Sunday, February 28, 2016

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Thursday night the ladies of Freedom Church and I attended the Fervent Tour at Seacoast Church with Priscilla Shirer and Anthony Evans. It was an amazing conference about the power of fervent prayer and forming a battle plan against satan’s attacks on our lives. I have come a very long way in my walk the last 2-3 years and God’s timing put me in that place at that moment because He knew it was exactly what I needed. I had a very rough week, and I had almost convinced myself not to go. I knew that it was going to be tough, and I really didn’t want to hear the Word at that moment. I wanted to continue to wallow and cry and isolate myself from everybody and everything. However, after watching the War Room movie and working through the Fervent book over the last few weeks at Sisterhood, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that satan was attacking me and attempting to keep me from receiving a blessing. And boy, was I right!

This post is not easy for me because I have never been comfortable making myself vulnerable with those closest to me, much less in such a public forum. Practicing openness this year has definitely not been easy but I have been so blessed each and every time I have stepped out of my comfort zone. I have been praying fervently about this post, and I can’t shake the feeling that sharing my testimony may help someone else out there. I feel like I was chosen to tell this story for a reason, and I hope that it will resonate and maybe help others to recognize the stealthy way the enemy moves among us.

I don’t want to get into too much of the details because they aren’t really important, but to give a brief synopsis, I had been dating what I thought was the most wonderful man for a little over a month and a half. We will just call him "G" for the purpose of the story. He was perfect for me in every way. He was funny, attentive, caring and always made me a priority. He would text me all day and most of the night, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. He drove me to work 3-4 times a week, and we saw each other as often as possible. I had never been with someone who treated me like such a princess and I had never felt more cherished. I fell and I fell hard. How could I not? He was the answer to my prayers. God had finally provided the man of my dreams that I had been praying for for a very long time…or had he? You see, this week, I discovered that G was living a double life. He had lied to me about everything. I did not even know his real last name. Every single thing we shared and talked about for the last two months had been a lie, an intricate web of deceit designed to bring me to my knees. To say I was devastated would be an understatement.
After finding out about his lies, I did my share of crying, obviously, but I also did my share of praying. I kept going back to a passage in the Fervent book that described how satan attacks by hitting you exactly where he knows it will hurt the most. For me, he knew that area was love. I have been out a few times since my divorce but nothing ever really seemed right. I have been so lonely for companionship and love and affection that satan knew if he provided the right circumstances, I would be ripe for the picking. Like Priscilla preached at the conference, the enemy wants our hearts because once he has our hearts, it is game over. So, he placed in my path the “perfect” man. G met all of my qualifications and all of my needs. (And yes, I had a list. Lol) I convinced myself that he was the man God wanted for me even though looking back now I can see the warning signs and the little God nudges. While I had been praying for the perfect man, I hadn’t really been listening to the Holy Spirit and I guess I thought that I knew what I needed better than God did.

What Satan attempted to do was to bind me physically, mentally and emotionally to one that could never be mine. He knew that, if I knew the truth, I would never willing enter into a relationship with G after everything I have been through. So, he spun his web of lies to draw me in. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, he snuck into my life and my heart. Then, when the timing was right, he pulled the rug out from under my feet. He effectively took me back to that younger me, the one before I had a relationship with Christ. The one who was insecure, lacked self-esteem and never felt worthy or enough. He started whispering in my ear “See, you are still that girl. No one will ever love you. You aren’t lovable enough. No one will ever choose you. You aren’t good enough. You are dispensable, replaceable.” The difference is that this time I was able to recognize that it was a spiritual warfare battle and I had learned how to fight that. I drowned him out with scripture and worship songs. Any time one of those thoughts came into my head, I would start quoting scripture and turn on the Freedom Forever CD and effectively kick him out of my head.

What satan didn’t realize is that I know I am NOT that girl any more. I am a Daughter of the King. I have been washed in the blood and been made clean. I suffer no condemnation because I am in Christ Jesus. He tried to make me the “other woman” (which under normal circumstances would have broken me), but I refuse to be paralyzed by the guilt and shame that he wanted me to feel. I refuse to let him separate me from my God and from my purpose in His kingdom. I refuse to allow the pain and hurt to cause me to build walls and become closed off. I have repented of my role in the situation. I have asked for forgiveness and laid that burden down. It is no longer mine to carry. Satan underestimated my faith and my commitment to serving the Lord. My stepping out in faith this year and leading my first group of women and serving at the church has obviously attracted his attention.I must be doing something right!

By the way, I don’t negate G’s role in the deception because he made his decisions and is responsible for his actions. But, I also recognize that he was a pawn in this calculated frontal assault on my heart by the enemy. Satan uses our sinful natures to his advantage. Knowing that, I was able to offer forgiveness to G and some measure of comfort (part of a Fervent lesson) that I never would have been able to do a year or two ago. Not only that, but at the conference, several women and I prayed together for G and his family. I prayed that God would restore his marriage, that He would heal their hearts and soften them toward each other. That He would repair the breaks in their family and negate any damage that I may have unknowingly caused. What satan attempted to use for evil, God IS going to work for good. He is the ultimate healer and redeemer and He has the power to restore any relationship that is lifted up to Him. I believe that He can do that for G, and I will be praying fervently for that to happen.

So, several lessons to take away from this life lesson:
1.       If it is too good to be true, you probably need to do some examining to figure out if it is from God or the enemy.
2.       Listen to the Holy Spirit when He speaks to you and pray for discernment so that you will know it is the path for you.
3.       Don’t think that you know more than God about what is best for you. All the lists in the world will not mean a thing if it is not His will.
4.       When satan attacks we need to protect ourselves by putting on the full armor of God. We must live in truth, guard our hearts through righteousness, remain faithful, and arm ourselves with the Word.
5.       Above all, we must FERVENTLY pray.

Satan knows the final outcome of this war. He knows that he is defeated in the end but he plans to take as many people as possible with him. Be strong in your faith. Troubles will come but if you rely on God, He will carry you through. You do not have to carry around the guilt or shame or hurts from the past. Satan wants you to believe that but it is a lie. You have already been forgiven for all, you only have to repent and lay it down at His feet. I pray that this helps just one person out there. Maybe you are in a similar situation to mine. Maybe your marriage is under attack. Maybe your finances are messy or you are harboring unforgiveness for a past hurt. God can heal you. Don’t let satan win. Be vigilant against the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Pray, pray and pray some more. Step out in faith and see what happens. God has plans for us that exceed all of our expectations. We only have to listen and trust Him.

God bless and keep you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2016: The Year of Openness

My Word for the Year in 2016 is "openness".

Openness is defined as: being receptive to new ideas, behaviors, cultures, peoples, environments, experiences, etc that are different from the familiar, conventional, traditional or one's own.

That was and still is my intention for this year. I decided to start this year by being open to whatever life has to offer. To let down the walls I had built around my heart. To try new things. To get out and meet new people. To hear and obey the voice of God. To break out of my comfort zone and do things that are a little scary or uncomfortable. Whatever the situation may be, I intended to approach it with an open mind and an open heart allowing myself the opportunity to fall when necessary in order to succeed when possible.

 Quotes -for when you need some life motivation!:

Little did I know just how much that one word was going to impact my life in such a short time. I am eternally grateful for all the blessings that I have already received so far this year. Being open has led me to some amazing discoveries and some really great new experiences as well as relationships.

This month, as part of listening to and obeying the voice of God, I joined Sisterhood, the women's ministry at my church. Not only did I join, but I completely stepped out of my comfort zone and volunteered to be a table leader. Having never really been comfortable in the spotlight and knowing that I still have a long, long way to go in my faith walk, this was totally out of character for me. However, I cannot tell you how much I have already been blessed in the last two weeks by the women in my group. There are some old friends, some friends from my previous small group and even some new friends that have joined us. Each woman is uniquely individual and brings their own strengths and stories to the table each week. We have been studying the power of prayer and learning how to not only pray but pray Fervently (a book I highly recommend by Priscilla Shirer). And, let me tell you, these women...they are absolutely amazing and I am so blessed to get to do life along side them. Already we have seen the power of God at work in our lives and we are growing stronger in our faith, in our relationships and in our friendships. It has been a powerful study.

Awesome movie full of lessons for life.:  

Being open has also brought me another tremendous blessing in the form of a new relationship that I never expected. For the last four years, I have been living in a world of pain, shame, guilt and unforgiveness due to my divorce and the circumstances surrounding it. I allowed that to affect my life in more ways than I can count and I know that it created a rift between me and God as well as those I love. I was angry and depressed and hurt. I felt lost and unloved and afraid. At the end of 2015, at a conference in Birmingham with one of my besties, I was able to finally let all of that go. I turned it all over to God and was able to really be at peace with the past and start fresh.

I had tried dating but up until that point, I don't think I was really ready. I had built up walls and defenses to keep people out and to keep my heart safe from going through that kind of pain again. If things were going well, I sabotaged it because I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I chose the wrong people and invested in the wrong relationships. What I realized in December was that I wasn't who I needed to be in order to successfully be with someone else. I started praying then for God to make me into the person that He wanted me to be, the person that He could use to ultimately fulfill his purpose. I let go of the past and the fears and trusted God to carry those burdens making me whole again.

 When God gives you a new beginning, it starts with an ending. Be thankful for closed doors. They often guide us to the right one!:

I don't know what the future holds but I do know that I refuse to take today for granted any longer. 2016 is going to be the best year yet and I can't wait to see how it ends. My heart is open, my faith is strong and my mind is clear. I know that troubles will come. I know that Satan will attack. But I also know that the ending to his story has already been written. He can't touch me for I am the daughter of the King and I can do all things though him. Bring it on world. I am ready!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 13, 2015


The other day I posted on my Facebook page that I was feeling down and alone with the kids gone to their Dad's for the weekend. I immediately had several comments from friends far and wide either commiserating with my situation or attempting to cheer me up. I have to say that I have an awesome group of friends, and I just wanted to tell you that appreciate each and every one of you. I was honestly touched by all the responses.

I thought that maybe I would go a little more in depth on the subject and explain myself just in case someone out there may need to hear or can relate to my story. I live with depression. It isn't something that I talk about often, not even really to my family, but I struggle with it every single day. I have learned to put up a good front and plaster a smile on my face but deep down, the sadness is there. I don't give in to it every day. Sometimes I can go for a couple of weeks without letting it get to me, but it is always there. 

I have been taking medication daily for a little over a year now and it has really seemed to help. I know that it isn't always talked about and even sometimes frowned upon, but for me, I feel like if it helps, then you take it. It took me a long time to seek help, but I've learned that there is no shame in it. The stigma may be real but it definitely needs to change.  Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and medication can help to counteract that. It may not be for everyone but I like to call them "my happy pills". Lol

I have battled with depression for more years than I can count. My friends and family will probably be surprised to know that it goes all the way back to my high school years. The thing about depression is that it is a silent illness. Most people who suffer from depression get very good at hiding their feelings and suppressing them. Trust me, I've got a poker face like nobody's business. You might know when I'm mad (ok, definitely then) or when I'm unhappy, but when I'm sad...that gets buried deep until I am alone in the dark with my thoughts. 

I don't think about it all the time. In fact, for the most part, I am pretty happy these days. My life is good, I enjoy the place where I am at and I can't complain. There are things in my past that I would probably change if I could but there is no room for regret because those things are gone. There is a purpose and a plan for my life and I have faith that eventually I will get there. I may have my moments but I refuse to live in them any longer than I have too.
So, please friends, don't worry about me. I really am okay. I have a great support system through my family and my friends and my church. I know that all I have to do is reach out and someone will be there. 

If you suffer from depression, I urge you to get help. Find a counselor. Go to church. Join a support group. Call a friend. You are not alone. Someone will always be waiting to extend you a hand. You just have to be brave enough to take it. 

Thanks for stopping by.