I allow gravity to pull my car down the newly refurbished blacktop, following the curvature of the road, until I reach the bottom of the sizable hill. I park in the small lot next to the bridge which spans the lake at its narrowest point. I exit my car, reaching back to collect my water bottle and fanny pack. I enjoy the work of hiking around the picturesque lake, welcoming the challenge provided by the moderately difficult trail. If I’m fortunate, I fail to come across anyone else, so, for a time, it’s easy to imagine I’m the only person alive. I soak up the solitude, and the electrifying feeling it brings, relishing the invigorating breeze as it winds its way through the leaves on the trees. If I walk at a two-mph pace, it takes thirty minutes to navigate the twisty inclines while dodging odd rocks, and various sized tree roots erupting through the soil. Someone in better shape could make better time, or maybe, someone with longer legs, but thirty minutes gives me a worthwhile workout without any concern for the health of my heart. Despite my visor, I find it occasionally necessary to avert my eyes from a blinding glare as the lake water catches the morning sunlight. Intermittently, I come across a random squirrel or resting bird which I startle into flight. A time or two, I’ve come upon a woodland frog whose species I didn’t know. More than once, I’ve sent deer fleeing for their lives as my path-oriented steps intersected their peaceful grazing. Their brilliant white tails flag and bob in response to the motion caused by their surprisingly strong, spindly legs. My favorite spot of the entire lake trail is at the apex of a little arched bridge. It spans a small tributary which runs from the top of the hill and empties into the lake. Right here, with the breeze blowing wisps of hair around my face, and the dappled sunlight giving off a fairy tale vibe, I see before me the most peaceful place in this world. It’s a singular spot where happiness manifests in trees, bushy undergrowth and the occasional talkative goose seeking to land on the small lake. I could happily live here the rest of my life. Time spent at the park is born of serenity, filled with the beauty of nature and the peace which comes from time spent with God. It’s an incredible chance to step outside the pressures of everyday life and simply enjoy the gift of being present. I began availing myself of the park several years ago, but enjoying its benefits doesn’t mean I’m naïve about the dangers it presents. The solitude I enjoy could certainly be used against me by some nefarious infrequent passerby. The park has no cell service, so it’s impossible to call for help should I fall or otherwise need it. For these reasons I carry a handgun with me. It’s a snub-nose shotgun, and I keep it, and a box of ammo, tucked inside my fanny pack. If I come across someone who means me harm, I’m able and ready to defend myself. Should I become injured in a fall, I can fire my weapon into the ground around me and alert park officials of my need for assistance. Thankfully, I’ve never needed to use it my gun as I’ve never required assistance, and anyone I’ve ever met while hiking, got a cheerful “hello” from me. That being said, I’m a practical person who strives to be prepared. There have only been a handful of times when I’ve hiked with someone else. Generally, when he can spare the time and energy, it’s my husband who hikes with me. On two or three occasions, it’s been my friend Loralei who’s made the trek with me. Loralei and I go ‘way back.’ Three decades ago, each of us had twin babies. Hers were girls, mine were boys. One of her little girls died from cancer at the age of two. As one would expect, the lives of Loralei and her husband were shattered, but the lone little twin soon had other sisters to love and watch over. Both Loralei and I ended up with a total of three kids. Hers were all girls. Mine were all boys. Being in the same church and having twins connected us in a unique manner. As far as I know, our twins are the only sets to have been born into our congregation in the last seventy years. Also, we’ve both struggled with chronic health problems, so that commonality kept us in touch as well. We’d share news of a new supplement or a compassionate doctor we’d come across. We weren’t the kind of friends who did lunch and went shopping together. We were busy raising babies, working jobs, keeping house, caring for our husbands, and doing all sorts of service work in the church. All in all, I knew Loralei as a solid Christian, much like myself. We were everyday women, doing everyday things to the best of our abilities.
A couple of years back my husband got the urge to join a small study group from church. He’s a social guy, always has been. Me, not so much. I’m awkward in social settings, so I generally keep my distance from other people. I love the peace and quiet of home, but I knew this was important to him, so I agreed to try. Loralei and her husband hosted the nearest group, so it was a logical fit. Also, Loralei was already aware of my struggle to fit in with people, so she understood my difficulty in trusting others. Hey, I admit I’ve got issues just like everyone else. I don’t run from them or hide them. They’re a part of me and what you see is what you get. Unknown to me, I was about to get a first-rate lesson in how my trust issues were probably well deserved. Anyway, on the night of our first February attendance, the meeting opened with a pitch-in meal. Everyone sat and told stories from their childhoods or work experiences. I enjoyed listening to everyone else but didn’t say much myself. Most of the stories were funny and we laughed a good deal. After dinner, we convened in the living room to read and discuss the scripture lesson for that meeting. I finally began to relax. The ‘social’ aspect of the evening was over and I’m always at ease when I talk about the Bible and the work God has done in my life. I was less anxious about this part of the evening because I knew I could contribute to the discussion. It was less stressful for me because its structure was not comprised of random social interaction. There was a subject in place and the comments would center around that. The evening closed with a short prayer, one during which we took our cares to God because He’s the One who can truly help. The meeting ended, and everyone gathered their leftovers, coats, and Bibles. I was surprised to realize I’d enjoyed myself. It was a low-key event, and everyone else was pleasant and accepting of our presence within their group. I felt as if I’d accomplished something worthwhile. I’d contributed several comments without feeling uncomfortable. I knew my husband was pleased with my efforts to make him happy, but my nerves were stressed, and I was ready to call it an evening. We bid farewell to everyone and went downstairs to exit the house, through the basement, to the large drive where the cars were parked. As I entered the garage, stepping down onto my right foot, I felt something on the left side of my body push me sideways. The sideways influence made my right ankle turn outward, twisting it horribly. I dropped our Bibles and fell, my head landing against a barrel which stood just right of the door. The impact turned my head and sent my eyeglasses flying. Over and over, I cried out to God for help. I was in terrible pain, and I knew the twist in my ankle was epic. My husband came up behind me, followed by most everyone else. They’d heard my screams and were curious about what had happened. Loralei ran to get an ice pack and her husband offered to carry me to the truck. For the life of me, I don’t know why, but I declined his offer. So, he asked if I could use some crutches. Surprised he had crutches to offer, I looked up at him and told him crutches would be great. He fetched them for me and helped me get on my feet. He asked if I needed help getting up into the truck. I told him I’d spent a lot of time on crutches and was completely comfortable maneuvering on them. He stood watch while I anchored myself on one crutch and launched myself into the passenger seat. My hubby did his best to collect all the stuff I’d dropped, joined me in the truck and drove us home. I spent more than two months icing my foot and resting it. It was a serious sprain and it took time to heal. Loralei and her husband offered to make a claim against their home-owner’s insurance to pay for medical expenses. I declined. I’d been here before and I knew it wasn’t broken. I refused to involve a doctor and all the expenses which accompany them. I wasn’t going to make an unnecessary claim against their insurance. That’s not who I am. As crazy as it sounds, I knew a sinister force was responsible for my fall because I’d been pushed. However, I wasn’t going to let the devil get the best of me, so injured or not, I was at Bible study every week, pot-luck contribution in hand. The very next week, I told everyone at group something had pushed me and caused me to twist my ankle. Before I could get the next word out of my mouth, Loralei interrupted me and made the comment that she was concerned that Satan might have been at work to discourage my attendance. I agreed with her, and, at the time, it occurred to me it was an odd thing for her to say. However, she was aware of my social anxiety, so it made sense that Satan wouldn’t want me present to encourage others or to find encouragement myself. I knew it wasn’t a matter of my own clumsiness because of the push I’d felt against my left arm. Besides, there was no other flesh and blood person present in the garage when I entered it. For these reasons, I had no doubt that something sinister was involved. As the weeks progressed, Loralei and I began to fine-tune our friendship. She served as the director of a not-for-profit charity center and often discussed its needs with the group. They were bursting at the seams, so they needed a larger facility. They needed more volunteers for the same reason. They needed increased donations to fund their expansion. Like I said, the center, and Loralei, had many needs. On a personal level, I listened to Loralei speak of how her father emotionally abused her mom. Interestingly, within the timespan of the same heartbeat, Loralei would assure me that her father was a ‘good man.’ I let her talk because she needed to vent. Of course, she knew, deep within herself that ‘good men’ don’t emotionally abuse their wives, but after decades of bearing witness to their dysfunction, she was still trying to reconcile her dad’s abusive behavior with her belief that he was a ‘good man.’ She was unwilling to admit her dad wasn’t such a good guy. This was the reason she felt compelled to talk about it. I simply listened to her talk because she needed a friend. I didn’t offer advice for two reasons. First, nothing I could say would effect change in the marriage of people I didn’t even know. Second, it wasn’t my place to fuss at Loralei for believing what she wanted about her parents. I prayed for them several times because I know firsthand what is to be a child raised in the confines of an unhappy marriage. The difference between Loralei and me was that I wasn’t delusional about my dad. He was petty and selfish on his good days. On the not so good days he’d throw mean into the mix. It was never anything physical, and don’t get me wrong, my mom gave as good as she got. They lived in co-dependent misery for decades. The one thing I learned from my parents’ marriage was that I wanted better for myself. With God’s guidance and blessing, I got it. God is simply able to do what we can’t. Loralei would also gush about her new granddaughter. She was over the moon with joy and pride in the little one. I was happy for her and listened to her talk about the new bundle of joy, oohing and aahhing over the pictures she gleefully shared. As time went on, I began to confide some of my burdens to Loralei. I shared with her about our three prodigal sons and the clinical depression which plagued me because of them. After they left for college, each of our boys thanked us repeatedly for the awesome childhoods they’d had. They told us that meeting kids from different walks of life had made them aware of how seriously we took the job of parenting and how they’d benefited from our efforts. We’d been determined to give our kids the childhoods we wish we’d had, and, with God’s help, we’d succeeded. Soon, though, that gratitude disappeared and was replaced by entitlement. Before they graduated from college, two of our boys turned their backs on the faith we’d taught them. The third, kept the faith, for which we were grateful, but moved to the city and married a girl he met there. In no time, he outgrew his country bumpkin parents and began edging us out of his life. We were puzzled and hurt and tried repeatedly to figure out what was wrong, what had happened, but our son would claim that he didn’t remember certain events which needed discussing. He refused to take responsibility for any of his behavior; failure to call or otherwise acknowledge us on our birthdays or Mother’s/Father’s Day, make promises regarding holiday get-togethers and then cancel or change them with little notice. He repeatedly accused us of disrespecting him and treating him like a child. We reminded him that we’d done nothing but support him in his new life as a husband, by giving him and his new wife time and privacy to get their feet up under themselves. In short, we’d done nothing but respect him and treat him as an adult. I pointed out that asking him to work with us toward a resolution was, in fact, treating him with respect, like an adult. Our words meant nothing. He had an excuse, a justification, a rationale for everything. Gone was the wonderful young man we’d raised. It was like we were talking to a completely different person. Finally, after several failed attempts to work through the newly developed dysfunction of our relationship, we gave him the freedom he so obviously craved. A short time later, he and his wife had a little boy, whom we’ve never met and probably never will.
God honors the free will He places within people. He won’t make our sons show us kindness or respect. They’re free to live as they want and treating us well as their parents is either in them or it isn’t. That two of them choose not to is simply a heart-breaking fact of life. We are peripherally involved in our third son’s life. He is, for the most part, respectful and considerate, but refuses to live the life God calls him to, the life he pledged to Jesus of his own free will. As parents, we follow the example of the father in the story of the prodigal son. That heartbroken father didn’t go chasing after his son but allowed God to teach the lessons needed by his wayward boy. The father simply went on with his life the best he could, and, eventually, having learned his lesson, his son returned home contrite and respectful. Without any assurance of it, we pray for a similar resolution before we pass from this earth. Another Biblical example is that of God Himself. God doesn’t force us to love Him. If we can’t see Him as worthy of our adoration, time and attention, while recognizing the sacrifice He made on our behalf, He sets us free to live as we want. We’ve always sought to follow God’s lead with regards to everything in our lives, so why would our grown kids be an exception? Loralei’s experience as a mom is that of raising three largely compliant daughters. Mine is that of raising three rebellious sons, two of which are ungrateful and disrespectful. I love my wonderful husband, I thank God for him every single day, but let’s be honest, nobody gets everything they want in life. For some reason, one unknown to us at this time, my husband and I are supposed to live without the presence of our children in our lives. This truth is painful and unfortunate, but to live as if we have control over the decisions of our grown children is to wallow in delusion and additional misery. You can either embrace reality and use it to make good decisions, or you can wallow in perception and languish endlessly. Like I said, I’m a practical person.
Along about the first of June, Loralei called and wanted to take me for a facial at the local beauty college where her daughter was a student. I was surprised, but pleased. I’d never had a facial and it occurred to me that it might boost my sagging spirit. I tried several times to pay for my own facial, but Loralei insisted that she pay. I didn't realize it at the time, but this trip to the salon was important because it’s another piece to a larger puzzle. One day, on our walk around the lake, about the middle of June, Loralei and I were discussing some aspects of our lives. She failed to grasp the difference between compliant and non-compliant kids because she’s only experienced one type. She failed to grasp how blessed she is to have her girls, and grandchild, in her life because she hasn’t had to do without. She proceeded to tell me how she disagreed with my assessment of my situation without mentioning specifics. I let her talk because talking made her feel better. Besides, those days, I struggled with finding the will to get out of bed. On top of problems with our kids, my favorite horse died. He’d been with me for 30 years, and his death was one more blow to my brokenness. Loralei was very aware of my depression and that every day was difficult. Some days were a huge burden, while others weren’t so severe, but none were easy. As she told me how she disagreed with the assessment I had of my own life, I had no reservoir of energy from which to draw and put up opposition. I didn’t really feel the need to defend myself. We were just talking, and, I suppose, as my friend, she was entitled to her opinion. I mean, I had my unvoiced opinion of her problems, so what did it matter? I was certainly emotionally mature enough to listen and process her thoughts without letting my world come apart. I simply disagreed with her and stated without hesitation that she failed to mention a single thing which hadn’t already occurred to me. We ended our hike that day and parted as friends.
A couple of days later, Loralei and her husband left on vacation and were gone for nearly two weeks. Upon returning, Loralei called and asked me to go hiking with her. She said she’d been studying the book of Job and wanted to discuss it. She told me we could go to the lake or I could come over to her house and we’d hike on the back side of their property. I agreed to go hiking and chose the lake because it’s one of my favorite places. I told her I’d done a thorough study on the book of Job myself and was up to a discussion. She picked me up and off we went. As we descended the hill into the park, just short of pulling into the parking lot, Loralei brought up her study on the book of Job. I made one very brief comment, and Loralei changed the subject, stating the she’d forgotten what she was going to say. The entire ‘discussion’ of Job lasted just a few seconds. At the time it struck me as an awkward moment. Why the pretense about a discussion of Job if she didn’t want to discuss Job? Here again, I was completely unaware that the pieces of a puzzle were falling into place and the importance of this ‘discussion’ would soon reveal itself. Loralei parked the car in the lot next to the nature center. We grabbed our accessories, water bottles, and, for me, my fanny pack, exited the car, and began our hike around the lake. Early conversation centered around her vacation, how beautiful Yosemite was, how refreshing and peaceful it was to get away. By the time we crossed my favorite little bridge, Loralei’s tone began to change. Gone was the conversational tone used to regale me of her vacation. Present was a tone of censure and harshness. By the time we arrived at the far side of the lake, the farthest possible spot from the car, equidistant either direction to return to it, Loralei was admonishing me with great fervor. She told me how I was failing in my life of faith because I wasn’t doing everything God wanted. She told me I was disobedient to Him in some regard, though she never identified any actual disobedience. She was fully aware God had more for me to learn, and I simply needed to do a better job of paying attention. I needed to stop failing and be the Christian God expected me to be. The revelation which consumed me in that moment was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I lost all composure when I realized Loralei was taking every ounce of trust I’d placed in her, every vulnerability I’d shared, and was using them to beat the crap out of me. I cried so hard it wasn’t safe to traverse the hilly, rocky, root laden trail. To make matters worse, my breath became lodged in my chest. I gasped for air, while telling myself I had to move forward to return to the car. I had to get away from her, but she had me trapped on the back side of the lake. She was using my place of solitude and peace against me, using it to hold me hostage while she told me over and over what a failure I was. I knew something inside me was about to snap. I’d been an incredible friend to this woman. I’d supported her in her ministry efforts with prayer, volunteer hours and not a small amount of cash. I’d had a gracious heart, one without censure or criticism when she complained about her parents, while listening to her talk about what a good man her abusive father is. When I was injured at her house, I didn’t see it as an opportunity to take advantage and line my pockets with cash that would come at her expense of higher insurance premiums or a cancelled policy. Last, but certainly not least, I listened to her moan and complain about not getting to see her grandchild on some given date, while knowing I’d never had the privilege of even meeting mine, and likely never would. I’d been nothing but kind, generous and loving to Loralei, and right here, right now, her betrayal was killing off the last of my will to live. Since the age of thirteen, I’d spent my life living for God, doing my absolute best to walk the path He has for me. Who the hell did she think she was to speak to me like this? I stopped walking long enough to tell her to shut up and leave me alone. She ignored my warning to back off and continued to rain down condemnation on me. She behaved and spoke as if she’d spent her entire vacation thinking about our previous conversation and had produced a condemning response to my points of disagreement. She behaved as if pummeling me with censure would cause me to agree with her estimation of my failure as a human being. For some reason, she was under the impression that I didn’t see my situation for what it truly was, and she had the right to ‘fix’ me. This only added to my confusion and anger. I’d been a Christian as long as she, and I’d taken my faith just as seriously as anyone either of us had ever met. There was nothing she knew that I didn’t know. I simply had a broken heart to show for decades of parenting efforts. She couldn’t relate and didn’t understand that. Somehow her inability, or unwillingness, to empathize with me, made me a bad Christian. Such was the depth of her delusion. I began to walk as quickly as my situation allowed, but Loralei is much taller than me, so she’s one of those people with longs legs who takes large steps. It was impossible for me to out walk her. She kept telling me over and over how I was failing in my faith. God expected me to do more, He expected me to do better. I could feel tightness building in the top of my head from an increase in my blood pressure. I knew my face was beet red from rage and the exertion of walking while wracked with sobs. I wasn’t going to last much longer. Some part of me was going to crack wide open. I was so infuriated by her brutality and betrayal it never occurred to me to ask God for His help. I was without the ability to do so, there was too much agony, too much disbelief, clouding my ability to think. Without warning, an overwhelming sense of calm settled over me. I was still enraged. I was still crying so hard I could barely make out the trail well enough to follow it. I could still barely catch enough air to keep moving forward, but God’s Spirit took hold of me. He calmed my mind and the panic within me subsided enough that I began to think clearly. I give God complete credit because, under my own power, I was incapable of caring for myself. Next to me, Loralei continued to spew forth her condemnation of my faith, relating to me over and over how I was failing God, but now she added, that because she was my friend, it was her duty to show me the errors in my life. By now, I was calm enough to navigate the trail safely. I could still hear Loralei next to me, her verbal attack saturating my broken spirit, but now, my brain was involved. I was able to get past the shock and pain of her assault to begin cranking on the puzzle in front of me. Why was she treating me this way? Did she feel inferior to me for some reason? Had something I’d shared at group, something regarding God’s faithfulness and provision, upset her? Was this an effort to boost her self-esteem? Was she jealous in some regard? Did she feel superior? Was she assaulting the hell out of my emotional health and self-esteem because of some delusion she was a better person, a better Christian? Did her superiority obligate her to show me the myriad ways I’d failed in my walk with God? Was this happening because she wanted us to stop coming to group and was unaware of a better way to accomplish her objective? I simply couldn’t get my head around her reason for turning on me like this. I thought she was my friend, someone who could offer support and empathy, a kind word, some sensible advice, a judgeless hug, certainly someone who could serve as a safe harbor once in a great while. As we emerged from the lake trail and began the climb to the parking lot, Loralei wrapped her right arm around my shoulder, and gave me a sideways hug. It was all I could do to keep from slugging her. I told her again to shut-up and leave me alone. She reminded me one more time that she was my friend, and being my friend made this necessary. My mind continued to race, looking for a rational explanation. I was so devastated, still sobbing like my tears were connected to the lake itself, but somehow God’s Spirit kept me calm. Her words of betrayal and her dominating behavior gutted me like a field dressed deer. They left in their wake utter devastation, but I was calm. To be so enraged, yet peaceful, was a unique experience, to say the least. God’s Spirit simply filled me to the point that I was preoccupied with finding an explanation. I didn’t realize, until later, that God’s Spirit kept my mind busy so I wouldn’t remember that I had an immediate solution to my devastating pain tucked away inside my fanny pack. Like it or not, recognition that Loralei was my ride home settled over me. My phone wouldn’t work in the park, so there was no way to call my husband. Walking home wasn’t an option. It was much too far, especially given my emotional state. I slid into the passenger’s seat, and Loralei maneuvered her car along the winding exit route to the state road. She talked the entire time. She wouldn’t shut up. She spoke of her vacation like we were best friends and I gave a crap. She spoke as if she hadn’t spent the last twenty minutes schooling me in my worthlessness, making sure I understood what a waste my entire life had been. She pulled her car into my drive. God’s Spirit was still with me. He kept me calm which enabled me to respond instead of reacting in a knee-jerk manner. By now, I was no longer crying because He’d strengthened me to the point of staying my tears. So, as I opened my door, just prior to exiting the vehicle, I looked at Loralei and said with steely resolve, “Lay off me about my kids.” In the time span of a single heartbeat, Loralei switched personas and played the victim card. She wanted me to know how unfair I was being. Couldn’t I see what a good friend she was? She said I needed to accept her words in the spirit in which they were intended because it wasn’t like she told me I was bad mother. Instantly, the light in my brain sparked to life. I had the answer to the question which had been knocking around in my brain since her assault began. Without any doubt, I knew this betrayal was rooted in her feelings of superiority. She just admitted it to me with her comment about me being a bad mom.
Loralei was ignorant and arrogant enough to believe she has life all figured out, that she knows everything. She was selfish enough to believe that I could benefit from her “superior” knowledge and character. She was blind enough to her own faults that she felt, not only entitled, but obligated to bring this kind of pain to someone who was already so depressed she didn’t care if she saw tomorrow. When I confided in her as my friend, I’d been operating on the assumption that someone who’d buried a child of her own could empathize with my heartbreak and debilitating sadness. God help me! Could I have erred to a greater degree? I didn’t say this to her, but if I had a ‘do over’ I would remind her about the death of her own little girl and of the pain that came with it. To which, she’d respond that I didn’t lose one of my kids. Then, I’d remind her, that for all intents and purposes, I’d lost all three of mine. As I shut the car door on her condemning, hateful words, Loralei continued to defend herself, reminding me how unfair I was being. As I walked toward the front door of my home, my mind raced with disbelief at her betrayal, and fury at myself for trusting her in the first place. The two emotions vied for dominance in my heart and mind. I stepped inside my home, and without Loralei’s nasal criticism yammering in my ears, complete and utter failure washed over me. I have never felt so worthless, so defeated in my life. I burst into sobs and fell completely apart, but I was very aware I needed the help of someone who genuinely cared about me because I was in a very dark place. You must remember, this wasn’t some run of the mill fight between friends. Hers was a betrayal of the most intimate order, an attack perpetrated on someone who’d already admitted she was struggling with clinical depression. This was an attack by someone to whom I’d trusted my broken heart, someone who knew I struggled with trusting people on my best day. This was an attack made possible by arrogance and the delusion of superiority without any recognition of the damage caused, or any empathy which would have prevented it. Her deceit and manipulation, her use of a lie to get me to the park in the first place and to position me on the back side of the lake where I couldn’t get away from her, demonstrated the depth of her resolve. This was an assault intended to destroy me, and if I didn’t do something to help myself, I wasn’t going to make it. I called my husband because he’s my earthly steady in the storms of life. He was helping his dad build a bench in his pole barn. He knew by the sound of my voice that I was in bad shape. He raced home and I relayed the events of the last hour of my life. He listened, asked relevant questions and talked me down off the ledge of destruction and worthlessness. He was mortified Loralei treated me this way. Neither of us were aware she was capable of this type of behavior, that she was without the ability to show kindness and compassion to someone in pain, that she felt entitled to inflict devastation at will. We talked until my husband was assured that I was calm enough to be left alone. He returned to help his dad, and I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in a grief agonized haze. God’s Spirit stayed with me for hours. He was God’s constant assurance that I wasn’t alone and that I would get through this devastating betrayal. He was my proof that the pain would not consume me. When I went to bed that night, I slept surprisingly well. When I awoke the next morning, God’s Spirit was still with me because He dwells within me, but His overt, calming, tangible presence had receded. I spent the morning reliving and reflecting the event of the previous day. I came to the inescapable conclusion that God was not behind what happened to me. I wasn’t put through this horrific event because God wanted me to learn of a deficiency. How did I know Loralei’s words were not birthed in truth? First, God would not have lied to me to get me to go hiking. God doesn’t lie. He’s incapable of it. The Bible states as much several different times. He’s honest in all His dealings with man. He would not have hidden any censure behind the veil of a 'discussion.' Second, God would not have shanghaied me to the back side of the lake and held me hostage while using Loralei to beat the crap out of me. Why? Because God doesn’t stay where He’s not wanted. Every person chooses willfully to accept or reject Him. Trust me, Loralei was not wanted, no way, no how, and she knew it. She refused to comply with my demands to be left alone. Third, God would have never attacked my life of obedience and service to Him, which include my efforts as a parent. In Romans 8:1, the Bible teaches there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ. In other words, because I belong to Jesus, He won’t condemn my efforts on His behalf. Standing before God without condemnation is what will allow me to enter heaven. In Proverbs 2:1-11, God teaches that He wants us to pursue Him as if He is buried treasure. This passage of scripture has been the guiding light for most of my life, and God knows this. Since the passage in Proverbs 2 was a promise made to sinful, faulty humans, and clearly states God’s willingness to bless and protect those who obey and live for Him, He would never attack my efforts to love and serve Him. When it comes to being sinful and faulty, I qualify in spades, but I’m not big enough to mess up God’s promises to mankind. For Him to have attacked my efforts at living in obedience, God would have had to step outside His own perfect character, in violation of His own promises, to make an exception for me. To have behaved in this manner would have put God at odds with His own perfection. God can’t betray those who follow Him because His character doesn’t permit it. No, this attack was not from God. Of that much, I was certain. There are two ultimate certainties in this life: Holiness and unholiness. I’ve already proven the event that day was not of God, so an origin in evil is the only remaining option. To this day, I’m uncertain if Loralei has any idea she was used by evil to accomplish its objective. I do know, if asked outright, she’d deny it vehemently. I know she’s not spiritually mature enough to take a hard look at herself and ever admit any wrongdoing. I learned as much from a brief text exchange which took place later the same day as the damaging hike. In the first text she sent me she said she was sorry she’d offended me. She didn’t apologize for behaving badly, or for crossing a line, or for causing me pain. She was sorry only that I failed to take her words as she intended. Her apology was code for continued deflection and affirmation that the fault of the entire event fell completely upon me because my failures made necessary her duty to correct me. She went on to say that she wanted the best for me. With these words she outed the entitlement she felt to assume the role of authority in my life. In my only return text, I told her that it didn’t matter what her intentions were, it was not her place to decide what was best for me. In her final text, she said if I felt that’s what she was doing…. Again, she completely failed at any ownership of her behavior/words. In the first text, she said she wanted the best for me, but when I called her on it, she changed her words and said if “I felt that’s what she was doing….” Her apology was self-serving and deflective. Not only did she play the victim, she refused to take responsibility of the damage she caused. She will never take ownership and for me to expect her to do so would only allow me to wallow in that unmet expectation. Wallowing would further my pain and prohibit me from moving past it. What an insanely wasteful way to live. If the trust I’d already placed in her, and the vulnerability I’d shared, were incapable of moving her to empathy, there was nothing I could do that would make her care. She was unable to empathize. She was beyond my reach. Reality is truth, and no amount of perception changes it. Satan didn’t want me at those meetings, and he kept at it until he got what he wanted. Loralei is far too arrogant to ever admit that it wasn’t God who used her in the park that day. She’d be mortified to give conscious thought to the idea because her arrogance inhibits her ability to process information correctly and accept ownership of her behavior. That’s how clueless she is. That’s how good Satan is at deceiving people. I was keenly aware this brutal assault on my well-being, the deceit, manipulation and brutality of my experience, was perpetrated by Satan. He’s the one who tried to derail my participation in the study group that first night by causing me to fall. To this day, I can still feel the impression of that influence against the outside of my upper left arm. Loralei brought up the subject of demonic influence at the very next study session. Ultimately, Satan wanted me out of that group, and he got what he wanted. He used Loralei to accomplish his objectives. End of story, or so I thought.
Soon, however, I became aware the situation with Loralei was part of a larger agenda. In the intervening months since her assault of me, I’ve learned about something called the Jezebel Spirit. One day, while listening to online sermons on various topics, God brought to my attention a video about the Jezebel Spirit. I knew of Jezebel in the Bible but had never heard of a contemporary counterpart. What I heard in the video blew me away and piqued my curiosity, spurring me to do some research. I learned the Jezebel Spirit is a Biblical concept based upon the wife of king Ahab, Jezebel. You can read about her in the book of 1Kings 16:29 thorough 2Kings 9, also in Revelation 2:20. To say Jezebel was evil is an understatement of damaging proportions. The Jezebel Spirit can inhabit someone who doesn’t have God’s Spirit living within them (yes we’re talking about a demon exerting control over a person from within them), or if someone is protected by the indwelling of the God’s Holy Spirit, which prevents another spirit from taking up residence, the Jezebel Spirit, if permitted to do so, will influence that person externally. A cursory glance offers no visible signs of demonic influence. In other words, you can’t tell by simply looking at someone whether they’re affected. The Jezebel Spirit seeks to influence people who have been emotionally traumatized. It controls a damaged person by exploiting their fear of rejection, such as what might accompany emotional abuse from one’s childhood. Someone who’s affected by this influence can appear lovely, cooperative, helpful, generous and concerned. That’s because Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2Corinthians 11:14). The Jezebel Spirit uses this ability to infiltrate the lives of other people, compelling others to trust it with personal details. The end goal is to accumulate passive hangers-on who will side with her should she ever need defending. Jezebel Spirits use gift giving as a means of coercion and gather personal information to use as leverage against others. Since becoming aware of this evil influence, I’ve spent some time studying this particular demon and have compiled information from online videos and articles, as well as, books written by qualified people. The Jezebel Spirit includes the characteristics of an urgent need to teach or correct others, the need to be the center of attention and the need to usurp authority. Her spirit manifests as jealousy, a domineering or overbearing personality, and the willingness to manipulate others to meet any/all of these urges. If the objective is deemed worthy, this spirit can turn murderous as depicted by the Biblical Jezebel. The Jezebel Spirit can and will use beauty and seduction to bring down people in positions of authority. They work in places of employment, as well as, volunteer organizations. Anywhere people gather, Jezebels exist and work their misery. Churches often have these people attending and/or involved in the functions of the body of believers. People afflicted by this demonic spirit work to undermine Godly goals and/or mess with God’s people. Only after time spent, or with keen observation, is a Jezebel spirit recognizable. It’s impossible to reason with them because the demonic influence is uniquely bound to the wounded personality of the controlled individual. Since the demon is calling the shots, you can’t get past it to reason with the actual person. They are without empathy or compassion. They will never admit to hurting someone or to any wrongdoing. They will contort words and situations in order to appear as the wounded party. The only thing they care about is controlling and dominating others to fend off the rejection they fear is imminent. They will lie, manipulate, and coerce through any means available to them. They will do whatever it takes to protect themselves from perceived harm. The harm they fear often exists only in their head. Among the many things I learned was that the answer to my question regarding Loralei’s motivation was much larger than I understood at the time. My questions were: Was she betraying me because she felt inferior? Did the reason for her behavior lie within feelings of superiority? Or, did she simply want us out of the study group but didn’t know how to accomplish it? It turned out, the answer to all three questions was ‘yes.’ Yes, Loralei attacked me because she felt inferior. At random times in our conversations, either in person or over the phone, she would make comments about how often my husband and I spoke up in group, saying that she appreciated it because no one else would ever say anything. The truth, however, was that she didn’t appreciate it. Our participation threatened her position of authority as leader of the group. Her husband led the study itself, but we met in their home, so as long as no one said much of anything, she felt safe and secure in her position as hostess and wife of the leader. Unknown to us, our participation changed her comfort level, so she set out to fix the perceived threat we posed. Yes, she attacked me because she felt superior in her abilities as a mother. That was made abundantly clear the day of her assault. What hurt me most was the lack of empathy she demonstrated. An empathetic person would have seen my pain as a deterrent to inflicting additional damage. Believing her to be my friend, I expected her to come alongside me in my pain, but Loralei saw my broken depressed state as weakness and an opportunity to establish dominance over me so I’d become one of her hangers-on. She did not assault me despite my pain, she assaulted me because of it! She failed in her objective because I recognized her behavior as unholy and put a stop to her influence in my life. Yes, Loralei attacked me because she truly didn’t want us at group speaking the truth of God’s faithfulness in our lives. To hear the truth of God’s provision made the demonic influence at work in her life very unhappy. Loralei wanted me gone and she pulled out the big guns to make it happen. Don’t forget, she mentioned the involvement of a demonic force in my fall that night. She was completely clued into the fact that evil was involved. I now understand why she had that insight. I add this brief section to my story as a cautionary tale. Whether you recognize, accept or believe in the presence of evil spiritual forces, they are very real, and they want to destroy you. While writing this story, I asked God how I was supposed to explain the reality of this spirit without sounding like a nut. Very quietly, He spoke to me and gave me His answer. Before you dismiss this story as irrelevant or ridiculous, think about this: How can this evil spirit, and the harm it causes, be identified by current medical knowledge? How could it fit into the medical specialty of psychology? Ever heard of narcissists, sociopaths, or psychopaths? When you begin researching this topic, you’ll discover that many of the characteristics exhibited by this spirit are the same characteristics of some who are inflicted with personality disorders. I am NOT painting every person who struggles with mental health issues with this brush! The New Testament gospels make it very clear that some illnesses are caused by demons and others aren’t! I’m merely demonstrating the existence of real life, real time, present-day manifestations of this evil spirit to those who might summarily dismiss it. These spirits are far more common than most people realize, and part of their effectiveness lies in the enabling attitude of humans who deny their existence. I will also say that, like any commander, Satan uses his resources in the most efficient, effective manner. He will target those who belong to Jesus more aggressively than those who don’t because he wants to end the faith of believers. He wants to separate the faithful from God. He attacks those who claim no faith in Jesus because he’s evil and if he causes you pain by keeping you wrapped in misery and confusion, due to a lack of knowledge about him, he causes God pain. Causing God pain is Satan’s endgame goal. Do you find yourself under the influence of such a person? Do you find yourself manipulated and lied to while being told it’s for your own good? Are you a quiet, passive person who has your own emotional needs met by being liberated from decision making and being told what to do? Look at the people in your life and evaluate them honestly. If they’re toxic, cast them aside! You are under no obligation to have such people in your life. You need to stand on your own merit and make life decisions for yourself. Forgive the Jezebel person in your life for their evil machinations. Forgive yourself for being duped. Replace this person, or people, with genuine friends who have your best interest at heart. The best friend to start with is Jesus. Surely, my story is evidence of that. You can be free of Jezebel’s influence. I walked away and excised it from my life. My consequences were minimal because I cut it off as soon as I realized who it was. At the time, I was unaware it was called the Jezebel Spirit, but I knew what I’d experienced wasn’t of God and I got rid of it. The longer you’ve been in the grips of a Jezebel, the more difficult and costly it will be to sever yourself from it. When you cast it aside, know that it will turn on you with a vengeance. You will find yourself in a war. The fallout will be brutal, but cling to God’s truth, and your freedom will be so very worth the price. Or, is it possible you’re the person the Jezebel Spirit works through? Are you the one who delivers misery and dysfunction to the lives of others? Do you tell yourself that you ‘deserve’ something, no matter what it costs someone else? Are you constantly justifying your mistreatment of other people because you’re unable to accept responsibility for the pain you cause? Are you always the one with all the answers and willing to manipulate others with lies and half-truths to reach your objectives? After reading this story, do you understand you’re a pawn in a supernatural battle? Do you understand that Satan is using your pain to advance his kingdom? Do you understand his betterment comes at your expense? Is this the type of behavior for which you want to be remembered? If you’re a Christian, are you willing to risk your salvation to satisfy your ego? God is obviously the judge, so He makes the final call regarding where you’ll spend eternity, but He hates sin and tells us to flee from it. Assisting a demonic influence is harboring sin, the opposite of fleeing. Are you hedging your bets that you’ll stay just this side of a line which can't be uncrossed? You don’t have to live in this misery. You can be freed from this demonic influence, but you must be willing to part with the emotional payoff you receive from cooperating with Jezebel. Be warned, Satan will not turn loose of you easily. It will be a war, but with God’s truth you can claim the victory Jesus has waiting for you! Accept Jesus as Lord and cast Satan aside. The choice is yours. The choice is always yours. No demon can prevent you from turning to Jesus and finding forgiveness and freedom (Mark 5:1-20).
I’m an author by trade and recently sought God’s guidance regarding my next project. Using a dream, He made it very clear to me that I was to write this story and name it, Defender. God wants the truth about the Jezebel Spirit made known beyond the usual Christian circles. God wants to reach people through my experience of gut-wrenching betrayal. If you’re reading this, I’m going out on a limb of faith to suggest you’re one of the people with whom He’s looking to connect. He’s using my experience to help you understand, to help you avoid the experience I had, or to rid yourself of Jezebel’s influence. As for me, I take several lessons from the pain foisted upon me that day. If I allow, God will bring beautiful things from my ugly experience, the first of which is this story. This story isn’t beautiful because I wrote it. It’s beautiful because it brings to light the dark truth Satan wants to keep hidden. I hope it makes his agenda readily apparent to those who could be, or already are, affected by it. The beauty of salvation emerged when Jesus died on the cross and crushed Satan’s hold on mankind. As a result of Jesus’ redemptive work, beauty emerges every time light and truth pierce darkness and deceit. Another lesson I apply is vigilance regarding my own motives. I ask God to check my motives for purity and to render me incapable of treating someone else with such disregard and selfishness. I ask Him to help me remember that it’s not my job to supply someone with the answers to their life, but to point them to Him, the One who truly has the answers. It’s not my job to be a know it all, condemning others for their efforts in life. Here, I do not speak of a refusal to tell others about Jesus. I will always share my story with those who need Jesus, so they might come to a saving knowledge of Him. However, I will speak softly, and with love, and without condemnation, like Jesus did. Through my experience, and subsequent study, I’ve come to understand why, despite the emotional abuse I suffered from my parents, a Jezebel Spirit never attached itself to me. While attending Bible college, I learned how to study the Bible. Makes sense, you say, but so what? Well, here’s what: By the time I graduated from college I was traumatized by trying to please my emotionally abusive parents because the Bible says to ‘honor’ one’s parents. I’d been taught that to honor one’s parents was to do pretty much what they wanted, when they wanted. I was living in the pressure cooker of trying to keep my parents happy while they refused to be pleased on any level. I was miserable for the years of effort spent to please them and exhausted for the same reason. I entered my own new marriage in this wound up, miserable state of mind. One day, and this is another example of the God’s goodness, it occurred to me that I needed to find out the true definition of the word ‘honor.’ So, I got out my concordance (a huge reference book which identifies Hebrew and Greek words as they are used in individual scriptures) and I learned the word ‘honor’ means to demonstrate gratitude by the way you speak to or behave toward someone. It simply meant I needed to act and speak as if I were grateful for the things my parents had done for me! It did not mean I had to bow and scrape, and take anything my miserable, unpleasable parents threw at me in order to keep God’s fifth commandment. To honor my parents did not mean I had to live with my lips attached to their backsides. I felt like the prison doors had been opened! I was very grateful that my parents had clothed and fed me, kept me safe from sexual predators, held me accountable for good grades and a good work ethic. Most of all, even though our home life was a battle ground, I was grateful that they had me in church every single Sunday and most Wednesday nights, because church is where I found my Jesus! There isn’t enough gratitude in existence to thank them for that. Gone, however, was the crippling, oppressive compulsion to please unpleasable parents! Their hold over me was gone! The emotional abuse lost its grip on me! The truth of God's word set me free, just like the Bible promises in John 8:31-32! I have no doubt that being freed from their dysfunction is what protected me from becoming a Jezebel Spirit. Time and study have brought the realization that God defended me the day I learned the true definition of ‘honor.’ He defended me and I wasn’t even aware of it. That’s the goodness of God at work in the life of a believer! My freedom came because I availed myself of the knowledge God gave me. He brought to me the information I needed when I needed it, I acted upon it, and He freed me!
I want to relay one other defense which came from this experience. I came across a specifically interesting story in Steve Sampson’s book, Confronting Jezebel. He included many interesting anecdotes from his lengthy ministry, but this one was about a loving Christian couple who raised their kids with adoration and a heart for God. However, when their daughter got married, she began to change. She and her new husband began to pull away from them. The situation only deteriorated with the addition of grandchildren. The disrespect and disdain the daughter and her husband showed the parents only grew with time, causing devastation in the hearts of these two loving parents. It turned out the daughter’s new husband harbored a Jezebel Spirit. He used his manipulative, controlling ways to emotionally and logistically separate his new wife from her parents. I read this story to my husband right out of Steve’s book, and the first words out of his mouth were, “That’s exactly what happened to us!” Only, in our situation, it was our son who was alienated by the spirit controlling his new wife. The details were so similar that it demonstrates the consistent behavior of the Jezebel Spirit regardless of whom it influences. The parents in Confronting Jezebel chose to endure the contempt and hostility from their daughter and her husband in hopes of salvaging a relationship with their grandkids. I wish God’s best for them, but I fear that, by the time the grandkids are old enough to interact without parental supervision or permission, they will have been poisoned by their parents. For the emotional health and well-being of these lovely Christian people, I pray I’m wrong. Staying in contact with our son wasn’t an option as our broken relationship was too damaging to our health. While the knowledge that a Jezebel Spirit was responsible changes nothing between our son and us, it does act as a salve to our devastated hearts. It helps to understand we truly did nothing wrong as his parents. We never moved away from him emotionally, we actively sought to engage his new wife and expand our family. My husband and I hadn’t changed, we were the same ‘wonderful’ parents we were when he repeatedly thanked us for his childhood, but now, we’re no longer puzzled by what happened. We’re no longer plagued with doubts. We aren’t beating up ourselves for doing something we can’t even identify. We understand and we have closure and it helps our broken hearts and our stress levels to know what happened. God knew we needed the reassurance of knowing our son’s departure wasn’t on us. Once again, God defended us, this time against self-recrimination and the damage it brings to wounded hearts. I can honestly tell you that, if this were the only benefit to come from this hurtful, damaging experience with Loralei, it would have been worth it. God works so beautifully in the details of our lives. I’m grateful to God that my knowledge of His Word defended me by helping me understand that Loralei’s assault was not from Him. Because, believe me, in my depressed broken state, I did take a minute to consider if her condemnation was deserved. It was an exceedingly short minute, but I must be honest and admit that it did happen. When I compared my life to the Bible, as in the instances listed earlier, I knew truth, and it defended me against further self-loathing. Today, people scoff at the relevance of God’s word, but the infinite wisdom contained within the Bible will serve well those who find humility enough to embrace it. God set me free from the damage with which Loralei sought to destroy me. Because of what I experienced that day, I have a much broader, clearer understanding of the spirit realm and how it works. I learned first-hand, the damage brought by these evil creatures when wielding the power they have available to them. The resources listed at the end of this story have done much to help me overcome the damage brought to my life by this demonic influence. If you allow them, they will help you as well. I’m also mindfully grateful for the defense that God provided me that day in the park. I’m grateful I learned of Loralei’s true character prior to trusting her with something monumentally important. If I hadn’t experienced this, I couldn’t have written this story as a warning to others. Besides that, I’d still be unaware of the truth regarding this evil force. Let me state it overtly, in case you missed it: The spirit realm is real. Satan and his minions are working to harm you. God has His angelic forces working for you if you love Him and care about the things He cares about, and, as a result, are receiving salvation (Romans 8:28/Hebrews 1:14). If you haven't accepted Jesus as Savior, you are, literally, on your own. I’m grateful God allowed me to learn a valuable lesson which prepares me for and defends my future. I don’t know yet, when or where I’ll need it, but I know with absolute certainty it’s coming, and, because of this experience, God has me ready for it. I do know that being devoted to God makes me a target for Satan, but I’d rather fight now, and gain what I cannot lose, than find I’ve lost everything because I refused to fight. I will not run from Satan, nor will I cower before him. I have Biblical authority over him. This story is proof that I do not fight alone. I’m grateful God’s Spirit defended me in the park that day and kept Loralei safe. Had He not kept my mind occupied, it might very well have occurred to me to use my gun. Her betrayal filled me with rage and pain, and without His help, without His work to keep my attention diverted, I have no doubt that I’d have considered it. In keeping her safe, He defended me as well. He saw to it that I didn’t discharge my weapon either time that day, forever altering two futures, or ending them altogether. Satan would have loved nothing more than to see the alternate ending come to pass. God defended me from the evil Satan had planned.
I forgive Loralei. I have no choice because God requires it. Jesus forgives me, so I must forgive those who hurt me. To hold onto all the pain, to stay angry at her, would give her far too much control over my life. No one gets to take heaven away from me, certainly not someone the caliber of Loralei. Forgiving her frees me from the hold she could have had on my life. Learning what I have about the Jezebel Spirit has helped me forgive her. Trust me, it wasn’t automatic, and I had to work at it. Knowing her treatment of me was rooted in her own pain, doesn’t excuse her behavior, nor does it lessen the damage she caused, but understanding does help me forgive her. After all, if not for the grace of God, I could have been a Jezebel Spirit. I take one more cue from Jesus. While walking on this earth, Jesus didn’t spend His time with toxic people. He spent His time doing the work of His Father while in the company of a small band of followers. He healed and taught those who accepted Him and asked for His assistance, but when the crowds of people became intrusive, He slipped away for rest and solitude. Loralei is no longer a part of my life. She never will be. That’s as it should be. God doesn’t want my inner circle comprised of toxic people even if they aren’t influenced by a demon. Each person is responsible for the way they live, and if Loralei chooses to live this way, then she isn’t deserving of inclusion of my life. I am under no Biblical mandate which states differently. In the Old Testament story of Jezebel, we learn that God’s prophet, Elijah, killed hundreds of Jezebel’s false prophets. When Jezebel learned what Elijah had done, she threatened his life. Elijah, a seasoned accomplished prophet of Jehovah God, ran and hid from this evil woman. What did God do? Did God fuss at Elijah, telling him what a wimp he was to run from a hundred-pound woman, after having defeated hundreds of her false preachers? Did God tell Elijah to get his head on straight and get back in the game? Did He tell Elijah to return to the palace and defeat Jezebel personally? The answer to all these questions is “NO.” What did God do? God appointed a new man, Jehu, as king over Israel and sent Jehu to deal with Jezebel. There is more to study and learn, but it gets tricky theologically and is really beyond the scope of this story. What you need to know is that Elijah was not expected to confront Jezebel. God defended Elijah and took care of Jezebel for him. I want to mention here, also, that God didn’t prevent Loralei’s brutal assault on my broken and struggling heart, for He prevents no one from exercising their free will. However, when it came to my experience with a Jezebel, God’s Holy Spirit defended me in every conceivable way. I owe Him everything. Thank you, God, for being my Defender.
The Rest of My Story:
Just prior to publishing this story online, God added a new dimension to it, one which will bring great freedom and joy to those who follow the strategy I’m about to share. My husband and I have spent two weeks in earnest prayer regarding our health issues. Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse for both of us and our faith has taken a hit. We’re aware that Satan is discouraging us. He wants us to give up our efforts at finding relief from our respective health concerns. But when you hound heaven with prayer the way the Bible teaches, and everything deteriorates, it becomes demoralizing quite quickly, even if you’ve been a believer since childhood. Just this morning, I was on the porch wrapped up in a blanket, listening to the rain fall, as I watched online sermons on my phone. Once again, God proved His goodness and faithfulness to me. Right on time God brought to my attention another sermon on the Jezebel Spirit. This sermon didn’t include information which contradicted what I’d already learned, it included additional information, something I desperately needed to know. This minister was speaking to a room full of preachers, impressing upon them their Biblical responsibility to deal with the Jezebels in their congregations, and the consequences to expect if they didn’t. Through this sermon God helped me understand that removing Loralei from my life wasn’t enough. Even though she is gone and has no direct influence upon me, the evil that exploits her pain and uses her to hurt others is still coming against me! So, while I have no authority to deal with Loralei and the harm she causes the body of Christ, I do have authority and responsibility to deal with the spirit which continues to attack me. The preacher giving this timely sermon, Robert Morris, helped me understand that, until I exert my God given authority over this spirit, it will continue to come against me. All the prayers my husband and I have uttered, all the scriptures we’ve quoted, the sins we’ve confessed were wonderful, but they were ineffective because we did not confess that we were accommodating the spirit coming against us. We weren’t aware we needed to! We thought cutting Loralei out of our life fixed the problem. This sermon taught me what now seems an obvious truth, but somehow, at the time, I missed it. That’s okay, though, because believers in Jesus are here to help one another, and to help others who’d like to know Jesus. I prayed with the preacher at the end of his sermon, a prayer during which I rebuked the Jezebel spirit, I confessed to God my unwitting cooperation and asked for His forgiveness. The preacher quoted 1 John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong.” When I confessed to God that I’d sinned against Him by allowing this spirit to come against me, God had no choice but to forgive me and protect me from this evil spirit seeking to destroy me! The preacher finished his prayer. I turned off my phone and almost instantly, I felt lighter and much more hopeful than I have in years! Immediately, I knew I was to make this addition to my story, so it would be complete and offer true hope and freedom to anyone who’s taken time to read it. This is how to free yourself from this evil spirit. If you are a Christian, avail yourself of God’s Spirit within you, rebuke Satan and his evil spirits while submitting yourself to God (James 4:7-10). Confess to God that you’ve allowed this spirit to assault you and ask His forgiveness for not rebuking it sooner. It might take others praying with you for some length of time. Pray 1 John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong.” Praise God because He just set you free from evil and cleansed you of the filth it left behind (John 8:31-32). Without this spirit plaguing your life, you’ll find that prayers will be much more fruitful for God wants you to have the abundant life He promises (John 10:10)!!! If you are not a baptized believer in Jesus Christ, here’s what you need to do: It doesn’t matter where you are, just pray this prayer: Dear God, I know I’ve sinned against you and I know I’m not worthy of your love. Please forgive me of my sins (confess any that you can think of, more will come to you later). I believe Jesus is Your Son and died for my sins. I want Jesus to live in my heart as Lord and Savior. Thank you for Your forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Now, find a preacher and get immersed in baptism for the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. This is absolutely necessary! You are not strong enough, smart enough, wealthy enough or determined enough, or in ANY way capable of fending off Satan on your own! Satan is a supernatural being with the intelligence God granted him at creation. Satan has multi-millennial experience of seeking, destroying and killing humans. On your own, you are no match for him! God’s Spirit within you is the ONLY way to defeat God’s enemy. Get a Bible, I recommend the New Living Translation (NLT). It’s easy to understand and is widely regarded as trustworthy. Start reading! Begin in the gospel of John (not 1 John) and go from there. God will meet you wherever you are in your faith and understanding. At any point, after being baptized and receiving God’s Spirit, you can do the steps I outlined in the prior paragraph because you are now saved and all of heaven’s resources are available to you! Even if you don’t realize it, God just acted as your Defender against the attack of evil on your life! You are no longer alone in your journey. Let God love you, teach you and defend you as you take every step into your future! Study God’s Word, seek God in prayer, and live your life with God as your first priority. Your effort to seek God first will transform your life and will take you to your knees in humility and awe!
See you in heaven, Madison
Please know that the information in my story is not exhaustive. It’s just enough to make you aware of one exceptionally aggressive demon. At minimum, you can be watchful for the influence of the Jezebel Spirit. At maximum, there’s much more to learn and you can use this story as a springboard for educating yourself more fully. God’s Word, the Holy Bible, is the weapon God wants us to use when we come against sinister forces. Sometimes, though, we need help to understand how to wield this powerful weapon. Anyone who wishes to be rid of this devastating demonic influence should read these three books: Confronting Jezebel by Steve Sampson. Mr. Sampson’s book is wonderful in many regards and I learned much from it, but I want my readers to know I do not agree with what he says about confronting a Jezebel. I understand why he says what he says, I just disagree from a Biblical standpoint. There is important and timely information shared in this book. Another book is Victory in Spiritual Warfare by Tony Evans. This book is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It is saturated with wisdom and practical ways to apply God’s promises to one’s life. He does not specifically refer to demons in this book, he calls them strongholds, but the information Dr. Evans provides is invaluable when it comes to defeating our spiritual enemies. The third book is Truly Free by Robert Morris. This book is based upon his “Free Indeed” series of sermons, 1- 11. Both the book and sermons are divinely anointed and more practical and freeing than you can believe. The sermons differ somewhat from the book, making both immensely beneficial. The sermon series is found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEhxu5scM4usLW9xaTOEiGP3J_tqUR_uL
I studied the information in these books. I devoured the scriptures upon which they are based. I followed their instructions for deliverance and prayed the prayers along with them, applying their wisdom against the enemy as he sought to destroy me. What I learned and experienced has changed my life. If you allow, your life can be changed as well! In Christian service, Madison.