Two days ago I woke up and, overnight, my world had changed.
Oh the birds still twittered outside our window and the sun still rose bright and warm, but my soul and spirit were heavy. Angst had replaced my peace, sadness my joy. It surprised me. And then, after a few hours, I understood--the honeymoon was over (For more information on the honeymoon stage in cross-cultural living, go here: https://www.now-health.com/en/blog/culture-shock-stages/) The heaviness of the spiritual darkness in this country had reared its ugly head.
It's one of those things that tourists generally don't experience--the spiritual oppression in this country. But it's VERY real and it's VERY heavy. My family knows from experience because, within the first year that we arrived in 1996, our nine-year-old daughter was being visited by/haunted by/oppressed by a yak demon almost every night for at least a year. In the darkness, it would come and sit at the end of her bed, sneer and laugh wickedly at her. Pure evil. We couldn't see it but she could. She called it a creepy clown--the only words she knew to describe it. Years later, we understood it to be a yak demon attacking her.
(As an aside, I reference this true story in my novel Rewriting Adam. In my novel, it's Jill who's haunted by this creepy clown in chapter two.)
There's SO MUCH MORE to this story--the weight of it all on our whole family and, unfortunately, our lack of understanding of it all at the time. I wish I knew then what I know now about spiritual warfare and how to better combat it. Because, in the here and now, it wasn't just affecting me. It was also hitting my hubby and children back home. Yes, our children back home!
Oh how evil and ugly our enemy is. Oh how he hates the name of Jesus being proclaimed. Oh how he seeks to devour and use any means he can to discourage us and steal our joy. Oh how I hate him!!!
I now know better how to fight. So, with eyes wide open, I spent time combating the spiritual forces, in praise and song, in proper lament and worship. Hope returned.
And with eyes wide open, I walked the familiar roads to the closest grocery store. For the first time I saw and sensed the spirit houses, or phi houses, along the way--six in all in a span of 12 minutes. I'd noticed a couple of them before but hadn't been spiritually aware of their influence on me. This time I was. So, I prayed as I walked.
Spirit houses are everywhere in this country--a reminder that Thai people believe spirits and ghosts are as real as the physical world and that they need to be appeased or "dealt with" in some way, usually with gifts of food, flowers and drink. (ALSO something I reference and include in my novel, Rewriting Adam.)
If you look closely at these two photos, you'll see that the drink is often strawberry Fanta, a historical representation of blood sacrifice (sound familiar?). I won't go into detail, but if you want to know more about red Fanta and spirit houses, you may find this to be an interesting read: https://www.theblondtravels.com/thai-spirit-houses/
This morning, that same daughter who struggled under spiritual attack as a child and who now considers it a gift to be so spiritually sensitive, reminded me of her practice i.e. to anoint any entrances to the house with oil and pray Jesus and the Word of God against the entering of evil forces.
Yes! I did that--not just the house but the gate as well. God's power and protection.
Peace returned. Joy returned. Rest returned.
In came the "...beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."
And why? Because He desires that we grow to be "...trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, THAT HE MAY BE GLORIFIED!" Isa. 61:3, NKJV
Yes! Yes! Yes! All for His glory.
Thank you Jesus.
SOLI DEO GLORIA!