I laid in bed last night until about 2:30 unable to sleep. I had a post swirling in my head. It was completely God given because I didn’t feel like the words were mine, but they were words I’ve wanted to say for about 4 months but couldn’t. And guess what? This morning I can’t remember many of them, but I do remember enough to know I need to post this today. I like things in categories, so that’s how I’m going to fill in the last 4 months. 😉
July: I posted a few times, very vaguely, about heart heavy things. We were on our trip back in Oregon visiting family and as things usually go in any family visiting after more than a year, tough issues came up that can’t always be addressed well over the phone. I think this month was the start of God doing a major work on my heart, to grow my faith and trust in Him. I was pointed face first towards Him in a way that hurt my heart to do so. But it was needed. I was reminded that He never changes, even though we change so much, even though people in our lives change so much, and even though we all disappoint at times. Myself included.
August: This month was fairly boring as far as things go, we were getting back into the groove of things here in North Dakota after our month long trip. We were enjoying the VERY mild summer (barely reached 80 I think?!). August was the calm before our storm. We were very unprotected at this time because things felt very smooth in our lives, very easy, very nice. We let our guards down and didn’t resume the counseling the we had started earlier in the summer. Dylan also started school at the very end of this month. 😐
September: The start of the busiest month of our year I think. Insanely busy. MOPS was starting and this year I volunteered for the Steering Team, which basically means unpaid work that you’re happy to do because you like it. 😆 Dylan had started school, for the first time ever. That was SO hard on my mommy-heart. I cried for days. DAYS. Every day after I dropped him off I came home and cried. I would watch the clock all day looking foward to when I could pick him up again. All day Kindergarten is HARD! 😆 He would come home, put his stuff away, crawl onto the couch with me, and then HE would cry because it was so hard for him to get through the day too. This lasted about 2 weeks for both of us. Around that time we ALL got sick. All 5 of us. I had bronchitis and a sinus infection with the worst fever I’ve had in about a year. Jake had pnuemonia and was like the walking dead because he still had to work. Owen was super sick, and when he started coughing up/throwing up blood, a trip to the ER revealed he too had pnuemonia. Dylan had “some sort of flu” according to the doctor (oink oink anyone?) that lasted over a week. And Aidan had the easiest time out of all of us with just a really bad head cold.
During all of this, my heart began to harden in ways I didn’t understand. I was overtired, overstressed, oversick, and angry. I felt an unspoken animosity towards my husband, and I definately wasn’t including God on much. I knew and still wholeheartedly believed what I had learned in July, but I felt like if I acted on that, then I was admitting something was desperately wrong and for the time being, I wanted my head in the sand because I just could.not.deal with anymore at that time. Satan has a way of smacking you in the face when you admit you can’t take on more. You are at your weakest, and he waits for that moment to pounce on your life. And he did. Without being too specific (because I don’t feel I’m supposed to just yet), my marriage was hit hard. My firm foundation was hit hard. Our family, our home, was completely oppressed because Satan saw a way in and he barged through it. We had let our guards down.
At this time, without knowing it, I was letting evil completely overtake my life and my family and my home. We were all at our weakest, and basically surrendered to it. Even the boys, I saw such a negative difference in them. I laid in bed at night wondering WHY this change in them had happened. Children pick up on everything, and the hate that was manifesting in Jake and I was playing out in them as well. It was heartbreaking. September was a horrid month. I had a trip to take at the end of the month, and my Mother-In-Law came to stay while I was gone, to help with the boys while Jake worked nights. She knew a little about what was going on, and while here she said she felt the presence of evil in our home. She prayed over our house while he was here, and several days after she had returned home she called crying because she had a bad feeling about things in our house still. God was definately putting that on her heart, because her timing was very perfect. We were at the height of what I later learned was (and still is) Spiritual Warfare. This wasn’t even about Jake and I being angry with eachother anymore, this was a battle on a larger scale. Never in my life had I felt hate and rage like I did then. Looking back, this is where Satan slipped up. I know myself, I know my character, I know my faith, and most importantly, I know my God. I knew that what I was feeling was not of Him, and certaintly not who I knew I was IN Him. Instead of letting it overtake me, I fought hard against it. I prayed like I had never prayed before, I began to share only with people that I knew would pray for me, for Jake, for our family. I felt this was such a sacred warfare that I couldn’t trust it with anyone who wouldn’t fight it with us in prayer.
October: Our struggle continued for about a month (along with me getting THE SWINE 😯 and I just have to say, you really DO feel like you are going to die! ), so it was well into October before life began to settle down. We sought out Christian counseling on base (Praise God!) with a Chaplain that we knew. We came together here at home and openly talked about how this had moved from a marital warfare, to a spiritual warfare. In talking with a friend about this, she affirmed what was happening. Satan sees where you are most weak, he sees what would bring down a family, and waits until you are at your weakest before he tries to destroy. And he nearly did. Before we had this realization and decided to be a united front against it, I had spent hours planning how to return to Oregon with the boys. How I would now map out my life as a single mom. How I was DONE with my marriage because I was just plain tired of MAKING it work. I counseled friends about my options, wrote out plans, the passion with which I planned all of this out scared me at times because I knew in my bones just how serious I was. And the more I planned and prepared, the more bitterness and hate grew in me. I began to withdraw from people and friends, only relying on the guidance and support of a few. I did not care, at all, about anything other than my life at that time. In conversations now, my Mother-In-Law tells me that this was a fearful time for her because she knew by the hate and bitterness in my voice, I was not doing well and that I would leave if given the resources right then. I know, it’s odd, I have a good relationship with Mother-In-Law. 😉 😆 I think the only saving grace at this time was that God had me in a situation where I lacked the resources to leave. And during all of this, I was desperately seeking Him for help, but never admitting that I was hard hearted.
I know it sounds like depression when I put this into words, but I know depression and I’m not ashamed to admit when I am depressed or have been depressed. I’m not one of those people that dreads the stigma of depression or taking medication for it. I lived it before, I could live through it again. What was going on here was complete spiritual warfare, something I knew NOTHING about, but would soon have to learn very much very quickly. Luckily, the Chaplain we were seeing was on the same page about this, and finally after 4 weeks of barely speaking anything but hate to eachother, we were on the same page with eachother. I cannot tell you the burden that lifted just from us praying against it ONCE together as a couple, knowing we were fighting for our marriage. The end of October was the beginning of healing for us.
October was also a month God chose to do some MAJOR work on my heart to deal with ugly heart issues I had been harboring for YEARS. I cannot even tell you how strange it feels to be so annoyed by God’s timing, but also know His timing is perfect and that what He was placing before me had to be met head on. It hurts to look at the dark places of your heart and know that there is ugliness there that God wants to refine. These issues weren’t even related to my marrital problems, but because of these issues, I couldn’t move forward in repairing my marriage either. I had to let God fix my heart before He could fix my marriage. Waiting and being patient for this to happen was so frustrating for me, but the lessons God taught me during this time will forever be invaluable to me, and I feel KNOW that it has changed me forever. I am excited to share this one day in a seperate post, because it’s THAT big. 😉
November: We spent a lot of November wading through hurts, distrusts, and angers through counseling. We are so blessed to be seeing someone who doesn’t cut our appointments off after 45 minutes, but will sit with us for two hours if it’s needed. My mom spent a week here this month too, and it was nice to be able to hug her and have her see where we have been living for a year and a half. 😉 November continued healing for us, but emotionally, spiritually, and physically, it was exhausting. There were days I would just cry at the shear amount of work that went into repairing us. Even though I knew it was God’s total will for our hurts to be healed, healing can hurt sometimes.
December: I am continuing to see God work in ways that I know is in direct combat with the spiritual battle still waging. We are not done yet, we’ll never be done truly. We’ve learned that we need to be fully protective of our marriage, of our family, of the spiritual battle that goes on daily all around us. We have taught the boys (well, Dylan and Aidan, Owen is too little still) to pray for the armor of God. They know it by heart. They know the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit, the shield of faith, the breastplate of “right-chin-ness” (righteousness), the belt of truth, and the sandals of peace.
Ephesians 6:10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
As of right now, I can tell you that we are on the right path. I know our marriage and our family is in God’s will right now because that has been our continued prayer. I’m not saying it’s been easy, I’m not saying it’s going to BE easy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. But the further we travel this road with God leading us, and all of us knowing that the enemy wants nothing more than to see our family crumble, the more blessed we will be for fighting for it.
I know this is all quite heavy, and I know that others have been through much worse, others are living much worse in their life right now. But all I know is that September was the darkest month of our marriage, and that the last four months have been the most exhausting I’ve ever lived. But the lessons I’ve learned, the amount I have grown and changed, the way my faith and my love for God has grown, and the way our family has bonded together over this, has all been worth it. I can honestly say that I thank God for allowing this in my life at this time, as hard as it has been, because I now see with new eyes that I never could have had otherwise, and I never want to go back.