We're heading back to the dark and scary forests of Russia to battle evil with nothing in our tool belts but love, kindness, and cookies. Why? To learn about community, of course!
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Shield Maidens: Episode 2
“Baba Yaga”: Come to the Light Side, We Have Cookies!
Welcome to Lost in the Woods: Finding Your Way as God’s Daughter Through Fairy Tales ™. I’m your host, Autumn Woods, and I’m so excited you’re here. We’re continuing our exploration of stories that show us what it means to be a warrior woman on the spiritual battlefield. Last week, we talked about refusing to dehumanize others, recognizing the source of our authority, and using our weapons that are not carnal to cause damage to the enemy. We also touched on the importance of community and healing the broken hearted. In this episode, we are going to delve further into what community should look like from a godly perspective. What sets us apart and makes other people want to be part of our ragamuffin gospel family? How does our radical, rebellious behavior as saints in a fallen world strengthen God’s army?
To find the answers, we’re trooping back into the dark woods to a familiar house on chicken legs. That’s right. We’re doing another Baba Yaga story. Don’t groan! We were going to do Hansel and Gretel, but the Russian version illustrates this season’s topics much more effectively. There are multiple stories titled “Baba Yaga.” The one we are reading today comes from Verra Xenophontova Kalamatiano de Blumenthal. Aleksandr Afanasiev has an earlier version, but Blumenthal adds a strength and passion to hers that illuminates events from a spiritual perspective and demonstrates the powerful impact that discerning, godly women can have on those around them. We’re taken on the journey with our heroine and her brother as they foil evil at home and abroad with love and kindness as their radical weapons of warfare.
So, let’s get lost, as we read the story of (Baba Yaga).
*Somewhere, I cannot tell you exactly where, but certainly in vast Russia, there lived a peasant with his wife and they had twins—son and daughter. One day the wife died and the husband mourned over her very sincerely for a long time. One year passed, and two years, and even longer. But there is no order in a house without a woman, and a day came when the man thought, “If I marry again possibly it would turn out all right.” And so he did, and had children by his second wife.
The stepmother was envious of the stepson and daughter and began to use them hardly. She scolded them without any reason, sent them away from home as often as she wished, and gave them scarcely enough to eat. Finally she wanted to get rid of them altogether. Do you know what it means to allow a wicked thought to enter one’s heart?
The wicked thought grows all the time like a poisonous plant and slowly kills the good thoughts. A wicked feeling was growing in the stepmother’s heart, and she determined to send the children to the witch, thinking sure enough that they would never return.
“Dear children,” she said to the orphans, “go to my grandmother who lives in the forest in a hut on hen’s feet. You will do everything she wants you to, and she will give you sweet things to eat and you will be happy.”
The orphans started out. But instead of going to the witch, the sister, a bright little girl, took her brother by the hand and ran to their own old, old grandmother and told her all about their going to the forest.
“Oh, my poor darlings!” said the good old grandmother, pitying the children, “my heart aches for you, but it is not in my power to help you. You have to go not to a loving grandmother, but to a wicked witch. Now listen to me, my darlings,” she continued; “I will give you a hint: Be kind and good to everyone; do not speak ill words to any one; do not despise helping the weakest, and always hope that for you, too, there will be the needed help.”
The good old grandmother gave the children some delicious fresh milk to drink and to each a big slice of ham. She also gave them some cookies—there are cookies everywhere—and when the children departed she stood looking after them a long, long time.
The obedient children arrived at the forest and, oh, wonder! there stood a hut, and what a curious one! It stood on tiny hen’s feet, and at the top was a rooster’s head. With their shrill, childish voices they called out loud:
“Izboushka, Izboushka! turn thy back to the forest and thy front to us!”
The hut did as they commanded. The two orphans looked inside and saw the witch resting there, her head near the threshold, one foot in one corner, the other foot in another corner, and her knees quite close to the ridge pole.
“Fou, Fou, Fou!” exclaimed the witch; “I feel the Russian spirit.”
The children were afraid, and stood close, very close together, but in spite of their fear they said very politely:
“Ho, grandmother, our stepmother sent us to thee to serve thee.”
“All right; I am not opposed to keeping you, children. If you satisfy all my wishes I shall reward you; if not, I shall eat you up.”
Without any delay the witch ordered the girl to spin the thread, and the boy, her brother, to carry water in a sieve to fill a big tub. The poor orphan girl wept at her spinning-wheel and wiped away her bitter tears. At once all around her appeared small mice squeaking and saying:
“Sweet girl, do not cry. Give us cookies and we will help thee.”
The little girl willingly did so.
“Now,” gratefully squeaked the mice, “go and find the black cat. He is very hungry; give him a slice of ham and he will help thee.”
The girl speedily went in search of the cat and saw her brother in great distress about the tub, so many times he had filled the sieve, yet the tub was still dry. The little birds passed, flying near by, and chirped to the children:
“Kind-hearted little children, give us some crumbs and we will advise you.”
The orphans gave the birds some crumbs and the grateful birds chirped again:
“Some clay and water, children dear!”
Then away they flew through the air.
The children understood the hint, spat in the sieve, plastered it up with clay and filled the tub in a very short time. Then they both returned to the hut and on the threshold met the black cat. They generously gave him some of the good ham which their good grandmother had given them, petted him and asked:
“Dear Kitty-cat, black and pretty, tell us what to do in order to get away from thy mistress, the witch?”
“Well,” very seriously answered the cat, “I will give you a towel and a comb and then you must run away. When you hear the witch running after you, drop the towel behind your back and a large river will appear in place of the towel. If you hear her once more, throw down the comb and in place of the comb there will appear a dark wood. This wood will protect you from the wicked witch, my mistress.”
Baba Yaga came home just then.
“Is it not wonderful?” she thought; “everything is exactly right.”
“Well,” she said to the children, “today you were brave and smart; let us see to-morrow. Your work will be more difficult and I hope I shall eat you up.”
The poor orphans went to bed, not to a warm bed prepared by loving hands, but on the straw in a cold corner. Nearly scared to death from fear, they lay there, afraid to talk, afraid even to breathe. The next morning the witch ordered all the linen to be woven and a large supply of firewood to be brought from the forest.
The children took the towel and comb and ran away as fast as their feet could possibly carry them. The dogs were after them, but they threw them the cookies that were left; the gates did not open themselves, but the children smoothed them with oil; the birch tree near the path almost scratched their eyes out, but the gentle girl fastened a pretty ribbon to it. So they went farther and farther and ran out of the dark forest into the wide, sunny fields.
The cat sat down by the loom and tore the thread to pieces, doing it with delight. Baba Yaga returned.
“Where are the children?” she shouted, and began to beat the cat. “Why hast thou let them go, thou treacherous cat? Why hast thou not scratched their faces?”
The cat answered: “Well, it was because I have served thee so many years and thou hast never given me a bite, while the dear children gave me some good ham.”
The witch scolded the dogs, the gates, and the birch tree near the path.
“Well,” barked the dogs, “thou certainly art our mistress, but thou hast never done us a favor, and the orphans were kind to us.”
The gates replied:
“We were always ready to obey thee, but thou didst neglect us, and the dear children smoothed us with oil.”
The birch tree lisped with its leaves, “Thou hast never put a simple thread over my branches and the little darlings adorned them with a pretty ribbon.”
Baba Yaga understood that there was no help and started to follow the children herself. In her great hurry she forgot to look for the towel and the comb, but jumped astride a broom and was off. The children heard her coming and threw the towel behind them. At once a river, wide and blue, appeared and watered the field. Baba Yaga hopped along the shore until she finally found a shallow place and crossed it.
Again the children heard her hurry after them and so they threw down the comb. This time a forest appeared, a dark and dusky forest in which the roots were interwoven, the branches matted together, and the tree-tops touching each other. The witch tried very hard to pass through, but in vain, and so, very, very angry, she returned home.
The orphans rushed to their father, told him all about their great distress, and thus concluded their pitiful story:
“Ah, father dear, why dost thou love us less than our brothers and sisters?”
The father was touched and became angry. He sent the wicked stepmother away and lived a new life with his good children. From that time he watched over their happiness and never neglected them any more.
How do I know this story is true? Why, one was there who told me about it.*
Sometimes a little danger is needed to bring out the best in us. And it’s amazing what can happen when, in the midst of trials, we treat others with kindness and respect. Don’t wander away from the campfire. We’re about to shed some light on the incredible treasure hidden in this story.
We begin, as we so often do, with a loving family torn apart by the loss of a good wife and mother. The husband, like so many fairy tale fathers before him, takes another wife hoping that she will unify the family once again and bring order back to their home. Unwittingly, he welcomes a monster into his house. It is true that a woman makes a dramatic difference in a home, but this can be for good or for evil. We are created to protect those in our charge. Unfortunately, the stepmother only looks out for herself and her own children, choosing to make enemies of the twins instead of including them in her definition of family. Blumenthal illustrates the condition of the stepmother’s heart beautifully when she says, “Do you know what it means to allow a wicked thought to enter one’s heart? The wicked thought grows all the time like a poisonous plant and slowly kills the good thoughts.” That is exactly what envy does. It begins as a seed planted by fear, grows like a weed, and chokes to death any good thoughts you once cherished about the person you are jealous of, ruining any hope of cultivating a good relationship with them. Remember that perfect love casts out fear, so perfect love cannot thrive where fear is sown (1 John 4:18).
We see an example of this in 1 Samuel with Saul and David. King Saul initially welcomed David, the young shepherd boy, into his home, because his skillful playing of worship music sent the spirit tormenting Saul packing. But when the Lord used David to slay Goliath and defeat the Philistine army, Saul heard the people giving greater praise to David than to himself and became violently jealous of the young hero. David had been anointed as the next king of Israel but had no intention of prematurely removing Saul from the throne. He had nothing but the respect of a son for his royal father figure. Saul, however, allowed himself to become so consumed with jealousy that he spent the rest of his life plotting to kill David. They could have had a fantastic relationship, but Saul let his own insecurities take over the garden, shriveling up the roots of the love he once had for the young man.
The stepmother does the same thing to the twins, verbally abusing and starving them until she cannot stand the thought of them living any longer. She wickedly engineers a plot to have her grandmother, the notorious Baba Yaga, murder her husband’s children. Feigning good will, she instructs them to go to her grandmother’s house and work for her in exchange for “sweet things to eat” and happiness. The stepmother’s command sounds suspicious to the young girl. Why would someone who has spent so much time trying to harm her and her brother suddenly give them an offer too good to be true? Something’s not right, but she can’t put her finger on it. Like Vasilisa the Beautiful, she has discernment and does not go tearing through the forest in search of Baba Yaga’s hut right away. First, she seeks wise counsel from her own grandmother, the only relative she has left who is not blind to the evil going on at the twins’ house.
As believers, we should practice discernment and feel comfortable going to those who are older and wiser than us for guidance about matters we aren’t familiar with or skilled at handling yet. In Titus 2:3-4, older women are instructed to teach younger women how to be self-controlled, pure, and kind. Integrity is to be modeled and passed down through multiple generations “so that those who oppose [us] may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:8). The twin’s grandmother does exactly that when her granddaughter comes to her with her concerns about the stepmother’s order. While she cannot intervene directly because her grandchildren need to undergo their trial so that their characters may be sharpened and their lives improved, the wise old woman reveals the true nature of their journey to them, ensuring that they are not caught off guard walking into a wolf’s den. She then gives them biblically sound counsel, admonishing them to “[be] kind and good to everyone; do not speak ill words to any one; do not despise helping the weakest, and always hope that for you, too, there will be the needed help.”
There is no end of verses to back up her good advice. Jesus tells us to “love [our] enemies, do good to those who hate [us], bless those who curse [us], pray for those who spitefully use [us]” (Luke 6:27-28). We are to love each other as Christ loves us; encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Ephesians 4:32 advises us to be kind to each other, “tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven [us].” It is not natural to love an enemy or look out for the well-being of others when we are in turmoil. That takes supernatural assistance. We are marked as God’s children when we do these difficult things, because only our Heavenly Father could give us the strength and courage to behave so contrary to our human nature. By obeying these commands, we are demonstrating the most powerful love in the universe in miniature. If we actually treated people this way, the Body of Christ would have an incredible impact on the earth. People would be hungry for what we have and want to join God’s family if we effectively modeled the kind of radical love Jesus introduces to us.
One of the ways we love others is sharing what we have with them. We are blessed to be a blessing. The possessions we have are there to draw others to us and by default to God. Because our Father is generous with what He has, we should be, too, in order to give others an opportunity to see that the Lord is good. The early church was very community minded with their worldly provisions.
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2: 44-47)
The good grandmother follows this precedent and gives the children a basket full of food to use as needed on their journey. She cannot rescue them, but she can fortify them for their trial. Later, the twins replicate her generous example and share their bounty with the creatures they meet in Baba Yaga’s home, making friends out of potential enemies. I love the comment “there are cookies everywhere.” It signals to us that the grandmother’s house is one of plenty. It is nothing for her to bestow extra gifts on the children and she takes joy in doing it. Like God, she is able to supply the children’s needs according to her riches and glory. She watches over them as they depart her house, no doubt praying for their safe return.
This contrasts sharply with the evil grandmother, Baba Yaga, and her house of lack, famine, and death. She takes more than she gives and lives to serve only herself. Last season, I introduced you to this frightening Slavic bugaboo and shared some of her key characteristics. Depending on the language of the story, Baba means everything from “old woman, hag, or grandmother… [and] Yaga … means horror and shudder…anger… witch, wicked wood nymph, fury, and serpent or snake.” She has bony legs and iron teeth. The imagery of bony legs is doubly reflected in her house, which traditionally spins around crazily on chicken legs. Both sets of limbs suggest that she is an all-consuming devourer who is never satisfied. She symbolizes hunger, death, testing, and elemental power. Stop me when you hear enough similarities between her and the enemy.
Baba Yaga is also one of those fascinating characters in folklore who bends to the needs of the storyteller. She can be relatively innocuous and help the hero or heroine on their quest if she is part of a trio of sisters. Yagas in three let you be. But when she is a star player in the story, she is usually meant to be a test of the protagonist’s character in the face of death. Will they give in to fear, anger, and apathy, only to be consumed in the end? Or will they be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, securing their escape through industriousness and steadfast wisdom? Fortunately, our heroine and her brother come from the latter stock.
Bravely, they command the spinning Izboushka, or hut, to face them and politely explain their presence to Baba Yaga, who, in this story, fills the entire house with her sprawled limbs, leaving no space for the children to move about freely. Yaga agrees to keep the children and reward them for “[satisfying] all [her] wishes” but promises to eat them if they do not. The uncomfortable thing is that one of her wishes is to eat them! The children realize this once they begin their tasks and start to lose heart. Their circumstances seem even bleaker when we realize that the jobs they are given correlate to the curses laid on humanity in Eden after the Fall.
Men were cursed with failure. The earth that once complied with gentle gardening became stubborn and wild and only by sweat and toil could anything be accomplished after this. The brother is forced to fill a tub with water using a sieve. Sieves are porous and used for straining. You can’t fill them with liquid. The brother is doomed to fail. The enemy waits to see the effects of failure on his heart. Will he become violent and controlling, or too terrified to try? Either way, the door will be open to destroy him.
Women were cursed with loneliness and longing. Eve feared that she was being left out of the bigger picture and this has followed her daughters in every age since. The term “spinster” refers to a woman who is unlikely to get married, even though she has the potential to do so. It represents a life unfulfilled, with much to give and nowhere to put it. It originated
during the late Middle Ages, [when] married tradeswomen had greater access to raw materials and the market (through their husbands) than unmarried woman did, and therefore unmarried women ended up with lower-status, lower-income jobs like combing, carding, and spinning wool…By the 17th century, spinster was being used in legal documents to refer to unmarried women.
Notice that spinning is the chore Baba Yaga assigns to our heroine. It is a mockery, an imposition of the enemy’s will on a woman’s life. He enjoys seeing the effects of loneliness and unmet desires on our hearts. Will we hide away the gifts God means for us to share out of insecurity, or will we dominate every area of our lives for fear of losing control and love? Either way, we prop open the door for our destruction.
I’m not saying you need to get married or have children to be fulfilled. That’s not true at all. What I am pointing out here is a device of the enemy used to keep women who are created for relationship in fear and bondage. Regardless of marital status, each of us can relate to the terror of being deemed unwanted and useless, excluded from adventure and community.
Our heroine begins to feel her loneliness and breaks down crying. The storyteller refers to her as an orphan at this point. Why? She has one living parent. If you’ll recall from our discussion in “Cinderella,” neglect is a form of abandonment. Her father is clueless as to what his new wife is doing to his firstborn children. He has probably tried to keep peace with her, and in doing so, damaged the trust between himself and the twins. But Psalm 27:10 says “when my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me.” The truth is that we no longer have to live under the rules of the curse because Jesus set us free by becoming a curse Himself (Galations 3:13). He fulfilled the law and conquered sin and death and set us free for freedom! “[Greater] is He who is in [us] than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). We have already won the victory by being children of God, protected under the blood covenant of Jesus’ sacrifice. Our challenge is to walk in the victory and not give in to the fear weaponized against us by the adversary. We meet it by girding ourselves with the truth that no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). It can be hard to remember this in the throes of battle, and that’s where encouragement from the other members of our company comes in, including the Holy Spirit, who calls to our attention the arsenal of promises we possess as God’s daughters. He pours into us, renewing our strength and giving us the right words for our difficult circumstances. Thus strengthened, we are then able to take the river of life flowing out of us and revive those around us who are in need of living water (John 7:37-39).
In the girl’s distress, she is visited by tender-hearted mice, who sweetly tell her not to cry and offer to help her in exchange for some of her cookies. Willingly, the girl obliges them and takes their advice. Her hope renewed, she is able to help her brother feed the birds who fly above them and apply their suggestion to his impossible task. This reminds me of Hebrews 13:2, which instructs us “to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” Mice and birds are often helpers and serve as angelic or Holy Spirit symbols in fairy tales. They are protectors and advisers for the protagonist, giving them wise counsel and illuminating their path. After rescuing her brother from despair and helping him stop up the sieve, the girl takes the advice of the mice and seeks out the black cat to alleviate his hunger in hopes that he will help them.
When we endure trials, it’s easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and our fears and forget that there are other people around us who need Jesus’ kindness and compassion, especially when those people are not saved yet. Jesus came for the broken, but we are usually more comfortable helping those who already know Him because there is less chance of them rejecting us. The ironic thing is, some of the most memorable and powerful stories of Jesus’ life involve Him stopping to speak to someone unworthy or unbelieving and revolutionizing their lives simply by meeting them where they were and being Himself unapologetically. He didn’t water down His message or pretend to be something He wasn’t in order to win people. The ones who followed Him ardently did so because He was genuine. That’s what attracts people to God’s children, too. They see that we are honest, have integrity, and treat people with kindness and respect, even when telling them hard truths.
When the twins find the black cat, they give him ham and pet him, showing him compassion. While they do want his help in return, they happily give him love because it is obvious that he needs it. Baba Yaga beats him and never gives him anything to eat, even though he faithfully serves her. Caring for those who cannot defend themselves is part of the job of an ezer kenegdo. Our fierce love can heal and encourage the broken hearted, equipping them to rise up against their oppressors. Jesus says that His “yoke is easy and [His] burden is light” (Matthew 5:30). The burden is love. We are meant to say and do everything from a place of love. It frees us to be kind without fear of being considered weak. Baba Yaga is all about intimidation and death. The children represent God’s love and abundant life. Fear divides. Love makes alliances. Just as the sister’s love encourages the brother and helps him complete his task, the children’s love toward the cat wins him to their side, and he agrees to help them escape from the house of death.
Suddenly, Baba Yaga returns home. While she is pleased that everything is done, it soon becomes clear that she unabashedly hopes the twins fail tomorrow so that she may eat them. There is no way to win this rigged game. This is not like last season, when Vasilisa needs to fulfill her time in the hut to pass into womanhood and find deliverance from her stepfamily. This is a cruelly rigged trap propped open by the stepmother’s permission for the enemy to destroy the siblings. The best thing the twins can do is get out of there.
Once Yaga rattles off her orders and departs, the twins take the towel and comb given to them by the black cat and fly into the forest. During their mad dash, they continue to spread healing by meeting the needs of all the creatures and objects that would have done them harm on the way. They repay evil intentions with love, giving the hungry dogs the last of their cookies and oiling the creaky gate. Our heroine even ties a beautiful ribbon to the birch branches to stop them from scratching their eyes out. Each act of kindness wins new allies for the children’s cause. In following the commands to love and be kind to everyone, the children demonstrate that they are worthy stewards who live beyond the curse of Eden, bringing healing where the enemy brought neglect and destruction.
Once they have left Yaga’s land, the cat pounces on the loom and destroys the threads the girl was forced to spin, delightedly shredding the last vestiges of the curse to pieces. Angrily, Yaga confronts him and her other servants about the escaped children, and all of them give her the same answer. We have been loyal to you for nothing in return. We would have destroyed them, but they were kind to us as you have never been. In caring for Baba Yaga’s neglected servants, the children have “heaped burning coals of shame” on their enemy’s head and she can’t stand it (Romans 12:20). Remember how mad Yaga gets when she realizes that the helpful Vasilisa is a blessed child of God? She doesn’t behave any better here. Seeing that her hoard has turned against her, Baba Yaga viciously snatches her broom and speeds off after her escaped quarry.
As the children race through the forest and a field, they hear the whistle of Baba Yaga’s broom behind them. Following the cat’s instructions, they fling the towel in her direction, creating a wide, blue river that cuts across the field, preventing the crone from crossing. In folklore and superstition, witches and water don’t mix. Witches represent death and water, life. From a spiritual perspective, evil cannot abide the Holy Spirit. In the last episode, we talked about demons searching for dry places to rest, places where the Spirit of God is not welcome (Matthew 12:43). Water also represents baptism, the physical manifestation of washing away a sinful life without Jesus, dying to yourself under the water and rising again a new creation in imitation of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Good luck getting a witch to participate in that.
A closer look at the children’s actions shows their united rejection of the curse of loneliness. Baba Yaga wants the girl to take the threads she spins and weave linen, a burial shroud for her empty, short-lived life. Instead, the twins toss the towel behind them as a symbol of the river of life flowing out of the sister. She has much to give and she will not be shut away before she can share what God has put in her with the world.
The children have made a wonderfully bold statement, but they aren’t safe yet. Indignantly hopping along the banks of the river, Baba Yaga locates a shallow point, vaults herself over, and resumes her furious pace after the siblings. This time, they throw the comb behind them. Instantly, a thick, impenetrable forest springs up, cutting off the witch from her prey once and for all. Like water, trees also represent life and rejuvenation. The most obvious spiritual example is the cross of Christ, which permanently separates us from the enemy, sin, and death. When Jesus is your Lord, you are sealed under the blood covenant transacted on the cross, and nothing the devil does can separate you from God.
In tossing the comb, the children jointly reject the curse of failure. Before the escape, Baba Yaga commands the brother to bring back “a large supply of firewood… from the forest,” reinforcing his weakness in grappling for what he needs from the earth. The forest unleashed by the twins is a symbol of God’s “power [being] made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). What we as humans could not do in the Garden of Eden, Jesus did for us on the cross. Paul says in Romans 8,
“He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In rejecting the curses of the Fall and walking in obedience to God’s will, the children win their freedom from death and arrive at their home with a new sense of authority. They are brave enough to recount to their father what their stepmother has done to them and remind him of the love and protection they have been missing from him since the arrival of his wicked wife. Their tender appeal awakens his heart and he removes the stepmother and her children from their home, devoting himself to his own family’s happiness and “never neglecting them any more.”
By furthering the creation of a community built on love and kindness, the children emerge from the tale victorious. We too are meant to develop connections with our brothers and sisters in Christ and share His love with everyone, even our enemies. When we do right by those who would abuse us, it is as powerful and shocking as if we’ve just dumped hot coals on their heads. We take them by surprise with our compassion and it might even cause them to rethink their lives and chase after what we have that makes us different and give us strength to lead revolutionary lives: the love of Jesus. By living the way He calls us to live we can strengthen the kingdom of God and do damage to the enemy. We have each been given a unique skillset by God to reach the people in our immediate spheres and beyond. Sharpen your sword, ezer kenegdo, and use the tools you have to set captives free and speak God’s kingdom into this earth.
Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode and rate the show on your favorite podcast platform. If you’d like to see what else is going on in the fairy tale forest or support the show, check out the Lost in the Woods Buy Me A Coffee Page. I’m Autumn Woods and I can’t wait to see you on the path next time you get Lost in the Woods.