Dealing with the Demonic (Spiritual Warfare)

Heavy topic. There are so many varying opinions on this topic, that I’m hesitant to really dive into it. I’m still learning about spiritual warfare, so this won’t really be a guide to it, but more of an explanation of how it’s been manifesting in my life.

I suppose you could say that I’ve always dealt with the demonic. When I was a child, sleep paralysis plagued me. I saw dark shadows. I heard screams and voices. I always called out to Jesus and it stopped.

As I’ve grown in Christ, spiritual warfare has become a regular issue in my life. Typically before a great thing for the Lord happens, I experience deep spiritual warfare. Right after my baptism in 2014/before I led three people to the Lord, I was attacked with obsessive thoughts and fears.

Before I left for India in 2015, again I was tormented by obsessive thoughts and fears about Satan and the demonic. A demon even spoke through a family member and cursed me, telling me I will get raped in India and that nothing good will come of my trip. Well, I found my life’s purpose that summer, in India.

Again, like clockwork, obsessive thoughts have found their way back to me, this time in the form of hypochondria and literal ulcers in my stomach. Now, I’m not saying that this is totally spiritual, but it’s also not just mental or physical. I’m working through this. Satan definitely uses obsessive thoughts to torment Christians. That’s one of his tactics.

I’ve also had demons literally speak to me. They’ve told me that I’m a whore, I’m worthless, I’m a rodent, and I should go to hell. I’ve literally heard these growling, inhuman voices in my ear, typically as I try to sleep. Anything a demon says is a lie. Satan is the father of ALL LIES. John 10:10 tells us that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy and Jesus Christ came to give us life and give it abundantly. Remember that Scripture. It will give you encouragement.

That’s another way Satan attacks you. In your sleep. Sleep paralysis and insomnia can be a spiritual attack. I know for me, it always is. How do I know this? After rebuking the enemy and using the name of Jesus Christ, it ends and I can sleep.

 

How do we combat the enemy? Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the whole armor of God and pray in the Spirit at all times. We use the name of Jesus. We quote Scripture out loud. We do as Jesus Christ did, when He was tempted in the wilderness.

 

Be encouraged. If you’re dealing with the demonic, you’re not alone.

II Timothy 2:17 tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.

Fear is NOT of God! Rebuke it, give it to God, and go to sleep. ❤

Philippians 1:6 tells us that Jesus will finish the good work HE started in us.

Matthew 19:26 tells us that we, in our fragile and fleshly bodies can’t do this, but with God, ALL things are possible.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

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Self-Sabotage and the Single Girl

Readers,

I have a confession to make. I self-sabotage all the time. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I’ll find a way to make it harder for myself. Jobs, boyfriends, friends, it doesn’t matter! I self-sabotage.

This realization has come upon me recently and for a few weeks I wondered why I did this so constantly. It’s become almost second nature for me. Well, I think I have an idea why.

I grew up in an abusive home. My parents had a marriage void of love, respect, or shared purpose. My dad was not the best example of a father OR a husband. As a result, I’ve noticed ways I react to conflict or difficult situations that must have been learned in childhood. When there’s a conflict, I fight viciously for myself and cut ties. When it appears that someone is taking advantage of me, I remove all emotion from my words and treat that person in a professional way. When a job seems like it might be too hard for me, I quit the job or find reasons not to take it.

This was taught to me in my childhood. When my parents had a fight, divorce was threatened each time. My father would leave for the night, slamming the door and abandoning us. My mother would then go to the bank, taking out cash and teaching me how to “get what I need for myself.”

So much happened in my childhood that I’m slowly seeing how even my relationships with simple things like money or food have been distorted because I’ve never seen a healthy example of one.

What’s the point of all of this? I’m a runner. In difficult situations, I neither flee nor fight. I freeze.

But when people hurt me or appear to manipulate me, I fight with all I’ve got. It’s a positive thing that I’m a fighter. However I have to let my shield down a bit and put my sword back in its place.

Because sometimes, a person will show you that they would never treat you like how your dad used to. They aren’t that person from your past. And if they’re worth anything, they’ll stick around while you painfully and awkwardly discover that.

 

Be patient. Work out the lies you’ve believed and harmful habits from your childhood.

 

Let God heal them. Let God show you that there are people out there who will love you.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

My Thorn

My dreams often times run wild and free. My dreams…what are they? From where do they come? Is it just me in there? Or does my Father sculpt them? Perhaps it’s both blended together. God’s influence and my talents working as one. That’s the ideal, but is it true for me?

My worst enemy will always be me. Pulling against Him as He extracts the rotten growth. Those roots run deep. They’ve woven themselves around my heart and traveled between the curves in my brain. I pray and wait for Him to set me free.

But perhaps this is just my particular thorn. Everyone’s got one, I’m sure of that. When I grasp the rose that is God’s heart, my thorn cuts deeper in my palm, but I squeeze tighter. Regardless of the pain I let the blood trickle down. It’s not mine. It’s His. It cleans me as I hold on. My thorn forms the crown He wore.

I was blessed by my Lord with a big heart. It burdens me as I live, move, and have my being. This heart of mine, it isn’t mine anymore. I gave that ownership to another, to the Only. A heart for His purposes must not be filthy; it must be purified. But, it must always be broken.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

Why I Almost Left Christianity

Wow. That title probably shocked all of my friends and relations. Catch your breath. You good? Ok. Leggo.

I’ve been a Christian since I was 8 years old. I began to actually know God personally when I was 15 and suffering from terrible depression and anxiety, much of it because of my father’s abuse and my subsequent feelings of inferiority. Through that desert, I clung to the promises of God revealed to us in Scripture. I prayed constantly and always filled my ears with worship music. I enveloped myself in all things God.

Since then, I’ve been on a roller coaster ride with God, in a completely positive way. We’ve experienced depression and anxiety, friendships lost, hearts broken, mission trips to India, and life as a young Christian in NYC. He’s walked with me every step of the way.

But, since our last presidential election, something inside me changed. No longer did I have sympathy for people like Donald Trump (racist, sexist, bigot, lost sinner), nor did I have any compassion for his supporters. To me, they were all trash. I hated them. In my mind, the least threatening were racists and the worst of them were Nazis. I began berating white people every chance I got. I thoroughly enjoyed this pasttime.

Then, as Donald Trump’s “presidency” progressed, and more and more acts of violence were enacted upon PoCs and LGBTQ people, I saw the church was silent. Actually, let me correct myself. The white evangelical church was silent. When Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were murdered by police officers last summer, the church was silent. Sure, a few people wrote a couple of articles online about police brutality and racism, but the church as a whole remained silent.

The real moment came for me when I saw how white Evangelicals were so quick to defend Donald Trump (not a Christian, by the way) for any little thing he did, whether that was bragging about grabbing a woman’s pussy (his word, not mine), or tweeting idiotic falsehoods. To many white Evangelicals, to be Christian means to be Republican. That’s laughable. I have a hunch that Jesus would side more with a Socialist movement than He would with a Republican one. That’s the Jesus I see in Scripture.

Now, the two main issues that white Evangelicals have made idols of are abortion and homosexuality. They’re so up in arms about abortion but lower their eyes when young black men and women are murdered on the street. They say nothing when Latinos are arrested like criminals and detained in carajo concentration camps! When Muslim women get their hijabs ripped off, they keep silent. Abortion and gay marriage. Abortion and gay marriage. Where did the church get the idea that THIS is what Christianity is about?

Christianity is the fact that Jesus Christ, Son of God, came to earth in the form of a human baby. He grew into a strong young man who never sinned and always loved. He showed us how to love. He taught us how to live. He demonstrated reconciliation and forgiveness. He took our sins upon Himself and died a criminal’s death on that tree, suffering humiliation and indescribable pain. He defeated both sin and death. Now we can stand righteous before God all because of Jesus’ sacrifice. It has NOTHING to do with us! It was all Jesus. It will always be Jesus.

Seeing my white Evangelical brothers and sisters defend a man like Donald Trump stirred up deep feelings of betrayal inside of me. I stopped going to church. I put away my Bible. I listened to whatever music I wanted.

 

Then God stepped in and brought me back. That’s a whole other story.

 

The point is, I have to agree with Gandhi when he said that he liked our Christ, but not our Christians. I don’t like many Christians in this hemisphere. But, I have to remind myself of a few things.

  1. We’re all human and therefore all sinners.
  2. Sanctification is a process.
  3. I follow Christ, not Christians.

 

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

Using Freedom as License to Sin

Hey dear readers,

Lord, so many things have happened lately around the world. My heart mourns for those in South Asia and Texas who are suffering the ramifications of devastating flooding.

 

This morning’s post is going to be about something entirely different. It’s more personal, more painful. You all know I’m a Christian and I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Brother, and Heavenly Husband. I love Him so much and I want to do the right thing, but here’s something I’ve learned about myself recently.

 

I struggle with legalism. Yes, I know we all tend to be a bit legalistic, but my legalism was pretty bad.

 

From ages 15-23, I operated under a legal system in relation to God. I would force myself to do “good things” because I wanted to be good. I wanted Abba to love me more. I wanted to be a perfect Christian. As a result of this thinking, I would come into the presence of God without any sense of freedom and hardly from the posture of a loved child. It was always fear. I always felt like I was coming up short.

 

Lately, God has completely broken that. It honestly feels as if I’m getting to know God for the first time! I love it and am so grateful that He broke my legalism down. I remember the night He did this. It was two Sundays ago and I read Romans chapter 4 before bedtime. I can only explain what happened next as the Holy Spirit overcoming me, but all of a sudden I began weeping, sobbing, crying, llorando like never before. Suddenly I realized how much God loves me. Me! How He gave Christ for us and it is through faith alone in CHRIST’S work on the cross that we have forgiveness of sins and freedom. Now we can call Him, Abba Father!

 

Before this revelation, I went a bit wild for a few weeks. I’m not ashamed to admit it, because it was necessary for God to show me how a wild lifestyle was not the answer. I drank too much, watched inappropriate things on my computer, and considered having sex with an almost 40-year old man who certainly doesn’t love God. I literally considered it. It wasn’t just a passing thought. I was mere steps away from planning a tryst with this man.

I did this all in the name of freedom. Oh, since Christ loves us and saves us, we can have fun now, right? It doesn’t matter what we do because it’s all about Christ. Right?

 

Nope.

 

I got so low because of my behavior that Christ ushered in that Sunday night, loved me with his presence, and brought me to my knees before Him. Day by day, He is teaching me what it looks like to have a love relationship with Him, not a relationship built on fear.

 

Readers, our freedom isn’t license to sin. But, sometimes, we get so off track that God Himself has to snatch us up from ourselves and teach us what true freedom looks like. I don’t have the answer for that, but I’m excited to learn more about my Abba. My loving, patient, forgiving Abba. ❤

I Am Biracial (¡Guau! ¡No Me Digas!)

I am biracial.
Two races.
Two groups of people claim me as their own, or maybe they actually reject me.
I try to squeeze into the boxes you’ve placed in front of me, but somehow I can’t fit in.

Maybe it’s my hair that coils and springs freely.
My hair that moves wildly like an ocean wave crashing upon a Puerto Rican beach.
“Oh, girl you’re such a fiery Latina!”

Or perhaps it’s my skin color,
That mezcla of brown, yellow, and white.
“Your skin is so light, if you straighten your hair, you could pass.”
For white.
So you’re a Nazi.

I’m sorry, but I didn’t know this was a test. And what’s a passing score? White?

If so, I guess I’ve failed, because I got 50%.

And if this is a test, I was doomed to fail from the start.

Starting to think about my ethnicity the more you play games with it.

“What are you?”

What am I? A beloved daughter of the King.

You toy with my identity like we’re on the playground but half of me is on the wall waiting to be picked.

Which half? Depends on who YOU are.

People of color love to reaffirm my Puerto Rican “sassy” flavor.

And Caucasians are thrilled when they hear me speak. You see, I’ve been told I “speak well.” Speak well for what?

What do you think this is? Is my identity something malleable that you can stretch and stretch to fit your preconceived notions of what you think I should be?

Because I want to know when my ethnic identity became in any way related to our dependent upon you.

You need to know that I decide how I express my cultures. I choose which to identify with.

But you know, maybe I identify with both! That’s something we both know is unsettling to the idea of me in your head.

But, thankfully, even if I claim both cultures equally, shocking I know, you can still choose how you see me.

Because I am biracial.
Two races.
Two groups of people claim me as their own, or maybe they actually reject me.
I try to squeeze into the boxes you’ve placed in front of me
But somehow I can’t fit in.

And I don’t want to anymore.

When Satan Comes At Night

At my most vulnerable, at my most fragile, he comes. When I allow the doubts to creep in, he makes his presence known. He doesn’t come in the form of a terrifying fallen angel. Oh no, he comes in the form of a lover, an amante, a desire, a forbidden passion.

As I walk around my quaint neighborhood, admiring the clusters of houses and little gardens, he comes to mind:

“Maybe you should text him.”

“Perhaps you were wrong to reject him before.”

“God could have sent you to show him the Way, couldn’t He have? God can do anything, right?”

 

Washing my hair and listening to Latin music, I picture us dancing to the tune. I don’t change the song.

Hearing the Spanish love songs I adore and imagining him wanting me like the singer wants his muse.

The sky falls, the sun drops, the stars peek their heads into the wide God-fashioned expanse.

“Text him. You can’t stop thinking about him, so it must be a sign from God.”

Five months had passed since we last spoke. His ridiculous romantic advances were disgusting to me and I had rejected him.

But, the connection.

But, the feeling.

But, the passion. 

We exchanged pleasantries for a few moments before the former flattering words spewed forth from his mouth. 

“What do you want?” I asked.

“All of you. I want to know everything about you.”

Now, this man doesn’t know Christ and he is almost 40-years old. Everything in me told me not to respond to that, but I did. Why did I? He promised love. He promised passion. He promised fire. His words stirred the desire in me that I had suppressed for so long.

After a night of forsaken sleep and fervent text messages, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly to my heart by giving me a feeling of utter disgust with this situation. I felt it in the pit of my stomach and it gurgled up to my throat. I texted the man and restated that I’m not the one for him.

Not today, Satan. Not today.

When Satan comes, he doesn’t come as a figure of fear or destruction, WHICH IS WHAT HE IS. He comes as your greatest fleshly desire. In my case, it was romantic love and physical passion. Remember that Satan is the father of lies and all he wants to do is steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He prowls around, looking for someone to devour (I Peter 5:8). Who does he want to destroy? Believers. He hates us with an everlasting hatred because we are God’s beloved, and he hates God. 

Brothers and sisters, there is hope. That hope comes in the person of Jesus Christ, fully man and fully God. Through His sacrifice on the cross, we no longer have to identify by our sins and shortcomings. I am not Gabrielle, the girl who succumbs when a man sweet talks her in Spanish. I am Gabrielle, daughter of the King, furtherer of God’s kingdom, and heavenly princess. Your sins do not define you if you believe in Jesus Christ. Accept His free gift of healing, liberation, and peace. This gift is something we believers must accept every day. Every day we have to say NO to identifying by our sins and say YES to identifying by our God. Preach yourself the Gospel every day. Lord knows I need His Good News every moment.

You will be tempted because you are human and prone to sin. We all are. But, God promises to give us a way out of temptation. That is through Himself. (1 Corinthians 10:13).

 

Be encouraged. You are NEVER too dirty or too much for God. He made you and He LOVES you!

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

When It All Falls Apart (Job)

Peace be with you, dear readers.

If you know me outside of my blog, you know that this past year has been incredibly difficult. I’ve been feeling quite a bit like Job, as dramatic as that sounds. Through my past and continual losses, I’m slowly learning about the sovereignty of God, His grace, and just how much of a threat I am to the kingdom of darkness.

Now, many of you are experiencing a difficult situation at the moment. I don’t know what that is, but let me tell you that it is certainly not meaningless. God takes our painful moments, that He allows to happen, and uses them for our benefit and His glory. How does He do this?

First, let’s take a look at my 2017 and then I can explain how God is restoring my life.

In 2017, thus far, these different tragedies have taken place:

  1. I lost my job teaching ESL because they didn’t have a class for me to teach.
  2. Grad school fell apart for me and I had to drop out.
  3. Because I was living off of my loans, that meant I had no more money to survive on.
  4. My parents’ marriage began falling apart and is now completely dissolved.
  5. My father was rushed to the hospital with a blood clot in his lung and is recovering.
  6. I was forced by circumstances to move to Atlanta because I could no longer afford my apartment, which means I left all of my friends.
  7. My favorite aunt, who has Lupus, feels that God is slowly calling her home.

Damn! That’s a lot, right?? It seems overwhelming when it’s written in a list. Trust me, experiencing it was even more overwhelming.

As each part of my life began falling apart, I began falling as well. I fell into a depression. My body rejected food. A few sips of soup were all I could take for a day. My mind craved sleep. I passed the afternoons with naps. All I could think was, “What’s the point anymore?” “Does life really matter?” “Maybe it would be better if it were all over.”

Lord Jesus that should have been the biggest red flag that I was being spiritually attacked! Think about the story of Job in the Bible. Job was a man who enjoyed earthly prosperity and comfort while recognizing that it was all from God and loving God deeply. He was a blameless man and had a solid reputation. Because of his love for God and his loyalty, Satan asked God if he could test Job. Satan told God that if God took away all of Job’s comforts and security, then Job would curse Him to His face.

Ouch.

Now God told Satan that he could take anything from Job except he couldn’t kill Job. So Satan destroyed every aspect of Job’s life. He lost it all! Yet, in the beginning, Job still praised God and worshipped Him through his pain.

When Job’s friends began to accuse him of committing some sin or Job’s wife doubted God, Job began to fall. Without any material pleasures or human companionship, Job fell into the darkness and cried out to the Lord. 

The Lord heard him, comforted him, and restored to Job twice of what was lost.

Some people may find it dramatic to compare myself to Job. I don’t. God didn’t give us Job’s story so we could look at it and think, “Oh wow, that sucks. Good thing I have Jesus and nothing bad can happen to me!” Sorry to burst your bubble, but when you sign up to be a Christian, you sign up for Jesus’ army. You are putting yourself out there to be attacked. Expect it.

Because we love Jesus and serve Him, we are a prime target for the enemy. Every moment of your life, he tries to take your eyes off of God. His ultimate goal is your destruction. As Jesus tells us in John 10:10, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.” Satan wants to steal from you. He wants to kill you. He wants to destroy you and your life.

Scary, right? But it doesn’t have to be!

As believers in Christ Jesus, we have His Holy Spirit inside of us who protects us completely from Satan. We have been washed with the blood of the Lamb and no weapon formed against us can stand (Is. 54:17). Jesus has actually given us all authority over Satan and his demons. We have the power to tell Satan to leave, to cast out demons, and to break strongholds in Jesus’ name (Luke 10:19).

Believe in that authority, because it comes from God. It is not dependent on your strengths and weaknesses. In fact, God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Do not be fearful because fear is from the enemy. The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).

Earlier I mentioned that God takes brokenness and makes it beautiful again. He really does. That’s what He yearns to do. That’s who He is! That’s the whole point of the Gospel! We’re so incredibly broken and awful things happen to us, but Jesus restores us inwardly so we can restore things outwardly (He also takes care of outward things as well!).

He’s currently doing that in my life. Yes, all of those terrible aforementioned things have happened, but here’s what also happened:

  1. I have valuable bonding time with my family again.
  2. The Lord has provided me with a good Christian community.
  3. The Lord just gave me a new job today (I actually got the call today. Woo!)
  4. He is slowly revealing more of His lovingkindness and His plans for my life through our quiet time together.

So, brothers and sisters, take heart. Remember that no spiritual attack can come to you that God Himself has not allowed. Suffering grows our faith, if we choose to abide in Christ. Christ promised that He Himself will finish the good work He started in you (Phil. 1:6).

Remember that all of the Gospel greats have been viciously attacked because of their potential in Christ. Many of them were promised great things by God and died with that hope (Hebrews 11). But we finish our race well by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, looking at His suffering throughout His ministry and death, and keep running!! (Hebrews 12).

If you are a Christian and you’re being attacked by Satan, rejoice because your name is a threat to the kingdom of darkness. What Satan and the world mean for evil, God means for your GOOD! (Genesis 50:20).

Combat the enemy’s darts through prayer, reading the Word, fasting, staying in community, and just believing that God will redeem you. Behold, He is coming soon on His white horse, ready to reclaim His bride. Trust in that.

 

Be blessed.

 

Gabrielle G.

 

Check out what John Piper has to say on Job:

Who Is Kajol?

She was smokey; that’s how she felt to me. A young teen she was, but she reflected something mysterious and unspoken when we met. A nose ring glittered against her cinnamon skin, which contrasted beautifully against her yellow salwar kameez. In the children’s park, she led me by the hand to her favorite spots: the statue of the elephant, the bushes of white flowers, and the clusters of dandelions. An hour passed like mere moments as we made wishes, watching the fluffy white stuff fly freely off the dandelion stems. Like children we swung from the swings, daring each other to go higher and higher. Fuchka was our afternoon snack and we laughed while popping those puris in our mouths.

While walking her back to her home in a local slum, still holding my hand, she suddenly looked up into my eyes and declared, “My name is Kajol.”

Knowing that her mother tongue was Hindi, I responded with, “Tera naam Kajol hai?”

She smiled and nodded.

I continued, “Oh! Well, mera naam Gabby hai!”

She laughed and introduced me to Barsha, the four-year old princess who claimed ownership of my other hand. Barsha had that adorable and common young Indian girl look: short, mushroom-like hair and a beautiful little dress. When I dropped these two princesses at home, knowing that the peaceful time we had just spent was rare for them, I left knowing that my life had just become altered in a way I never could have foreseen.

 

 

 

This is a snippet of this young lady who has taught me more about joy and resilience than anyone else I’ve known.

 

Gabrielle G.