In my state of clarity one thing that has been made very clear is that I do have enemies and one in particular hates me more than anything in this world. I have heard for years that I need to be alert, that I need to pay attention, because my "adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). However, not until recently did I realize that though my hater and deceiver prowls around like a lion, he is a toothless lion...he can do me no harm!
So why then, did I suffer so many years of depression? Why then did I suffer at the hands of so many other people, bearing their hurtful words, the intimidation, the manipulation, the control, the verbal abuse? Why did I walk through so much of my life thinking that I was no good, that I was useless, that there was no hope for me? Why did I think that God couldn't use me, or that I didn't have much to offer, even though I was saved? I'll tell you why: Because I LET my enemy bully me! I let him use other people to bully me. I actually GAVE him permission to come in and take his best shot...many shots! And he almost won. Almost.
Every time someone would say or do something to me that caused me anguish, I would sink a little lower. I would cry and ask "Why?" Why do they do this to me? Why can't I get past this? Why can't I get ahead? Why can't I rise above it? And just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, that everything was hopeless, something inside would whisper, "Just let go," "Trust Me," "I've got you." Sadly, I couldn't decipher it. I could hear it, but I couldn't respond.
I was so far in the pit that I didn't know from which direction my help was coming from. Could God really help me? Could He really heal this brokenness inside me? Could He really have a purpose for me? I got my answer one night and it was a resounding, YES!
He reached down and drew me from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay. With a gentle hand, He pulled me out To set me down safely on a warm rock; He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again. ~Psalm 40:2, The Voice
The day I decided that enough was enough and I wanted to be healed, God started connecting the pieces of my path. They were already laid out for me, waiting, ready, I just needed to make the decision. I was ready. He was willing and able. The following week, I walked the new stepping stones laid out for me and walked right into the healing God had waiting for me...and I haven't looked back.
I'm not saying that there haven't been setbacks. I've tripped on some broken stepping stones. I've stumbled over snags that have been thrown in my way. But as I've stumbled, I've also been able to gain my footing again and continue on the new path, because once God "held me until I was stead enough to continue the journey," I never let go of His hand.
Yes, there have been people and things that tried to cause me issues, there always will be. But I am now better equipped than I was in the past. And I have also learned that the past is just that. The past. Those things don't matter. I am not the same person I once was.
Here's the deal; We are being pursued by a toothless lion my friends. Sounds sort of funny when you think of it like that, doesn't it? A toothless lion. A toothless, de-clawed, angry lion who is about to be crushed under your feet. So stand your ground. Stand firm. But whatever you do...STAND!