Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Spiritual Attack? Or just a really weird night?

(May 24, 2018)
I'm just throwing this in here so I can refer back to it if I need to.  I had the weirdest thing happen last night and I'm not sure what to make of it.

This morning I woke up with terrible pain in my shoulder, throbbing, aching, "you really damaged it" kind of pain. 

As I was becoming conscious, my mind was replaying the feeling of my shoulder being twisted nearly out of socket, complete with crunching, crackling sounds, as though it happened as I was waking up (or as though it's what woke me up).  And that's when the pain hit me.

I held onto my arm gently and rubbed my shoulder, but it throbbed wickedly.  I couldn't find a place to rest it where it didn't hurt.  I honestly thought maybe my arm was pulled out of its socket.

I was in bed, laying on my back.  How does this kind of pain happen from simply lying in bed sleeping!?!

For the life of me, I can't figure out what happened.  I can't tell if it was a really vivid dream or if I bent my arm into a strange position while sleeping.  I can't tell if the crackling sounds were real or in my head.  I can't tell if it was a mental thing or a spiritual attack.

If someone told me that they saw my arm being raised up while I slept by some invisible demon and that this demon then twisted my arm into some unnatural position trying to rip it off my body, I would believe them.  It was that bizarre!  And it hurt that bad!  I've never experienced anything like it.

I fell asleep again for a little while longer and then wore up with less pain, but still with an ache.  And even now, after being awake for a few hours, I can feel that my shoulder aches, that something happened to it.  I just don't know what.

I've had weird things happen before (see the "Supernatural Stuff ..." post right before this one) but not like this.  This was just so physical, so "invading reality."  It would not be fun to know that demons are now out to physically hurt me while I sleep.  Talk about not feeling safe in your own bed!

Anyway, I'm not really freaked out about it, just very confused.

Whenever I've had something weird happen (spiritual attack), I think about what happened the day before, about why a demon would want to attack now.  Almost every previous time I was attacked at night, it's because I shared the "Supernatural Stuff ..." post with someone.  Demons really don't like it when you expose them to people, when you point out that they are real and active in the world.

But this time ... the only thing I can think of that happened yesterday is that for basically the first time in a long time, I felt joy.  Peace.  Like I didn't have the desperate need to escape from life.

I have been dealing with anxiety and depression for so long, waking up each day and praying that Jesus just comes back again because I'm so sick of this place and its problems. 

But then yesterday, I felt peaceful.  Content.  Hopeful.  And I attribute it to a few things.

1.  Yesterday, I finally vented out some frustrations I have with our church.  I have kept them in for a long time, but that has eaten at my peace and my mind.  And yesterday I let myself vent it all out in a post (which I may end up deleting).  And ... I don't know ... but maybe just venting it out helped me feel a little peace.  A bit of relief.    

2.  Plus, we finally have the chance to visit a new church in a few weeks, and that idea is refreshing to my soul.  Scary ... and I wish it didn't have to happen ... but we need to try this new place just to see if we belong somewhere else.  

3.  Plus, last night they did a small "graduation" celebration at my son's youth group.  And while we were there, we sang worship songs and got a mini sermon. 
            And it's been so long since we've been a part of that ... because we don't attend the services at our church anymore because of our frustrations.  We sit in the overflow area reading godly books, half-listening to the sermons on the TVs, while our kids go to their classes.  And I didn't realize how much I missed that.  How much we needed that.  (Actually, I do realize it, which is why we are looking at a new church.) 
            We really were not made to be islands, to be sitting at home watching a service online, listening to our own Christian music on our radios in our kitchens.  We need to be with other believers, singing worship songs, hearing the Word preached, praying together, celebrating together, lifting each other up. 
            Oh, how I have missed that! 
            And even though it was just a High School graduation celebration, it was the closest thing to "church" that I've had in a long time.  And it was good!

4.  Yesterday, I weeded the garden for the first time in a long time.  Let me briefly explain. 
            For me, after many painful trials and losses, the garden was my last "sweet spot," the place where I most met the Lord and felt His presence and found joy. 
            And then, due to a neighbor's moldy garage (10 feet from the garden) and their dead tree falling on my garden one year in the height of summer, I became severely depressed about it, feeling like I didn't deserve the joy of a garden, like there was no "sweet spot" for me, like the things I enjoy just get destroyed anyway, so "why bother liking anything?"
            While I still grew the vegetables, I found no joy in it.  Only heartbreak.  Only abandonment by God.
            But yesterday, I stood out there looking at the crowded carrot seedlings ... and I decided that I would thin them out.  That even if it brought me heartache and even if I didn't want to enjoy it anymore and even if I felt like things "never went my way," I would honor God by weeding the garden. 
            By not giving up on the garden, I would show that I trusted that He was still there and that He did care.  I would weed it to show that I still believed and wanted to honor Him.  That even if things didn't go my way, I would still do my part.
            And so I spent an hour or so leaning over tiny carrot seedlings, thinning them out so they had a chance to grow better, and pulling any weeds I could find before they had a chance to engulf the vegetables and smother the life out of them.
            Maybe what I was really doing was pulling the weeds of discouragement from my heart before they had the chance to smother the last bit of hope and life out of me!  

5.  Yesterday, as I sat on the wooden yard swing, unable to find words to pray, I found myself praying the only thing I could think of:
            "God, talk to me.  Please ... just ... talk to me."  I needed Him to talk to me, to speak life back into my soul.  I needed to feel Him again, to feel like He was close, like He was listening, like He cared.  It's been so long.  For one reason or other. 
            "God, talk to me."


And then came the really weird night, the crackling sound and shoulder pain as I woke up. 

If what happened last night was a spiritual attack (and I still have no idea what to think of it), maybe all of this - the relief of having vented the bottled feelings in a post, the excitement of being able to visit a new church soon, the joy of being in the midst of other believers who are praising the Lord together, faithfully doing my job even when my heart hurts and I want to give up, and asking God to talk to me (and being willing to hear from Him, whatever He has to say) ... maybe all of this is what led the demons to attack last night (if that's even what happened). 

They are more than happy to leave us alone when we are wallowing in depression and paralyzing ourselves with anxiety.  But the moment we begin to feel joy and hope, to come alive again spiritually, to begin to feel like the Lord is not as far away as it seems to us sometimes, to invite Him into our lives in a new, real way ... that's when they know it's time to attack, to interfere, to keep us focused on pain and problems and fears.

But for me ... if it really was a spiritual attack ... I would consider it an honor!  Because I know that it means I'm waking up spiritually after a long depressing slumber.  

They don't attack people who are not a threat to their agendas! 

I really hope that this was just a weird, one-time thing.  I don't want to go back into an extended time of demonic harassment. 

But the good thing at least (if it was a demonic attack) is that nothing shakes you out of a depressed, anxious stupor quicker than a disturbing spiritual attack. 

When things get supernatural, you are reminded of what really matters eternally, of what's really going on behind the scenes, and of how much you need to the Lord.  Instead of freaking me out, it drives me even deeper into my faith, even closer to the Lord, even more desperately to prayer and righteousness and obedience! 

It wakes me up and makes me more alive!

I may never know what really happened last night, but no matter.  The effect is the same.  I've woken up!  And it's time to stop whining and stop being afraid.  It's time to engage in the spiritual battle again!


[Update:  Later in the day, it still ached and was a little stiff, but it didn't hurt as much.  My theory is - if it wasn't just a freakishly vivid dream, if it really was an attack - that the attack was happening in the spiritual world as I slept, like they attacked the shoulder of my eternal body more than the one of my physical body.  And since I was not awake, I was more aware of what was going on in the spiritual world than I was of the physical world. 

In the Bible, many spiritual things happened while people slept, in their dreams.  But I wonder if it wasn't just "dreaming," but if it's that this stuff was actually happening in the spiritual world, and they were just more aware of it because they were unconscious to the physical world.  And these "dreams" ended up having lingering effects in the physical world after they woke up, showing that it's not just dreaming sometimes.  Sometimes, it's supernatural.  

Once, during that season of nighttime demonic harassment I went through, I woke up feeling very much like someone was choking me.  It felt less strong as I woke up more but got much stronger as I fell asleep more, as if it was happening to my "spiritual" body which I was more aware of when I was less awake in the physical world.  Does that make sense?  It does to me.  I guess you have to have it happen to you to understand.]

[Second update:  That other church we visited?  Yeah, it's definitely a wrong fit for us.  Which is oddly relieving because now I don't feel so frustrated, as if I'm missing out on something.  We can simply keep attending our church the half-hearted way we are now and figure it out later.  But at least I know we are in the best place for us at the time, even if I have my concerns.]  

    
            

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