Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. Proverbs 18:21
Stolen! Robbed! Betrayed! Hurt! Let Down! Ignored! Murdered!
These are all feelings that have hit me it seems like back to back to back! I raise my head above it to catch a breath like someone coming up out of the water only to go back down again and hold my breath. That last word, murdered, doesn’t really seem to fit because I’m still alive. But, then, it does. I typed it, deleted it, then typed it again . . . and again. That’s how I’ve felt about so many things in my life. Out of my mouth my lips that struggle to form a smile say, “I’m doing good . . . God is so faithful to me and my kids”. I mean that, but God knows that I still struggle with whether I really believe it all the time. Just a year ago, I was praying the most passionate prayers I had ever prayed in my life. I would speak the word of life and healing over my husband who was battling cancer. I would speak that blinders would be removed from those I knew were being deceived by the enemy of their callings and future. I would walk around my house and declare the “promises” of God over every evil that had hit my family and my friends. Then, another call. Disastrous news would come. With every call I would question, in my mind, whether my prayers were reaching heaven, but I didn’t dare speak my doubt where the “prince and powers of the air” could hear and think they were winning.
In January I was fired from my job. The thing is, it was far more than a job, it was where I believed God had placed me to serve Him and the Body of Christ, the Church. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. At the time, my husband was in the final weeks of his life and would lose his battle over cancer just three weeks later. Everything I had been praying and believing to happen didn’t. In fact, just the opposite was happening.
Now, I began to question God, but still in my heart, I trusted Him. I didn’t believe that this was Him letting these things happen and there must be some plan that I cannot see. I do know that my enemy is not God, but Satan, but I thought that my prayers and the “authority” I believed I had in the name of Jesus would conquer the attacks that were clearly from Hell. That’s what I’ve been taught all my life growing up in a Christian pastor’s home. I spent more time praying for my husband, declaring his healing by quoting scripture and singing and worshipping that last week of his life while he laid in that hospital bed in our living room struggling for every breath. Now, I struggle with regret that I didn’t sit right by his side the entire time and talk to him because that was my last opportunity. One by one, I began to see things happen that were the exact opposite of what I had prayed, declared and believed.
My PASSION (strong feelings or a strong belief) was replaced with DOUBT (a feeling of uncertainly or lack of conviction). Then my conversation and my prayer life changed, drastically. I can honestly say that I’ve not ever stopped believing that God is a Good Father who loves me and wants the best for my family. I trust Him. The song that has hit us every time we hear it is, “King of My Heart.” The words, “Your never gonna let, never gonna let me down”, hit us every time we hear them, and we believe that He won’t. But my struggle has been in how I pray and how I confess and what comes out of my mouth when I’m trying to encourage someone else. When I hear that someone has a terminal diagnosis, my faith to see them healed has decreased more than I can convey. I’m just being gut honest with whoever is reading this right now, as well as with myself. I still pray, but in my heart, my belief has been, “whatever is going to happen is going to happen and it really doesn’t matter what I pray”. My prayers have no longer been believing strongly that what I speak will come to pass, but they have been riddled with a lack of conviction about what I really believe. My conversation is that we must accept that bad things are going to happen.
Defeat . . .
There’s an old song called, “The Warrior is a Child” that says,
“They don’t know, that I go running home when I fall down.
They don’t know, who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword and cry for just a while,
cause deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child.”
I’ve been dropping my sword a lot lately and just crying. I’ve been laying my heart out before God not understanding why He would allow this to happen when I know I’ve just wanted to serve Him. I tell Him all the good things I’ve done for Him, so why would He let this happen to me. But my “things” are really nothing compared to what He has done for me. Yet, He loves me. He wipes my tears. He reassures me that I’m going to be alright.
He holds my head up when I don’t have the strength. He shields me from the enemy when I must “drop my sword and cry for just a while.” He loves me. I am His.
Today, in my prayer time, I realized that I must get my fight back. It’s time to pick that sword back up! What is my sword? It is the WORD of God. There are a lot of “words” clouding my vocabulary and suffocating my thoughts, but there is only one WORD that I need! His WORD, every word spoken by God and through Jesus is YES AND AMEN! “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ, and so through Him, the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” The enemy has made me look at those promises so differently. The same scriptures I’ve quoted to encourage someone else in their time of need have grown cold. While I tell my Father that I trust Him, I’ve seemed to have lost my own fight. But, enough is enough. The same passion and fervor that I had to believe that God would heal my husband has to come back and I must allow it to. Some of you reading this saw me pray over my husband and weep as I rehearsed the promises of God. There is someone reading this today and you know exactly what I’m talking about. You may be walking around with a smile on your face to keep everyone around you from knowing the pain that is pressing on your chest to the point you feel it may burst. I know that pain. I understand the cloud around your mind that makes you drive from one place to another and realize you don’t even remember how you got there. I know the thoughts that come at you with the force of bullets and you start to speak but your words are all discombobulated and you laugh at yourself, so no one will realize that you are not OK, and you need peace to overwhelm your wounded soul. I know.
Jesus warned His disciples that terrible times were going to come. In Matthew 24, He lays out a gloom and doom story like no other. He tells them that they will see a day that because there is so much evil, many hearts will “grow cold.” I realized today that my prayer life has grown so cold and maybe my heart. Yes, I’ve prayed. Yes, I’ve spoken words, willing myself to believe, but fighting that doubt inside. My passion has been replaced with complacency. I thought I knew what complacency was, then I looked up the definition and it hit me where it hurts, the truth bomb area. Complacency means, “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” That word, “self-satisfaction.” In my effort to survive the pain, accepting the “Que Sera Sera” attitude of “whatever will be will be” has satisfied me into accepting my circumstances. Yet, it blinded me to the fact that the enemy is using it to keep me from praying passionate, faith-filled prayers! He’s trying to shut me up!
I’m no danger to my enemy crying over my dropped sword looking for words of comfort and forgetting that God called me for war!
I remember when God gave me that word, “Militant”. It was one of those years that everyone was talking about “praying for God’s word for them for the year.” I thought I’d better get a “word” from God, too, so I asked Him. God, what’s my word for this year? I had just started working at a new church and there really wasn’t anything that I could see in the natural that would make me understand why He wanted me to write THAT word down. He seemed to be answering my prayers and I was in the best place in my life that I had been in a long time. But I wrote it down, nonetheless. I would learn to understand why He gave me THAT word. And, it wouldn’t be an easy lesson to learn. He would teach me over the next several years that he wanted me to be militant in my prayer life. Militant means, “engaged in warfare or combat: FIGHTING.” It also means, “aggressively active: COMBATIVE”. We are in a war. But you know what the opposite of militant is? It’s ambitionless, nonassertive, unaggressive. The last three words have been more descriptive of me over the past 11 months. Everyone tells me how, “strong” they think I am. But they don’t know . . . the warrior is a child. I hate to admit that, but I hope you hear me, especially if you have lost your fight. I have not stopped praying. I have not stopped speaking the Word. I have not stopped seeking to find God’s purpose for my life and where He would have me go in the future. No, I have not given up on Him. But I lost my fight.
I have felt like CHRISTIAN in the book, “Pilgrim’s Progress” when he fell into the “Slough of Despond.” It was a “place of hopeless depression”, according to one author. He asked the man who pulled him out of the Slough of Despond, a man named, Help, why would this place not be mended when “The King” knows that every traveler has to pass this way on their journey to “The Celestial City”? Why would he not remove it? That’s like us asking “Why” do bad things happen and “Why” doesn’t God prevent it? I love the answer that “Help” gives to “Christian”:
“This miry slough is such a place as cannot be mended: it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run; and therefore, it is called the Slough of Despond. For still, as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there arises in his soul many fears and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place: and this is the reason of the badness of this ground. It is not the pleasure of the King that this place should remain so bad”.
“Fear, doubt, discouraging apprehensions all get together and settle in this place and this is the reason for the badness of this ground.”
I’ve ended up crying more than one time talking to a doctor at a physical, or a person calling me to ask me questions regarding my medical insurance. When the question of, “Are you depressed?” is asked, I answer no, while the dam of emotions begins to break inside me and the tears begin to flow and I’m helpless to stop them. I got a call from my medical insurance company, just this week, and the caller had to ask me “canned” questions to update my profile. When she asked, “do you ever feel like you are in a dark place or sad?”, followed by, “please answer: never; once or twice a week; more than 3 times a week or I’m always in a dark place”. I sat in complete silence for what seemed like an eternity because I knew that if I let one word out of my mouth, I would start crying. That’s what happens. Then, I wanted to answer, “Never”, because I am, of course a Christian and I am far from hopeless and “God’s Got This!” . . . Right? Yet, my emotions would betray me as the caller realized that, “This chick is not ok.” So, I went with “once or twice a week” and I tried to explain to her that I wasn’t a crazy lady, just grieving and “I’m normal”. Now she was silent for some time and she responded, “You’re breaking my heart.” I did as I always do and held my breath, so the emotions would subside, and I could talk normal (or through a fake giggle and apology for crying) and finish this conversation without having her refer me to a psychologist. Again, my head is down, sword on the ground, and I am a child.
I do not wish to imply that it is not alright to grieve when you have lost much. I’m not whipping up on myself because I’ve been sad more than once a week. I am “normal”. My sister is my cheerleader when I apologize because I start to cry when we are doing something that is supposed to make us feel better. She encourages me when I tell her about my regrets that I can’t seem to shake. I’m thankful for her and all the amazing family and friends in my life that let me be me and don’t expect me to be strong. What I am saying, has nothing to do with that. I’m saying that you shouldn’t let,” “Fear, doubt, and discouraging apprehensions “get together and settle” in your heart and mind causing doubt and depression to take up residence and cause you to lose your FIGHT! So, if you are grieving and, in the place, that I am in at this time, hear the Word of the Lord! Pick up your Sword that says, “He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; many will see it and fear and will trust in the Lord.” My strength, your strength, is in The Lord and Him Only!” Our Sword says, “The Lord is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed.” I tell you what He says in Isaiah, “With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”
It’s time to get our fight back in our prayer room! It’s time to believe that what God has promised, He will do! It’s time to pray militant prayers and believe in the promises of God for your life! It is not time to give up, give in, or sit back and take what the enemy dishes out! It’s time to storm the gates of Hell and tell Him, “Not Today Satan!” Today, I walked through my house for the first time in almost a year and declared that “No weapon formed against me shall prosper!”  I began to feel the tangible presence of God around me, holding me up. I began, afresh, to know that my words and my declarations still move Heaven and earth and that my prayers make the devil flee! I hope I’m speaking to someone today. See my enemy knows that He couldn’t take me out with the enticement of overt sin. So, he has tried to get me with the sin of fear, doubt and discouragement. He’s held me down for a while, now, but I’m not tapping out! Yes, I’ve been saying good things about the Lord. Yes, I’ve been trying to encourage others in their pain. Yes, I’ve prayed. But I had lost my FIGHT! NO MORE! I’m telling all of you that are battling depression and questioning whether God even hears and answers prayers anymore, “THAT IS A LIE FROM THE PIT OF HELL!” Pick up your sword and get back in the fight! I’m praying for all of you as you pray for me.