In honor of the tenth anniversary of Red Tent Living, we are featuring a monthly legacy post written by one of our regular contributors from the past decade. Jennifer Owens joined us in 2015 with her signature winsome vulnerability. This post was one of her first as a regular contributor and originally appeared in October 2015.
There is always a bad guy in my house. Light sabers, guns, swords, bows and arrows are often found on my living room floor. Most every day includes some kind of battle, as it seems to be my boys’ favorite game to play with each other and with us. My six-year-old knows how to yield that plastic weapon like a pro.
I’m not one to condone or encourage violence, but on some level, fighting, battling, and dueling is part of boy’s play. In our house, superheroes and Star Wars reign supreme and having these characters with us has often sparked conversations about fighting, having an enemy, and knowing what it means to stand up for yourself or what is right. There have been several conversations with my oldest son Tommy about our real enemy–we call him Satan or the devil–and how he tempts us to do bad things, think bad thoughts, or believe things that aren’t true.
In his precious innocence, Tommy has declared before, “I’m never gonna listen to Satan. He’s a bad guy, and I belong to Jesus. I’m just going to listen to what Jesus says.” My heart ached at those words, praying they would always be true for my son. But I have learned that part of knowing Jesus is knowing our enemy too. Tommy will be no exception to learning of the evil one’s fiery darts and deathly blows against his heart and his identity in Christ.
I enjoy play fighting with the boys. And perhaps I encourage the fighting because I myself am a fighter.
Star Wars and superheroes stir something inside of my soul, reminding me of who I am: the Dragon Slayer.
Years ago, I was given these amazing words by a group of people who had watched me go to battle up close and personal. They sat with me as I recalled a dark and devastating scene from my story, where so many of the lies I had believed had led me to this very point where I had so little regard for my heart and body that I willingly allowed them to be hurt and abused by a careless man. I was convinced sharing myself with him was better than nothing.
I remember being asked, “Jennifer, if that was better than nothing, than what was your nothing?” The question brought me to my knees, opened up my heart, and invited me to the feet of Jesus, where I wept and gave Him my tears and sorrow. I saw where evil had been out to destroy me. And now, I could see my enemy for who he really was, and I was ready to go to war.
I was given the name “Dragon Slayer” by one of the men present that day. I remember how empowered and courageous I felt, how much this label and title spoke to me. But I have been living in a long season where I have forgotten that day. I have forgotten her. I have put my dragon slaying ways away and lived small, believing lies and accusations from my enemy instead.
Over the last few weeks, I have been encouraged to listen to and seek out the voice of the One who has my heart. I am once again in a place of tearing down lies, claiming truth, and facing my enemy head on, taking back things that I’ve taken back before. I have been peeking out from behind my self-made hiding place and choosing to take small steps of kindness for my heart and body. Going for walks, making green smoothies for breakfast, creating space to read and pray, and enjoy the autumn sunshine. I know when I am living and breathing in Christ, when I can hear His voice above all others, and when I choose to fight my enemy with the truth that I am a force to be reckoned with.
It’s time to pick up my sword again, and it’s time to fight. Because the truth is there is always a bad guy in my house.