2017 began as a whirlwind with my memoir being completed and attending two major conventions where I launched my book and spoke multiple times. By the time Resurrection Sunday arrived, I had hit the wall and was in need of some serious rest. I downloaded the second book in the Royal Wedding Series by my author-friend Rachel Hauck and hubby and I got away in the motorhome for a few days.
As I rested and devoured this delightful story, I saw so many parallels with the call we receive as daughters of The King, warrior princesses in a Kingdom that is not of this world, where we have the opportunity to leave our selfish ways behind and live a life worthy of the calling, devoted to serving Him and His people.
In this story, Regina had to make a choice to forsake all and embrace her inheritance as a modern-day princess. It was not without struggle and fear, and I found myself relating on so many levels.
“The key question we must sort out now is, are you willing to take the Oath of the Throne? Be the true princess and receive your inheritance as granted by the entail?” Nathaniel spoke in a low, soft voice, asking gentle, probing questions. “How do you view living four thousand miles from home? Of being a government official? Of being a royal? Of your life being onstage for all to see? To a life devoted to serving the kingdom and its people?”
Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck
As I read along, I highlighted this quote as I sensed God asking me those questions afresh…am I willing to live this life onstage for all to see, a life devoted to serving His Kingdom and His people, joyfully? Without resenting those who would judge or criticize or betray me?
I never would have guessed that I would return home from this brief respite only to find trouble brewing, drama and conflict, accusations and judgments of both my pastor-husband and me.
Ahhhhhh, living in the pastor’s wife fishbowl is a constant opportunity to forgive those whom we fail, oftentimes unknowingly. Typically, it is an unspoken expectation we haven’t met. We fail to meet a need or must make a choice in priorities and it is taken the wrong way. Those who’ve been offended nurse a grudge, gossip about us, criticize, judge and proclaim us guilty.
We’ve all been betrayed, misunderstood, hurt or rejected by those close to us. And we all have the same choice. To hold on to the pain and become bitter, or release it, forgive, and grow in grace.
Just last month, I taught on Biblical Warfare for Women where I outlined the strategies the enemy uses to gain influence in our lives. I believe the most common tactic he uses is to get us to be offended and stay offended. He loves it when we take things the wrong way and grow resentful. He rejoices when we accuse a brother or sister…after all, isn’t he the “accuser of the brethren?”
I believe God allows these storms to come so we can grow. Will I practice what I preach? Will I forgive in the face of betrayal and mean-spirited criticism? For me, it has to be a moment by moment act of surrender, loving, blessing and praying for those who act as though they are my enemies.
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
I choose to remember on a daily basis that people are not my foe, and know that the enemy is hoping I will see them that way, as the enemy, when clearly scripture says the opposite.
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Eph. 6:12 CSB)
So in all of the drama and chaos, do you ever wonder if God sees, if He is even anywhere close to you as the fiery darts continue to rain down? As if to punctuate the promise, I am with you, I will never leave you or forsake you (!) right in the middle of this storm, Jesus gives me a little kiss on the cheek to remind me He is right there, and He’s got this.
Just yesterday, an email from my publicist read, “Athena, finally, Charisma Magazine posted your article! They took an excerpt from Full Circle, and you can find it online at http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/32533-trusting-god-with-your-divine-call-even-when-people-throw-stones-at-you
Did I have any idea which part of my story they would spotlight?
And the timing? The launch for my memoir was February 27, so we’d been waiting exactly two months for this media contact to run an article of their choosing from the book.
But God knew just what He was doing, and used it to remind me of just how close He is, how much He loves us, and how He cares about every little detail of our lives. And to remind me of the truths He continues to pour into my life that I need to walk in, every day, as His warrior princess!