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.