It was a long battle.
Eight years in the fray. And so many more in recovery.
I was very aware that my marriage was an assignment from God. I even verified that before the wedding took place.
As it went on, I found I was being trained: lessons specific for handling what was before me that I rigorously worked to learn and apply.
One lesson I was being taught – this was fresh knowledge for me – was about binding a soul. This binding works to lessen the negative effect that an evil person can have on the world.
This was something very new to me.
Over the years of the battle I watched as my binding would take effect, then watch some more how, in time, the binding would ease and slip off. And the rancid behavior, calmed for a time, would return.
This process was repeated a number of times.
There would be a stilling in the assaults. Even displays of respect for me.
And, then, turning a corner I would be hit in the face with more attacks. Searing wrenches. Being slammed off-balance.
I would recover. Gather up any strength I might still have had about me. And do it again.
I think that after a time my enemy could see my coming. Trying to remain unseen became increasingly impossible.
So I tried another approach. I allowed the label of “insane” to be true. I became simple-minded. Plain. Addled.
And he fell for it.
Hook. Line. Sinker.
And he allowed me to get close to him, and bind him all over again.
So the cycle started up again. And again.
When it was over I didn’t carry with me a sense of satisfaction about this part of the battle. This part that I kept fumbling. Not getting right.
I have since mastered this technique, but in this first application, I felt that I had been weak, and my efforts sketchy.
Recently, I have been going through this time of life. Visions from God. Sort of a debriefing.
And I was shown (and shocked by) two things.
The first applies to this matter of soul binding.
My lassoing of my enemy was not the point. Learning the procedure, that was all good.
My success lie somewhere completely different than my applied efforts.
It was in getting my enemy to convert to Christianity. Which I did very efficiently.
That way, God tells me, he is in constant contact with the body and blood of Jesus, which maintain the waywardness of this man’s soul.
My success came from being able to drive him like a wayward goat into a corral that would keep his evil tendencies contained.
Learning this gave me a sense of relief.
But there was something else that I was shown.
From the minute that it was revealed that I was in this relationship to fight a spiritual battle, God referred to it as my “training.” A word that worked through my brain like acid on a piece of steel.
Training. Like some dog in the backyard. Learning to retrieve sticks.
I was not only profoundly insulted by this idea – it made it all sound so under control – it also terrified me wondering what, if this was the training, I would be facing in the future that would be the real thing.
So for all these intervening years since the battle ended – over 15 years now – I have fussed over my future. My future that I was trained for.
Would it slip around a corner and surprise me with a confrontation? Would I be trained some more? How would I know when what I had been trained for had arrived?
For me, it was a horrible concept to live with.
I didn’t want it.
But like most everything related to God, I was completely wrong about it.
At the time my two children were very young.
I can’t remember what happened, but one night I was heading to Maine with them. When I drove that route with my children, I would start out in the evening so that the majority of the trip for them would be in the dark and they could just sleep through it. I don’t mind driving under any circumstances. But this way, they could wake up, have a break at a roadside stop, and only have to wait a little while to reach my family’s home.
I can remember the exact spot that something happened to me on that trip. It was on the Massachusetts Turnpike. In the black.
The circumstances of my life, which included suffering from a serious illness among other things, had me beaten down quite a bit.
I remember realizing after a few years of battle that I had come to the end of my resources: emotional, psychological, spiritual, financial, you name it, I had nothing.
And I was responsible for my children.
I grew to see myself as a someone with two children strapped to my back crawling through the action of warfare. Bullets. Bombs. Boots.
All I knew was that I had to keep going.
So there in the black, with lights appearing around me from time-to-time, I had a vision.
God said: I am going to prove myself to you.
Tired, depressed, strained to every limit I had, I knew that I had misheard the vision.
The words were not, I am going to prove myself to you.
They were, in fact, You are going to prove yourself to me.
Or, I guessed, God was providing me with my line: I, Julia, am going to prove myself to you, God.
A thought, I thought, I would think about later.
After a nap, perhaps.
But there it was again: I am going to prove myself to you.
And I went through my “straightening out” of this vision.
Making myself the speaker. The prover.
Yes, yes, I responded. I understand. I have to prove myself to you.
It came again.
So I just drove, shrugged my shoulders, and wondered if, when I left the turnpike if I should take a bit of a break for myself.
There came the time when those words, I am going to prove myself to you, became like a sweet hymn that played in my head when I was thinking about other things.
It was there.
It wasn’t a lesson.
There wasn’t anything I could do about them.
I couldn’t even tell which end was up with them.
It struck me, though, that it was impossible for them to mean that God was going to prove himself to me.
And, being me, I stuck with my conviction.
I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was on the line to prove myself, and, as is normal for me, had absolutely no clue as to how to go about it.
Didn’t I have enough on my plate with all that I had on my plate?
What was I doing, anyway, if not proving something to God?
That I was surviving.
That I was not giving up.
That I was caring for my children no matter what was happening to me.
Wasn’t that enough?
After all, it was God who “got” me into this situation.
What more could I do?
So the words of the vision became like a song on the radio that I’d heard a million or two times. And no longer thought about the words. It was just there.
Except they came out of a radio that I couldn’t turn off.
The words were there.
I am going to prove myself to you.
Bottom line: Who was I to be proven to anyway? I was nobody. Nothing.
And why should God prove anything to anyone?
That became the background reality to my life at that time.
Years went by.
Even more went by.
I think what I once felt like infinite neediness became just numbness.
It was step after step.
Attack after attack.
Triumph after triumph.
Which just generated more attacks.
It was just my life.
Until the day came.
I was called to the stand to testify.
My husband was representing himself.
The question was asked.
And the battle was over.
There would still be skirmishes for a few years.
But my enemy had just walked into a booby trap of his own making.
All that were present noticed.
I kept walking through my life.
Now in shock.
I went over what had happened with the delicacy of a lace maker.
I stroked each thread. Again and again.
Had I just experienced that?
How could that have happened?
How could my husband, so brilliant, so capable, so focused on defeating me, transform into a tiger and fall into a hole that he would never be capable of escaping.
With a handful of words, my enemy was completely defeated.
How had this happened?
Over a bit of time I saw how it had happened: God had made it happen.
God had crafted a situation, fulfilled by my following his instructions to the letter, that led to the entrapment – the real binding in real life – of a man who would never have given up.
A man who was so desperate to win custody of his own children that he applied to numerous courts to have them put into foster care so that they would not be with me. I think he figured he could argue with the courts that since they were taken away from me, he was the “good” parent that would take care of them.
But now he was in a position that took away all his rights to the children – even the right to supervised visitation with them.
He had walked himself into a position of having no rights to seeing his own children.
He had done it. With God’s planning.
And my blind obedience.
So now I have been shown that I was not being trained for some future horror.
I was being trained to trust God.
To know that I could trust him.
Because, in the end, God had proven himself to me.