Sunday, November 8, 2015

Day Eight: The Battle You Don't See

Woman #1
He hit her again and she winced and pressed her hand against her cheek. She couldn't figure out how she hated her boyfriend and loved him so much at the same time. Why did she kept coming back to him? Her distressed family and friends demanded an answer. She didn't know how to explain it so they'd understand. He needed her--she felt sure of it--and one day he'd change... wouldn't he?

Woman #2
She'd become a Christian as a little girl, grew up in the church and knew what was right and wrong, but she couldn't shake the overwhelming desire to take things from people's homes when she was visiting. She didn't need these objects and she didn't even know why she did it, except that it made her feel powerful. She felt she should stop, but there was little conviction in her heart. So she resigned herself to the fact that it's just who she was.
Woman #3 
Having the abortion hurt so badly that she packed up the experience into a far corner in the attic of her mind. She refused to feel that kind of pain again for what she'd done. She'd been overwhelmed by the responsibility of motherhood, so who would blame her? Years of justifying her choice ensued. The next pregnancy slammed her face to face with that old memory. But, she'd survived, hadn't she? There was no other option. She'd simply have to have an abortion again. 
Woman #4
Those big, brown eyes stared up at her with the same wounded expression as the last time... and the time before that, when she'd lost her temper with yelling and name-calling. Even though she couldn't visibly see the damage her words and tone ravaged on his young heart, and even though she'd repented to God and apologized to her child, her own corroded and unchangeable heart seemed locked with a key that she couldn't find. She returned again to spew her frustrations and anger upon a small human who didn't deserve it. She agonized over the mother she'd become. Feelings of defeat and depression were inescapable.
Woman #5
She felt proud refusing the slice of cheesecake at the bridal shower, but on the way home she couldn't resist the pull toward the doughnut shop. She promised herself this would be the last box of doughnuts she'd eat all by herself. Tomorrow she would go on a diet, the one that had gotten her some male attention. But as she licked the last bit of icing from her thumb, she knew she was stuck in a habit that seemed like an endless pit she'd never be able to climb out from. She hated herself.
Each of these stories are true. Can you relate to any of them? Why do we have cyclical sin? Why do we keep returning to old habits and put ourselves in aggravatingly repetitive or even dangerous positions? It's because we have an enemy who's always looking for someone to devour, especially someone who is cleaning up. Don't believe in Satan? He's as real as God. Not as powerful--not even close--but very real. (I Peter 5:8) The disgusting evil that leads people to decapitate their fellow humans in the name of religion, comes from the same source that stealthily taunts those who feel tucked safely in North America. The voice of God is sometimes met with an opposing voice that spews flaming arrows. (Ephesians 6:16) Who will we listen to? We have a choice. We always have control until we allow the enemy to take a foothold in areas we give over. (I Chronicles 21:1) He can't have our souls, but he can try to make life miserable for us and render us ineffective, if we allow it. How can we stop him in his tracks? Prayer!
Prayer is the very thing that can put an end to the cycles of sin and destruction in which we live. Priscilla Shirer, in her book, Fervent, says:
Even though he's been given temporary clearance to strategize and antagonize, we don't need to pray from a position of fear or weakness against him. Quite the opposite. You and I, coming to the Father through the mighty name of Jesus, can pray like the victorious saints of God we've been empowered to be. And we can expect to prevail. But we can't expect to experience this power unless we're serious about joining the battle in prayer.  
I don't know about you, but I have gone through waves of walking out in faith on the water with Jesus, and waves of hunkering down in the boat while the storm rages all around and not understanding what's going on. Little did I sometimes realize how still that weather could have been (or how peaceful I could have felt) if only I had trusted that prayer would really work! There's a battle we don't see, except for the skin it hides in: pain, self-hatred, weakness, abuse, addiction, etc. I think I'll ride the wave of faith once again as I learn more about prayer and do it. I've watched cyclical junk disappear from my life before and I'm ready to be victorious in the vanishing of other strongholds. What about you?
 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18
 trusting in the Lord to protect and heal when we didn't know why Oliver fainted twice at homeschool co-op (what you don't see is a big group of women praying over my son just behind the paramedic-best place for something to go wrong-where women know how to pray!)
 I knew he'd want a pic of his beloved ambulance :)
the long and boring hospital wait
all is well
he was getting an infection and was very weak
praise God!
learning to read God's Word for himself

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