True Champions of life.

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Ignoring the subtle play on words (metal should read mettle – meaning his strength and resolve) I empathised with this quote, picturing the many “knights” I knew, both male and female. Those whom life had battered, who’d fought against the odds, defended the helpless, refused to give up. So many stories crossed my mind, so many with battered armour. Maybe they were no longer young and fresh, had never been beautiful, or rich, or successful. Maybe they bear the scars of battle even, but they are more than conquerors.

I’m proud to know so many of those people. The single mum who battles for her children, the parents of a disabled child, the survivors of a wreaked relationship, those heavy with grief, those smiling on the outside disguising the pain within, so, so many different stories. The battered armour to me is far more beautiful than the gleaming untried suit.

beating the air.

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A swan lifts from the water

Wings bat feverishly at the air

The body, heavy, resists

Weighing it down,

Creating drag.

Yet it fights

Believing it is destined to fly once more.

It is not glorious and graceful, as is its descent onto the water.

Dignity laid aside

Snow white plumes sullied in spray

It battles opposing currents to gain lift.

So is life.

If you wish to soar

You must first battle, undignified, unwieldly

Caring nought for the observer.

Those bound to the land do not understand

Lacking faith for the battle they look on

Surprised when finally you glide upward

Wings aching but heart swelling

Caught at last in the updraft.

Often the deciding issue is where and when one stops fighting!

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An old quote says, “if you resign yourself to fate you’ll find fate accepts your resignation.”

The last couple of weeks have been a time of heavy battles. The first – my youngest daughter’s family’s urgent move was completed yesterday and a resounding victory!

The 2nd. battle followed hard on its heels when 2 days ago my grand daughter in China escaped a diabetic coma by minutes. It was a total shock as, as far as we all knew, there was no diabetes in either family. She could have died or suffered serious repercussions, but God is merciful, and she was in a hospital when it hit and was soon out of immediate danger.

The battle continues for the next step that her pancreas can recover and produce the insulin she needs to avoid being diabetes one and needing daily shots. After that it will be for a full recovery. Sometimes prayer is instant and sometimes, like this, goes in stages. The former is much easier. I’ve learned never to accept an impossibility or half way answer, but sometimes the battle is long fought.

Another daughter is an encouraging illustration of this. Not accepting her autistic child being diagnosed as “severely retarded” she hung on in there for over 5 years till now his evaluation is “higher functioning” (will she stop there? I doubt it!)

There’s always the temptation to “make do” with half an answer, when, if we continue to fight on we can have what we really need. It’s a balance between facing realities (faith is not living in la la land) and still expecting miracles. Visiting my daughter’s family’s new apartment, sun streaming through the windows, walls immaculate, her husband now in a well paying job after starting from scratch in the UK I thank God we hung in there and claimed  above our expectations. God willing (which He is) this new battle will end the same, in total victory.

For all of you brave folks facing similar battles, I pray, tough as it is, that you will come through to glorious victory.

 

 

You+ God = anything!

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My heart sings today, not only for another day of spring sunshine, but the culmination of a long term war fought in many battles for someone close to my heart over the past year. Looking back at all the “impossibilities” overcome “campaigns” fought, and sweet fruit of victories I am overcome with joy!

Heaven will be amazing, I can’t wait to go, but who would trade the bitter sweet privilege to make a difference while we’re here.

When life gets tough remember this.

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“When is the devil being beaten? Well, not when we feel great and confident, when it looks like wonderful things are happening… No. The devil is being defeated when we are feeling attacked and under the gun, when we feel weak and helpless and do not know what to do, when we are not sure how to respond, when in our perplexities and sense of weakness we come before the Lord and plead with him for strength to go on one more day, and for grace to help us stand.” —Ray Stedman

Boy oh boy I can really attest to this one! That’s when the big victories are won! A particular instance comes to mind. We’d been private teaching in east Taiwan, a tropical paradise. All needs were met for our little family and life was easy.
Then came an urgent call for my husband to take up a post in the south. Long story, but basically having passed on all classes and given notice to leave our beautiful house within the week, the whole thing fell through at the last minute. We couldn’t go back, couldn’t go forward, we tried everything to no avail. My husband collapsed under the strain and sank into deep depression. It was all left on my shoulders along with four kids. I recall lying on my back in total mental exhaustion saying “Jesus,I can’t do this. Help us!”
The phone rang. Amazingly a friend of my husband heard be were moving and asked was there any way we could baby sit his apartment and cover his classes while he was away in the US. Within five minutes we had a place to stay, a steady income and 6 weeks to find our feet in Taipei (which we did).
This has happened so many times that I tend to give a sigh of relief when faced with desperate impossibilities. I know that’s when I’m finally out of the way and God can take over.

A friend “moves on”.

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butterfly

The pain didn’t make her bitter; instead it seemed to kindle a fire within, an almost tangible glow. She’d always been kind and concerned. I recall her compassion when I was once far from home in a desperate situation, she didn’t just talk she did, she was always like that.

Her life, though often touched with joy, had not been easy, she’d had to fight many battles and the last (with cancer) took away her strength. Yet as power ebbed away something more pure filled the vacuum.

I can understand why God called her home, something so beautiful belongs in Heaven, though she’ll be sorely missed here.

The last battle (flash fiction fantasy from June 2014)

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war

Peace reigned over the bloody terrain. Ahmed shouldered his weapon. It was over. Carrion appeared on the horizon. They’d feast today! It was finished, the final battle. Dazed he couldn’t understand what happened. There’d been some sort of intervention.

This morning he’d reconciled himself to death. There seemed no other outcome. The world leader was invincible, superior numbers, weaponry, yes and something more, some charisma that had whisked him to power in the first place. Resistance was futile, he’d known that from the beginning, but what other course was there, only total and complete annihilation. Better to go down fighting!

But he’d not died. He stood watching as vast numbers of birds descended as if summoned upon the heaped dead.

What had stopped them, turned them to carrion’s meat? Was it the blinding lightning storm that descended as they fought? His eyes dazzled he’d seen nothing, heard nothing, save the scream of the wind as it rushed among them. When he’d opened his dust blinded eyes bodies lay in jumbled heaps, faces distorted in horror.   Yet he and his companions  remained, alive, open mouthed, trembling… Thousands upon thousands lay slain about them blood pooling to lurid pools and lakes of crimson.

Where the commander was he had no idea, perhaps he lay slain mist the mounds of bodies. The tyrant’s power was broken. They could begin again, rebuild.

A watery sun was rising as he and his compatriots trudged out of the valley of Megiddo, the battle of Armageddon was over, the task of burying the dead barely begun!

(A story drawn from the book of Revelation and old testament predictions – scripture buffs I’m aware of the many possible interpretations. It is not my goal to promote any just to create an interesting and unusual story).

THE LAST BATTLE

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Peace reigned over the bloody terrain. Ahmed shouldered his weapon. It was over. Carrion appeared on the horizon. They’d feast today! It was finished, the final battle. What had happened he couldn’t say. There had been some sort of intervention.

This morning he had reconciled himself to death. There seemed no other outcome. The world leader was invincible, superior numbers, weaponry, yes and something more, something that had whisked him to power in the first place. Resistance was futile, he’d known that from the beginning, but what other course was there, only total and complete annihilation. Better to go down fighting!

But he had not died. Here he stood watching as vast numbers of birds descended as if summoned upon the heaped dead.

What had stopped them? Was it the blinding lights that descended as a lightning storm around them as they fought? His eyes dazzled he had seen nothing, heard nothing save the scream of the wind as it rushed among them. When he opened his eyes bodies lay in jumbled heaps, faces distorted in horror.   Yet he and his companions were unharmed, open mouthed, trembling. Thousands upon thousands lay slain about them as the blood pooled to lurid pools and lakes of crimson.

Where the commander was he had no idea, perhaps he lay slain also amidst the mounds of bodies. The tyrant’s power was broken. They could begin again, rebuild.

A watery sun was rising as he and his compatriots trudged up out of the valley of Megiddo, the battle of Armageddon was over, the task of burying the dead barely begun!

 

(A story drawn from the book of Revelation and old testament predictions – scripture buffs I’m aware of the many possible interpretations. It is not my goal to promote any just to create an interesting and unusual story).