Monday, March 3, 2014

Due Season

I pride myself on sleeping {really} well.  Like, a tornado could rip through the living room, and I'd still be sleeping.  My husband tells me he finds me in the same position the next morning, as I had gone to sleep in the night before.  I brag that it comes from a peace that surpasses all understanding, from having a clear conscience.  But last night, something out of the ordinary happened.  I was awakened with a start!  Startled, I screamed and flung the covers off myself!  To where my dog started barking ferociously, which pretty much paralyzed me with fear for a few minutes.  What. was. that.

The last time I remember being that scared, I was up late, typing on the laptop in the middle of my dark living room when someone pounded at my front door!  Paralyzed with fear, my muscles were frozen.  I couldn't move an inch, let alone try to defend myself, or to find out what was going on.  I could only shout to my husband in the next room, until he woke up and came out to investigate.  It happened again a couple of days later, and again, I was frozen in fear.  I did feel better after the police told us there were other reports in the neighborhood, and that there was a group of kids pulling pranks, but at that moment, I literally could. not. move.  I had never before felt that type of fear.

So I wasn't sure if I had a night terror, in which something happened, and shocked me out of my sleep, or if something had happened outside that caused my dog to bark.  I can almost remember a loud noise that set it off!  Whether it was in a dream, or outside, I have no idea.

Immediately, I felt it was a spiritual attack!  I began to pray scriptures, "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God, and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus." {Philippians 4:6}  "For the weapons of warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." {2 Corinthians 10:3-5}

The T.V. was still on in the living room, so I thought my husband might still be up.  I stepped softly into the living room, and found that my husband was sleeping in the other room.  With my dog at my heels, heart racing, and still trembling, I nudged him awake to see if he had heard anything.  He grumbled, and rolled to his other side.  Now, what??

I pretty much turned all the lights on in the house, and looked around, as much as my body would allow.  Everything was fine, but I was still shaken up.  I went to lay down with Cooper, because he was more likely to let me cuddle him, but I was wide away.  Cooper started to cry restlessly in his sleep, and I wondered if he could sense my own anxiety.  I conjured up enough courage to go to my car, with my dog by my side, of course, to get my pouch of essential oils.  I rubbed lavender on my own feet, chest, and back, as well as on Cooper's.  I also put a few drops in the humidifier.  Lavender is known for its calming effects.  I continued to pray.

1 John 4:8 tell us:  "Perfect Love casts out all fear."

As I laid there in the dark, my thoughts were racing along with my heart, and I realized I needed to get into The Word.  I pulled up YouVersion's Bible app on my phone, and browsed the devotionals.  "The Overflow Devo" is authored by various Christian artists.  I recognized the name "Lacrae," and thought I'd see what it was is an eight-day devotional, showcasing the rapper's album titled, "Gravity."  Fellow artists KB and Derek Minor also contributed to the content.

I started with "Day 1," and found it very easy to read.  It starts out, "It's been said that the vainest things in life are the ones we expect the most contentment from."  I read on..."People are constantly asking, "What's the meaning of life," like maybe the answer would satisfy their discontent."  It goes on, "We, outside of a relationship with Jesus who satisfies our deepest longings, are left to a redundant existence."

I was hooked.  I continued to read until I finished the entire devotional.  I have already gone back to read parts of it over and over again.  It is THAT GOOD.

I was able to get back to sleep after that.  I woke the next morning, and got Cooper and myself ready for church.  I was attending the second installment of a Bible Study titled, "Life of Purpose."  Don't you know it--everything I had read in the devotional the night before had prepared me for this very class.  Our teacher reminded us of the story of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32:22-32, and I felt an immediate connection.  He said, "pull God into yourself."  That's the kind of mental exhaustion I had felt from the night before.  I was pulling God in, and rebuking the devil's attempt at spiritual warfare.  Every word spoken in that class, as well as in Pastor's sermon that day spoke to my highest potential--a direct word for my life.

Our teacher mentioned Sponsors in the Bible.  He reminded us that it takes only one stroke of favor to change the course of our lives, as long as we remain faithful in our walk with Him.  You can be last in line, when God turns the entire line around!  I thought about the Sponsors in my life, who gave me opportunities to serve alongside them, so that, at God's appointed time, in due season, I would be called to lead, myself.  I am a walking testimony that God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.  The Bible says, "And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." {Galatians 6:9}

KB, one of the artists who authored that devotional, had quoted Augustine, "If Christ is not valued above all, Christ is not valued at all."  He received criticism via tweet from a young lady who retorted, "Your God sounds like He's on a power trip, I would never want to be with a god like that."  I loved KB's perspective on this, he wrote, "God is too great, too beautiful, too awesome, too attractive to truly be seen and not obsessed over."

I just love how God truly takes what the devil meant for evil, and turned it into good for me.  I was able to see deeper, hear clearer, and praise sweeter this Sunday morning.  I am grateful that He has chosen me to fulfill the purpose He has for me, and I could never be more sure that I am exactly where He wants me to be.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says:
""For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."