I have been a member of the church of Christ since I was 13. I have attended the church of Christ my entire life. We don't get all dramatic, we don't get overly excited, we are really composed and restrained in pretty much all matters concerning the Lord. It doesn't mean we don't feel things just as deeply or love the Lord just as strongly. We just feel a quiet respect is what is proper. I feel like my relationship with Christ has really deepened in the last few years.
One of the things I have come to a greater understanding of is that the devil isn't just some guy dressed in red down below the ground that will make your forever-after absolutely miserable if you don't follow God's word. He takes many forms and it can change day to day. Sometimes he is obvious; sometimes he is very subtle. He is good at leading you astray. He uses any means necessary to get the result he wants. He is devoted to his job 100% and works 24/7. He works much harder leading people astray than any of us work at being good Christians.
Well, the enemy showed up at my door the day before Christmas Eve 2002. It was the first Christmas since my mom had died suddenly. It was the first major holiday that we had been home since she died. (We were all supposed to go on a cruise during Thanksgiving. We were living in Texas at the time and got about halfway to New Orleans when we got a message that the boat had run aground and the cruise had been cancelled.) Anyway, the devil showed up on my doorstep right before Christmas. It changed my life! I could not believe the path my life was taking. My family members were already in a somewhat weakened state and Satan seized the opportunity. Over the course of the next several months, my father would make choices that would forever sever the trust we had and would effectively end our relationship. I have no regrets about my reactions to his activities, but it has come at a cost to me and my family too. My kids didn't have a relationship with either of my parents. I lost both my parents in the same calendar year. One I lost because of death. One I lost because the devil showed up and I had to make a hard choice to follow God. The enemy took the form of someone who was supposed to love me unconditionally. I never saw that one coming! Like I said, he will do anything it takes! Satan is alive and well and don't let anyone tell you different.
Luckily, I was strong enough to stand up to him. It isn't to my credit that I was able to do this, all the credit goes to God! He helped me through this and many other things since. When you are in the midst of it you can't believe that this is happening. You are in shock that he would sink this low; that he would kick you while you are already down. NEVER let your guard down. Satan doesn't take days off and your faith and strength in the Lord can't either.
Yesterday I got some news about the lengths my father went to show me how little he cared about me and how much he wished to embarrass me and belittle me. It shouldn't reflect on me, it is just the devil rearing his ugly head once again. I have to take the right attitude and remember what is important. I have to remember why I made choices back in 2002 and who helped me survive the whole thing! JESUS CHRIST my Saviour. (In more ways than one!) :)