“Oh, Lord. What was wrong with ME, that I would believe a lie is the truth for 12 long years, and give up everything for it?”
That question, I believe, was a turning point for me, and a defining moment in my life that ultimately led to the ability to heal and move forward with my life.
Walking away from more than a decade of spiritual abuse and utter devastation brought me to a crossroads.
Bitter or better.
Those were my choices.
Had I looked only at what a train wreck my life was, or at all the injustices done to me over my detour into deception, it would have been easy to grow bitter. Had I claimed ownership of the “victim” status and looked at everything wrong in my life, I would have naturally blamed it on the wolf in sheep’s clothing who’d stolen everything from me and left me financially, emotionally and spiritually destitute.
But instead, and only by God’s grace, I was able to ask the hard questions.
What was my part in this tragedy? Where had I gone wrong? What bad choices did I make to result in such dire consequences?
Interesting how faulty our memory becomes over the years. I wonder if we just naturally forget or block out details relating to our own actions and decisions when they’ve turned out to be bad ones.
After I asked the life-changing question, those who were close to me at the beginning of my detour into deception began helping me connect the dots. I had completely blocked from my memory the facts surrounding my decision to rebuff the warnings of others. Instead I plowed ahead, knocking down every red flag waving in my view, and I needed help to remember how it all began.
One friend reminded me that I was clearly warned not to publish the manuscript written by the wolf. The editorial review came back and cautioned me, in no uncertain terms, that publishing this man’s book would promote a message that was destructive and harmful to the body of Christ.
But I did not want to hear that evaluation. This publishing project had a significant price tag because of the quantity of books he’d decided to print, and frankly, there were bills due that needed to be paid and this seemed to me to be the Lord’s provision. So of course, because it was easier to look to this project instead of listen to sound reason from my editors and trust God to provide some other way, I deceived myself and viewed the red flags and warnings as the enemy trying to get in the way of the Lord’s provision and, even more, trying to keep this man’s “challenge to the body of Christ” silent.
Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Bottom line. We were in a financial bind. Instead of trusting God to provide in a way that would not compromise His righteousness and His Holy Word, I grabbed onto the easy solution and pushed this manuscript to publication. I had no idea this author would later become the one used by the enemy to hijack WinePress Publishing. How could I have guessed he would eventually manipulate and control me, using scripture out of context, to divorce my husband and cut off everyone in my family who didn’t agree with his doctrine? Without realizing it, by refusing to trust God for our provision, I opened myself up and put my trust in a false prophet and his wife who ended up leading me into a spiritual wasteland that would practically destroy me.
And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul. (Psalm 106:15)
Faced with the facts, I could only fall on my face in repentance before the Lord. I was not a victim here. My sinful choices opened the door wide to the enemy’s activity in my life and what’s more, the Lord allowed it.
I mentioned in my last blog post about the sermon my husband preached on gratefulness. His main point in the message was that everything God allows in our life seems to fall into 3 categories:
When we, through our own sinful actions, find ourselves in a place in our lives where things are hard, not fair, discouraging, difficult, or devastating, the only way to be grateful in our hearts is to realize that God is correcting us—disciplining us—because we are His children, and He disciplines those He loves. Often times, these corrections, as difficult as they may be to navigate, instruct us so that we might learn the lesson He is teaching us.
Personally, I allowed greed to birth false security in a publishing project, and ultimately a counterfeit shepherd, instead of trusting God for the financial provision I needed. That opened the door to what turned out to be a Job-like experience that nearly took me out.
But because He gave me the courage to look at myself and my own bad choices and sinful decisions, instead of pointing my finger at others, blaming them for my difficult circumstances, I was able to repent and heal and move on and grow. I was able to learn from the discipline He brought into my life. He was able to instruct me in ways that brought life and redemption. And what I once viewed as correction has actually turned into a reward, because He has used even this horrible experience in my life for the good, making it a perfect example of Romans 8:28.
But we all know He wouldn’t have done that if I’d chosen to grow bitter, blaming others or Him for my devastation, and feeling sorry for myself.
What have you done when tempted to blame others for your mistakes?
If you became bitter, how did He help you overcome?