[I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus, the Father of glory,
may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of [Jesus];
illuminating the eyes of your understanding
that you may know what is the hope of his calling
and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints
 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power in us who believe,
by the operation of the power of his strength,
which operated in the Christ, raising him from the dead
and setting him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named,
not only in this age, but also in that which is to come.
Ephesians 1:17-21

If you were to search my website for the word “capacity,” you’d see that I refer to it quite a few times.

In fact, through recent years I’ve thought about it often. Most notably, I wrote about it here.

The fact is, lack of capacity has been a big problem for me.

In the fall of 2014, when I was working on Dale Ingraham’s book Tear Down This Wall of Silence: Dealing with Sexual Abuse in Our Churches, I attended a conference Dale was speaking.

CAUTION: I’m about to talk about something graphic. You can skip the next paragraph if you want.

One of the speakers at that conference was a policewoman who told the story of an abuser who was “making up” with his victim wife by serving her a lovely candlelight dinner. When the victim wife  complimented the abuser on the dinner, he told her she was eating her pet dog.

All the blood drained from my face.

The policewoman said, “I see that some of you are surprised by this story. But I wasn’t surprised by it, because I hear things like this all the time.”

Before about 2012, as this blog post describes, I used to turn away from these stories. I couldn’t have told you the reason at that time, but the reason was Lack of Capacity.

Finally my brothers [and sisters],
be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.
Ephesians  6:10

By 2014, I wasn’t going to turn away anymore. After all, the people who had lived these stories could not turn away.

By the time I sat in that conference, I had heard other stories along these same lines, stories of abuse so demonically perverted that it seemed to have arisen from hell, often under the guise of Christianity.

For these false apostles are deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
And it is no marvel, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers transform themselves as ministers of righteousness,
whose end shall be according to their works.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Every time, those stories caused the blood to rush out of my face, make me weep, and send me to bed.

That was when I began to pray for greater capacity. And the Lord answered my prayer. Along my bumpy, convoluted journey, I learned about Immanuel prayer ministry and studied it. In 2015-2016 I received training it in through a local counselor who became a friend. The primary goal of Immanuel prayer ministry is to have a stronger relationship with the Lord. But one of the benefits of it is that it will increase our capacity.

“Huh. Just what I was praying for,” I said. “Exactly those words.”

As we increase our capacity for joy—through joyful time spent with the Lord—we also increase our capacity for sorrow and are less likely to be overwhelmed.

That [the Father] would grant you, according to the riches of his glory,
 to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man,
that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith,
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to well comprehend with all saints
what is the breath and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ,
which passes all knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19

Through Immanuel prayer ministry, I learned how to help those who come to me find an appreciation memory, connect with the true Lord there, and through Him receive the capacity they need to stay connected to Him in His love, as they find resolution for hard experiences, sometimes memories of traumatic events, that have kept them stuck. And through intimate connection with Jesus in His love, I saw that my own capacity was increased.

I stopped crying in front of my friends. (I found out that this made them feel responsible for my emotions, which is not a good thing.) The blood didn’t rush out of my face anymore (I don’t think it does, anyway). I still sometimes went to bed after hearing certain stories, but after praying and sleeping a while, I was ready to get back at it.

But the truth of the matter is . . . the stories of evil don’t end. And it is monstrous.

You may think there will come a point where you will have finally heard all the horrendous evil that is possible for the devil-controlled mind of humanity to conceive. But no. There is more, always more. And—you may not have the capacity to receive this, but—it has happened and perhaps is happening to people you know and perhaps even people you love.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the lords of this age, rulers of this darkness,
against spiritual wickedness in the heavens.
Ephesians 6:12

The capacity overload hit me again the summer or fall of 2020. For the first time ever, I told a new person I wouldn’t be able to meet with her. Not because of time, but because I didn’t know where her story was going to go, and I felt like I couldn’t handle one more story of horror.

But when you have seen, how can you unsee? And if you love Jesus, once you know, how can you turn away?

 But when [Jesus] saw the multitudes,
he was moved with compassion on them,
because they fainted, and were scattered abroad,
as sheep having no shepherd.
Matthew 9:36

Sheep that need a shepherd

They needed the Good Shepherd. And I wanted to help.

So the summer and fall of 2020, I once again desperately prayed for greater capacity. In a Facebook post, I talked about not being able to see my hand before my face. I complained to the Lord, “Lord, my capacity is like a THIMBLE. But YOU have all the capacity there is! I need more! Why aren’t You giving me MORE!”

It was an interaction with someone who no longer embraces Christianity, along with praying through my warfare prayer, that somehow got my mind and heart jostled to truth. (“Oh, duh. I can do more than pray ‘Please help me.’ I think I knew that.”)

And I said it to myself. Out loud. “The way to increased capacity is through faith and love.” Increased capacity springs out of joy. Joy springs out of faith and love.

Faith.

And Love.

But let us who are of the day be sober,
putting on the breastplate of faith and love,
and for a helmet, the hope of salvation [the expectation of full deliverance].
1 Thessalonians 5:8

Do I really believe that Jesus Christ is winning this battle against the evil one? He really IS. But do I believe it? And am I really empowered by His Love rather than by my own strength (which will fail me every time)?

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,
he [Jesus] also himself likewise took part of the same,
that through death he might destroy [make ineffective]
him that had the empire of death, that is, the devil.
Hebrews 2:14

The Lord once again set these truths, these more-than-truths, in my heart, and once again I was set right, full of hope, full of joy, ready to face the battles, which are grim and fierce.

How do we fight them? With Faith and Love, in His Name.

Now unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us
Ephesians 3:20

Faith in our Lord Jesus. Love for God and for those who have been persecuted, oppressed, and abused, yes, even sometimes in His Name.

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more
in knowledge and in all perception.
Philippians 1:9

Hatred for evil and the Father of Lies. And knowing that the primary evil we fight, which is very real, is not in our own hearts (because indeed, for those of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ, that has been taken care of!), and knowing that our job is to stand against it in the spirit realm in the Name and Power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Submit yourselves, therefore, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

In His Name, and by His Power, we will stand against the foe. And in His Name and by His Power, we will see Him accomplish great things.

Those that wait for the Lord shall have new strength.
They shall mount up with wings as eagles.
They shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

That is where we are as we continue this work in 2023. Taking on the full armor of God, trusting Him each step of the way. It is a good work, and I invite you to join those of us on the journey. We continue to trust Him for greater capacity. We continue to look to Him to see souls delivered in His Name.

Now is come salvation and virtue and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ,
for the accuser of our brethren is cast down,
who accused them before our God day and night.
And they have overcome him by the blood of the  Lamb and by the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Revelation 12:10-11

 

 

 

***
Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.

 

 

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