So, why is it, when we are standing on level ground......when we feel held in God's embrace....that Satan wants to get in there and steal....he wants to steal the peace, steal the moment, steal the joy....all that is good he desires to take...and he works in such conniving ways. He gets into the emotion. He tries to make a mess of the order that God has established. Ohh...he frustrates me so much I sometimes really just want to scream. And I long for the day when he will be bound and God will reign completely, without the warfare ensuing.
And yet, I know the answer to the questions above. I know...."the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8 Even that very picture gives me the creeps. If he is walking...he is constantly moving...without stopping....like an animal hunting for its prey. He is always hungry for more...he isn't satisfied. He wants to consume and destroy. I looked up all the names that Satan is given in the Bible......here is just a sampling of this beast:
Accuser of the brethren - Revelation 12:10
Angel of the bottomless pit - Revelation 9:11
Antichrist - 1John 4:3
Devil - Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:2,6; Revelation 20:2
Dragon - Revelation 12:7
Enemy - Matthew 13:39
Evil spirit - 1Samuel 16:14
Father (father) of all liars - John 8:44
Man of sin - 2Thessalonians 2:3
Murderer - John 8:44
Power of darkness - Colossians 1:13
Serpent - Genesis 3:4, 14; 2Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 20:2
Tempter - Matthew 4:3; 1Thessalonians 3:5
Thief - John 10:10
Wicked one - Matthew 13:19, 38
I don't even like giving him one second of my words here...but I believe that spiritual warfare is REAL and should be brought to the light. I believe that this horrible "fallen angel" works overtime to cause God's children to fall away, to distrust their Father, the Great I AM. I believe Satan will do whatever it takes to rock us from the truth of God's Word and get us caught up in circumstance, situation and emotion. Sometimes it is in our face....and other times, I believe he is subtle.
So, where is this coming from?? Well, yesterday, I had a horrible day. I was a mess emotionally. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. On Josh's birthday, I was peaceful. I was resting in God's providence for our family and my son. Six years after his life and death, I am walking more intimately with my Savior than ever before. I know my love, my surrendering, my heart would not be in tune to God and His goodness without Joshua. I praise God for that. I was praising Him on Thursday.
"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character; hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:3-5
I have hope. I hold so tightly to the hope I have in God. Satan can't take that from me. I own it.
But Satan wanted to take God's peace from me. And he moved into the emotion of Josh's rememberence and why others don't remember like I do. My eyes went inward and outward to those around me.
On Friday, my husband was out of town. My husband travels with his job. He has travelled for years. And because he works in the medical field with surgeons, a lot of his travelling happens over the weekends. Ohh, this has been a journey in and of itself for me to accept and submit to. (I'll save that for later...) Anyway, I don't like to be alone. Being alone scares me. And I'm not talking only about the physical alone, but the spiritual, the emotional. More the feeling of no one around. God has been teaching me that I am never alone with HIM. I know that, in my head,...but I don't think I fully own that one yet in my heart.
Barclay had to leave early Thursday morning for a meeting and then came home late afternoon to quickly pack and was back out the door for a dinner meeting and then on to NYC through tonight (Saturday).
I was alone. (Not really.....I have 5 kids around me....always....never alone.) But I felt alone.
Barclay is my covering, under Christ. When he is gone, I feel exposed. I am more vulnerable.
So, he was away. Thursday came and went and whereas this year, more emotion surfaced than last year. I stood strong in God. He comforted me throughout the day. He brought my friend, Beth, over to be with me. He is so good. I went to bed Thursday night peacefully.
Friday, I woke up early. I had to get out the door to a chiropractor appointment. I was super tired because I was up really, really late Thursday night. My head was kind of in a fog. I was unsettled. On my way home from my appointment, my younger sister called on my cell phone. She had forgotten Josh's birthday yesterday (as had every family member). By this time, I was pulling in the driveway and walking in the house.
What ensued wasn't too pretty. My emotions came spilling out like Niagara Falls. Let's just say it ended with me basically hanging up on her, hysterically crying (and a little bit of yelling)....and flailing (yes, like a little child) myself on my bed letting the tears and the emotion pour out. You know, the kind of crying where your breathing is like wails and your breath is sucked back inside you.
I had been so injured on Thursday by the lack of sympathy and support from my family. But, on Thursday, I dealt with it. It was ok...because my mind was on what God had done in those past 6 years. My mind was on Joshy. I was peaceful and the emotion I felt on Thursday was centered on my own pain of being a mommy without her child. I rewalked the days of his birth and life. I was sad, but rejoicing in where God had brought us all these past 6 years.
But on Friday.....I allowed my emotions to overtake me. I was weak in myself and when Satan tried to steal the joy and peace that I had from God.....I let him. I felt powerless.
So here I was laying face down on my bed....crying. Crying for my son and the days that weren't. Crying because I wanted him to be remembered. I wanted him to still be alive in the hearts of my family and friends. Crying because I wanted people to reach out to me and not let me be alone.
And then, Faith, my precious 2 year old, gingerly walks into my bedroom and says,
"Mommy....you OK?" (now mind you, she is our only girl and my boys never spoke like this at the age of 2, so this is quite new to me. They were still speaking with grunts, and maybe one word..nor would they have even stepped foot into my room in the midst of this display of emotion. )
"Yes, Faithy girl, mommy is ok. Come lay with me and cuddle."
Faith climbed on the bed and nestled in. "Mommy, you crying? You ok? Stop crying?"
At this point, I had calmed down to just the occasional sucking in of my breath. "Yes, mommy is ok." And we laid there for a couple minutes hugging each other.
I needed that.
I also knew I needed to address what I was feeling. What was the root of this emotion? And why was it coming to the surface right now? And I needed to call my sister back.....(she, of course, had called me back in the midst of my outburst, but I didn't answer the phone.)
Here is the root of the emotion that I was feeling. Every year, on Josh's birthday and his homecoming day.....no one calls me: not my mom, not my dad, not my in-laws, not my other siblings. No one, consistently calls me, except for Beth. My younger sister, has called before, but not consistently.
I struggle with this every year. It hurts so badly. I don't even know if this all makes sense...but that is how I feel.
It makes me feel unloved. It makes me feel angry, crushed....almost like he wasn't even here and his life didn't matter. It makes me feel like no one cares. It makes me feel alone.
This is where I think Satan is sneaky. He gets into our emotions and thoughts and twists them. These are the lies that Satan was feeding me. Because they are lies. Satan is the father of lies. But, in that moment, I was believing each and everyone of them and my poor sister was the receiver.
She wanted me to dig into these emotions. But I didn't need to dig in to the emotion, because I knew where they were coming from. When she called, and apologized, my response was, "it is ok, Tasha." She said, "Clearly, it isn't ok." I was trying to give her grace for not remembering. I was trying to forgive her. But in my heart, it wasn't ok. I was upset and her apology was bringing it all to the surface.
She had called me on Josh's birthday, but she is dealing with her own mountain at the moment. And when she called, I was in the midst of going through Josh's box. She had come from the doctors and was relaying the appointment. That moment was about her. It wasn't about me. I wanted to give her my full attention. I didn't mention Josh and neither did she. We got off the phone and I went back to Josh and the memories. I was sad she didn't say anything. But I knew her mind was in other places.
And even though it still hurt that she didn't remember....my peace was coming from God and He was in the middle of my emotion at that moment.
On Friday, Satan took this hurt, in my tired, weakened state and made it into something bigger. My eyes went to the emotion of the circumstances and lies....off of God. The seed of bitterness was sown in that moment and when my sister called, it became full blown.
Tasha and I talked. I apologized and so did she. I know she loves Josh. I know she just forgot. We had a beautiful conversation. And God restored, as He always does, when we surrender to Him.
And you know what...I know God had my husband gone for a reason. Because had he been here, I would have sought my comfort from him and not God. I would have gone to that which I could see with my eyes, instead of God, who I can't feel and touch. Friday, in this moment, God wanted to grow my faith in HIM even more, in the midst of Satan trying to send me over the edge. God wanted me to choose Him.
Emotions are real. God gave us emotions when He created us. He felt emotion. Jesus came to experience in the flesh, all that we experience. He dealt with emotion when Lazarus died. He dealt with emotion when being tempted by Satan in the desert. He felt emotion when he was scourged. I'm sure he felt emotion on the cross when He took the sins of all of us upon his shoulders. Can you imagine that??
But it is what we do with the emotion. It is where we place our mind. Is it on the circumstances and others....or is it on God, and HIM alone? Do I let others shape my thoughts, or Jesus alone? Am I looking at how others make me feel...or just looking at God alone.
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength. " Isaiah 26:3-4
I can be sad that no one calls and remembers. But I can't put reasons behind it. I can't allow the emotion to overtake me and perpetuate my thoughts. I can't allow Satan to get behind the emotion.
I need to hold to Jesus.
I need to hold to His truth. That Josh was purposeful. God doesn't make mistakes. Josh was God's blessing and creation. Josh is remembered and continues to be a part of people's hearts. Josh's legacy is continuing....even without phone calls. And just because people don't call, doesn't mean they don't think about Joshua. Everyone processes differently and acts differently. I need to trust God and the work that He is doing...even behind the scenes.
I can cry. I can ache. I can mourn. I can grieve. I can cry out to God to comfort me in my times of weakness. And, there are lots of those times.
But, my mind.....it has to stay on Christ and His truth....that way, when Satan tries to rob, steal, destroy and take my mind to horrible, self pity places.....I will be "steadfast, and immovable" in Christ. He will bring peace into the chaos of me.
It is a much better day today.
"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6
Humbly sitting at His feet today-Stacy (I don't know if any of this makes sense..I pray it does!)