“Have you read this book before?… This question came along with a screenshot of a pink book with a big, weird eye on the front cover. It was a text from my sister-in-law back in January of 2016. I responded back to her that I had never heard of it.
The next morning I made my way to the library on the third floor of our over 13.000 sq. ft. home. This long, dark wooden room was tucked away in the east end of our mezzanine; a more peaceful area separated from the loud and crazier parts of the house. I would often start my mornings with quiet times in this room, but as life happened, I just lost the habit. Not being there for some time, I walked in and my eyes went directly to the mess of books strewn all over the floor. It looked like a tornado or some other natural disaster came through only in that part of the house. I was startled at first, but that quickly turned into irritation, realizing that it wasn’t a natural disaster but a child-made one. Four shelves of books lay on the floor where I barely had a path to walk. Then, sticking out like a sore thumb, that pink book with the weird eye on it was staring right back at me. The book’s title was Pigs in the Parlor. I quickly picked it up and texted a screenshot to my sis-in-law. “Look what I just found!” I knew it wasn’t a coincidence that the book was there on the floor for me to see. That day Pigs in the Parlor moved to the top of my list of books I needed to read.
The next night at my haircut appointment, I traded the typical People magazine reading for the newly discovered book. With the cover as eerie as it looked, I really had no idea what to expect. After reading the first few pages and skimming through the book, the subject matter addressing demons, spirits, spiritual warfare, etc. were all a bit too much for me. As I felt my heart beat faster in fear, I quickly set the book face down on my lap. I couldn’t do it. I knew I just wasn’t ready. This book went from the top of my reading list to the back of my nightstand drawer, where it lay for 3 months…
…“Jeanette, am I really that bad of a wife?” This was a question I threw out to my friend; my mentor, my “spiritual” older sister on a Sunday morning after our church service. Trying to hide my tears from the departing crowds of people, I sat there with Jeanette; the one who Kabeer actually encouraged me to talk to regarding respect and submission. Known to have a distinct voice of strength, boldness and earnestness, this by-nature loud Puerto Rican friend of mine threw questions back at me — this time with a slow, gentle tone, “Eileen, are you an obstinate wife? Are you rebellious? Are you overbearing?” Knowing in my heart I wasn’t, yet doubting myself because of continued accusations, I answered with hesitation, “No, I don’t think so.” Immediately her answer reassured my response, “No, Eileen, you’re not. You’re fighting the wrong battle. Your husband is not the enemy. You are not his enemy. It’s time to fight the real enemy now. Eileen, it’s time to get on your knees and warfare the right way — for your marriage, your family, your husband and even yourself.” She challenged me to stand in the gap, to battle in the trenches like I never had before. As she continued to give me wisdom and insight about the spiritual realm, I knew I needed to handle things differently. From that day forward, I put a strategy into place. I began a time of daily, disciplined and consistent prayer and time in God’s Word. Praying — a time for me to talk to God. More importantly, reading the Word — a time for God to talk to me. I would get up at 5:00 a.m. and head straight to our secret room on the 4th floor. With my Bible, prayer books, journal, and pen I would start everyday on my knees. I even had a pillow underneath them to alleviate the hardness of the wood floors. I would pray in the Spirit, speak declarations over my marriage, my family, and whoever else God put on my heart that day. I learned to pray God’s Word and speak His promises out loud. With the Bible open and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I would have my pen in hand ready to journal anything God would have for me. In the stillness, I would even write, “Eileen, …” Then I would wait for God to finish that sentence, or two, or three, or more. I would also write down specific prayer requests and leave space on half of the page to fill in when God answered those prayers. I learned to daily put on my full armor of God (Ephesians 6) and pray that armor over my whole family as well. I could feel God’s strength taking over my weakness. I could sense the confidence coming back, not in myself, but in God who was increasing in me. It was almost 3 months straight since I started praying like that; like a soldier training and preparing for battle. Not intimidated anymore, I pulled out Pigs in the Parlor from my nightstand drawer.
It was mid-March when I boarded a plane to CA for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Since living in Green Bay, I would head back to my hometown every few years, always with the youngest baby in tow since I literally provided their main source of food. This flight was the first time I was actually by myself; no baby, no breastfeeding, no family, no one else, just me. This was the perfect opportunity for me to start reading that pink book. From the time I boarded the plane to the time I landed, during the downtime of that weekend, then on the plane ride back to Green Bay, I read that book from cover to cover. No fear, no intimidation, just reading and gaining understanding of spiritual warfare, the spirit realm, demonic spirits, and ways we open and close doors to the spiritual world with our words, actions or other means.
The title, Pigs in the Parlor, was referring to Mark 5 in the Bible. It was the story of the demon-possessed man by the tombs who was tormented day and night, crying out and cutting himself. When he saw Jesus, he ran to Him for help. The demons, known as Legion, cried out in fear and asked Jesus to send them into the herd of pigs, rather than to be run out of the area. Mark 5:13 says, “Jesus gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.”
Jesus gave a legion of demons permission… Demons knew who Jesus was, they knew His power and knew that they didn’t have a fighting chance against Him no matter how many there were. They knew He had authority over them and that they had to ask Him for permission to come and go. As I continued reading this book, I pondered on some things. Jesus said that He must go to be with the Father and that He would give us the Holy Spirit who would never leave us. (John 14:16) The Holy Spirit, our Helper, is to guide us into all truth (John 16:13) and with Him, we will do even greater things than Jesus did when He was on this earth (John 14:12.) Jesus gave the disciples the authority to cast out demons. When He sent them out two by two, (Mark 3:15) He gave them the power to tread on serpents and over all power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19) What did this mean? Did this actually pertain to me? If Jesus has authority over the demons and all the power of the enemy, and He says that He has given me that same authority, then wouldn’t that mean that I have the power to cast out demons, to have power over the enemy, to do the things He did? At the same time I thought, “When would I ever even have to do something like that anyway?” Little did I know what lay ahead…
As I talk about what can be controversial topics regarding demons and the spirit realm even in Christian circles, it comes with hesitation and concern that some may be offended. That is not my intention at all as I write. I can only tell you what I experienced and what God has shown me during the last 4-5 years. When I told a friend my concerns, he reminded me that “we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.” (Revelations 12:11) I needed to hear that. All of this is part of my testimony and I need not be ashamed. Because of His blood and the testimony He’s given me through this, I HAVE overcome.
As this world gets crazier and more evil, my prayer is that we tap into, that we fully embrace, all that Jesus has given us to fight, to endure, to stand firm, and to be a warrior that He can send out for battle. I pray you reflect on His Word and His promises and how it can be lived out through you and your circumstances. Through all that I’ve learned from books like Pigs in the Parlor, friends like Jeannette, and other resources throughout this season, my faith and confidence in Him has grown exponentially. I’ve been stretched in more ways than I ever could imagine, yet I’m truly thankful and actually do consider it all joy. I’m so grateful too, that my kids were able to see this at a young age so that they can be better equipped for the battles that lie ahead for them — and as we know, there will be many.
I wish I could say that I have experienced all the mighty miracles that He did when He was on earth, but I can’t. Just like you, I am a work in progress; growing stronger in the grace, knowledge and power of Jesus Christ, going from glory to glory. Wherever you are in your journey, be hopeful, not discouraged. He desires for us to know who we are in Him, His power that is there for the taking — never in condemnation, only out of love for us. Receive it, grow in it, be ready to have Him take you to places you never thought possible. No matter what, as I’ve learned with Him, the journey is all worth it.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, it was my oldest son who was guilty of the book tornado in the library. He took them down so that he could put them back in an orderly, categorized fashion. What a parallel: A crazy mess first, and then the peace and order… God always using messes to birth His beautiful message.
Lord, thank you for who we are in You. Thank you that You give us Your authority, Your power, and Your righteousness that would cause the demons to flee. Thank You that there are no coincidences with You; that in the littlest (or biggest) of messes, You create beauty, peace and order. May we all allow you to stretch us through our circumstances so that You can use us to exude who You are. In Jesus’ name. Amen.