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The reality of warfare when you say “yes” to following Jesus

This is one of those posts that has been in brewing in my heart since March–and finally…I felt today was the time to finally write it.

For some of you who read this–who may not be in a place in your life where you feel you are consistently saying yes to Jesus–this post may seem crazy to you. For others–you may remember a time in your life where God asked you to do something radical–and as soon as you said yes, hard things seemed to come your way. And for others–constant spiritual warfare seems to just be the story of your life as you radically follow Him where ever you are.

James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.”

As sure as God is REAL. So is the enemy–although some of us would like to not think about him. There is a quote in the movie Usual Suspects on satan’s ploy that is so true: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world that he doesn’t exist.”

And if we believe or act like he doesn’t exist–then…by golly, that is one very scary place to be. Right where he would want us. Complacent…living for ourselves…not a threat to satan or his schemes. ONE very scary place to be.

Do you think it’s any coincidence that EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we have said yes to something crazy the Lord asked us to do–that it seemed everything in our lives started to go wrong??? Do you also think it’s a coincidence that EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we perservered–and the LORD was glorified as we STOOD OUR GROUND and continued on the calling He put before us???

The battle is real. And it’s NOT with flesh and blood.

And get this…

It has ALREADY been won!

I could go on and on about things that happened when I followed the Lord to East Asia in my twenties. The embassy bombing had occurred and we weren’t the most favored nationality on the streets. I remember standing under a tall building one night, and I felt a hand on the small of my back step me forward. Seconds later a large glass water pitcher fell behind me. Maybe it was an accident. Maybe it was coincidence. But I was following the Lord, and my shield of faith protected me. And the hand on the small of my back? Not sure who or what that was…maybe that was coincidence too. I have countless other stories that would blow your mind–but the battle is REAL.

When we began our adoption for Isaac–things suddenly were put on hold. NOW–one thing I have quickly learned…is what the Lord is passionate about–satan hates. The Lord LOVES orphans and He loves even more seeing them become SONS and DAUGHTERS. SO, I’ll go ahead and tell you–if you plan to adopt…put that seatbelt on…

Just as we were about to finish our application almost two years ago, one of our children was diagnosed with MRSA. We had phone calls with the CDC–more ER visits than I could count and pediatric dermotologist specialists working side-by-side with Children’s to try and get our little one well. Oh the TEARS of our sweet child. Mind you–you can’t internationally adopt if you have a child with a communicable disease (or at least it puts a major mountain in your way). We asked the world of friends and family around us to PRAY for healing–and for God to make a way for what we knew in our hearts He was calling us to do.

Paul reminds us the way we are to fight this battle is NOT TO QUIT…




We had our nearest and dearest praying for our sweet child. We went to a long awaited appointment to go over the “treatment plan”. In the middle of the appointment, the doctor got paged–left the room. We sat. We waited. We waited more. I became frustrated sitting there with my little one and husband–and then the doctor came in and asked us to PLEASE SIT DOWN–Children’s had paged her when they tried to fax our records. All of the MRSA infections were currently healing or gone at the time–but they would come and go quite quickly week by week.

The doctor took a breath and began explaining. She said they were profusely sorry but our little one did NOT have MRSA. In fact, they got tests mixed up–a doctor misread–and she never had it. I ran to my sweet one to show the most recent scars (that are still there by the way) and this “best of the best” pediatric dermatologist said it was just eczema that had maybe gotten infected or something. We had spent weeks in and out of doctors–MRSA bumps popping up quickly–having to have them drained–it was AWFUL. But after that day–we NEVER saw another one again. The doctor kept apologizing–not sure how this could have happened…but I smiled and explained how we were a crazy family who believed in PRAYER and how we had so many praying for our sweet one’s healing…

I knew exactly what the battle was we were fighting. I was so frustrated at the realization of it–but so thankful we have a Redeemer who fights for us. I stayed up late that night filling our EVERY last bit of our application I had been holding on to…making sure EVERY “i” was dotted and every “t” was crossed. I was not going to lose another moment. And the next morning, I told the enemy he was NOT going to stop us or discourage us–we were following the Lord–and we were trusting HIM to go before us. {If there had been a man hiding in that USPS dropbox he would have been humored to hear me drop in that envelope saying, “TAKE THAT!” Momma was determined now–and nothing was getting in her way of a little boy she was sure her family was to bring home!} AND our process officially began to bring home our sweet boy.

You’d THINK the enemy would realize we were on to him…that we totally see through his attempted curve balls–and we actually say when we see them now, “Oh! It looks like we must be on the right track!” And this last adoption beginning as been no exception.

In just the last couple of months…I could GO ON and ON. It’s quite unbelievable I must say…but I will NOT BE MOVED.

We’ve had financial hits…it was cold when we felt the Lord telling us to step forward–we had to buy a new heater. BAHM. It warms up–we have to get our a/c fixed. DOUBLE BAHM. The dryer breaks. FOR REAL?? A ticket on the way to the doctor’s office. OKAY…maybe that one was my fault;) And then our most precious gifts…our children. The enemy likes to hit softly at first–and then hit where it hurts. I WILL NOT BE MOVED.

Last month while watching my kids play someone came by in their car and didn’t see me and tried to lure one of them to him. By this time I was sick of the enemy trying to discourage…and momma bear came running to protect her cubs and scare him away. He raced away with his back tag covered up–and my first thoughts were this:

How can I bring home another girl to our sick world? How can we protect more children? I think we have enough on our plates. I want to go to just settle with what is on my plate now and I don’t want to fight anymore.

What a minute? Did I just think that???

Some of you reading–may be RIGHT there with me thinking, “Well, you kinda do have a lot on your plate. You might be on to something. Don’t you think some times when lots of hard things start happening–then maybe it just means it’s not the right time???”

We are not called to back away…to chicken out…or lay low–but to TAKE A STAND.

And to stand firm.

And after we have endured the hard parts of the enemies schemes…to simply STAND.

Check this out from Ephesians 6:10-20 (bold is mine–what do you see OVER and OVER Paul telling us to DO???)…

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devilโ€™s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lordโ€™s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

And in the end–we are to be DRIVEN to prayer. FOR our calling…and FOR others following theirs.

THE absolute GREATEST thing YOU can do for others who are radically saying YES to Jesus to something in their lives is to PRAY for them. We are NOT to fight these battles alone–but TOGETHER. {And let them KNOW you are praying for them. It will encourage them…and press them closer to Christ–and you have NO idea how much your reminding them you are praying for them means to them! When I get to heaven, I will have lots of hugs to give out to so many of you sweet sisters in Christ who have prayed for us! I love you all who have carried us through prayer and who have run this course WITH us!}

We are called to be prepared–to know hard things WILL come our way…

To STAND through the battle

And when the battle is over…to continue to STAND firm.

Let me also remind you–that the enemy we fight is NOT flesh and blood. Think of those precious orphans in Sudan–the LRA is not the enemy {although some times our first response is to be ANGRY at the person being used to cause the pain}…UNTIL you remember that most of the LRA are orphans themselves…who were deceived…hurt…traumatized themselves…who we need to pray for. The battle is NOT with flesh and blood although the enemy may use flesh and blood for his schemes–but our mission is to love the people (many times hating the actions they are being driven to do by the enemy) and to fight against the one they are serving. WE DO THIS THROUGH PRAYER.

I recently heard a pastor preach on spiritual warfare–and he said it so well, “The way we are to fight this battle is NOT to do more–but to pray more. It’s a battle of LOVE not HATE. It’s a battle of FAITH not FEAR.”

We will not give up. We will stand FIRM in our calling. And we invite you to stand WITH us. Please keep our family in your prayers as we persue His will for our lives in adopting another child. And because we are in this together–if others can also pray for you–please let us all know HOW we can pray with you right now.

The battle is real–and while you may be inclined to lay low so you don’t have to fight back–there is nothing more dangerous or empty than choosing not to fight on the front lines by following Jesus. We have nothing to fear–for He who goes before us has already won. And no matter how alone we may feel…we are NOT alone. We are in this together–with the belt of TRUTH, the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, with feet of READINESS, with shields of FAITH, helmets of SALVATION and the sword of the Spirit which is the WORD of God. We must DAILY get geared up–and as we follow Jesus…be encouraged when warfare comes our way knowing that we are in HIS game and living out faith and deeds hand in hand…so when that day comes–we might humbly hope that He just might look at us and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

I’m excited to live this life for Him…to take a STAND and stand firm…and pumped to have many of you on it with me.

Dawn - June 7, 2011 - 10:04 pm

AMEN sister!! Oh my the stories……I could seriously fill a book!!! BUT OUR GOD is sooo much BIGGER!!! Knowing who you are fighting is half the battle because once you know who you are battling- you also know who is on your side ๐Ÿ™‚ AND HE HAS WON!!!

Praying for you as you journey to your daughter!!! Being on our knees is the best place!!!!!

Christie - June 7, 2011 - 10:11 pm

Oh Andrea you have no idea how much I needed this post today! Thank you so much! Just when I feel like giving up…I am reminded to stand firm. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

Tina Smith - June 7, 2011 - 10:19 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH! We started our Journey in March to get our baby from Ethiopia, We are 2 weeks away from a financial deadline, washer broke Sunday, heat had to be fixed and we had water damage that had to be fixed, and the list goes on…BUT I will NOT BE MOVED!!!!!!!!! THANKS!!!!! Pray for us as we are praying for you!!!!

admin - June 7, 2011 - 10:28 pm

Love you Dawn–and I am so thankful for you. Praying for you as you guys adjust to a new ministry and state. You encourage me!!!

And Christie–so thankful for you and your heart. Your obedience to Christ encourages me to follow Him closely. Love you too.

Trudy - June 7, 2011 - 10:51 pm

Beautiful and filled with the words of the Holy Spirit. I know He led me to your site to read this in this moment. I have felt this warfare so many times but I didn’t recognize it for what it was. Please pray for us as we inch our way to the finalization of our adoption. Thank you for reminding us what this is and telling us to ready ourselves for battle.

admin - June 7, 2011 - 11:12 pm

Lord Jesus–I pray over Tina’s family and ask for protection and for favor in the weeks and months ahead. I pray for your provision for their 2 week deadline ahead. I pray for others in their lives to come and surround them right now to bring both relief and encouragement. Lord–remind me to pray for Tina in the days ahead. Carry her family and be glorified!! Amen!

admin - June 7, 2011 - 11:15 pm

Lord–I ALSO want to lift up Trudy and her family to you. {How amazing is it that we can pray for one another through a blog of all things!?} I pray that you would pave the way as they get closer to their adoption finalization. I ask that you would set a hedge of protection around their family and also bring them favor in the end of the paperwork process. I pray for sweet time with their family and for your blessing over each and every person in their family. Draw Trudy’s family close to you as they follow you Lord. In Jesus’s name–Amen.

Makenzie - June 7, 2011 - 11:21 pm

Thank you again Andrea for sharing what God shows you. When we started our journey to bring home a child, I felt like time after time God would ask us to trust him with something. Small things at first. And when we trusted him with the small thing, something bigger would get thrown at us. And God would ask us to trust him with this too. And the things keep getting bigger. But I have never felt more aligned with HIM and his heart. This future mama will not be moved!! Know that I am praying for your family!

Karen Piwetz - June 8, 2011 - 12:01 am

Andrea you are so sweet and dear to be thinking of others while you need prayer yourself. We are praying for you and the safety of all your children. It is hard to talk finances, but we are right there with you. As soon as we decided to adopt our finances began to be hit on a continual basis. I know that God will supply all our needs and He will fund this adoption, but it is hard when one is continually knocked down. Thank you for sharing this with us. You encourage me to “Stand firm.”

Christy - June 8, 2011 - 12:37 am

Praying for you! You can pray for our sweet son from ET. He was severely malnourished, we’ve been home a year and the medical blows just keep coming. Pray for healing as we know He can do it!!

Megan - June 8, 2011 - 1:06 am

god knew I needed this today, he has used your words to help heal my broken heart. we have had many many many obstacles and this last one just came yesterday. I was questioning my faithfulness, was I not being faithful enough lord? I have heard so many others talk about spiritual warfare but never recognized any throughout our own journey. we were supposed to leave on friday to get our little girl and received an email yesterday saying the embassy is opening an investigation. we are devastated. I have been feeling a lot of anger because god specifically told us to trust him and we did. then this happened. thank you for helping me to have peace through this. it was perfect.

Sophie - June 8, 2011 - 1:26 am

Thanks for this post Andrea, I must say I got the chills reading that someone tried to lure one of your kids that is very scary. Praise God that you were there and nothing happened.
We started our adoption several months ago and everything I mean everything has gone haywire since. We’ve been pummeled financially, we keep running into unusual problems with our paperwork, the list goes on. And the worst part is my husband is paralyzed with fear and doesn’t want to proceed. It’s been heartwrenching and exhausting. But I continue to fall on my knees daily and cry out to the Lord for provision and strength.
Praise be the Lord

missy - June 8, 2011 - 1:27 am

been away from blogland for some time. so glad to read these powerful words and be reminded of truth. praying for you as you follow Him fully.

Sandi - June 8, 2011 - 9:05 am

WOW. Officially crying. God knows how I operate & it never ceases to amaze me how he answers my questions/prayers in REAL time. Our attacks have been relentless upwards of thirty thousand worth problems with new house. This month WADHER & OVEN broke in SAME week! Hubby saw specialist yesterday (car battery on new SUV went dead in hospital parking lot while waiting with my sick kids in car). We have been on quarantine & just told church couldn’t help with sports camp because both kids have been very sick. I was praying last pm whether or not to mail a check to a family in need with 4 precious kids THIS AM or to WAIT till end of the month. Now I know the answer so off to the post office I GO! Thank you Jesus & Andrea for the encouraging words!

marci - June 8, 2011 - 9:07 am

We have an enemy who wants nothing more than to DESTROY.1Peter 5:8″Be self-controlled and alert.Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We must live being alert because there is a kingdom of evil that is actively opposing the kingdom of God.
Andrea, this blog keeps the pack going…we cannot be isolated…like a wounded animal away from the pack we will be attacked. Our safety is in the PACK…We cannot make it on our own. God designed community of believers to help live HIS WILL not the world’s. Ephisians 4:12″though one may be overpowered,two can defend themselves.A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
We must always have the HOLY SPIRIT with us and each others PRAYERS ! Thank you for your sharing and we lift you in PRAYER ! Pax,m

Lori Denton - June 8, 2011 - 10:07 am

Thank you for this post. It has truely spoken to my heart. We have 2 kids and have been trying for a 3rd for over a year and a half. We had been considering adoption or fostering when I found out I was pregnant again. I still can’t help but feel adoption is still a path we need to take. I know the view of the world and some family would be “Are you crazy, Why would you want to do that when you have 3 kids of your own”. Sometimes I do feel crazy lol ( a new baby, first year of homeschooling, and add adoption to that). It even seemed that I could hear satan whispering all these fears to me the other night while I lay awake. But Christ has won, and we have the victory. It is awesome that God sends his messengers to uplift us exactly when we need it. Thanks for sharing. Lori

Kim - June 8, 2011 - 10:53 am

Standing with you.
And soon to be standing on closer ground!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

Brittany - June 8, 2011 - 12:54 pm

Andrea – I just wanted to share that we have had a similar experience with someone trying to lure our child. He was a roofing contractor working on a neighboring house, so he could see directly into our backyard. He told my son that we did not love him anymore and that he was going to take him to California to be with a new family. This happened in the midst of us jumping in head first to a new church that we LOVED and had sought out for over 3 years, starting a life group in our home, and establishing solid friendships with the families that were a part of that group. The enemy had attacked us leading up to this, not if the form of finances, but in the form of fighting and bickering in my marriage. We had worked through those issues, with the help of our wonderful church home, and when the devil couldn’t break us there, he went after our babies. PRAISE JESUS that we have open communication with our children, and our son told us about this man before anything too terrible happened. But it took months of explaining to our son that this man was not his friend, and that the relationship he had established was based on a lie. WE had hundreds of people pray…we emailed, told the story on Facebook and asked anyone and everyone to pray for protection for our family…and God prevailed. It was very difficult on us all, but we were convinced that we were following God’s path for us, and these were the battles we were going to have to encounter. Needless to say, the last year has been tough, but he live and breath Ephesians 6:10-20 and hold true to the fact that we are doing HIS work. I pray for you and your family and am inspired daily by your walk and your desire to share. I do ask that you pray for my family as well, as we feel we are being called back to Georgia. It’s a huge move, because we will be leaving so many people and a church home that we love in FL, but we know it is the right decision, because of all of the trials we are going through to get there. Isn’t it funny how that works, and actually brings you hope…when you believe what the Bible says!

Shelly - June 8, 2011 - 3:31 pm

LOVE this post. Standing with you, sister.

Amanda - June 8, 2011 - 3:52 pm

I linked your blog to my ministry’s blog site today, because this post caused me to reflect on my own journey through a recent training period I was in for a half marathon race. There were many times I was persecuted by the devil, but in the end Christ was victorious, as he always will be, and through my weaknesses his strength shone through. Praise to Him in the highest for being the great I AM. Thank you for this testimony and I will be praying for your precious family.

Kyle - June 8, 2011 - 7:37 pm

Andrea~Thank you for your obedience to Christ to let Him speak through YOU! I needed to hear this so badly as I have felt so confused, not knowing what to DO, through our seemingly, never-ending Ethiopian adoption…but I’m gonna STAND FIRM and continue to PRAY! Praying for your little girl to come home soon!

Stacy - June 8, 2011 - 10:59 pm

Thank you so much for this post! We are in the middle of the home study / dossier portion of our first adoption from Ethiopia. The DAY that we began our paperwork, I broke my foot going up our stairs. Eight weeks in a cast was no fun for a Mama of three kiddos five and under. Our computer, printer,and internet have all had issues (because you don’t need any of THOSE when you are adopting!!!), but we are so thankful to see God provide every step of the way. We, too, feel like with every new dart thrown from the evil one that we are TRULY on the right path. Funny how God can even use Satan to give us confirmation. ๐Ÿ™‚ I covet your prayers that as we live our lives for Him and move forward in obedience that we would do it for Him and Him alone, and that we would be diligent in our paperwork as we SO desire to bring our little one home. Thanks for sharing!!!

Kim - June 9, 2011 - 9:02 am

Oh how I can fill pages and pages with the attacks that came our way…beginning, middle and end of the adoption process and even now that we are home. And yes, our kids were tageted as well in ways we NEVER expected. I clenched my fists and gritted my teeth and screamed “My kids are OFF LIMITS !!” but are they really? They belong to the Lord and the enemy KNOWS that. The stakes are high. It got to the point where our older kids were able to recoginize the attacks as well… real life experiences in Kingdom living. And they saw and continue to SEE their God win each time. We don’t welcome the attacks but recognize they come with our “Yes”.

Shannon Poulin - June 9, 2011 - 10:19 am

Oh Andrea….I needed to read this today! We too are feeling under attack…seems like everytime we turn around something goes wrong. If you would, please pray for our son whose face we’ve yet to see and that our family would be best prepared to bring him home…spiritually, emotionally, financially. Thank you sweet sister and praying for you here in Washington! Shannon
P.S. That line from Usual Suspects is one of my all-time favorite movie lines! ๐Ÿ™‚

Randee - June 9, 2011 - 10:45 am

I also thank you for this post- the Lord truly used you to speak to me and then my husband when I shared it with him. We have recently had some devestating setbacks in our adoption journey and just last week I’d seriously considered/ talked about giving up and walking away from it all. I know there are some dear Christians (friends and family members) standing with us, so the Lord didn’t let my dream of parenting and adopting an orphan die. When I read your post yesterday it was like a new light was shined on our situation and we could see that indeed the enemy WAS working to knock us off track! I so appreciate your honesty, sincerty and willingness to share your life in a way that points to the Lord.

PS- after reading your post last night my husband found your adoption slideshow and we watched it together. It is beautiful! We are in the process of adopting a baby boy from Ethiopia (7.5 months waiting for a referral!) so it hits close to home for us.

Kim - June 9, 2011 - 9:51 pm

Beautiful post!! Thank you for this!!

Sara - June 9, 2011 - 9:54 pm

Just when I was starting to think…I’m good with where we are. No more life changes this year, please…:) Thank you, Andrea, for a reminder I definitely needed.

Kerry Gautraud - June 11, 2011 - 9:59 am

We are driving home from vacation right now, and I have to tell you how much your last 3 posts have blessed me! I could also tell many accounts of obstacles we have already faced in our adoption. Of course car repairs and other unexpected expenses…but mostly through fears, doubts, and lies. Constantly reading my Bible and having an accurate view of God AND lots of prayer has been my lifeline… no wonder God loves when we adopt!

Carrie - June 16, 2011 - 12:11 pm

I needed to read this today, and I myself, have written of this very thing too. With our third adoption now underway it seems we are hitting more negative obsticles than ever before, but even in my doubt I am standing firm in what God wants us to do. I will be praying for your family and your next adoption; so exciting!
We ask for prayers on our next adoption, the financing as well. Also that God provides a way for me to stay home and homeschool as well. Lots of obsticles right now!
God bless!