Yesterday afternoon I received a telephone call from an anxious woman that attends the Bible Study at my husband’s workplace. It was the classic – and sadly typical – highly contested child custody and litigation stress phone call. And actually, she was the 3rd or 4th woman that I have talked to this week that’s going through what I now jokingly call “baby daddy lawsuit drama”. The cause? A consequence of marrying the wrong person, poor choices, adultery, marrying too young, for the wrong reasons, growing apart, giving up, a natural consequence of divorce, it just comes with the territory…? Yes to any or all of those things. But regardless of HOW you found yourself at that point, if you are at that point and there is no turning back, then you need the proper tools (spiritual warfare weaponry) to handle it.
I have been a paralegal for nearly 20 years and my last boss did handle a lot of family law (which is my least favorite area of law). So, I am rather used to speaking with women undergoing this level of high anxiety and emotion. And let me tell you, very few things are as stressful and intense as warfare involving your kids. And, nothing has the ability to bring out straight ugly behavior and emotions in you that you didn’t even know you had until you are involved in family law litigation. But, she was not calling me asking for paralegal advice. She was calling me for my advice as a Christian woman. Woman to woman, Christian to Christian, sister to sister advice. This is the elbow me, behind the scenes whispering, please tell me on the down low REALLY how to travel through this valley of the shadow of death without being devoured.
So, I told her I would type it up and send it to her. And here you have it.
First, know that you are NOT alone. This level of stress could make anyone look like a psychotic lunatic (oh yes even me). But there is hope! Yaye. You are NOT a psychotic lunatic even if you feel like one. (Disclaimer: unless you are psychotic LOL)
Secondly, I’m going to be straight up honest with you. There have been times that I have participated in the hard core screaming, texting, and anger emailing while dealing with our contested family and custody issues. And you know what? That didn’t help me much. As soon as my red face calmed down, I was still in the same boat I was in before the anger rage rant only now I had backtracked a few steps and it didn’t get me anywhere. I threw a fit and made sure I was heard but we were no closer to any type agreement and the kids homework still wasn’t finished. My energy was just depleated and I was too exhausted to do much of anything much less look like a spiritual warrior princess.
Please know that the process of walking through the valley of the shadow of death is two steps forward, one back, three forward, one back, four forward, one back. You will take steps back and when you do you will tend to beat yourself up. Don’t do that. It’s kind of like dieting. If you over eat at one meal, don’t use that as an excuse to over eat for the next week. Repent to God for your failure, ask Him to strengthen you, and get back on track moving forward. It may take lots of time and money but it DOES COME TO AN END. Like labor pains, eventually the baby is born and you will be on the other side. Look up! Don’t stare at your problems. Stare at The One who can walk you through them.
I personally recommend that you read and pray these things along with anything else you believe God is putting on your heart to read.
DISCLAIMER (because I can feel my husband shaking his head back and forth at me now for the scriptures I am about to give you): I am sure that I am taking these versus out of their original context and am using versus from the old covenant that Jesus has since clarified. But let me tell you something. The versus I prayed while going through this were straight from the Bible, were written on my note cards, and I meant them! And I was going to God with my anger NOT going to the opposing parent directly (well, not this time). So in my land, the scriptures were biblical and I’m glad for holding onto them. Praying them has given me peace and it helped me not act out against my physical, natural, opposition (the ex – though I’ve done that before too. It’s hard not to.). I’ve also seen some incredible responses in the natural. So don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. In your alone time, write these or your own on note cards and pray them out loud as often as needed. Hearing them will increase your faith (faith comes by hearing) and will encourage you in boldness.
“The Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” Psa 34:16-17.
The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. Psa 34:19.
“Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.” Psa 34:21.
“Lord, oppose those who oppose me. Fight those who fight against me. Put on your armor and take up your shield. Prepare for battle and come to my aid.” Psa 35:1-2.
“Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me; turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me.” Psa 35:4.
“I did them no wrong but they dug a pit to catch me. So let sudden ruin come upon them! Let them be caught in the trap they set for me! Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me… I will be glad because He rescues me.” Psa 35:7-9. (If you have done wrong, confess it and repent of it and don’t do it again. Allow Jesus to cleanse you of that mistake. Mess up, fess up, try again.)
“Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about…” Psa 35:11.
“Rescue me from his fierce attacks. Protect my life from this lion”. Psa 35:17 (personalized).
“O Lord… do not stay silent. Do not abandon me now. O Lord Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord. Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice. Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles…. May those who rejoice at my troubles be humiliated and disgraced. May those who triumph over me be covered with shame and dishonor…” Psa 35:22-26.
“Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again.” Psa 36:10-12.
“I will not worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. Like grass they soon fade away… I will trust in the Lord and do good.” Psa 37:1-3 (personalized).
“Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.” Psa 37:10.
“The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.” Psa 37:12-13.
“The strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly.” Psa 37:17.
“I will turn from evil and do good, and I will live in the land forever. For the Lord loves justice and will never abandon the godly.” Psa 38:27-28.
“The wicked wait in ambush for the godly looking for an excuse to kill them. But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.” Psa 37:32-33.
And don’t forget, regardless of how crooked or conspiring the other party is, be honest and trustworthy and do what is right. You do the right thing to the best of your ability and leave the results up to God. And this is in the New Testament. I have heard some people talk about karma (which is really the biblical principal of sowing and reaping). These are great verses to hold on to especially if you worry that evil actions may win out over good. “Don’t be misled – you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up…” And when your flesh man does win out (the step back), repent quickly and get right back up. Don’t do the enemy’s job for him by constantly beating yourself up.
Pray that your children’s minds will be protected from the darts of the enemy and their eyes will be opened and their hearts will be softened. (I have also heard that some churches offer a Divorce Care for Kids class.)
Learn about spiritual warfare. It’s found in Ephesians 6:10-18. We are not fighting a physical battle. We are fighting a spiritual battle and you can see manifestations of that in the natural. We are not fighting against flesh and blood but against rulers and authorities … evil spirits. But guess what! God told us what to do to fight offensively in spiritual wars. You use the sword of the spirit (the word of God). You should read “The Whole Armor of God” section found in Eph 6 and maybe look up a sermon or book about it (from a church you trust) so that you’ll have a better understanding.
Finally, I will remind you of one more thing. I have referred to this difficult road as the valley of the shadow of death several times which comes from Psalms 23:4 (read the KJV or NKJV, other translations have changed this meaning) which says “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me. …
Pastor teacher Duane Sheriff taught me that the SHAWDOW OF A DOG can’t hurt you. Remember, you are NOT walking through death valley or the valley of death. You are walking through its SHADOW. Like a shadow from a tree. There is evil above and its shadow is on the ground and you are walking on the sidewalk but you are WALKING OVER AND THROUGH that shadow. The SHADOW cannot harm you because YOU ARE HIS!!!
And the verse that follows right after that one is Psalms 23:5. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.” This is probably my favorite verse. Happiness and joy is its own reward.
Read together it says: “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me… You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”
May the Lord bless you and keep (protect) you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious (kind, giving you favor) to you. May He lift up his countenance (approval) upon you and give you peace (a tranquil heart). Amen. (Numbers 6:24-26).
Also, my recommended book resources for reading are:
The Bible (Ephesians 6 regarding the Armor of God & Psalms 34-37, etc).
Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst (You can’t control other people only your reactions to them. And please DONT let him control your emotions!)