I have battled with worry, fear and pessimism for as long as I can remember. A couple of years ago, I read a great book by Joyce Meyer called "Battlefield of the Mind." While that book opened my eyes to some things and helped somewhat (and I do highly recommend this book), I still continued to struggle on a daily basis with worry and fear. It especially intensified once Bob lost his client and therefore our only source of income, and has been without steady work for well over a year now. The worry grew and grew as we went through our savings, then our retirement savings, and the balances started going up and up on our credit cards. When our savings ran out, we could no longer afford to pay our house payment, so now our house is in foreclosure. Our credit cards are pretty much max'd, as well. And with still no job in sight for my husband, I just kept descending into a pit of worry and fear. I was also praying and reading His Word, but I just couldn't seem to stop the descent I was on. Last week I hit an all time low. I couldn't sleep because of the worry. I was even somewhat doubting God and repeatedly asking Him why He had forsaken us. I truly didn't know how I was going to take another day of this huge weight I was under. Then a chain of events took place, that I do not consider coincidence, and has reaffirmed to me that God DOES exist! And not only that, He loves us more then we can ever comprehend and He never turned His back on us, either! The real miracle is, I have been transformed and am no longer a pessimistic "worry-wart." Praise God! :-)
My transformation began when I started a Beth Moore study a few months ago through my church. The study is called "Breaking Free." It has been a great study! I'd say it's the best Bible study I've gone through EVER! It's all about breaking free from the captivity that a lot of us are in. The captivity that I was in. This captivity isn't a physical captivity, but more of a spiritual captivity that comes from satan and his lies. I have felt so blessed to be able to participate in this study, but I didn't see it making a huge impact on my life, mostly because our financial situation was just overshadowing EVERYTHING! Then we got to the part, this past week, about how we either hold our thoughts captive or they are holding US captive. And when they hold us captive, it comes with a whole string of lies from the enemy! The two main scriptures used were Isaiah 26:3 and 2 Corinthians 10:5. These are scriptures that I've probably read and heard sermons on hundreds of times, but still never really getting it! But finally, God got through to me - the proverbial light bulb came on, and I finally GOT it! I was beyond desperate and really feeling forsaken by God, and I should add that I spent half the week just crying out to Him and even yelling at Him asking Him why He didn't just DO something! So He did do something! Actually He finally COULD do something because I was completely broken. Now He was able to use Beth's inspired words & illustrations in this study, and particularly in this week's study to start getting through to me. Suddenly I was understanding these scriptures in a whole new way and things began coming together for me. I started seeing all the lies I'd been living with and believing. Lies the enemy had practically engraved in my mind. I clearly saw how I've been letting my thoughts hold me captive along with the enemy's lies. I saw this little cell (thanks to Beth's illustrations) where I was being held with satan's lies wallpapered all over the walls. Now, through the power of Jesus Christ, I am out of that cell, I have torn down the wallpaper of lies, and put up His TRUTH in the lie's place. I'm actually holding my thoughts captive under the power of the cross and I don't EVER want to go back into that prison cell of captivity again! I am feeling transformed! :-)
That in itself was breathtakingly awesome, but it didn't stop there. And I need to back up a little. Before this transformation out of captivity was complete, Bob and I were asked by our ministry leaders at our church, to meet with them as soon as possible. The enemy tried to prevent this meeting from happening, but thanks be to God, he wasn't successful. Once we met with them, they lovingly, but firmly said some hard-to-hear things to us that we needed to hear. I remember walking out of there feeling a little bruised and banged-up, and I WANTED to just ignore what they said. I wanted to believe that they were wrong, but the transformation that was already taking place within me helped me stop and acknowledge that God had us in this particular church for a reason. I had to acknowledge that He has also put the leaders in this church in these leadership positions for a reason, so perhaps I should listen to what they have to say and understand that quite possibly God was using them to communicate these things to us. So I started praying about what they'd said to Bob and I, begrudgingly at first, but as I prayed I realized that what they had said was biblical and right and I went to bed with a strange sort of peace that I hadn't felt in a very long time! Now mind you, I hadn't been sleeping well AT ALL for weeks, and actually dreaded going to bed most nights, so this was a welcome change. When I woke up the next morning, I started praying again. I spent more time on my Beth Moore study, and since this was the morning that our group met, I started getting ready to go. As I stood in the shower and continued to pray, God started revealing a whole bunch of things to me! It was like a door had been opened or a stream of water unstopped, but things just started bubbling to the surface that, at first, were hard to take because He was showing me how Bob and I had been living outside of His will almost the whole time we've been here in Arizona! He assured me that we ARE supposed to be here and that our move from California to Arizona was under His leadership. But after that is when Bob and I got off on the wrong path. I started seeing all the obstacles God put in our path to direct us away from building the house we now live in. How we went WAY overboard with the size of it, the amount it was costing us - it was just all too much! I remembered how many times I felt that uneasiness about it all, as we were buying the lot, drawing up plans, and then starting to build, but I just ignored those warnings. NOW it suddenly made sense why we've struggled financially almost the entire time we've lived here, even when we DID have an income - a very GOOD income at that. God also reminded me that there were some blessings that we did receive, because Bob and I were being faithful to God with our tithe and offerings. But from the time that we bought the lot our house is now standing on (God's 1st obstacle came during that process that we ignored) and started building this house we have not been completely under His will, and therefore not completely under His blessing. That led us into a whole bunch of wrong thinking and decisions all along the way, but especially when our income stopped! This was all about pride and I was suddenly heartbroken at what I was seeing! But, at the same time, when I accepted it, I felt even more peace! God had not forsaken us! We had pushed Him out of the way to go for OUR plan instead of His. So now, I knew it was time to share with Bob what God had revealed to me. Would he accept it or would he fight it? I didn't know. I prayed about it all morning off and on as I was at my Bible study, and then when I came home I told him everything that I had been convicted of. Well, I just have to say that God has blessed me with a wonderful godly man as my husband and praise God, we are now both on the same page with everything. We also got on our knees together and begged His forgiveness and totally surrendered ourselves to Him as we asked Him where we go from here.
And where DO we go from here? Well, first of all, Bob and I feel that we need to put our house up for sale. It will have to be a short sale, but we both are in agreement that this is what we must do. If God decides that we can keep this house in spite of building it without His blessing, that would be a WONDERFUL blessing from Him! But at his point, we don't feel like we can count on that happening. We also must face the very real possibility that we will have to move and pretty much start over again. A week ago that would have caused me GREAT sadness, but not anymore. I am back under His will, and I KNOW He will provide exactly what we need whether it be staying in this house, or moving to a different one that we won't own. And THIS time, we will make SURE that we are truly listening to Him about where He wants us to live. We also had to sit down and share with out daughters and ask for their forgiveness for not being very good spiritual leaders for them. They didn't do anything wrong, yet they are having to suffer the consequences of Bob's and my wrong decisions. I really don't like seeing that, but I also trust God that He will use this to grow them spiritually, and I see that happening already.
I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to be so at peace and FINALLY trusting in Him for EVERYTHING! I don't miss that soul consuming worry at all! I've also realized how depressed I've been for the past year! And God has been so present with me these past few days and speaking to me through scripture and music. I've just felt so surrounded by His love for me. Yes, we still have grave financial issues, but now Bob and I are fully surrendered to Him again, and so I know God is taking care of it. That doesn't mean that there still won't be consequences to go through because of our wrong decisions, He will walk with us through that now. And I'm excited to say that He has already provided a new full time job for our oldest daughter that she will be starting shortly. And it's exactly the type of job she has been looking for - working with animals. He has also provided me with a part-time job where I'll be going back to what I love doing, cutting and styling hair. I know it's only a matter of time now, until Bob gets a job. We're all taking each day as it comes, and I LOVE going to bed at night without being terrified that I won't be able to sleep because of the dread hanging over me and instead, waking up in the morning with a joy of knowing that God has given us another day that I can rejoice in! I've never really known what that feels like, and now that I do, I don't ever want to go back to the old me who used to wake up with a sense of dread and worry. A huge weight has been lifted, and now I can honestly say, "Today is the day He has made! I will rejoice and be glad in it!"
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" ~2 Corinthians 10:5
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You."~Isaiah 26:3