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Sunday June 2, 1996
About 3:30 AM I woke up because of some strange noises outside of the bedroom window. I should explain that the guest bedroom doubles as my prayer closet. When hubby is out of town, I often sleep in the guest bedroom, which is downstairs. Anyhow, the noises sounded like someone trying to break into the house through the guest bedroom window. I decided to get up and open the door so that my large (110 pound German Shepherd) dog could protect me if anyone tried to come in. However, I found that I was totally paralyzed. I could not move. I thought that was really odd. I felt like it was important to get up and open the door and I could not move. Yet, somehow, I was not frightened at all. I decided to ask the Lord about this. "Lord," I prayed, "please show me what is going on. I expected Him to answer me with the still small voice He usually speaks to me with. But instead, someone seemed to be standing next to the right side of my bed and they extended their arm over me pointing at something on my left. All I could see was an arm pointing at something. My eyes followed the arm towards what it was pointing at. I was able to turn my head slightly to look. (Thinking back, I should have been startled at this arm coming out of nowhere just over me and pointing to my left. I think I should have been frightened, wondering who (or what) that arm belonged to. But at the time, those thoughts did not cross my mind.)
When I saw what it was pointing at, I instantly knew it was a demon. You know how the room is dark but not completely black when you wake up at night. Things are sort of grayish and you can make out a lot of details in the room. There was this black cloud-like thing hovering about 2 feet from the edge of my bed, just about at eye level. It was shaped sort like a two-ball snowman and was very dark. I don't know how I knew this, but I knew it was a spirit of fear. As soon as I saw it, I tried to rebuke it and found that my voice did not work at all. (Oddly, I never once felt frightened during this encounter.) But I was truly paralyzed and unable to speak.
[This reminded me of a long time ago before I understood the authority that Jesus has given us. I had started to get interested in demons and a couple of times a spirit of fear had come and brood over me -- totally paralyzing me and terrifying me for hours. Back then I did not know much about how to fight evil spirits and would silently cry out to the Lord for help. It had been a horrible experience and as a result, I'd decided to stay as far away from studying demons as possible. I figured that if I left Satan alone, maybe he'd leave me alone too. Of course, that is bad theology, but at the time I was not very mature and did not know any better.]
The paralysis was just like before, but I knew I had authority over this thing, so I did not really feel frightened at all. I knew I did not have to speak audibly to command a spirit -- they don't even have physical ears. So, I mustered up a very authoritative tone of thought and commanded the spirit, in Jesus' name, to be gone. It did not leave. That really surprised me. I tried it several more times and it seemed to be some sort of standoff -- the spirit could not frighten me but I could not make it leave. I asked the Lord about it and wondered if perhaps I'd jumped the gun by commanding it to leave before God told me to. The Lord told me that this was a bit a stronger spirit than I was used to and I'd have to wrestle with it for a little bit. At one point, I did pray for the Lord to send His angels into the room to help me.
I continued to wrestle with this thing for about 15 minutes. As this occurred, I slowly got the use of my voice and body back. At one point I remembered shaking my finger at the spirit in my mind's eye. Shortly after that, I was able to shake my finger at it for real. I was making a shaking gesture and pointing at the thing, commanding it to leave and telling it that it had no authority to be here. Somehow, I misjudged distance between that thing and myself and I accidentally stuck my finger right into it. It was a very yucky sensation, as if I'd just stuck my finger into a pile of doggie poop. I pulled my finger back, thinking "Yuck!" Then I had full use of my physical facilities.
As odd as this sounded, I knew that it would be some sort of milestone for me to get up out of the bed and open the door. I sat up and then I stood up. I started to walk to the door. It felt like I was wading through quicksand; my moves were still sluggish. But I was able to put my hand on the door knob, turn it, and open the door. Then I went into the hallway and to the bathroom, where I washed my hand. There was nothing physically on it, but my finger "felt" slimy and dirty after accidentally poking into that thing.
I went back into my prayer room and laid back down. I expected the spirit to be gone now and was really surprised to find it was still there. It did not seem to have any power over me at all -- I was no longer paralyzed and I had full use of my voice and I did not feel at all frightened. But I did feel annoyed and wondered what was wrong with me that I could not get the final victory by forcing this thing to leave the room. After all, Jesus has given us total authority over all the power of the enemy, so why couldn't I command this thing out of the room? I stopped to ask the Lord about this and ended up praying for a while.
As I prayed, I sort of forgot about that thing's presence. And I was getting very tired and sleepy. Besides that, the Lord's peace seemed to be on me despite the presence of the enemy. So I had this really odd idea. I turned to the demon and said, "You have no authority here. You can't control me and you can't scare me. I don't know why you haven't left, but I'm not going to bother with you any more. I've asked the Lord to send His angels to come deal with you. I'm going to sleep now." Then I rolled over and went to sleep. (Looking back, I can't believe I did that! But at the time, it seemed the right thing to do. Besides, I was really tired from having wrestled with that thing.)
I was awaken at 6:30 AM by my dog. He had climbed onto the bed and was standing over me, licking my face. I pushed him away (doggie kisses can be slimy, especially in the face) and sat up. Instantly I remembered what had transpired the night before. I looked at the spot where the demon had been and it was not there. I began to wonder if maybe it had been a dream. But if it were a dream, then how did the door get open to let the dog in?
The CD player was on "repeat" and was still playing. Just then a song came on about the authority He had given us in Jesus. I remembered that I had been worshipping for 40 minutes or so before I fell asleep last night.
"Lord," I said. "It does not seem fair. I was worshipping you. How could you let a demon come to me when I'd been worshipping You?" I reminded Him of that passage in Luke 11 where Dad does not give his kids a scorpion when they ask for an egg. It ends with "how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him." (Luke 11:13)
"Teresa," He answered. "You knew you were right with me and that nothing was separating you from Me. Thus you knew the enemy had no hold over you, which left you well prepared for battle. I wanted to give you some practice wrestling with the enemy so you would be trained/prepared when I need you in battle. What better time let you wrestle than when you are full of My Spirit and in good relation with Me? I did not abandon you to the enemy, I carefully prepared some training for you so that you will be ready for what I need you to do later." He went on to explain how the enemy is preparing to launch a big attack against worship and that one of his main strategies is going to be fear. So is it surprising that a spirit of fear would try to attack me after I had been lost in worship?
Have you ever noticed that the Lord always has a way of explaining things that makes sense?
August 6, 1999
The Lord woke me up at 2:00 AM Friday morning. Ed is away on a trip to the East Coast and I have the house to myself. I had fallen asleep in my prayer closet (aka the guest bedroom). Now it was 2:00 AM. I got up and headed up the stairs to bed.
My two dogs seem to be a tad insecure and tend to need more attention when either Ed or myself is away. So I have learned that if I want to get any sleep, I have to shut the bedroom door securely. We really have a double door to the bedroom, but one of the doors (the right one) has a "ceiling bolt" on it, and we always keep it bolted, so that when we shut the other door, it is securely closed and therefore dog-proof.
As I climbed into bed, my eyes fell on the Bible and I knew the Lord wanted to talk to me. I was tired, but sometimes the sweetest fellowship is late at night. So I grabbed the Bible and it plopped open to Isaiah 13. I began to read about the fierce army of the Lord. It reminded me of an experience I'd had with the Lord, where He had commissioned me into His army, not to fight flesh-and-blood enemies, but to advance His kingdom and take ground from the kingdom of darkness. Soon I was lost in prayer and did not quite finish the chapter.
It was late and I was tired, so I decided to go to sleep.
"Not so fast." The Lord said. "There is something else I'd like you to read." He sent me to another passage and that lead to a really long and involved discussion with God. It was deep and intimate and powerful, and He met me in a wonderful way. It was one of the most powerful devotion times I had in a long time.
We finished after an hour or so, and I began to remember how tired I was and to drift off to sleep. Suddenly I was aware of a demonic presence in my room. 'Not again!' I thought to myself. It seems that sometimes after a strong visitation from the Lord, the enemy tries to come visit me as well. I am not sure why that happens, but sometimes it does happen.
When the enemy tries to come at me, it sometimes tries to paralyze me or to restrict my throat so I can't talk. (I think the intent was that it figured if I can't talk, I can't rebuke it and make it leave.) It also tries to make me feel terrified. This strategy used to be highly effective against me years ago before I discovered that we carry the power and authority of Christ. I was tired and did not want to deal with this. I tried to speak out a rebuke and found I could not speak, but I could still move. My movements were slow and heavy, as though I was in molasses instead of air, but I could still move.
I rolled over and faced the door. It began to shake and rattle, as if someone was trying to get in the room. I could hear voices outside the door. Now, that scared me!! I mentally toyed with getting up and hunting up Ed's gun, which he keeps in the closet. But if this were a flesh-n- blood intruder instead of a spirit, I could not imagine myself shooting someone. And if it were a spirit intruder, bullets would be useless against it. So I stayed in bed and threw up a quick prayer, asking God to protect me.
I know it sounds crazy, but I was suddenly filled with a sense of God's presence and peace. Somehow I knew this was a spiritual attack, not a human intruder in my house. Besides, my dogs were not barking, and they'd be going crazy if an uninvited person was in the house. I still could not speak, so I rebuked the spirits in my thoughts. They don't have physical ears anyhow, so I suspect they could "hear" my unspoken authority prayer.
The doors rattled even more, then they flung wide open. I had a sense of something rushing into the room and the bed began to shake a bit. I should have been terrified, but I was filled with this incredible sense of God's peace. I was not sure if this was really happening or if it was a dream. If I had to bet just then, I would have probably bet it was a dream. Anyhow, I was too tired to deal with it. I said, "Lord, I'm too tired to deal with this, please take care of me." Then I rolled over and went to sleep.
It was one of those spiritual warfare type of sleeps.. I ended up having some spiritual warfare encounters in my dreams.. but I won each of them.. I guess the enemy got tired of loosing and gave up and left.
I woke up in the morning with one dog licking my hand and the other dog licking my face. I don't know if you've had a dog lick your face before, but it is not something I like to wake up to. I rolled over and covered my face with a pillow. One dog, the face-licker, jumped up on the bed and curled up beside me. The dogs are not allowed on the bed, but sometimes they conveniently "forget" the household rules. I sat up to remind the dog that it is not allowed on the bed. Then I looked at the bedroom door. Both of the double doors them were wide open. The dogs might have been able to accidentally force open one door, but the one with the ceiling bolt is absolutely impossible for dogs to undo and open.
Then I remembered the night before, where I was not sure if I'd been dreaming when the doors had flung open and something rushed into my room. "Oh my gosh!" I said out loud. "I wasn't dreaming.. it really happened!"
I got up and examined the door. The bolt was not broken, it was merely unlatched. I know it had been latched when I went to bed, because I had checked it to assure the dogs would not bother me. I realized that I had some enemy visitors that night after all. It has not been dreams, it had been the real thing. I don't know why I was not frightened. I guess it must have been God's "peace that passes all understanding." I had committed my way to the Lord ... and He certainly did take good care of me.
The enemy can be very powerful and scary, compared to natural human strength. But God is so much more powerful than the enemy, and He is so able to give us His peace and His victory.