Beware Of The Dark Cloak…

Satan works under the cloak of the night. There is a dimension where powers come to attack behind the scenes when we are most vulnerable, and the Bible is clear when it tells us, Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy. I have encountered a few of these times during the deep of the night. Last night was no exception:

If you have been following me on my journey lately, you know I have fallen under attack by Satan himself. It’s been a war like no other in my life. There have been countless battles and a whole lot of talking to God in motion. The struggle to trust is very real because the devil does not want you to trust in God. That’s bad news for him. So, he is clever in his schemes and he won’t stop until he has you where he wants you.

Last night, I could not sleep. After praying to God and dozing off, I was soon awakened by a demonic laugh. Upon opening my eyes, it wasn’t the screeching laugh that scared me, it was the fears that began to flood my mind. Fears of losing everything I had worked so hard to get. Fear of losing my job, my apartment, everything! I’ve already lost my job as the 4th of February will be my last day. During this time of inner turmoil and struggling, I’ve gotten to know my Father God even more so than I already did.

He has given me peace when there was none to be found. Calmed my storms when the winds and waves were cold and bitter while teaching me to trust in Him while drowning. He even accompanied me in my depression which was a very dark hole that I would not wish on my worst enemies, and kept me from doing the unthinkable. I’ll be honest. Trusting God is not easy at all. You always hear others telling you to place your trust in the Almighty One, but they always make it seem so easy and they never tell you what you’re going to go through to learn how to trust.

You may think I’m crazy or have gone off the deep end. Well, I probably am and I probably have. If you faced what I have over the past couple of months, I can assure you there is no sanity to be found. I will boldly say, anyone who goes through deep dark trials ain’t going to be normal nor sane. It will suck the very life from you no matter what you go through.

But, last night, the devil made his presence known in my bedroom. I think my two cats sensed it as well as they tried to curl up next to me all night long. I sleep with my Bible underneath my pillows and at 4:30 this morning, I grabbed my Bible and began pacing the floor. I was so fed up with the evil one trying to torment me. I began to rebuke him, kind of like Elizabeth Jordan in the movie, War Room. I even noticed one of my sweet cats pacing with me. I suppose he was fed up with me getting up and down all night long.

At 5:45 I laid back down still praying to God as I fell into a deep sleep, but was quickly awakened by that annoying alarm clock reminding me it was time to get up, get ready for work. Before leaving the house, the devil began trying to harass me and this went on for a few hours until I got complete victory over him.

My fight isn’t against flesh and blood nor God Himself but against my enemy. Satan! I’ve always been told He comes to steal your joy and he tries to trip you up before something wonderful comes your way. He doesn’t want us to prosper in any area of our lives. So beware of the real night terrors underneath the dark cloak of the evil one. Submit to Christ, resist the devil and he has to flee. That doesn’t mean he won’t be back in a little while because he will. You have to keep resisting….

By Jane Hardin

In The Dark Of The Midnight…

“In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face. While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place. ‘Mid the crash of the thunder, precious Lord, hear my cry, keep me safe till the storm passes by….”

It’s been a long grueling few months of nothing but one storm after another. My faith has been tried. My doubts and fears tested. There were moments when tears were all I had. I’ve even questioned God. It’s been a process of inner change for me and a very dark time to deal with, but certainly a time I would not trade for anything.

My perception took a beating, but now it’s beginning to perceive a little differently than before. I’m still right here in my storm, but God has washed me with a new peace I can’t explain. He’s brought to life hopes that were put to rest and put inside me expectations I thought would never live in me again.

It’s really a simple concept to trust God and have faith. But more times than not we make simplicity complex. When our human intellect moves from reality to believing something we can’t see, we tend to fall back on our own understanding. God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not ours. His plan for us is so much bigger than we imagine for our ownselves. If we aren’t heading in the direction meant for us, God might send a storm to move you out of your complacency, and trust me, it won’t feel good.

The good news is, He promises never to leave you nor forsake you and if you let go and let God have His way, the outcome will be well worth the journey. I feel strongly deep in my soul that I’m coming out of my storm. I still anticipate my reason to dance before my King and although I don’t see that burst of sunshine through those dark clouds, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. I’m feeling hopeful again and something good is about to happen….

By Jane Hardin

In The Eye Of My Storm…

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my stormy journey. It’s been a time for reflecting, trusting and still holding on. The winds have been turbulent and I must say, I’ve almost given up. I’ve almost thrown in the towel for the last time. Yes, thoughts of suicide have tried to edge its way into my mind with a convincing story of how much easier it would be just to end life as it is.

Now, here I stand. In the eye. Still holding on. It’s eerie. Even the silence is deafening at times. I look all around me thinking how calm it is but realizing it’s a false calm. It just doesn’t feel right and I know it’s not over and there’s moe turbulence to come. I don’t think I have ever been through anything like this before. I really don’t want to be here and I’m scared. I would call this monster a category five for sure. As I say what I’m about to say, my tears are overflowing their boundaries right now.

But…….. Everything around me feels like death. Believe me, I know a lot about death, I’ve been knocked down several times by its presence. It’s almost haunting and everywhere I go, it feels like death! There’s a waning feeling all around and I can’t seem to escape. I’m almost certain depression has entered the scene. I have tried to talk to God only sometimes I lose my thought as my mind dwells on the current. That’s when my tears take over and speak for me. I keep reminding God when it’s possible to talk to Him, that He promised never to leave me nor forsake me. I even remind Him how He has constantly and softly spoken to me saying to be still and watch His glory or not be troubled and do not be afraid. In fact, I’ve heard it so much that I want to grab my head and scream, “where are you God. Where are you?” (I wonder if Job might have entertained the same question.)

This is where I am now. In the eye. I understand we all want to read stories of those who have encountered storms much like the one you may be going through and read about the happy ending, but sometimes, you might need to read about someone’s struggles during the storm. I can’t honestly tell you that my faith has been bulldog strong and has never wavered. It’s been all over the place and many times have collided with my fears. But, in my heart, I know who God is and I know He will not lie! He cannot lie!

In saying all of this, I’m not turning back. I’m not giving up. I’m still holding on tight for a miracle. I’m tired. I’m exhausted and drained of life itself, so my only hope and source of help IS my Father God and I hope to bring you an ending soon that will describe my newest desire which is to be able to dance before my King! But for now, I’m still here…. Waiting!

By Jane Hardin

Bumps In The Road and Crazy Faith…. 

My journey, still a struggle in it’s own rite. The passage has been one of tears and battles, but also one of lessons learned. It’s coming up the middle of the month. Time is running out and panic is trying to seep through. This is where I decide to sink or swim.

It reminds me of the Israelites on their way out of Egypt. They struggled with obstacles I suppose kind of like I do. Fear. Doubt. Not fully trusting God. Trying to figure it out on my own. It took the Israelites 40 years to figure it out, then they needed a Moses to do it for them. All of my life, there have been road blocks at every turn. I reached a point of just accepting it, and falling into survival mode. It’s really all I’ve ever known.

Today, I stand staring at my bump in the road and for once in my life I’m not giving in to its failures. I tell those pesky voices to shut up and take a hike. I finally found courage to grab hold of some crazy Faith. This time, I give it all to my creator and if it cost me everything I have, so be it. I’m taking the leap and believe me, it’s a big one. Sure, I have spoken the words that this is just crazy on so many levels but what have I to lose? Yet, what have I to gain?

Sometimes you just get too tired to keep treading around that same mountain. The very mountain you would love to stand on victorious over your Egyptians but valley 101 is a valuable class room and  God will use those Egyptians to put His glory on display. Sometimes, you just have to give it all to God and let Him fight your battle. “Be still, and watch my glory.” That statement is from God Himself.

So, I accept my crazy faith challenge with no conditions. I do know, God will never leave me nor forsake me. He will shine His glory through my situation no matter what. Job can testify to this very kind of crazy Faith. Like me, he had questions for God but soon learned it wasn’t about him at all. In the end, God’s restoration was over and beyond anything Job imagined. In the end, the Israelites walked on dry ground when God Himself split a sea in half and made a road for them to cross through and drowned an angry army that was full of vile evil with intent to kill those who just crossed through that sea.  In the end, when Jesus hung on a cross for you and for me, for every person in the past and for each one in the future, he died for us, was buried and death could not hold Him. The mic dropped the second He walked out of  that tomb and He still lives today and for those who believe, we will meet Him soon.

What have I to lose? Maybe everything, but my soul will gain eternal value and my end will be greater than my beginning….. 

No Formalities…. Just pure honest feelings. 

I’m alone. Just me and my daunting, shaky world. There are so many emotions vying for first place. So many fears and negative voices fighting to succeed. It’s been me against those past struggles that have hung on for the next big ride and we have arrived.

There have been defining moments of graces extended to me and definitive signs of God’s love and mercy. I cling to those tightly. But at this very moment, I wrestle with the obvious. One minute I’m able to verbally pray to God, the next, I’m drowning in reality. I feel the need to just cry on a shoulder, a strong and sincere shoulder without judgement and reservation. A shoulder that will allow me to speak my mind, talk about how I feel without being told how negative I am.

No matter how positive an individual you may be, somewhere along the way you’re not going to be be that person who’s always on top of things. Life happens. It happens to us all in some way or another. Like me, you will start to feel empty and out of answers. You will gradually grow numb from all of the worries, the pain and the unknowing that hangs around like a bad dark cloud ready to drop it’s dew. 

Tonight, out of the blue someone asked me how I was doing? I knew this person has faced harsh storms as well. He knew the ropes, yet he smiled and kept on moving forward. Little did he know how much that little question meant to me. I was honest and told him exactly how I was feeling and ended it with, “this too shall pass.” Then, I asked him, will this pass? He assured me it would. 

Sometimes, you just don’t want the comfort of those who always say they are praying for you. To me, that’s a cheap way out of really trying to help someone who needs to be comforted. Sure, it’s wonderful to pray. We are suppose to pray, but we are also called to be good Samaritans. We are taught to help carry the load. To lighten the burden of our brother and sister. There are those who make it their life to help others. I want to be one of those people. I’m a broken mess. It’s not my  first rodeo mind you, but one I’m very familiar with. Even when I look at someone, I can tell if that person is broken or has been. I can tell when they hide behind their mask of pretense. My soul immediately wants to connect with them and help carry the cross that makes them bend from the weight.

It doesn’t matter what path you’re on. A loss of a loved one. Bad news from your physician. Financial upheaval. Broken relationships or facing the loss of everything you own. One thing is for certain, if we live long enough, we are going to face one or the other at some point in our lives. Take it from me, I have went through every storm I just mentioned and then some.  There is no easy way out of this journey but if we trust and believe in God, He promises never to leave nor forsake us. If we don’t believe, we really have no hope. Deep down inside of each and every one of us, is a longing for something more. When we go through things too big to handle we reach down to that longing trying to find something. Anything. That longing my friend is that inner knowing whether you are willing to admit it or not, that your Heavenly Father who created you created you to run to Him when the going gets tough. He is our only source for peace and contentment.

I say this even as I stand dripping wet from the storms in my life, while dragging my feet with my head and shoulders bent from the downpour, that I know just around the bend I’ll be able to see clearly. Like the song, “I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s going to be a bright , bright sun shiny day.” But just before I reach that bend, I have to keep moving forward to get there. Yes, there are moments I feel like throwing my hands in the air but giving up would be the easy way out and there is nothing easy for those who are in it to win and the only way to win is with Christ Jesus on our side.

It helps me to journal my journey. For now, that sun-shiny song is stuck in my head and I smile and my thoughtful friend who took a moment to ask if I was ok, I certainly envy his ability to shine his little light. He has such a Samaritan heart and to me, that’s a high honor in our world full of brokenness. Because a real Samaritan knows and is always ready and willing to offer a little healing balm.

Are you broken? I know one who can help. It’s not always easy, but comforting to know He is our only source of help and that nothing is too big for Him to fix. It doesn’t matter who or what you are. Believe me, He already knows you and everything about you. Nothing will come as a surprise to Him. But our brokenness is His business and He’s just a prayer away…..

By Jane Hardin 

No Weapon Formed Against Me… 

This journey is full of ups and downs. Inner struggles and nettlesome stings of hopelessness and fears digging deeper into its comfort in my mind.  My eyes tire from an unchanging path and that old friend, depression is knocking at the door.  I choose each morning to comitt my life and my day to God,  that part is easy, it’s the actual getting through the day without a battle and today was not an exception.

My morning started great. I chased a rising sun while admiring a super moon still hanging in view from a frozen wintry sky. When I got to work, I noticed there was a huge cloud in the shape of a pure white feather. It hung there just for me. I took a picture of  it feeling that perhaps my angel left it behind reminding me I’m always guarded. Little did I know God was preparing me for front line duty this very day. 

Somewhere along the way, my peace began to drain and before I knew it, I was plunged into battle being the target every enemy of mine  was aiming for.  I panicked and ran from underneath the wings of my Father God. I felt I had to take matters into my own hands. I couldn’t grasp any common sense whatsoever. The voices were interrogating me, demanding me and pushing me to do as they say. It was more than I could bear. My trust in God went flying out the door and I honestly felt it was my duty to start acting according to my own will. I did!  

I tried to do things my way, but it didn’t work. Weapons of destruction had formed against me, but even with all of my effort being placed at my will, those weapons didn’t prosper. They didn’t work! You see, that moment we earnestly wait for God to do something and we don’t see the evidence according to how we think it is to go, we feel we have to start implementing the plan as we think it should be done. Yes, we said we trusted God. We told Him we did, but when it came to words being said and meaning them, those abstract ideas became our defining moment, yeah, we figured it out and we called it God’s plan for us. But….. that’s not how it works. 

I love the story of the woman with an issue. Believe me, it was definitely an issue no woman would want to deal with. Just maybe, all of those years of struggling with this problem that held her prisoner in her own body, she might have said those words,  “I have faith and trust in God. ” But to truly have faith and trust in the almighty,  one must demonstrate it. In her heart something powerful sprang forth a burning desire that all the king’s  horses and all the king’s men could not hold her back from acting on it.  She said,” if I could just touch his clothes, I know I will be made whole and clean.” She didn’t stop there. She made her way through the madness, through the fears, through the doubts and voices telling her she couldn’t and she crawled her way through the crowd  and touched the very garment Jesus was wearing. That’s faith! It’s more than just the ceremony of words being said. It means you will be pressed, stretched, pulled and your faith will be tested. Are you ready for that? Is it worth it to you? 

 By nighttime, I was drained physically from my hard core efforts of worrying. I was mentally stressed from trying to figure it out on my own. I broke down and cried. I felt defeated and my giant had beat the living daylight out of me. I then realized, I had just went through a warfare of faith and fear. I went outside to get fresh air. I checked the mail, and inside the mailbox was a little pamphlet from Billy Graham. And the words written on the cover said, “Be still and know that I am God.” That was a major confirmation that I needed at that exact moment. 

God was telling me the battle isn’t mine……God was telling me to rest on his promises….That my friend takes an act of faith especially when your world has flipped upside down and the only way out IS an act of God. After reading those assuring words, I felt calm. I felt the safety and comfort of God’s perfect and pure white feathers embracing me and hiding me under the shadow of His wing. Do I think the cloud feather was a coincidence? Absolutely not for I don’t believe in coincidence. Do I feel finding that booklet from Billy Graham on this exact day with the exact words I needed to calm my storm  a coincidence? Absolutely not! 

As I write these words, I feel peace inside. I may have to struggle again tomorrow and fight my way through my inner battles but in my heart, I know that I know that God is working on me and this faith thing and He will shine through my very darkness…. 

By Jane Hardin