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Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Little Thing Called Warfare... (August 25, 2008)

...spiritual warfare that is. I know, I know, some of you reading this are rolling your eyes right now, thinking to yourself, 'Here she goes again, talking about Jesus, and "christian" stuff'. Well guess what, you're right! If you're not saved, (meaning you've accepted the one and only Jesus Christ as your personal savior, and have asked him to come in to your life, and forgive you of your sins, and believe with all of your heart that he is the One and True God, who became flesh, died on the cross for all of man's sins, and rose on the third day.) then you probably don't really understand what I'm talking about, and possibly don't even believe that there is such a thing as spiritual warfare complete with Satan and demons. But, for those of you who are my Brother's and Sister's in Christ than you very well know what I'm talking about, and this blog is written to you, to share God's working in my life, so that all glory be to God!

I'll start from the beginning.

About a month ago my Pastor approached me after service and told me that he'd been praying about something involving me. He felt God's leading in asking me to pray over the possibility of leading a small class of our 6-12th grade girls in a small study. So I did. I started praying over the idea, with a bit of trepidation to be honest. (I've had a desire for a long time now to reach out to teenage girls both Christian and not, and try to help lead them the right way so that none would make the bad choices I did as a teenager, and as a result go through the heartache and misery that I did.) My Pastor set a date, August 24th, and told me that the study would be focused on the topic, "Choices", and he also wanted me to prepare a testimony for them. [GULP] So for over a month, through prayer, reading the word, and trusting that God would unfold his message to me, I was able to put together both my testimony, and a short study. [Praise God... because if I'd had to do it on my own, it would have been horrible! I don't know how Pastor's do it!!]

So that was the beginning. It all started with God's leading, and a lot of prayer! Once I accepted the challenge, and dove heart first into preparing, things started to happen, seemingly without end!!

-Not even a week after I started praying and preparing, divisions started to happen, (again) within our extended family.
-Finances got turned up-side down and our budget went out the window this month! Unexpected expenses popped up at every turn, "unexplicibly" of course.
-One of Richard's paychecks was shorted almost $300.00.
-My hours were cut dramatically, a computer error? Ha!
-My ex, being his usual self, issuing threats of court, and "suing" us.
-Medical bills increased from weekly, to almost daily, each ranging from a hundred to a thousand!!
-We were told we were being sent an application for a 3bdrm house renting for an affordable price, and even spoke to the owner, and it all sounded very promising, only to end in dead silence! No application, no phone call, nothing! Which left us very discouraged.
-Richard and I seemed to be stuck in a state of perpetual confusion, and a thick cloud of chaos seemed to enshroud us. To the point where we couldn't see clearly, and called upon our Pastor several times for clarity in situations we would normally be able to discern the truth right away.
-I got really sick for about 10 days, with stomach pains, and digestive issues, which pretty much wiped me out.

I know it all sounds pretty mundane, but only because I'm not going into great detail. All of the above happened, one right after another, at avalanche speeds, only adding to the stress level of two already, exhausted, parents of four struggling to make ends meet. All in all we had some pretty hairy, discouraging moments of shaken faith. BUT! Through it all, we relied on the LORD! In times of doubt or confusion we'd turn to prayer, and the word for clarity, and if we were still doubting or needed clarification, we turned to our Pastor. We never lost faith, even if it were shaky at times! We clung to Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" and even had to remind each other at times, but we came out victorious for Christ! Glory be to GOD!! <3

Then two very peculiar things happened in a 24 hour time span, two days before I was to give my testimony, and teach the girls.

Friday August 22nd I woke up with a pretty gnarly toothache! I've needed dental work for a while, but nothing immediately, until Friday morning! The pain was so bad that anytime I ate, drank, brushed, flossed, or rinsed sharp pain would shoot up through the tooth, through my jaw clear into the top of my skull! [Yikes!] I got an emergency dentist appointment Saturday morning at 10am. The appointment was to take X-rays, and check my teeth to see what was going on, and see whether it was a tooth problem or a gum problem. (A lovely side effect of 4 pregnancies in under 6 years.) So at my appointment the dentist came in, looked at the x-ray's, checked my teeth, (which nearly sent me through the roof!), and he told me we had to do a root canal right then and there! Every other time before when I've needed cavities filled, or a root canal, I've always had to come back another day to start any procedures. And I'm VERY familiar with dentists people... Nope, not today. It had to be, "right now"! A "major" root canal the DAY BEFORE I'M SUPPOSED TO TEACH AT CHURCH! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry in the dentist's chair, so instead I texted my Pastor and told him what was going on, and said that I would be at church to teach the girls even if that meant having to drool and mumble my way through the class! HA! The dentist kept saying something to the effect, 'I've never seen anything like this...' First of all I was way to happy for someone about to get an emergency root canal. I told him what I was doing at church the next morning, and it turns out he was a fellow Brother in Christ! [PRAISE GOD!] Half way through the root canal he had to stop because the pain was so severe, and the FIVE shots of novacaine were ineffective! (Another, 'I've never seen anything like this' moment for him.) Turns out the tooth was severely infected, which had to do with the ineffectiveness of the novacaine. (The dentist said, that when the infection is that bad, the pain is too severe to do even start the work. He's never started and then had to stop half way through the procedure like he did mine.)

Hmmm? I wonder who's handy work that all was? Satan perhaps? Absolutely! I've never experienced tooth pain that severe, and I've had a root canal before. The dentist had never seen a case like mine before, and he does it everyday! Definitely a spiritual attack by Satan and his demons! But once again, from the very beginning, I relied on God to lead me through, and turned to prayer for my strength! (Trust me if I'd gone it solo, I'd be a big whiny, blubbering mess!)

Another spiritual attack thwarted, and Glory given to God. I bet that angered Satan something awful! So far an entire month's worth of a $h*t-snowball didn't make me change my mind about doing the study. On the contrary it all only strengthened my resolve.

Saturday night I went to bed, root canal partially finished, and only feeling a little pain thanks to my good friend Vicodine, aka Hydrocodone. Then early Sunday morning, at 4:00 am to be exact I woke up crying, moaning, and writhing in agony! The pain came on suddenly and severely unlike ANYTHING I've EVER experienced in my life! Not even childbirth could compare to the pain I was experiencing! I've had many painful experiences all across the spectrum, and on a pain scale of 1-10, this was easily a 90! The best way I can describe it is this: It felt like I had the wind knocked out of me; someone was continuously punching me in the back while stabbing me in the stomach with a butcher knife from the inside out; a sever case of indigestion; and bleeding ulcers all at the same time! How's that for some serious pain? Having had stomach ulcer's, and pretty bad bouts of indigestion, Richard quickly brought me a large glass of milk, tums, and a banana, all of which would normally ease my indigestion right away. All three were rather useless! The pain continued to get stronger, and I was started thrashing more violently, grunted more loudly, (as it was getting harder and harder to breathe), and I'm pretty sure Richard was starting to get a bit freaked out, having never seen me in that state. I didn't know what to do, and he felt even more helpless, so I asked him to put his hands on me and start praying over me. Which being the amazing husband he is, he did. I continued to feel worse, so out of sheer desperation I started chanting: "I REBUKE YOU SATAN IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST! I REBUKE YOU DEMONS IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST! I REBUKE YOU SATAN IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST!" Almost instantly the pain started to ease up, and within a couple of minutes my breathing was back to normal, and the pain was 100% gone!! I've never experienced anything quite like that, and only one other time before have I spoken those words, but never in the midst of such severe pain, and panic!

Once again GLORY BE TO GOD!! I've heard stories of people waking up in the middle of the night with pressure on their chest as if some unseen monstrosity was sitting upon their chest, only to have it vanish after saying, "I rebuke you Satan/demons in the name of Jesus Christ". But never before have I experienced it myself.

A few hours later before church started, I told my Pastor about the incident, and his response was similar to mine. 'Really? Why such a strong attack for such a small church and a small group of girls? God definitely is at work here, if Satan is going to such great lengths to stop and discourage!'

The study went well, even though I was emotional through my testimony, and nervous for the rest of it, God poured down his blessings on all of us! Only time will tell what comes to fruition from the study itself, but the girls responded very well, so much so in fact that afterwards they were stumbling over themselves to find out from Pastor if and when I'd teach again, as well as sharing with their parents what we talked about. One of the girls even pulled me aside afterward to speak in private, which was one of my Pastor's hopeful prayers. Pastor spoke to me afterwards and asked me to be in prayer about another study, to follow God's leading and direction and put together another study, so that he can plug me in with the girls again. I spoke with my Pastor this afternoon, and he said both the girls' and their parents' were greatly blessed by yesterday, and he's excited to see God working in such miraculous ways! Honestly, I am too! God is so good, and I think I was more blessed by yesterday, and everything I've experienced over this past month, because I've been even more anchored in my faith, and my walk with Jesus Christ!

He is the Only and True Living God! There is NO GOD outside of Him, and knowing that he loves me is simply overwhelming!!

Now that I've written a mini novella, I'll leave you with this verse:
"A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:10-12