FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG

1 Peter 5:8-11
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Wow! God is AMAZING. It’s hard for me to put into words what He has done for me but I will try.

After dealing with paralyzing anxiety for 4 months and being hit with an aftershock of mild depression – life has definitely changed.

I started my new job on June 21st and it is so great. It’s definitely a blessing with God’s hand prints all over it. Trinity is also loving her daycare so that makes going back to work so much easier. Our family is happy.

Everything seemed to be going great and then one morning I woke up and started getting ready for work – then out of nowhere a crazy thought came into my head, negative and terrible… the thought caught me off guard… it scared me…. “Oh no! Not these thoughts again!” I thought to myself as I was putting my makeup on. I froze and my stomach was sick. I felt like I continued through the rest of my day under a thick fog. I had no emotion, I was tired, my mind was racing, I felt hopeless.

I opened the Bible and asked God to show me something. 1 Peter 5:8-10 is where I turned and told me everything I needed to know.

8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Wow! After reading God’s Word and BELIEVING the Truth … the fog lifted. I mean, immediately lifted. I could see clearly again. It seemed as if something finally clicked into place. This is REAL! You know how you know that God is real and the Bible is real? …. but then you have those moments in the spirit where your natural mind says.. “Whoa! THIS IS REAL! … Like for REAL REAL.” ? Yeah, I had one of those moments.

Tony and I visited a book store a week earlier and I’m pretty sure we spent over an hour in there. He browsed as I hit up the Christian Living section, grabbed a book by Joyce Meyers, found the chapter on depression and sat in the middle of the floor and read an extremely long chapter. Joyce Meyers has dealt with depression in her past so I was excited to read what she had to say. A summary of the chapter I read was like this – smile, praise, worship, move, believe, have faith, stay in God’s Word, Trust God, continue in fellowship with other believers, don’t believe the lies of the enemy. Seems too easy… but I took what I had learned from the chapter and tucked it away in my heart to reflect on.

I had reached out to a sweet friend of mine when I was in the “fog” and told her about how discouraged I was that the bad thoughts had come back and she explained something to me “The thing with strongholds is, this side of heaven we can find freedom from them, but they are never just gone forever. It is our tendency to think, okay God, we have dealt with that, phew! And then we drop our guard over time, and often find ourselves right back on ground we thought we had conquered long ago…Outside of His presence we wander astray right back into our circle of sin.”

My friend was right! Because I was feeling so much freedom, I was still spending time with the Lord but had really dropped my guard in this whole anxiety/depression area.

I feel like God opened the flood gates after I read 1 Peter 5:8-11. I felt like I could understand, finally! This is what it means to pick up your cross DAILY and follow Him.

Months ago the enemy got a toehold in my life because I started to have doubt due to the fact that an athiest had debated me about what I believe and I didn’t feel like I had enough answers. Shortly after, a foothold came about due to my doubt and disbelief… I was spiraling out of control and then once I visited that Minute Clinic (You can read the blog prior to this one if you don’t know that story) such paralyzing fear entered my life that sent me falling downwards – and the devil set up his stronghold on me.

I want you to know how free I am and how free I have always been. God gave me this freedom from the beginning and NO ONE can take it away. Although I have to fight to defend it – it’s mine, it belongs to me, and I refust to give it up.

If Satan can’t have our spirit he will shoot for our souls (mind, will, and emotions). Once he gets a stronghold on those he can shut us down. He binds us and gets us to draw inward so that we are ineffective for the work of the Kingdom.

Every single morning as soon as I wake up – negative thoughts rush over me and I get extremely sick to my stomach. This is new for me because prior to March 1, 2011 I had never ever experienced anything like this. Do you know what I choose to do every morning? I silence the enemy. I have a choice. I can lie there and listen to what the enemy of my soul has to say to me or I can take each thought captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.) I choose to take each thought captive. I read God’s Word out loud and I believe it… I then start my morning.

The Word says to resist the enemy and he will flee from you- this is very true. I stand firm and resist him and he goes away… the thoughts go away… and the sick feeling goes away.

I can’t explain it, really… when you’re in that tempting moment of choosing fear it seems like every second is 15 minutes long but then the fog clears. I never allow it to come over me… it’s there waiting for me but I choose not to stick my head in it and carry it with me. I resist it. I give thanks to God and I remember His Word and say it out loud or just reflect on it. Knowing the Truth does set you free.

I told Tony the other day “Some morning I hope to wake up and the thoughts not be there and the sick feeling not be there- but if this is what it takes to keep me trusting the Lord and bringing glory to Him, then so be it.”

(2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.)

I don’t know why God has allowed me to undergo anxiety/depression but I know that I trust Him and I KNOW that His ways are not my ways. I also know that He works out everything for my good and He has plans to give me a hope and a future. I have seen such sweet glimpses of heaven though, as I have walked through this. I have also seen the enemy’s strategy in binding God’s people through anxiety/depression … I never knew how serious and common it is for people to have anxiety/depression. I never knew much about it at all until I started experiencing it myself.

Since I have posted my story I have had people message me or come to me and tell me their story. Some people… I am the first person they have told. Every person I have talked to feels alone. Isolation is definitely from the enemy. He did the same thing to me. Made me feel like I was crazy and if I told anyone I would wind up in a mental institution and lose my family… crazy, huh? Yeah… that’s how much I was believing his lies due to the fear (sin) that had warped my whole outlook.

The people who have reached out to me are desperate to hear good news… to hear there is a way out… to be free!

Let me tell you this – You are FREE! There is a way out and I know you can hardly believe this right now if you are suffering from anxiety/depression and are reading this right now. You feel like I don’t know your story or how serious your anxiety/depression is… you probably feel like I must have dealt with a different type of anxiety/depression because there is no possible way out of yours! … You’re wrong. I felt the same way. The authority that you have through Jesus Christ is WAYYYYY more powerful than any stronghold of anxiety/depression that the enemy has over you right now. It’s not over. You have to CHOOSE to take your freedom back.

If you don’t know Christ and want to know more about Him and His promises, please message me! I would love to tell you more about Him. Your freedom is waiting for you. It belongs to you. The fog that you are in is a lie… it’s not real. I know it’s hard to believe that… but belive it because it’s the truth.

I am so grateful. I am so exited to see how God can be glorified through all of my suffering. I am stoked that I am sealed and belong to the Most High.

If you’re battling these specific demons – hang in there! If you read this just to support me – thank you so much. Your love, support, and encouragement is shining like Christ all over my life. I honor you.

Standing Firm,

April Poynter

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