Do you remember the post I wrote titled “My Demon” from September 21, 2012? I was just over a month into my new respect journey when this revelation kicked me in the gut. (If you’ve joined since then and never caught it, it’ll help to understand this post by reading that one first.)
In fact, that one post was shared on numerous sites (including Peacefulwife – which is when a lot of you who read April’s blog started following this one too!) I answered a whole lot of emails and comments on this topic because it rang true for just so many of us women. And it was very evident at the time, I was just “one of you.” The post wasn’t written by a scholar in the least. My real, honest emotions and thoughts are what made it relatable to others. And the revelation and wisdom came straight from God – because I’d lived 10 years of marriage at that point (and 29 years of life) running wild with the thoughts and emotions that presented themselves at any given time. And never knew any different.
April sent me an email and asked me what I thought about writing a follow up to “My Demon” – 18 months later.
Here is a sentence from her email:
“I think it would be neat to hear how you hear the demon’s voice now, how often, the intensity, what you do, and how much stronger God’s voice is now and the kinds of things you focus on and think about now.”
I pretty much immediately told her, “I’ll think about it” while in my mind saying – “No way!” April’s blog is amazing. It’s eye-opening, full of brilliant wisdom, insightful, helpful, and pointing out deeply painful but necessary truths to helping women change and save their marriages from a lifetime of misery! But even more than that — it’s hopeful. Even the things that are hard to read, are hopeful. Change can happen, my marriage can be better, I can be a better wife, he can open up and lead as these changes take place — there is HOPE for something new!
And the truth? I don’t think a follow up to “My Demon” is going to offer the hope April normally posts on her blog.
But — maybe, just maybe, there are women out there who are just like me. And this post might be for you! So, I’ll answer these questions.
(– how you hear the demon’s voice now, how often, the intensity)
I still hear my demon’s voice loud as ever and ALL THE TIME! He’s still a raging maniac full of accusations and specifics that beg to be entertained. He knows me full well, and the areas that I’ve learned to shut down permanently are rarely touched and new areas where he wasn’t attacking before, he’s thrown some boulders at wildly. He’s no joke. The closer I grow to my husband – the more respect I show my husband – the stronger the spiritual battle. The bigger threat we are to him, the more desperate he becomes and the more vicious his behavior.
(– what you do, and how much stronger God’s voice is now and the kinds of things you focus on and think about now.”)
I’m back and forth on what I do. I’m such a sinner. More often than not, I refuse to entertain the begging thoughts and accusations against my husband. But sometimes, I still stumble in my flesh and I dabble in the game. My journey for respect hasn’t magically or quickly removed all my selfishness, expectations, and ability to see all my husbands faults and sins with a magnifying glass. Especially because WE TRULY ARE A BRAND NEW COUPLE, and in ways that I never stumbled before, there are all new ways to tempt me. Now, my husband does things for me he’s never done before and talks to me in a way we’ve never communicated, and if that seems hindered, it’s even harder not to jump to conclusions or freak out a little bit at the thought of that going away.
I hear God’s voice and I have allowed His truths to change so many of my behaviors and patterns, but I can’t say He’s always screaming louder than Satan. I have to intentionally be still and silent to hear God and in the middle of my wrestling — some times I feel so wound up I can’t sit still. Even if that just means pacing the floor in frustration while my husband is at work. It’s still a choice like it was before to go to Him and listen. In my experience, God rarely screams. Satan however is a beast, and he’s deafening at times.
What I focus on and think of now is being intentional AND unrelenting. (I talked about this word in January.) I make an honest attempt at turning my wild thoughts back on myself. Why do I feel this way? Am I giving too much weight to my husband’s short-comings and not nearly enough to his strengths and character? How did I handle this situation? Do I have disrespect to apologize for? Is what I am tempted to say full of things that will be helpful to us, or hurt us?
At the end of the day — this respect journey has changed my life! I want every single woman on the planet to read the books I have, read the blogs I have, and see the world in a different way than it’s being portrayed and pounded into us in every direction.
Life is BETTER with respect. Life is BETTER with God. Life is BETTER fighting the good fight.
But does this journey ever get easier? No. I’m so sorry if that crushes anyone’s hopes. Maybe your experience will be different from mine. Or maybe some of you older and wiser women are out there saying “Oh honey, you just haven’t been doing this as long as we have, you need more time.” And maybe you’re right. But at this point, I doubt it.
I think Scripture paints a pretty clear picture that walking the straight and narrow will be hard. Persecution comes, trials come, heartache comes, and we’re all sinners until we cross over to eternal life.
Is there power in the armor of God? You better believe there is!!! When I intentionally get up in the morning and put on every ounce of protection I can muster on my body and mind – God is faithful to give me strength and courage to PRESS ON in the battle. But He never makes it easier, even though He’s with me. He only makes it change me by refining me IN the fire.
Is God’s way worth it? Absolutely. Is God’s way getting easier? No, it’s not.
But I’d never look back. I’ll keep fighting the good fight and being refined in the fire pressing on toward the prize. No matter how loud Satan is, how often he attacks, with what intensity he beats me down and no matter how many times I stumble and fall.
If you’re out there wondering why you’re not a good enough Christian wife because this hasn’t “gotten easier yet?” – STOP IT! That’s still Satan beating you down.
MY belief? The more Satan attacks, the evidence that you’re walking the straight and narrow because he’s threatened.
In the battle…. try so hard to find that still and quiet place so God can refuel your strength, courage, wisdom and power to keep going and resist Satan’s voice. You can resist… but I doubt he’ll ever shut up.