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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Pen and Paper (07/17/14)

TITLE: Snakes and Lies
By Jodi Gardner


Wretched thoughts screamed through my mind. Fear tore at my soul. Anxiety bellowed from my psyche. Expectations drilled holes into my heart.

"What does He want from me?" "Can't He see I am not strong enough, not qualified enough, not smart enough to do all this?"

At 3:19 AM, I awoke from dreams of snakes swallowing me. All I could do was repeatedly scream, "Jesus!" Yet, no matter how loudly I screamed the torment continued.

I cried, "Jesus! You told us even the rocks will submit to Your name. I called for You in my dreams; yet, You let the snakes suffocate me. Where are You?" I rolled over to return to sleep; 8:00 AM came far too quickly.

In the morning my mind fussed, "I am supposed to be the one supporting others. Whatever happens Lord, don't let my predicament hinder Your work. I am sorry I yelled at You last night."

Walking into my office, I saw a new client in the waiting room. She appeared perfect, as if from a Norman Rockwell painting. Yet, I discerned anguish immediately.

A few minutes later my assistant buzzed, "Hey Chief, your first appointment is ready." I chuckle when the office staff calls me "Chief" because I am a simple counselor. They say it is because God empowers me to identify other's pain.

As I escorted her to my office, I sensed she carried a horrendous burden. Her internal pain overwhelmed her; however, externally, she presented as whole and balanced. Hesitantly, she provided an obviously watered-down version of why she sought counseling. I offered a silent prayer asking God to empower the traumatized inner-child to break its bonds of shame. Instantaneously, she lost control of her tongue exposing the dark truth. I had heard this "truth" too many times to count: abuse, neglect, poverty and loss.

As she depicted her story, God uncovered the lies she had been told by Satan from infancy. I could almost feel the life being crushed out of her. I thought, "Lord, I need You here. Your daughter is hurting and I cannot help her without You." We continued our session and she scheduled a follow up appointment. As she left she said, "It's time I stop letting the snakes of life suffocate me." I suddenly remembered last night's nightmares.

As I finished my daily documentation, I reflected on each person's story. As usual, I prayed over their records before filing them. Something told me to take out paper and pencil and "case note" my life. Halfheartedly, I listed my childhood traumas. I did not initially see the benefit of this exercise since I had already come to terms with my past. Obediently, I continued. "Ok Chief, what do we know about trauma recovery and new information surfacing years after the hard stuff has been completed?"

Looking over my notes, I saw a pattern; lies I had bought hook, line and sinker. "You will never be smart enough. You will never have enough money. You will never have enough courage. You will never be enough!" That was it! The lie I had yet to uncover. The same lie the woman this morning had brought to the surface for herself.

Ephesians 2:10 came to mind as I prayed for deliverance from these lies. God reminded me He created and equipped me for a specific purpose. As I listened to His truth, I allowed His love to heal me further. Apparently out of fear, I had hung onto the lies of insufficiency as an escape hatch. I could fall back on "I just wasn't good enough" to justify failures.

Falling to my knees, I confessed to God I had not allowed Him to take these lies from me. I had clung to them like an old tattered blanket. With a sense of relief, that can only come from God's deliverance, I realized why in my dreams professing His name had not stopped the snakes. Though I had repeatedly asked Him to set me free, I would not relinquish these lies. I had to name and surrender them to Him. With a sigh, I opened my heart to let the sabotaging self-belief go and to receive God's truth.

Last night as I slept the snakes tried to wrap around my feet again. This time, I responded with a simple "I am enough." The snakes died. When morning arrived, I better understood no matter how far we have come, Christ's healing power never ends.

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 07/25/14
Pulled me in from the first word to the very last.
Powerful ending, and well done.

God bless~
Terry Atchison07/27/14
This is my favorite story this week. I understand the strong feelings because I have experienced the same. Very nice.