My daughter Savannah suggested that I post a testimony of hers because she thought her story might be able to help someone else struggling with spiritual warfare. I am happy to do so because she just might be right. I have been considering spending a season in Ephesians 6, the Armor of God so this also makes for a nice introduction to that topic.
Savannah’s Story (in her words)
Right now everyone is trying to get you on a certain diet plan, fitness program or weight loss program, which is all great (thinking about joining one myself), but let me try and get you on something better. His name is Jesus. There is no better plan than the Jesus plan.
With Covid-19 happening and people being quarantined – limiting interaction with others and fun activities, mental health is at risk, even for the most healthy. Me included. About a month and a half ago I hit an all time low in my mental health. I started to hear a voice in my head calling me a name, a lie. I knew what I was hearing was not who I was, but why was I hearing it? I didn’t understand it and I started to let it bother me. The more I let it bother me the more I heard it. It got to the point that it was the only thing going through my head. I was going crazy.
When this first started I got sick and began throwing up everything that I ate. The first night I got sick was around the first day that I started hearing this lie. As I was in the bathroom throwing up, I sat up against the wall on my knees and just started bawling and crying out to God to help me, to make the voice stop. I was so distraught. I missed two days of work and tried to go back on Friday. I sat there still nauseous and so consumed in this lie that I could not concentrate on my work. I couldn’t sit still or keep tears from running down my face. I knew I needed help. I did not want to tell anyone what was going on inside my head, but I couldn’t take my thoughts anymore. I wanted to stop thinking, stop being tormented by thoughts.
I went outside and called the first person who came to my mind to help me with this problem: my dad. About ten seconds into the conversation I broke down in tears and told him about this thing I could not overcome. He calmed me down to where he could get a word in and told me that this is normal. He told me that almost every Christian goes through this thing, a spiritual attack. The devil planted this lie in me and the only reason it is a weapon against me is because I let it move me off my solid foundation in Christ. I was budged, weak, and torn down. I was informed that the devil usually attacks when you are about to do something great for The Kingdom of God. He was trying to make me unproductive, and he had done just that. My dad told me to repeat in my head “I am a child of God, I am not who you say I am, I am righteous in God, you are not my father.”
I ended up leaving work and heading to the doctor. He told me I needed to get tested for Covid-19 due to correlating symptoms and that he wanted me to do the three day test. I felt horrible. Living with my boyfriend’s parents – I did not want to put them at risk, so I knew I was going to have to be quarantined to my room. I could tell that the devil was working hard on me because the next morning a freak accident happened. A semi truck drove down the street, got tangled in power lines and took the power lines down disabling electric service. I was: in the middle of a spiritual attack, in a dark room, without the distraction of TV, with no one to keep me company, just me alone in my awful thoughts. I could not take it anymore. I heard everyone leave the house and went outside to call my dad. I broke down again. I didn’t understand why, why me, why this lie, why something that I knew was so untrue, why when everything in my life seemed so perfect…. just why. Again he informed me that the devil is trying to steal my happiness, steal my life, steal what is good to me and not to let him. I needed to dismiss the thoughts when they came to me. I needed to tell him “you are not my father, you are the father of lies the father of deceit, the father of schemes.” Just dismissing the thoughts sounds easier than it actually is when it is all that consumes your mind. The only reason this thought is in my head and making a crack in my solid foundation is because I am letting it. I am letting it bother me, get the best of me, make me feel like I would rather be anyone else than myself.
The Jesus Plan
My dad started sending me bible verse after bible verse and sermons from his favorite preacher, Tony Evans. The verses that stuck with me like glue were: Romans 8:1: “for there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” and 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” I needed to remind myself that, if what I am being called, or what I am being told is against God’s Word, then it is not true. God’s truth is the only truth. The sermons I got from Tony Evans were over a series on Ephesians 6:10-18, suiting up with the armor of God. This is what I was missing. I was not suited up for success. This attack took me by surprise and I was not mentally or spiritually prepared for it.
The first video I listened to was over the truth belt. He was speaking loud to me in this video. In the Bible, even Jesus was approached by the devil. Jesus hit him with three truths and the devil was gone. Tony said that whenever the devil has a thought or speculation come to your head to “BOOM, HIT HIM WITH THE TRUTH” because Satan does not like the truth. He can’t stand the truth. He runs from the truth. This was my new tactic. I started every morning making sure I was dressed for success in my armor. I would pray out loud in my car asking God to help suit me up. I thanked Him for all the blessings in my life and I asked Him to make me strong. I never left home without my sword, the Word of God. I was reading, I was studying, I was building a community to pray for me to learn with me, to fight with me. But I was still struggling. I was struggling in different ways. Though the voice and name calling stopped, I started struggling by dwelling on what had happened and worried that it would come back. I started worrying that because of this speculation, this lie, that I would lose my boyfriend, the man I planned on spending forever with. I started having anxiety about going into stores, restaurants, any place where there would be people. I experienced anxiety attacks for the first time, my chest always felt like it was tight. I felt like I could not find my joy, my happiness was gone. I would break down in tears every time I would see my boyfriend because I would think how terrible it was that I was putting him through this; he deserved someone better than me. I had thoughts that he was not going to want to stay with me. God cherishes relationships and I was letting Satan ruin mine. I needed to enjoy mine, cherish mine, praise God for the blessing He gave me when he brought Aaron into my life.
There was one day that I did not feel worthy, worthy of love, worthy of life, I did not want to think like this any longer. I wanted to be the happy-go-lucky person I was before all of this happened. I could not find my happiness. I called all my family, all my friends and had each of them pray over me. Guys…. the power of prayer is so strong! The next morning, I was getting ready for work and I saw a video of one of my former roommates singing. I played it and the first words she sang were “when peace like a river” right then and there my body was flooded with peace. That day I felt great. I felt happy; I felt in control, I felt like me.
After that day I still struggled and was brought back down. But I continued to study. I reread Ephesians multiple times a day. I started reading about anxiety. Anxiety is not from the Lord. Matthew 6:34 and Philippians 4:6-8 brought so much light on the topic of anxiety. I focused on the fruits of the Spirit. If we have God we never lose love, joy and peace. God brings that to us. I cried every single day until September 1st. On September 1st it is like everything changed. I was choosing happiness, I was not letting my thoughts bother me, I was dismissing thoughts, I knew what was true and what wasn’t true, I knew what was from God and what wasn’t. I was strong in the Lord!
I wondered why when I prayed I was not healed quicker. Tony Evans described it perfectly in that God does answer our prayers right away, but the angel bringing us our answer sometimes gets stopped on the way by a demon that does not let him get through. So yes, you will struggle with things for days, weeks, months and maybe even years but your answer is coming and when it gets to you it is going to change your life! You cannot be knocked down unless you allow yourself to be knocked down. Get yourself some cleats with some good spikes in them and dig yourself into the foundation of God. DO NOT BE MOVED, STAND YOUR GROUND! With God you are strong enough. With the armor you are protected. I still have racing thoughts, but because of the Lord and because of the shield of faith those flaming arrows that are being shot at me do not burn me any more. It may feel like you are all out of moves, like the devil has taken the last move, but just know that with God you will ALWAYS have the last move. With God you will never leave victory. He died for you, spilled his blood on the cross so that you will always have the last move against the devil. As Christians we need to be prepared to fight. Prepare for a war. Suit up every day for success. Don’t let the father of lies make you lose focus on who you are, who God has meant for you to be. We are all children of God, heirs to the thrown. God will never leave you.
I recently learned it is how we handle set backs that is important. Like Joseph in Genesis, when he was thrown in prison for something he did not do. He stayed focused on God’s plan, on his dreams. He never left peace. Things may be going terribly wrong, but with God we can always have peace. Praise God in the storm and in the calm, because His plan is great. During one of my anxiety attacks my heart rate was 88 BPM and just recently when I checked my heart rate it was 56 BPM, God is so good. Suit up for success, or the devil will make sure to take you on a bumpy ride.
Dress for Success – Put on the Armor of God
If anyone is struggling with thoughts, anxiety, speculations, please reach out. I would love to guide you on the right path to win this war, like my dad did with me. We already have all the tools for success, it is just remembering that they are there.