|Longing to live in fullness, dealing with the reality of being a broken person in a broken world with opposition on all sides, but also having light in the eyes with the knowledge of Christ in me, hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)|
It was actually more than a year but I'm rounding down :)
A year prior, it was the beginning of a series of events that
On this particular day, I also had chicken boiling on the stove for chicken pot pie. I turned the oven on to 325 (without lighting the pilot light) to preheat while my homeschool student and I mixed up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. About 10 minutes later, with chicken boiling on the top burner, and an oven full of gas, I unknowingly welcomed an explosion when I opened the oven door to put the cookies in. I was not hurt, no cinged hair, no burns and my son was standing behind me and was not hurt either, but I was tramatized.
My neighbors/friends were just a phone call away (thankful my cell phone worked at that moment) and rushed over to help me figure out what happened, make sure the gas was turned off, etc. What I did not realize was how much that instant would rock me for the next year. Simply put, every time I heard the hiss of the gas, my heart would race, I would break into a sweat and feel the poof of heat on my cheeks. And I could neither light the stove top or the oven. Couldn't or wouldn't - either way, I didn't. For a year.
My husband graciously and patiently lit the stove top and the oven every single time I was going to make something. And if he was not home, I wouldn't use either of them - for a year. It took me about 6 months to be able to light the stove top burners, but the oven lighting eluded me. I limped along in life and used all sorts of things as a crutch - sandwiches, cold pasta salad (noodles cooked when Jon was home), fruit for lunch, etc. If we had people over, he helped me preserve my dignity by not calling to attention the fact that I was not able to perform this simple function and would quietly slip into the kitchen and light the oven.
The fear was real yall. The anxiety was suffocating. The devil whispered some shame into my thinking. What an embarrassment. "And you've been here on the island how long?"
BUT, a year later, after a lot of other things (different but the same) had happened, one day I had victory. I said to myself, "Self, this is STUPID. RIDICULOUS! The Lord does not want you to live like this - caged and ashamed over a stinking oven." And I bent down with the oven door open, struck the match and lit the pilot light.
Spiritual battles are real. It says so in Ephesians. (Ephesians 6:12)
Shortly after the oven explosion, I knew I was in a spiritual battle and vowed to claim the victory. Everyday I armored up, and yet little by little the elephant on my chest got heavier and heavier. How could this be IF I was keeping in the word, using offensive and defensive weapons of the word, etc. Did the heavier and heavier elephant shutting me down by cutting off blood flow one limb at a time equal disobedience on my part? Had I willingly flown back into the cage of fear after having been freed from it years earlier?
I think that we have to recognize that in our pursuit of the Lord and sharing Him with others that there is a very real and cunning opponent (1 Peter 5:8) with his band of demons that are powerful but not victorious (Genesis 3:15). Ruthless and sly, willing to use all kinds of tactics to cut us off from our power source. But even Satan had to get permission from God to mess with Job (Job 1, 2). Yes, God is sovereign. (Psalm 73:28)
In my non-oven lighting year, I faced spiritual attacks from multiple angles and sometimes parts of me shut down temporarily. I was also in constant communion with God during this time because I couldn't handle much of what was going on by myself. I prayed fervently. Many sleepless nights turned into prayer sessions. Sometimes at night I felt like things were in my room. It was intense, but the Lord was with me and those pieces of me that died during that year - some of them stayed dead because they needed to - and some of them were restored and given new life after a time. The Lord brought some relief, and the elephant found something else to stand on.
So, friend, is there an oven that needs to be lit in your life? An obstacle that needs to be overcome? A crutch that needs to be ditched for fullness of life?