I am going to share something with you that I have told only a handful of people since it happened nearly thirty-five years ago.
It's by far the darkest thought that's ever crossed my mind.
My eldest was a "colicky" baby.
For the first three months of her life, nearly every time she ate she would begin to fidget and fuss. And then, she would begin to scream. An inconsolable, something hurts, could literally last for hours wail. One stressful "my baby can't get any relief and Mommy's really sleep-deprived" afternoon, I was standing in the middle of the living room cradling my shrieking baby in my arms trying to achieve the "c" hold the doctor had said might help alleviate her discomfort.
Head and knees resting on my elbows with her bottom drooping lower to make a "u" shape actually. I was really, really trying to get the hold just right and wailed, "Please, please just stop."
And that's when it came.
I bet she'd shut up if you slammed her against that wall over there.
My mind screeched to a halt.
What was that?
I couldn't fathom that my brain had produced such an evil thought.
Mommy had always been way, way at the top of the list in the "what do you want to be when you grow up" category. What a monster I must be to think such a thing about my precious—albeit screaming—baby!
I flew the few steps to the phone, shifting my daughter up to one shoulder on the way, ready to grab the receiver and dial. I mechanically gave the extension number to the switchboard operator and waited for that precious voice.
As soon as I heard that soft, much-loved voice, a flood of emotion escaped me in one drawn-out word. "M-ah-ah-ah-m!" I sobbed.
Although she never spoke of it, I'm sure that initially, a wave of panic must have washed over her. Losing it was not something I was prone to do and she had been immediately confronted with a very unhappy baby in her ear.
Well, two, actually. 😳
I don't remember all the details of our conversation, but after a minute or so she was able to determine that no one was in need of immediate medical attention. Well, other than the fact that her eldest daughter thought she had gone insane anyway. 😳
She assured me I was not and I began to regain my composure.
My Mom had a totally valid explanation for what I had experienced. I believe to this day that she spoke the truth.
This is the part of the conversation that lodged itself in my mind and heart.
She said that old devil (She always called him that. 😏 "That old devil." I think it makes him seem much less intimidating, doesn't it? She never wanted her words to alarm anyone. Mom was pretty special. 😊) uses the stressful, upsetting times in our lives to throw some crazy, crazy thoughts into our brain. He attacks when he has the most chance of causing us to fall.
A voice of reason
Just a few calming moments with my Mom and I knew without a doubt that the wicked, evil thought had not been my own. I loved my tiny daughter with every fiber of my being. There is no way I could ever consider harming her.
What else could it have been but an attack!
A fiery dart sent by the evil one. You've been hit with them too. Random, sometimes crazy thoughts seemingly out of nowhere that can pertain to anything.
The self-derogatory thoughts alone can be crippling. Add to those a huge spectrum of others. Confused thoughts. Depressing thoughts. Overwhelming responsibility. Panic attacks. A mad desire for something we know is not in our best interest that just keeps popping into our head until we succumb. Maybe a thought to spur angry or envious thoughts toward someone. Or something very dark intending to instigate harm either to ourselves or others.
The flaming darts strike silently.
Seek and destroy.
Had I been a tiny bit more stressed or maybe had just a bit less sleep and reacted spontaneously to that vile, vicious thought...
I shudder thinking of it even now.
I would have been destroyed. I would've tortured myself with the "how could I have" question until the day I died.
Or at least until it drove me insane.
I was 20 years old, but still a tiny baby in my spiritual growth. I believed in God and the salvation Jesus provided with all my heart but had not yet grasped the fact that the Bible is chock-full of information about living our daily lives in line with God's plan.
I had missed that aspect of Christianity even though I was in church nearly every Sunday until I was 19!
That's a story for another day.
In retrospect, my shield of faith was not very adequate. 😐
I believe God sent me straight to the one whose shield was large enough to encompass the two of us and I thank Him for it to this day.
He seeks to destroy
You see, children are my thing.
I believe caring for and nurturing them is part of who God made me to be.
I always wanted to be a mother.
When I was small and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was, "A mommy."
I operated a home childcare business for over thirty years.
I know it's important to plant the seeds of God's great love for us in a child's heart. The truth that Jesus came to prove to the world that God is real and when we believe that with all our hearts we will live in heaven with them one day.
Those seeds can grow to fruition at any point in that child's life. If the opportunity presents itself, I share the information.
It just seems natural for me to share the gospel in simple terms with them.
The point I am slowly making my way toward is this:
Satan knew just where to hit me hardest; the thing that would do the most harm to my soul.
That's why the thought came so hard.
Maybe loud would be a better description, but to me, it seemed hard and fast.
As if a quiver of darts had been emptied simultaneously, each burning with the same, horrid suggestion.
If he or his minions—I assume he has the demons doing his dirty work because try as he might, he will never be God and is not omnipresent—had met their mark that day, had I been destroyed, then not one of the things that I have done working to help God further His kingdom would have happened.
The little ripple in the big picture that is my life wouldn't have existed.
Just as when George got to see what it would have been like were he never born in It's a Wonderful Life, things would be different.
It is so for all of us, believer or non.
Every time a dart hits its mark in the mind and it turns to action or plants a seed of discontent within, things become different than what God would have them be.
For a non-believer, I am sad to inform you, you are losing the battle for your very soul.
Please talk to God. Accept His offer of salvation through Jesus! Win your ultimate battle over spiritual warfare.
We need to study the Bible too. It's the only way to learn what the Word of God says for yourself.
Then, we must cover ourselves in the faith that what it says is true.
The devil is a very good liar. He invented them.
John, a disciple of Jesus, said, "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." When we remain vigilant and in tune with God, the lies become easier and easier to distinguish. We gain the ability to flick those darts out of our minds as easily as we flick a pesky bug from our arm.
After a while, we are no longer such worthy targets. Remain on guard, though, for the enemy is always prowling about, hoping to ambush us if possible.
Hold high your shield of faith!
The battle is already won
Satan must have known the jig was up and he would never, ever catch me off guard where my children are concerned because nothing like that has ever happened again.
Oh, there have been many fiery darts aimed in my direction—like every day, right? I've made some bad choices along the way.
Until I really committed to living my life for God to the best of my ability no matter what, I was like a ship being tossed about on the waves with no capacity to steer.
I know I still fall prey. But most of the time, I'm quick to realize it. I don't hesitate to acknowledge that I've been wrong because that's what you do to make things right.
Thank you, God, for your unconditional love!
He loves you, too.
No matter what has happened in your life, no matter what choices you've made, He is waiting and hoping you will choose to believe. Refuse to believe any other thought that flits into your mind.
Believing in things we can not see.
It only gets better from there!
I'm praying for you... it's a blanket " God, I don't know their names, but I am lifting them up" kind of prayer, but you are included!
Pray for me, too, will you? 😏
See you next time.
Oh, hey! I have a P.S. I know demons shooting evil and darkness into our brains is a daunting thought. Especially, if you're learning these things for the first time!
We are not alone in this battle of spiritual warfare!
God's angels are always at the ready! Their swords raised to do battle for love and light.
And believers have God's Holy Spirit living in our hearts. So when your "conscience" tells you to hold up on this or that... do it! If you ask God if He had something to do with that thought whether angelic or through His Holy Spirit, I believe He'll let you know the answer is yes!
*shield of faith image courtesy http://dailytimewithgod.com/?p=71