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Warrior Princesses

Warrior Princesses

“Me, a princess?”

“You are the legal heir.”

“I never lead anyone.”

“We will help you to be a princess, to rule. If you refuse to accept the throne then the kingdom will cease to exist as we know it.”

The Princess Diaries

In God’s name, we must fight them! — Joan of Arc

Women are often portrayed in stories and tales as the Damsel in Distress. We are the ones for whom men rise up and slay dragons. We are the “weaker sex,” said to faint at the sight of blood, needing to be spared the gory details of battle whether on the field or in the marketplace. We are the ones waiting in our flowing gowns for the knight to come and carry us away on the back of his white horse. And yes, there are days when a knight in shining armor would be most welcome. We do long to be fought for; loved enough to be courageously protected. But there is a mighty strength and fierceness set in the hearts of women by God. This fierceness is true to who we are and what we are created to do.

Women are warriors too.

There is an old tale of an invasion against the Vikings, who were the first Europeans to explore North America and settle here some seven hundred years ago. Gail Collins writes in America’s Women, “When the Viking camp was attacked by Indians, causing the male defenders to flee, a pregnant Freydis grabbed a handy weapon, took out her swollen breasts, ‘and whetted the sword upon them’ according to a Viking chronicler. The sight of her so unnerved the war party they ‘became afraid and ran away.’” What a woman!

I’ve already told you that when I was a little girl I used to love World War II movies. How I longed to be a part of them. Not the movies themselves, but the real thing. I wanted to be part of something noble and grand and heroic and good. Didn’t you? I am not alone in that deep longing. During the Civil War, more than four hundred women disguised themselves as men so that they, too, could fight alongside their husbands, fathers, and sons. History is laden with stories of women rising up to defend their families, their land, their honor.

In the mythic story The Return of the King, Éowyn, battle maiden of the Rohirrim, disguises herself as a man and rides to war, joining her kinsmen in the greatest battle of her time. She rides beautifully, and she handles a sword with deadly skill. In the thick of the battle, she fights heroically. Tragically, her uncle the king is attacked by the leader of the enemy’s army, and as he swoops down to finish the king off, Éowyn steps in to block his path. She will not allow her uncle even to be touched by the evil wraith.

“Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!”

A cold voice answered: “Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shriveled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.”

A sword rang as it was drawn. “Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.”

In the battle that follows, the wraith is assured, cocky even. His strength is greater, his weapons more deadly. He boasts of an ancient prophecy, proclaiming, “Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!” And it is here that Éowyn is finally and fully victorious.

It seemed that Dernhelm [Éowyn] laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter… Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”

Éowyn removes her helmet and lets her hair fall free. She declares herself “no man” and fighting as a woman, slays her enemy. Something critically important is revealed in this story. Women are called to join in the Greatest Battle of all time — the battle being waged for the hearts of those around us. The human heart is the battlefield. The war is a deadly one; the results devastating or glorious, but always eternal. We are needed. There is much to be done. The hour is late. But we will only be victorious when we enter in with our feminine hearts — when we battle as women.

Redeemed women of God have tender, merciful hearts, backbones of steel, and hands that have been trained for battle.

There is something incredibly fierce in the heart of a woman that is to be contended with — not dismissed, not disdained, but recognized, honored, welcomed, and trained.

“There is a strength in you. I see it.” — William Wallace to the Princess in Braveheart

Excerpted with permission from Captivating by Stasi and John Eldredge, copyright Thomas Nelson.

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Your Turn

There is a strength in you. Men and women! Did you know that God created you to be a warrior? If that calling doesn’t sound like it is meant for you, just think about how your spirit rises up when you are made aware of injustice, prejudice, or abuse. Doesn’t your soul cry out and long to make it right? There is strength in you that is from God and He’s calling you to step into it! Come join the conversation on our blog! We want to hear from you. ~ Devotionals Daily