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Roar Back

{Flickr CC: Tom Conger}

Mid-Saturday morning, I received the most hurtful email. The writer shared how her and her friends read my blog, and she basically surmised in bullet-point format their thoughts on how I had failed as a Christian. 
I’ll only repeat a few of their comments…so hang with me. I promise there’s a redeeming reason in why I’m reopening this wound, and why a small part of me is thankful for her gumption to send the message my way.
One person said I’d lost my witness when: “she made the doctor her god. She is a hippocrit.”
And another, “Her condition is not critical.”
And the one comment that still stings, “What gives her the right to ask for funds. If she stayed local then she could pay like everyone else.”
The emailer ended with “I am not sure the public sees this as walking in faith.”
That’s when the nauseating feeling set in and my heart did the one thing my it’s not supposed to do: rapidly race.
More soul-searching needed to be done on my part, because these words were either: truth, partial truths, or an attack to hurt me emotionally and spiritually.
As soon as my husband discovered me coiled in bed, I let him read the email.
He shook his head, “This isn’t the truth.”
“Are you sure?” I wiped my eyes.
“Post this email to Facebook.”
I raised my eyebrows with much concern.
“Just post it and see what your friends say.”
So I did. (Leaving the writer anonymous, of course.)
And my gracious friends loved on me and encouraged me and prayed for me. Not one condemned me, although they probably could have, so maybe they were going a little easy on this sinful soul. Because the truth is I’m not perfect. I’m going to mess up and say something wrong.
I’m just a girl who loves Jesus and blogs about her journey through sickness.
Sometimes I need the gentle correction. But this whole kerfuffle ties into what I’ve been experiencing lately, starting with my new condition, and is possibly the underlying cause of the craziness in my life:
The enemy hates me.
He wants to see me blow it big time.
He hates that I blog transparently about my hardships, and ultimately give glory to God.
He hates that these posts could help someone who is walking through difficulty.
And if you’re a believer, he hates you too. (Sorry to say that.)
So attacking me, hitting me where it hurts most is the smartest move. Attacking my character was crushing, because I LOVE GOD WITH MY WHOLE HEART and never, ever, ever want to let Him down, let alone anybody else.
This is what’s so wounding.
That I may have misled you guys.
That I may not have shown as much faith as I should have.
I needed time to process, and sadly, I shared my raw heart with you about real fears.
My emotions swing to both sides of the range until I find the truth again and I make that my mission to help others through the middle…that sticky place that’s not fun to talk about. I wish more than anything in the world that I could be that person that immediately praises the Lord when the pain hits and declare with 100% unwavering faith that I don’t have a single fear.
I’m going to get there, or get really, really close. That’s my prayer. And that’s what I’m also praying for you.
Because we are in this together. We all face distraction/fear/pain/regret/mental head games. All of us. And I learned something just this morning that I want to share with you.
When those hurtful emails, mental doubt, or fear of the future come our way, I want us to know how to roar back at the enemy.
How to disable that yammering voice.
How to prepare ourselves to resist the devil’s mental attacks, so he will flee (James 4:7).
I’m all about tactics. I’m a bottom-line-me kinda gal, so here is my best attempt to summarize my morning Bible study that left me over-the-top exhilarated to have a new battle plan.
{CC: Les Haines}

If there’s one person I can relate to in the Bible, it’s Peter. He gives me hope. This is why.
“Walk on water,” Christ encouraged Peter.
And he did. But then he doubted and sank.
Jesus asked Peter, “Stay, keep watch, and pray.”
But he dozed off.
“I will never disown you,” Peter promised.
Hours later, he denied Christ 3 times.
What a complete mess-up!
Oh, praise God our Heavenly Father decided to put these types of stories in the Bible for people like me to see that Peter, the rock, made mistakes.
I imagine satan whispering in Peter’s ear, “pssst…you’re going to sink, look down.”
“Just rest your eyes for a bit, you’ll pray better that way.”
“They’re all looking at you, deny him or they’ll crucify you, too.”
Peter learned a thing or two about how to serve the Lord, but his life wasn’t perfect and the mistakes he blundered through only made him stronger.
But Peter wasn’t the only one attacked by the enemy. Christ faced satan head-on when He was tempted after forty days of fasting.
He wasn’t gentle or kind and certainly didn’t cave in.
No. Our Lion of Judah, He roared back.
And that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do.
But what does this look like for me and you?
In my study I realized that resisting the devil looks a little like this:
When he attacks me with one of my fears, say for instance using the hurtful words from this email, I’ll tell him, “Every time you taunt me and tell me the lie that I’m losing my faith or my following or that I can’t write or I’m a hypocrite, I will fire back by researching the Word and writing more and tell the world the truth about Christ.”
Fear of failing health: “You can whisper that I’m going to get pneumonia again while recovering from heart surgery, or another blood clot, or another infectious disease during surgery, but I know the truth. God knows the plans He has for Me, and there is nothing you can do to stop my Father from fulfilling them, whether through my life, or my death. Bring it. Because I’m just going to tell ten more people how to outwit your lies. God is on the throne. We fight from victory, not for victory (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).”
These examples are one of many I learned from my Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Bible study this morning (New Testament pg 1582). Here’s an excerpt:courson bible new test
“You’re driving down the road and your mind is playing games with you. Here’s what you do: Go on the offensive. Say to the enemy, ‘I’m going to run right in your direction. God ahead and fire that arrow at me as much as you want. Put those thoughts in my mind. Play those games. I want you to know, however, that every time you fire one of those arrows into my mind, I’m not going to come down on myself… I’m simply going to take the same arrow and turn it against you. I’m going to pray for fifteen people I know who are also struggle with this difficulty. Take that.’”
“What happens?”
“The enemy begins to see that every time he fires one of his arrows at you, he inadvertently causes you to pray for others. Since prayer binds satan, he suddenly realizes his plan is backfiring and he flees.”
“‘I’m so depressed,’ you say.”
“What do you do? Grab the weapon of the enemy and turn it against him. Go to the pit and say, ‘You can depress me as much as you wish, but every time you do, satan, I’m going to stop what I’m doing, and, by faith, give thanks to God for all the good things He’s done for me. I’m going to worship Him.’”
“Now, because Satan used to be the worship leader in heaven before being demoted to a snake in the dust, the sound of worship is like fingernails on a chalkboard in his ears. So he flees.”
“‘I just can’t stop gossiping,’ you say.”
“You can if you go on the offensive and say ten good things about the person whose name has come up in conversation. Seeing that tempting you to tear people down only results in you building them up will send satan running every time.”
“To resist the devil doesn’t mean you try to ignore the reality of the temptation. It means you take the very weapon fired against you and turn it against satan through intercession, worship, or praise.”
Amazing, right?
Freeing and liberating and so much truth written in these precious words.
Are you ready to resist the enemy? Are you ready to roar back? Good. Now, go fight that battle! I’m praying for you, praying that these words helped in some way? And praying for those who unknowingly harm our hearts.
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1
PS I forgot to clarify that small part of me that was thankful I received this email. I’m sure you figured it out: Even if the sender had good intentions, this pain caused me to search for ways to resist the enemy’s mental attack. And for that reason alone, I’m so very thankful.


  • Rachel

    Woo-hooo!!! Cheering for you and so proud of you for seeing the truth! Keep on walking and fighting the good fight! Xoxo

    • dabneyhedegard

      Oh, praise God you commented, Rachel. lol My palms are a little sweaty over here. Love you, friend. And so love my Lord for his revelation today!!!! Big hugs! xoxo

  • Robyn Barkley

    Dabney, if you only knew how much this blog was so needed for me today! I almost melted into hysterics today because I was feeling so down and out. I called a friend at church to pray for me and I started to feel better but this really revived me more than I expected to be revived today! Lol. I have been under so much attack lately and the devil keeps pushing, trying to take me completely under to drown me out. But I keep getting back up and standing.
    My favorite part of the devo is not only of the amazing encouragement you share but the part when you said we fight FROM victory not FOR victory.
    That gave me deep revelation. I hope to apply all that you shared next time he tries to come after me and i pray i fight from victory because Christ had already gone before me and you and all those whom He calls His own. 
    Thank you my friend!
    I’m thankful to you for your faithfulness and i love how you see Satan at work and roared!

    • dabneyhedegard

      Yes, ma’am…we do fight from victory! 🙂 And I think we all need these reminders of how the emeny works and a good tactic or two to defeat him at his own game. I’m praying for you girl! I know what it’s like to feel beaten down, but not anymore. You’re going to roar back. You’re going to pray for others walking through what you’re walking throuh, you’re going to sing praise and read His word. I sometimes do this outloud, just to drive the enemy nuts. God bless you, friend! Praying xoxo

  • Jen McGourney

    Dabney, I only got through reading half of your post and I’m sorry but I couldn’t even finish the rest. You are the most beautiful person I know and I don’t even know you, personally, but only through Christ. You are strong, beautiful a wonderful wife and an amazing mother, don’t ever let anybody bring you down! My prayers are with you and your family. You… Keep me strong, and give me purpose!!

    • dabneyhedegard

      I know…I do tend to ramble. lol I guess when I get started it’s hard to find a cut off point. 🙂 Thank you for taking a moment to comment and cheer my heart tonight. God bless you!!! 🙂

  • Barbara

    You are awesome! You go girl! I love your “roar back”. It’s like “running towards the enemy”. It works, praise God. You are a mighty woman of God, what a pleasing sacrifice for the Lord. My ladies Bible study will lift you up in prayer each Tuesday @ 10 before we study Galatians. We are not slaves to the law or satan – we are free in Christ! Thanks for your powerful testimony; it’s so great coming from such a spiritually powerful petite pretty sweet thing! Stand firm in love and Be Well in Jesus name. Amen

    • dabneyhedegard

      Thank you, thank you for adding my to your prayer list on Tuesday mornings. This means so very much to me. I know and have experienced first hand the power of prayer, so I know my Father hears those precious requests.
      God bless you!

  • Sharon Gill

    Very well said Dabney. This was an encouraging and courageous post. Many Christians “talk” about faith and can dole out a lot of spiritual advice. I know from experience that it is quite a different matter when you have to “exercise” faith on your own or your family’s behalf. Faith building is a lifelong journey and process. Thank you for your transparency. God bless.

  • Ginger

    I love your spirit and your openness, Dabney. Peter is a great example for all of us, to be sure. I like David and the way his Psalms often start out with him moaning and telling God his troubles but they always end in praise for the Lord and an expression of faith that God will defend him. Prayers for your health.

    • dabneyhedegard

      Thank you for this reminder about David!! Love that the Word of God is filled with imperfect people just trying to figure life out, praying for guidance and asking for forgiveness when they again messed up. Thanks for your comment and your prayers!

  • Anonymous

    I’m proud of you and your continuing rise to praise God for his love and mercy through your numerous medical trials. You serve the Lord so gloriously and share the word of God that is always delivered in a timely manner. Please continue your work for the Lord and you will be blessed.

    • dabneyhedegard

      Amen for His and mercy!!! And for sending little reminders when we need them most. God bless you!

  • Lois Blackburn

    Be glad that you have so many more encouragers than distractors in your life! Do the best that you can and when you need help, ask for it! We’re all on your side and hope for all the positive assistance you can call into your corner. If we can help in some small way, with prayers or financial assistance, that is our choice–not everyone will agree, but they can go their own (wrong) way. You go, girl!

  • Jacquie Ezzo

    Truly inspirational!!! Laying in bed tossing and turning with mental whisperings of lies of things I can’t do or too much to do! Right now I am shouldering many responsibilities with 3 very close family members struggling with illness, aging issues and disease! The latter being about my youngest son! The enemy taunts me in the early morning before dawn! I have been taught how to battle back, but sometimes forget!! I love how ABBA uses you in your sick bed to minister to so many of us!! This is the first blog of yours I’ve read but it won’t be the last! You, Dabney, daughter of the most high King, are held in high regard!!! May you continue to walk in the freedom that only Christ can bring and may your body be healed in only the way Christ can heal! Thank you for not recoiling! Thank you for being a wounded solider who still fights!! Thank you for loving and supporting those you don’t personally know but spiritually love! I pray numbers 6:24-26 over you!

    • dabneyhedegard

      Your sweet words have brought tears to my eyes…but in a good way. First, I am so sorry the attack you are feeling, especially with dealing with illness. You are a fighter. I can hear it in your words that you’re not going to let the enemy win this one. I pray that the Lord will bless you far beyond anything you could ever imagine and that He gives you the perfect words/verses/songs to roar back and silence those lies. Our God goes before us and He is with us! Thank you for your prayers and for encouraging my heart today.
      In His hands,
      Dabney xoxo

  • Brenda L.

    There will always be people trying to pull you down, but don’t let them! They weren’t right in anything they said. We are all imperfect cause we all have original sin, so none of us is going to be perfect. We can only try to live life as Jesus did and we know there will be times that we will falter, but it is how we pick our selves back up and move on. You have nothing to fear, you are a wonderful Christian who is on a journey like most of us are. You encourage, you spread the word, you lift people up….can these people from the email say the same?! No! They are tearing down, trying to make you stop getting the word out, they are judging without knowing….nothing is Christian in what they did or said. If people want to contribute to you, then that is their business and their’s alone. Not one place did I read that people had to contribute to you. So keep your faith, and roar Satan away!!! And keep doing what you are doing, because you are doing it right!! Hugs, Brenda

  • Sharon DiGiacinto

    What a powerful testimony that has given me a new insight on handling those darts and arrows that feel so often like rapid fire!! Thanks for sharing your heart – I am cheering you on and praying for you! Xoxoxo

    • dabneyhedegard

      Man, rapid fire explains the enemy’s tactics perfectly. He knows how to kick us down, but now we know how to beat him back. I needed this message yesterday, and I’m so thankful that God prompted me to share what He taught me. You never know how people will receive things. I guess our job is to just share what God puts on our hearts with others. That’s how we grow, right? Thank you for your prayers!

  • emcoulton

    I absolutely love this! Wow – it is so impactful. I love what you learned, and thank you for sharing it with us! I feel like you did all the legwork and now I get to benefit from your research and study….but all I can say is Wow! I love the fact that we fight FROM victory, not FOR victory. I never thought of it like that- but I certainly will now.
    What Satan meant for harm (that email), God used for good (that email)….
    You’re the best.

    • dabneyhedegard

      Ok, loved your last line!!! God is so good to speak to us through other believers. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  • Kim

    all i can say is WOWSERS! you are definitely living out the Word of God in rev 12:11 “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their TESTIMONY. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.”
    when i read this i literally felt like leaping! this really spoke to me as well because the enemy also has a tactic that he has used for years and depending where i’m at spiritually, he can cause me to have fear, but your words today has spurred me on to fight back even harder!
    thanks for your perseverance in Jesus!

    • Kim

      btw. an earlier post said this reminded her of david in the psalms, but it also reminds me of david when he went running TOWARD goliath! 🙂

    • dabneyhedegard

      Amen! Love this. We all need to learn how to fight back. This morning I woke and another shaky fear started to creep in and I said no…I’m going to roar back at this situation. I love that God uses believers to build one another up. I so need this in my life! We’re all in this together. God bless you, Kim! 🙂

  • Stacey Van Nice

    Oh Dabney, I love this blog! When I first became a follower of Jesus Christ, I was so confused by all the fake “niceness” in churches. I didn’t fit in. Because when i read my bible God talks about hating evil, speaking truth and not just being nice all the time. Jesus called the Pharisees & Sadducees “snakes” and “broods of vipers”. Jesus wasn’t being very nice. He roared at them!
    I still have a hard time being the stereotypical “nice christian”, because my nature is to ROAR and speak truth when evil is around. All of Chapter 6 in Ephesians describes the armor we are to put on to fight! fight… not lay down, not be nice! This balance of being a loving and truth speaking christian, is what I need to learn most.
    I so love what you said about Jesus..
    He wasn’t gentle or kind and certainly didn’t cave in.
    No. Our Lion of Judah, He roared back.
    And that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do.
    Thank you for teaching us to ROAR by praying more, worshiping and speaking God’s promises. I love this clarification. These should be our primary weapon! And our secondary is to SPEAK the truth, in love according to Ephesians 4:29:
    “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
    This verse says all our talk should be helpful, for building up, for the OTHERS benefit! Not for our needs or our opinions! Even though God brought good out of the critical email you received, it was NOT edifying. And it was not truth! I hope the writer of that email gets the huge log out of their eye, because they are swinging it around and beating others up with it.
    Please pass my response on to them for some “edification” they apparently need. I’d love to ROAR at them for you. 😉
    Love you!
    Stacey Van Nice
    YUP, our Great God gave me the last name of what I need to learn most, or not! LOL

    • dabneyhedegard

      Oh my goodness, I am LAUGHING so hard at what you wrote at the end of your email. I love your personality. Absolutely love it! I love you Love God and know the truth and you’re walking this walk right along with me. I’m going to keep your reply when I need this reminder, especially the verses.
      Love ya, gal! And thanks for making me laugh today. 🙂

  • Nancy Street

    Daphne so sorry for this negative toward you. You are one of the most upstanding young Christian women I know. We will all have time of fear and doubt; but, the wonderful way the Lord works is that just when we need it God lifts us up and just at the right time takes away the fear and gives us peace. Praying for you in this new journey and God’s peace for you and your family.

  • laurabennet

    Great post, Dabney, in every way. You have nailed it so well here. This is gracious, powerful helpful and encouraging. Thank you for using something meant to hurt you to be something to bless and edify others. Well done. Very well done. 🙂

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