December 27, 2012

When the Enemy Attacks Your Mind: My Story

I thought long and hard about sharing this, but I had to because people need to know that the devil is real and truly seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.  I've met my fair share of people on Earth who I consider pretty close to devilish. I've heard people talk about how they wrestled with demons or the devil himself but until Christmas Eve (yes, three days ago) I had never had an encounter with the enemy as torturous as this. Sure, he'd whispered sweet nothings in my ear a time or two but never have I been agonized as I was this past Monday.

My daughter lay asleep beside me and I had eaten the cookies for Santa, so my belly was full and so was my heart. I was just enamored with Jesus as thoughts of him flashed through my mind. I prayed and was thanking God for transforming my heart totally within a year. I'd fought him for 29 years and in a matter of 365 days and more, I'd finally conceded to not living lukewarm after 12 years of finding Christ and running from my calling of being an evangelist. With my head on the pillow, I realized that I could not fall asleep. "God," I pleaded. "Please let me sleep. I just want to sleep." I tossed and turned and then I started to pray because something was weird. I could not breathe and I fought through breaths. I looked at my daughter sleeping lifelessly next to me and I got up and keeled over to pray even more. And that's when it happened (insert evil voice here), "Yes, so you was the best of friends to ________ and you see how he repaid you. So not your friend. Yes. God told you to help him but look where it got you. Trusting in God failed you."  "You try to help everyone but you get hurt in return, stupid girl. And you just threw your doctorate degree away, to pursue ministry. You got so close only to choose God!"  "You can't preach to anybody because you are messed up yourself. Your past is stained and no matter what God says you are still filthy. You're dirty. A wretch."

"But, my daughter, she loves me," I screamed moving my hair from my face. "My family, they, they l-l-love me. My best friend she is always there."

"Really, they do?" The voice chuckled as it got louder. So I buried my face in my pillow and started quoting scriptures and demanded it to flee. For the Bible tells us:  "So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).


This made me livid, "Excuse me, but my daughter, over there, laying near me -- she c-c-cares. She loves me like crazy and you know what, GOD loves me. Jesus loves me so much that he died on the cross and you, you coward, you GOT KICKED OUT OF HEAVEN so it sucks to be you. Now leave me alone. JUST LEAVE ME ALONE." I quoted more scripture in a rapsong fashion. I remember saying this: "Exodus14:14 StaycalmtheLordwillfightforyouIfGodbeforyouwhocanbeagainstyouRomans8:31. I DEMAND YOU TO FLEE." And then from nowhere I think this: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

I looked up and it was silent. I looked around the quiet room. I was shaking uncontrollably and I wanted to call someone but God whispered, "My child, you have just defeated the enemy with simply your faith in me and my word. Some cave in but you fought back. My child, I am here with you. Always."

Exhausted, I fell asleep in my Daddy's (God's) loving arms. When I awoke Christmas morning, my hair was a mess and my pajamas frumpled. I wanted to know why my mind was attacked, had I done something wrong? I shook the thoughts away, prayed to God and preceded with my Christmas plans and went downstairs to open presents with my daughter. As I opened my first gift from my sister it was this book:
Be Determined - Always
My FAVORITE book in the entire Bible - Nehemiah. A book on this prayer warrior who wept and cried out for his people with a desire to rebuild Jerusalem and restore spirituality.

Did you see the title and subtitle?  Be Determined: Standing Firm in the Face of Opposition. WOW! And God doesn't care for me? Really?

"Why did you get this book of all books?" I asked my sister.

"I overheard you yesterday talking on the phone about Nehemiah and I was reminded how much you love him so I went to get it yesterday from the Christian bookstore on West Broad," she replied.

My mouth gaped open as I realized that God was looking out for me through my "family" even though the enemy tried to tell me they did not care for me and I knew they did. I was AWESTRUCK. My sister got the book about 8 hours before my attack. God had ALREADY paved the way for me to see HIS glory and HIS plans for my life.

"What's wrong?" My sister asked.

"Nothing." I said. I wasn't sure that I wanted to reveal to her about the enemy attacking me.

I opened up the book and lo and behold this is what I read as the title of the first chapter:

 AMAZING.  Remember the enemy told me that "Nobody cares about you. So kill yourself." Now how can we say God is NOT real? This was NO COINCIDENCE at all. Had I taken my life as the enemy demanded, I would've never lived to see God's plan for me. God has been preparing me to be an evangelist and the enemy tried to take me out. I've been through a lot this year.  I lost a lot of friends and I gave my entire heart and life to Christ with NO regrets. Not one. I am another servant whom God is preparing to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to the world but since I have not set foot in a pulpit (well not to preach anyway) yet, what better way to make sure that I never spread Christ than have me kill myself.

That's why the enemy visited me as an attempt to take me out before Christmas and to create havoc for all who believe in Christ on such a holiday - a time of jovialty, merriment, and mirth.  Imagine how devastating that would have been if I were weak and doubting God. That's why it is important to guard your heart and KNOW who is GOD. If you don't then, you have NO ammunition to destroy the enemy with. If the enemy would've got me to kill myself then imagine how weak that would make me look as a Christian and the people who know me would question how could I do that when I appeared to be so strong in my faith. But I made the enemy look like a fool in his quest to taunt me by reminding him that HE GOT KICKED OUT OF HEAVEN. You see, sometimes you have to REMIND the enemy of his demise. He is exiled from heaven so he doesn't want ANYONE ELSE TO GET THERE. Don't allow the enemy to cheat you of your seat in paradise. Whatever God called you to do, it will happen in HIS timing, not ours. Just know the enemy doesn't want people on God's side and he will stop at nothing to avenge his pitiful cause.  But God will comfort you. And to further show how much he loves me, God had a prophetess speak these words last night:
Thank you, Woman of God!
So how can I doubt God? I believe we get attacked when we are closest to our breakthrough and the enemy sees that and attempts to thwart God's plans. The enemy will throw in his little monkey wrenches to stop God's magnum opus (great work) but he can't win unless you relinquish control. To further prove, his love for me, this was the first page of  "Be Determined" that I opened up to. Read the underlined print:
And God doesn't love me enough to tell me that the enemy "hurls ammunition" to trap us?  Why I was attacked, I don't know, specifically. I do know the enemy would rather I be dead than preaching the Gospel to save lost souls. I want so much to do that. It is my earnest desire. When I accepted Jesus Christ, I became a NEW creation. I am NO LONGER arrested by my past. I AM FREE IN CHRIST JESUS! God qualified and called me to preach. Despite my stained banner that I wave, God chose ME! I didn't and I even ran from my calling but no matter how far I ran, God pursued me.

As I mentioned before, I have heard of people being attacked but never experienced it personally. The enemy is real. The enemy wanted to hinder me from doing what God wants me to do so he attacked my mind. And what he did not know is that I suit up for the battle daily and thankfully, I never suit down before I sleep.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes (Ephesians 6:11). I stay armored. Ready for battle. Do you?

I close with this scripture: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13). Just as I am today and always, I stand.
I'm Still Standing!

December 16, 2012

God, I'm Suffering, So Where Are You?

Being a Christian does not mean being far removed from the hardships, battles, and strife of life. Oh no, we suffer the most once we make the decision to follow Christ. When I was a hot mess in the world, being an unpaid entertainer for the devil, it seems I rarely endured hardship. As soon as I dedicated my life and heart to Christ, calamity came from every corner. I was determined to stay steadfast and brave the storms because I know if Jesus calmed a raging storm in Matthew 8:23-27 then he could handle anything that rose against me.  Here are some "storms" I endured in my life and how I handled them:

Physical Abuse (Childhood) - I attempted suicide at the age of 8 by running into traffic. Not one single car hit me. As I got older, I realized that God did not want me to die for he had a great work for me that would manifest when I was older.  As I got older, I had to forgive and move past the abuse to grow into the woman God created me to be. I have every reason to be upset because of what happened to me as a child but I chose to be BETTER, not BITTER. God had NOTHING to do with me being in the hands of the wrong person, but EVERYTHING to do with who I became as a result of that mistreatment.  I figured, if Christ was crucified then surely I had to endure beatings in life (rather spiritual, emotional, or physical). Being abused caused me to be passionate about other victims of abuse, orphans and missions (the oppressed) as Proverbs 31:9 states: "Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice." I am an agent for the helpless and women finding their strength and not allowing life's events to corrupt who they are in Christ or who they can become.  I teach students in the public school system in the hopes of rescuing them from abusive environments. I am BOLD today and the voice that was silenced from the abuse now speaks louder than ever. We are commissioned for a great work. Look at our predecessor, Noah. He was an amateur and built an ark. Professionals built the Titanic and it sunk. God can take the ugliest picture and create a masterpiece from it. Just trust him.

Single Parent -  Sin kills. Period. No, it did not kill me nor my child., but it drowned me spiritually. Having premarital sex marred my life in more ways than anyone can imagine. I would go to church and pretend I was holy as a teenager and young adult but I was the devil's advocate for sexual impurity and when it came to the light, I was embarrassed. I got caught up and revealed - I got pregnant as an unwed mother. Now, what bothers me is society has this double standard that high fives males for sexual prowess and corners, annihilates, and humiliates women. The Bible calls that hypocrisy. Sin is sin no matter who does it and it  and its wages equals death. At some point, we have to get back to the Biblical stance on things (that's another blog in itself) and stop justifying sin as "mistakes" and "it just happened." Excuse me, but there is a lot involved in sexual activity and no one mistakenly undresses, right? Call it what it is -- SIN. After I had my daughter, I realized I would be raising her alone and as crushed as I was, I had to rise to the role and become mother and father to her. Again, God was there through it all. He held me during the days of doubt and reassured me that I was still his child. He carried me when I felt like giving up. I wasn't living the most committed life to him, but my heart was always with him and his precious mercy covered me. 

Toxic Relationships - Whew! I get teary-eyed just thinking of the men who drug me to hell and left me there as they went on to morally and physically corrupt more souls.  I placed many men before God and thus they became my idols. Jesus told us when tempted by the devil to idolize him that: "For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve" (Matthew 4:10). Not realizing I had falling into idolatry meant I had my fair share of heartaches from men and the soul ties that occurred from the meshing of our spirits outside the sanctity of marriage. I allowed guys to rob me of my self worth and esteem because I wanted to be liked and loved. Understand that love doesn't love anybody if it has never met love and known love itself - in this case God.  I was searching for love in all the wrong places, giving myself endlessly and relentlessly to men who I only mattered to them by what I could do and provide for them. Anyone can say, "I love you" because that is what they "feel" at the moment but love is not a feeling or an emotion. Love is what is there when all else fades; it's forever and to me God is the only one who has shown me the love that I truly deserve this lifetime. God was there to clean up the mess men left behind after they walked over all I was and left my carcass for the buzzards, figuratively speaking. But, alas, today is a new day and I am more of a woman because of what they did to me and I thank them for their attempts to slay me but like Daniel, I escaped from the enemies lair by the grace of God's covering. 

Unemployment - Imagine not being able to pay your bills and not knowing where your next meal would come from. This was me from 2009 -2010. Don't ask me how, but God provided a way for me to be comfortable without a job and I realized it was much needed as I was in spiritual overhaul. I needed a break from stress and despite my circumstances, I had much faith that God would sustain me in my darkest hour and he was there. People spent countless hours speculating how I was getting by, so if you're reading, now you know: IT WAS ALL GOD.

Depression - About two years ago, I began battling a serious depression. Now, I know it was an attack of the enemy but back then I thought it was time to commit me to the nearest asylum because I was always sad, ungrateful, bitter, resentful, etc. Years of unrepented sin had paid it's debt, as stated in Isaiah, I was separated from Christ: "Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. But there is a problem--your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore" (59:1-2).
As time progressed, I realized that in order to get back to God, I needed to be purged of all sins; I needed a spiritual cleansing. I was filthy on the inside and all that mess was hindering who I was to become. I didn't go to some nature healer or pay $200/hr to some shrink who has prescribed measures for my "issues." No, I got on my knees and cried out to God and I fasted. In due time, I was healed. I laid hands on myself since I was not active in any church at the time.  Note: I DON'T ALLOW THE LAYING OF HANDS ON ME BY JUST ANY PASTOR BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN THE TRANSFERRING OF SPIRITS.

Divorce -  Now it takes a lot for me to say this, but I am totally transparent. God has delivered me so why should I lie? Though I asked for a divorce initially, my ex-husband walked away from our marriage despite my desire to make it work until eventually I succumbed as well because he was not willing to allow God his rightful place in our marriage. My ex-husband was a wonderful man but he was not the "one" for me. I had backslidden when we married and getting married was our way of "living right." But you can't live "right" when your souls are wrong. A wedding ring is only an item, vows only words, and love mistaken as an emotion and feeling when you don't have God as the center of your marriage. The Bible says the husband "leads" and guides, well that was absent from our marriage and I was the spiritual leader and that is not the order of God, but according to the Bible, if the unbeliever wants out, Biblically supported:
1 Corinthians 7:13 The woman who has an unbelieving husband,
and he is content to live with her, let her not leave her husband.
1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now are they holy.
1 Corinthians 7:15 Yet if the unbeliever departs, let there be separation. The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us in peace.
I was not an advocate for divorce. I left because in my heart we were never married because we were divided anyway. The marriage was according to worldly standards and not Godly standards. But how was I to know what a Godly marriage was when all the women in my family co-habitated (shack up). I was too ignorant to know better so how could I do better.  I don't fault anyone but I desired to know how marriage and love works according to Biblical principles and now that I know better, I can do better.  Spiritual bankruptcy cashes no moral checks, so remember that.  A deficit is a deficit when the investment is counterfeit. Period.

Personal Illness -  Honestly, I wish this would be one of those miracles in Matthew, Mark, or Luke as the Gospels deliver in parables where Jesus heals me. I'd be that woman at the well or that sinful woman who desperately wants to touch Jesus for healing. Basically, I have an illness that is undiagnosed medically because there is no name for it. It causes me to lose weight and have gastrointestinal issues. No it's not Crohns or Ulcerative Colitis but it bares slight similarities and symptoms. I've been tested for all of that and still no diagnosis. My body dehydrates itself and I get lethargic, feeble, and exhausted. I constantly have to drink water and maintain fluids. No medicines, machines, or home remedies, etc. work for me. Prayer, however, does. The illness is very uncomfortable and I hate being sick but I am not one to complain. I still have life and I find it hilarious that in my sinful life, my gut never failed me in guiding me to do right but I dismissed it and now that I live holy and righteous the very thing I ignored is seemingly failing. Am I scared? No. God protects, guides, and leads me and I will live and worship him until life leaves me because he has my heart, body, and soul. And I meditate on these scriptures amongst many:

"Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise" (Jeremiah 17:14). and "O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me" (Psalm 30:2).

Those are major sufferings that impacted my life. But my struggles aren't over, I am sure. In this Christian walk, I am sure they are just beginning but note that for not one single mishap did I blame God for anything happening to me. Instead of blaming our gracious, perfect God, we, as wretched sinners should run to his loving arms for solace and the anticipation that if we submit and surrender to him, though he doesn't invade on free will, there's a lesson and blessing in all we endure until life leaves us.

The God that some create as a wrathful monster is one of love, grace, compassion, and mercy, above all else. God is a God of order as well. You will have to atone for your sin. You have to learn the importance of overcoming temptation and not giving in to fleshly desires. Instead of going through the things I went through, I hope people reading, heed my testimony and avoid those pitfalls. For what's the purpose of using a map if you're not following the directions?  It's all in vain. If you're reading this and living for God, LEARN FROM THE SINS OF OTHERS. We don't have to be victims of our past; we are victors who come boldly forth professing our undying love for a God who graces us daily.  Instead of cowering through storms, seek the ultimate umbrella - Jesus Christ. Cry out to him in your suffering. Jesus is a lifesaver and the devil is a lifetaker. Whom would you rather serve (Joshua 24:15)?

In light of the recent tragedy in Newport, CT, America is torn through tragedy. But listen, tragedy happens everyday. Why does it take massive amounts of murder or the senseless killing of innocent children and adults for us to mention God? Worse yet, to blame God for such a heinous individual act? The key word here is "individual." God is an entity above humanity, I believe, so why blame him for what a person "chose" to do. We choose to sin, remember? Murder is sin. Does not God hate sin? Yes, that is clear in the Bible. So, if God hates it, why would he make someone who murders? That answer is simple. He "gave" or "sent" Jesus to save us from our sins. But if you never acknowledge Jesus or develop relationship with him, you will pick up a gun and fire it away in anger, malice, or revenge. You will rape a woman who ignores you in a park because you lust for her. You will curse out an elderly woman who drives too slow, when you don't know Jesus. Instead of blaming God, I am led to wonder how many people in that community knew the assailant and never mentioned Jesus to him. For Jesus commissioned us to, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone" (Mark 6:15). With that aside, as a mandate not judgment, there's no need to play the blame game here, but there is a need to examine our hearts as to our role in being unashamed and sharing Christ (Romans 1:16). Are you doing that today? If not, commit to sharing Christ DAILY. True, it may not end acts of cruelty but we can have relief knowing we did what we are called to do, "[s]o don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today" (Matthew 6:34). In the midst of suffering, blaming, and feeling overcome with grief, we can return to our first love - GOD, through prayer. God is here throughout it all and he STILL sits on the throne.

As we hurt and suffer today and beyond, understand that the opposite of suffering is healing. Healing is the salve that God rubs on our wounds. No matter how deep they are, he's the perfect surgeon. A scar may remain but it's a reminder that God was there through our deepest hurts to ensure we were not alone.  There's no reason to fault God. God gives us free will and on Earth we have "good" and "evil" people. A lot of the hurt inflicted on you was on the behalf of "evil" people and had nothing to do with God. A person steal, kills, and destroys just as the devil they serve does. That's the enemy's agenda and we have to admit that being outside of God's will places us in the enemy's territory. As a matter of fact, it places us at his front door. Either you will knock or turn around and run into the arms of a love that's waiting there - GOD!

Yours in Christ,