(Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash)
Save me O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.
I have been writing my story in hopes that it will help someone who relates in some way to what I went through, and will know there is hope. This post is part three. You can read Part one here and the part two here. I also want my readers to feel like they know me a little bit.
I need to back up in my story because I left out a significant event, and that was forgiving the pastor at my church. If you remember, my dad was a pastor and was asked to leave by the head pastor at no fault of his own. My family moved, but I didn't because I was married. I was angry and bitter, and I refused to forgive. I stayed this way for about seven years. The year after I returned from Minirth-Meier Day Hospital, I saw two different therapists. The first one listened to me as I talked, but when he got sick, I had to find another one. When I started seeing the second therapist, I went in with a goal to forgive. I was ready, but it wasn't easy. The therapist had me write the pastor a letter saying exactly how I felt, and not leave anything out. Since I wasn't giving the letter to the pastor, I could be honest. The next session, an empty chair was set up across from me, and I had to imagine him sitting there. Now it was time for me to speak out loud the things I had written. And boy, did I. What was so amazing was when I finished, I felt free. I can't explain why it worked, but from that day on, I had no ill will towards the pastor. I couldn't make myself think anything bad about him. The forgiveness was complete. God used this method. I would have loved if everything else in my life started coming together, but that isn't my story. It is nice to know though that even while I was going into the pit, I had some successes.
I ended last time by telling you I had asked my small group leader to mentor me, and she had agreed. We focused on different attributes of God for a couple of months, and I was beginning to see God differently. I wanted Him to have control of my life again. Neither of us knew what was about to happen. To the best of my recollection, it was October 1994. I woke up from a demonic sexual dream once again. I was so weary of fighting this battle. I got up and went into the bathroom. I distinctly heard, in my mind, the enemy say, "Either come back to me or I will make your life miserable." I said out loud, "No, I choose Jesus." Immediately, intense fear swept over me. Today, I would characterize it as a panic attack. My husband woke up as I started screaming about demons living in the two pumpkins on the porch and how I was afraid of the dark. He ran around turning on all the lights. He began praying and quoting Scripture as I paced through the house screaming. My husband remained calm and strong believing God would prevail. And He did. I calmed down.
The next morning was Sunday, and we went to church. One of the pastors prayed for me and advised me to find someone to watch the kids for a few days. A meeting was set up with the elders to pray over me the following Wednesday after church. On Monday, I drove the children to my mom's. As I was driving, the second attack took place. I was filled with an intense desire to curse and drive "out of control" fast. I cried out, "Jesus" and felt Him take over. I felt the battle going on inside me. I saw first hand the power of God. It was greater than any demonic power. But the war was not over yet. It continued until we met with the elders. I like to think that's when God said, "Enough!" The demons had to flee. They had lost every battle along the way, and now it was over. I didn't feel the same freedom I had felt after I had forgiven my pastor, and those closest to me had to remind me often, that I was free.
As a Christian, I never literally belonged to Satan because that's not possible. I belonged to God. But even a believer can give the enemy control through various ways. For me, it started with the sin of unforgiveness and continued with my refusal to read the Bible, and ended with me verbally giving myself to Satan. But when I asked my small group leader to mentor me, I turned the corner. When we focused on God and His Word, and when I rejected Satan out loud and said "Yes" to Jesus, I gained the victory through Christ. The enemy was defeated!
Unfortunately, I had no idea how to stay free. I continued to struggle and remained in therapy for many more years. I know victory had been won because the demonic dreams stopped, and I was in control, but I wasn't convinced I was free. I believed many lies and lived in confusion and doubt. I was able to serve at church and go through many Bible studies, which definitely helped. Eventually, I found myself on the Missions Board, and that begins the next chapter in my story, which I will continue next time. I was still coming out of the pit, but it wouldn't be much further.