It’s different from just not loving where you live. It’s not wishing you had a nicer place, or lived in a better neighborhood. It’s worse than obnoxious neighbors who scream at their children constantly, throw huge parties that keep you up all hours or cover their yards with lawn trash.
It’s a prison. And not just because you don’t care for or respect the other inhabitant, but because your home has become a place of anger, bitterness, and oppression. For a person who knows the Lord, I recognize that these emotions are not from God; in fact, the complete opposite. However, it’s taken me a minute (or a month) to come to grips with that, accept my role in it, and take some steps to reconcile myself to my Heavenly Father.
It was a pivotal weekend for me. I have a long way to go in deciphering myself and my circumstances, but God was absolutely present with me this weekend and His angels surrounded me. I experienced rest and joy this weekend. Spending most of every hour away from home, I found myself breathing deeply, slowing my thoughts, and keeping my focus on positive things. I had the freedom I’ve longed for; to hike with my puppy, to spend time with people I cherish, and to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I was surrounded by other Christians all weekend, and saturated by faithful people of God last evening in my parent’s home.
I felt God’s love. He was close. And I am so grateful. Especially because I have not been drawing close to Him…
But it came to a screeching halt last night when I arrived home. It’s difficult to describe what happens to me when I’m there. It’s like being snuffed out. It’s like trying with all your might to scream but no sound comes. It’s like being turned upside down in an ocean wave and not being able to find your way to the surface for balance and for air. The worst part for me, though, is the searing heat of anger that engulfs me and takes control of my thoughts.
At first, I just assumed it was because of my circumstance. An unhappy marriage, a lonely pregnancy, a looming divorce… But after hearing from others, more than once, about “bad vibes” in my home – it stuck.
Oppression from satan is a very real thing, and it is much more easily recognized after having been in the presence of Jesus Christ. And though it may sound crazy and totally holy roller to many people, that doesn’t at all refute its existence.
I prayed about it all night; for the desire to forgive my enemy, love my enemy, and not allow the devil to get a foothold. I also recognize sin in my life that needs to be dealt with before I can fully wear the armor of God.
The first step for me is to be on my knees, literally and figuratively. I am resistant to give things up that have brought me comfort. But I also know that my comfort and strength can truly only come from the Lord. I am vehemently resistant to forgive my enemies and even less willing to pray for them. But I know that God doesn’t merely suggest this, He commands it. The battle is His and I need to get out of the way.
This morning, thanks to a wonderful woman I’ve never met, I’ve been given some verses to digest and pray about – through gritted teeth. Tara Ziegmont shared the following scriptures that I am using today to light my path:
And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. – Ephesians 4:26-27
Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm. – Psalm 37:8
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. – Colossians 3:8, 12-13
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:31-32
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.
For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the Lord.
Instead, If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. – Romans 12:17-21
What I need to repeat to myself constantly is this – I am a daughter of the One True King. His love for me endures. And I will persevere.