When I was a little girl, I was disappointed that I was not a boy. Boys got to go on adventures, perform bold and daring feats, fight heroically for justice, and lead others. I especially wanted to be a warrior: to oppose injustice, uphold mercy, and protect others.
Yet all my understanding of Biblical womanhood was that women were supposed to be good housekeepers and play a supportive role to the men in their lives. But, frankly, that sounded quite boring in comparison to the man’s role.
That was before I understood that God made women to be warriors too. We are called to realms into which men can never enter or wage spiritual war.
The daughter's war
 By this explanation of my own part in the story, I do not at all wish to discount that of my mother’s support to my father. She has stood by him through many trials, and I believe that much of my respect for Dad has been a direct result of my mother’s example.
warring for my parents
My first judgment of this war was that it was fought only against myself. That is not true. It is fought also for my parents. Until I reached adulthood, I never realized the frailty and the vulnerability of these people who had somehow to give a full account for this daughter’s soul they had received. And, perhaps even unknown to them, I had likewise been tasked with caring for their souls.
When I was a child, my father faced a certain, very dangerous task. When I look back now at the enormity of what he faced, I can hardly believe he did not turn back. But he didn’t because of me. I was perhaps six or seven, and I saw his brow furrowed with fear. In the innocence of my belief in his prowess, I said, “Don’t worry, Daddy. You have a duty to do. Just go and do it.” He told me long afterward that my faith in him filled him with courage. He went out and challenged Goliath for his family—and he won.
What if I had not spoken as I did? What if I had confirmed his fears? What if I had simply been silent and withheld my support? The story could have been very different.
The first war I was given is the war of a daughter, waged across the landscape of my own heart. I have been given two imperfect parents who, despite their inadequacies, have been tasked with the monumental mission of raising, loving, and guiding me. When my innocent child’s heart first began to understand the fuller measure of my parents’ faults and failures, it was easy to believe that they interfered with things in my life that they knew little about, and that they at times deliberately withheld good from me.
So that first war was a war in which I learned to lay down my weapons against my parents and raise them against my own pride and sense of superiority. Did I have some legitimate gripes? Absolutely. But I also had a command I couldn’t escape, conditioned with a promise that I desired: “Honor thy father and thy mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) How could I train to be a warrior-wife if I could not first be a warrior-daughter?
I have, at times, struggled immensely with the daughter’s war. It has required me to accept reproofs that seemed unfair, commands that seemed overbearing, restrictions that seemed overprotective, expectations that seemed astronomical, and authority that at times seemed unworthy of respect. But that struggle has also taught me much good.
When my father’s war against “principalities and rulers of darkness” has drained all of his strength, I have waged war for him, shielding him with prayer. I have not done it nearly as well as I should have, and at times I have forgotten not to fight Daddy, but to fight for him, and side by side with him. He may not think he is much of a warrior. I know differently. I have seen things from him that not many have seen or will see. There is no one on earth who has required as much patience from me, but there is also no one on earth I more respect and admire.
When my mother’s war against an increasingly debilitating health condition stole her physical strength and sent her to the hospital on the eve of my sister’s wedding, I have waged war for her, in prayer, in sharing her duties, in being available to my siblings when they needed help. I am such a poor substitute for her. I have also listened to her long lists of symptoms and frustrations as this pioneer-hearted woman has adjusted to life with many limitations. And God has gifted me with one of the greatest assets of my war: I now share many of her physical problems, and I consider it a privilege. It has given me the personal insight to more effectively hone my defenses and attacks on behalf of my mother, in this battle for the mind, spirit, and will.
The War of the Tongue
My tongue is the most unstable weapon of my war. It gives strength, but it can also take it. I have chosen to ensure that my parents only ever hear good things about themselves through the public grapevine, and to protect their reputation by only telling of their strengths and goodness to others. I have also repented of many times when I have spoken ill of them within my own family, and weakened my siblings. My armor is not always spotless, and I am still a warriormaid-in-training.
True, at times I have confronted my parents. Daughters are given that privilege. But at the end of it all, I must honor them, for it is my task to strengthen my parents for their own wars, and not to add to them; to serve when I could be served; to forgive when I could remain angry; to ask forgiveness when I could justify myself; and to trust God to work out all things for good, through perseverance. (Romans 8:28, Galatians 6:9)
I have watched others give up on their parents. I refuse to do the same. I was made for more. I was made for the daughter’s war.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.