I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror today. Generally the only time I spend in front of a mirror is the 4 or 5 minutes each morning that I pull my hair back and make a brief check for anything overtly embarrassing. But today, I saw myself and I paused to evaluate some things. While I stood there, obvious changes that have taken place over the last six months quickly became apparent.
I have aged.
I felt sorry for my husband. I did not have the youthful appearance I had when we first met, or through our happy time of engagement. I was now a woman with a weary countenance. There were bags under my eyes, roughened tired skin, and my hair was getting that unmanageable texture that comes with years. Only mine did not come with years…. It came with months.
What I saw standing in front of me was the shell of a person I once knew.
Six months of onslaught by a complex plan devised in the chambers of hell. Six months geared to the ultimate destruction of my life. Six months of stress I could not bear and questions I could not answer and problems I could not fix.
And now… here I am.
Light has shone through the darkness and revealed what was veiled in shadows.
But… in the end, I am very much aged. Very much changed. Very much a broken person.
Perplexities have dissolved to comprehension. I look over the turmoil and I see clearly now, the devil was at work and I was on the bull’s-eye.
I’m talking about a calculated, purposeful scheme.
I was on Satan’s agenda.
I was the object he was focused on.
Months of struggling against the most powerful bitterness I have ever had to face. Months of sensing failure in every area of my life. Months of bearing the weight of judgments and criticism.
I fought hard. I battled the bitterness until I won the victory. I waged war as the devil continually tried to wear me down with judgment. With my husband rooting me on, I lived through each blow and ultimately surrendered myself on the altar to be slaughtered. For several months I faced that sense of failure until I had to lay several things down to focus completely on that one area of huge breakdown.
It was like shutting everything else down to preserve power.
Taking care of myself took its place on the back burner. Every other project was hurried through. Ministering to others ceased. “Being a wife” was placed in the trunk and all of my attention was funneled to one area.
I did the least everywhere in my life to focus on one glaring issue.
This was completely necessary. My husband understood that divided attention in this area at the time was not cutting it, so he supported me. He lived through the months when I could not be everything to him we both wished I could be.
Then one day the light beamed down into my life and the mystery was solved. I learned that it was never my failure in the first place.
Liberation of a burden so unbearably heavy. Instantaneous acquittal.
What a relief I felt when everything became clear.
But now… I look around and I see how the phantom failure shredded my confidence to the point that I truly was a failure. While the situation had absolutely nothing to do with our marriage, my husband paid the highest price. I gave up in a lot of areas and he suffered the worst. Before we got married I dreamed of being that incredible wife that cooked him dinner every night and kept the house sparkling so it could be a refuge for him. I planned on spoiling him and being a mighty prayer warrior for him. I wanted to be a wife that he could be proud of.
I look in the mirror and I see none of that. I was so broken that I could barely try.
All I see is the evidence of a war.
I’ve never walked around a tornado site to view the aftermath, but that is how I feel right now.
The storm is over, I am very raw, still shaken up, and I’m walking around assessing the damage. I recognize things that once belonged to me lying in a splintered heap of ruin. That confident warrior spirit I had to tackle challenges…. There it lies amidst fragments of unwavering dreams. Strong convictions about character are found bruised and broken in the quiet scene of rubble after the powerful storm ripped through.
And… Here I am.
Phantom failure became actual failure and that failure was being a good wife.
I’m trying not to be harder on myself than I should. I understand the force of impact in the sense of physics. I have read that a 30lb. baby in your arms at the impact of a mere 35mph becomes the equivalent of 40-60 times its weight. There is no way someone can hold that weight on impact, regardless of their commitment to protect that child. I understand that impact in a spiritual sense, especially as brutal as this has been, can make things a lot harder to hang on to… but I can’t help but look back and wonder “Could I have done better? Could I have trooped forward as a wife in the midst of that storm?”
I really don’t know the answer. I still would have had to narrow my sights and focus on that one thing. I may have never found the problem if I hadn’t. And yet…. there are areas that I know I could have responded better.
I let weight creep onto my body. I forsook the care of my appearances. I let various things go to the point of what could rightfully be an embarrassment to my husband. I became the wife that if you came to my house, I would meet you on the porch. I became the wife whose husband had to ask her to make supper. I was the wife who should have been very quiet while the Lord led my husband to make decisions, but I couldn’t master my insecurities enough to keep my silence. These are areas I may have been able to conquer if I was not letting myself drown in failure.
There is a lot of rebuilding to do and I won’t have the same momentum I had as a newlywed wife excited about the journey. Now I am a broken person mustering up the courage to take on what I couldn’t carry in the midst of the storm.
I feel like someone is standing before me, holding an anvil, and wanting my broken arms to bear its weight.
When I go through things, I generally do not ask God “Why?” I don’t question His sovereignty and purposes. I may have thrown the word forth in the direct moments after shocking grief when I really had not even had a second to process the news, but ultimately, I have learned over the years to trust Him and depend upon Him and believe He knows best.
Tonight though… I asked “Why?”
I stood in God’s presence with tears streaming down my face, thankful that God had split the cover of darkness, but I asked Him “Why?”
Why was Satan so interested?
Why would Satan devise such a masterful scheme against me?
It was the greatest master piece of hell I’ve ever seen attack my life.
While pieces of the puzzle are fitting together now, I look back and wonder… what did he want with me?
He had his sights set and the crosshairs fixed and if you looked through the scope you would see…
25-years-old, new wife, life dedicated to menial tasks and background work…
I’m not a preacher. I’m not a spotlight woman in the movement. I’m not a person of great influence. I’m not turning the world upside down or inside out.
And yet I was the target of a very deliberate and calculated plot.
Was he trying to get to my husband through me? Was he trying to rip through a group of people? Was he trying to foil some unknown future blessing? Some people are quick to suggest that “God is going to do mighty and powerful things through your life and the devil leaps upon you in an attempt to thwart it.” I don’t know about that though. It almost seems like a proud assumption when we latch onto an idea like that. I’m not saying that it’s not possible. I’m just saying there are a lot of possibilities, and it doesn’t have to be the one that builds us up like we are something so amazing that the devil just has to come and take us out.
To be very honest, I felt like the Lord impressed this upon my heart when I asked why.
When the devil is so interested….
It’s because he is ravenously starving. He is rapaciously greedy.
He is an infinite trench of selfish.
He has an insatiable hunger and an unquenchable thirst for souls and blood. He roams the earth seeking whom he may devour. If there was a reason he honed his sights on Rebecca Pruett of rural Pennsylvania, that reason whatever it was, was in all reality, a very minute factor in the equation.
I could write this article and try to make you feel better about your situation by trying to give an explanation for why the devil is attacking you specifically, but in all honesty, the reason does not matter.
Whether he was foiling a work for God, or seeking to destroy particular people through one or two, or crafting a sinister plot to tear down the confidence of every person watching the lives of a collection of believers… it all has one purpose.
Satan is an empty chasm… ready to swallow any and every person he can. He really does not care who you are. You’re another soul to devour and pack into hell’s malevolent and desolate cavities to be tormented for time without end.
The devil is so interested because he hates God. Not because we are anything special to him. You are nothing more than a meal to him. He just hates God and he wants to work against God. He abhors God with the most concentrated and forceful repugnance so far beyond what our finite minds can grasp.
That’s the only reason he is after you.
The greater and more important question under the blows of the enemy really boils down to this:
Why is God so interested?
Sometimes God suggests people to Satan. Job 1:8 says “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job…” Read the story. God tells Satan he can buffet this righteous man and He governs how the attacks are meted out. Each time He tells Satan, “You may do this…. Only don’t do that.” Not only is God completely and entirely in control of what this roaring lion can impose, He is allowing it…. maybe even advocating it.
Unlike the devil who views you as no more than meat for an insatiable appetite, God sees you as a child whom He loves with an everlasting love and has plans and purposes for that are higher than we can see.
For God, this is not a contest where He and the devil race to see which side can get the most people in their respective spiritual realm.
To God… you are His beloved child. You are His prized heir to an eternal kingdom… and you can rest assured that EVERY infliction, EVERY battle, EVERY attack of the enemy has a higher purpose that if allowed… God will get glory and honor for.
So…my question tonight is now… “God… what are You trying to accomplish in my life? What aspect of my character are You trying to develop? What rough edge are You trying to widdle away? What purpose do You have for my suffering?”
Because if He suggested the buffeting…. if He is advocating the onslaught… if He is taking down a few hedges and letting the devil attack… then He has a purpose and I want to give the least resistance.
Whatever the devil has in mind doesn’t really matter, as long as I can surrender to whatever God is doing.
If I can surrender to the whatever God is doing, the ironic outcome of the devil’s assault will be that it helps God achieve His higher purposes in my life.
Spiritual warfare is a very real thing. We are not facing things that are confined to the laws of physics. Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
So… today I came home and took the reins.
I spent some time in prayer; a good deal of time in fact, where I took authority over the enemy and his wicked agenda. I pleaded the blood of Jesus over every aspect of my life and over every person I could think of.
I read God’s Word and hunted for something that I could carry with me, take refuge in, and derive strength from and I meditated on it all day long.
In a practical aspect, I tended to some areas that had been neglected while my focus was elsewhere. I felt the Lord strengthen me and help me to succeed again. I didn’t get it all but I “got somewhere with something.”
Tomorrow is another new day. I will do the same thing. I may not get everything, but again, I will “get somewhere with something” each day until God has restored and rebuilt all that the enemy ravaged.
Tomorrow, I will take a little bit more time in front of the mirror for my husband. I will fix my hair and put on an outfit that defies a lethargic retreat into despondency.
I will let the devil work against himself and…
I will allow God to accomplish whatever is on His agenda for Rebecca Pruett.
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