God put this on my heart late last night and I felt led to post it as a Facebook status. I'm copying and pasting here because my hope is it might touch those that need it.
Sometimes I accidentally step into a darkness that makes my stomach hurt.
I don’t watch the news, you know.
I’m too visual. Too imaginative. Just a few words and I’ve painted a picture that won’t go away. Just a single story of some awful thing; abuse, rape, pedophilia, murder.
And then there it is, burned in the back of my eyelids to see every time I close them until I fight it down, shout truth over it and go to war for the story.
I was a slave to fear. For a long time. And like an alcoholic does himself well to avoid liquor stores, I do not play with fire by consuming graphic horrors.
I remember the moment I first knew Jesus. It was a defining moment, a memory that lingered longer than was normal until one day the Holy Spirit spoke to that deep rooted place of my soul and told me that was the day He first held my heart. My Nanny was visiting and sharing my bed. I was seven I think, maybe eight. I laid on my full size mattress with her, much past bedtime, while my toes brushed against her nylon gown and I marveled at her skin that smelled of Avon and felt like loose elastic.
She told me a story, about Solomon and his wisdom and two prostitutes fighting over a baby. I remember even then feeling the great loss, imagining that dead baby and the terror of the live one being cut in half. And I knew what a wise king Solomon was, and how wicked the other mother was, willing to have someone else’s child sawed in half in response to losing her own.
And somehow in that night, I heard about Jesus and salvation and it struck me as truth.
It wasn’t at some camp when the music was blaring and the altar was open. It wasn’t after a week of Vacation Bible School or after a childhood full of happy Sunday lessons.
No, there’s nothing romantic about my come-to-Jesus story. Maybe the softness of the nylon and the sureness of my nanny. Maybe the fact that as she spoke, I faced my side table fiddling with some medical tape I’d stuck on the aged wood. I remember turning the tape into a cross, overlapping one piece over the next.
It was not an overwhelming sense of love that lead me to Jesus, it was an awareness of wickedness, and a desire to instead live in the security of a wise King. At seven years old, or maybe eight.
I didn’t realize the oddity of that until much, much later.
And while I grew up with the knowing of grace and forgiveness and never really struggled with that idea of unworthiness that Christians so often carry, I had my own chains.
This is a very dark world. I see it, all the time. Tonight, I saw a friend on facebook sing a song so lovely that it moved me to tears. Her voice rose and fell, strained in all the right places and I couldn’t make out the lyrics but it didn’t matter because they were only trappings to the gift displayed. But I was curious, because I am that way. And I searched the song, unfamiliar as I am to secular music. I found it, then I found myself watching a video of a child in a nude leotard dancing around a room. She looked naked, and her eyes were unsettling and I thought, “What is this darkness?” so I dug more. I found this Sia, so embraced, was making a statement about some dark something. Either she hated it or celebrated it, I’m not sure but even if it was a protest, it was a strange one with this girl in little to nothing dancing in video after video.
I felt confused and I felt sick because in my life and in my world 12-year-olds do not wear heels like that or make up like that and they have no mind to move their body like that.
In my world a rooster crows in the morning and a baby cries in the night and through it all, the bible lies open to the last place I was reading.
It’s not like I was always this way. I was just going about life once. I never thought about revival. I didn’t have to google popular artists and I wasn’t routinely assaulted with music videos that left me reeling into the night, typing feverish nonsense into my laptop in a dark bedroom with a sleeping husband and son. But I did lose sleep. I did stay up often after nightmares, I did have occasions of a shaking in my hand and a tightness in my breathing that assured me Fear was tightening his grip.
Until I learned his name and told him to flee in Jesus name. And he did.
It was rather simple, but I found myself in the wilderness like an Israelite delivered of Pharaoh. My anxiety gone. My worries gone. My constant feeling of failure and terror completely gone. Deliverance in the most super-natural way. I wasn’t going back to Egypt. So I wandered, relying on God to get through. Renewing my mind with what I fed it. Until one day, I stepped into the promised land.
Listen, I get it. Anytime someone hears the world “minister”, the language changes. People stop saying things like “Shit” and start saying things like “The Lord.” And I just want to tell them, you know Jesus loved the tax collector. He saw Saul of Tarsus and said, “Oh yes, just what I need.” He lent His hand to the adulterous to bring her up from the stoning. I say this to tell you, this isn’t some high horse I’m preaching from. It isn’t some superiority where I turn my nose up because I don’t listen to that secular music. God only ever gives us wholeness to have a solid place to plant our feet when we reach out into brokenness.
Tonight, I write, because I am more than a conqueror. And as I read about that little girl and I watched those videos, basted with the flavor of pedophilia for whatever statement it meant to make, I felt fear knock on my heart. I felt that slimy thing whisper what he’d like to do to my kids and instead of inviting him in for a cup of tea and a chat, I pointed to the blood smeared on my door and watched him run away.
Then I turned to this, what platform I have, to wage war against Fear and the twisted game of the enemy.
I don’t even know why. Half of my readers follow for the chicken talk and the pictures of farming. The other half are here because of a tornado and either way, I’m here to tell you that you can claim that same Blood.
Against that worry and that fear and that lie. Against that sucking darkness that has been defeated by a wise and faithful King. Oh! You are not a failure. You, who measure out your quiet time with God and chastise yourself for not reading The Word enough. You who remember your divorce or your jail time or the doubt you hide underneath the position you hold.
Draw that secret thing out and let God set it ablaze.
I was afraid of the diagnosis they gave me. When they said I couldn’t have babies. When they said my kidneys would fail before I turned 30. Until Deuteronomy 7:14
You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. And then Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
I was afraid to walk through parking lots because I read a story once about a woman who was hit by a car after she put her son in his car seat. She died, and I imagined my sons watching that happen. Until Psalm 91: 9-10. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you.
I was afraid I would lose my kids. That there might be some misunderstanding. Some crazy accusation. Until Psalm 84:3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven's Armies, my King and my God!
I was afraid of not having enough, of shut off notices and bills we couldn’t pay. Until Philippians 4:16 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
And I was afraid of man. Of being rejected, mocked, called crazy. Of saying words like prophesy and having them roll their eyes. I was afraid of being wrong. Until Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Let the light shine in.
Really. Let it shine in.
And be prepared because when it does, you will not be the same. The soul craves the light and the darkness becomes a sickening thing. And after months or years or however long it takes, you will find yourself so brazenly fearless that you will be the one the enemy hides from.
Whoever this is for, I pray right now it finds you. I pray you resist the devil and his attempts to scare you and I command him to flee from you now, in Jesus’ mighty name.
I pray that you learn to embrace your heightened awareness of darkness. You, with your deep, knowing of things that go bump in the night, the way your mind goes to the worst case scenario. I’m telling you now, God custom made you for a purpose. And you may not be able to watch the news because of how it turns your stomach, but if you give Him control over this thing, you will be amazed at the walk He has for you.
After all, awareness of wickedness leads people to glory. I know because it happened to me. When I was seven, or maybe eight.