There’s an enemy in my house.

In fact, I hear he’s showing up at all the houses and making himself comfortable. 

Seems he’s decided to shelter in place.

He does his best to wreak havoc. He exploits all my faults and shines a spotlight mercilessly on my personal struggles. He pokes holes in my life raftthe only thing that’s keeping me afloat.

He tricks me with his lies and makes me doubt myself and my worth.

He choreographs a story in which I’m a mess of a mama and an inadequate wife. 

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He makes me bitter and resentful. He undermines all my efforts to find joy and see goodness. He points out hatred and anger in the world anywhere he sees a lack of love or compassion. He steals my precious moments and demands I focus on fears. 

He’s loud, and he’s persistent. He’s a terrible houseguest, actually.

But it feels like I invited him in . . .  

Because it’s almost comforting when he drops by, like an old friend’s here to visit. 

We’ve known each other for a long time. He knows just how to manipulate me. 

He makes me feel like I’m losing my resolve. He tells me I’ve let go of my will to fight. He leads me to believe he’s winning.

But . . .

I keep hearing soft and subtle whispers

The enemy screams and shouts and tries to drown them out, but that only makes me want to lean in toward those sweet murmurs and listen harder.

The whispers sound like a gently rushing waterfall. 

They sound like all the most spectacular music, married together to create an amalgamated harmony like nothing I’ve ever heard before. 

They tell me, compassionately, that they understand my fears. They feel all my pain. 

They tell me, gently, not to worry if I can help it. I’m only one person, and so many things are out of my control. 

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They tell me not to believe the lies. 

They tell me I have a lot of fight left in me. 

They affirm that, yes, the enemy will always come knocking even when all of this is over.

Sometimes he’ll try to force his way in. Other times, I’ll open the door gladly.

And as long as I’m human, the enemy will continue to win some little battles. 

But that’s OK because even when I’m caught up in his influence, I am not the enemy.

And I have love on my side. 

The whispers tell me I’m so much more than my mistakes and my fears. 

Sometimes I yell, but I’m still kind and good. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m sinking. But I don’t need a new life raft. I just want to patch up the tears in this one. 

Sometimes I see a cruel and evil world, but that’s not the way it was made. That’s not the way we were made.

And, try as he might, the enemy will always fail to hide the beauty, the love, and the empathy. 

Sometimes I’m overcome with anxiety. But it’s OK to let myself breathe. It’s OK to be present in these momentsto feel what I’m feeling. It’s OK to step away when I’m frustrated, when I’m angry, when I’m scared. It’s OK to think about tomorrow when it gets here. And it’s really OK to give it all to Jesus.

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And sometimes it feels like maybe there aren’t any good answers to my questions. Maybe it’s futile to demand verdicts and resolutions no one can give yet. Still, the enemy spends a lot of time creating the illusion that it’s all falling in on methat the house will crumble, piece by piece, until someone has the answers. 

But, you want to know something? 

I don’t think he’s looked very closely at the foundation. 

It was built on a rock.

And its mighty builder is love itself.

I want to cling to Him and listen to His whispers. 

He reminds me that some of the answers are not mine to take on this side of the life divide. But I want to cling to that sweet voice anyway. 

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Even if our problems never miraculously disappear, there’s nothing more beautiful in life than being cradled by love. I want to hold tighter to that tenderness. 

And I want to tell the enemy he can go straight back to where he came from. 

He’s not welcome in my house anymore. 

Cassie Gottula Shaw

I'm Cassie, and I'm a writer, mama, Jesus enthusiast, cliche coffee drinker, and lover of all the stories. I believe in the power of faith and empathy, radical inclusivity, and the magic and beauty of ordinary days. I'm inspired every day by the firm belief that we owe something to each otherlove and human connection. When I'm not writing, you can find me running from dinosaurs, building castles, pursuing joy, or watching the sun rise over the fields of Nebraska (coffee in hand) where my husband and I are raising two spectacular children. For more stories, visit my Facebook page, From the House on a Hill with Cassie Gottula Shaw; Instagram, Cassie Gottula Shaw; and the blog, fromthehouseonahill.com