I have a confession to make. I have repented, but it seems I can’t write about anything else until I ‘fess up to my readers. Last week I came under a horrible attack. Our ministry takes place in our home, which is sometimes a little overwhelming for me, being the little potted plant that I am. I used to sit with my husband as he ministered, to pray and for propriety’s sake, as the majority of people seeking help have been women, although that is changing.
It was very hard for me to sit on the sofa and listen for long periods of time. I’d do my best and be okay for a while; but inevitably, the meltdown would come. I’d feel guilty and pray, “Lord, please make me into the helper Mark needs.” This went on for the better part of two years. Mark had told me that maybe God wasn’t answering that prayer because I didn’t need to change, that I was already the helper he needed. All he has ever wanted is my support.
Then I began to correspond with Rita Allbright, the wife of Joe Allbright, who is Mark’s mentor and with whom we received training for the broken soul ministry. They have worked as a team ministering out of their home for 30 years. When I asked her about her role, she told me she never sits in on the counseling sessions because that is not her gift. She is in the house, doing administrative tasks in her office, doing housework, and even took care of a grandchild after school in her home. She advised me that the enemy will try to place me in a position where I’m not flowing in the spiritual gifts God has given me.
Let me tell you, that was a huge relief! We made one of our spare bedrooms into a little study for me. It’s decorated beautifully, with the added bonus of having windows that face our flower garden, lawn swing, and a beautiful crepe myrtle. I can have my quiet time in this room, pray, write, pay bills, scrapbook, and get my much-needed solitude. I just keep the door open so I can hear the counseling session and come out to fix lunch and chat with the ladies that come. But soon that wasn’t enough. I wanted to have the whole house to myself. I begin to resent the fact that I didn’t have “my space.” I began to feel that something had been “taken” from me. In short, I wanted to have things my way, which is saying, “I will be my own god.”
I’m not going to describe the downhill spiral that ensued over those three days. But I will tell you that it wasn’t pretty. I was saying things that I knew in my heart I didn’t really feel. I was highly emotional and feeling intense pain. It was only when the Holy Spirit spoke through Mark and told me the truth about what was happening, how I was being deceived by the enemy who wants to take the ministry out, to take us out if he could, that the lights came on in my heart and soul. It was like the rain had washed clean a dirty window, and I could suddenly see what was there. And I was horrified. What had come over me?
I asked the Lord what the root of my behavior was. He immediately took me back to my childhood. My parents were very over-protective and controlling. I wasn’t allowed to go and do things like my friends could. I wasn’t allowed to spend the night with my girlfriends. The tension was always high in my home of origin, so I walked on eggshells and spent a lot of time in my room. They did not have a good marriage, and my mother used my brother and I for spousal surrogates–thus, the being “taken” from. But I had long since forgiven them and have chosen to embrace the positives in my childhood. I praise God for the privilege of taking care of my mother this past year until her passing.
The enemy, however, always wants to take us back to captivity. Often when we overreact and we know our emotion doesn’t fit the situation at hand, the enemy is touching an old wound and projecting it on to the present. It’s possible that I have a wounded part in my soul that still carries that childhood pain that the enemy was stirring up (see hopepreserved.org), or he may have come at me from the outside, whispering his lies in my ear. I’m still seeking the Lord for that. But I allowed myself to be deceived, and that is my responsibility.
You see, the enemy always tries to tell us we are missing out on something. In Genesis 3, when the serpent came to Eve in the garden, he said, “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” After Eve answered that they could eat of any tree except the tree in the middle of the garden or they would die, the enemy said, “You will not certainly die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good from evil.”
Imagine the life that Adam and Eve had, living in a beautiful paradise, no cares, no guilty conscience from sin, and an up-close-and-personal relationship with God, who walked in the garden and spoke with them face to face. The crafty serpent deceived them by suggesting that God was holding out on them; in other words, they became discontented so quickly it should make our heads spin.
The Lord has given me the desires of my heart, and I am still discovering that. The enemy doesn’t want me to have them. And more importantly, he doesn’t want Mark and me in unity as we follow God in the calling he has placed on our lives. If it were possible, he would stop it as quickly as he stole from Adam and Eve their calling. Praise God that we who are in Christ have been given the Holy Spirit to convict us and guide us into all truth! When we hear truth and take it into our being, then we “know” truth. And Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” John 8:32.
Ladies, this part is for you and me. First, Satan came to the woman. Like it or not, Scripture tells us we are the weaker vessel. That means several things, none of them negative, but one of them means emotionally weaker, if you will. You girls know that we are susceptible to strong emotions that can affect our behavior and decision-making, for good and for bad.
Second, Eve gave the fruit to her husband, and he ate. Now I’m not letting Adam off the hook. He was passive for sure. The point I want to make is that wives have great influence over husbands. Scripture says a woman can win over her unbelieving husband without a word. A woman can also bring down her husband by buying into Satan’s lies and becoming discontented, which can lead to resentment, which can lead to bitterness, which can lead to destruction. And last consider this: What I have described is even more serious. It is rebellion against God, which is the enemy’s main goal.
I am so thankful to the Lord that he is merciful and forgiving. I am so thankful that my husband will speak truth to me. Please pay attention when a seed of discontent first begins to stir in your heart and ask God, “What’s this about?” Don’t give the enemy a foothold. I’m happy to tell you that unity has been restored in my marriage. I’m not only content in our circumstances, I’m excited! What an honor to have precious people in our home who are seeking the Lord for healing! What a privilege to be a part of this adventure with my man! I am full of joy and peace, which are supernatural fruits of the Spirit. And that’s the plumb line, girls. Let’s look at our fruit. If it doesn’t line up with the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, let’s get alone with God and find out why.