Battle Ready

by Amanda Stiner

Pushed: pulse
pounds in my ears, hear
the claws scraping
down my gown, rips grips--

pulled, ground
rushes to meet this bride to be--
forces unseen but believed
in, this is not why I came in
to this covenant: where
is my safe place, the embrace
of the One who gave me grace
before the wedding feast?

Torn: bleeding red into white: tears
blur my sight, batted back, stinging blows batter my back
groans rise unbeknownst. 

Attacked, pushed back to unwilling
knees, beg and plead
mercy cries from my chest--

How can this be? 
Where does my help come from? 

Thrust up, pushed up, standing
on shaking legs holding weight
I cannot brace: shame, pain,
burden that is breaking
all that I thought I was: a willing bride for you. 

Strong arms bind me up,
shore me up
pull, push, place
a breastplate, a belt
shoes, shield, sword. 

Now defended, now
offending the forces
upending me, bending me
not breaking me. 
The bride is ready to be
battling by her bridegroom's
grace, strength, by His place
in heaven: He is my shield--

my armor for this minefield
battleground. I've found
the army I can link to, the true
Bride, collective, bound
by blood bled before we
could ever see the fight before us. 

Now we are sealed, spared
prepared to fight
the fight before us
bravely and armored by
the One who owns the battle.