Six months ago, God exposed what I believe to be “ground zero” of my heart. Six months ago, I was consumed and swallowed up by the plaguing, ever-retuning lie that my husband did not love me. Now keep in mind, five years ago I had witnessed God’s resurrecting miracle in our lives, love, and marriage. But I had forgotten. An “orphan lie” was rearing its ugly head: You are alone, on your own, not chosen or worth fighting for. The stench of death—caused by sin in my own heart—was distracting me from the beauty of God and his mighty works that I KNOW He had done for us in our marriage.
Six months ago, I thought I was losing my mind.
Now brace yourself…this is how bad it got: I had convinced myself (partnered with the enemy in the lie) that my husband was not capable of loving me—not interested in loving me the way Christ loves the church. (You know you’ve entered the wasteland when you use God’s word against God’s will.) I was fooled into thinking that to keep asking something of my husband that he was not capable of giving, nor interested in giving, was not fair of me and downright cruel. So it would be best for all involved if I cut HIM loose. If I left him.
This was a new tactic of the enemy. For years, the enemy used the fear of my husband leaving me because he didn’t love me as the enemy’s crazy game in my life. And there was a turning of the tables in hopes of getting the same results: a broken marriage, a shattered family, a forfeited inheritance, and lots of dead bodies in my wake.
Thank God for my best friend, and my mentor—two people who love God more than me, whom I have invited to speak into my life. They have promised to speak truth into my life, even if I don’t like what they see. They are two strong forces who help me “get better,” not just “feel better.”
We all need honest, authentic, real, raw, and HOLY community to help us on the days we cannot stand up or see straight. People who help us when we are a mess and making a mess, but not people who will clean up our mess. That’s the secret and intimate work of God and His grace alone.
I confessed all that was going on inside of me. The mess, the crazy, the ugly—all of it came out. They listened and cried with me. Then, at the proper time, they pushed into me and spoke some hard and heavy truth. And…I wanted to punch them in the face. The lie was exposed for what it was and once again I recognized, “It’s me! It’s me, again! I am the problem!” I couldn’t stand myself. Everyone was my enemy for a day or two.
“Here we are AGAIN, Lord. Here we are again! I can’t take this anymore. It’s me…it’s me! I can’t do this anymore. I can’t come this way one more time. Fix me! Please…Get rid of it! Get after the root of this lie. I don’t care how hard it’s going to be; just do it. Remove this thing in me!”
Once again, I crawled up on the operating room table. But this time, I knew it was a matter of life or death. This time was different than all the times in the past. He went deeper than ever before.
For the next six days, I couldn’t do anything but cry. I cried and cried. It wasn’t like I was in a depression; I was feeling everything. I was grieving the loss of me. I was grieving my childhood. I was sad for that little girl who felt sad, mad and alone. I would cry so much and so suddenly, I would need to pull my car over into random parking lots and just let the tears come. I would wake in the middle of the night and cry. To be honest, at times, I was irritated and angry with God for allowing this much pain in my life. I was mad and I was relieved. I didn’t understand and I didn’t want to understand. I just wanted it over. By God’s grace, my faith in his goodness overshadowed my anger and injustice. I spent six days grieving, repenting, requesting, and resting.
Then, on the night of day six, I woke suddenly to a voice, as clear as day, that said, “We’re all done now. You’re all out of fear, Alisa. You’ve run out.”
Fear? Really? Is that what this is all about? Is that what has been plaguing me all these years? Since my earliest memories? Fear?
Everything I stand against is the very thing He is overcoming in me.
He wasn’t going to let me keep saying love is greater than fear and not have a deeper understanding of what it means. It was now my chance to live out a deeper love that is greater than my fears.
Fear steals the identity of a child of God, causing one to think as an orphan. Orphans live in fear. Fear that they are alone and on their own and not worthy of being chosen. Sound familiar? It’s the same lie that I have projected onto my husband, all these years.
Lord, have mercy on me, the sinner.
I woke from my tear-stained sheets feeling lighter. I knew that this spirit of fear had been driven out. Something was missing, and I liked it. I had an insatiable appetite to read, study, and fill myself with His Word, His love. I also began living in a season of not knowing who the heck I was. Without fear, who am I? Without my weapons, how will I battle? I felt like I had no home. I couldn’t return to the orphanage and I didn’t quite understand how to live at home in the Kingdom without backpacking my fears around. The only place I knew to run to was His word. God was making it clear to me that since He had cleaned house, it was important that I fill the house with lots and lots of Him: worship, His word, His song, prayer, His presence. He spoke Jesus’ word to me in Matthew 12:45:
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.”
God’s best work is not done in vacant, clean, and orderly souls. He does His best work in a messy soul that desires to be filled with much of Him. It’s the heart that desires order and control that is in most danger of being taken captive by fear.
I spent the next few weeks EATING up everything about who God is and His love for me. I returned to the basics. Gospel 101. I basked in being His. I basked in His love for me. I filled myself up, to full measure—as much as I could hold—with the love of God. Everything in me was shifting, once again. And you know what happens when you wrap yourself tightly in the love of God? The love of God makes you really, REALLY bold.
With a glad song, I flung open all the doors of my heart and said, “Show me, God! Show me anything in me, that is rooted in fear. Clean out anything that has built itself on fear and get rid of it!”
And then….I took a shower