Hello there, stranger. It’s been awhile, huh? Well, for me it has. You probably have not been tapping your fingers waiting for a new blog post from my tiny corner of the internet. 

I feel a responsibility to write, even if no one is reading it, so when I’m not writing, I feel like I’m failing in some way. If nothing else, I’m failing myself, because writing is therapeutic and it brings me a lot of joy. My mom used to tell me that I could “write myself out of my problems,” and she was right. It makes sense that, in the past few months that I’ve been quiet, I’ve felt very stuck in my problems. 

There have been good reasons for my silence (I got married last fall {all the praise hands} and have been enjoying discovering what it looks like to be a new wife for the second time), and some not so good ones, which is what the Lord has been working on lately.

No matter what kind of circumstances I face in life, the enemy is always waiting with some kind of tactic to tear my eyes off of Jesus and fix them anywhere else. I’d like to tell you that my gaze always remains where it should, but that would be a lie. Sometimes the enemy gets to me, and I spiral into the void of his lies and twisting of the truth, and this time around, I found myself feeling displaced and muzzled. I’ve actually felt that way for a long time, in a number of different circumstances. 

For a season, I know that the Lord had pulled me aside from some things out of necessity. I needed to recover and heal from wounds that were fresh and debilitating. But when those wounds were attended to, I still found myself struggling to move forward. I started to wonder if maybe I wasn’t supposed to keep writing, or looking for ministry opportunities. Maybe that dream was over and done with. I questioned whether I wanted to have a voice at all. 

Many people spoke words of hope over me, and said that my calling to write and speak wasn’t dead, but when I did try to say something, anything of value, the enemy put on his Accuser mask, and worked hard to shut me down. I wasn’t doing what I knew to do, I wasn’t standing strong, I wasn’t armored up, and I wasn’t waiting on the Lord. Scripture says that when we wait on the Lord, our strength is renewed, and we don’t get tired or faint, so that has to mean that when we don’t wait on Him, we are weak, tired, and faint. That’s where I’ve been living. I was running on fumes for a while, but at the beginning of this year, those fumes ran out and I was beat down. Even though I knew the Accuser was lying to me, I couldn’t get above the lies.

Then one day my (insert sarcasm) dear, sweet, husband got fed up and called me out. And instead of my normal prideful, offended response, I sat on the couch and listened. I found myself nodding and saying, “you’re right,” and I felt a crack in the wall the Accuser had been building around me. I began the process of speaking the truth to myself and to the Accuser again, and started to crawl my way out of the pit I’d dug myself into. 

Last week the Lord showed me an image, or what my pastor calls a, “spiritual daydream,” where I was standing at the entrance to the main park in my hometown, and there was a crowd of people gathered around. There was an apple crate on the ground beside me and as I looked at it, Jesus was standing beside me, motioning for me to stand on the crate. I sensed that He wanted me to get back on it, like it was something I had stood on once before. “Get back in your place,” He said. I looked at Him with uncertainty and then I looked at the crowd. I could see that the Accuser was standing on the outer edge of the crowd and I knew that presence was what was keeping (and has been keeping) me from stepping on to this crate that Jesus was pointing toward. Jesus understood, and showed me, a vision within a vision, if you will, that if I would get “back” in my place and step on to that apple crate, that the Accuser would turn and walk away. I struggled to believe what He was showing me, and that’s when the story from John 8 sprung to my mind.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” -John 8:3-11, NIV

In this story, the woman had accusers who had real dirt on her. She was guilty of what she was accused of. There are certainly times in our lives when we are also guilty, but I think more often than not, our Accuser lies to us, or spins the truth in his favor and we become guilty by agreeing with those lies. We give him permission to create truth out of lies when we agree with what he’s saying. 

In John 8, when the woman is brought to him, Jesus bends down and starts writing something (still unknown) in the dirt, and then says, “Whoever is without sin, cast the first stone.” Then he starts writing in the dirt again, and the accusers leave, without a word (that we know of). Assumedly they realize they can’t rightly accuse her without being found guilty themselves.

“Woman, where are your accusers?” Jesus asks, and when she responds that they’re gone, He says, “Neither do I accuse you. Now go and sin no more.”

This is what God drove home for me: when Jesus steps between us and the Accuser, the Accuser leaves. Why? Because Jesus is not only the witness before God, our judge, to our innocence, HE IS THE EVIDENCE. When Jesus starts speaking the truth, the enemy has no ground to stand on. Because of His death and resurrection, even if we ARE guilty of sin, Jesus says, “I do not accuse you. I do not disqualify you.” If JESUS doesn’t accuse or disqualify us, then NO ONE else has the right to either. This empowers us to take the place that God has called us to, with boldness and confidence.

So I’m issuing to you the charge that Jesus issued to me. Let’s do it together. It’s time. We’re ready:

“Child, get back in your place. It’s time to take your voice back and be silent no longer. When you do this, you will see the Accuser leave.”

If you are like me and wondering what it looks like to take back your voice, check out this incredible article on how to pray during this season: How Can I Pray so God Will Answer? – Propel Women