Okay, something I've never told anyone except Jason, is that the night Tess died, after... everything, and he had let me take a shower while he took care of... stuff, there is something I remember so clearly.
I had just come out of the shower, the shower I had sobbed through. I leaned against the bathroom wall, lacking the strength to hold myself up, still sobbing, and I cried out to God "WHY?!? Why did you let this happen? Why? Of all the pets, why Jena's?!? WHY?!?"
And a still, small voice responded "I'm saving your marriage"
I shutup, but I definitely did not understand how that was gonna accomplish anything. And quite frankly I was probably dehydrated from the vomiting and the crying, and I was tired and grief-stricken, and still a little bit in shock, so... I probably made that up, right?
Even though that scenario doesn't make much sense either. I mean, I don't think any of the farthest recesses of my brain could have even made up a way that Tess's death could save our marriage. I mean... really. C'mon.
Fast forward about two months. Jena announces one day that she saw Tess the night before.
Since she was a toddler, and often confuses how long her past tense has been, I said "Yes, you saw Tess a few months ago"
But she insisted that it had been just the night before.
Humoring her, and thinking that maybe she had a dream, I gently reminded her that Tess had died, and asked her to tell me about how she saw her.
She told me she was missing Tess, so she asked God to show her to her, and He did.
Well, shut my mouth.
Apparently the three of them (God, Jena, and Tess) played in Jena's room for a majority of the night. She did seem more tired than usual.
Breaking in to answer a couple of questions:
- yes, at this point I think she's probably had a dream
- assuming it really happened, no, I don't actually believe that animals go to Heaven when they die. But I do believe in a Heavenly Father that loves all the little children, and I do think that maybe, just maybe, if a little girl were in mourning, and asked to see her beloved pet cat in order to be comforted, He might just do so
God and Tess repeat their visits to Jena over the next several nights. I'm starting to believe these are not dreams.
And inside, I'm groaning for my child. And gearing up for spiritual warfare.
Why? Because there were some things that happened a week or two prior to this, that combined with this made it apparent that my daughter shares my... gift.
And I know how difficult that can make her life.
And I know that while she is this young, this tiny innocent child, she has a certain amount of protection from Satan's forces. And once she accepts Christ, she is protected. But there will be a time from when she reaches accountability until she accepts Christ as her Saviour that she is open to attack.
So momma is putting on the armour, getting ready for battle.
The next day, Jena tells me she played with Tess again. I asked where God was. She said Tess came alone.
Something inside of me twisted, and I felt physically ill.
Call it mother's intuition, call it gift of discernment, call it whatever you want... I knew immediately, this was wrong.
At this point I silently prayed and asked God to provide a hedge of protection around each one of us... pets included (after Tess, how could I not?), and our home, our entire property, to prevent any evil spirits from entering our home.
The next day, again... Tess had come, alone, again.
I told Jena... no more. It was not okay that Tess was coming by herself. That she lived with God now, and if God wanted her to come, He would have come too. That I don't want Jena playing with Tess anymore, by themselves.
She seemed to understand.
And I think on some level she must have said "no".
Because then the real fun began.
Ever have your toddler tell you she's angry because there are so many people in the car she can't see out the window? And it's only the two of you?
And the reason they're there is because they can't get into our house (see prayer above - prayed silently, remember, so Jena didn't hear me) and they think that if they ride in our car they can ride into it?
In the meantime, things in our family were crazy, and stressed.
Our marriage was still in not-good-land. Jena was acting up, terrible two's gone haywire, and I was stressed and frustrated beyond belief. I felt like I was losing my mind.
Every night I would pray that prayer of safety & protection around us and our home. And it did seem like things lessened... but never ended.
And I didn't understand why not. And I didn't understand why I was having to pray this prayer every night, and still God was only showing me minimal results, when it seemed so clearly this was spiritual warfare.
And then, one night, as I was begrudgingly beginning to pray, frustrated, tired, stressed... that still small voice.
"Ask and it shall be given to you. You're asking for the wrong thing. You're praying the wrong prayer."
And in that instant, I knew.
I had been asking God to keep any new spirits from coming into our home, onto our property. I never asked him to remove the ones that were already there.
And the second I began to pray, I saw a birdseye view of our entire property, and all the spirits dwelling there. Many of them outside the home. Several inside our house. Including one, huddled in our closet, against the wall separating our room from Jena's.
I prayed silently, until the end, when I commanded them all to leave in the name of Jesus Christ, which I whispered. And in that instant I saw them all, yanked up as though someone had jerked them from behind the neck, snapped away into nothingness at once.
Jena has never mentioned seeing Tess, or any apparitions of any sort, since that night.
As far as spiritual warfare goes, I can pinpoint that day, that night, that moment as a turning point for our family. Jena's behavior problems stopped almost instantly. That's the time when our marriage finally began its path to healing, something that has happened more quickly since that night than I would have ever thought possible just one year ago. The track of our entire family, including myself, as shifted. We are closer and stronger than ever. We are on a path, together, as one unit, instead of three individuals.
We won that battle. We were victorious. But the war isn't over yet.
Oh, wait. Yes it is.
(sorry, couldn't get it to embed - but it's worth following the link, I promise)