S-I-G-H and other Exhaling Sounds.

It feels good to share. It’s like exhaling after holding my breath for months. I mentioned in stories that I’m going to express some insights from my more recent struggles, but if you’re expecting some yummy tea spillage, that’s going to require a face to face over a real cup of Darjeeling. And honestly, the who and what aren’t as important as the why. First let me preface, I am a Christian and my entire life is not a battle of the flesh but of spirit. Everything I say will be framed by this belief. So that’s why I believe that no matter where you face opposition or stress, it always comes from one place. We can call it Satan, the devil, Lucifer, darkness, evil— all of it fits. So the details of who actually said or did what aren’t even necessary. I share to help others identify the enemy and learn how I claimed victory through this battle in hopes it helps another human soul. Others did this for me, and I’m just passing it forward. No battle secrets among fellow soldiers, right?

Now am I saying I wrestled with the actual devil? Well, not physically, but what is any attack through any vessel intended to do? To kill. To steal. To destroy. And can any human be used to do that bidding? Yes. But it’s still all the same common enemy. I’ve always told people who I counsel whether it’s over family disagreements or marital troubles, you have to identify your enemy before you can fight it, and the enemy is never the physical person standing in front of you. Even though they are the ones yelling, lying, twisting truth or withholding love, they are not the enemy. THE ENEMY is always the enemy. The one and only evil himself. (I’m guessing it’s ok to assign him a pronoun? 🙃) So for my intents and purposes when I speak of the enemy in my life. There is only one. Sure, he manifests in all types of faces, but I don’t blame those people. Well, I’m trying not to and sometimes that’s the best we can ask of ourselves in the moment.

Lesson One: Thanksgiving and Praise

I’ve learned so many lessons. I’ve pondered where to start. And I have to go back to the first and best lesson God taught me and that is to always begin with praise and thanksgiving.

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4

So first I want to thank God for all He has protected us from and added to us during these times. Our Church, the work that took the blood sweat and tears of our entire family, is thriving and those relationships are solid and have grown much deeper. Thank you God, You are the Good Shepherd. My own family relationships and my marriage are stronger than ever. We’ve been tested with fire and our bond is solidified. Thank you, God, You are a Good Father. Our business has multiplied and is growing in ways it never has before. Thank you God, my good Provider. We’ve had friends step forward and earn the title, family. Thank you God, my ever present Comforter. We have lost nothing, and I praise God for that. Not only have we lost nothing, but we have gained exponentially. We’ve gained deeper friendships, clarity of what true love really is, and peace of knowing what it feels like when God fights for you, all things we wouldn’t trade for the world. God is so good, and I am here for it all. Even when it feels a lot like pain, or a lot like pressing, I’ve learned that’s just what the process of new wine feels like. And God can squeeze me to bring forth a new harvest or a new perspective any time. As bitter as many parts of our journey are, this side of it is too sweet to ever wish any of it away. I know a new side of God, my Father— I know Him now also as my Champion, He fights for me. I love Him so much. My loyalty is and will always be to Him. So that’s an introduction and Lesson One: Always Begin with Praise.

My story isn’t new. It’s the age old story of Good vs. Evil and it’s not over, and it never will be over until the end of ends or the end of me, but until then my secrets of war are yours and I pray you can use these weapons I’ve found to slay your own demons and find an abiding with God unlike anything you’ve ever known too. I believe it’s what we are here for. So thanks for reading and stay tuned.

Lesson one: Always Begin with Praise. Let’s celebrate today. Comment below with how God has blessed you in battle.

Lesson two: The Pit of Despair and Other Dramatic Cliches.

Stay tuned.

See you next week.

-A

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