Well, that was a long stretch of not writing.
It turns out Satan stole my story. For real. Which shouldn’t have surprised me. Scripture says it very plainly in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” And yet it still surprised me. I haven’t written about this story yet because every time I get ready to write about this, something causes me to pause. And I finally realized why. It’s two-fold actually. One, I’ve looked everywhere I can possibly think of for my notes that I wrote about “the day I got a call from Satan." I know it happened on September 9, 2016, because it's recorded on my phone, stamped with the date. But my notes themselves are completely missing. I had even started an entry on my blog site on September 29, 2016, ready to write all about the day I got a call from Satan. And then, nothing.
Two, whenever there is mention of Satan, people glaze over. Or there are those that get upset and say things like, "you need to focus only on God". Don’t give the enemy any credit. And I absolutely agree. 100% Except with one thing - we have to know the enemy. So maybe my agreement is more like 95%? We have to know his plans. We have to have a plan set in place. We have to be aware and alert. Or it becomes a whole lot less like a battle and becomes a straight up sneak attack. Uneducated. Unprepared. Unaware. I can't even imagine what it would look like if our military went into battle completely unaware of the strategy the enemy they faced had. Sure, there are bound to be surprises along the way. But how much better would our end of the battle be, if we knew what was coming at us?
So what exactly does it look like to know the enemy, and to know his plan? I’m realizing as I begin to spend more in-depth time with the Lord, that it actually looks a whole lot like knowing the Lord. Which in turn looks like knowing who I really am. And when you know who you are in Christ, you begin to realize the strengths and gifts He’s given you. It's in that revelation, you begin to see where and how the enemy attacks. Satan is not creative, but he’s desperate and extremely consistent. Repetitive even. He will find your weak point and hit you over and over and over in the same spot until you cave or until you, at long-last, put your foot down and put a stop to it. And if we don’t walk with eyes and ears to see the battle, we miss it. Well, that's not totally accurate. It's not so much a "miss it", as it is a pummeling. If we are turning a blind eye, we likely don’t understand the lies. We walk in the flesh and then we begin to believe the lies. Choosing to ignore it doesn’t make it go away, it actually makes it all the more dangerous. Because it’s still there. We just don’t have a game plan. And then, just like that, we’re blindsided.
So I’m going to hit hard with this one, because I believe we’ve reached the point where something has got to change. Maybe it took months to get this one out because the Lord knew I needed to be prepared. And let me tell you, the arrows have been coming fast and furious. The thickness of my skin has been tested and I've experienced spiritual warfare in a whole new way. All the while, the Lord has been taking me deeper into the word and into His heart. And I’m realizing that’s the place I need to live, where we need to live. Right smack dab in the middle of His heart. I’m understanding more and more, the view inside looks a whole lot different than the view outside.
For the last year and a half, the Lord instructed this time for me was to be a time of sitting in His word. Not “getting” in His word - sitting. Resting. Spending a different kind of time with Him than the standard morning “devo” time we’ve adopted as an adequate relationship with the Lord. I’m not judging or throwing stones - all of this comes from the Lord, walking me right through the middle of it, because that was me for 15-plus years of my life. Grabbing a cup of tea, a verse and a few sentences someone wrote to encourage me for the day and then move on. But the Lord has been dealing with me in this, in a really big way. Let me start from 15 months ago.
Fifteen months ago our team began the journey of digging into the word for two years, and I knew the Lord was asking me to do it a little differently. Just me, the Lord, His words through scripture and His voice to me through visions and dreams. No outside sources or voices, just sitting so close to my Father’s heart that I could hear each beat of His heart and learn the meaning of what each beat carried behind it.
Here begins the story part...the part that may make some of you squirm. But I’ve gotten to where I’m okay with that. And maybe it won’t make you squirm. Maybe, just maybe, you are as tired of all the wasted time and energy debating theology as I am - and ready for the true, deep relationship God intended with each of us. It’s not for me to explain or convince. It’s simply for me to share and for you to take it to the Lord to reveal truth to you. What I know during this time, without a doubt, was that what the Lord was asking of me was to develop my prayer life with Him. More specifically, tongues. I believe He was asking me to pray each day in tongues and then draw out on paper what I was praying. Here’s the problem - I had never, up to this point, had the ability to interpret tongues. Dreams and visions, yes. Tongues, not so much. So my first thought - well this will be interesting. Let’s just say, God didn’t disappoint. And so began my two year journey of nestling right up next the God’s heart. It’s something I called “Rhema and Logos - Whispers from God through the spoken and written word.” A combination of the visions the Lord gives me each day in prayer, backed by scripture and told in in the form of watercolor graphics. It's been challenging and incredibly fun.
As I looked through all the vision cards that have been created up to this point, I realize that it's because of this time with the Lord that I’ve been able to see a lot that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see. So much of it is encouraging. The pictures are fun and full of hope, joy, peace and encouragement. But there’s a whole lot more that God has been showing me that doesn’t paint a pretty picture. And those are what I believe He is showing to reveal pieces of what the enemy is up to - exposing some of Satan’s game plan. Some already know it and are turning a blind eye, some are oblivious because it’s easier and some simply might feel ignorance is safer. But it’s not. It’s dangerous. And I understand better now that the Lord is asking me to see it, pay attention to it, pray into it and then to share it, so others are prepared as well.
Which is also the purpose behind the stories that I believe the Lord has asked me to write in these blogs - to share with you about how the Lord is speaking to me and expose the enemy's ploy. I’m on a journey that’s unique to me, but only in that God is speaking to me in the way that I understand best - the way He specifically designed me. The prayer in sharing these stories of encounters with God, both the lighthearted as well as the tough, is that it opens your eyes to the ways He’s seeking to speak, specifically to you. Because there is a certain way He wants to speak to you. It might look different. In fact, it most likely will. But it will suit exactly how you were designed. And the even bigger prayer is that it stirs in all of us a deeper desire to get to know the heart of our Father. Because that’s where His voice is. That’s where He shows us who we are. And it’s where He begins to reveal the enemy’s true colors. The plans that He put in place as well as the plans that he put in place.
One of the visions the Lord gave me a couple weeks ago was of a slew of arrows coming right at me. Not such an awesome picture, until suddenly the Lord started putting marshmallows on the tips of each arrow to soften the blow. It was the kind of image that made me laugh out loud. Marshmallows? What on earth? So I began praying and asking the Lord what He was showing me in it. The message I got was that the enemy is shooting everything he has at me, but in the attack, the Lord is protecting me. The whole “hit, not hurt” concept that He’s been showing me for awhile. The simplicity of His message made me smile...I think He used marshmallows because I love s’mores. Like really love s'mores. Sitting around a fire with family and friends eating melted chocolate and marshmallow deliciousness. And then I heard the words - Joy in the Fire. And I knew exactly what the Lord was trying to show me. Whether or not we want to acknowledge or pay attention, the arrows are coming and they are going to keep coming. Just because we ignore them doesn’t mean they stop. But the really cool thing is that the Lord has us covered. He's softening the blow. And even has a fun way of dealing with the fire, if only we will pay attention.
A couple weeks later, the morning after a few big hits from the enemy, I got a text from a friend and was once again blown away at how the Lord wants to speak to our heart..."I forgot to tell you I had a dream last week that I was at the store looking for marshmallows to buy for you... don’t know what that means..."
When I read that text, my reaction was laughter that turned to tears. She was going to buy me marshmallows. Seriously. The Lord prompted her in a dream to go to the store to buy me some marshmallows. I let that sink in. The night before I had felt the intensity of the arrows, and the next day, I found out the marshmallows are coming. That's how much the Lord loves us.
My reply to her text: "That’s so awesome - thanks for sharing!!! I know exactly what it means! Not that you asked - but it relates to the vision the Lord gave me a couple weeks ago that I shared briefly with the team. It was of arrows coming at me but the Lord started putting marshmallows on the tips of them to soften the blow. The message I got was that the enemy is shooting everything he has at me, but the Lord is protecting me. The whole 'hit, not hurt' concept He’s been showing me. And I think He used marshmallows because I love s’mores! Joy in the fire. So I believe He used you and your dream to encourage me - I’m feeling pretty hit. Thanks for buying the marshmallows for me."
I think we all would rather avoid a battle. I know I would. But what I’m learning is that sometimes the Lord allows a battle in our lives. And sometimes He asks us to engage in that battle. That’s where I am right now. Coming out of a battle I was engaged in, trying to figure out what just happened. Because if there's one thing I've learned in all of this - the arrows aren't going to stop. That's simply not how the enemy works. We have to fight back.
Then comes the million dollar question - how do we do that? I can't say I have all the answers, but I can say what I've learned. We focus on Christ, but we know the battle we’re in. We keep our eyes on the Lord, but we have the battle plan. We know the heart of the Lord, but we recognize the scheme of the enemy. Seeing and hearing from the Lord opens the opportunity for the Him to begin exposing the enemy's schemes. And seeing and hearing is a direct result of sitting with the Lord.
So, about that phone call I got from Satan...I honestly can't remember much about it. I do remember it was a chilling call. It shook me to my core. And I remember very distinctly that it felt like, somehow, Satan had gotten ahold of a direct line to me. But the details of the call are gone. From my memory and from my phone. Maybe God is protecting me, maybe the enemy is trying to get rid of anything I have against him.
But the one thing I do know is that when Satan calls, I'm going to go ahead and answer. And then promptly hand the phone to God. It's time to recognize the call for what it is - a distraction, an attempt to throw us off-course, cause us to doubt who we are or hit where it hurts. I don't really have time for all that nonsense...I've got some s'mores to make.
"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." - Romans 16:20
"Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'" - Matthew 16:23
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." - John 10:10