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I was really blessed when a friend popped Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner as a surprize treat into my letterbox yesterday. I have wanted to read this book for a while now and so it was a big yay when I got it! of course as soon as the kids busied themselves nicely I picked up my purple highlighter and the book and got reading!

The premise of the book is that “ solider is a position” but “warrior is an attitude.” There is a difference. Soliders are paid and it is a job. They are ‘there’. Warriors have their heart and soul committted to the cause. It’s the sons vs servants argument, wrapped up cooler…. And in this book, in pink.

So far it is a book that challenges your misconceptions about yourself and life. It encourages you to jump right in – no matter what you are facing. Life is worth living and living well. You can make a difference. Life is filled with challenges – the challenge of a disintegrating marriage, wayward teens, job loss, health crisis not to mention the writers strike threatening the fate of the survivors on the island…! (references to Lost for those not in the know…) instead of just breathing we should shine.

One of my favourite passages so far is in chpt 1:

“I am not sure why we always think that someone else’s armour would be better.
Someone else always looks more qualified.
IF I could just look like her… then I would be beautiful.
IF I just had what he had, then I would be successful.
We question whether we can really win this battle simply with what we have = ourselves.”

Those who are regular readers will be aware that I am a huge advocate of this = that who we are is who we are and that God can use us – as cracked pots with the great treasure of God within us. God calls us – to be transformed yes – but as we are – we are useful to him – partners even – – in reaching the lost and demonstrating the love of God to those around us.

I confess there are times where I feel woefully inadequate. Who am I to do that? I think. So and so could do it better. So and so would be the best person for the job. Added to that thought is the fact that one of my gifts I reckon is to connect people together – so I meet someone or hear something and think of people to connect them with for good things and purposes. So I don’t often put myself in the DOING role. It also stems from a lifelong battle with expectations – both family and my own. So yip – I know what it is to doubt yourself and any plan of God involving us personally. That guy over there – yip, God could use them, but nope not me. We often look at our past and disqualify ourselves. We have to stop the stinkin’ thinkin’ and just get over it – God can and will use us. look at the people he has used in the bible: David – king, potentially illegitimate, an adulterer, a murderer, a liar. Rahad the prostitute – great great great xlots grandmother of Jesus. Paul/Saul – murderer, torturer, religious leader. When you put it that way…. Don’t let the lies of the enemy distract you and discourage you from the purposes of God for your life. Don’t let him detract from the great work he is doing in your life and through your life.

“The point is that our past – or what we might see as flaws – can create beauty. You and I must understand, all the way to our core, that we are beautiful, just the way we are.

Only when we realize this will be able to extend our hand to help – which is one of the reasons we are still breathing. We were created to join God in doing the work he does, the good work we had better be doing. Believe it or not, God is counting on you and me to co-labour with Him to bring his love and goodness to the planet. We are not just spectators, we are particpants.”

Life is life isn’t it. There is the good, the bad and the ugly. We have moments of pure joy and also circumstances that threaten to wrench our hearts out. That is life. If you’re breathing you know this.

As Christians I believe that we live our lives as demonstrations of God’s love and grace. In the good, the bad and the ugly. We face battles. And yet in this battle time God is with us and for us and calls us to overcome. He gives us hope and peace, no matter what we face. In these battle times he calls us to keep our eyes on him, to hold to faith in Him, and to overcome.

Isaiah 60:1-4 says “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of Jehovah has risen on you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but Jehovah shall rise on you, and His glory shall be seen on you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning. Lift up your eyes all around, and see. All of them gather themselves; they come to you.”

“Isaiah challenges me every time I read what he wrote: He said that we are to arise from the depression in which circumstances have kept us – rise to a new life. In face we are supposed to shine! He said that darkness is covering the earth (boy, isn’t that the truth?), but that the glory of our God will be visible in you and me so that people who are hurting can come to us for answers.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

2 Corinthians 1:4 says “He comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” And this is something I totally subscribe to. God comforts us in our battles and hard times so we in turn can demonstrate God to them, giving hope and comfort and the Gospel.

We can often feel that life’s hard times knock us about and discredit us. We can feel like we are damaged because of the things we face. Disqualified because we are in a hard time.

”Once when my husband visited an antique coin dealer the owner told him that most people make the mistake of cleaning all of their old coins before bringing them to sell. They think that if the coins are clean they will be more valuable. They are wrong. Rather than calling the black stuff on old coins “tarnish” we should call it “being toned”. Toning actually makes them worth MORE.

So, if you’re feeling tarnished, I would like to suggest that we are merely toned – and thus growing in value. The battle you are in is toning you. It can be your ceiling in life or a stepping-stone to your future.

Your choice.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

Let me repeat that. In a way we are not responsible for the battles we face. We don’t choose cancer or illness. We often have no choice in a job loss, financial issues, relationship difficulties (though we contribute perhaps…). We are however responsible for how we respond and react. Are we reacting in a “shinning” way – are we holding onto hope with God, do we trust Him that he will be with us??? or do we want to go to the bottom of the garden and eat worms? I’m serious! The battles we face can shape and transform us in positive ways if we allow it to. The life experiences we gain can make us more compassionate, stronger, more faith-filled, more faithful, more wise. Or they can make us grumpy and bitter. Our choice.

In Warrior Chicks Holly Wagner shares the powerful life testimony of Ernest Shackleton – who from 1914 to 1916 survived the wreck of their ship in the crushing Antarctic ice. They were shipwrecked 1,200 miles away from the nearest people – in 1914 – with all the limitations of the technology. No communication. No cell phones. No sat phones. No rescue beacons. No hope of rescue from the outside. If they were to survive it was their choice. Their ship began to be broken up by the crushing ice and they had to trek out – on the ice – in the cold – to be rescued. They survived, most of them, and did it with style. One of the reasons for the success of their self rescue was that Ernest Shackleton was remarkable man who refused to let this battle destroy them… He remembered and celebrated birthdays. They sang. They performed skits.

”Ernest was not blind to the challenge before them – he just knew that if they were going to survive, he had not only to rise, to have joy, but also to give it away. It was more than a feeling. It was a decision.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

We are called to be light to those around us. People ARE watching. Lets show them, lets demonstrate how God works and upholds us. People need answers, they have questions. All of us face battles. All of us have circumstances beyond our control. Life happens. We make a choice in how to react. We can feel the pain and grieve and be worried and all those normal responses… but in this we must shine. We don’t paint happy faces on – we must be authentic. God can use pain and shine through that. He DOES use hard times. We can be assured that he is with us. we can be assured he sees us and knows the pressure. We can be confident that he loves us. we are not just flesh and blood – not “just human” – we are children of God and are his ambassadors and witnesses here on earth – in the good, the bad ad the ugly… It isn’t about being real but about having faith in our Father God… Faith is demonstrated in our actions… Arise and shine, remember for such a time as this you were called and live. Remember those around you need to know the hope you have… and remember Romans 8:37-39 “But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Do you know that you are a vital part of God’s army – of God’s team that he uses to reach the lost.

General George S. P atton said it like this:

Every single man in this Army plays a vital roel. Don’t ever let up. Don’t ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain.

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

You are in a unique location. You are a unique person. You have unique gifts, talents, experience, personality… thus you are the only one suited to the task that God has appointed for you. There is no one else like you.

You may look at yourself and think you are inqdequate and inferior and that God should use that person over there, you know the one with it “all together” – the uber gifted and charismatic person who has it all sorted who lives under the end of a rainbow…. You know the one we all imagine that everyone else is…

YOUR gifts are YOUR gifts and GOD has GIVE them to you for his glory and his purposes. To change the world.

some people can sing. Sing so that it touches heaven and changes hearts.

Some can take a swatch of fabric and toss it on the floor, move one piece of fabric and suddenly make a room look amazing.

Some can make a computer do miraculous things.

Some can smile and welcome us into a church or store and keep smiling even if we have a grumpy face.

Some are great counselors and give excellent advice.

Some can cook.

Some can nurse us back to health.

Some can turn a room full of 8 year old boys into well-behaved young men….

And the list goes on…

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

You may not think they are remarkable or spiritual even. But they are gifts that God has given us and can be used to LIVE and DEMONSTRATE the love and grace of God as we just DO and BREATHE and LIVE. Do you get me?

God has made us into a body. He could have delegated great soul saving roles to great soul saving type personalities. Given all the responsibility to Billy Graham and Ray Comfort type people. He could have given the role of strengthening his church and pastoring his sheep to those pastor type dudes and dudesses and let the rest of us just pew sit….

But God didn’t do that. He didn’t give the good jobs to just 27 people – but to 6 billion (currently alive). We are all called and appointed to care for one another, the lost and the saved.

1 Corinthians 12:12-18 For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If all the body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If all hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him.

We are all parts of a wonderful amazing body. Without one part, no matter how insignificant it may seem, we are not whole.

Lets all do our part. Lets all rise and shine and know our awesome God and make Him known. Lets love each other and really care for each other. Begin by knowing that you are a valued part of the team, and now go and do your part.

your thoughts influence and shape and dictate how we act and react in life…

Fear… the fear that paralyzes begins with a thought.
Hatred… the hate that destroys beghins with a thought.
Anger… the anger that damages begins with a thought.
Apathy… the apathy that defeats begins with a thought.

Peace… the peace that calms begins with a thought.
Joy… the joy that brings victory begins with a thought.
Love… the love that heals begins with a thought.
Kindness… the kindness that changes lives begins with a thought.

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

i find this is so true as a wife and mother. how i act and react begins with how i am thinking. in a grumpy bum day i often react with anger and quick words instead of grace and kindness. as a wife and mother i must train myself to be the boss of my thought life and words.

i must try:
to speak wtih grace
to remember love
to be gentle
to believe the best
remembering that my children are just human
and my husband is just a man
and that i too am human
and that listening can solve a great deal of problems
and assumptions miss the point
and these things begin with my thought life – not just about the situation but in general. bad hair days do happen. bad hair days can be made worse by the tangles of our mind more than the cirucmstances around us.

as i write this i am reminded of hte prayer of st francis… it is a good prayer to remember and show us not only as parents and spouses how we should live but as humans and as demonstrations of God….

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

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