Shieldmaiden

When a young girl grows up in backwoods surrounded by trees and rocks and rivers, her heart will run as wild as her feet. With a heart willing to run as far as imagination could go, I believed in my heart that I was a shieldmaiden, a fearless female viking. I spent summers saving my imaginary friends from the snares of enemy lines, rescuing my cat Honeybun and fighting off bad guys with a stick as my sword. I wanted to be like Pocahontas, and so my grandmother made me an Indian dress out of a pillowcase. It looked hideous, but I felt powerful in it; strong and beautiful, like a true warrior princess. When I put the dress on, I would race through the fields to put an end to a vicious war and save the day.

As young girls tend to do, however, I got older. I outgrew my Pocahontas dress and my innocence. And when I was twelve, the abuse began that would go on to destroy any remaining innocence I had. Over time as the abuse continued, more and more of my warrior heart was ripped away. I wanted to save the world, but there was nobody who would save me. Nobody.

I was raised in a church that preached what Steve Fatow calls the “mountain God.” People who believe in the mountain God envision Him to be on a throne atop an inaccessible mountain somewhere far, far away. And to call Him “Father” would conjure up images of our earthly dads. Tradition would give mothers the title of child-raisers, and name fathers as the bread winners, and I would believe that to be the reason why so many of us have a hard time with the idea of God leaving the mountain to be where we are. Dads don’t do that.

You know the verse in Genesis. God said, “Let us make man in our image.” Then goes onto say, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion…” Notice God did not say, let “him.” He specifically said “them,” and in the Hebrew language, Adam’s name comes from “adame,” which means mankind as a whole, men AND women. So, God created Eve in His image as well as Adam. After His likeness, man and woman were made.

We call Him God, our Father. Fathers are strong and silent, and often work behind the scenes to keep his house running. It’s our mothers, then, that we run to when we’re hurt or sick. They’re the ones who take care of us.

Whether a woman has children or not, she carries with her the mothering spirit. Her heart is tender and kind. She fights hard, works harder, and she is willing to meet her grave if it means protecting someone she loves. If we’re to believe that we are made in the image of God, then men are a reflection of His resilience and strength, while women are the reflection of His heart. And the heart of God is tender, loving, merciful, kind…

God our Father has the heart of a mother; who we run to when we’re hurt or sick, or when we’re afraid, who we cry out for with tears in our eyes and skinned knees. We run to her because she is fierce and strong, and because her love for us comes naturally. Women are WARRIORS.

The enemy knows women are soft and tender. And knowing that we were meant to be warriors, he will come after you before you have the chance to realize who and what you are. He exploits the very nature of a woman’s heart in order to hurt her. But in the image of God, we are warrior princesses. And as such, we are the ones who will save those standing at enemy lines. We will rescue those we love, and fight off bad guys with a stick if we have to. You don’t even have to wear a pillowcase to believe you’re a warrior. You just have to get it in your heart that you ARE.

The enemy will do all he can to kill you. He doesn’t want you to know who you are. But may you see yourself for what you really are; a shieldmaiden.

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