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Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 22

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Mari Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Auntie Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri

Captivating, chapter 5

Captain’s Log, Stardate 07.15.2006

For all you writers—check out my Story Sensei critique service Summer Sale! Ends at 11:59 p.m. tonight!

Blog book giveaway:
My Monday book giveaway is ARMS OF DELIVERANCE by Tricia Goyer.
My Thursday book giveaway is TANGLED MEMORIES by Marta Perry.
You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Monday, I'll draw the winner for ARMS OF DELIVERANCE and post the title for another book I'm giving away

A Special Hatred: There were several things I really liked about this chapter. I think that spiritual warfare is not talked about enough. Often it’s almost embarrassing for someone to bring it up, as if it’s like saying you believe in Santa Claus.

But that’s Satan’s ploy—don’t pay attention to spiritual warfare, don’t think too much about it, don’t quite acknowledge it exists and is working against God’s children. Our ignorance gives Satan victory over the saints.

This chapter brought it to the forefront. I also liked how they constantly mentioned that in pointing out the spiritual warfare at work, they’re not absolving men or human beings of all blame. We are all sinful. But Satan hates us because we belong to Christ.

A New Thought: In the guided journal, they ask, “Is it a new thought to you that all that has come against you in your life has not been from the hand of God? That Satan has played a role in trying to destroy you, your heart?”

For me, that’s a no. Because of the Bible studies I’ve done in previous years, I’ve already come to realize Satan’s role in both my past and also my present. I and all my fellow Christians are always under spiritual attack.

However, this question makes me realize that maybe this chapter is particularly aimed at women who don’t realize this, in which case this will be a very profound chapter for women under spiritual and emotional bondage.

Further Assault—not for me? In the guided journal, the author again asks women to look at their lives and find instances or examples of wounding or assault. While I’m certain many women have come under some form of abuse, for me it seemed like she was asking me to try to find somewhere in my life I’d been hurt and to dwell on it.

I have been hurt, but because God has helped to heal my wounds, I don’t feel like this part of the guided journal really means for me to go probing and opening scars. It was probably meant for women who haven’t touched their wounds and who need to clean them out with Living Water.

I’m starting to realize that there are aspects of this book and especially the guided journal that just might not be meant for me. I’ve gotten to the point that I skim over parts that seem to be asking me to find places in my life where I can be discontent. I know that’s probably not what the authors are trying to say, but it kind of seems that way.

At the same time, I worry that I’m skimming over questions that I really should be answering as part of the study. I guess I just have to trust that God would speak to me if I skip something I need to address.

Assault through history: I have to admit, I kind of liked how they pointed out that women have been abused and badly treated down through the ages, and that it is partly because of spiritual warfare against Eve.

I liked the argument about how Lucifer was beautiful, and so after his fall, it only makes sense that he’d go after the beauty in God’s creation—which includes Eve. In previous chapters (I think chapter two) the authors pointed out that women are made to reflect God’s beauty. It also makes sense that the murderer would attack the “mother of all the living.” (Gen. 3:20)

I don’t know if I buy that Satan goes after women more than men, but I also don’t know any statistics. And because of how women have been abused throughout history, I can kind of believe that maybe women are targeted by Satan more. Maybe one of my other Blog Bible Study members will address this in her post.

Arrogance? “It changes things to realize that no, these things [wounds] happened because you [women] are glorious, because you are a major threat to the kingdom of darkness. Because you uniquely carry the glory of God to the world.”

Does it make me arrogant if I already understand that many abuses to me were not my fault, or what I deserved? That I’m not in the class of women the authors are talking to, who still do believe that their hurts were somehow their fault?

Alone: The authors did another sweeping assumption that ALL women feel alone. Many women probably do feel very alone. I know that I used to feel alone, and that I had a pretty intense heart-to-heart with God because of it—finally realizing that I needed to depend on Him more, and He would fill that loneliness. Which He did, eventually. Which He does, daily, as long as I stay close to Him.

Back Off: It had never before occurred to me that the fear of men to communicate, to engage with women’s feelings, might be spiritual warfare, but it does make sense. Satan loves to destroy relationships.

In the guided journal, it asks women to examine their own marriages and see if their men have given them the impression they will only go “so close and no further.” This kind of made me upset, because I felt like they were planting doubt in my heart that my husband wouldn’t do his best to fully engage with me if there was something deeper I wanted to share with him.

My husband has been very vulnerable with me and close to me at points in our relationship. He is always willing to listen and try to help, even when he feels confused or inadequate to deal with my rantings.

This question also made me doubt if my relationship with my husband is as close as it should be, if I’m just deluding myself. I don’t think a book should do that. Wouldn’t God convict both my husband and me if there was something wrong? I am very happy with my marriage. I don’t like being asked to question it.

I guess the question is meant to convict women who do feel alone in their marriages. In the guided journal, the authors had a good question that challenged women to actually ask their husbands about it and open up communication. I thought that was great. Then the author reiterated that it’s spiritual warfare.

Satan’s Lies: “If [Satan] didn’t arrange for the assault directly—and certainly human sin has a large enough role to play—then he made sure he drove the message of the wounds home into your heart. He is the one who has dogged your heels with shame and self-doubt and accusation. He is the one who offers the false comforters to you in order to deepen your bondage.”

I liked how they emphasized this, because it’s so true. So many women live in bondage under lies they believe about themselves, and don’t even realize it.

So many of us struggle not to listen to Satan’s lies. We know it’s not logical, we know they can’t be true, but somehow our hearts believe it anyway.

There Is Hope: The authors quoted Isaiah 62:1-5. The passage talks about Jerusalem, but it seems like the authors mean for it to be applied to women, pointing to the hope of healing and restoration. I don’t know if I particularly understand that because the passage is clearly talking about Jerusalem.

Maybe they mean that since Jerusalem is the city of God’s people, the passage refers to God’s children—women included.

One Greater: “And so, dear heart, it is time for your restoration. For there is One greater than your Enemy.”

This is similar to what I learned in Kay Arthur’s Lord, Is It Warfare? Bible study, and also Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson. God is infinitely greater than Satan, and part of our weakness is that we falsely believe Satan has power over us when he does not.

Summary: Overall, a good chapter. Some of the assumptions are too general, and the language is a bit too flowery for my taste—“He has come to heal your broken heart and restore your feminine soul”—but the author’s intention is to help women realize the deception and the spiritual battle being waged, which is good.

TMI:

Diet:
I exercised yesterday! :) I also ate like a pig. :( Why does my body start craving more fat and carbs as soon as I start exercising or doing anything remotely healthy?

Comments

Anonymous said…
I agree...Christians really need to understand that spiritual warfare is not only real, but very much needed.
Anonymous said…
Just to a quick answer first to your last question: Your body may crave more carbs and fat because you *have* used up quite a few calories. Can you find alternatives to these "bad" calories producers? How about fruits with lots of fibre?

Hah, and this from somebody who really had no weight problem at the moment but feels "sick and tired" most of the time. Who am I to give advice, eh?

I definitely agree that it's only in the last few years that I've read more about "spiritual warfare" as such. In a way, that has been liberating for me because it has softened some of my feelings of intense guilt. However, it doesn't really *seem* to make a lot of difference in my life.

I can see why you wouldn't want to be constantly reminded of possible wounds. I don't know the whole story of your faith or your husband's, whether he has been a Christian longer than you, etc. I think you did mention once that you were the lone Christian in your family when you became one. Maybe it's easier to put any wounds behind you in that context than if they were dealt you by other Christians, the people who taught you practically from your first day a lot of what you know about Christianity. And this may be a good point to bring in the reality of spiritual warfare. For a long time I believed that my mother was spiritually "perfect" because of the commitments she had made in her life. As I might already have written elsewhere, when I received Christ as my Saviour, in July 1953, I came to the erroneous conclusion that I would sin no more. When I did, it forced a mountain of guilt on me. Nobody (that I can remember) at that time ever told me that it was just the beginning of a long hard road. And yes, spiritual warfare is a term that is fairly recent in terminology. I know that we never used that term before about a dozen or so years ago. And I had to figure it out on my own as well with the help provided by blogs such as yours and Angela's.

I don't know if I mentioned that I was going to be seeing my pastor the last time I commented here. It was a very fruitful evening and very enlightening as well. We discussed a lot about Christianity in general and a lot about my familial situation in particular. I certainly feel a lot more at peace about that at the moment and I know whom to turn to if I need some bolstering. However, they will be away for a while. In September, they will be visiting their daughter and her family in Switzerland--actually another multinational family. Sylvia was born in Canada, her husband in GB (they met in Japan) and their daughter in Switzerland.

Another family I know: he was born in Germany, his wife in Sweden, his older son in Switzerland, his younger son in the U.S. and his daughter is Canada.

More elsewhere.
Unknown said…
Camy,

This is my second time through this book. I lead our summer bible study leaders study a few weeks ago. It has been a very good study and our women's leadership has grown. I am also convinced that the "Chruch" does not give enough information to believers on how to deal with spiritual warefare. Thanks for your post! Lynn
sarahgrace said…
Camy- I'm so glad you addressed the issue about the authors causing you to question your marriage. I reacted the same way you did, I have always felt very closse to my husband and have never felt like he was holding back from me. It bothered me to feel like I had to question that too.
Hi Camy,
I enjoyed reading your post. I believe in spiritual warfare and find those who do not the naive ones. Sometimes I have a very hard time telling the difference in Satan trying to sabotage a project or God trying to tell me that the project is NOT in His plans. I do know that the evil one loves discord and confusion. Thanks for sharing so many good reactions to the chapter.

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