Thursday, June 11, 2009
Chapters Eleven and Twelve Wrapping Up an untroubled heart
The authors words are in red
As I wrap up this book study, I think " is my heart untroubled?"
For the most part....Yes.
Not that I don't have times of doubt and fear, of course we all do. We live in a spiritual world.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places
Pretty heady stuff there! Whether we want to admit it or not there are evil forces at work in our lives. Fear is a powerful weapon that is often used by the enemy to debilitate us. Fear paralyzes us. It is impossible to step out for God when we are overshadowed and bogged down with fear. It becomes our focus and when that is the case, battling it is a full time job.
I know this from very recent personal experience. This book came to me when I was under tremendous spiritual attack. I had recently learned that my oldest child is a heroin addict. Very shortly after that revelation he came home seeking help with his addiction. For those out there who scoff at the above scripture and do not believe in spiritual warfare I would encourage them to spend some time around a drug addict and his/her family.
This child, the oldest of four. Was at one time worshipped by his two younger brothers, he was the epitome of cool to them. He was universally loved by teachers "he is a joy", "I wish I had a classroom full of him" were comments I regularly received during his school years. Even at an early age he had an easy smile and never met a stranger. He was my joy.
I'll be honest, it had been awhile since I had seen those qualities in him. He is lost, I would say. We didn't see him much. I had no idea of the true battle taking place in his life.
I recall praying for God to reveal the truth to me. I had been in denial for some time. Several things had happened that pointed to the truth. I could no longer ignore what was happening.
Be careful what you pray for. God did indeed reveal the truth. It was a truth I did not want to see.
As the truth came into our household several ugly companions came along with it. Anger, bitterness, and fear.
It was almost tangible.... I could feel it, picturing it as a hulking demon. Lurking about in the room breathing over our every thought, every move. I remember wanting to scream as I looked from my son to my husband. There were no words to say as we each dealt with the thoughts that bombarded us. My husband in protection mode. He had just changed all the locks on the house days earlier when Brett's whereabouts were unknown. He was angry too, the things Brett had been driven to do to feed his addiction had wounded us all.
My husband and I did the best we could for five days while Brett detoxed. We prayed, we kept a constant watch, taking shifts for sleep. I prayed like I have never prayed before. I shared bible verses with him, told him I loved him. All to no avail. He eventually walked out of our home back to a life with drugs.
I was left with a constant companion...... Fear!
Will I ever see him again? Will he overdose? Will he be shot and killed in a drug deal? Will he just disappear? He had spoke of going to New York city to live among the homeless. Every heartbreaking story of the destruction of life by drugs I had ever heard came rushing back to me. Heroin is straight from the pits of hell and it had a death grip on my boy. Every vile, evil twisted act associated with drug life dominated my thoughts.
God rescued me. The book study preceding this one was Self Talk, Soul Talk. That book focused on our thought lives.
As I walked this road God used that book along with the encouragement and insights of the other women in the study to teach me how to navigate this new territory. This new battlefield.
The next book was this one "an untroubled heart" by Micca Campbell. Twelve chapters on learning to reach out and harness the power of God in our lives so that we need not wrestle with fear but live victoriously in the shadow of our Heavenly Father.
The last two chapters "Practicing His Presence" and "Living with Courage" focus on learning to abide in God's presence. For when we do this fear cannot touch us. 1John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear....
What does it mean to abide? It means to remain or to stay. Paul tells us exactly where we are to stay: "For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God" Col. 3:3
Stay with God? Why didn't I think of that before? One of those "easier said than done" things. Micca points us to Jesus example. Jesus's time with God wasn't something He tacked on to an overcrowded schedule. It was His highest priority, the time when He discovered god's priorities for His life.
I have been blessed with something precious, time! I don't work outside the home. My kids are old enough that I don't have to attend to physical needs like I used to. While my housework can pile up it is something that can wait. I know that God worked my circumstances for such a time as this, as He alone knows my needs. I have been able to spend time with Him every day without distraction. I have learned to abide, to live in His strength. Fear is no longer my constant companion as it was just a few months ago.
In the last chapter Living with Courage, Micca references The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy's three friends were on a journey seeking love, wisdom, and courage. They didn't realize that they possessed these qualities all along. The wizard merely opened their eyes to what they each already had.
"Like the characters in The Wizard of Oz as we travel along we will also encounter scary witches and flying monkeys in various forms that will take real knowledge, heart, and courage to face."
For me the witches and flying monkeys are embodied in a heroin addiction. I need courage to face the future of helping my son overcome the obstacles that his addiction has put in his way. Incarceration, felony record, debt. I need wisdom to make decisions about treatment, boundaries, and family counseling. Most of all I need love to combat the attacks from the enemy. Resentment, anger, bitterness at all that has been lost.
No yellow brick roads necessary. God is ever present, ever faithful to supply all our needs.
"I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears"
This is the first verse I ever committed to memory. It is my life verse. As I read this verse referenced in the last chapter I couldn't help but smile, Yes He is faithful. He delivered me from all my fears. He enables me day to day to walk in faith, to love my son and my family and most of all to serve Him fully with an untroubled heart.