When a new assemblage of women come into Titus 2, it generally takes a few weeks to “settle in.” With the Hurricane Michael repairs finally coming to an end, we have been able to work back toward a full house and teaching schedule. The first few weeks are difficult, fraught with anxiety, detoxing, emotional instability, physical aches, prickly personal spaces, and menses that begin to align. Why in the world would God do that…have women who live in common shelter all have PMS at the same time??? Maybe it is like Archie Bunker’s infamous attitude toward Edith’s menopause woes…. to just get it over with! Otherwise, we’d probably have to deal with moodiness, tears, cramps, and all the other woes from one or another of them every week. At least, in time, we can schedule activities and expect to be reasonably productive three out of four weeks a month!
What usually brings all the elbowing and shoe-horning of everyone into their “space” within the house to an end and establishes the “new” order of things is a full-blown, rip-it-up, drop-the-masks, knock-down/ drag-out, fight in the house. It usually starts between two of them and, before it’s over, a veritable avalanche of resentments, suspicions, jealousies, bigotries, biases, fears, peculiarities, pet-peeves, impulsiveness, and other ugly “hurts, habits, and hangups” has made its appearance as each woman is dragged into the cabal.
These purgative paroxysms used to surprise and unnerve me. But I have come to expect them, even eagerly await their occurrence. There is always a wonderfully refreshing clearing of the air when they are done. Those who are conflict-avoidant people pleasers are revealed quickly. The bullies in the midst are uncovered. The would-be ringleaders are found out. And the first stage of change is launched.
If I had Frank Perretti’s imagination I could probably see demons taking flight, screaming as they leave. I could see the walls of principalities start to crack. I could hear the moans of souls being stirred to life from long, dark incoherent slumbers. And I could feel the gasping wheeze of human spirits as they inhale the Breath of Heaven blowing across consciences seared by cinders and smut.
The peace afterwards surpasses understanding. Laughter comes easier. Eyes smile. Countenances are lighter.
This initial foray establishes a beach head, a foothold, a secure position from which further advancement can be made. Warfare is never comfortable or easy. But it is sometimes necessary. And when the treasures are so valuable as those for which we fight, the prayer is that every skirmish will become a crushing and decisive victory over the enemy. .