Recently I’ve been convicted about my prayer life. Some of this is coming about on my own and some of it was brought to light by last Sunday’s sermon. My prayer life has been more religion based lately than relationship based; God bless so and so, God bless our day, thank you for our day, be with so and so in their time of need….. that sort of thing - all the Christian catch phrases that we are all guilty of committing. I’m not really entering into some intense warfare in any of my prayers and there are people out there who could use some hacking through in the spiritual realm; including myself. I can remember vividly, twice, when I had to engage in some serious spiritual warfare in my mind over different aspects of my life. The first was with my pregnancy with Luke when the Devil whispered over and over and over again, relentlessly, “this baby will die, this baby will die, this baby will die,” and I had to come against those thoughts with prayer and the Word of God all day and night for a good month or so before I saw complete victory in this area of my life. The Devil did eventually flee, and I was able to rest in that perfect peace that God promises “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” Isaiah 26:3. It was tiring. I didn’t feel like doing the work most of the time, but as my unborn child’s mother, I just did it. I reasoned at the time that there was nothing in the world that deserved more of my time or attention in those moments than my unborn baby's life. The second time I came face to face with some serious warfare came in the summer of 2010 when I heard, not the words, “your husband will die” over and over again but instead, “you will be left all alone to care for these four fatherless babies - all alone, all alone, all alone” was the mantra I was taunted with day and night. The Devil knew that I had come to a sort of peace over the fact that my husband would find his healing in Heaven, but I had not experienced peace about being left all alone with four young children. I was scared out of my mind over that thought. Over and over again I cried out to God, throwing scripture in the Devil’s face, believing in and speaking God’s perfect peace to those who trust in the Lord, singing the hymn “It is well with my soul” and trusting in the promise that He had my life in His hands and that He would be my husband and the Father that my children needed. This took about 2 months of relentless warfare, and the Devil was forced to flee once again as I entered into that perfect peace as my late husband was escorted into his eternal home that August of 2010. In this life I have also been assaulted but it hasn’t been as traumatic, or I haven’t thought so until now. Lately I have bought into this quiet, snake like whisper taunting me with the words, “you will never be a real family” and because it hasn’t seemed as life threatening as a baby or a husband dying, I haven’t taken it very seriously, and I’ve actually allowed this thought to grow, like a poisonous weed, almost unknowingly and now it does sting as a thought that has been embedded with roots firmly in place in my heart. It’s a personal attack from the Devil at the core of one my greatest fears as a mom and as a family; I will never be “real” mom to some of my kids and Ryan will never be “real” dad to some of the others. It involves this idea that because we didn’t have children together, (and we don’t plan too unless the Lord intervenes miraculously) therefore we don’t have this idea of a “real family bond.” In the past few weeks we have been going through all of our old pictures and digitizing them. This is a HUGE process because between the two families there are probably thousands of loose pictures. It’s also a little stressful because it puts me in an ignorant position with some of my kids. I am mom but as their mom I am not aware of so much of their lives that is portrayed in these snapshots. As we come across picture after picture I have to explain to Ryan what certain moments are about, and he in turn explains to me the same. For example I came across baby pictures of my oldest Caleb sitting in a basket of baby books and it brought a smile to my face because I remembered how much he enjoyed sitting in that basket of books as a baby. I turned to Ryan to share the memory and as I was sharing it I noticed this blank look on his face - sort of an emotionless look. It made me sad; not because of the lack of emotion necessarily but because he had no reason to have any emotion about that picture - he wasn’t there. Just as I wasn’t there with so many of his memories and it brings me to this place of doubt about us as a family and the bonds that we have or don’t have due to a lack of emotion over so much of each others past. It corners me into this place of fear and stress that I don’t like living in. I’ve recognized these feelings as an attack, I’ve recognized it late in the game, but nonetheless, I’m in full battle mode now. Well, that’s not even entirely true, I have been weary, I don’t want to fight full force some days because I’m so sick of fighting. Ryan has recognized my weariness and has gone on the attack as the spiritual leader of our family in helping me battle these onslaughts and for that I am thankful. I am a woman, and I am raw when it comes to wanting so badly to have all of the same bonds that “normal” families have; whatever normal may be in this day and age, but normal was what I had before so that is what I compare what we have to now. We have to work hard - hard at our marriage without the bond that having a child can bring to the relationship and hard at our family - building bonds and love where one of us was not present for many of the early years. When the Devil comes at me with these still small whispers that come in the forms of thoughts, or anger, or self-pity, I am trying to be quick to recognize it for what it is; an attempt to steal my joy in Christ and in the blessing of my life with my family and it is an attempt to undermine what God has brought together for his perfect purpose and will in this moment in time. If you think of it from time to time, say a quick prayer, hold my arms up in the spiritual realm as I take back my peace and my joy from the ONE WHO GAVE IT ALL!!
Just Keep Livin!!