A few years ago, I wrote about the crazy incident when a guy was looking in my kitchen window after dark. The title of that post is The Choice of Fear, because in that situation I CHOSE to NOT be afraid, even though my mind could have very easily gone in a terrorized direction.
What I have not written about, until now, is what happened AFTER that evening…
The days following, I continued to pray about the situation. You see, part of not allowing fear to overcome us, requires continual prayer. We must hand that situation over to God, sometimes over and over, however many times it takes until the fear no longer enters (or re-enters) our minds. We “give it to God” through simple prayer and faith that our prayers will be answered in His timing, His way.
I prayed and asked God to help me figure out WHO it was, looking in the window. I prayed for protection over the entire neighborhood. I shared that post about fear in our neighborhood Facebook group, and another neighbor said that her son (a little boy) saw a person with a similar description looking in their window as well. I had just read a small booklet version of the larger book titled “Circle Maker”, and through it, I was encouraged to pray for my entire neighborhood. That Jesus loved every. Single. Neighbor. (Yup, even that crabby old man down the street.) I prayed for the hearts of all of us. I prayed protection over every household. I prayed for an opportunity to be a witness for God.
A few weeks went by and it happened AGAIN, to another neighbor, a friend, who caught a young man looking in his little girl’s window. Now it was getting out of control. Enough was enough.
I asked God to help me figure out who was looking in our windows, and felt the Holy Spirit nudge at me to look through the people in our Facebook group. (I’ll explain more about the Holy Spirit nudging as we go on.) I just had this FEELING that the person lived in the neighborhood. I went to our Facebook group, and a young man had posted a picture of his vehicle, missing its locks, and stating something along the lines of “I don’t know who did this to my car, but we need to get this guy!” The post seemed fishy to me… intentionally trying to stir things up… usually the posts in that group aren’t so aggressive, but more informative. This one was odd.
Nevertheless, I started browsing the members, and after clicking on only 3 members, out of the 300, I prayed again. “God, I really don’t have time to go through 300 members’ pages searching for this face. Please, if I am meant to see him, lead me to him.” I scrolled down a bit and the very next person that I clicked on, was a young lady. I believe it was God Himself who led me to choose her. Why else would I have clicked on a girl when I knew it was a guy? But after “Facebook stalking” her pictures for only a moment… I saw him. I wasn’t POSITIVE that it was the same guy, but he looked very similar. Facebook is an excellent tool for tracking people (be careful what you put on there!), because she tagged him in the photo. I clicked on his wall, and saw a bunch of his own posts, remodeling that very car which was supposedly “destroyed” by “the guy” who was bringing trouble into the whole neighborhood. He was bragging about all the work that he was doing on his vehicle. The exact same vehicle that he posted on the neighborhood page.
So now I had a REALLY good guess as to who was looking in our window and the windows of others. But HOW would I ever prove this??? What good would it do to accuse him? I had to pray AGAIN! I had to ask the Holy Spirit for my next step! I had to move SLOWLY and WISELY in this. After praying about it, I decided to post in our group… a warning written directly to him, without mentioning his name or anything about him. Again, a prompting from the Holy Spirit. My ordinary self would not have had the nerve to do that. It was something along the lines of
“I know who you are and I know where you live. We have neighbors who live close to you, keeping an eye on you and your house. Your nonsense needs to stop. This is your warning.” Which was absolutely true. By this point I had about 5 neighbors (including the other victims) that I could trust with my suspicion.
Oh mama, did that get people FIRED UP! The hate comments from the neighbors… sheesh! They all “needed to know” who it was! But I could not accuse him… he needed to call himself out. My accusation would have worked against us, not for us. No matter how much they pushed and threatened me (seriously, they were threatening to call the police on ME), I just kept saying “We need to trust God in this. Be patient.” I responded with only kindness, because I knew that I was now God’s representative, since I kept publicly handing the situation over to Him. Therefore, my words needed to do just that… represent the love of Christ even to rude crude dudes (that’s my nice term.) I stood up for myself when I needed to, but I did not let my emotions take over. Including my NEW FEAR of the OTHER neighbors threatening me!
I just… waited. For God to do His thing. For something good to come of this insane online neighborhood mess that I had created as a result of the Holy Spirit telling me to post this warning.
People! Being obedient to that “still, small Voice” in our minds is NEVER easy! Obedience often makes things worse before they get better! BUT things will never get BETTER if we aren’t willing to mess up the “just fine” in order to get to the BEST that God has for us!!
So the day went on, and by evening two interesting things happened. First, his girlfriend friend requested me (the young lady that I had originally been led to). That was a little weird. Second, that girlfriend’s mom sent me a private message, asking me if it was her daughter’s boyfriend. WOW. Confirmation. I asked if I could call her (again WISDOM LEADING! I didn’t know if she was trying to get information to use against me, like the rest of the neighborhood at this point, or if she was genuinely concerned about the young man living in her house). We spoke on the phone and I could hear it in her heart… she was worried for her daughter. And truly suspicious of and fed up with her daughter’s boyfriend, explaining that he steals even from HER all the time! She decided the time had come for him to leave her home.
Within a couple hours, the young man posted on our Facebook page. He brought all the attention to himself, all on his own. He said that he was the one being blamed. His reason for posting was to tell everyone that he was innocent. He and I messaged back and forth a couple times. His girlfriend threatened to take me to court for slander (which slander would have required me using a name, but perhaps they don’t know what slander means?). It’s so much easier to not get emotionally swept away into the madness with others, when you rose above it long ago. Daily Bible study… the absolute #1 life-changing, mind-changing thing that anyone can do for him or herself, helped me to immediately recognize foolishness as foolishness, to back away and say nothing when it would have been as powerful as throwing straw into the wind, and speaking up when I needed to speak up.
For instance, after the second threat of going to court from the young man, I told him to “Take down your post and don’t talk about it anymore. As of now, legally, there is nothing that I can do to prove you were the one looking in my window. But if you would like to go to court and open a case, I will bring my photos, documentations, letters, and copied Facebook comments from you, and chances are, the judge will rule in my favor. As of now you won’t go to jail. If you want to go to court, we can do that.”
He deleted his post.
There are times when we need to stay silent, and there are times when we need to stand up for ourselves.
There are times when we need to wait and trust God for healing, and there are times when we need to get to a doctor (oftentimes we need to do both).
There are times we need to submit to authority, and there are times when we need to remove ourselves from being under their control (when they are pushing us to go against God’s Word).
There are times when we need to volunteer more, and there are times when we need to be less involved in ministry for the sake of the big picture.
There are times to suffer in order to be refined and purified, and there are times for our hearts and minds to heal.
There are times when we need to draw closer to friends, and there are times when we need to step away from them in peace and love.
Sometimes, these times are a moment to moment basis. Sometimes, they are for a season of life. Other times, they are a permanent solution to something we have been battling for years.
The thing is, there are many, many factors to solving every problem. There are other people’s lives to consider. Other people’s emotions. Other people’s hearts. Our own heart. What God is doing in each individual. How we all work together to ultimately glorify HIM. What that means, and how it ties into the big picture of life. Every trial here, no matter how big or how small, has a purpose. Through our problems, we are learning. Through the battles, we gain strength. It is through the difficulties of life, that we see our need for God. Our NEED for HELP.
It is the Holy Spirit, the one and only God’s very Spirit, that is our Helper. He cannot be seen, but wow, He can be experienced.
Yesterday I was fasting, and when I fast, I like to spend some time praying outside. I knew there was a park with good walking trails close by, but I was not sure where it was exactly. I knew that it was west, and that was all I knew. A thought came into my mind. It said “Just start going, I will take you there.” So, I started going. I drove… right, left, right, left, right, left… I never retraced my steps. I never circled the same block. I actually had forgotten where I was headed. Suddenly, a sign on my left caught my attention, “What’s this place?” I wondered (I genuinely became so deep in thought while driving that I forgot to look for the park.) It was the park! I was led directly to it.
You see, that is EXACTLY how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. He is our Guide. He gives us the steps, just as we need them. He does not hand over the whole map. He tests our faith in Him, by giving us the FIRST STEP, to see if we will take that first step. He wants us to know that we are so incredibly DEPENDENT on God for EVERYTHING. We don’t like being dependent. But we are. We are dependent on the sun to shine. We are dependent on the rain to come. We are dependent on the earth to spin on its axle and rotate around the sun, giving us specific seasons at specific times… in order to reap our harvests. Without them, we would die. We are already dependent in the biggest things. Can we be patient and obedient, and acknowledge our dependency in the small things as well?
It is through the dependency on the Holy Spirit, the Voice in our minds that gives peace and instruction, one step at a time, that our problems are solved. Usually the problems take time, but with trust, patience, and endurance, we get there. With FAITH, we see incredible, miraculous results that ONLY God can do.
Included in my final response to the young man, was an invitation for him to drop his lifestyle on the wrong path of life, and surrender to God. That God loved him so much, that He helped me FIND this lost man. He was lost. He was so young, like 19, and making foolish decisions to start his life on. He was a dishwasher, with a baby on the way, desperate for money. God has put money on the earth, to test us. What do we truly find valuable? Honor. Respect. Obedience. Perseverance. Determination. Hard work. Consistency. Glory. Or will we throw away every value for personal gain? We don’t want to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading… that’s the long way. We want it NOW. We forget that the long way leads to the Promise Land. The shortcut leads to destruction.
So, the next time YOU hear that Voice in your mind… the one leading you through life’s problems. The FIRST step clear, but the result unclear, will you follow that Voice? Will you obey the Holy Spirit? Our doubts and fears will hold us back. The uncertainty of not knowing the outcome, keeps us stuck in “I’m fine”. But the one guarantee we do have, is that when we take that step with good intentions of following what we THINK God wants us to do, God honors our obedience to Him and works out the situation for good. He leads us to problems solved. He leads us to breakthroughs, blessings, miracles, wisdom, joy, and peace!
Will YOU follow that Voice?