Sometimes inspiration hits us in unique ways... I created this photo during a worship conference, and while the beautiful music was playing, I felt like the Lord was saying that strongholds of darkness over the city were being decimated because of the unity that was taking place. In my mind's eye, I caught a glimpse of the Bride of Christ tearing down strongholds, and I attempted to recreate the image.
For the weapons of our warfare
are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
2 Corinthians 10:3
I believe we can step into the place of a "beautiful warrior" both in a corporate church setting and in our personal lives. One example of this is a makeover story I captured of a courageous woman in Jerusalem, Israel...
Oriel was born in Texas and moved with her family to Israel as a child. Always feeling that she was ugly, Oriel used to beg God to make her beautiful, and couldn't understand why He had made her so differently than her ideal of beauty. Moving to Israel confirmed her fears, when the kids at school bullied her, and the threat of possible terrorism only made her feel more different than the rest of the world. She felt isolated from the world and cut off from God, believing that He could never love her.
Eventually, panic attacks started overwhelming her and she became confined to her basement room for a year, refusing to attend school as a teenager, and terrified of life. One day her brother came to her and said,
“Oriel, you say that you believe in God. If you truly do, then you must believe that He loves you, because His Word tells us that He does. It's an offense to Him to refuse His love.”
Shocked, Oriel realized that she had to either trust that God loved her, even if she didn't feel it, or reject His love. It was the tiny step forward she needed, and she decided to put her trust in God's love. She checked into a facility that started helping her to overcome her anxiety, and God began to heal her life. Today, she's a thriving young woman with a steady job and confident smile!
The stronghold of fear is invisible, but can hold us captive as much as any prison bars. Often we may feel that we have to fight it out alone, but sometimes God uses community to help us take those next steps rather than an instant quick fix. Sometimes people feel angry that God doesn't change things for us in a moment, but other times we have to courageously bring skilled, wise people into our situation who walk with us into wholeness.
As in the picture of the Bride, we'd all love to swing our sword and tear down the strongholds of the enemy, but I love how Scripture calls the corporate church the Bride of Christ: the community of the church holds great power, not just one person. Allowing the right people into our lives brings amazing freedom, and YOU might be just the right person who carries what someone else needs for their journey. Together, we can all be Beautiful Warriors!
Prayer: Lord, show me who You have placed in my life to help bring down the strongholds in my life, and show me how I can do the same for others.
Read Oriel's full story in my new book, Finding Beautiful: Discovering Authentic Beauty Around the World.