I saw the movie “I Can Only Imagine” a few weeks ago. (I highly recommend seeing it.) I could really relate to it in so many ways. As I watched Bart Millard living in a house with an abusive father, it made me remember the same environment I grew up in.
I have shared many times that my childhood was a war zone. We never knew from day to day what kind of mood my Dad would be in or if he would yell at us or beat us or say abusive things to us. We were walking on eggshells most of the time. Watching the same type of environment on a movie screen was really hard to see. Bart did the same thing I did— he wore a mask when he was around others and didn’t tell anyone what was happening in his house. He became a pretender like I did. That was the only way to survive living in a war zone.
Bart’s father made him feel like he would never amount to anything. Because of my horrible environment, I believed many lies that were very detrimental to me. Of course I was just a child and I didn’t realize what I was doing— but because of my home life— I began to believe lies about myself and about God. Satan attacked my mind and I wasn’t aware of the impact until much later in my life.
I have been reading “Moving Mountains” by John Eldredge. John tells his readers, “I made deep agreements with fear, and for forty years it had gone unattended to.” I can relate so much to this statement. One of my biggest issues has been fear that stemmed from several incidents I experienced as a child. Those incidents led me to believe many lies. “I am alone. I am not safe. There is no one to help me. No one sees me. No one hears me. No one cares. No one is looking out for me. No one is protecting me.” I made deep agreements with these lies that deeply affected me and my relationship with God. That is why anxiety has been such an issue for me.
I have been journaling a lot lately and trying to spend as much time with the Lord as I possibly can. I know that there are some deep rooted issues that need to be tended to. That is a big reason why I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I have been spending time with the Lord listening and learning.
I want to share with you some of the things I have been learning about dealing with the lies that took root in me as a little girl. One of the first things I did to address my troubled spirit was invite the Lord into situations I experienced as a child. (John Eldredge recommends doing this in his book.) Some of you might think that is crazy or weird, but it is a necessary step to take. The first thing I did was ask the Lord to show me in my mind what caused me distress as a child. He showed me two different instances that caused me to feel alone, scared, disgusted, shame, unprotected, angry helpless, overwhelmed and unloved.
The next thing I did was ask Him to come by my side and sit with me. I invited Him to hold my hand and speak to me. I asked Him to comfort me with His love and truth. We talked, held hands and I listened to Him shed light on my childhood. He spoke this verse to me. “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust have eaten.” Joel 2:25 (Which means that He will restore my childhood to me.) I already know that He has been doing that in my life, but that little girl inside me needed to hear those words. He also told me how much He loved me and was protecting me. He told me He was actively working in my life and would never stop.
The next instance was a little harder to deal with. I walked down the stairs holding Jesus hand. I didn’t want to go but Jesus told me He was with me and protecting me. He reminded me of Psalm 121. “I will not let your foot slip. I do not sleep, but constantly watch over you. I will keep you from harm. I am watching over your life now and forever more.” (Paraphrase me.) Once again, that little girl inside me needed to hear those words. He was able to show me that I am not that little girl anymore. I am His child and He is my Father. He wants to help me with my hopes and dreams.
Those instances brought up the lies I believed. The next thing I had to do was banish those lies. I had to break the agreement I made with them and renounce them. (Eldredge recommends doing this.) I went to the Lord and prayed. I went down the list of all the lies that were revealed to me and I renounced them one by one and told them never to return. Scripture says, “I have given you authority…to overcome all the power of the enemy.” Luke 10:19
Because Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He beat Satan. If we are believers in Christ, demons have to leave when we tell them to. The disciples cast out demons—Jesus cast out demons— and so did Paul. “The demons know your authority in Jesus; they know that if you banish them, they have to obey. Every time they are commanded to leave in Scripture, they obey.” Eldredge Let me say this. If you have given your life to Christ, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Demons can not enter you. But, Satan knows other ways to get to us through temptation, lies and deceit.
We are at war! I have been at war all my life. I know the enemy has been after me because he was allowed to reign in my home when I was a child. He snaked his way in and got a hold of us. That’s why I had to renounce and banish the things that got into my heart and my brain when I was a child. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Through this process, I have learned these truths… I am loved. I am pursued by God. I am not alone. I am safe in His arms. God is watching over me all the time. He is always fighting for me. I can trust Him. God chose me. I am His child. He is relentlessly pursuing me. He wants to spend time with me. He listens to me. He speaks to me. He sees me. “Your eyes saw me when I was formless.” Psalm 139:16 (I highly recommend reading the whole Psalm.) Let me emphasize this…His eyes see you. Let that sink in your brain for a minute.
I am letting you in to some very deep personal struggles I have had most of my life. When I was a little girl I remember a dark image coming after me. I ran as fast as I could to get away from it. I don’t know if it was a person or a presence because it was dark outside. I just remember running as fast as I could because it scared me to death. It never caught me, but that night did a lot of damage to me.
I have felt like something has been trying to devour me most of my life. Now I know who it is. 1Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for some to devour.” I was a little girl when that darkness was after me. My house wasn’t safe and I think that night I began to think that there wasn’t anyone or anywhere that was safe. As I am writing this, I realize that I need to ask Jesus to be with me in that situation. I am asking Him to hold my hand and make me feel safe. He is showing me that He protected me and kept me from harm. I am safe. I am telling that darkness it has no place here in my life. I am banishing it in Jesus name. I renounce all those thoughts or lies that have entered my mind since that night.
I realize this is heavy duty stuff. It has taken me a long time to wrap my brain around it. My prayer is for God to use what happened to me to help anyone who is struggling out there with lies and deception. Satan is a liar and a deceiver. He is very real. If you are having issues, I highly recommend going through this process with the Lord. He will comfort you and show you what needs to be dealt with. I have struggled with my image of God for so many years, but after I went through this process, two thoughts entered my mind and stuck with me. I would like to tell you what they are. “God, You are not a man! You are God!” It seems so simple, but it has taken a long, long time for me to embrace that truth! He is God. There is no one like Him!
I can’t wait to share more with you! Until next time….