POW! I was blindsided and sucker-punched from out of nowhere, landing me in a place of despair. Somehow, I found myself knocked out from a blow that I didn’t see coming, and there I lay, curled up in a fetal position, not knowing what happened.
Like many of you, the last few years have dealt me some serious blows. Yet, even when I have been hurt or damaged, I have felt God’s grace, and I kept going. “I WILL NOT BE TAKEN OUT! I’M A NINJA!” I have often said aloud (and no, being a “ninja” is not a biblical concept). I have not understood all of the challenges, but like the Shunammite woman riding to find the prophet after her son died in her arms (2 Kings 4), I have believed and responded in challenging times with, “It is well.”
Often, when things have shaken me a little, my daughter, Nya, will ask, “Are you okay?” I respond with the utmost confidence and my head held high, “No, but I will be. I’m always gonna be okay. The Lord is with me.” Sometimes in minutes and sometimes in hours, I’m back on track. But this was different. In a flash, I was flooded with bad memories, regrets, emptiness, and despair over the future. I thought about a thing in my life that it seemed would never get fixed. I mused about how I could be in this position when I had dedicated my entire life to following Jesus. Had I not heard Him? Had I made all the wrong decisions? What kind of Christian witness was I? Maybe I wasn’t okay. Maybe I wasn’t free.
Y’all, this was so wild because this is NOT the space where I live. Not that it hasn’t been me in the past, but the Lord really has healed me from so much. Except now, I was here, and there was no logical reason why. I felt like I was in the spiritual Twilight Zone, though I didn’t know how I’d gotten there. None of my “Tara responses” kicked in. So that day, when Nya asked if I was okay, there was no declaration of, “I’m always gonna be okay.” I just replied with a pitiful, “Yeah.”
At some point, it occurred to me that this might be a spiritual attack, but for some reason, that warrior-ready part of me didn’t seem to know how to respond. For a day and a half, my prayers sounded something like, “Lord, I don’t know what’s happening. I’m struggling. I need your help.” I had just recently taught on what to do in tribulation, but I evidently didn’t remember my own teaching. And, Lord have mercy, the women of our church were doing the Devoted bible study we had just published, and the section I wrote is on…wait for it…PRAYER. By Sunday morning, I had confessed to the women in my prayer group that something was going on and I was struggling. They responded. No questions. Just prayer. You’re likely waiting for me to say that I started feeling better immediately, but I did not. I was still in an Oz of great distress, wondering how to get back to Kansas or North Carolina or just to myself.
That Sunday night, I slumped into bed, convinced that I was a terrible witness–a fraud. Then, for some reason, I woke up about midnight and said to myself, “Self, I can’t do this. I can’t stay here.” Then I started praying, warring, and declaring every relevant Scripture that I remembered. And for good measure, I threw in a few Scriptures that probably weren’t very relevant! After all, the Word brings life! I fell asleep doing this, and when I woke up on Monday morning, I was just fine. I had returned from the two-day hell trip I had taken. I was not Jesus, but that scripture that said the Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil certainly resonated with me! I praised God for FREEDOM.
Maybe you have also been blindsided or sucker-punched by some life event or even something you can’t identify. Maybe you find yourself disoriented and seemingly down for the count. You don’t have to stay down. Pull out your spiritual weapons: pray, declare the word, praise, worship, and resist. You are not defeated, so start now! I don’t know what would have happened had I not shifted my posture, but I suspect the enemy would have kept dragging me around in the Twilight Zone. I also suspect I wouldn’t have suffered so much distress if I had acted sooner. So, start now! Pray now! Declare now! Praise now! Worship now! Resist now!
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.2 Corinthians 10:4 ESV