Captive Thoughts

“For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in an abundance
of wise counselors there is victory and safety.” – Proverbs 24:6

REBEKAH LOGAN did not consider herself anyone out of the ordinary. She had no complaints about her life; as a child of a stable Christian family, she understood the Gospel truth from a young age and accepted Jesus as her Savior while still a child. Overall, Rebekah enjoyed an easy life in comparison to some.

In spite of that, she characterized herself as an anxious person. She remembers thoughts which overtook her imagination, turning ordinary circumstances into
something terrifying. No matter how hard she tried, the images returned throughout the day keeping her in a state of nervous fear.

While she knew both God and Satan existed, she never expected to face spiritual warfare. Rebekah understood spiritual warfare as “exorcist type stuff”. She said, “I’ve always believed in Satan, that he has abilities to do things here on earth, to tempt and affect us.” Rebekah clarifies, “But, I never considered
myself to be someone that was afflicted with spiritual warfare in any way.” She assumed she wouldn’t be targeted.
She depicts herself as, “One of those people whose testimony is not very exciting.” What she did not take into consideration is how completely she is loved by God, Himself. Being the recipient of the attention and affection of El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty) is all it takes to put a target on the back of every believer.

As a young teenager, Rebekah was comfortable in her personal faith, and actively shared her beliefs with others. Still, she struggled with anxious thoughts. Real life scenarios were exaggerated and invaded her thoughts. Rebekah became an aunt when she was in high school and those “day terrors,” as she called them, intensified. “My newborn niece was vulnerable and so close to me that she was a target of my day terrors. I imagined something terrible happening to her. That false image plagued me for years. I played it over and over again,” she remembered. As the intrusive thoughts continued to torment Rebekah, she found it
easier to give in to the fear they caused.

After graduation from Texas State University, Rebekah joined A Christian Ministry in the National Parks (ACMNP) and moved to the Grand Canyon. This organization finds jobs for Christian young people inside national parks, thus positioning them to immerse themselves into relational evangelism. It was there
Rebekah met geologist Greg Logan, an intern with the National Park Service.

The two married in 2011 at the Grand Canyon and began to look for permanent work. Greg’s training as a geologist brought them to Victoria, Texas. Victoria was not where Rebekah wanted to be. “I had a really hard time becoming content with being here,” she recounted. “How do you go from the Grand Canyon to Victoria and be ok with it? We were outdoorsy people – it was hard to find things to do outdoors here.”

While she looked for employment, Rebekah discovered she had too much free time and began to “stew in my discontent.” About the same time, she suffered debilitating headaches which did not respond to medication and she did not understand what was causing them.

Rebekah found work and the couple cultivated relationships with new friends and mentors Tim and Judith Williams. Tim was the pastor of Northside Baptist Church where the Logans are now members and the two couples enjoyed spending time together. Judith lent her literature and reading it changed her life. The author explained how spiritual warfare can have a physical effect on a person. She described, “As soon as I read it, it’s like Christ reached into my head and pulled the headaches out. The headaches were gone. It was an affirmation, it was a pivotal moment.” Rebekah continued, “You are battling spiritual warfare. This is real. You need to be okay with that because you will need to be able to handle it. Handling it means to give it over to Me and realize you don’t need to fight yourself.”

The rich and vibrant relationship between Rebekah, Greg, Judith, and Tim continued when Tim became the Director of Church Relations for STCH Ministries
in 2015. In fact, when Rebekah called all of them to share her experience, everyone told her they each had prayed fervently for her that same day. This revealed to her, for the first time, how intimately and completely God loved her. She discovered a renewed zeal and rejoiced at the truth that her testimony continued to unfold. “My testimony is not like a chapter book that you’ll finish at a certain point in your life. It doesn’t end until my body does and I am in eternity. I was
one of those kids who thought that I had a boring testimony. When I became an adult, things started happening!”

She learned to face spiritual warfare because Jesus won the victory at the cross. “When I put on my full armor (of God) and use the power of the name of Jesus, Satan has to flee and that’s that! It’s actually pretty straight forward,” Rebekah claimed. There were other conflicts, other victories yet, the day terrors continued.
Rebekah wrestled with the idea of taking all of her thoughts captive and allowed her thoughts to control her instead. “I became a very fearful person. I allowed that stuff to wreak havoc on my mind and was not able to focus on other things due to the images stuck in my head of terrible things happening to people that I loved.”

She struggled through an extremely difficult pregnancy with her second daughter, including physical and mental challenges. After Eleanor was born, postpartum anxiety pushed the day terrors into high gear. She endured anxiety attacks which rendered her helpless, curled up on the couch paralyzed by fear.

“It wasn’t even anything specific afflicting me,” Rebekah acknowledged. “I had gotten to the point where I didn’t need a thought to produce fear in me. Fear
was always present. Fear was in control of my body.” After an especially harrowing sleepless night, Rebekah’s incapacitation convinced Greg they needed to become proactive about the situation. Based on Tim William’s recommendation, Rebekah called and scheduled an appointment at STCH Ministries Family Counseling.

After hearing Rebekah’s story, therapist Pam Frink suggested Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy as the course of action. According to Pam, EMDR along with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT – traditional talk therapy) are the top therapy protocols for helping people deal with trauma, depression, and anxiety. Many therapists believe EMDR is to be superior to traditional talk therapy because it goes right to the brain and typically takes
a fraction of the time that CBT does. Pam utilizes EMDR therapy with the majority of her clients because of the effective nature of the treatment. “Researchers find that EMDR is an excellent tool for helping those battling PTSD, OCD, addictions, and grief. I am a huge proponent for EMDR. I see how it is healing,” Pam explained.

The EMDR protocol mimics the brain’s natural processes of working through memories. When the procedure happens correctly, Adaptive Information Processing has taken place and, once complete, the memory no longer “bothers” one anymore. When a memory maintains the sensory and or emotional elements (Maladaptive Information Processing), any similar experience, thought, smell, sound, etc. can throw the victim emotionally and mentally back into the exact state as when the original incident occurred. Without treatment, these maladapted memories will never resolve.

Before the first EMDR session, Pam helped Rebekah identify her negative thinking and formulated a statement for her to proclaim after the processing ended. One of the targets Rebekah identified was the feeling that she was not enough to take care of her children.

Rebekah detailed one of her first EMDR sessions this way:

My brain has processed targets and triggers either visually or verbally. The first time was very visual. While my eyes were open and following Pam’s fingers my mind was visually seeing things like a movie. I was replaying a short clip of an experience, which represented what I was struggling with. This particular target was a moment in high school when someone close to me grabbed the back of my arm and told me I needed to lose weight.

My “I am” statement going into it was, “I am not good enough.” The statement I wanted to believe afterward was “I am good enough.” I began the session
believing I am not good enough physically. As the processing begins, Pam’s fingers moved back and forth in front of my following eyes. I play this clip and say the words in my mind, “I am not good enough.” Pam knows what she’s doing and she knows what to look for as I’m processing. When she stops moving her fingers I quickly tell her anything that has stood out to me, she usually says, “ok, just notice that” then starts moving her fingers again.

As we started and stopped time and again, the clip I played and statement I heard, began to change. The first shift was from this person grabbing the fat of my arm (the original image) to them simply standing beside me. The next shift was this person hugging me! It was gradual, but as this shift happened the “I am not good enough” statement left me. Finally, the image in my mind changed to God Himself hugging me. It was surreal. I began to cry. My “I am” statement came back to me but this time it was the second one. “I am good enough.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 teaches us to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. God Himself was captivating my thoughts to Him.

The day terrors that troubled Rebekah for so long ceased early in her treatment and she has finished her therapy course. STCH Ministries Family Counseling was the tool God used to train her to take her thoughts captive, a basic commandment for a Christian’s walk which she failed to master on her own. She is confident of the truth she learned: all of the targets were cleared when Christ died on the cross. She felt challenged by God to “not allow His death to be a
sacrifice in vain.” She is thankful to have the skills necessary to handle anxiety, “If I have a thought that would have turned into a day terror in the past, I can control the situation instead of the situation controlling me. Life is manageable now.” Rebekah intentionally enjoys each day with her daughters and looks forward with optimism knowing Christ won the victory.