The enemy’s assault on my heart started at an early age. I was only six years old when I summoned my dad into his study. This is where all the important conversations took place. This is where he counselled his flock; he prayed and ministered to everyone who had a desperate need. I needed his ministry that day.
“Daddy,” I said, as I ushered him behind his desk and took the seat on the opposite side, you know, the special chair where the church members would sit. I solemnly continued, “I want to give my heart to Jesus.” My dad told me to come and sit on his lap, he hugged me, he prayed the prayer of salvation with me. He cried tears of joy. That was the day, I was born into the Kingdom.
Less than a year after that, we were visiting family friends on one of my dad’s ministry trips around South Africa. We stayed over at their home for one night. Early the next morning, before anyone was awake, their eighteen year old son invited me to come and have a look at his apartment; an adapted garage, that was not attached to the house. Reluctantly, I followed him in. He sexually molested me.
That was the moment my identity was stolen. That was the day, I believed my first lie: “I am shameful.”
The following year, our friends cashed in on our offer to return the favour: an overnight stay, when they were in our neck of the woods. My dad tucked me in for the night. I tried my very best to tell him that I was afraid, without explaining why. I felt so terribly ashamed. My offender tried again, but I pretended to be asleep. As time dragged on and his attempts to get me to wake seemed to fall on sleeping ears, he finally gave up and told me how disappointed he was in me.
That was the day I believed my second lie: “I am not safe.”
I started working super hard at school. I needed to prove that I was worthy of love and affection. That I was good. At least if that was only at Maths or English. I consistently performed top in my class. But at the end of the year, I lost the book prize by a fraction of a point.
Another lie: “I am not good enough.”
During our Summer holiday, we visited family who lived close to the West Coast. One of my aunties, adored my beautiful, little sister. She loved spoiling her. As we arrived, she took her shopping and bought her this lovely nightdress. She didn’t even acknowledge my presence in the room. As an adult, I know that she never intended to hurt me, but at the age of ten, it hurt. A lot.
And it confirmed another lie: “I am not worthy.”
It was time for the prefect team to be announced at our end of year, primary school rewards evening. My heart was pounding. I had worked so hard, this was going to be my year. The prefects were called up on the stage. I knew my name would be on the list. Yes! I held my breath as they were about to announce the name of the head-girl. Oh no. I didn’t make it. I got the consolation prize: deputy head-girl. Never first. Always second.
Another lie: “I am not chosen.”
This was the year that started a cycle of hopelessness and defeat. My first diet. Food had become the medicine for my broken heart. The comfort that would always be there, no matter how bad my heart was aching. But it was starting to show now. With every attempt to try and shake of the weight on my body, the weight on my soul increased. I soon learned that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t control my eating habits.
The liar started twisting around me even tighter: “I am a failure.”
During a youth missions trip, one of the older boys walked up to me and asked if he could have a word with me in private. He said that he wanted to apologise to me. He said that I was so shy and quiet, that he asked God, how he could ever use someone like me. At that point, I completely shut off. I was so well versed in the language of the Liar, that I didn’t receive the part where he explained that God corrected him. That God said that it is my quiet spirit that is beautiful and useful to him.
Before I knew it, I got stuck in the lie: “I have no purpose.”
I was so excited to be accepted into one of the best Art Schools in Johannesburg. We had just moved back from a small town, and I had the privilege to study fine arts at this very prestigious school. One afternoon, a fellow student noticed a scripture written on my schoolbag. In the few minutes we were waiting for the school bus to arrive, he convinced me that I was just an ordinary, mainstream sheep who would never be noticed in a world that demanded something special and unique.
I believed him: “I am not special.”
The start of another life-controlling cycle: Rejection. It was like I attracted every boy who would confirm what I already believed deep down:
“I am not beautiful.”
Depressed. Overweight. Desperate. In an extreme attempt to fix what was wrong on the outside, I pushed my parents into paying and signing off on gastric bypass surgery. This was going to be the answer to all my prayers. It was going to remove every chain from my heart. It didn’t. Not only was the surgery not successful, but it nearly cost me my life.
I survived, but I also learned this from the experience: “I am not free. I will never be free.”
Tangled up in the lies of the enemy, I empowered him as I came into agreement with every lie he told me. I started building my own tower. Brick by brick, lie by lie. I lived in that tower for a very long time. At my darkest moment, I was angry with a God I believed was cruel and uninterested. One who created me to live this life of suffering. My default setting became: self-destruct. I had lost all hope.
Thankfully, my Father did not lose hope. He kept sending his lanterns of Truth, so I could follow my way home to his arms. And as I followed the light, I became untangled from every lie that the enemy sold me.
It did not happen overnight, it was a process. To this day, there are still some lies I need to be untangled from. But I am experiencing freedom from a different perspective now: my true identity. I am a beloved child of God.
After his baptism, the Father affirmed Jesus by saying: “This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him.” (Matthew 3:17). This was before Jesus preached any sermons, or performed any miracles. The affirmation from his Father was not based on his performance. He was loved, because he was a son.
We are sons. We are daughters. We are beloved. We are affirmed, without having to perform. But we also have an enemy who comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). And if he can steal your identity as a beloved child of God, he disables you from becoming who you were destined to be: one that brilliantly shines with the righteousness of Jesus and the glory of the Father.
No sooner after Jesus was baptised and drawn into the wilderness to prepare for his ministry, did the enemy come after his identity and destiny:
“If you are the Son of God, prove yourself!” he taunted.
But Jesus knew who he was and Who he belonged to. He had nothing to prove. He responded with the truth: “It is written…” He wasn’t just the Son of God. He was the beloved Son of God. Do you know what has been written about you? You need to know, Beloved. Because this is how you start cutting off the lies that have kept you tangled.
For every lie that the enemy tells you, the Father has provided a written truth:
1 Corinthians 1:30 and Colossians 1:22 is written over shame.
Psalm 91 is written over the lie of isolation and fear.
1 Peter 2:9 is written over the lie of abandonment.
Psalm 139:14 and 1 John 3:1 is written over the lie of rejection.
John 8:36 -38 is written over the lie of bondage.
Romans 8:1 is written over condemnation.
(And those are only a handful of awesome truths that the Father has written about you!)
You see, it is the love of the Father that empowers us to break free from the enemy’s stronghold. It is knowing that we are not just children, but beloved children, in whom the Father is fully pleased. This truth will untangle you from brokenness and bondage. The love of the Father has done that for me! He wants to do it for you.
I pray Ephesians 3:19 (NLT) over you right now:
“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
You are his Beloved.
Today, I see the Father kneeling down to lift my head: “Beloved Child. I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you here, in my kindness and tender mercy. To me, you are perfect. I find no fault with you. You are the one I love. In you, I am fully pleased. I know you by name. You belong to me. Allow my love to unshackle you from every lie. For the truth is: you are, and always will be, Loved.” ❤ (Click on the heart).