“Buckle your seatbelt, Gal. And get ready. Satan won’t like this! You better guard your heart.”
Pam Case, the director of LifeWay Women (at the time), said those words to me as she threw her rental car into park. I was tracking with her. Or so I thought. What Pam was trying to prepare me for was the journey ahead. I would soon be serving Christ more publicly through our publishing partnership. What she understood that I did not was the enormity of the good fight of faith awaiting any sincere follower of Christ who surrenders all to follow Jesus AND to help liberate others. Little did I know, my entire life and ministry were mere threads away from shredding to pieces.
Oh, the brokenness! Oh, the confusion! Oh, the torment! Oh, the disillusionment and hopelessness!
You probably already know this but I needed a refresher: Sometimes we think we’re stronger than we really are. Not only was my thinking legitimately naive, I was flat-out pridefully blind. When the Bible says, “Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall,” it means it (1 Corinthians 10:12). I fell so hard into the fiery furnace of affliction that I, at times, loathed my life.
Yet, it wasn’t until I was thrown into the fire that I saw myself. The real me. The raw me. The one who, when “sifted like wheat”, needed a powerful Liberator to free her captive heart more than she ever conceived.
And, boy, did He ever.
Last November Jesus performed a mighty miracle in my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I've kept quiet about it since it's taken time to process it before the Lord and to understand what all happened. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do undoubtedly know this:
Jesus fought for me and saved my life.
Some details are much too private to share publicly, but as I've circled back around the timeline of events trying to understand how and when things went chaotically wrong, the Lord has (and still is) graciously giving me some titanic insight. Thank goodness! For He alone knows how I’ve begged for understanding.
The lessons I’m learning from that dark season are astounding and too many to share in a single blogpost. Some of it I knew in my head but now I know it in my heart. Anybody who’s honest will admit this is exactly where the battle wages every time—those twelve inches are crazy crucial.
One lesson I’ve learned is:
- A prisoner who thinks she’s free is sitting pretty for a Satanic seduction. Unlike us, the powers of darkness are not blind to where we lack the light of Christ within us. Not only do the dark forces see it, but it also sends them into rabid celebration. They lie in wait and want to sink their teeth into any and all areas where the freedom of Jesus has not conquered our wounds or weaknesses with His mighty healing, sanctifying, and delivering power. These days I’m terrified by how insanely blind we can be to certain areas of our hearts, areas where we lack the healing, delivering and sanctifying power of God. We can think we are right about something yet be so astonishingly wrong. Wrong thinking can seep into our heads at such a slow drip that we're oblivious to the patterns our thoughts are forging. Lies can mushroom into baffling demonic proportions, sending us spiraling down into the worst gutter of our believing lives—even to utter madness. The lies can scream all sorts of things; lies about ourselves, about others, lies about God and, even, our very own faith. And it’s exactly what happened to me, then nearly destroyed me. The enemy used my past against me.
Another lesson I’ve learned is:
- Jesus really is the safest place for me, for all of us. Each of us has our extremely personal reasons for why we desperately need Jesus. One of those reasons for me is that my past is too laden with years of severe trauma to stray—even the slightest bit—from my Lord and my God. Otherwise, in my raw humanity, I’m far too given to all manner of acute fears, and it’s awful, clenching vices. Like many of you, when I’m left to my own patterns of thinking, I self-destruct. And if Satan gets His way he will make sure I do, and he’s viciously glad to see it happen. Oh Church, we must guard our hearts and minds like Jesus Freaks who are not ashamed by what it takes to walk in real, authentic freedom. The days are too evil not to, and it’s worth every bit of shame or feelings of aloneness it takes to be sane. And not just sane. Happy!
Before I close, can I pray for you?
Dearest Lord, I pray for the one reading this blog who feels helpless, hopeless, or lost. Like You lovingly did for me, would You reach down from on high and rescue their precious life from the darkness? Would You display Your mighty love by delivering them from the vice-grip of evil? Even if they got themselves in this awful place. Please pour forth Your grace on this one’s life and usher forth a mighty miracle; because You are a good God and You long to do us, Your creation, good. Then, in Your time and to Your glory alone, I pray You’d raise this one up to declare Your mighty Gospel of salvation, forgiveness, love, grace, mercy and unfathomable saving works in this generation. For Your Name and renown Jesus, and the saving and transforming of many lives. In Your powerful, delivering, and healing Name I pray—Amen and amen!