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Silencing the Roar

Satan’s lies about me had to stop

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There is something magical about Asia, the place of my birth, where I spent the first 11 years of my life. Little did I know that God would use Asia again to change my life forever.

Last fall my husband, Dennis, asked me if I would like to join him in Thailand for the Asia Leadership Conference for Alliance workers. From the moment we began planning the trip, we felt God was going to do something special, something unusual, something miraculous. As we flew into Bangkok my heart almost beat out of my chest. I was excited to finally be back on Asian soil—the food, the smells, the sea of dark hair, the heat; it all enveloped me like a comfortable soft blanket. I was home.

Smashing Idols

On the Sunday before the conference started, we were privileged to attend the Evangelical Church of Bangkok. The service was filled with people from more than 50 nations, all praising God. I could almost feel the power of the Holy Spirit dripping off the sanctuary ceiling. After the service two young girls asked the pastor to help them destroy their idols—the things that still had a stronghold over their hearts and lives. The girls knelt with a hammer and began smashing objects that had held them captive, declaring loudly, “Jesus is Lord; Jesus is Lord.”

I wept, feeling overwhelmed that God would allow me to witness such an intimate and powerful moment. Little did I know that within a few days, I would be doing the same thing in my own heart and mind.

Monday morning, Ron and Wanda Walborn, Donna Schepens, and Lisa Plunket, the ministry team from Nyack (N.Y.) Theological Seminary, spoke on learning to grieve not only the hard things in life but also the good seasons–the new beginnings and the ever-present endings. They told us to trust God, who promised to go to those places with us. His Word says, “Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matt. 5:4). They taught us about strongholds, things that held us back and needed to be uprooted and replaced.

As I searched my heart, I found many corners that needed to be cleaned out and opened to the light, places that called for deep healing. I was overwhelmed and exhausted.

No Laughing Matter

The next day the team dealt with shame and our expectations—for ourselves, for others and the expectations we felt others had for us. Through deep groans and weeping, I confessed that I had believed lies about myself all my life. I had opened the door to one lie, and Satan had slowly cemented it into my heart.

Scripture says Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Yet, in my case, he seemed at first like a soft, innocent kitty. The lie began as a joke—“Oh, you know me. I may be sweet, but I’m not too smart.” “Are you sure you want me to tackle that? I can’t find my way out of a paper bag.” On and on—“jokes” on myself about myself that quickly and quietly turned into a roaring lion.

As I fed those lies, I truly began to believe them, finding myself at the age of 58 wondering if God could ever use someone like me. Not just an ordinary person but a person with no gifts, no abilities, and nothing to offer. Life became an uphill battle. I struggled to make it through each day “in victory” though I didn’t even want to be in the fight because I believed God didn’t want or need me in His army.

A Plan for Everyone

Despite what I had come to believe about myself, I had often said, “God uses Davids, but He also needs the nameless soldiers—anonymous men and women, the ones for whom we have no back story or record of how they died. I am one of those soldiers.”

In one moment God flooded me with the realization that although we may never know the names of those soldiers in David’s army, God knew them and loved them. He knew each step they took, each breath they breathed, how many hairs were on their head. He knew the names of their wives and their children. He knew their secrets and their struggles. He knew them and loved them as much as He loved David, and He had a plan for each of them.

It was as if a wave of God’s love crashed over me and I came up breathing new air—in a new world, with a new God. I felt His love wash over me in such a powerful way that I was broken—and yet filled at the same time. The love of my Heavenly Father surrounded and consumed me. It filled me and empowered me.

Blessed Quietness

I went back to my room and prayed and cried and thanked God for the infilling of His Spirit and the impact He had on me. I realized I had been sitting in prayer and reading in a quiet room for an hour and a half, something I had not been able to do for decades. I have a bad case of tinnitus, and because of that ringing in my ears I needed to have noise around me. I lived with the TV on or music constantly playing in the background to drown out the ringing, even during my study time for children’s Sunday school or my own devotional time. But here I was sitting in silence. The ringing was still there, but my heart was quiet.

I realized it was not the tinnitus I had been trying to drown out all those years; it was the accusing voice of that lion convincing me I was not good enough, not smart enough, not competent enough for God to use. This battle was in my heart and mind, but I was not in the fight. The lion had already won—or so he thought. But I, in God’s mighty power and in Jesus’ name, had crushed that idol of lies. The ropes that had held me back were cut—I was free.

The next day God rooted out deep fears and allowed me to release my life, my family, my kids, and my future into His hands in a new and exciting way. Again, like those girls at church Sunday morning, I was crushing the idol, the lies, and the fears that had held me captive. God was doing the work, but I needed to pick up the hammer and declare once again “Jesus is Lord; Jesus is Lord.”

Sealing the Deal

I am a changed person. As I walk in the freedom that only Christ can give, my journey is different. I don’t have to do it in my own strength. I have a deep sense that God goes before me, behind me, beside me, above me, and below me. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).

Donna Schepens and Lisa Plunket both encouraged me to contact my brother Tom, because God had done amazing work in his life through the doctrinal program at Nyack. I planned to contact Tom as soon as I returned to Colorado and tell him all that God had done for me. While I was sitting on the plane in Tokyo anticipating the flight back to the United States, I looked up and there walking down the aisle was Tom! He was returning from Australia and had a layover in Tokyo and we ended up on the same plane.

I couldn’t believe it! God had orchestrated this last piece to seal in my heart and mind everything He had accomplished. I could imagine the smile on God’s face as we sat and talked about our Heavenly Father and how He was working in each of our lives.

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