From the Pit of Hell

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Lord, as I write this, I pray to you, God, that you speak and let me be the hands through which you write.

Can I tell you something?  Please, friends - I beg you.  Can I tell you something earnestly from my heart? The Enemy wants to keep it a secret, so I will shout it out loud.

I will shout out that which matters more than any fun post about fabric or a favorite shop; that which matters more than fashion or travel. I tell you the last few weeks have brought me through the deepest depths I've ever experienced.  Ever seen. Ever felt. Weeping, weeping, weeping.  I tell you, my soul was wailing.  If you ask my friends, my boyfriend - I would be surprised if they recognized me. Imagine the deepest pain, it doesn't matter if its irrational or small - the Enemy amplifies our "minuscule" issues into a bloody flood from hell. Impassible.  Impossible.  The spirit of fear.

 From the pit of hell comes all sorts of lies, from the pit of hell comes demons of the Enemy.  If you don't believe this now, if that day comes it will grip you with terror and your surprise will be his stronghold.  Do not give him the pleasure.  From the pit of hell comes the Spirit of Death that seeks to devour you as a shark, blood thirsty for your soul, viciously determined to drag you unto death.  You who don't believe in such things, I bring you testimony that Christ the Lord battles the forces of Satan everyday for your soul.  Everyday.  For your mind.  For my mind. Oh, I am angry. I'm angry that Satan has the gall to come for us.  Who does the Enemy think he is to face Jesus? - (excuse my language) but Satan's a bastard -  I'm pissed at him and I don't apologize for it. 

Would you believe me if I told you he came for me the past two nights? The enemy lion came for me. And there Jesus was - with a sword, fighting back, fighting for my sanity- and I honestly believe, my life.  I was not prepared for facing that kind of enemy, for I never truly believed that he would manifest himself in this way.  Satan is real? He's going to attack me? What? I'm a logical, peaceful, practical American! That doesn't happen to the likes of me!  Wrong.  Terribly wrong.

Let me tell you what happened.  Each morning I woke up, chest heaving, an attitude of complete dread overcame me. The blackest black. As my stomach clenched and throat seized, all I could whisper as my face contorted with pain was "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, please help me".  I've never felt so burdened.  I wept, "please help me".  Desperate, my mind was covered in fear, I was starving but could not eat.  I forced myself to take in some bread, to take a shower, to move each foot one after another, to brush my hair, to breathe.  I gripped the wall to steady myself - I was shaking.  "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, what's wrong with me? Why? Why? What is happening to me?"  I needed to call my mom.  "I'm so scared, I'm so scared".  "Do I need to go to the hospital? I've never felt so awful - not just in my body, but in my mind, in my soul."  Deepest, darkest, blackest pit. 

I will share this testimony: since graduating college I've been terrified of the next phase of "real life" - absolutely mortified.  I feared being stuck in a place or a job that I hated.  I feared being forgotten, being abandoned. I feared being lost, being sucked dry of every beautiful spirit and gift God had intended for me. I'm a student of ministry - what if I am completely wrong about everything God has ever told me about where he wants me in my life? I miss God, I miss my friends, I miss my school, I miss my teachers, I miss my job, I miss my mom, I miss my boyfriend.  I'm scared to get my feet wet, I'm too scared to be brave. (I also have no regard for verb tense nor spell check, so English majors will have to forgive me).

So, I struck out with all my best plans to avoid any of that pain - any of that scary, foreign, newness.  Who would have thought, right? A girl who loves to travel the world is afraid of her own city, afraid of anything new.  Well, the signs were always there, I just avoided them.  I tell you, to place your security and identity in anything other than Jesus is a landslide of death waiting to collapse upon you.   It is! Even as I tell you this story, I feel the attack of fear, because that last sentence is an affront to Satan. 

So, slowly, over the past year, my fears materialized before my eyes. Exactly what I feared infested my soul and though I tried to fix it - nothing relieved, nothing succeeded. Seriously, people, stop asking me what I want to do with my life! I DONT KNOW!

My circumstances would seem like a blessing to so many and yet I stood terrified and weeping. Over the past year I lost weight (not the positive kind), began losing sleep, became controlling, desperate, terrified. Not good.  I felt like I was dying.  How are you Shasta? "Oh, I'm fine.  I'm good. God is good."  Yuck, lying through my teeth. And this week has been a reflection of this awful wrestling match that has almost consumed my mind.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 

My fears overcame me and I was trembling.  I put my trust in things built on sinking sand - forsaking the rock that is my Jesus. I am prideful and independent. If you know me, you've seen this passionate spirit and it is also my downfall.  I confess to you that I am weak and troubled.  Driven, but blind. Blind without Jesus. 

So, as I slowly wasted away, God gave me the presence of mind to seek help - my mother, a friend from church, a counselor, past teachers, and even posting prayer requests on KTIS (something I would have been secretly embarrassed to do before because I was embarrassed of my fears).  I WOULD NOT LET this demon take me away.  I REFUSE, I REFUSE, I REFUSE.  "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Ack! Its awful. It is beyond awful, its panic attack everyday sort of awful.  But if you ever face this - I TELL YOU - DO NOT GIVE UP.  You are more valuable than anything fear can do, you are worth sticking through it. God is your rock and shield.  He is your strength.  

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I know this battle isn't over and I know that fear will try to strike again.  I have to cling to Jesus, literally lift my hands up in the bathroom when no one is looking and jump up to heaven (soon it won't matter if anyone is looking).  My mom said that this fear comes down to one thing, "Do you trust the Lord with your life? All of it? Its the hardest thing you will ever face, Shasta, and he's asking for your heart. Will you trust him?" AH! This is so hard.  So unbelievably hard, it hurts! It hurts so bad, you think you're gonna die. Yet, I find myself without fear at this moment, resting in the peace of Jesus.  For it is the only way - the only hope - to humble yourself in His hands and trust. 

Its funny, I look back now and remember something I said to the Lord, before all this started.  I said, "God, I know I don't love you like I should, my faith is small. Show me who you are, shake me to the core if you have to but never let me go.  Show me your wonders, give me the strength to be bold for you.  I love you, do with me what you wish and not what I would have for myself, I am weak and my plans are not good.  Please don't leave me to myself".  Hmm. Well... here we go. 

Its ugly, really ugly, but it is better to be terrified, for a time, in the arms of the Lord, than to wander blind in false confidence down the path that leads to lameness. I must tell myself, " have faith that God will do what he has promised to do, have faith".