The Battle Isn’t Mine

This is what the LORD says to you, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15

Battles. No one likes a battle and yet, it is in battles where we build our faith in God. It is in battles where we find that we never have the strength to actually fight and our only answer is to give it over to God. Sometimes you can see battles coming and brewing, sometimes you are blindsided. Yesterday I was blindsided.

I have a heart to connect people and connect with people. Part of that heart led me to start a ministry that has two primary purposes: meet needs, and help others get involved in meeting needs. I have spent hundreds of hours over the past 2 years working in this ministry and it has been amazing. While I have never gained a thing as far as money or things tangible, what I have gained is building a community of people who care about helping others. Yesterday, someone posted horrible things on my Facebook page and sent me mean and hurtful messages. In a moment, the thing I loved became the thing I regretted ever starting. I was so shaken I couldn’t do anything but cry. I had been blindsided by a battle, not with this person but with a greater enemy, and I fell down completely and forgot Who was in my corner.

As the afternoon and evening progressed, I got deeper into discouragement and fear. Several times my inner monologue said “Quit. Stop trying to lead. You don’t have tough enough skin to handle this type of attack. Just be a regular person with no ambition.” These words brought a load of comfort but they were just more of the attack. I felt like I had nothing to contribute and no reason to put myself out there. I was losing ground quickly and again, I wasn’t remembering Who is on my side.

When I got home and found myself alone, I cried. No, I sobbed in pain. I felt lost and all I could do was ask why? Wrong question. I started to change the perspective by seeking to assume positive intent. I reached out to my closest support people and I opened my bible. I was still crying but instead of staying down, I started to rise up. Instead of asking “Why me?”, I started asking, “What are you showing me, Lord?”. The pain I was feeling was really deep and it was less about this man’s words and more about my own story. He was triggering something that needed to be addressed. So, I stayed in the pain and kept praying and pressing in.

I had a violent step-dad. One night when I was about 15 years old, he had been drinking and doing other drugs and his temper was flared. We lived in a mobile home in a farming town in Pennsylvania. I could hear he and my mom talking from my bedroom and at one point he turned his attention to our dog and said, “Well Pepper, it’s time for you to die. Tonight’s a good time for you to get hung.” I remember laying in my bedroom terrified. My heart was pounding out of my chest and I felt trapped in a nightmare. Then he said words that until last night, I really had forgotten, “Where’s Kelly?” I was certain I was dead. I was certain that I was going to be hung next to the dog. This wasn’t the only time he terrified me, but I think it was the worst. The violence in his words rose to the surface of my heart yesterday by the violence of this stranger.

God had used the evil of this attack on my ministry for some deep good…heart healing. I have been on this journey to assume positive intent with all interactions which in all honesty is just applying loads of grace. I have lived 32 years never applying grace to my stepdad. You see I know his story and he was horrifically abused so he was just continuing the cycle. It’s doesn’t excuse his behavior, it just makes it understandable. Last night for the first time I was able to think of my stepdad and love him. He was broken and he was breaking the world around him and I just happened to be in the path. It wasn’t personal against me, I was just one more person to harm.

After more crying last night, this time tears of relief, I was able to look at the violence against my ministry and hear God say, “I’ve got this, this is my battle not yours”. Ahhh…peace!! I was able to look at the violence against me as a kid and hear God say, “I’ve got this, this is my battle not yours”. Ahhh….peace!! I have other pieces in my story of trauma to keep working on and I still need to let this one leave me more completely, but last night started a deep healing work and I am a completely different person this morning thanks to my loving Father and amazing friends. I actually would like to meet the man who attacked my ministry and just love on him. He’s clearly in pain and I would like to help. Who knows if God will bring that to pass but I’m open.

Let God fight for you. Let God heal you. Healing is painful but it is worth the pain.

Shalom,

KA

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Declaring My Dream

What if you believed in the dreams in your heart? What if you believe they are from God and because of that, your simple obedience will make them come to fruition? What if you believed that you can change the world one person at a time? What if you declared your legacy? How would you live differently???
The dreams in my heart are to love people with the love of the Father. That love is unconditional. That love went to the cross. That love released a man overcome with demons named Legion. That love healed hearts and bodies. That love asked, “Where are your accusers”, and when there were none to be found, even in the face of guilt, replied, “I don’t accuse you either”. That love says right now, “I’m never going to leave you or forsake you so trust Me”.
My heart longs to help people live lives that are fully in the presence of God. I don’t care what your story is, I want to hear it and I want to be part of it because I want you to know without a shadow of a doubt that God is for you…always. We spend so much time rehearsing the junk and so little time at the foot of the cross just laying it all down. I want to help people lay it down and never pick it up again. I want to help people lay down shame, condemnation, self contempt, hatred, unforgiveness…the list goes on and on.
My dream isn’t an easy dream and it isn’t a small dream. It’s also not a dream I can do on my own because it’s not a dream I would have chosen. It’s messy getting into the story of another person, especially when you are overwhelmed with empathy. It’s terrifying to have someone else’s story trigger some part of your own and then you have to face your own healing journey. It’s exhausting changing how to think and approach the world around you. And boy oh boy, it’s joyful, exuberant, jubilant, amazing and just flat out awe inspiring to see someone grab hold of the Gospel for even one second because that’s the seed planted. That’s the light in the darkness. That’s the love of God breaking through.
I let go of my dream a little bit last year. I decided to listen to a voice other than my Father’s and shrug my shoulders and say I’m not good enough for my dreams and that they are just too big for someone so small. Well, not doing that any longer. Today I declare that I’m going to follow my dream of being a pastor. (My eyes are full of tears as I type that word because I instantly hear “disqualified” as I see it.) I am not disqualified from the dream that God has planted in me: to shepherd people to follow God. I understand fully the hard work involved and guess what, God is able! I’m recommitting to the classes I need to take and the process I need to follow. I have no idea the outcome except this: if God is for me, I don’t care who’s against me!
Here’s my ask of you…pray for me. Pray that I stay focused. Pray that I learn well. Pray that I listen and pray well. Pray for my family and close friends.
Jesus, forgive me for letting go of this dream for even a moment. I am deeply sorry. Thank you for leading me so lovingly. Thank you for showing me the dream You have placed in my heart. Give me the strength I will need to see this through and bring You the glory and the fame. Help me not see “pastor” and feel “disqualified”. I love you Lord with all of my heart, mind, soul and being. May I shine as brightly as you believe I can…that’s WAY brighter than I think I can! Amen.
Shalom,
KA