Eowyn: Leave me alone, snake!
Wormtongue: Oh, but you are alone. Who knows what you have spoken to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all your life seems to shrink, the walls of your bower closing in about you, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in.
Eowyn: Your words are poison!
- from the film The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers
I will never forget the day our first daughter was born. I was so excited for this little one! And yet her life seemed opposed from the moment she was born. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and she was in distress. In their attempt to keep me from freaking out, the doctors calmly gave me instructions so that they could rescue our baby. Ashley arrived safe and sound and then for the next two weeks she cried … we thought she had colic. I was utterly exhausted, nursing her almost around the clock. When I took her in for her first newborn checkup, they took one look at her and immediately sent us to the hospital. She was starving. The lactation consultant determined her tongue was curling up when she nursed, which prevented her from getting enough nourishment. I was stunned. Somehow I felt at fault, the poisonous words came that something was wrong with me. And I was too exhausted to fully take it all in.
I didn’t know what postpartum depression was. I couldn’t name what was going on inside me, but there was such darkness. I remember sitting at the kitchen table in our tiny apartment while Ashley slept, forcing myself to eat something, knowing she needed me to. I remember thinking “I can’t see ANY light at the end of this tunnel.” I sat in darkness all day every day … the blinds shut tight. I cried with my precious baby girl for those weeks.
I’m not suggesting depression, umbilical cords and nursing challenges were warfare. They very well could have been. The enemy of our hearts is so very opportunistic (Luke 4:13) and yet they couldn’t have known the wonder and the brilliance that was to be Ashley Thompson Albertson.
Darkness was opportunistic in the whispers to me “in the bitter watches of the night” (like Wormtongue hissed to Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings). Their words were intentional and specifically targeted to me.
I remember the whisper, “What kind of mother allows her most precious, helpless baby to starve and suffer?” (tears stream down my face as I remember). The accusations came swiftly.
“You are not fit to be a mother!”
“You can’t even do this … the one thing you have longed to do your whole life.”
“You are alone. You are solely responsible for her life and care and well being.”
I just listened to a podcast by Adam Young (I highly recommend his series on Warfare) https://adamyoungcounseling.com/podcast/ and in it he said,
“The purpose of bringing accusations against me, is so that I might labor under the weight of shame. Evil’s accusations aim to shame me by accusing me of something unlovely about myself – some weakness, frailty, failure, sin. The accusation will almost always have a kind of fittedness to my story.
The scheme of evil against your heart has been strategic and consistent and intentional over the course of your life. How do the accusations that level you today have a kind of fittedness to your story? When did the accusations that come at you first appear and take root?”
“What accusations do you routinely hear as you are going about your day? You’re a bad mom. You’re not working hard enough. You’re too emotional. You’re too much. You’re just too sensitive.
The core accusations that plague you in your day to day life have their origins in the heartache of some of the core stories of wounding in your life.”
I made all kinds of agreements with the enemy in those dark moments when I was most vulnerable.
“I cannot do this.”
“I am a terrible mother.”
“I am utterly and completely overwhelmed. This is too much.
26 years ago when Ashley was born, I had zero context for warfare, for the enemy and for their explicit goal, which is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) any and every opportunity I have to experience something of the goodness of God.
Evil seeks to steal the goodness of our relationships, to kill the desires of our hearts, and to destroy the beauty of your face – the unique way that you represent the goodness and the glory of God.
How often we say as moms, “I wish I had known then, what I know now.”
Ashley is now 26. Her sisters are 24 and 21. Do you know where I find myself in this season? Actually, with the same taunts and whispers of the enemy, only they are age appropriate.
My daughters need me in different ways now. My desire is to be present … to be a safe place where they can process and share in a space where they feel seen and heard. I want to be a safe harbor for them. To provide rest and … nourishment … now, just like when they were young. AND STILL … the familiar feeling in my gut, the sentence pronounced over me is that I have nothing to offer them. Nothing of substance. That I will leave them starving. Unable to provide what they need, yet again. It feels so, so familiar.
How the enemy gets a two for one in these relational moments between two hearts is instead of actually being present (the very thing I so want to be!), I am thinking about what I need to say, “Is that going to be helpful? Is it enough? Do I sound crazy?”
In these moments of accusation, I am actually being invited by Jesus to pay attention. To ask, “what is this?” And explore with God, “what is this bumping up against in my story?”
Warfare is an invitation to intimacy.
There is a reason why the enemy comes at you and me the way they do … they believe it is their best chance at taking you out, having you living under a lie, keeping you from trusting in the goodness and the kindness of our God, and keeping you from stepping into your anointed place in the Kingdom!
Sisters, we have been given power and authority over the enemy by Jesus himself. Learning how to wield this authority will take time, just as learning how to be a mom has taken time—a lifetime. This is what I am excited to share and excited to continue to advance in my ability to guard my heart (Proverbs 4:23) and care for my heart as well as the hearts of others. God has a special place in his heart for his women … his beloved daughters.
I look forward to exploring and sharing more with those of you who want to take this journey with me!