The story of this battle


Jesus took me on an amazing journey in the past 2 weeks. After struggling, struggling, struggling with depression for months, trying this medication and that, I was suddenly plunged into the depths of the dark pit of my own past sins and Satan's wrenching grip. God felt so far away, like a satellite makes it's slow orbit around the earth - He, making His silent orbit around me a million miles away, just checking in those darkest hours of the night. Faith fit me like a clumsy second-hand coat and I couldn't find my battle armor. Faith is lost, and is carried away out of their mouth (Jeremiah 7:28b).


I hurt myself, people who care deeply about me, loving and respecting and believing, sometimes, I think, in the "writer Genevieve", not the real and battle-worn Genevieve standing before them. The cost of believing in little snippets of joy is that sometimes the darkest sorrows spin underneath beyond the glimpse of anyone but yourself. I should have reached out for help much sooner. I never want to forget that. My past sins seemed to surround me, drowning out hope. You summoned as if to a festival day my terrors on every side (Lamentations 2:22 exc.).


And so, dying on the vine, hope squashed and faith seeming nothing but mirage, I asked God for heaven instead of this bleak earth. Those people I hurt - they were crushed this time. I broke the trust of my caregivers at the hospital where they tried to titrate medications to bring me out of the fog of disillusionment and grief. As I saw what I had done - laid waste to every dream I've ever had, forever scarred those I love best, traded ashes again for beauty - I never wanted to do that again.


A dear pastor came and spoke Truth into my weary head, and I began to sense myself re-entering the war for my body. My soul claimed long ago by the blood of the Cross, Satan was there to steal my body and my story so that I could never touch another person with the power of my life redeemed. My pastor pleaded with me, Beloved, I urge you as sojourner and exile to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (I Peter 2:12)

But warfare is infinitely more difficult than giving in to Satan. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philipians 2:12-13)

I slipped again, and the pain was new for all surrounding me. In a solitary room, four green walls and a bed bolted to the floor with slots for restraints, without Bible or friend to comfort, just two red-eyed video cameras analyzing my every move, I praised God for His foresight as I had memorized Psalm 73:26 the night prior: My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.


I leaned on Deuteronomy 30:19-20a: I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days. However mindless and mind-numbing those days in the solitary room were, me pacing around the bed, stretching, doing push-ups, even singing at the top of my lungs in the corner ampitheater squeezed tight into what felt like a more private space - God was at work.


The day I chose life, when death was just another slice away, I sensed God knew my limitations, for He has promised that He is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (I Corinthians 10:13)

He stepped in to lift me up and fight for me. I felt like we were still flying low, but I could feel the wind in my hair, feel the flutter of the eagle's wing feathers as we floated above the battle and looked down at the vast sea of sorrow I had thought was so large. Now so little from the vantage point on His back. Yes, He seemed far away, as though He were the satellite in meaningless orbit just glinting in on the darkness of my days, as it says in Isaiah 45, In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you.

But hope was not far off on a distant shore over an uncrossable ocean of tears.
 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. “O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD. (Isaiah 54:10-17)

Torment fled from my nightmares, and terror from my flashbacks during the day. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22) I began to rest well again, enjoy my days, and smile. God gave me this verse on one of my last days in the hospital, as I prepared to move my new-found confidence back out into real life and beyond the cloistered walls of a monitored unit of the hospital. Restore our fortunes, O Lord...Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:4-6) Shouting for joy still sounds like a pipe dream but I do trust this God who once again showed up in my life in amazing ways.

It is well with my soul,
Thou has taught me to say...

To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” (Psalm 30:9-12)

Excerpted from my gratitude journal, the weeks in the hospital, #312-541:
312. There is nothing in my room sharp enough to cut through skin
313. God only turns His face for a short time (Isaiah 54:8)
315. I am learning to ask for help.
317. I learned more about spiritual warfare now more than ever before
319. Being surrounded by the shields of faith of friends and family so fiery darts can't reach me.
322. What profit is there in my death? (Ps. 30:9-12)
324. A big bad biker dude borrowing my pink Bible to search for God
330. Scripture always ready on my tongue, even when I am a victim of the battle (thanks, Mama and God).
332. The gorgeous strawberry blond crowning the tired and lonely head of a teenager
335. The great, great God who stilled this anxious heart and fought for my life, sending terror far from me.
411. Souls won for Christ while I offer His words to them with my bleeding hands, spoon it into their chalk dry mouths and thirsty souls
537. Holding Mama's hand during my discharge planning meeting
538. Grandparents willing - nay, happy! - to help with my brood
539. Kristy always ready with a hand to hold and a prayer on her lips for me
540. The sweetest sentences I've ever read, from my Dad-in-law and Nate York
542. Sweet Sara picking me up with belly laughs and delight