Originally published Thursday, 14 August 2014.
Anthony wrote and sent something last week that he felt God placed on his heart for the blog. I don't think it needs much of an introduction, and so here it is.
I've been listening to a new CD I got by Thousand Foot Krutches titled "The End is Where We Begin." It's a great CD, and the title has been stuck in my head. As a Christian, I know that at the end of this life, our eternal and perfect life will begin. But for me, this title took on a new meaning two months ago.
I had just finished reading the eighteenth and last chapter of Laurie's book. I put the pages down with tears in my eyes. (Actually the last two chapters had each brought tears, and I know prison isn't making me soft, so it must be God!) Now our story would go out to others. The battle had been fought and won. Then I found out the end is where we begin.
Slowly, fears and apprehension started to creep into my life after that. Not about the book, but other things. The first fear was going to church, or more specifically, worship. Our worship team suddenly grew by five members and as worship leader, I found myself trying to blend different playing styles. I met resistance, and though I had leadership backing, I still didn't want to deal with it. Conflict in prison can escalate in the blink of an eye. I wanted to run from it and go back to just cruising along. God, of course, still showed up, and we sounded good every time, but apprehension still pops up every Friday.
I started having a hard time at work, so I didn't want to go in. I began to dwell on dying in prison. Then Laurie and I talked a few weeks ago, and when we got off the phone, I felt as low as I had been in years. I realized then that I had been in a battle for God going on three years and now that the battle was over, I had let down my defenses. The accuser had attached, but the end is where we begin!
When we are in that battle with God over Satan, be it for our family, ministry, work, or personal life, we are focused on God. We grow near to Him. His Word speaks to us. We see God work. But when that battle is over, we think we can relax––not so! The end is where we begin. I had to be more specific in my prayers, read His Word, even when I felt distracted, and I had to realize my battle will never be over.
Keeping our focus on Christ is a daily struggle. Just because we come to a pasture after being in the desert for a time doesn't mean we can let up. Our battle is not with flesh and blood, after all. And as God's children we are always, always in Satan's crosshairs.
The end really is where we begin to fight, to grow, to live!
I did not tell Anthony this prior to receiving that letter last week, but I have been in a similar place since finishing my manuscript. It's interesting that both Anthony and I have felt particularly vulnerable to attack lately. There are some big things on the horizon. I'm going to a speaker's conference in a couple of weeks, the Billy Graham film will be coming out in November, and my book will be released next spring––all of which are from God. But what God wills, Satan opposes, and so I'd like to ask for prayers.
Please pray for protection and strength for both Anthony and me. Pray that the message God has entrusted to us will go forth like wildfire, impacting and changing the lives of millions. Pray that my publisher will be directed by Jesus in all their decisions pertaining to my book.
This is my prayer, and I would be incredibly grateful if you'd join me in it! I believe the message of redemption that Anthony and I have been given has the power to transform lives to the glory of God, but quite honestly, that won't come without a fight. I'm sure fighting on my end, and I think Anthony is as well, but we sure could use the strength that comes from the prayers of God's saints! And I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for each and every prayer you pray and for being a part of what God is doing in and through our story!
I pray for the fullness of God's blessing on each one of you!