday, May 26, 2008

Susan the Gentle: Narnia's Queen

Greetings Princess Warrior! I hope you are having a fantastic Memorial Day weekend. This Princess Warrior has been laying low, taking naps, reading books, and seeing movies. Oh, and I did work, too, from home. But not as much!

We watched several fun movies at home: National Treasure II and 27 Dresses, but the best movie, for me, these past few days was Narnia. I took my daughter and her friend to the theatre and we all were totally absorbed by this thrilling adventure. Not to mention, the girls thought the boys (King Peter, Prince Caspian, and King Edmund) were all cute. Personally, I liked the dashing Prince Caspian. Hey, who says us ladies over 40 can't think a movie star is cute?

Seriously, though, this movie and its characters gave wonderful examples of the challenges facing Christian royalty fighting as God's warriors. I'm going to focus on Susan. I believe she is an ideal example of a Princess Warrior for Christ. Let me explain.

Susan is focussed, a leader, yet still named "Susan the Gentle" for her gentle spirit. When it comes to battling enemy forces, this girl rocks. You've just gotta see her gracefully maneuvering in the midst of evil forces, launching arrow after arrow at her intended targets, hitting most of them dead on. She is a gentle, intelligent, and very feminine young woman, who can kick the devil's butt when need be. Granted, like several other characters, she should have sought out Aslan (Jesus) sooner, but once again, that delay makes her even more real, more human.

After all, how many times do we walk head on into a spiritual battle without back up, without direction, and by our own power? If you're like me and many of the women I know, your answer is probably ... too many times. Too often we react rather than respond with wisdom, prudence, and planning. Now granted, there at times we have to "think fast," but we are to never think so fast that we forget to call on the Ultimate Defender -- Jesus Christ.

During much of this movie, the characters battled with their own pride and unbelief, leading them to make many selfish decisions that were not in allignment with God's will. These decisions left many of their friends wounded, or worse.

I don't know about you, but, I, too, have made choices based on my own feelings and reactions rather than on the facts evidenced by God's truth. When I act without God's guidance, I end up with a knife in my back. (spiritually speaking)

So, in the end, Narnia reminded me to seek God first. For when I attempt to reign by my own power I am left short of God's best.

I encourage you to go see Narnia and watch for the many spiritual messages that abound in this fun film. God bless you all.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Barbies or snakes?

Pretty in Pink ... crowns, gowns, sceptors, and all the royal trimmings, just what a little girl (and us big girls) want, right? Well, maybe. But I believe there is so much more.

Today, as I was watching television with my nine-year-old daughter, a commercial showcasing a new pink, frilly, Barbie bike lit up the screen in all its pastel glory. And get this, in addition to the lifesize bike, the purchase includes a mini-bike that seats Barbie herself. That's right! Your little princess can ride into the sunset (or cul-de-sac) with Barbie and her little bike attached to the handle bars.

Certainly, part of every woman's dream is reigning as royalty, but there's so much more to our royal heritage as Christian women. We are destined to discover exciting adventures and grueling battles along the way. After all, little girls are not all "sugar and spice and everything nice" they are also full of spunk and more than a hint of toughness.

This commercial reminded me of several years ago. My own daughter came riding up to me on her pretty bike, ponytails flounching in the wind. She enthusiastically, peddled up to my car (I know, major safety issue) as I was driving into the neighborhood. I stopped the car see what my little darling had in her hand, and, much to my surprise (horror), she eagerly thrust a dead snake in my face. There were no barbies in sight.

She then grasped the dangling reptile's jaws and proceeded to make the poor thing "talk." Trust me that snake wasn't saying much!

"Get that thing out of here!" I screeched.

Without further ado, she tossed the lifeless serpent over her handle bars and rode away, ponytails once again bouncing and her little friend swinging side to side. Eweeeeee! Ick! Ug! Gross!

Later, when I found her and a girlfriend playing catch ... with the snake, I put my food down and gave it a proper burial.

What an amazing illustration of what we are to do with the devil (not the playing with him or pushing him in someone's face parts) but the discard him, throw him aside, toss him away, bury him concepts.

My point, once again, is we are Princess Warriors not simply docil dames daintily picking dandelions daily (Yikes! where did that come from?) Sometimes we have to get our hands dirty and fight that serpent of old that tempts and torments us. Certainly, God has ordained that men are the spiritual leaders and protectors in the family and church, but the Bible clearly admonishes us (all of us) to be watchful for the devil who is like a lurking lion seeking to devour -- us. God tells every believer to fight the good fight of faith and to put on the armor of God. That means us girls, too.

Not to mention, maybe you like me are the head of your household. Not by choice, but you are. In today's world, right or wrong, many women are thrust in the postion of leading and protecting their families. Even married women, are to stand beside their husbands, encouraging, supporting, praying, thus warring against the enemy. Whether you are single or married, adventure and challenge awaits.

Granted, life can be painful beyond belief, yet we must continue to raise the Sword of the Spirit and move forward one step and one prayer at a time. Even though the sword, at times, seems too heavy to lift, and taking that step feels like walking through quicksand, and prayer seems empty ... we still gotta do those things.

I guess I needed to hear myself say those words. Sometimes, I feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. I have to speak God's truth and be continually reminded of who I am in Christ. Sitting at my computer desk, in 90-plus degree weather, with my hair flat, no make up, and wearing a not-so-attractive tank top, I definitely don't feel like a princess or a warrior. However, girls, we gotta remember, today and everyday, how we feel isn't always TRUTH.

I want to challenge all of you. Please send a comment in response to this post declaring a biblical truth about who you are in Christ. Let's proclaim our King's goodness and grace, thus sharing His hope for a better tomorrow. Let's lift each other up. Amen!

Let's stomp on that darn snake!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Losing a battle ... but winning the war

This evening, my son, a 15-year-old Sophmore, who is the catcher for his high school's JV baseball team, had a final battle. Okay, okay, so it was a baseball game, but when you're the undefeated team it truly does turn into a battle.

The other team, eager to be the only one to crush our winning streak, was on a serious mission. Our team, on the other hand, started off with different players playing (coach wanted everyone to play) in different positions than the norm. After all, we'd clobbered this team twice already this season. Were the players a little cocky? maybe. Although, last year, we'd lost our final game so most of us knew to not count on anything.

I won't give you a play by play, but I'll say we were down, then we battled back with our bats to within one point, and then our opponent pulled a really cheap shot. I'm not kidding. Cheap shot ...Pretending to have overthrown the ball into the outfield, our second base runner took off in a full sprint for third base.

This kid is like Speed Racer on feet, too. In amazement, we watched as the short stop revealed the ball that he'd hidden and he bombed it to third. "You're out!" The ump roared.

As the other team celebrated their sneeky success with victory hoots and hollars, our team, heads hanging, tromped to the dugout. We the parents stood with our mouths to the ground wondering where in the world that devious play came from. We'd just lost our perfect record due to some downright trickery by the other guys. Ouch!

Isn't that how our spiritual battles go? We're reigning real as priceless princesses and worthy warriors, winning victory after victory for our King, when all of a sudden, we step into a hidden pool of quicksand.

Our enemy is very good at creating traps that trip us up when we least expect it. He is ruthless. When we are down, he doesn't hesitate to give us a hard kick in the ribs. Lies, deceipt, masquerades of many types, are his specialty. Sometimes, like my son's team, we aren't expecting what he's about to dish out.

Ladies, I want remind you that everyday we face numerous battles -- some bigger and more difficult than others. Often times we win; other times we fail and fall short of victory. So often, later, when we review the battle we can clearly see where we missed the mark. We wonder how could we have been so blind? How? We were prepared, after all, weren't we?

Granted there are times when we have done our best and we simply don't win the prize, however, we can't stay down. There are more foes to face and additional battles to fight. Like the baseball team, there will be future games to play. Maybe, today, you like my son, are feeling dejected and depressed. Maybe you feel like you gave it your best shot and still came up short. I want to remind you that although we may lose a few battles along the way, ultimately, as daughters of the King of Kings, we will win the FINAL WAR. We are on the winning side!

No matter what happens in the present, we can rest in the knowledge that in the end ... we win! Our enemy will be banished and we will embrace our final victory in Christ.

Wow! I so need to remember this truth. Maybe you do, too.No matter what, dear sister, don't give up. For with God all things are truly possible. Just remember we win. We are fighters in an army destined for eternal victory. Let us live our lives boldly and confidently in light of this truth. Go on; keep marching. Don't give up. Don't give up. Don't give up!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mothers or Magnets? Happy Mother's Day

A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day, in a written test, she included this question: “My full name has six letters. The first one is M, and I pick up things. What am I?” When the papers were all in, the teacher was astounded to find that almost fifty-percent had written in, mother.

(So much for magnets!)

Did that give you a Mother's Day chuckle, or at least a smile? I hope so! We are kind of like magnets, aren't we? -- Picking up all sorts of stuff. Some things I'd rather not name let alone touch.

Part of our Princess Warrior identity will, most likely, at some time, involve motherhood. Even if you don't actually have children of your own, there will be plently of opportunities to serve as a mother figure.

Today, I felt like I was in a war zone right in my own kitchen. My daughter, bless her little heart, popped some popcorn. Not only did she burn it (pew), but also had an "incident" with hot, buttery, kernals exploding out of the bag and all over the kitchen floor. She picked it up (sort of) but I had to come in and finish the job. Warrior Mom to the rescue! As if that's not enough ...

Here's just a sampling of Princess Warrior Mom, Carol's, average day of picking up things:

My son's baseball uniform crumpled on the bathroom floor. (He's sooooooooooooooooo exhausted, "Please, mom, just this one time?" Ehem ... I should have never given in to that "one time" the first time.

Joe the Guinea Pig's timothy hay has somehow found it's way to the floor and for some reason the vaccume isn't working, yep, you get the picture. Down I go.

Oh my goodness! There goes a soda pop (a nice shade of brown) all over the mauve carpet -- again!

I won't bore you with my long, long list of "pick up" stories, but I suspect you have a fairly good picture of this cycle by now. If you have children, you, too, without a doubt, have lived some version of pick-up-cycle.

Do you ever wonder if our kids see us as the giant clean up genies? Good question, huh? Maybe we should take a poll.

Anyway, all this picking up led me to ponder my relationship as God's daughter.

I make a ton of "messes" in my own life. Thankfully, God is forever faithful to clean up and pick up after me, however, there are times when I must face specific consequences, especially, for those messes that I keep making over and over and over and over.

He loves me enough to let me experience His chastisement. The Bible says He disciplines those He loves. He takes time to show us the right way. He gives us example after example, highlighting better ways to live, ways that if followed, will keep us from making the same mistakes (messes) again and again.

Aren't you glad that our King rules with a loving and forgiving hand, teaching and training us in the way we should go? I know. Sometimes the discipline and consequence part doesn't feel so great. Believe me; I know. But, like we tell our kids ... it's for our (their) own good.

So, in light of all this, let's consider how we can better model His Ways for our children this Mother's Day.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be known by my children for simply picking up things. I want them to learn why it is important for them to take responsiblity and pick up after themselves. And I don't just mean in the physical sense. As Princess Warriors for Christ, when we make mistakes, which we will, often, let us be quick to admit to ourselves and our King that we are aware of our mess. Then, let us seek His mercy. Finally, let us accept God's training and example so perfectly described in His Word.

After all, we're not magnets ... we're mothers.


TOP TEN LIST OF WHAT MOMS REALLY WANT FOR MOTHER'S DAY 10. To be able to eat a whole candy bar (alone) and drink a Coke without any "floaters." 9. To have a 14-year-old answer a question without rolling her eyes in that "Why is this person my mother?" way. 8. Five pounds of chocolate that won’t add twenty. 7. A shower without a child peeking through the curtain with a "Hi ya, Mom!" just as I put razor to my ankle. 6. A full-time cleaning person who looks like Brad Pitt. 5. For a teenager to announce, "Hey, Mom! I got a full scholarship and a job all in the same day!" 4. A grocery store that doesn’t have candy, gum, and cheap toys displayed at the checkout line. 3. To have a family meal without a discussion about bodily secretions. 2. To be able to step on a plane with toddlers and not have some pencil-neck-yuppie-geek moan, "Oh, no! Why me?" 1. Four words: Fisher Price Play Prison

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Reigning Real from your Throne: Part IV

As Jesus’ beloved Princess Warrior, we are heirs to some wondrous gifts. Resources and friendship are two such treasures we have already explored. Please, before continuing, review the past three installments of Reigning Real from your Throne.

Reigning Real from your Throne: Part IV

Carol Van Atta

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”
(John 15:9)

After discovering her now treasured scroll, Princess Warrior, Grace, gratefully utilized the resources provided by her King, and was developing friendships with others who resided within the Kingdom.

In the beginning, loving others was easy. In fact, Grace wondered why Jesus would make loving a commandment to live by. For in response to her wonderful new position, as a Princess Warrior, her love seemed to overflow by its own accord and involved little effort on her part. Until …

Princess Warrior, Beauty, arrived. There was no doubt that Beauty, the newest addition to the castle, was beautiful. She was charming, elegant, and knew all the right things to say. She hurried to please her King whenever He was present. At their worship gatherings, she sang the loudest. As an amazing Soprano, her voice soared far above the other singers. Many of the Kingdom’s residents appeared bewitched by Beauty’s many talents, and hurried to befriend her.

However, with no audience watching, and when they were performing everyday tasks, Beauty became rather unlovely.

As Grace and her companions ventured into the world beyond the Kingdom walls, Beauty changed, for the worse.

“Grace,” Beauty snorted, “why don’t you go talk to that pheasant and tell her about our King. I don’t want to get my gown dirty. She’s so, so, well, she’s filthy in her sin. I heard that she lives with some much older man, and he’s not her husband or her father, if you know what I mean. I don’t want her grime anywhere near me.” Beauty shuddered in obvious disgust, flouncing her skirt ruffles as if to remove something unsightly.

Deeply disturbed by Beauty’s behavior, Grace hurried to share The Truth with the troubled young woman living with the much-older man. After all, reigning real was about loving. Grace had not forgotten that in the not-so-distant past, she, too, had been sin-filled. While still covered with the dirt of her decisions, a kind woman had taken the time to meet with Grace and had shared the wonders of the King. What if that woman had refused to love her “as is”? Where would she be now? Grace didn’t want to consider the options.

Later, after a day filled with many similar situations, Grace returned to the castle frustrated. She had no trouble loving the hurting people they had seen in the surrounding towns, but, right now, she wasn’t so sure she could love her sister in Christ. Beauty was downright mean, nasty, and conceited. It was crystal clear to Grace that Beauty was simply performing for the King and others in the castle. Grace hoped she wouldn’t have to accompany Beauty again as a ministry partner.

That night the King visited Grace. Gently, taking her hands, He held her close. Grace loved these special times when she was the apple of His eye. Nothing could compare to His immeasurable love, absolutely nothing.

After a few moments, He spoke, “Precious Daughter, wherever you go I am there. I saw your hard work today and the love you shared. I believe we will have several new Kingdom residents in the very near future. I will bring to fruition the good work of your hands. Yet, I have this one thing against you, my child. You have chosen to close your heart in relation to young, Beauty. The sun is down and you cling to your anger. I am aware of her shortcomings, Daughter, but, as with You, I am enough to cover all things. It is not your job to worry about her actions, rather, love her. Just love her. I will do the rest. Goodnight, my child. Do not be troubled. Love.”

After He departed, Grace had a dream.

In the dream, a much younger Beauty was standing in front of a classroom. Her dingy clothes were covered with stains, and her hair hung in a mass of unruly tangles. She was singing, her voice as enchanting as ever. Only her classmates didn’t seem to hear her breathtaking vocals, instead they were laughing and pointing at her clothing and hair, whispering just loud enough that Beauty could hear their snide remarks:

“She’s so dirty. Her mom’s living with the mailman and they’re not married.”
“Look at her hair; it’s disgraceful that she even leaves the house like that.”
“What do you expect? Her father was a drunk.”

The next morning, as Grace prepared for the day, and pondered her vivid dream, she determined that the person she was supposed to shower love on was Beauty — a woman, although forgiven by the King, who was still caught in the web of her painful past, and who was relating to others the way she had been treated.

Now, for the very first time, Grace understood why love was a command. Because if it wasn’t, she would choose to spend her time loving those easiest to love, when the ones needing love the most were those hardest to love.

Isn’t that the truth? The New Testament sums up our marching orders with two clear commandments: Love God. Love others. Sadly, sometimes, it is easier to love strangers into God’s Kingdom then those more difficult folks sharing the church pew.

We get all caught up in the love-is-a-feeling mantra, when in truth, love demands action. Although, good feelings are often a byproduct of loving unconditionally, they aren’t the reason for loving. One of the gifts we receive from God is His unfathomable, unconditional, undeserved love. Yet, we, so often, find it much easier to take then to give.

“God, you can’t mean I have to love her? She’s so rude.” God says, “Love her.”

“But he hurt me. He lied.” God says, “Love him.”

I don’t know about you but this “turn the other cheek” thing is really hard. Loving someone without liking their actions is challenging to say the least.

Yet, Christ, as our example and as our King, loved us while we were still sinners. When we were our ugliest, dirtiest, filthiest, He loved us. It’s not our great voices, figures, intelligence, or any other talent that earns His love. In fact, we can’t earn it, ever. It is and will always remain a gift — a gift that we can choose to unwrap or refuse.

As Princess Warriors for Christ, remaining in God’s love, thus sharing His love is our most important responsibility.


L: learn to listen (we often talk too much; sometimes listening, without giving advice, is the best way to demonstrate the love of our King)
O: Open your heart (Ask God to mold your heart in such a way that it beats as His does, with empathy and compassion)
V: Vow to be virtuous (honorable and upright in your dealings, not underhanded towards others)
E: Enlist Encouragement
(remember to lift up, not tear down)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A New Concept of Royalty

"Christ brought to the world a new conception of royalty. He rules by love and not by force. That, as he expressly said, is the difference between His kingdom and the kingdoms of the world." Author Unknown