Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Angels & Demons

I've considered sharing this a few times, never really afraid of being labeled 'crazy', but maybe slightly intimidated by the topic itself without knowing exactly how to back it all up...
Oh well.
The majority of my readers have, are, or know someone who is struggling with infertility and/or are travelling through or exploring adoption...
Infertility and adoption;
In my opinion, two of the most intimate, terrifying, and Satan-attracting experiences quite possibly, in existence.
Does that make sense?
Intimate and terrifying... self explanatory.
Satan-Attracting.... I'll explain;
Infertility and adoption both strike at someones deepest emotions.... they test and try everything someone thought they were, and everywhere they thought they were going. They change someones life-course and shake their world in a way that's both physically and emotionally painful.
They test someones faith.
And in those moments... when we are fragile and emotional and broken... Satan attacks.
He messes things up.... makes you lose faith.... distracts you from the path you've been on; God's path...
And then you have two choices...
You give in... and he'll inevitably chew you up and spit you back out
You give it up.... and give it to God.
That last one? Easier said than done... because as soon as you find yourself back in line with God's plan... as soon as you've given it all over to Him and allow Him to help you re-focus...
Somehow, Satan shows up again.
It's a pattern.
As disheartening as it sounds... the pattern never ends.
God is your focus... Satan attacks... God re-focuses you... Satan attacks... etc.
But if Satan didn't attack... somehow, someway... God would never be given a chance to strengthen and challenge our faith...
In Him.

So... are Satan's attacks actually a good thing?!
Our own infertility journey, that later turned into our adoption journey... was rough.
There were so many times when we felt attacked... chewed up and spit out by Satan, himself.
At times, we most definitely allowed him to do just that.... we let our guard down.
But there were other times in our struggle with infertility when Satan would attack when our faith was it's strongest and our resolve was strong and we were just moments away from what we thought would be the fulfillment of God's plan... the end of that journey, and the start of the next.
Our first adoption journey was similar...
And just as a woman who gives birth to a child will quickly forget the pain and struggles of labor...
We quickly forgot the pain and struggles of waiting for our baby.... because the wait was over and our baby was home.
Satan's attacks were mostly felt more than they were seen... we would lose hope and begin to wonder if we were even supposed to adopt.... our marriage would suffer... we would argue and forget that we were the only two people in the world who felt like we did at that moment... we'd forget that we were in it together. Many times he tried to break us... and a few times, he almost did.
In those ways, our second adoption journey was similar....
And in other ways, it couldn't have been more different;
Satan's attacks became real.... they came to life.
Do you believe in ghosts?
How about demons?
You've been asked before, I promise.
I didn't believe in ghosts because of Casper.... I watched that movie just knowing that ghosts weren't real ;-)
I had no clue.
Did I believe in demons?
I guess not. Why? No one I know has ever mentioned demons... seeing them, hearing them, or whatever. Yeah, they're in the Bible but they're let's just leave them in the Bible, k?
Of course I believe in angels! I've never seen one but they're all over the Bible... they represent hope and happiness and protection! I believe in them like I believe in God... I don't see them but I know they're there. Who doesn't want to believe in angels?!
And then I read it all back to myself and it makes no sense. Zero. I pretty much choose to believe in the flowers and daisies and I refuse to consider the opposite.... the one that's less comfortable.
We were about 6 months into our second adoption journey when my nightmares began....
Our home study was done, we were actively waiting with a local agency, and we were talking to a couple potential birthmoms who found us through our Facebook page...
We were hopeful.
Can we back-track a few years? Highschool.... we lived in New York. I was about 16 and there were nights when I would wake up in the middle of the night and know that someone was in my room.
I know. Crazy.
I thought so, too so I never said anything about it.
He was a cowboy.... hat, spurs, cut-out leather pants (chaps?!), the whole nine.
I wasn't afraid of him..... he would show up and kind of just be there. He didn't represent anything to me....
except maybe that I was crazy.
He didn't protect me... he didn't have 'unfinished business'... he didn't want to chat ... he just 'was'.
My parents built that house.... I never thought that someone was buried under it or whatever.
I mentioned it to my parents a couple years later.... he still woke me up some nights but I was used to it...
I'm not even sure my parents truly heard me.
Because I was crazy.
Back to adoption #2....
We were hopeful. We were strong in our marriage and in our faith that our baby(ies) was on it's way.... and we thought that it would be soon!
The that night....
According to Joey I had only been asleep for about 30 minutes. I woke up screaming.... the 'your whole body is shaking, you jump toward the middle of the bed and hide under the covers' screaming.
I was terrified.
There was a man in our room.
He was standing on my side of the bed... hovering. Black hoodie, hands in his pockets, I couldn't see his face. Just standing....
Like the cowboy....
But this guy? He terrified me to my core.
Screaming, I told Joey that he had to still be there.... maybe under the bed?  Joey jumped up, grabbed his gun, and hit the floor to look under the bed...

No one.
But he was so real. I knew someone was there.
Joey ran to Hannah's room... she was sleeping but he grabbed her and put her in bed with me.
He checked the doors, the basement, walked around the house...
No one.
It was official... I was crazy.
Neither of us slept that night and the next day, we wrote it off to a bad dream.
That man? Black hoodie, hands in pockets, face shadowed....
He stayed away for a while....2 weeks or so.
Rewind.... repeat. Same story, different night.
That night, after Joey's look under the bed and walk around the house...
We prayed.
We knew that this 'bad dream' wasn't a bad dream at all....

And we weren't entirely sure anymore that I was crazy.... becuase over the 2 week 'break' from the Hoodie Guy, things started falling apart; our adoption plan, finances, marriage, friendships....
It was a nightmare, yes.... but it was more.
We were being attacked.
We prayed in every room of our house that night... we read and repeated Scripture.... and begged the Lord to protect our house... our baby.
Hoodie Guy came back one more time before we took him public...
There's no possible way to nonchalantly discuss demons with friends. Period.
So we talked to one of our Pastors and one of our closest friends.
They told us that they believe in demons.... and in Spiritual warfare...
They gave us Scripture to back it... they prayed for and with us...
They didn't make me feel crazy.
(I still felt crazy.)
We started to believe in demons.... because all of a sudden, they had become as real to us as God or angels...
and if they weren't real... I really was crazy.
He came back again.
I was visiting my parents one weekend and decided to explore their feelings about demons...
they didn't really believe in them, or hadn't seriously considered it.
So, in order to justify my question, I reminded them about 'the cowboy' and told them about 'the Hoodie Guy'.
They remembered the cowboy...
They really thought about the Hoodie Guy.
None of us have ever known anyone who had 'seen' a demon.... I mean, it's not a normal dinner table conversation when you have friends over..
"So... have you seen any demons lately??"
They encouraged me to talk to another pastor and read Scripture with me...
I knew they'd be praying about it and I knew they were bothered by it, too.
By this time we were preparing to move to another state... our adoption journey had changed course 100% and we were back to square one; no potential birthmoms and we now had to change agencies.
The next week was moving week... Joey was going ahead of us to start his new job and Hannah and I were going to wait for the movers ("we'll be there sometime between Monday and Friday."), stay at my parents' house (4 hours away) for a few days, and drive to our new house with my mom.
Joey left on a Sunday morning and I layed down for a nap soon after he left....
He came.
But this time? Joey wasn't there to look under the bed or walk around the house or check on Hannah.... and I was paralyzed.
This was the first time he had come in the middle of the day.
I called my dad.... he and my brother were at our house that night and they stayed until the movers came (on Thursday :-/).
It was real... my fear, the guy, the association between where we were in our adoption journey and faith and where we were headed... where we were allowing Satan to lead us.
Five times.
He came 5 times.
I had to make a choice....
Either I was going to continue to allow Satan to paralyze me, both physically and Spiritually...
I was going to stop him; I had to make our move a fresh start... spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
I had to not only accept that our plans weren't the right plans but I had to embrace the new start that God was giving me.
I didn't have any answers as to 'why' the past year had been what it was...
But I knew who was in control and I had to welcome this fresh start.... a new beginning....
without the Hoodie Guy.
Without Satan.
It didn't happen overnight. Hoodie guy never came back.... but there were days... there still are... when Joey and I woke up knowing that Satan was going to try and give us a run for our money. There were nights when Joey would sit at the top of the stairs while we were all in bed, daring Satan to attack us again...
There are nights when I go to bed and catch myself wondering if I should look under the bed... just in case... Just like a kid who asks her Daddy to look for monsters before he turns the light off.
I refuse to let dark follow me.... when I turn the lights off downstairs, I always leave one on so when I walk up the stairs, I can look back down and see light, not darkness.
I never walk fully into a dark room.... the flashlight app is on my homescreen.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Palm 23:4
I know that hoodie guy won't come back...
Do I know that Cowboy and Hoodie are the last?
(I still don't really understand the cowboy's role.... was he just easing me into all of this?!)
But ask me again.....
Do I believe in demons?
More than believing in demons, I believe in Spiritual Warfare.
I believe that when God's plan leads you into something uncomfortable... something that has the potential to test you and your faith... that Satan can and often will find his way in.
The bad news?
You can't do anything to avoid it.
I believe that Satan attacks everyone... our Pastor has mentioned such attacks on his own faith.
The good news?
You don't have to fight him.... God has already won that battle.
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.           
James 2:19
Maybe I'm crazy.... but if 'crazy' is what challenges me to stay strong in my faith and put all of my hope in the Lord?
It's ok... I can 'do' crazy!
My point?
We all have our 'infertility' or 'adoption journey'.... something that Satan is using to break you.

Ok, so maybe you don't have a Cowboy or Hoodie Guy....
Is it a guy that's not your husband? A woman that's not your wife? Maybe it's the promise of more money.... or the loss of a child... or a spouse who doesn't share your beliefs..... or a child you can't seem to 'get through to'.... or an upcoming move... Maybe it's your own infertility journey... adoption process?
Whatever 'it' is... you either are or will soon be in a place where you can allow it to become your demon... or you can choose, sometimes over and over and over again, to accept a new start... one that might not be what you envisioned, but one that has the potential to be better... because it's in line with where God has been leading you this whole time.
Who or what is your cowboy or hoodie guy?
Maybe it makes you feel crazy.... but crazy isn't that bad...
take my word for it ;-)

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to're not crazy...or if you are, it has nothing to do with the existence of evil. My hubby and I adopted from foster care, and we saw our share of attacks on our marriage, our health, you name it. Well, post adoption...we are looking at starting back up as foster parents and here we go again! I am learning to take prayer and standing on God's promises very seriously...and I am learning to identify fear as a tool of attack. It's one of the fastest ways that satan gets your attention...and so long as he can keep your attention on fear, it isn't on God. You are right on track. Just wanted to aren't alone in realizing that!


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