Did any of you ever believe there was a monster under your bed when you were little? Maybe the boogyman in the closet? When I was younger I watched way too many scary movies. I have no idea what my fascination was with them, but once I became a little older I swore them off forever. I had lost way too much of my adolescent sleep over ghost stories and various kinds of demise. I remember the last remotely scary movie I watched was the Sixth Sense. After that movie I would rather pee my bed then get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom! I think the last straw was opening up my bedroom door one night to my little brother under a blanket with a flashlight…. My family has a sick sense of humor. Anyway, I think at one point or another we all find ourselves afraid of something that just simply isn’t there. For some it’s a shadowy figure waiting for them in the hall on the way to the bathroom, and for me at 31 years old, it’s a monster under my bed, and his name is premature death. Without realizing it , for the most part we as humans believe we’re invincible. Sickness and tragedy are things that are rare and happen to other people. Two years after my dad died and I had already become acquainted with the frailty of life, I learned that my older cousin, whom I’d spent much of my younger years with, had become sick. There were numerous stints in the hospital as doctors tried to figure out what was wrong. One night I had a dream. My cousin came to me and said, I have cancer, and it’s in my stomach. It wasn’t much later that one of her doctors decided to do an exploratory surgery to see if he could find the source of her sickness. Days later the report came back, mesothelioma, cancer, in her abdomen. I hate cancer. It’s taken two of the ones I love. I can’t wait to see every ounce of it eradicated. But over those two loses this tiny voice rose up and began to whisper to me that my end would be the same. I spoke to it and rejected it and for awhile it went away. However, when I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, the voice came back like a roar. You would have thought that surgery would have satisfied this monster. With the tumor gone there was no need for further fear, right? You would think so. I’ve continued to fight these thoughts. I know they have no authority over me because the Bible says that I’ve,”not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind”. These thoughts are fear and I have no place in me for them. I’m far from the person who blames everything on the devil. I think there are plenty of thing we blame on him where the issue is with us. But I do believe this is an attack.
I wrote the above earlier this week. This weekend, Jonah and I went to a special service at our church. The guest speaker was ministering, and towards the end he started calling out various things that people were dealing with. Earlier in the evening on the way to service I told Jonah that I believed it was torment that was coming against my mind with these crazy thoughts. As we sat in service, the speaker called out different sicknesses and people were receiving ministry. As I sat there with my head down I heard him call out,”someone in here is dealing with torment in their mind. Even to the point where they are not sure if it’s God or the devil”. This was huge. When this thing comes at me of dying early, along with it comes the thought that maybe this is what God has asked of me. To go through this and love him still. Guys … That’s deranged. Yes, I will love him through this, but he has NOT put sickness on me. Let me be clear … He doesn’t do that. But it was one of the thoughts that tried to creep in. As the speaker called it out I just opened my heart and wide as possible to receive the word. God is meeting me on this thing. John 10:10 says,”the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy; but I have come that you may have life and life abundantly”. That’s the long and short of it. Even when what we experience doesn’t look like abundant life. This is one of the keys to coming through … God only gives abundant life. I know this was a longer post but I’m really committed to walking this journey out as openly as possible. Not so anyone can say, “oh Natalie, she’s so real”, but that anyone who hasn’t experienced the love of Christ yet can read these words and see that it’s about more than a church service or a volunteering at a soup kitchen, or everything in life being cheery. It’s about a real person who really encounters us through every season of life. Guys, this is Jesus … I won’t give up on him because he doesn’t give up on me.