by: Molly Pannell, 2015 Summer Camp Staff

I believe transparency is a gift, and one that I would like to offer you.

Today, I want to lower my water line in hopes that my transparency through my difficult circumstances connects with one of you. I pray this message brings you out of darkness and into the loving light of Christ.

By the grace of The Lord, I haven’t struggled with alcohol, drugs, or physical impurity. However, my sin is hidden; it’s tucked deep inside my mind where the enemy resides. Satan has found my weakest point. He haunts my mind with lies and exploits my weakness.

He preys on my self-worth, and makes me feel insignificant. He taunts me with specific moments from my past. These memories get twisted and blown out of proportions and turn into mountains that I must conquer.

“You are not enough.”

“You are not wanted.”

“You don’t have a place here.”

If we are being honest, this stirs anger in me.

Until recently, I found myself in a cyclical pattern. Without so much as a whisper to The Lord for help, I let Satan run rampant with these lies. I didn’t ask for help because I thought, through my own strength, I could beat him and triumph over these vicious thoughts.

But sweet friends, the reality is that we aren’t strong enough nor will we ever, by ourselves, have the power to beat Satan at his own game. Our gracious Savior is the only power that can overcome. The power of hell is strong in relation to mere humans, but when it comes to the Prince of Peace, Satan has no strong hold.

This realization took some reflection and self-awareness. Through this difficult process, I became aware of my destructive thinking and took these burdens to The Lord. I had to get on my knees to beat it.

On my knees, I praised my Heavenly Father and whispered for help. That faint whisper of my heart led to the start of my weakness being made perfect in my Father’s strength.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 

Now I’m equipped for battle. When these unedifying thoughts begin to linger, I know where to turn. My help comes from The Lord. 

I mess up more than I’d like to admit, and it’s very much still a learning process for me. However, His truths ground me and guide me to restoration and healthy living.

When you’re struggling with these unhealthy thoughts, stronghold this:  Christ loves like no other. He doesn’t love based on our circumstances or performance. He loves and strengthens us because He is good.  

Doesn’t that take the pressure off? It isn’t about us. It’s about Him, and He’s listening.

“ In my distress I called to the Lord and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” Jonah 2:2

About the Author: Molly Pannell is a sophomore at Mississippi State University majoring in social work with the intent of working with international adoption. Her mom jokes about her Christmas cards having children of all different colors in them - she most definitely wouldn’t mind it!