February 20, 2014

A Journey of Weakness

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I've been on a kitchen hiatus for the last couple days.  I did try to make a sponge roll cake, but that didn't work, so you are left with my thoughts for this post.  No recipe today, sorry!  But I do have a story - I hope you enjoy!


A hawk shrieked above me, swooping in front of the sun, creating a trembling shadow across my dusty face.  Covering my eyes, I squinted up, tasting the salty sweat the dripped down my forehead.  The armor felt heavy and I longed to shrug off it.  I was sick of this metal cage, sick of this long dessert road, sick of this hateful loneliness.  But this was dangerous country - the enemy held the land around the city.  My mission was to get there. My footsteps lay forgotten behind me, mere imprints in the sand, waiting for a slight breeze to obliterate them.  Those footprints symbolized the struggle of every step and at the beginning, the flippant removal of them angered me.  I didn't care anymore.  I welcomed any breeze that broke up the hot stillness that had settled over the dusky dunes.  Ignoring the hawk as it called again I wondered, why had I think this would be a good idea?  I wiped my face again, clenching my fists in frustration.  I had chosen this mission.  I had chosen my armor.  I had said I was ready.  My eyes narrowed in frustration.  It shouldn't be this hard!  I had underestimated this dessert walk.  It was no walk.  It was a fight.
Sahara, Algeria - Local man walks in the Sahara. (Photo by Olivier Cirendini, Lonely Planet Photographer)

I have always wanted to enter the stories of epic heroes, overcoming all odds to make sure good prevails over evil.  My idea of triumph was scaling the mountain castle to defeat the evil knight or hand to hand combat over fantasy lands and creatures.  Unfortunately, I'm the real deal in the 21st century. But you know what?  As a Christian, I've started a journey that is not just a walk. It's a fight. A fight against a real evil that wants to see me writhing in defeat.

No more. I sat down on the edge of the road. It was too far. Too hard. And I was done with this armor. I didn't need it to protect me anymore - it was only holding me back.  My fingernails clawed at the constricting metal, desperate to free myself from it. Leaning to the right, I lowers my shoulder and blew out a sigh of relief as the buckle slid off.  I rolled my stiff shoulders, grimacing from the discomfort, but enjoying every second if it. For a moment, I felt physical relief. But only for a moment. A sharp pain in my side drew my gaze quickly to my side where I found a slim sword pricking my now unprotected side. A voice behind me sniggered, "I knew you would let your  guard down. I knew it!"
 Medieval sword fights, Mont Royal by Cybertiesto, via Flickr
Weaknesses. We all have them and see all do our best to hide them.  We know when they are exposed, people will hurt us; with words and actions.  As an unsaved human, my weaknesses were open to exploitation by Satan. I couldn't ever get myself to a place if security on my own. Magazines, TV stars, friends - I couldn't escape feeling weak and insecure. I had no protection from the pricks of the world. God knew that. That's why, in Ephesians 6, He gave me His armor when I accepted Him as Savior.  He promises to always protect me as long as I have it on. But then I start to worry about statuses. And popularity. And grades. Trusting God - choosing to wear the armor - just gets too hard. I'll stand out and be made fun of. Being chaste isn't exactly popular. Or, I won't get any glory. Who wants to be the behind the scenes person when you could elbow a few people and be the star of the show?  So I take it off.  And now I'm unprotected.

The voice grated in my ear. "I knew I couldn't take you when you had that armor on. But I knew the power of heat."  It laughed, and I felt a heaviness in the pit of my stomach. "You thought I was done with you. But I know your weaknesses - so I waited."

Pretty dumb, right?  I mean, who on earth would take off their armor in the prescence of the enemy? I like to think I can let down in certain "godly" areas because Satan couldn't possibly get me there. Guys, I'm always in danger of Satan getting a hold in my heart.  You know what happens when I decide the breastplate of righteousness is too heavy?  I open myself up to stabbed by unrighteousness - living that is not holy. I'm sealed by Jesus' blood, Satan can't touch my salvation, but he can encourage me to make bad choices. Like, compromise this one time.  "Compare yourself to the girl who can't pass the volleyball to save her life. There, don't you feel much better about yourself?"  Sin feels good - for a second.  But then, Satan uses that compromise to turn the tables on me.  He says, "compare yourself to the model or the Olympian. Now how do you feel?"

Satan, the king of lies.  Humans, the kings of weakness. 

But then there is God - the king of power and the king of grace. 

My shoulders alternated between rigid with fear to limp with regret. My armor lay on the ground next to me, protecting nothing but the sand. The sword at my side bit into my skin and I gasped as a burning sensation tingled up and down my sides. A couple drops of blood bled into my shirt and I wanted nothing more to have the armor back on my shoulders. The cost of letting it go was much greater than the price of wearing it.  Oh, Maker, save me1

One of the biggest lies of this generation is that I don't have to pay the cosequences for my actions.  he truth is - any time I let Satan prick me, it's going to hurt and it's going to leave a scar. I believe God heals us, but I also believe He leaves is scars to remind us not to do it again. He erases our sin from His mind, but He doesn't erase the consequences.  People don't want to hear that.  It isn't like I love seeing that scar from choosing wrong, but I am grateful that God equips me to say no next time.  And I know He will help me when I ask.  Just as Satan is waiting to jump on me, God is waiting to jump in with me - and win.

sand....it almost looks like something out of a movie where the evil villan is getting ready to materialize.
I felt the sword shiver against my side. The cold metal pressed further and I bit my lip in pain.  I had chosen abandon the armor and now the armor was going to abandon me.  Again, I whispered into the hot stillness, I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry.  Again, the sword shivers, but this time, it falls from my side to the ground.  Letting out my breath, I turn and see my adversary fading into a swirling sand storm.  Fascinated, I watch as a man, clad in armor just like mine, sheaths his own sword and slowly faces me.  My face burns, not just with the sun and sand, as I realize who he is.  He is the maker of the armor.  The giver.  The protector.  Shame creeps up my back and rests on my heart.  A pain stabs my side and I hold it, aching for relief.  He smiles sadly and puts his hand on my shoulder.  "It will heal."   He looks me squarely in the eyes.  "It will hurt, but you will beat it."

I can't defeat the feelings of insecurity on my own.  As I see photos of models and athletes, I want to give up and succumb to the thoughts that I'm not good enough or pretty enough or strong enough.  Or when I find myself having to make choices about the future, it is much easier to think about everything that could go wrong instead of all that could go right.  Insecurity pricks me when I'm tired of thinking and fighting.  It capitalizes on every opportunity to tear me down.  And I let it.  See guys, it is my choice to let insecurities define my thoughts and actions.  But I have the battle plan - put on the full armor of God and He will equip and protect me.  When I trust in the sword of the spirit and the promises of the Bible, no scheme of Satan can bring me down.  So really, I am a modern day knight, only I think me and my fellow soldiers have an adversary even more dangerous than dragons and monsters.  The difference is, me and my fellow soldiers also have a God who is going to win. 


So there you go - my contribution to a real English blog post this week ;)  Thanks for reading!
Mary Frances


  1. Mary Frances, I really loved this post. I loved your thoughts and style of writing. I understand everything you're feeling. Life is an uphill battle. Most days I feel like throwing my hands in the air...sometimes my own self-doubt convinces that giving up is the better solution. It may feel like the easy way out for now...but it won't do any good for anyone including myself in the long term.

    I pray God gives me strength because sometimes I feel like the greatest enemy I have to face is in myself. My own fear of taking a risk despite what everyone else wants me to do. I feel that metal cage- all my thoughts are in there. Hidden away and suffocated by fear. But I put my faith in God because I am sure He had these feelings too...He had to overcome more, and had more fears to swallow than I. When I think of it that way I feel selfish...and foolish. My petty issues seems like nothing yet I let them take over my life. If only I could be as strong as Christ...I know all this shall pass...

    Thank you for sharing. You are a beautiful writer and I cannot wait to read more from you. I love the images you chose as well...they really draw you into the story.

    God bless.


    1. Tammy, I really appreciate the time you spent on this comment. It not only made me smile, it gave me even more food for thought! You are an equally talented write (and commenter!) and I love how you said that we can put our faith in God because He overcame even more. That is such an important point! Thank you so much, Tammy! xx

  2. Fantastic, as always. This was so relatable yet so encouraging. It's often so hard to remember to fight against every attack because it's so easy to just give in. Ayy. Love your heart, sweet girl!

    1. Thank you Erin! These posts always make me nervous, so I really appreciate your sweet encouragement. xx

  3. Sometimes recipes don't turn out, and I'm left with no material to post, too! I love how you just laid your feelings out like this, because we've all felt like this at times. Overcoming insecurities can be really tough, but it certainly can be done. You've got some very wise words here, Mary Frances. :) Have a great weekend!

    1. Thank you Marcie! I needed to remember my own words this weekend, but it was pretty good :) Thank you again, for commenting!

  4. Mary Frances, thank you for sharing this. It's so inspiring to me to see fellow bloggers following Christ, and sharing their thoughts in this fashion.

    "I like to think I can let down in certain "godly" areas because Satan couldn't possibly get me there. Guys, I'm always in danger of Satan getting a hold in my heart."
    This is so important to know as we go through life, and I think that Satan is after us even more where we are obeying Christ. It kills him to see that we are faithful stewards of The One who created us.

    I shared this post on my personal Facebook because I know there are people everyday that need this inspiration, and the comfort of knowing that Christ is actively working in people's lives everyday.


    1. I love how insightful you guys are! "It kills him to see us as faithful stewards" -> so true! Thank you so much for sharing Lauren, and for your comment, it means a lot!

  5. Heyyyy Mary, What went wrong with the cake roll. I recently made my first one and it worked out great ( not trying to brag though ). It was a pumpkin cake roll with white chocolate cream cheese frosting in the middle shortly after that I made another cake roll, a banana one it went well also. So please tell me what went wrong. ( once again I'm not bragging just trying to help) :)

    1. Hey Mary! Mmm, both of your rolls sound so good! The banana one is a great idea. I just didn't bake mine long enough, so it was too soft to roll up. So we just let it cool, cut it into squares and layered them with whipped cream. :) Thanks again!


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