Isn’t that just the cutest picture ever?! I’m not one to post pictures of my kids on the internet because, well, I value my privacy. But I had to share this picture because it is by far one of my favorites. It also illustrates my latest revelation quite nicely. You see, the past couple months for me have been hellish, to say the least. I am admittedly quite spoiled by God most of the time, and I do believe that I dodge the bullet when it comes to spiritual attacks more often than not. God has been good to me and I have noticed that over the past few years as I have drawn closer to Him, He has been my shield. Lord knows what all Satan has thrown at me that because of the Lord, I never even knew about. I can honestly say that everything I have gone through over the past few years has had a definite purpose and lasted no longer than it needed to for something heavenly to be accomplished in me. With that said, the pit the Lord allowed me to be thrown into recently was one of the hardest things I have endured in the past eight years or so, and seemed to last way past the point of breaking me. To family and friends, I owe the biggest apology because although I have not altogether abandoned my relationships, I have in the least ignored most of them.
Tonight, with a clear mind and heart, I can finally look at the past few months and venture to speak about them. I cannot pinpoint the moment darkness descended on me. I know that the Lord was showing me some things about the church and people that really hurt my heart and what began as genuine intercession for the body of Christ became quickly a judgment seat that I climbed up into and began pointing fingers from. And it seems that the moment Satan got a foothold in my heart and mind through my ugly self-righteousness, he began to warp my perception of God with subtle lies that seemed to be worth my anxiety and before I knew it, I was confused and afraid. I became desperate for truth but unable to relinquish the lies. During this time, my schedule was so full that I hardly had time to juggle it all and of course, I sacrificed my quiet time with God to do all the other things that seemed so pressing and necessary. Satan hit me with trick after trick, causing me to question things I previously knew that God had spoken. He sent person after person to attack me verbally and emotionally until I was numb. The torment of my mind was unbearable on days to the point that death sounded like a sweet relief. I did my best to act as normal as possible when I had to be around people, but I would come home and fall apart. Day after day I would tell my kids, “I have to have a moment to myself or I will not be pleasant to be around.” But that moment would last for hours, and they would tiptoe around me shooting worried glances between the three of us while I did all the mom-things in silence. I was on a precipice of despair and dangerously close to falling off.
I can look back at the past few months now and see that it was a pit. Not unlike a mud puddle. Seemed to be really deep while I was in it, but now it all looks so shallow. Just a trick of the mind Satan used to keep me there, I guess.
It reminds me of the prodigal son. You know, the guy who ran away from his father and squandered the gift. He then refused to come home because he knew he had blown it, and chose to wallow in the mud instead of asking for his father’s forgiveness. That was me. This time was really a grand display of God’s mercy and grace. He showed me the depth of my humanity and the strength of the weaknesses in me during this time. He allowed me for a time to walk without the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that I could see the ability within me to be holy. He humbled me by allowing me to see clearly my need for Him. But instead standing up and walking away once I was good and muddied, instead of allowing myself to be cleansed, I stayed there. Not with a smile on my face, but with deep conviction in my heart and gross condemnation in my mind. It was awful the things I believed about myself and the things I entertained about God during this time. It was a definite crisis of faith for me, which I humbly admit that it might possibly speak to someone else. I despise this truth, really.
I know that His Spirit is the only thing that saved me from myself during this time. There was a faint cry in my heart for Him in the beginning, but it wasn’t loud enough to shake me from my stupor. Over the course of weeks, however, it built into a roar that shook my entire being. I needed Him! I longed for Him with every fiber of my being. Still numb, I did all the things I knew to do to battle the enemy: I prayed without feeling anything. I sang without feeling anything. I read the Bible without feeling anything. Little by little, my senses were awakened to atleast my desire for The Lord. I reached for Him, but His rescue was not immediate. I knew once again that He was there, but I also knew that I was still in the mud and mire. I was still in the pit. I had to reach up to Him, but before I could, I had to release the mud and agree to be cleansed. That’s the part I was having such a hard time with. I looked at God and tried to reason in my own mind, “How can you cleanse me knowing I will probably just get right back in? I may as well just stay here.” I know now the danger of living in my own strength. Without Him, I can do nothing. My righteousness is as filthy rags. I know, because I have seen the mud I tend to wallow in. How thankful I am that we are invited to put on the righteousness of Christ!
Finally, I accepted that to be with Him again, to enjoy fellowship in His presence, letting go of my limited understanding of things and the sin that so easily entangled me was a must. I had to do it. I had to desire Him more than I desired things to make sense, more than I desired to understand Him. More than I desired anything else, really. And finally, I did reach that point, and I readily accepted His forgiveness as I was desperate to know His Comfort once again. And it was sweet! So sweet to be held by My Father, to be enveloped in His arms and assured of His love. So sweet to feel His Spirit embracing my heart, cleansing me of the dirt and restoring me to the shelter of His wings. Bless you, Lord, you are wonderful indeed!
Father, I pray for all those who are feeling hopelessly far from you. I pray for all those who are under intense spiritual attack by the enemy. Lord, you are our example and you are the most patient Father. You know what it is to be longsuffering toward your children. Though we cannot fathom the depths of your love, it does not change the way you feel about us. Father, even while my kids wallowed in the mud, I looked on them with love and compassion though I did not necessarily like what they were doing. I did not approve, but I did not condemn them for it. I pulled them out and cleaned them up because that’s what a parent does. How much better than me are You?! Lord, I pray that you would restore the fellowship of your saints, the yearning for You that draws us back to your heart. Encourage the weary. Restore to us the joy of our salvation. Release your light in the darkness, and allow us to be free in our minds from the attack of the enemy. I pray for a reprieve in the battle, that the thirsty may be quenched, the hungry may be fed and the tired may have rest. Father, you alone know what we can handle. Be our strength and show Yourself faithful for your own names’ sake. We adore you. Bless your holy name, Jesus. Amen!!