When the Enemy Attacks

© Barbara V. Evers

Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt overwhelmed. Events have tumbled over me in a torrent of troubles and issues related to raising my grandchildren. I’m not ready to talk about those things just yet, but I found myself thinking back to a blog post I wrote eight years ago. In this post, I looked at a personal situation where I, and several Christian sisters, came under attack. It was sneaky. It was unexpected, but it was typical of the enemy. That’s his preferred weapon:  stealth.

Today, because I keep thinking about that post, I thought I’d share it here.

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When warriors gather the enemy becomes anxious and plots a counter-strike.  The strategy might be to beat them to the punch, infiltrate the troops, or even attack while they sleep.  I experienced this first-hand at the Christian Communicators Conference this past weekend, a gathering designed to equip women to provide encouragement to others through the gifts of speaking and writing.

On the second night, our facilitators, Vonda Skelton and Carolyn Knefely , danced off to bed in excited triumph.  The day’s sessions proved that the women assembled in this lovely lakeside home held the power of the Spirit in their hearts and could truly minister to other women.

Then the enemy struck.

He chose to sneak into our camp at night and destroy with doubt and fear.

I struggled with my own shortcomings, uncomfortable with my abilities when measured against the phenomenal women gathered in this house.  In no way did I believe I could stand up and share my love of the Lord with the same knowledge and passion that they demonstrated.

But wait, I wasn’t alone.

The next morning, Vonda called us together to begin the next session, and the truth began to flow.  One after another, we heard of the late night battles fought by these holy warriors and the brink of defeat that Satan drew each of us toward.  Story after story tumbled from our mouths.

“I can’t do this.”

“Who am I to think that I can lead others in their love of the Lord?”

“My life doesn’t reflect Him well enough to stand before others and proclaim Him.”

The Spirit moved in that beautiful sun-drenched living room that morning and we shared, confessed, laughed, and cried.   The truth is that Satan saw the strength behind our testimonies and conviction and fought back in the way he does best, with stealth attacking each of us one at a time.

The victory is not Satan’s though.  The Holy Spirit prompted us to speak of our fears the next morning.  Imagine our amazement when the truth revealed itself in our simple sharing.  We are the army of the Lord, and when we put on the holy armor of God, we can do anything!

To God be the glory, great things he has done!

 

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Today, I head to North Carolina to run a women’s retreat for my home church. It’s been a tough road getting there, but I’m excited about what we have planned for them. Why else would my life be so chaotic right now? We must be doing something right.

Your prayers are appreciated.

 

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Abounding Grace

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor. 9:8

A few years ago, I wrote the following post for an event in my church. The theme of the event was Overflowing, and the coordinator asked me to write about overflowing grace. A lot has happened since this post, but God’s grace still abounds.

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Let’s jump back to the first half of last year (2015). After a lifetime focused on various family issues, life was going well. I was on track with my goals and had time to devote to them. Bruce and I were enjoying, thoroughly, the empty nest life.

What could go wrong?

In early August, we realized our second child’s life was falling apart, mostly through her own doing. I tried to help long distance, but things got worse. Then she disappeared, with my grandchildren. I spent frantic days praying and searching. The police refused to issue a missing persons report stating the children were not in danger while they were with their mother. I knew differently. She was not stable.

Thankfully, after a week my daughter resurfaced and asked us to take the children.

OK. Not what we planned. Having already raised five children, we didn’t expect to raise our grandchildren. Spoil them? Sure. Just not raise them.

Victoria and Amari arrived with nothing. We struggled to find room for them in our down-sized home. Before their arrival, finances were not an issue, now, our wallets hemorrhaged money—clothes, shoes, school supplies, daycare, groceries, and medical care. How could we manage this so close to our retirement?

But God is true in His promises. We needed furniture, and a local store offered us an incredible deal due to the sacrifice we were making for our grandchildren. Acquaintances donated clothes. Medical personnel helped me navigate the legalities of medical care without court-ordered custody. A Facebook friend, who is also a lawyer, gave me legal advice for free. Old friends in the same situation surfaced and offered their support. People stepped up and helped where they could. Most importantly, prayers overflowed in our direction.

The right thing is rarely the easy thing. Paul tells us that in all things and at all times He will provide. A four year old and eight year old take a lot of work, especially at our age! We’re exhausted, but I know our grandchildren’s welfare is more important than anything else we could be doing. We may not have a surplus now, but we have what we need and so do our grandchildren.

We are the living proof of His abounding grace.

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So here we are two-and-a-half years later. Victoria is eleven and Amari is six. We’ve adapted. Do I wish for things to be different? Sure. Who wouldn’t prefer their child walking the straight and narrow path? But if wishes were … well you get the idea.

A lot has changed in our lives. I’ve met amazing people who I’d never know if this hadn’t happened. I’m more tuned into the culture of today, too, which pays off in my career. We are still the living proof of his abounding grace.

Finalizing Your Vision: Finding Your Passion For Service Pt 8

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

 

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

 

 

 

During the first two months of 2018, I taught a Vision Board workshop to women at my church. During that time, we explored how we prefer to serve, why we want to serve, and whom we want to serve. I summarized each of the sessions in the following posts:

Wednesday night was the last night, and we finished creating our vision boards. As I’d reminded these wonderful women each week, the best way to create a vision board is to pull images that spoke to them, whether they understood why or not. Even though I teach this process, I’m still amazed at how well this approach helps someone recognize their passions.

In last week’s post, I shared an older vision board of mine:

My Mission Statement at the time of the above board’s creation was:

To inspire, motivate, and encourage women in their search
for personal acceptance and development.

This blog grew out of that mission, and I have focused many of my posts on my personal story of overcoming barriers and traumatic events in my life. Although this remains a passion of mine, recent changes in my and my husband’s lives have drawn me toward a new focus in service.  Although it’s a work in progress, my current Mission Statement states:

To open communication, touch lives, and create close relationships that
support grandparents as they meet the challenge of raising their grandchildren.

 

This is my new vision board:

 

 

The process of creating a Mission Statement and Vision Board helps us create something that points us in the right direction when asked to serve. Does it fit our Mission? Should we say yes or no? I’m the kind of person who always wants to say yes, but realistically I can’t. I serve God best when I stop and listen to the Spirit’s guidance. My new mission resonates with the verses in Jeremiah 28 and 29 where God instructs the Israelites to grow where they are (in Babylon captivity).  In this blog, I’ve already begun sharing the experience of raising grandchildren. How will I expand in this area? Where it will take me, I don’t know, but I’ll be sure to share here.

This workshop series was a great journey for me, and several of the women who participated found new purposes in their Christian service. Two wonderful ladies gave me permission to share their finished boards here.

As you can see, they took very different approaches in creating their boards. Throughout this workshop, I encouraged everyone to follow where the Spirit led them, and I’m thrilled and humbled to have shared this journey with so many amazing women.

Have you followed this process through these posts? I would love to hear what you learned about yourself!

 

 

Interested in offering a Finding Your Passion For Service workshop? I’m available for one day workshops or weekend retreats. Please use the form below to contact me with questions.