I briefly mentioned earlier about living in a small town where after I graduated high school I worked at the local convenience store. Yes, there was only one then. The town really was that small.
I worked the evening shift from 3 to 11. I rode my bicycle across town and then home again at 11 at night. I was not in the least bit afraid. In fact I loved riding my bike in the night under the street lamps.
But then one day, a man came in very drunk. He was well known around town. He was a heavy drinker and mean, very very mean. The particular day that he came in and I was checking him out, he said something to me and I came back with either a sharp retort or a smart alek jab. He took his stuff and left.
Whatever the case was, when he had gone, my boss slid up next to me and said, “I wouldn’t talk to him (she called him by name) that way. You never know what he will do.”
Her warning and tone of voice were so ominous that I became terrified. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the moment a deep dark foreboding spirit of fear attached itself to me. One moment before I had no fear at all, and then suddenly from one word by my well meaning boss, everything changed.
I didn’t work much longer at the convenience store after that. I became pregnant with my first child and the smell of the microwave sandwiches as they were heating made me deathly sick. So, I went home and stayed there. But honestly, I had lost all desire to be at work. I was afraid there. I was afraid I would be alone when that man would come back in.
After my first son was a few months old, we moved our single-wide trailer out to my parents farm. It just happened to be right across from the cemetery. Growing up I had loved going to the cemetery and walking through it reading the headstones. There was so much history there and the cemetery grounds were beautifully kept and peaceful.
But our trailer was directly across from a vacant end that was not yet developed. The local rabble rousers would use that spot to drink and get crazy, and guess who the head rabble rouser was? You guessed it! The man I was deathly afraid of.
I lived like that for at least a year. I had become pregnant with our second child at that time. Our kitchen was at the very front of the trailer and there was a dividing wall between it and the living room. It was about four feet tall. I would sit all evening long in our old beat up recliner that was stuck in the corner right behind the wall.
I could hear their car doors shutting, their music playing, and their drunken laughter filtering through. I was paralyzed in fear. I would often hunch down when getting up and walk around in such a way that I would hope they couldn’t see me.
I don’t remember exactly how long I had to suffer through that. The reality of it was that he didn’t remember our conversation. He also probably had no idea it was me that lived in that trailer, if he even cared. But fear told me different and it was crippling.
When our second child was a little over a year old, we had a home built on the far side of my parents property. It was a good mile from the cemetery and on a dead end road. I couldn’t wait to get moved. I was convinced that once we lived in a sturdy house where you couldn’t just lift the loose roll out windows, I would be safe.
So, we got moved in. It was pitch dark in that area. No warm cemetery lights to keep the landscape lit. The house was big too. I had no idea what was going on in other parts of the house wherever I was.
We did not have heavy drapes. I had purchased white sheers for most of the windows. It was the style then. I didn’t think it would matter once we got moved. But, I was every bit at terrified as I had been since that day that the spirit had overtaken me.
Between that event at the convenience store and when we lived in the new house, I had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. And still, that spirit of fear engulfed me.
I had peace, most of the time. I had joy, most of the time. I had all the wonderful things that the Holy Spirit and His infilling brings, except there was still this nasty part of my life controlled by fear. My husband still worked nights and drove long distances to get there so I was home alone most of the time.
I remember one night as I laid in bed unable to go to sleep from fear, I was praying to God about it. I didn’t understand at the time that it was a spirit. I didn’t understand why I was so afraid, even though I could trace it back to that particular night in the store.
I clearly heard the voice of the Lord say to me, “Each night when you lay down in your bed, I want you to say out loud Psalms 4:8. Say it over and over again until you fall asleep.”
I was eager to do something, anything that would help. So, that night I said out loud, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” I repeated it over and over and over again.
That first night I would guess I said it around 20 or 30 times before I fell asleep. The next night about 10. The next night just a couple. Then the next night as I started to say it I realized that I had no fear at all! None. I was completely delivered of that nasty spirit of fear.
Not only that, but I soon realized that in place of it, God had ushered in courage. Other than the moment when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this moment changed my life more than any other. I had the freedom from fear that I had had before, but more than that, I had a new sense of courage that I had never had before. There was a deep abiding knowing that I had nothing, absolutely nothing whatsoever to fear, ever.
That was over 40 years ago. I have done some pretty bold and audacious things. I still feel that same fearlessness. I’ve traveled alone. Walked the streets of downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter alone. I’ve driven cross country from here to Tucson, AZ many times alone, and when I would get sleepy I would just pull into the parking lot of a hotel or truck stop and go to sleep. Many would scoff and say that was not wise and that I was being reckless. But there was and is such an acute feeling of God’s overwhelming ever present protection that I just do not feel afraid. Never any fear at all. His presence was so real and present there was no way I could fear.
I will also say here that there have been times when I would begin to do something and I would get a nudge of ‘no’. He is always protecting me including sometimes redirecting my paths. I am confident that He will do that, so I move forward fearless and trust Him to keep me and to guide me. When He redirects, He never ever does it with fear. Just a simple redirect with no fanfare.
I almost always used to forget to lock my doors. I still do sometimes. I get up and realize a door isn’t locked, but it doesn’t startle me because I have that deep abiding knowledge that I have nothing to fear. It is a revelation knowledge that angel armies are guarding and watching over me.
It was the first time that I saw and experienced the true dynamite power of speaking the word out loud. God didn’t tell me to mull it over in my mind, He said speak it out loud. He didn’t even tell me I would be delivered from the spirit of fear. He just said do it, so I did. At the time I thought it would just comfort me so I could go to sleep. Little did I know the grand gift He was giving me.
If you have any problem at all, any - find a scripture and speak it out loud until the problem bends its knee to the mighty word of God. It will eventually. It has too. Most people do it a time or two but quickly give up. It gets boring or tiring. It just doesn’t seem like it is working. But it is! Resist the devil and he will flee.
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