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Sunday, June 10, 2012

When Darkness Comes...

It has been five years since my Rachel's Vineyard Retreat...five years ago this month.  I attended, reluctantly, and received the blessings of hope, healing, and confidence.  The wound in my heart, although still there, felt repaired.  As a result of the retreat, I received the gift of moving forward and ending the blaming and self-loathing that had walked everywhere with me for so many years.

The funny thing about Satan, however, is that he is patient and never gives up.  He awaits that moment when he knows we are weak...he whispers to us so subtly that we are barely aware of his presence.  He comes in the shadows through our desires and feeds upon our insecurities.  He is the master at manipulating our emotions and can encourage the resurgence of an abyss in our hearts.  If we are not careful, we are likely to fall prey to his devices and ruin the progress made thus far.

Some of you may be wondering why this post appears so dark and almost poetic in its descriptions of feelings that should no longer exist, right? 

I was confused by that very thing.  For weeks I have struggled with an inner sadness and dark spot on my soul.  No matter how I tried to rise out of the abyss, I continued to sink further and further into it.  My prayers became like dust in my mouth without substance.  My words felt hollow.  I continued to follow my "duty" in life at work, church, home, etc., however, none of "felt" right or good.  I was empty...I have been completely empty. 


Then, finally, God spoke to my heart and reminded me of a pain I try so hard to put away.  I recalled that it was, in fact, in May/June that I became pregnant 20+ years ago.  It was, in fact, the summer time that holds that darkness for me.  It was, in fact, in August that I made a decision that would forever influence my life.  In August, 1991, I ended the life of my child and it altered everything from that point forward.

Thinking on this now, I realize that every summer...since that fateful year...I descend into what someone once termed, "The Valley of Chris" where I lose my ability to truly feel God's presence in my life and shut everything and nearly everyone, out of my life.  It has been a subconscious occurrence and until now, from year-to-year, I had not even made the connection.  Why then, now do I become aware?  Why is it that I finally "see" what is happening?  How is it that I was blind for 20 years to this within me and only NOW realize it? 


It is through HIM that we truly "see" things in our lives.  It is because of HIM that we are able to pull ourselves out of darkness whenever it wraps its tentacles about our throats.  It is by HIS WILL and STRENGTH that we find our way back to the light and remember that our past DOES NOT DEFINE US!

Funny that I missed noticing how Satan still had his sharp claws within me, isn't it?  That is how crafty he can be...he is patient and subtle and not always the "big bad scary" that leaps at us with blazing eyes and evil sneering. 

No, often he comes in a form that is difficult, if not impossible to recognize. 

He floats in unnoticed and then, begins his gradual tearing down of our defenses. 

I believed my healing journey began that wonderful weekend at Rachel's Vineyard.  And, in fact, it had.  However, the mistake I made was believing there was nothing more to it other than accepting the healing and simply, moving onward with God's revealed Will for my life.  Satan planned on that given that he knew he had already lost one battle.  So, he was patient and seeped into a hidden part of my soul waiting for the moment when I would be weak and unguarded.  Little did I know that when I began my journey of healing, I was also challenging the ENEMY to "up his game" because I was continuing to move away from him and reaching for the light of our Saviour. 

You see...Satan failed to destroy me through my abortion.  He failed to keep me from that healing Grace offered by Our Lord God through the people at that retreat.  He further failed when I found my voice and accepted God's direction for my life. 

One epic fail after another, and I imagine I frustrated the hell out of him, no pun intended! 

I was so swept up in my new found confidence, that I forgot how calculating he is when it comes to these battles on Earth.  I left, unprotected, the vulnerable place in my heart that belongs to my sweet Gabrielle Elise.  I permitted his infection to surround my heart in a way that was almost imperceptible until I was suffocating from its embrace.

I am certain now, that he is once again angry.  I am certain now, that he is recoiling and aiming to strike me in a new way.  I am certain now, that he is not finished with throwing stumbling blocks into my path.  However, I will not allow that to deter me in any way.  I have spent the past month in a lake of sadness and despair.  I will NOT continue along that road and refuse to be further distracted by his deceptions. 

The point of this post is to set out a reminder...not only for myself, but for all of us.  Healing is a continual process and there are no guarantees that we will not find days that are difficult for us even after we have found healing in certain ways.  However, we must always remember the promises of love, mercy, and joy that we experienced at our retreats.  Whenever possible, we must return to that "safe place" in our retreat rooms where we realized that God is there and ready to walk with us through all of the pain and sorrow.  He has NEVER abandoned us and when we feel separated from Him, we must resolve to pray that much harder and with more determination.

"Who is here to condemn you?"
"No one."
"Then, neither do I condemn you.  Go in peace and sin no more."

Life is not about "feeling good" all the time.  Life is about serving God the best way we can and that means choosing the right path, even when it is hard to do so.  Faith is about doing the right thing, even when we are "feeling it" at that moment.  Our faith is what shall carry us through those dark moments.  Satan hopes we will remain there and give up.  God knows that we can rise above it, however, which is why Satan tries so desperately to separate us from Him. 


I gave Satan the past month of my life.  During that time, everything lost its appeal.  I felt no joy, no happiness, no true emotion.  I disdained myself.  I felt no draw to any other person.  I refuse to continue in this more!!!

My abortion will be something I carry with me always because I can never "undo" it.  I accept that.  I will not have children, naturally (unless God feels a miracle is in order, which would be in accordance with His Will).  I accept that.  I DO NOT accept, however, Satan's charge that I am worthless and doomed to fail in this life and prevented from entering into the next with my Lord God as a result of my abortion.  He will undoubtedly "up his game" once again as a result of this epiphany, but I will draw strength through Christ continually. 

Remember that our abortions do NOT define us.  Satan will try to keep us living in our past and sinking into that unworthy feeling.  No, rather, we can use the pain of our past to create a brighter, more loving future for others.  We can use our loss as a way of helping others through theirs.  God can do good with anything, all we have to do is remain open to His Will!

However, when Satan does try to pull us down with shame and temptation, remember how St. Teresa of Avila handled him,

"When the devil reminds you of your past, tell him of his future!"