Never Retreat

Spiritual warfare.

It’s one of those things that is almost hush-hush in the Christian community.  Even as a minister’s wife, I am sometimes hesitant to bring it up.

But it’s real.  And still at work in this world.

One of the things that has affected me the most this last year have been the attacks that have occurred towards my family, my husband, and myself.  We have seen members of our original team attacked.  And they retreated.  I was attacked… and I retreated.  We watched other churches attacked… and they retreated.

But the one thing I have learned, if anything this year, is never retreat.

Because that is what Satan wants us to do.

When I was in high school, I toured with a traveling Christian choir during the summer.  I was chosen to do a skit with another student about putting on the full armor of God.  I remember having to memorize Ephesians 6:10-18.  It reads:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

My minister when I was growing up, John Green, pointed out, that the armor of God does not cover your back.  God has given you everything to protect you when you are advancing into battle.  But nothing to cover your back if you decide to retreat.  Why?  Because God wants you to stand your ground… and after you’ve done everything… to stand firm.  Your faith in God, is where you will deflect the attack arrows that Satan will undoubtable send your way.

Attacks on the Plant

The week before our One-Year Anniversary, our entire team was hit with spiritual warfare.  Men and women both grew weary, let fears run rampant and many got physically sick.  At this same time, my mom found out she had breast cancer and her father (my Gramps) was diagnosed with dementia and needed to be put in a nursing home.

For two days, I walked around in shock (maybe I should say, sat around in shock… as I don’t know if I left the couch for two days…)  My entire extended family was on their knees, asking God, “What’s next?”  My husband went into “Take Care of Megan Mode” and the boys pitched in around the house.

I just kept shaking my head in confusion.  And then someone said something to me- and my robot response snapped me back into reality.

A woman, I greatly respect, in the middle of a conversation with me said, “I’m just really confused right now… and am not sure what to do.”

My response?  “Well, our God is not a god of confusion.  God will show you what His Will is.”  I immediately froze.

Did I really believe that?  Because my actions right then were not demonstrating my belief.

All of a sudden, it was like my brain and my heart snapped back into alignment.  I realized how little I had been running to God when things were getting hairy.  I picked up my Bible.  Verse after verse confirmed what God had been trying to whisper to me for days.  “I will rescue you.  Just lift up your head to me!  Look for me…  I am just waiting for you!”

I battled depression off and on this year; it is humbling to admit.  There were times when I ached for my home to be just my home and not an open door to everyone in our church.  There were times I fought off urges to isolate myself from impending harm from others, and so I built up walls to protect myself.  There were times when gossip ran rampant through a neighboring church and I literally felt the betrayal anytime we bumped into someone from there.

I wanted to quit.  I wanted to move away and hide.  I almost came to the point where I began to ignore my God.  But something stopped me.

Burgers and Spiritual Warfare

Michael, the boys and I were sitting down at a restaurant we’d never been to before, and a man and his son, sat adjacent to us at another table.  He began to make friendly conversation with Michael about our boys and soon they were asking each other questions about work, our kids, where we went to church, etc.  When he found out we had just planted a church, he began inquiring about it.  Our food came, and the conversation sort of ceased, as we jumped into our burgers and fries.

Suddenly, he cleared his throat.  “Do you ever preach on spiritual warfare?”

I almost choked on my bite.  My husband answered, “I have before… but not this past year.  Why do you ask?”

Yeah.  Why did he ask?  I wondered.  Maybe I am just naive.  But I have never heard anyone inquire about spiritual warfare the first time they’ve met my husband.

He answered my husband.  And it was a legitimate answer.  But it just made me scratch my head.  The Holy Spirit seemed to want me to pay attention.

Later that afternoon, in the middle of worship band practice, our team admitted that they were all being attacked.  Our leader spoke it well when he said, “We need to address this right now.  There is some battles going on right now that we need to take to God… ”  He was right.  We stopped right then and there and prayed.  For our team.  For our church.  For our families.

Our anniversary Sunday was awesome.  God showed up in a big way.  I felt like we were all just spectators watching Him show off.  It was so good.  (I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about it.)  People walked through our doors and left with huge smiles.  And for the first time in a long time, I cannot wait to see my church family.  Can.  Not.  Wait.  In fact, when we bumped into several of them tonight at the soccer field, I was SO EXCITED.

God is moving at Thrive.  So much so.  When we don’t retreat during attacks by the Evil One, God’s Kingdom can advance.  And it will continue to!