I felt from the beginning that this would be a rough week. The Lord had told me previously that the enemy was furious and I was heading into a vicious battle, but to trust Him, because He’d already won. He wasn’t kidding about the vicious part. I had no idea - not so much related to lab, as to the attacks on John. Yet even so, He showed me things in the midst of it. Then, He brought a HUGE unexpected blessing my way.
- Reality of spiritual warfare
- Reality of the Lord’s protection
- John and I under attack
- Difficulties during the week
- An unexpected miracle
- Friday, things turn around
Spiritual Warfare Is Real
Have you ever had nightmares? I’ve had a demonic one.
Shortly after I accepted Emory, I had the worst dream I’ve ever had in my whole life. I’ve heard of this kind of thing from friends, but I’d never experienced it.
It was visceral, completely evil, gory and horrible. It felt more real than anything else I’d ever dreamed. In it, I was being forced to watch as people I knew were executed in horrible, gory ways by demons. I was powerless to stop it. I was scared of the demonic forces, couldn’t get away and the demons were telling me that God couldn’t help me. I couldn’t call upon Him. In my dream, I didn’t really even think about calling on Him and when I tried once, I couldn’t.
I woke up. And I *felt* visceral evil circling around my head, like it was whispering into my mind. I said the Lord’s name and I *felt* them disperse in every direction, at once. I’ve never felt that before or since. Though the fear subsided, I remained disturbed far into the next day and for weeks afterward.
I’ve never had a better demonstration that as we press into the Lord, we come under more active attack by the enemy. Esther has reminded me of this repeatedly. This is why it’s *so* important to pray for each other and to pray constantly, always being in the Word. That and prayer are our weapons (Ephesians 6:10-18).
We do not have to fear the enemy. The Lord has already won. We can claim His cleansing, His power, promises and protection every day. Stand on His promises. He’s already given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
The Lord’s Protection Is Also Real
In any case, one day Esther prayed over me and she said she saw a conical shield around me and around the whole Emory chemistry building. The Lord was going to protect me there.
On a different day, we were sitting in her car, talking about things to pray for like we usually do and she kept looking out the window, squinting at my car across the way. She suddenly asked me out of the blue how I felt when I drove.
I said. “Umm … I don’t feel particularly special. I’m usually praying or singing praise songs or something.”
She said she asked, because she saw an angelic being in my back seat, sitting there. I thought that was really cool. I couldn’t see him. But the Lord has told me before that seeing angels is a matter of faith and I wasn’t there yet.
John, Under Attack
That night, I woke up in the middle of the night and felt evil trying to take me again. It wasn’t as visceral as my worst nightmare, but I knew what it was. I couldn’t dispel it on my own that time. I had to wake up John to pray for me. When he prayed, I felt the fear break off of me and melt away.
On Monday, when I woke up, I can’t really explain what I felt. It was weird. I *felt* a war going on in our room that I couldn’t see. I could feel evil reaching for me and the Lord’s angels fighting it. It’s impossible to describe.
I was praying specific protection over John, after that. I knew he would be under attack. It was end of month week, the most stressful time at work for him.
In the middle of my prayer, his radio started blaring and refused to turn off. John tried. It was kind of weird. Finally, after a whole minute of struggling with it, it finally stopped. I was on the verge of unplugging it. I finished my prayer.
This week was really stressful for him. But we both made it.
During the Week - Difficulties
Failed Protein Isolations
This week, absolutely nothing worked.
All I was doing was trying to isolate protein – the first two times of which I did successfully without a hitch. I did it *twice* this week. Both failed.
The first one failed and I thought… “Hmm, ok. I’ll try this!” And I did a different method that I was completely sure would work.
I was up there around 9 p.m., finding out the protein concentration of my second protein isolation. To my complete and unexpected horror, it was even worse than the first one.
Something broke inside me. I was thoroughly devastated.
Yuan was the only one there at the time and I cried on her shoulder. Poor Yuan – I worried I freaked her out, but she said later no, it was ok. She helped me clean some things that I was too tired to get to. I really appreciated that.
Weiwei is awesome
For a while, trying to get the Nanodrop to work and measure the concentration, I was by myself, feeling really lonely. But, I was thankful that Weiwei, one of the post-docs, came in and started working on things soon after. Just his presence was so comforting. He started talking to me some small talk about his lipid vesicles that he was working on and exclaiming and cursing them, when he dropped his tubes.
The more I work around Weiwei, the more I appreciate and like him. He tends to ask me how I’m doing, as if he’s looking out for me. And when I tell him, sometimes he’ll give me advice, which I usually take 90% of the time. He’s so nice, encouraging and helpful, to everyone.
I asked him if he was going to be a professor after this post-doc one day. He said maybe and did I think that was a good idea? I said absolutely, if that’s what he wanted to do – I thought he was super encouraging. It’s true.
What the Lord Showed Me, Through the Protein Isolations Failing
But the next morning, I was praying as I drove and the Lord showed me something. I had a mental shift.
I realized that I was going about my research, expecting too much out of myself. I’m not a very patient person, most of the time. And, whenever I do something, I like to attack the biggest, hardest, most difficult, most impossible looking thing and attack it viciously with my whole will. That’s what’s fun to me – a real challenge.
I’d been praying that God would give me something really huge and impossible to do – some something in research that was amazing that He could do through me. But, God told me that I wasn’t ready yet. I should know that, but sometimes, He has to tell me the obvious, because it’s not obvious to me.
Several images came to mind.
1. Moses, back when he was in Egypt and thought it was obvious that God was going to use him to deliver the Israelites and tried to do it his own way, by killing an Egyptian taskmaster. God did use him. But he wasn’t ready yet. God had to mold him for 40 years in the desert tending sheep, first.
2. Mom loves to feed the birds. Once, we had put out peanuts in the shell on the lawn. Ravens would come up and pick up two at once in their massive beaks and fly away with them. Blue jays would watch this and they would pick up one peanut and *try* with all their might to stuff two in their beaks, like the ravens did, but they couldn’t do it. Their beaks weren’t big enough. It was the funniest thing ever to watch.
God told me that just like Moses and the birds, that’s what I was doing. Someday, I’d have the capacity to do something big, and He would do it through me, but right now, I wasn’t ready for that. He still had a lot to teach me first. When I was ready, He would answer my prayer with a big project. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. But it’s what I needed.
So, I decided it was good the protein didn’t work. If it had worked, I wouldn’t have heard what the Lord had to say. He showed me I needed to just relax and enjoy learning things and not take myself so seriously. It’s ok if things don’t work. I’m not going to die. And eventually, everything will work out.
An Unexpected Miracle
There’s a guy in the Hill lab – Juan – who’s an exchange student from Colombia and he’s leaving to go back there today. I had talked to him briefly a few times at lunch and discovered he was a believer in Jesus.
I got confused about when he was going back and told him to have a good trip a week ago. He said something like, “Oh, no I don’t go back until next week. You still have time to get me a present!”
At once, I felt from the Lord that I should get him something, but I didn’t know what. I thought and prayed about it off and on throughout most of the weekend and week. Suddenly, I knew what it should be – the prayer book I’m reading, Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle.
So, on Thursday morning, since my experiment Wednesday had been a bust, I had a bit of time and went to the Barnes and Nobles on campus, asking God that if He wanted me to get him that book, it would be there. It was. I picked it up and told the store person to get more, because it was the last one and I figured he’d sell a lot more, because I was telling all my friends to buy it. He seemed to take note. I hope so. I want there to be more of those books there. More people need to read it.
I found a bag for it and tissue paper – to my amazement later as I was putting it together, I realized all the colors matched. That was not planned. I wrote a note for it and left the Barnes and Noble.
Amazingly, just as I left and was walking down the street, there was Juan coming the other way! I thought, wow. This is of the Lord. And I gave it to him at once. He was shocked and said he’d been kidding. I said I knew that – but I hadn’t been. He said we should talk later. I didn’t know what he wanted to talk about.
Later around 5 p.m., he found me and said he wanted to thank me, because the present had been particularly meaningful to him. It concerned the Person he cared about the most. It turned out, he’s a very, very passionate believer in Jesus – the kind of person I look for and always hope to find.
We sat in the lunch room and he asked me lots of things – why I had gotten him that, why I said what I said and what I had meant, what I thought about the Lord, what he had heard and seen, things about prayer, experiences and visions he had had of the Lord.
It ended up being a very powerful and *intense* discussion of the Lord for 2.5 hrs. It felt like a few minutes. I was so surprised. I didn’t expect anything like that to happen. It was really beautiful.
I told him things the Lord was showing me and what I was learning and got to listen to what he had learned about the Lord and how important He was to him. We were opposites. I know about the Lord a lot, but am just beginning to experience Him more. He’s not been a believer as long and has had a lot of experiences of the Lord I haven’t, and is trying to learn more about Him.
He said he’d felt the Lord’s power and authority, like a current running through him. He’s seen the Lord in visions and it was unbelievably amazing, as well as terrifying. He mentioned repeatedly that to really know the Lord, to really devote oneself to Him, one had to pay a cost. That one had to give up much. I said yes, I knew it. I’ve also known I’ve never completely understood what the cost was. I was afraid of it. But I also wanted it anyway. Otherwise, why was I here? He nodded seriously, saying he understood and it was worth it.
It was really sweet. He was frustrated, because he wanted to say so many more things but couldn’t think of all the words he wanted to say, in English. He looked up words on his translator several times. Occasionally, he asked me to clarify some of the words I used. He said that he wished we could have talked more, before he went back to Colombia.
Before he left, I prayed over him, for his trip and whatever I felt the Lord wanted me to pray. And he prayed for me. He said he really wanted to pray in English, so I could understand what he was saying, but he didn’t think he could do it. I said that wasn’t important. God knew what he said and the prayer would still be heard and accomplished.
It was a beautiful prayer. I caught some of the words. I’d told him repeatedly, that yes, I’d taken Spanish in college three years, but my Spanish was far, far worse than his English. I couldn’t understand the majority of it. But that didn’t bother me. I knew the Lord heard.
He finished praying and looked up, telling me some things he sensed from the Lord. Some things I knew, but hearing it from someone else, filled me with such happiness.
He said – paraphrased somewhat – that…
The Lord’s anointing is on you. He loves you so much. The path you walk will not be easy, but He will help you. He will be with you every day. Every hour. Every minute. Everywhere you go. And no one can take that away from you. He’s going to bring to pass the words that He’s spoken to you in the lives of your relatives, your family, your husband, your boss, your lab mates. Ask God to help you see with His eyes.
I told him I’m not sure what that would mean. He just smiled and said, “Oh, He will show you. Yes. You will see. There is a cost, but when the time comes, He will help you. He will always be with you.”
Now, every time that I see that lunch room, I feel it is blessed and I smile. I’ll never forget that conversation, as long as I live. I do wonder if Juan blessed me more than I ever did him. I felt in another place.
Friday, Things Turn Around
I got to talk to Dr. Salaita in the morning. Always a good thing. He recommended I talk to Dr. Weinert about why my protein didn’t seem to be working. I agreed reluctantly. I had nothing to show her but also nothing to lose.
I expressed more protein, for the third time.
I went to most of the Salaita subgroup meeting for mechano-transduction, got to see some of the other’s data, understand it a bit better and ask some questions.
Talking to Dr. Weinert was the best! I should have talked to her a week ago, seriously. We didn’t discuss the data much. We mostly talked over the methodology and I discovered so many things I was doing wrong or inefficiently – or not strict/safe enough to protect my protein. I learned SO much! I can *hardly* wait to try out everything she said and I was filled with a new energy.
After talking to her, there was a poster session, which was completely fascinating. There was even food (hot dogs and hamburgers) and cookies! That was a real plus. I was starving.
And I got to talk to all kinds of people - Yang, Daniel, Nina Mace, a random p-chem student and then Dr. Lynn. I looked at a lot of others. I wished I could have talked to everyone, but I don’t think I could have fit it all in my brain. I tried to take pictures of all the posters, but Dr. Lynn managed to snag me at the end instead. I figured I should talk to him, because I felt really badly about not coming to talk to him when I said that I would.
He was presenting a project for one of his students who wasn’t there. Her project was quite interesting, actually. I understood a lot of concepts and such that he explained much better. Unfortunately though, he asked some pretty simple questions that I just couldn’t think enough to answer. It was very unfortunate. Alas. He was trying to make me think. I guess my brain didn’t want to.
I told him I’d talked to everyone in his lab, except for him. And I was always there expressing protein. Rolando confirmed this. I even distracted Vijay, he said (Rolando’s SURE student, that I know from TAing the Oxford Organic Chem class).
I told him I’d not come to talk because I couldn’t read any of his papers and hadn’t had time to prepare a proper list of questions. Rolando scoffed at that saying, “Oh no! Don’t you let her do that. She asked me more questions at the visitation weekend than anyone. It took two hours.”
He convinced me that I should come talk anyway, though I hadn’t prepared anything or read papers. I feel this is rude, but I guess I will. I need to talk to people again. It’s important. I’ve been debating about how to do this for some time. Maybe I can try to prepare and/or read after talking, like they seemed to think. I don’t know.
I’ll try to talk to Rolando next week. I keep forgetting what his project is about, though I have suspicions that I know more of it than I think, since I’m understanding better what Vijay is doing. I’ll also try to talk to Dr. Lynn. I owe him that. Dr. Dyer is next on my list. After that, who knows? Oh boy. I hope I can do this. I think the Lord will help me.
Talking to people is important. I want to eventually understand the basics of what everyone does, so that I can learn more chemistry and be able expand my knowledge base.
It doesn’t mean that I’m interested in working for other labs though. Oh nnooooo. I’ve already stated my piece on that.