Chapter 28: Spiritual Attacks
“If God had told me some time ago that He was about to make me happy as I could be in this world, and then told me he should begin by crippling me in arm or limb, and removing me from all my usual sources of enjoyment, I should have thought it a very strange mode of accomplishing his purpose. And yet, how is his wisdom manifest even in this! For if you should see a man shut up in a closed room, idolizing a set of lamps and rejoicing in their light, and you wished to make him truly happy, you would begin by blowing out all his lamps, and then throwing open the shutter to let in the light of heaven.”
—Samuel Rutherford, 15th century theologian.
A month went by, and I had gone from empowered to helpless in an instant. I had to rely on my mother to help me with most things, and a deep sense of frustration and fear began to set in. The rub was that the injured foot was my right foot…the foot I used to drive the car. So without use of this foot I couldn’t even drive down the road! I felt like a child again, and this sent me into an even deeper rage. At this point, I began to give up on the idea of ever getting my freedom and independence back, and my heart began to grow bitter. Realizing that all of my fears had somehow come true, I began to wonder if I would ever escape my mom’s house. These irrational thoughts began to prey upon my mind, and I began to blame my mother for everything wrong in my life. “Your mother is the reason why you’re a failure.” —that’s what the thoughts kept telling me. I remember feeling so worthless and hopeless, as if no matter what I did I would always be stuck living with my mom—unmarried, poor, and pathetic. That’s what the devil was whispering in my brain.
Through all this darkness, there was one thing I was grateful for at this time and that was the free state health insurance for which I had qualified. This free insurance allowed me to receive the highest care possible, without any co-pays. Because of this free health insurance, I decided to seek out a third opinion on the foot in order to have a legitimate medical diagnosis. At the third exam, the doctor informed me that the foot definitely had a stress fracture, and also that I had done the smart thing by staying off it and avoiding a boot cast. The doctor then recommended an MRI to make sure there wasn’t something else going on with my bones. The fact that a Gatorade bottle actually broke the bones in my foot made the doctor concerned for my bone density. He scheduled the MRI, but it was a 3 week wait list, so I would have to be patient.
After the exam, I felt a sense of relief knowing a definitive prognosis. The foot was most certainly broken, and what’s more I had made the right choice to stay off it and let it heal. I just had to survive a month of recovery time, and then I could be back to normal. I could survive that, I thought. My thoughts began to grow more positive, and I had a glimmer of hope that my life could be fabulous yet again. However, despite my positive thoughts I was about to discover that God had other plans for me, and my life would never be the same again after this. I would soon learn that no amount of positive thoughts can change or alter God’s will in our lives. Sometimes God wants us to go through difficult situations in order for our spiritual growth. It would take years for me to fully understand this.
Still trying to control the outcome, it came as a complete shock when a few weeks later the unthinkable happened—I injured my foot again in a separate place. In disbelief, I watched the whole scene transpire as if in slow motion again like the first time. Again, I was in shock that I couldn’t move my foot out of harm’s way, and again I couldn’t control my own body. Why was this happening to me?? I screamed inwardly.
This time it was my laptop that was the offending object. It was precariously perched upon the arm of the sofa when it fell on my foot. To be truthful, I had been drinking wine and watching netflix on the laptop, so my reflexes were slightly impaired. Back then, alcohol was a powerful stronghold over my spirit. However, the way in which the ‘accident’ happened was incredibly strange. Suddenly and without warning, the laptop slipped and fell directly onto my foot at a perfect angle, a direct force hit from the corner of the laptop, a force that created the most damage to the bones.
After the second injury occurred, I was in a bit of a shock. I was already wearing crutches and wrapping my foot so I just tried to forget about it. I figured the MRI would show me if it was truly broken in the new place, and so I would just have to wait and see. When I finally had the MRI appointment, I made sure to tell the technicians about the most recent incident with the laptop. After the MRI, I found out that the original injury had actually already healed, so that was a bit of good news. It had been about a month since the Gatorade hit my foot, so that was the healing time frame for a small stress fracture. However, the MRI unfortunately showed that the second injury was a concern. The MRI didn’t show that the area was fractured, but the doctors did see that there was a trauma to the foot where the laptop had hit. They recommended another X-ray a week later because stress fractures only show up on X-rays when you put pressure on the foot. This new injury might take a while to show up on film, they said. Getting this news was tough for me to process because while the good news was that I had healed from the first foot injury…the bad news was that I now had a shiny new injury. So, yet again I would have to wait a week and schedule another X-ray to see if this injury was indeed a fracture. My life was beginning to feel like one long string of doctor’s appointments. I began to wonder how this had happened, and I couldn’t make sense of any of it.
At the time, I didn’t recognize the injuries as a spiritual attack because I couldn’t accept the fact that Satan has that much control over my life. I still felt that I was in control. I also didn’t understand the nature of spiritual warfare, and that demons can be assigned to us by the enemy. I did wonder if Charlie’s ‘darkness’ had somehow come after me because I was fearful and low vibrational in my thinking (all lies of the new-age), but I wasn’t aware of the full truth about demonic attacks. What I was about to be shown was this: There is no protection from the devil without the mighty presence of Jesus Christ. Humans cannot control the spirit world, and humans are not in control on this earth. God is sovereign, and He is in charge. The devil is a defeated foe, but he is the ‘god’ of this earth, and he is allowed certain access to humans if they turn their face from God. In order to get right with God, I would have to cry out for help and fully surrender my life to the Lord, but I wasn’t ready to do that just yet.
I would also later learn that God sometimes allows Satan to attack us if it’s for a grander purpose. God sometimes allows bad things to happen to our physical bodies because He cares more about our souls, and my soul was sick. God had to break me in order to rebuild me, but I couldn’t see that yet..not yet.
A week later when I got the final X-Ray, I remember sitting there waiting for the result with a sense of finality. This would hopefully be the last time I would have to worry about the foot. It was either broken or not, and I would have to let it heal for another month. I guess I could handle that. One more month was torture, but manageable. However, the doctor’s news was the opposite of what I expected. The doctor entered the exam room, and told me that I had what he called a ‘Bone Bruise’. He explained to me that the foot didn’t show a fracture yet, but that the area showed a pool of blood inside the bone. The doctor told me that bone bruises take twice as long to heal, and that he himself had sustained a bone bruise before. He advised me that I was ready for a walking boot, and that I would need to wear it for a few months. The doctor cautioned me, however, that bone bruises can take up to 6 months or longer to fully hearl. 6 months or longer???? I sat there in shock. I simply could not process what was happening to me. I believed everything he said, but would later learn from another doctor that a bone bruise is a precursor to a stress fracture, and that since I had been using crutches my foot had not been able to develop a stress fracture because no weight had been put upon it. So, this was a classic misdiagnosis.
Believing myself to have a bone bruise, I felt even more helpless than when I thought the foot was broken. Because the injured foot was my right foot, I couldn’t drive like before, and so therefore I couldn’t work. My mom was already struggling with money, and she was beginning to worry about how she would support me. Utterly depressed, I went back home to the small room at my mom’s place and began to feel a sense of despair I had never before felt. I somehow knew that I wasn’t getting out of this. This was going to change my life for a long time, and I had no clue how to cope with this news. The first decision I made was to get on food stamps and utilize a food bank for some immediate groceries. I felt like a charity case, and was beginning to fear that I would end up with nothing forever. I saw no end in sight, so I also felt that my future plans for a graduate degree would have to be put on hold as well.
Feeling irrationally and uncontrollably angry at my life in general, I realized with sudden clarity that I hated graduate school. I had only pursued graduate studies to prove to myself that I was a success, but the ugly truth was that I found academia to be very unfulfilling at this point in my life. The information I was learning didn’t excite me at all, and I was tired of keeping up with the ‘Jones’s’, as it were. The bottom line for me was that I didn’t want all the stress of my graduate classes alongside the stress of my foot injury. I just couldn’t deal with it anymore.
This was the beginning of my downward spiral. I was repeating a very old pattern of self-destruction—a pattern that I had no idea how to break. I was a slave to my anger and my painful childhood, and no matter what I did they always found a way to cripple me in the present, emotionally and physically. They were always around each and every corner, telling me my life would never be good, that I would never be happy, and that I should just give up and give into the darkenss.
I didn’t know it at the time, but God was about to show up in a big way and intervene. My life was about to be forever changed.