This is a photo of me bringing home my 1st daughter jessicah. The look in my face doesn't do justice to the terror I feel inside.
I remember when I was a warrior.
In my youth, I rejoiced in the raw power coursing through my veins.
Its source did not matter to me. It felt unquenchable.. never-ending...
There was not one thing I could not do.
An army had no chance against me.
My simple mind served only to respond to the orders of my iron bones and impermeable flesh.
I girded myself in shining armor made of fantasy and instant experiences.
My sheer will alone caused wilting and withering under a gaze of blazing eyes.
The earth struggled to accommodate me with every step forward I took.
Retreat wasn't an option.
Who could stand against me?
Body, mind, soul... I felt like a storm.
The rain washed away any thoughts of failure.
The gale force winds ruffled my hair in playful ways.
The hailstones pounded my back like good friends... (like good troops).
Lightning flashed like inspiration... illuminating the way before me like a warning shot.
Here I come!
Bring it on!
Life was inevitable.
Despite all of it's intricacies and insanities... Life was easy.
Foes in many forms would show their faces along the way, but I struck at them with sure and steady blows with my sword of righteousness.
It was new and sharp and I kept it well-oiled and honed with fervent will, strong conviction and blind determination.
Then I fell in love.
Then I had children.
My whole world changed.
Suddenly... the battle didn't look so appealing.
There were parts of me now (more important parts) that were not covered by my thick skin.
My flanks were exposed.
It happened so fast!
It came out of no where!
Who will help me protect them?
It is no longer just me against the world.
Now... as I approach the battle, instead of bloodlust, I find myself searching for calming words or gentle gestures as I raise a shield that I have never used.
I said my vows...
and in an instant my world has become more glorious and terrifying.
On my shoulders, I feel the weight of the earth as I carry my tiny bride across the threshold of our future.
"The two shall become one."
I hold her hand...
Then I cut the cord and in an instant my life is full.
On my head, I feel the weight of the Sun and Moon as I carry tiny bundles from the hospital and place them at their mother's breast.
"Go forth and multiply"
I build my house...
and the walls are painted with warmth and tears.
In my heart, I feel the path to heaven paved with best of intentions that fall so short.
"As for me and my household... we will serve the Lord."
Earth... Sun... Moon...
I revolve around them in an orbit dizzy with responsibility and expectations; searching for a heaven that has already lit the way with thousands of golden roads that lead to only one perfect and blameless entrance.
Suddenly... those ancient voices of the old ones don't seem so weak.
I find myself grasping at their advice and experiences.
In my youth, they sounded like clanging gongs and banging symbols. Actions spoke so much louder than words back in the days of conquest and glory.
Now those precious pearls of wisdom are sinking ever so deeper into that ocean of age and passing.
I can only hear their whispers as I myself approach middle age.
Will my words only be cobwebs to my children? To those I teach?
The battle still rages on.
It always will.
So much is at stake now. So much more than just mere self!
Love and vulnerability has tempered my soul.
As I try to be the adequate half of my soul mate...
As I try to raise these precious children in our image...
in His image.
I realize that I have to let go just a little...
Just a lot!
As I wrestle against powers and principalities in high places...
As I war against flesh and blood...
As I rage against the machine...
I realize that only my role has changed in this "survival of the fittest" arena.
I am still a warrior because peace and security can never exist without the ability to draw that sword.
It reflects the light and is ever at my side like a promise.
Confidence now comes through faith and acceptance. Only my visage has changed.
The image that I held so dear has taken on a new look to an old story. The accumulating lines on my face are maps detailing the journeys I have wagered and they reveal the hidden ways to most desired destinations.
There is both pain and joy in the journey.
I understand my limitations and weaknesses.
I know I can not do it alone.
However, my resolve has not wavered and I am more determined than ever as I turn over to Him... those who are most precious to me.
As I approach the front lines...
As I plunge into the fray...
As I fall down on my knees... like a true warrior