The very first night following Joel’s death, Austyn (my now 5-year-old) climbed into bed with me, because he was scared to sleep alone. I was more than happy to have him there, as it brought me as much comfort to have him close, as it did for him to have mama nearby.
All of my children grieved the death of their daddy, but Austyn’s hurt was of a deeper quality. He was only nine days away from his third birthday when Joel moved to Heaven. He couldn’t begin to understand the empty feeling that filled his heart, but he knew every evening when he climbed into my bed that everything would be okay. Mama was there. Mama was close.
Now, I have to be honest. While having this little guy in my bed each evening was emotionally comforting to us both, it was anything but that physically speaking. Austyn is a wiggle worm…rolls around all over the bed…throws arms and legs on me in the middle of the night. Needless to say, if you want a solid night of sleep, don’t share a bed with my son. Even so, I assumed he might sleep with me, at most, for a few weeks…until the initial shock of daddy’s death subsided…then, he would return to his bed. Oh was I wrong…
Over two years later…Austyn was still there. I never pushed him out, because I knew he wouldn’t sleep with me forever. Certainly, he wouldn’t still crawl into bed with his mommy as a teenager?! Whenever I was out of town, he would typically sleep with the babysitter or in his brother’s room. He still would not sleep alone. Regardless, I knew when he was ready, he would move back upstairs to his own bed. And he did (almost) just that!
If you read my last post (click here if not), you know I experienced a period of time following Joel’s death I have dubbed “The Pause”. As only God would orchestrate, almost to the day I was set free from that difficult time in my life, Austyn announced he was going to sleep in the other twin bed in Josiah’s room (his 11-year-old brother) and be a “big boy”. I assumed he would still show up in my bed in the middle of the night, as we had tried this before, but he didn’t! And, to this day…he hasn’t returned to sleeping with mama…at all.
I honestly believe there was no coincidence in the timing of the end of “the pause” and Austyn moving out of my bed. God has been teaching me so much and showing Himself to me in such tangible ways recently.
Prior to the end of “The Pause”, a group of elders came out to my home and did a “spiritual cleansing” room-by-room. If this is something you’re not familiar with, it involves going throughout the house and anointing each door frame with oil and praying over each space. They closed out the time of cleansing by also praying over each of my children and me and anointing us with oil as well. Before they left, they also walked the perimeter of the property and prayed over the external boundaries of our home. It was a beautiful, quiet, peaceful evening, and I truly felt such a calm after they left. A few weeks later, I personally felt the need to cleanse a portion of our home again. The reasons for this do not matter at this point, but the effect of the cleansing was enormous!
Within days of that renewed cleansing…peace returned to my home again. Some very specific struggles I endured with a couple of my children completely halted, I experienced complete deliverance from “The Pause”, and Austyn made his departure from my bed!
I am convinced “The Pause” was a season of intense spiritual warfare, like none (perhaps) I’ve ever experienced before. Friends…the Word of God teaches us “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12, NIV) This type of battle is real. However, knowing it and physically experiencing it are two entirely different things. In all transparency, I wasn’t prepared for the battle. I hadn’t effectively donned the armor I had available to me (see Eph. 6:13-17). I allowed myself to simply “escape” the pain life had most recently presented me. Rather than facing it…rather than truly grieving like I did so well during my first widow journey, I ran into a deep abyss I created for myself. The effects of “The Pause” have been staggering in my life, but I am not without hope!
While I can truly pinpoint a specific time God delivered me from this bondage, the results of the deliverance are continuing to be realized each day, as I intentionally live out my days with Christ in first place. Have my circumstances changed? Hardly! In some areas, things have gotten worse, but my perspective has shifted, and I know I’m not in this battle alone. I never have been. I just lost sight of the power I had at my disposal all along.
As I continue walking in victory, I have seen God move in my family as well. Austyn choosing to sleep upstairs again is just one of those victories. And…that is only just the beginning! The shroud has been removed! I feel like I’m truly alive again. My time on this earth is just a short “blip” in all of eternity, and I do not intend to allow the enemy to steal anymore of it from me!
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36, NIV