This post might be a little bit all over the place, so sorry in advance if it seems scattered.
My most recent free book from Bethany House was The Quarryman's Bride by Tracie Peterson. TP is in my top three favorite authors for historical fiction, probably my top two even. This book was no exception to her top-notch story telling. The main character Emmalyne has a tyrant for a father, and much of the story deals with their family dynamics and how having a less-than-loving father impacted her life. Without giving things away, suffice it to say that the story offers hope to daughters who have been wounded by their fathers, that the Lord can heal and restore. Nothing is too hard for God, and God's constant love and care even when we don't feel it are also main themes of the story.
Growing up, my dad was not exactly the demonstrative type when it came to love and affection. Rarely did he offer complimentary or encouraging words, and he could be hard and sarcastic more often than not. He also worked extremely hard, and didn't believe in days off or vacations. I think that providing for us was his way of showing his love. But it left me wanting, and by the time I was a teenager and into college, we had a pretty lousy relationship. One time we had this major blowout fight, that was completely awful, but after that things started to improve. I only had a few short years of having a really good relationship with my dad. But it made such a huge difference, and when he died I had no doubts of his love for me. It's been ten years now, and I still miss him like crazy. I wish my kids could have known their Pappy Steve, and I always wonder what he would have been like with them. But praise God, He brought a wonderful step-dad into my lif about 6 years ago, and I love him dearly. He loves my kids, he is always willing to do anything he can to help us, even if it's not the most convenient for him. And my kids love their Pappy Dan to pieces. And he makes my mom happy, which is something my dad didn't do very well.
Thinking about all these things today has been hard, and then we got hit with this crazy spiritual attack that came out of nowhere. We should never be surprised by such things, I guess, but I was not expecting this situation, and truly I have NO IDEA how it even happened. Which has left me wondering about how much power the devil actually has over people. I mean, I know that unless you are possessed, he can't force you to do things, but he can suggest them. And people who aren't following the Lord likely have no reason not to act on those suggestions. But the idea that people would willingly cause other people pain and trouble is always hard to swallow for me. Or that they don't consider the impact their actions might have is just as troubling. Either way, sin is an awful thing. We realize it much more when something "big" happens that shows just how destructive sin is, but those "little" things are just as dangerous, maybe even more so. In this morning's message we were admonished to not give the devil a foothold. I keep saying that phrase over and over to myself now. I don't want the devil to have even a pinch hold in me or my family, let alone space enough for his whole foot! Pray for us, if you would, and guard yourself and your family well.