In my almost 100 year old house we have very old plastered walls. They are not smooth like the drywall walls in current houses but they are plaster with years of chips and cracks. The worst ones are in my living room. I have no idea what the original treatment was but I do know it has several coats of wallpaper (they papered over paper) with at the very least 5 coats of paint on top. Because we have not wanted to put the work into this house (have a dream of building one day) we have accepted them as they are. In order to hide the wallpaper wrinkles and seams, I did a three coat paint treatment on them. For the most part it works.

I have walls too. I think we all build some walls around us for protection. We almost have to in order to survive. We certainly can’t fall apart at work if someone is rude to us. The walls help us separate from the rude words and help us cope. Many people who don’t have any walls find that they can’t cope at all. Without the protection of the walls the rude words sink in and take hold, often in painful ways.

Some walls I know I built just for that reason... protection. As long as I do not allow those to permanently block relationships or get in the way of life, I think they are ok. Usually those are temporary and come down pretty quick. However we can build too many walls or allow them to get too thick. I think I did that without even realizing it. When we made the move to Minnesota, we left behind family, friends, work, a private and beautiful yard, a contemporary home with wonderful drywall walls and baseboards that did not have almost a century of ground in grime, and our amazing church body. It was ever so painful. (I don’t regret making the move, it was just one of the most difficult things I have done.)

Without knowing it, I think I built up layers of walls. (Not unlike the walls of my living room.) The sadness of leaving family added a coat of wallpaper; leaving friends added another; missing the sanctuary of my home and yard were like the paint on top; and the cracks in my heart over separating from my church family got the three coats of paint to hide them. I did not realize these walls really existed until a sermon last week in which our Pastor Rich Doebler (Cloquet Gospel Tabernacle) talked about the lies we believe and demolishing strongholds. (Here's the link to the sermon: Demolishing Strongholds) He noted that we fight our battles not with man-made weapons but with spiritual weapons that God has armed us with.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Cor 10:3-5;

Pastor Rich’s sermons always enrich my life but this one in particular hit me at a time when I was questioning some things about myself. Such as why am I not getting involved with my new church family? Why is it such a struggle to get out the door to church on Sundays? (actually, we go on Saturday nights) Why am I having times of spiritual numbness? Pastor Rich talked about how in Jericho Joshua’s troops did not knock down the walls of Jericho but God did. However, there were conditions that they needed to follow.

I read through the chapter the day after the sermon and realized it would only happen if the Israelites were obedient to God. It is kind of amazing considering their history of going off on their own track that the Israelites would have followed these directions so perfectly. Personally, I would have thought them as weird. Walk around a city once each day for seven days in silence? Then on the seventh day SHOUT! Kind of strange to me but I am confident God has His reasons for giving us tests of obedience.

Back to my walls… I’m thinking that I did not consciously try to build these. So how am I to tear them down? I don’t have the right tools but God does. One tool he gave me this week was our Pastor. Others I have had such as God’s word but I have not identified that they were needed in this area of my life before. I already know He has equipped me with His word of truth and I trust in Him to give me the right gear and weapons that will break down these walls in His timing. And I know that if I stay obedient to Him, my walls will crumble through His grace just like the walls of Jericho.

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 devil'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.
Eph 6:10-17


As with each week here are some great CAST Team shops. Please take a few minutes to check them out... and give them a heart!

Helmet of Salvation earrings
by LoriDelisle

Oatmeal soap by SoapyBlessings

Abstract watercolor
by PaintedEasel

St. Francis of Assisi Cross Pendant by MiraclesInWood

Cross Stitch PDF Pattern by Sewingseed

Daisy love card
by silvercloud07

Blue lapis earrings by SilverSunshine

Comments (15)

On August 30, 2010 at 6:40 AM , Nikkie said...

What a touching post. Thank you for sharing something so intimate and for featuring my painting. Happy Monday!

On August 30, 2010 at 7:16 AM , myeuropeantouch said...

All to familiar...(sigh)
working on it...thanks for sharing...Monika

On August 30, 2010 at 7:17 AM , Trish's Soapy Blessings said...

Ooooh, I think I should have been there for that sermon. Your writing touched a few tender points in my own heart! Thanks for featuring my Oatmeal soap.

On August 30, 2010 at 8:14 AM , Ali said...

That was a fantastic post! Thanks for sharing!

On August 30, 2010 at 8:37 AM , pfd said...

If you want to hear the sermon (or read it) you can click on the link. It touched me greatly (as you can tell).

On August 30, 2010 at 8:58 AM , watercolors said...

What a great object lesson using the walls of the old house. Boy is that so relevant.

Thanks for sharing that, we can all use those lessons on how we coat over and plaster over the holes in our hearts and lives.

Thanks, Roxanne

On August 30, 2010 at 10:35 AM , ZudaGay said...

Humm, it seems I may need to work on the obedience thing. Thank you for your wise words, Phyllis! I know I have too many layers of paint and wallpaper on my walls.

On August 30, 2010 at 11:02 AM , Christie Cottage said...

Wonderful post! We all need to wear God's armor!

On August 30, 2010 at 12:12 PM , MYSAVIOR said...

I love starting my week with your posts. There's that word again - OBEDIENCE!
Thank you so much Phyllis!

On August 30, 2010 at 12:21 PM , Sue Runyon said...

Thanks, Phyllis. I so enjoy getting a little glimpse into your life and heart and a great lesson and scripture each Monday to kick off the work week.

My grandparents 100 year old farmhouse was "insulated" with layers of wallpaper. The corners were all rounded. My grandmother liked to redecorate almost every year.

On August 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM , sammysgrammy said...

Excellent post, Phyllis. I read the message on which it was based too. Such powerful instruction. Can never hear it too often. I fondly remember the very first time I got the message that we could arrest dangerous thoughts, take them captive and bring them under subjection to Christ. I thought to myself "this is too good to be true - how can it work?"
Bless God- it works, what I believed were my thoughts came under subjection to my Savior and couldn't develop or grow.
What awesome ammunition given to us by the CAPTAIN of the armies of the Lord!

On August 30, 2010 at 9:53 PM , Art and Sew Forth said...

Wow...that was really good. I know I am right there with you. Walls seem to be erected without effort sometimes! Thanks so much for sharing from your heart every week!

On August 30, 2010 at 10:42 PM , new creationz said...

Thanks again for a timely thought provoking post. You are such a blessing! And what a lovely selection of goodies you showed us this week. Lovely talent!

On September 1, 2010 at 1:11 PM , KippysSoMature said...

wonderful, wonderful - I struggle, and then I realize - stop struggling and live in Him- His weapons to use, His battle to win :O)

On September 2, 2010 at 8:04 AM , Papa 'n Nana said...

Great post. It always warms my heart even while making me so sad again, to know how hard it was to leave your church family. I miss you so much here but know you are where God wants you!