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.