“Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world. Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.”
1 Peter 5:8-10 HCSB
Father thank You for today, another day by Your grace and mercy, for which I am and will forever be eternally grateful.
Father thank You for always showing me that my struggles are not unique only to me, others throughout the world are experiencing similar, same, and far worse pain and suffering than my own.
Father I want to thank You for Your constant and faithful reassurance, for the loving touch that guides and guards me, for the gentle reminders to take in the sights and sounds of your creations.
Thank You for reminding me that I can never let my guards down for the enemy never sleeps or takes vacations. I pray for added strength and courage as I journey through areas and instances where fear, doubt, and unsurety could easily paralyze and derail me. You bring me comfort Father. I give You all of the glory. In Jesus’ name I praise You. Amen.
There is never a time when the enemy is not lying in wait to pounce on you.
My dad used to tell me as a child that “the closer you get to God, the more that mortal mind attacks“. Mortal mind in Christian Science is what other Christians simply call “the enemy”. That closeness my dad spoke of comes in many ways, through studying His Word, through daily talks and prayers with God, through service of others in the church and in the community, and so many other ways.
As a child I grew up seeing my maternal and paternal grandmothers and my paternal great-grandmother play active roles in their respective churches. My paternal grandmother and great-grandmother also had leadership roles within their churches. I grew up seeing my father and his eldest sister actively engaged in church, in leadership roles. I was drawn to the church, to God’s Word, to living by, with, and through the grace of God. As a child I studied my Bible and other Christian writings.
My dad revealed to me that as he took on greater roles within the church that “mortal mind” attacked him more, in all areas of his life. The more that my dad gave of himself to the church the more that he was spiritually attacked. Dad eventually pivoted from his leadership role in the church and turned more inward to his studies of the Word.
I grew up watching the burden of trying to balance life and counter the attacks of the enemy, and I found myself pulling away from the church and from my studies. By the time I was an adult I basically only went to church to have those moments with my paternal grandmother. I had forgotten so much. I couldn’t recall scripture, parables, and teachings. It was as though huge chunks of my spiritual memory were gone.
I never turned away from God, I was just disheartened by “church folk” in various denominations. I found myself embracing a walk of spirituality over religion. I applied the principles I had learned in the World Religions classes I had taken in undergrad. Having an appreciation of different religions helped me to see through their lens the side of the mountain that they climbed to reach the same God that I pray to, even if they called Him by a different name. But I had lost a special connection that I once had with God. I also found myself limiting Jesus’ role in this world and in God’s Kingdom. I questioned the validity and soundness of this position that Christians took on Jesus, and the fact that none of the Christian churches shared the same beliefs in all ways.
I felt it best to take nuggets from Christianity and nuggets from the other notable world religions, and live my life according to shared and complementary principles.
That’s not to say that my life was harmonious even that way. There was chaos and strife in my life. I would confuse God’s voice for the other voices that would lead me astray. I found myself tuning more into the voice of the enemy, unknowingly. Those words of doubt, fear, second-guessing, jealousy, resentment, and hurt would overshadow God’s voice. It left me feeling dark inside. There was a void and I couldn’t figure it out. The only time I felt a sense of peace was at church with my paternal grandmother, but I never felt empowered enough to recommit to my Christian studies.
Then when I moved to Georgia in 2007 I was faced with the reality that I no longer had that shield that my grandmother provided. By 2008 I knew clearly that I needed to come back “into the fold” so-to-speak because I was not adequately prepared for the attacks coming my way. That is when I turned to a non-denominational church as a pathway. For me, I needed a neutral ground, a perspective that didn’t seem to the extreme in either direction. It was what I later found out, to be a “New Testament Church” that occasionally referenced passages from the Old Testament. I was okay with that. I was being re-engaged in an environment that was “come as you are” and seemingly less judgmental than many other houses of faith that I had experienced. I could attend church in jeans and it was refreshing, especially after 30 years of a more conservative approach to churchgoing and fellowship. I could study God’s Word without being concerned with what His children said and thought about me.
Thanks to the daily text messages that my friend Kenya Ware forwarded to me (from a third-party source that was unknown by me) and the exposure of the non-denominational church, I began to open my eyes, ears, and heart more. I finally learned how to pray, my way, with an increasing comfort that brought nostalgic memories of my childhood. I would forward Kenya’s text messages and elaborate on them injecting my prayers and reflections. When my text messages became too lengthy I then evolved to emails. I had a growing number of people requesting that they be added to my email list. When I struggled with managing the email list another friend suggested that I transition to a blog.
In 2009, Breaking Bread With Natasha was birthed.
Every step along this spiritual journey the enemy, “mortal mind” has attacked me in every aspect of my life: spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. It has attacked my relationships, my career, and so much more. There were times when I was physically and mentally exhausted; beaten down and worn out. I’ve taken breaks from Breaking Bread. You don’t know how many times I almost called it quits. Then through someone or something, or both, God would get the right frequency tuned in to tell me just what I needed to hear to realize that I cannot stop. He has been guiding me to this since childhood and no matter how much I want to resist, no matter how fearful I am of the attacks, God has called me to study, learn, and share in every way that He sees fit. I never thought that I would still be doing this 10 years later. So I can’t say what God has planned for me in 10 months or in another 10 years. I’m just trying to commit to staying tuned in to Him and being obedient.
Since 2008 many of you have been walking on this journey with me, seeing glimpses of my struggles. These prayers and reflections that I share are not crafted blindly or generically. They are pouring out of me and I am merely typing them and sharing them with you.
I know that each step that I take irritates the enemy. That is just reinforcement for me to dig deep and stretch my arms out even more to God.
I need God to do this. I need Jesus to do this.
There is the saying that “misery loves company” and with that one must always remember that the enemy is miserable when you’re walking around filled with joy and praising God for your blessings. You are the most despised of God’s creations in the eyes of the enemy.
You do little to nothing to receive God’s grace and mercy, and the enemy sees you as spoiled and undeserving—so it attacks you in all ways and in every direction (that God allows) to tear away at you, to get you to turn away from God, to prove to God that you are exactly as the enemy sees you. The enemy does not sleep, it does not take vacations or sabbaticals, it’s not off due to sickness, it never tires—it is always working, plotting, waiting for you to expose one area of your life of your mind, of your heart—so that it can attack with a vengeance.
But be comforted in knowing that you are not alone. You are not singled out. Others are attacked as much or far more (and greater) than you. Every day you must begin with a conversation and declaration with God. Throughout your day you must turn to God and praise Him for all answers and opportunities—both big and small. You must end your day with thanks and a conversation with God, knowing that even as you sleep the enemy is at work.
Be comforted in knowing that the enemy’s presence and existence is only made possible by God, so the enemy is not and never will be greater, smarter, more present, or have an advantage over God.
The enemy is a speck, an eye blink, a flick of a switch in God’s domain.
Stand confidently in your understanding that you are rooted in God and God’s roots are deeply embedded in you.
Walk with confidence today my family. I love you all!
Always your sister in Christ,