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a fly, a prodigal, a worm and the branch.

A fly in green tea, a prodigal, a worm and a branch. Somehow, I believe God is asking me to tie all these stories together. This is going to be an interesting one! So you have been warned...

I have so many stories to tell from over this 10 year journey the Lord has had me on, and I promise I'll get back to telling those. But for now, the Lord keeps asking me to write about where I am at - in this moment. And so this story is from just today. It's been building over the last two years, but the realization of the story coming to a crashing end hit me today.

There have been a series of events that have led up to this realization, and what follows is that journey. As I write this, I'm astounded that I missed so many of the clues along the way, and really how far I got. But I'm realizing, that's the incredible strength the tug of the world has on us. It's subtle and slow at times, but the pull is continuous. Until all at once we are the prodigal son that took the journey away from his father into a far country and because it wasn't obvious or "seen" drugs, alcohol, prison or a blatantly bad decision, it simply got labeled as "life".

One day, there was a fly. Real big life problems, right?! But seriously, this fly would not stop landing on my face, my arm, my hand - it was a really persistent little thing. I was getting so frustrated and couldn't get anything done on my computer, constantly swatting. I had the memory of someone once telling me that every time a fly lands it throws up. So, ewww. At this point, I'm apparently covered in tiny little fly throw up and I'm fed up. So I said out loud something to the effect of, "I don't even know how to kill this thing!" And then, within a second, for real!, that little pest flew into my tea cup, landed on the side and promptly fell to his death, drowning in green tea. I laughed out loud because I couldn't believe how easy and instant that was. I dumped my tea out, rinsed the cup and started over with a fresh cup of green tea.

Naturally when a fly dies in your tea, you begin to think about the meaning behind it, right? Okay, probably not most people. But I do. It's one of the things God is teaching me. That everything happens for a reason, everything has a purpose, everything is part of this great big spiritual battle going on. Every single thing. Even a fly in my tea. Because what that did for me, was began a time of prayer between me and God, where I started asking questions like...what are you trying to tell me? Is there something I need to be paying attention to? As I was praying I decided to see what I could find out about flies. By the way, I found that they do, in fact, throw up enzymes on food they want to eat. You're welcome for that.

Back on topic. As I was digging through information about flies, I came across an article that talked about how the enemy has his demons "work covertly in the life of Christians", to be unseen and unnoticed, clinging. The author went on to break down what the Lord had shown him...three different ways the enemy attacks. One of which he likened to a fly (which caught my attention): "This demon is so small and seemingly insignificant that most people are not even aware that it is present. This sin does not usually appear to be big or may not seem all that bad in the eyes of the Christian, and they may not even realize that they have it." Sounded a lot like those pesky little unseen sins flying around, landing on us every so often that God was beginning to point out to me. The things that we simply swat away...pride, jealousy, offense, the things we chalk up to "life."

When I read this, I realized how true it is and how it so applied to me and my little fly. It was another stop in your tracks moment for me as God took me back to the night before and brought this all together in a powerful lesson. God had woken me in the middle of the night and out of nowhere I felt like He was asking me to bind spirits. Remember how I really don't like the dark, the night or being awake in the middle of both? And now I'm supposed to do something really strange and certainly not in my comfort zone? But the feeling wouldn't go away and I felt an urgency. So I began to pray and ask God what He meant. He meant what He said. Call out any spirits that came to mind and bind them in the name of Jesus Christ. And I did just that. I called out everything that came to mind...pride, jealously, offense, fear...words that made me uncomfortable, because it was admitting my weaknesses, my failures. I don't struggle with ALL those things, Lord, do I? Yes you do. Okay, then let's keep going...doubt, control...

The list went on as I watched with my own eyes a sick colored greenish-black cloud swirling all around, evidence of the battle raging above me. The enemy was trying to gain ground, but the Lord opened my eyes enough for me to see it and then gave me the weapons to battle it. As my list wound down, so did the swirling. And when I had nothing left to call out, the cloud completely disappeared. Gone. And that's when it hit me. Get rid of the things that keep clinging, the things I can't see. Stop swatting. Actually get rid of it, call it out, bind it in the name of Jesus, "rinse the cup" and start over - fresh. Free from all that the enemy is trying to stick to us. The release I felt was really indescribable. Light, free and rid of the junk.

It reminded me of a couple dreams God gave me shortly after that night, and I understand why now. In the first dream, I was sitting on the floor in the living room in our home, when suddenly an older man and a younger boy came in behind me. They were both shirtless, the man was wearing khaki pants, the younger boy was wearing khaki shorts. The older man began moving toward me with a knife, with an obvious intent to kill. I was terrified and cried Jesus out loud, over and over. Instantly, as if without any thought, and in one swift motion, he handed me the knife. Just handed it over and stood there. He had a look of complete defeat. I called for Garth, he came and handcuffed them together. Then Garth and I left the house and as we were driving, I remember asking what he did with the guys. He said he left them handcuffed at the house until the authorities could get there. I panicked because I realized they had the ability to run loose through the house and do whatever they wanted. We had bound their hands, but hadn't removed them from our house. We turned around to go back to secure them and take them from our home.

The second dream was really long and detailed, and I'll spare you most of those details - but there was one particular part that stood out to me and I haven't been able to shake it. The dream started with Garth and I walking through a small town I wasn't familiar with. When we got into the town, we went our separate ways for a bit. The part that God really highlighted for me, however, was when we came back together in front of a store and sat down on the sidewalk. We were talking about a bag of stuffed animals that Garth was carrying. (His favorite part of the dream, I'm sure!) Another guy came up and joined in the conversation about the stuffed animals. I lost interest in what they were saying and began to look around. Then I looked down at the knee of my jeans and saw small yellow worms coming out. I picked at my jeans, a worm came out and I brushed it off. It kept happening over and over, a worm would appear, I would brush it off. Then suddenly I looked and in place of the worms, I had a tree branch growing out of the knee of my jeans.

This is what I believe God's message is in all this...

The enemy is going to constantly try to creep in and get us to fail. He is sneaky and persistent. We're at a point where we can't just simply swat him away. It may appear to be a temporary fix, but really, it's a build up that we don't see until it's too late. It will keep coming back. We have to actively get rid of the sins and remove them completely, rendering the enemy powerless. If we don't get the enemy completely out of our "house" - he will have freedom to move about as he wishes. And that takes acknowledging the things that exist in our lives that don't belong. It honestly requires being willing to look weak to the world. It's a different kind of mindset, a different kind of living. Living humble, pure, surrendered. Quick to call out our own faults and weaknesses. Willing to be teachable, serving, giving, loving, forgiving. That's the place where God can work with us - beginning the process of replacing the "worms" of sin with "branches" of new life and growth. It's there we can walk freely in the calling God has for us. When we aren't living life proud, offended, fearful or whatever your bend - our enemy is out of work and in a battle where he can no longer fight. And we become free to walk in the light of Christ.

I don't know about you, but I'm calling those annoying flies out and brushing the gross worms off my knees. Turning my back to the world that Satan is ruling and trying to pull me into...a prodigal returning in humility back to the love of my Father. Jeremiah 3:10 says "Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD." That word pretense stands out to means "an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true." My prayer is for that to never be true of me again. That what you see in me - my actions, words and heart are pure, authentic and deeply rooted in humility - not just a worldly attempt to appear that way. And that I will return to the Lord with my whole heart - firmly planted in my anointing.

"Samuel said, 'Is it not true, though you were little in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel? And the Lord anointed you king over Israel...' " - 1 Samuel 15:17


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