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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Questions and Answers

Today I celebrate my middle princess~ it’s her fifth birthday!!! She is a light in our home and joy to my heart. My musical laughter. Early in her life I recognized the amazing gift God had given me in this precious bundle of energy—this little one who continues to teach me to laugh and hear the music of God’s heart through her. Her name means “God’s gracious poetic blessing.” And she is. She is. You should hear her laugh; it’s heavenly music to my soul.

Today I also celebrate something else. I celebrate freedom. All three of my girls have taught me how vital freedom is and how it’s worth the fight to experience it. Their hearts are worth fighting for my freedom from the enemy’s lies so that I can show them the path of life, the joy of walking intimately with the Lord. God has been doing an amazing work in my heart, bringing together much I’ve learned in the past to a huge crescendo of freedom. Of healing.

Where to start? I suppose a good place to begin is with a book God is using to revive my heart. The title is Captivating and it’s written by John and Stasi Eldredge.

The book and their ministry, called Ransomed Heart, are both worth checking into. Here’s a quote from their web site introduction:

“Life is a Story. This is true for every soul.

It is a love story, we assure you. But it is set in the midst of a life and death battle. That is why it seems so hard.

The story of your life is the story of the journey of your heart through a dangerous and beautiful world. It is the story of the long and sustained assault on your heart by the enemy who knows who you could be and fears you. But it is also the story of the long and mysterious pursuit of your heart by the God who knows you truly and loves you deeply.

As we live through the pages of this story many questions arise. Who am I…really? Where will I find life…really? And, What is it God wants from me? We know those questions well, for we have lived them ourselves. And we offer here something of the beautiful answers we have found.”

Please take some time to check out their site. It’s so worth the read.

I second their comment about knowing those questions well. Who am I? Why am I here? Do I make a difference? And as a woman, am I beautiful? Do you see me? Do I matter?

I, like Job, don’t get the whys of pain and suffering and I cry out to God for answers. I’ve also read the last few chapters of Job. Sometimes I wonder if putting my hand over my mouth is a better choice than demanding answers. ;-) God is God. He measured the depth of the sea and He knows the number of hairs on my head. Maybe I should just let Him run the universe and learn to trust He knows what’s best.

But the questions won’t go away, won’t be silenced. As I’m still on my desert journey, having all I’ve depended on stripped away, I’m starting to see how much I’ve taken those questions to the wrong people. And the mess I’ve made of things by doing that. I’ve looked to my parents and then to my husband to answer my deepest questions: Do you see me? Am I beautiful? Do I matter?

In their wounding, their grasping for someone to answer their questions, they’ve each answered my questions with a painful, “No.”

In Captivating, Stasi Eldredge addresses the issue that this validation, the answer to our questions, the “yes” that we long for, is the driving force of our lives. All too often we go to the wrong places for our answers, demanding human beings to answer the questions only God is qualified to answer.

Through this book, God has again extended His hand to me amid the crashing waves of my life and invited me to, “Come.”

Ask my questions.

Listen to His answer.

His hand is extended to you too. Look up, away from the waves.


Here’s a taste of what I’m learning, what God has brought together for me today. It’s a simple truth that packs so much power. Here goes…

The path to healing has three interwoven parts: body, soul, and spirit. All three need to be addressed if we’re to experience the abundant life God has set us free to experience.

The aspect of body can be addressed in many ways. In simple terms, it means taking care of yourself. I talk about this in depth in the post The Place of Grace.

Eldredge adds another point to taking care of our bodies in the process of healing. That of medication. I know a lot of people shut down and get defensive about this topic. I’m not going to step into that battle here. But I do ask that as you keep reading, pray. If medication is not a way God is using to help you, be aware it is a way He is helping many. Yes, it can be abused. But it can also be used responsibly. For example, I’m diabetic. If I don’t take insulin, I die. No one questions my use of medicine to help my body do something it stopped doing on its own. I think we can give the same grace to people whose bodies don’t produce or balance certain chemicals well.

But this isn’t the only aspect to the path of healing. All three are necessary.

The next aspect is our soul. The focus here is our heart, getting with God and addressing the wounds and lies we’ve allowed to define us. It can include a godly counselor, as in my husband’s case. He is seeing a godly man who’s trained in sexual addiction who can help him walk through all that his healing entails. For our marriage this aspect was so lovingly spoken to through the Marriage Intensive we attended in March. There we learned some amazing tools to help us walk further down the path of healing: how to recognize our fears and how to take responsibility for dealing with our hearts by talking to God and asking Him what the truth is. My blog posts titled The Fear Factor and Borrowed Hope go in depth on these and more of things we learned.

This aspect of healing is also where we learn to take our questions to God. Ask Him what He says about you. According to His word, He has answered your deepest questions with a resounding, “YES!” He is the God who sees you (Genesis 16:13), listens to you, knows you best, and loves you most. He has called you by name (Isaiah 43:1), created you with specific gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7), and called you His beloved child. You do matter, you are beautiful, and you were created for a good purpose.

Spend some time here. God has so much good to say to you and about you.

The third aspect is our spirit. This is where spiritual warfare is addressed. There are some wonderful books that have helped me understand the what, why, and how of the fight of faith we are called to in Scripture. They are: Waking the Dead by John Eldredge, Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore, and Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.

Here are some specific Scriptures worth studying as you look into this dimension of healing:

1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Ephesians 4:27 “and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Luke 10:18-19 are Jesus’ words concerning the disciples he sent out, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

“That whole Ephesians passage about putting on the armor of God… He meant it. We would need it.” Stasi Eldredge.

We do. More than we sometimes realize.

In Waking the Dead, Eldredge speaks of how the stories of our lives are part of a much larger Story, an epic battle, an adventure of mythic proportions. Some days I believe that and experience the thrill of discovery by walking with God and seeing His amazing work in my life. On other days I let laundry, bills, and family problems weigh me down so that the only adventure I face is how soon can I crawl into bed and be done with the day.

There are three eternal truths Eldredge outlines that, when I consider them, help me remember the adventure I was created for and cause my heart to beat with hope. They answer a lot of life’s whys.

Eternal Truth Number One: Things are not what they seem.

I wonder if Job ever knew the battle in the heavenly realm that just looked like pain and random destruction to him on earth. In the same way, I often wonder if I’ll ever grasp that God can and does work all things together for good. I struggle with that when the road is rough and I see no way out of the pain today holds. It helps to remember that what I can’t see is more real than what I see with earthly eyes.

Eternal Truth Number Two: This is a world at war.

Not only do physical wars rage on all over this globe, but there is also a daily battle in the unseen realm that affects every believer, every day. Like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings said, “Open war is upon you whether you’d risk it or not.” The choice is not whether we will engage in this war, but if we will fight the right battle.

Eternal Truth Number Three: You have a crucial role to play.

God created you with a unique blend of personality, gifts, talents, and experiences. What He can do through you is specific to you. (Ephesians 2:10)You are an important person in God’s great Story.

Ephesians six adds some important information on how we play out our crucial role: in the armor God supplies, with His strength, because the battle has already been won. We must stand firm and apply it.

Where Waking the Dead compelled my heart to see beyond the reality of my five senses, Praying God’s Word gave me the tools to fight this unseen battle. Beth Moore takes an honest and enlightening look at our two offensive weapons: The Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, and prayer. She teaches how to wield them effectively in the destruction of strongholds. In each chapter she covers a specific stronghold, from pride and the insecurity of feeling unloved, to food-related strongholds and depression. This is a book I use over and over because the scripture prayers in each section are the Word of God laid out in a way I can use them to stand firm in the truth.

There are numerous books that speak to this issue of spiritual warfare and offer prayer examples. Neil Anderson’s books The Bondage Breaker and A Way of Escape, as well as Stormie Omartian’s Praying Parent are some that have been very helpful to me.

The last book I mentioned in the list of wonderful books God has used to teach me about spiritual warfare was Captivating. This book has helped me go deeper in my understanding of how I enter this battle as a woman.

I’d like to offer a few quotes from Captivating that have inspired me today as I shared them with my girls and as I’ve seen God work through them in my own walk with Him.

In regards to standing against the enemy and commanding an evil spirit to leave: “This can feel a little weird at first, talking to the air and saying stuff like, ‘I bring the cross of Christ against you. In Jesus’ name I command you to leave.’ Sometimes you have to be firm and pray several times. As Peter said, ‘firm in the faith.’ But leave it does.”

“Often the hardest person to fight for is… yourself. But you must. Your heart is needed. You must be present and engaged in order to love well and fight on behalf of others. It is time to take a stand and to stand firm. We are at war. You are needed.”

“We need to grow in our understanding and practice of spiritual warfare not only because we are being attacked but because it is one of the primary ways that we grow in Christ.” I would add, that we not only grow in our faith, but also in our understanding of how big and powerful our God really is.

“Women warriors are strong, yes, and they are also tender. In fact, offering a tender vulnerability can only be done by an incredibly strong woman, a woman rooted in Christ Jesus who knows whose she is and therefore knows who she is. Offering our hearts wisely, living in the freedom of God’s love, inviting other to rest, alluring those in our lives to the heart of God, and responding to the heart of God in worship are some of the most powerful ways that a woman wars for her world. But she also puts on the full armor of God daily and takes her immovable stand against the powers of darkness.”

“Your life is a Love Story set in the midst of a life-and-death battle. The beauty, the adventure, the intimacy—they are what are most real. But it is a battle to gain them and a battle to keep them. A battle for your own heart and a battle for the hearts around you. ‘The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is his name’ (Ex 15:3). Jesus fights on your behalf and on behalf of those you love. He asks you to join him.”

In seeing spiritual warfare as a dimension of healing, I’ve seen the Lord take me even further on this journey to healing. It’s amazing. I’m enjoying a taste of freedom today. I believe God has created me for a good purpose. He loves me. And He says I am His and I am beautiful. I fight as His dearly beloved child the battle He has won, called me into, and fights for and with me.

This is abundant life.

A life worth celebrating.

Even more than I celebrate five wonderful years with a child who is a joy to my heart, God celebrates you.


Ask Him your questions. Let Him lead you in the path of healing. And listen to His answers.

It’s worth the fight.

Remember… In Christ you’ve already won.


HeyJules said...

You stay strong, Amy and take whatever medication you need to to win back your life! For those of us who have wrestled with deep emotional issues, medication can become the life vest that keeps us up while we swim to shore. Thanks, too, for some new book recommendations. I'm always on the hunt for a good read.

Amy Wallace said...

Thank you!

I have friends on both sides of the medication debate and it bothers me that this causes division. You painted a wonderful word picture of how medication can truly help. No one questions my insulin use because I'm diabetic. I hope we as a Body of Christ will come to the place where we give the same acceptance with other medications so that believers can find the help they need to heal without shame~ medication or not.

I pray the Lord uses the book recommendations to draw you closer to Him. I'm so glad you're still peek-a-booing here with me. ;-)


HeyJules said...

Have to give credit where it is due. I, too, was on medication for awhile and I fought and fought having to go on it. My big thing was - if I'm having an emotional crisis, how will a physical type pill help me? My therapist agreed with my thinking but said the thing about the life vest. Whatever gets you over to the other side - just do it.

Looking back now, I know my doctor and therapist were right. I'm glad I had the faith to listen to two men who knew what I was dealing with far better than I did.

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