Daily devotional by Anna Szabo - I AM ALIVE

Have you ever experienced living life but not feeling alive? Ever felt like a zombie: going through the motions, detached, unaware, not present in the moment, being unappreciative of your season of life, and feeling like your life isn’t actual living at all? I felt that way. I was dead but God brought me to life and made me alive. Today, let’s discuss what “dead in sin alive in Christ” means. I’ll share my own “I am alive in Christ” transformation.

This daily devotional is focused on this truth: you are alive in Christ, according to 1 John 5:12, Ephesians 2:4-5, and John 11:25-26.

The format of this devotional is “self-examination.”  I’ll be sharing my personal story of how I went from deadness and drifting into sin to living my life fully alive in Christ and experiencing peace and joy.

The reason why I chose the self-examination format for my devotionals is that whenever people tell me how I should think, I feel preached to, but whenever they share about their faith journey and breakthroughs, I feel touched by their story.

I trust that sharing my struggles with drifting and deadness, as well as presenting my spiritual breakthroughs in this Biblical devotional, will encourage and empower you. may you be blessed by this devotion!

I am Alive #52Devotionals Devotions for Women by Anna Szabo

Daily Devotional for Women: “I Am Alive”

I was raised in Russia by a very abusive family of drunks. I was taught that the way to deal with life was to drink and party, that sex was love and love was sex, also that my goal in life was to serve men with my body, and that my body was the most important thing about me. I shared my story extensively on this Christian blog for women. I was not raised in a church. We did not know God. We were not Christians.

My Story

I was struggling and suffering. But my pain was all covered up very well with high performance and The Happiness Illusion. I was a sex addict and an alcoholic. I struggled with overeating and compulsive shopping. I was drifting, not living. And that’s why I felt so dead. I lived through some serious deadness and can attest that it was a surreal experience. 

I looked alive, I made a great impression of being alive, I thought I was alive, and I was even deceiving myself into feeling alive. Yet, I was as dead as one could ever be, and I was also blind. I lived in my own power and was blissfully-ignorant and maniacally-happy. I had no life.

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

1 John 5:12

The Living Dead 

Growing up, I drank heavily, partied, slept around, and tried to commit suicide twice. I was once locked up in jail for being drunk and physically violent with a security guard at a local hospital. You can learn more about my lifestyle and deadness by reading the blog most called Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. You can also find out more about my family in an article called My Testimony.

I grew up and moved to America. Thanks to my MBA internship at Georgia State University, I began attending Buckhead Church in 2011. There, I was introduced to and later had a personal encounter with Jesus.

READ: Who Is Jesus?

By the grace of God, in 2014, I gave my life to Christ.

In 2015, I was pursued by a Christian man.

He persuaded me that he was a Bible-believing Jesus’ follower and a seminary graduate. He courted me for marriage intentionally and eloquently. It was the most amazing dating relationship in my life. I thought of him as “Christ-like.” I believed that he loved me when he said so, and I deeply loved him. I adored and admired him. His name was Michel.

We were married on May 14th, 2016.

Michel Szabo and Anna Szabo Wedding 5-14-2016 Verdi

I remember Michel’s aunt and uncle bringing me and my bridesmaids to the wedding venue, a Russian restaurant VERDI in Norcross, GA, in their beautiful large white auto. Apparently, we were a few minutes late but I didn’t know the time as everyone wanted me to be relaxed, so they took all devices indicating time away from me.

I remember seeing the relief on people’s faces when I arrived because they were worried that I got cold feet all of a sudden. Nope, I didn’t. Actually, I had nothing but joy when my mentor Mike walked me down the aisle and gave me away to Michel. As I walked closer, I saw Michel standing there in tears. I was confident that those were the tears of joy about our unity, togetherness, and future.

Not actually. Michel shared with me that those were the tears about him finally having his first wedding and feeling accomplished. I found that out the morning after our wedding, and cold blood was running through my veins. It appeared as if I were a trophy to Michel.

After Michel and I got into our newlyweds’ suite at the Buckhead Intercontinental hotel, he got on the phone, sat in the corner of the room in a chair staring into his device texting with a friend about shoes, and became distant.

As I stood there, in front of my beloved husband, in my wedding dress, waiting for his attention, Michel was busy texting with friends sitting in a chair alone in the right corner of our newlyweds’ suite. It was bizarre and so confusing. I was puzzled and partly disillusioned. It was the strangest scenery I had ever encountered.

I waited and waited as Michel had told me that his dream was to have a wedding he never had (he was divorced) and to help his bride take the wedding dress off. Out of respect for his dream, I didn’t want to take the dress off by myself and rob him of the experience he considered special, yet Michel was busy texting in his corner chair. I waited…

That night turned into a painful and dramatic experience which caused some trauma, and my OBGYN had to place me on antibiotics for a while. It was the most terrible and traumatizing sexual experience of my life, and I actually had been raped twice in my early years in Russia.

At the breakfast with my bridesmaid the next morning, Michel informed me that, now that the wedding was checked off his list, life was going to be about his IronMan priorities. I was puzzled…

Michel started disappearing every evening and weekend saying that he wanted to be an IronMan and complete in Kona. He called his IronMan bicycle “My other wife I cheat on you with” and rejected me sexually saying that he needed to save himself for his IronMan training.

Prior to our wedding, Michel asked me to honor him by taking his last name. That’s how I became Anna Szabo (my name was Anna Stevens). He also asked me to deposit my paycheck into our joint checking account he created with USAA. I honored his wish and direct-deposited my paycheck into our join checking account.

Now, my paycheck was spent and I was left with a balance of below zero dollars three times. I remember being at work and walking to get lunch… only to discover no money in our checking account.

I confronted Michel about his lifestyle. He filed for divorce.

Suffering from Narcissistic Abuse, I became severely depressed and suicidal. During my depression and despair, I was walking around in high heels and wearing makeup and beautiful bright dresses, conducting important meetings at work, delivering presentations to the high-power Emory physicians about digital marketing, and appearing “normal.”

Yet, I was dead on the inside. I was lured by Satan into hell.

READ: How Satan Disguises Himself as an Angel of Light

I remember at our wedding, a song played: “Giving It All To You.” I gave my all to Michel, including my last name, paycheck, body, and even identity. My name was Anna Stevens, and I describe the split in my identity experienced during that time in an article called “Cognitive Dissonance as a Coping Mechanism Used by Victims of Narcissistic Abuse.” I had prioritized Michel over Jesus and gave away my identity to Michel instead of Jesus.

I was dead spiritually, and I wanted to die physically, as well.

I had no fight and no might left in me.

I came to the end of myself.

The Journey of Spiritual Awakening

Every day was a struggle for me. Life with Michel was miserable and painful, and that was exactly what I focused on, unfortunately. The focus of my life was Michel and not Jesus. I drew my worth from Michel and not Jesus. My depression worsened. I was becoming more and more suicidal.

READ: Ten Lessons Learned from My Suicidal Depression

After the September divorce filing, Michel asked me to reconcile in November of 2016, and I said yes. In December, his first divorce was dismissed. In January of 2017, five weeks later, I was served with Michel’s second divorce summons. He filed for his second divorce in our first eight months of marriage.I almost lost my mind.

Court documents are public records. You can access them by providing the following case numbers for the two divorces Michel filed in our first few months of marriage: Michel Szabo vs Anna Szabo 16CV-1802-2 and Michel Szabo vs Anna Szabo 17CV-0058-2 in Forsyth County.

My life was incomprehensible. I felt deceived, devalued, disoriented, devastated, and dispirited. The confusion from all the cruelty endured from the man, who was a totally different person just a few months ago, was incomprehensible. The pain I was going through seemed unbearable.

READ: Narcissistic Cruel Treatment Examples

I was angry at Michel, I was using alcohol to help me cope, and I raged in pain… until I realized that instead of casting my anxiety on Michel, I needed to cast all my cares on the only one who actually loves me and can help me – Jesus Christ.

After that, many times I cried myself to sleep in prayer on the floor. The practice of bringing my pain to Jesus was the key to my awakening and becoming dead to sin and alive in Christ.

Learning What Life Is About

Then, a few weeks later after Michel served me with his second divorce summons, he got very sick with the flu. At the time, we still lived together in our marital residence: I lived in the master bedroom, and Michel lived in the guest bedroom.

When he got so sick with the flu after another IronMan race in Alabama that month, I discovered the little grey book by pastor Greg Laurie. It was the book I found covered in dust on Michel’s nightstand when I was cleaning his room and changing his bedsheets, while he was at the doctor’s office. The little grey book was covered in dust and junk. It was the gift I gave Michel, the gift received at the same Christian conference “Harvest” where Michel served me with the first divorce summons.

On September 24th, 2016, the day before Michel served me with the divorce summons, I got the book for him at that Christian conference but forgot all about it the next day. The name of the book was “Tell Someone.” I got it for Michel thinking he was the one who needed to read it and get inspired to share the Gospel, be redeemed, and become a true disciple of Christ.

I had placed the book in the bedroom where Michel lived and hoped he’d read it. Time went by, the book was covered in dust. Michel never opened it. You see, I wanted to fix Michel’s relationship with God but God Himself was calling my name to focus on my own relationship with Him.

READ: Daughters of narcissistic mothers suffer from the Wendy Syndrome

I took the little grey book back into the bedroom where I lived. Just out of curiosity, I began reading it. I couldn’t stop and finished it within an hour. My life has never been the same ever since.

The little grey book had a big and bright message: it is my responsibility, calling, and anointing to share the Gospel with all creation. The book showed me that all my struggles and trials were actually the school of life where God equipped and prepared me for ministry.

God had a purpose for me and for my pain.

I wept.

Becoming Alive and Unlocking My Vision

As I took care of sick Michel, we were preparing for our divorce jury trial in Forsyth county with Judge Dickinson. Michel got better and his attorney scheduled our divorce mediation. I was going through the same pain, the same heartbreak, the same mental cruelty, only now I had the breakthrough-understanding of the purpose of life and trials.

READ: Online Discipleship For Women

The day before our divorce mediation on March 6th, 2017 God gave me an unexpected gift. At the time, I already began tuning in and listening to God through the Holy Spirit. My eyes were opened to the things unseen. My heart was finally focused on Jesus. My mind was receptive to God’s voice.

That morning, I woke up feeling a holy dwelling on the inside. It was at 4 am. I got my phone and started writing what was flowing through me. It was spoken word poetry addressed to God in the form of a prayer-declaration called I Am Your Princess. Having written poetry never before, I was stunned. I was shocked. It was new and so unexpected.  

"I Am Your Princess" #PoemsFromGod

My heart is broken,
My soul is aching,
But I have hope,
Because you are still reigning.

Your mercy gifts forgiveness.
Your grace gifts blessings.
We don't deserve your goodness:
Our lives are always messy.

But you don't rate performance - 
Our heart is one that matters.
So when we fail all over,
You raise us from the deadness.

Your strength is sufficient.
Your love is enough.
I am your daughter -
A perfect princess in the fallen world.

3/6/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

In the next four days, I wrote four poems, and more kept coming and coming. I saw God’s purpose. I came to live. I realized why I was where I was and what I needed to do next. I discovered that God wanted me to focus on my identity in Christ and not Michel.

I understood that God wanted me to share the Gospel with all creation – through my story – and give Him all the glory. I knew God had a ministry for me in the future and everything I’d learn while going through narcissistic abuse recovery God would leverage for that ministry.

That’s exactly what happened.

The Story of Learning to Live Alive

After a long divorce mediation with Michel, our premarital counseling mentors drove me here to where I now live, to look for apartments so that I could leave our marital residence in the country and come back to the city where I had lived for a decade before marrying Michel.

Together, we chose this new home for me.

We liked that it was hidden away because I needed peace in order to heal. At the same time, it was in the middle of the city with easy access to everything. We loved that it was on the river so I could do some soothing activities on the water, such as kayaking with my dog Bruno.

I am healed - a Christian Blog for women by Anna Szabo

It was a place that allowed me to install video cameras, which I needed since Michel told people that he wanted to divorce me to date me again, which was a clear threat of stalking.

How I Trusted God During Tough Times

That day, after finding a new home for me and my lunch with our premarital counseling mentors, I had divine peace come upon me, and this poem was given to me when I returned to our marital residence. It’s called I Trust You With My Troubles.

"I Trust You With The Troubles In This World" #PoemsFromGod

You said we will have troubles in this world.
I would have surely preferred to avoid all my  trials.
But you also promised to defeat every sword,
And, with no battles to fight, how could I ever feel the perfect love as your special child? 

You promised protection, you promised peace.
You asked to not lean on my own comprehension.
So, as I'm standing here, crying on my knees,
I trust you still and your perfect plan for my eternal salvation. 

3/6/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

I had to learn to not only rely on Christ for my identity but also for my future. I was devastated by all the haze and adversity of this terrifying marriage. I fought my suicidal thoughts with the hope rooted in my faith in God’s plan for my life. And I wrote a book about the journey, which is a collection of three autobiographical fairytales about Princess Lana. I publish my books under the pen name of Anna Stevens.

Princess Lana Fairytales by Anna Szabo - How Princess Lana Developed Faith and Fortitude

The day after that divorce mediation, a new poem was given to me as I worked with God to refocus my thoughts from the painful past and confusing present to the exciting future He had in store for me. It’s called Focusing on The Future.

"Focusing on The Future" #PoemsFromGod

A broken spirit, a broken heart,
What you joined togetherno man can unone.

But you're a healer, you restore hearts.
And I am crying, running into your arms. 

You're a loving Daddy, Abba, Father -
Strong in my weakness, drawing me away from flesh further and further,
Closer to you, deeper in the Spirit,
Helping me endure this season that is so wicked. 

I'm suffering from pain and loss and trauma,
But I'm reaching for your perfect love, turning my mind away from this earthly drama...

Remembering that this world is fallen
And everything is temporary and unstable,
Till your exciting coming when we will be together forever 
And I will be redeemed for eternity, sitting with you at the celebration table.

And then there will be joy, glorification, and perfection.
And I will be never hurt again, resting forever in your loving kindness and soothing affection.

3/7/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

The next day was International Women’s Day.

It’s a huge holiday in Russia. Women receive flowers and gifts from their men. It’s typically a day when every woman is acknowledged and celebrated. I was dwelling on the fact that, before I married Michel, my dream was to become a Proverbs 31:1 kind of wife to him.

Two things you need to know before I share my next poem and a breakthrough with you. At the time, I was working at Emory Healthcare. The focus of my daily work was Emory Reproductive Center where gay couples, transgender couples, and other people were trying to get pregnant. All that was new to me, and I was studying the typical lifestyle and reproductive issues faced by transgender couples and gay couples. I did it because, as a marketer, I had to write solid content that spoke to the issues and solutions for that demographic.

You also need to know, before I share the next poem, that Michel labeled me constantly. The labels he assigned to me were communicated to me verbally and in writing. The “Woman of Grade” phrase in my poem was born out of pain: Michel graded me in his divorce statements.

The “I’d prefer being a woman anyway” phrase was born as the result of my work on Emory Reproductive Center’s web content, where we wrote about such service offerings as freezing sperm of teen boys who wanted to take hormone treatments to become girls and vise versa. I was fascinated with how people thought of their gender. So, I naturally thought about my own gender and what a blessing it was to actually like my God-given gender.

Now, that you have some background details, here’s that poem from the International Women’s Day, which was born two days after our divorce mediation. It’s called Proverbs 31 Woman.

"Proverbs 31 Woman" #PoemsFromGod

Being a proverbs 31 woman is my goal 
But trying has not yet made me perfect at all.

Yet you love me, God, just as I am,
And your endless grace is my hope in this earthly mayhem.

Celebrating all women, a woman, me,
I think about our commitment to humanity.

Women are warriors ready to stand up
To fight for what's right
And will never give up.

Thank you for mothers, daughters, colleagues, and friends,
Sisters, grandmothers, godmothers, and all women of all grades.

Thank you for teachers and our politicians 
Who fight for women's rights
From powerful positions under pressured conditions.

Thank you for peace and vulnerability 
Women always bring with them, 
Thanks to our God-gifted ability.

Thank you for love we all spread in the world
And thanks for making me a woman,
Which is what I would have anyway preferred.

3/8/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

I was becoming more aware of myself as a child of God in God’s kingdom, my identity as His special and chosen daughter, and my role in sharing the Gospel, aka “telling someone.”

How I Surrendered To God

The pain of living at Adair Park in Cumming with Michel was tough to endure… I stayed in our marital residence with him until April 1st, 2017. The entire March in that miserable house was really painful for me… I felt even more devastated as I was becoming more aware and alive.

I cried, wept, and grieved as I was becoming fully human.

READ: Becoming Fully Human

I wasn’t raging. I wasn’t angry. I reached out for Christ to be humble and kind. It was a struggling battle between the flesh and the Spirit in me. It was not an easy yoke at all. Yet, I had daily conversations with God and was able to arrive at the place of surrender on March 10th, 2017. So, a new poem was born called I’m Surrendered To Thee.

"I'm Surrendered To Thee" #PoemsFromGod

I am fearfully and wonderfully made
By God Almighty, the Great I Am.
Old things all past away at once,
And I am a new creation in Christ.

I die in my flesh and walk in the Spirit,
I choose kindness and humbleness.
The harder the journey, the more I grow from it.

You offer to me no condemnation 
And you provide an escape
From every temptation.

I choose to lose so I can win,
I'm prudent, not simple, following your written will.
I go through trials and learn my lessons daily but often stumble.
I know you prune me to be more fruitful, but my life I often shamble.

Please lift this heavy burden off of me,
You say your yoke is easy. I'm surrendered to Thee. 

3/10/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

On March 10th, 2017 I also realized that God doesn’t waste any pain and He makes all things together work for good. From feeling like a failure in that marriage and life overall, I refocused on my future, God’s plan, and finally was able to feel like I was only failing forward. So, that same day, another poem was born. It’s called Failing Forward.

"Failing Forward" #PoemsFromGod

You give or allow adversity.
"Why?" - I  ask myself often.
To develop our character diversity - 
You love us too much, and this faith makes my heart soften.

To ensure we are more Christ-like,
To prepare us for eternity,
Though the journey can be quite a hike,
It helps to have support of our Christian fraternity.

We suffer, struggle, and hustle
But there's no failing.
We develop our faith muscle.
Though often we appear ailing.

When stumbling upon a road block,
We must remember your promises in the Word.
Even if we just stand there and gawk,
We are truly failing forward, as long as we become a dedicated Bible nerd.

On our journey to sanctification, 
We must believe that you're always good.
You sent your only son to pay for our salvation.
I wouldn't want to take His place even if I could.

Remembering what happened on the cross,
I'm in awe from your perfect love:
You endured such an unimaginable loss,
To promote me in this life beyond and above.

And in the light of your selfless sacrifice,
I'm leaving the earthly chaotic mayhem sea, walking shoreward,
My failures have been redeemed at a bloody price,
So as your special, chosen, beloved daughter, I am only failing forward

3/10/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

Before, I was asking “Why, God? Why?!” And also I was wondering “Why Me, God? Why me?!” But after I read Greg Laurie’s little book “Tell Someone,” I realized what actually happened to me and why. I understood God and surrendered to Him completely.

How I Began Sharing My Faith

By March 11th, 2017 I had a full understanding of what God was doing and what He wanted me to do. I started “telling.” I openly and vulnerably shared what I was going through and God’s role in carrying me every step of the way…

How did I do it? Here’s an example.

When on February 13th, 2017 Michel got the flu, he was very sick. I took care of him every hour of every day and served him because Jesus asked me to. That was one month into his second divorce with me. Had I not been on the journey of becoming aware and alive, I would have never submitted myself to Christ and served Michel while he was sick.

On February 14th, 2017 Roberta, a Georgia State University professor, invited me to teach a leadership class from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the GSU Downtown campus. She told me that her students typically fell asleep about one hour into the class. She said they didn’t want to know each other’s names or share anything about themselves. She wanted me to help.

Prior to that, she sent a student to our marital residence in Cumming, GA to interview me for a series of blogs they wanted to publish about me. There, in our house, the student witnessed my messy depression. She saw everything, and I described the details when I discussed Psychomotor Retardation as a Depression Scar on this blog.

I prayed to God on Valentine’s Day 2017, before I started driving to GSU. I asked to help me deliver exactly what the students needed to hear. I came to the leadership class and spoke about my career, productivity, divorces, depression, sex addiction symptoms, my two suicide attempts at 11 and 12, how I was raped twice in Russia, how my mother abused me daily, how I succeeded in my career, how I wrote and published an award-winning goal-setting book, and my relationship with Jesus Christ. 

I was telling!

I was openly sharing my faith.

The students asked me tough questions, such as where my good father was now while I was suffering from abuse in the marriage with Michel. They shared about their own lives with me and the entire class. Our class conversation was engaging. It was a blessing. We all got to know each other, and some of the students still reach out to me regularly.

The students stayed wide awake while I was “telling.” They refused to even take a restroom break or go home. They kept me there till 8:45 pm. Not even one of them fell asleep.

I chose to go in with an open mind and a vulnerable heart.

I chose to “tell,” as Greg Laurie was challenging me to do.

I shared the Gospel.

That was what God wanted me to do.

That was the meaning of my story: to give God all the glory.

I was finally seeing how I was not just randomly here.

I was realizing how I was a part of God’s greater plan.

The students are staying in touch with me. They recently shared how they also openly talk about their depression and faith in Jesus as the result of my “telling.” The professor said, after my class, that GSU has so many depressed students, there aren’t enough resources to help students.

Well, that’s where the Gospel helps! From that class and the experience with students reaching out now regularly asking for mentorship, a new poem was born on March 11th, 2017. It’s called Going Into The World and Telling.

"Going Into The World and Telling" #PoemsFromGod

You asked me to go into all the world
And tell everyone about you.
I  didn't know how and I felt hurled,
But only till seeing how people drew
Closer to you, hearing my story -
Not of perfection, but of your glory.

They asked me to share about everything-
My feelings, my dreams, my pain, my divorce,
And where I thought actually was that King,
Not rescuing me from this devastating chaos.

I openly talked with everyone listening:
About my broken heart, shattered dreams, and paralyzing depression...
But also with my teary cheeks glistening,
I told them about your mercy and grace with vulnerable confession. 

I just shared everything about you, 
Who you were, 
And your perfect will,
But also I shared what I knew 
About the fall of the world 
And our own free will.

That being a good good Father,
You love us and want us to choose to love you.
But when we wonder away further and further,
You let us, 
Because you want us to get the clue...

That without you, we can't do it
But with you all things are attainable,
So that once we ourselves blew it,
We can run back to you and be more trainable.

Because ultimately you're graduating us from every season
With a better and more Christ-like character quality,
And for every adversity there's a reason -
To develop each of the nine fruits of the Spirit in us in equality.

Love, joy, peace, and patience, 
Kindness, goodness, and devotion, 
Gentleness and self-control for every nation,
Must leave Flesh and choose Spirit -
Then we get your promotion.

Anyway... on this journey of sharing,
Here's my most recent discovery:
I can effectively tell someone about you with caring,
Just by walking them through my own life of spirit-recovery...

Where I run to the cross and pray: 
God, rid me of my flesh,
Where I refocus from my flaws and obey,
And you make me new and fresh.

So, telling someone takes a master
And takes going into the world, yes,
But I don't need to be a pastor,
Just need to be vulnerable and confess.

And share what I've learned about God, why and how,
Why I love Him so much and He loves me,
And how from His mercy and grace I'm in awe,
And how He redeemed my sins for eternity. 

3/11/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

I was becoming more aware of the battle of the flesh and Spirit in me. I was less intimidated by sharing the Gospel because prior to the GSU leadership class, I was always comparing myself to Michel who was a trained pastor and quoted Bible verses left and right. I was becoming more aware of the purpose of my life and of my role in God’s bigger story of redemption. I was becoming more tuned into the ministry God had prepared for me.

How I Battled Depression with Prayer

Nearly the entire duration of that marriage with Michel, I was in trauma counseling with a therapist focused on helping victims of Narcissistic Abuse. People asked me: “Did she give you pills?”

I don’t take pills. That’s just my choice. My decision was to not numb my pain and drift even deeper but to feel the pain and experience awareness of Christ and His healing power.

READ: The Blessing of Self-Pity

I don’t know anything about clinical depression and chemical brain imbalances but, for a situational depression like mine, I found that praying on my knees and casting my anxieties on God was the best way to get through. I was watching a Netflix movie on March 12th, 2017 about a boy who was depressed and suicidal. He wanted to study the Bible but his lawyer-father rejected such a desire and insisted on him taking the depression pills. When the boy went to the bridge with the intention to commit suicide, a girl from his school ran to him and started praying for him. The prayer saved the boy’s life, and the lawyer-father allowed him to not only attend Church but even lead a Bible study there.

I was touched by the film because I was going through a severely suicidal depression myself at the time, and I relied on the Bible, not the pills, for healing. From processing all this, a new poem arrived addressed to the boy in the movie and also partly to myself. It’s called Prayer vs Prozac.

"Prayer vs Prozac" #PoemsFromGod

This world is unpredictable.
This world is full of crap!
The culture's contradictable,
And with every sad thought you're instantly prescribed Prozac.

You're suffering from depression,
Which is a human mind's normal response to stress.
But why don't you try a humble confession?
Just speak to God on your knees and confess.

Depression is just another kind of spiritual warfare.
We are targeted by Satan every day.
And often we feel attacked in ways that are not fare.
So what? Just get on your knees and pray!

Prozac causes a chemical brain reaction
That gets you only addicted to more crap!
Prayer is your strong faith in action
That helps you escape the deadly trap.

Prozac makes you indifferent, not happier!
Prayer gives you hope and helps you believe.
Prozac makes your depression only crappier!
Prayer offers long-lasting, eternal relieve.

So, just stop running to that luring pill bottle!
Just get quiet and get on you knees.
Even if your feelings and thoughts at first scatter,
Just commit to your prayer time and you'll be receiving cleansing  peace.

The Holy Spirit will move into your body,
He will guard your mind and heart,
Offering the peace to everybody 
Who's willing to work in prayer hard.

That peace will pass all understanding.
It will be available to you for free!
No more doctor appointments or pill demanding!
Throw away that addictive Prozac  -
It's messing you up, just flee!

Run to your Heavenly Father, your Daddy,
Ask Him for healing comfort and soothing embrace.
Enjoy the sanity that's long-lasting and steady,
Reach out to your good God through prayer for His loving grace.

3/12/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

Since Michel’s first divorce in September of 2016, I was working with a Biblical counselor Tammy who focused me on spiritual warfare and how to glorify God in the midst of my devastating life trials. The more I learned about spiritual warfare, the clearer I saw how I was targeted by Satan. I saw also how I mismanaged my mind. I didn’t take every thought captive and didn’t submit my every thought to the truth of Christ as He told me to. I allowed Satan to target, capture, and torture me.

READ: How Satan Came at Me Looking Saint

I learned about the Armor of God and how to fight the spiritual warfare I was in with God’s tools. I was becoming less dead and more alive as God continued opening my eyes to the things unseen.

READ: What Are The Weapons of Spiritual Warfare?

On March 26th, 2017 I gave birth to the poem that came to me as a conversation between myself in 2017, my past self before the wedding in 2016, and my future self as I was becoming more aware of God’s calling to ministry on my life. It’s called When Satan Comes at You Looking Saint.

On April 1st, 2017 I finally moved out of our marital residence into my own home where I was able to have peace. When the movers and friends all left, I remember crushing on the floor in the kitchen and weeping.

I grieved my innocence and what was done to it.

I grieved being lured into a masquerade marriage as a trophy wife, deceived by Satan, and abused by the cruel narcissist so eloquently and cleverly that no one could even believe me.

READ: Who Is Satan?

I grieved not becoming a Proverbs 31 kind of wife and raging in anger when I could have chosen to still suffer but focus on Christ and be loving. I grieved not being loving enough. I grieved not being patient enough. I grieved the hopes with which I walked down the aisle just a few months before, on our wedding day.

Michel Szabo and Anna Stevens' wedding May 14th 2016 at Verdi in Norcross

How I Had a Breakthrough About Love

The next day after my move, I was given a new poem.

My heart was aching, everything felt surreal, and I was just crying non-stop that day, feeling so grieved. I felt that, had I chosen to focus on Christ and not Michel, I could have loved Michel even in the suffering. The poem is called Unconditional Love.

"Unconditional Love" #PoemsFromGod

Unconditional love is not easy.
Unconditional love is hard work.
Unconditional love is soul-cleansing.
Unconditional love is responsibility, not a perk.

Unconditional love is the opposite of ego,
Unconditional love is a selfless gift,
Unconditional love is exciting and intriguing,
I'm always curious to see what else God enables me to give.

To love unconditionally, we must practice,
We must remember Christ and His sacrifice,
We must choose kindness when ego attacks us,
We must give without expectations - ego is love’s price. 

And when we fail at it often or seldom,
We must reach out for God's grace,
And start all over, being intentional and not random,
And just remember why we decided to love in the first place

4/2/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

How I Had a Breakthrough About Myself

The poem was my reflection on my deep love for Michel. The Michel I married, the one whom I never saw again after our wedding. The man I loved with all my heart to the best of my ability. The man who was a deception, a mask, a masquerade, a pretense…

I had no poems for a few weeks as I entered a pretty intense divorce recovery program to help me cope, all whle we were preparing for our divorce jury trial. I was journaling a lot while taking a DivorceCare class at Roswell United Methodist Church near my home.

I realized that even when Michel betrayed and abused me, I didn’t have to deal with him using anger. I focused on looking into my own heart to find forgiveness and kindness, so I dedicated my time to working on myself.

Michel first met me on November 13th, 2015. On November 17, 2016 he emailed me “The Right Man” PDF. It’s a document Michel said he created to help me understand the kind of man I needed to marry and then pretended to be that man.

Download “The Right Man PDF”

In our wedding video, Michel claimed that his goal was to lead me closer to Christ. He stated that he will be the “leader focused on Christ and reach out for Jesus” to help our marriage be God-glorifying. Michel failed to lead me to Christ but he surely pushed me right into the arms of Christ to escape Michel’s own abuse and cruelty.

As I was processing Michel’s deception and thinking about my deadness and the journey of coming to life, I was realizing the role my anger played in the story of our marriage, on April 30th, 2017 I gave birth to a new poem called To Michel Szabo.

How I Realized That Knowing the Bible Is Not The Same as Knowing Jesus

I was reflecting on God’s grace and becoming more aware, alert, and alive. I was thinking about the afternoon before my talk at the Environmental Protection Agency on July 28th, 2016.

Michel and I were on a driveway in front of our marital residence when he told me that he was shocked by the fact that he went to the divinity school to study the Bible but I get to talk about Jesus at the EPA.

READ: The Narcissist Is Jealous

I was thinking about the difference between knowing the Bible and knowing God. For over a week, I had no poems and then, as a reflection on the whole divinity school deception, I gave birth to a new poem called Knowing The Bible vs Knowing God

It was a reflection on Michel’s words as opposed to his behaviors. It was a reflection on his pastoral degree and the habit of always quoting the Bible with pride. It was a reflection on the Bible study I hosted in our marital residence in early 2017 for women at a local church in Cumming, GA. It was a reflection on Michel’s confession that he was passionate about IronMan because he wanted more medals and recognition, he was obsessed with his need for admiration and approval. It was a reflection on Laura Story’s quote: “You can’t follow Jesus by audition. You must follow Him by submission.” Here’s my poem.

"Knowing The Bible vs Knowing God" #PoemsFromGod

The Bible is a God-breathed document,
The foundation of God's Holy Word to us.
As we acquire at school Business Acumen,
The Spiritual Acumen we acquire in the Bible class.

The class can be a formal community study,
Or just your quite quality time with God.
Or invite to meet up about the Bible your best buddy,
Or organize your own weekly Bible-study, home-based spiritual squad.

Reading it with all your sight focus is good for information.
You learn a lot about the history of the world and our good God.
But reading it with all your heart focus is great for deep transformation.
You become more Christ-like as you apply all the Bible has got.

The Bible teaches us that people are either simple or prudent,
Their behaviors are divided into fool and wise.
You can examine your own self as you become a Bible student.
You can choose to walk in the Spirit and apply or reject the learned advice. 

As you learn more about who God is, who you are, and how to live life,
You will feel tremendous regrets and even shame.
You may even feel stubbed by a self-condemnation and self-contempt knife.
But that's why Jesus died for us, to set us free He on earth came. 

So, studying the Bible you can gain great knowledge.
You can cite the verses and demonstrate that you've worked hard.
You can even graduate from a popular Bible college,
But to be transformed, you'll need to allow God to give you a new heart.

A heart of flesh for the future to prepare you for sanctification,
Instead of the heart of stone from the past, that was always holding you back.
Now, to have a new heart, you don't need from a Divinity School graduation,
But you do need to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you'll be on the right track. 

You can know every page, every verse in the Bible,
But never know your Heavenly Father God.
You can even get yourself in the Bible memorizing spiral...
But instead, why don't you get yourself out of the ego mud?

Focus on the Gospel, the Good News, and how it's applicable to you.
Ask God on your knees to permanently rid you of yourself.
Reach out for His endless grace, His mercy, and get the clue
That the Bible won't help you sitting on your bookshelf. 

You need to accept the Bible truth with your whole heart,
Confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and repent.
Now, repentance is where the Bible knowledge gets really hard,
Because repentance as an intentional, permanent change is meant.

You repent not out of shame and obligation.
You repent out of gratitude to God.
You repent because you received humbly your expensive salvation.
You repent because living in sin is unacceptable and too hard.

So, reading and knowing the Bible, after all, might be an interesting quest.
But learning to be in a relationship with God and to know Him personally is a better goal.
Of course, it will take you a lifetime to become Christ-like and fulfill His request,
But in the meantime, you'll be healed by God as you're becoming more whole. 

5/6/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

How I Became Alive In Christ

In 2016, Michel and I took premarital counseling class at Perimeter Church where he attended Metro Atlanta Seminary. At the same time, we also took membership classes there. In 2017, I was accepted to become a member of Perimeter Church. Many times, our lead pastor Randy Pope mentioned his little tiny book called “The Answer,” and I had a few copies at home. As I was becoming more alive and aware, I was seeking God’s wisdom, I was hungry for answers, and I had many questions. So, I finally actually read Randy’s book… And I got the answer.

“The Answer” has a story of Randy’s daughter’s depression. I was touched so deeply! I had never imagined a pastor talking about depression or suicidal thoughts. This topic typically is taboo at church. Randy Pope also shared openly how he prayed through every single day of life.

READ: How To Pray

I started praying a prayer Randy recommended.

God, grant me today to seek authentic glory by means of grace alone according to the truth of your Word.

Randy Pope via “The Answer”

Ask and you shall receive! So, God started doing just what I asked for, and most of my poems changed. My attitude toward life changed. My outlook on my story changed. My focus changed. And my understanding of who I am also changed. I grew more awake and alive. I began noticing blessings everywhere. My awareness of God’s beautiful creation increased.

I bought a kayak and started going on soothing water trips with my dog Bruno. My closeness with Jesus was compounded as I continued spending time with Him and being quiet. On July 15th, 2017 my neighbors invited me to a sunflower farm where a new poem called The Sunflower Day was born.

"The Sunflower Day" #PoemsFromGod

God, thanks to you for life of beauty.
Thanks to you for blue, clear sky.
Thanks for gifting us with duty
To honor you, follow, obey, and glorify.

Thanks for healthy air we're breathing,
Thanks for all the gorgeous trees,
Thanks for the flowers we can be admiring or seizing.
Thanks for the hard-working and all-important bees. 

Thanks for kayaks, thanks for rivers,
Thanks for trails and mountain hikes,
Thanks for all the joy sun gives us,
Thanks for running and for bikes. 

Thanks for healthy ears and vision
Thanks for moving arms and legs,
Thanks for your abundant provision,
Thanks for promoting us beyond just plebs.

Thanks for making us your special children,
Thanks for giving us your gorgeous world,
Thanks for gifting us blessings a million,
Thanks for every sunflower that today danced and whirled. 

Thanks for happiness and pleasure,
Thanks for purpose and for cheer,
Thanks for love that I so treasure,
And every smile it brings and every tear. 

Thanks for people, friendships, mentors,
Thanks for guiding us with Word,
For every person who into my life enters,
Brings wisdom and with kindness enriches my world.  

7/15/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

How I Witnessed God’s Special Grace

After that, I continued preparing for our divorce trial when Randy Pope preached a sermon on common grace vs special grace. Special grace, according to Randy, is for people who are set apart by God for a special purpose to suffer a lot, experience His grace, grow in faith, and share the Gospel with all creation. I wept.

I got out of the main auditorium at Perimeter Church after the service ended, went to the atrium, where we have cozy couches and tables, and I gave birth to a new and my favorite poem called I’m Grateful for Your Special Grace. Here are some video recordings of me performing this popular poem.

As I prayed for acceptance of my circumstances and Michel’s free will. As the divorce trial progressed, I was able to accept everything, surrender, and experience peace. I was able to let go of my goals for our marriage. I was able to release myself from trying hard to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I learned to rest in God’s peace and trust His plan. By August 6th, 2017 I was finally focused on my future where Michel finally wasn’t present. I accepted my story, pain, purpose, and future. This prayer declaration was born. It’s called You’re Always Good.

"You're Always Good" #PoemsFromGod

I've chased many dreams turned into goals,
I've pursued many things that were labeled as "secular."
Those paths led away from you into worldly roles,
Where anxiety and fears were familiar and regular. 

You've consistently blessed me with your special grace.
And this time I've received your special lesson:
There's nothing on earth I ever need to chase,
There's no place I need to ever be to progressing. 

Right where I'm at, here in your presence,
I can tap into peace that can't be understood
And enjoy your affection, protection, and pleasance,
And declare with confidence that you're always good. 

8/6/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

How I Realized My Love for God

The more God worked in my heart, the more aware and alive I became. I understood the purpose of my ministry: to help alleviate suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. I was not willing to drift through life anymore. I was excited to recover from depression and serve God.

The more rooted I became in my identity in Christ, the stronger was my desire to share the Gospel. I realized also my deep love for God – that was when I really started feeling awake and alive. It was as if I finally had not just sight but an actual vision for my life. I felt alive in Christ and grateful. A new poem-declaration was born called I Love You, God.

"I Love You, God" #PoemsFromGod

I always knew you loved me, God.
I never felt by you abandoned.
I felt a range of feelings broad -
Excited, grateful, and enchanted. 

Just now, though, I'm feeling love
For you, that's deep and wide and pressing.
The more in gratitude I dove,
The more I saw my life as blessing.

I love you back. I love you much.
I love your peace and even trouble.
I love your word, I love your touch.
I love your blessing and your struggle.

I love your perfect plan for me.
I love your love that's grace and fairness.
With you I don't always agree,
But thanks for teaching me awareness...

That on your hand you hold me close
And won't let go, you've never failed me.
Your special daughter me you chose,
Your precious handiwork you made me.

You love me more, I know it, God,
But love for you is my new pleasure.
Your passion for me I never forgot,
It's my passion for you that I now so treasure. 

8/6/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

How I Understood God’s Perfect Plan

As our divorce jury trial continued into its fourth day and many things were revealed to me by God while listening To Michel’s ever-changing testimony, lies, and word-salad, on August 16th, 2017 a new poem was born called Your Plan Is Always Perfect. I was so grateful to see the deception by Satan for what it was. I was thankful to draw closer to God and become alive, despite Satan’s plan to have me dead. I was witnessing God’s perfect plan with my own eyes, and I was in awe.

"Your Plan Is Always Perfect" #PoemsFromGod

You said your plan is perfect.
Can I believe it, God?
Sometimes I feel in conflict,
With scope of trials so broad.

But then I look around,
I pay attention close,
And see your grace abound
In sorrow and in loss.

I trust your every vow,
Your Holy Word I trust.
Sometimes I wonder how
Your beauty comes from dust.

Your plan for me to prosper,
Have future and the hope
Wholeheartedly I trust in
And never will I stop. 

8/16/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

I was completely alive after that. I was at peace. I was fully aware of what happened. I had all my questions answered in the Randy Pope kind of deep and meaningful way. When I got on the witness stand on Thursday in our divorce jury trial and was asked what I wanted from the divorce, I said: “I have peace.”

We were divorced in August of 2017, and I moved on into my beautiful future with God being grateful for my full awareness of my identity, for discovering the purpose of life, for realizing my small role in God’s big story of redemption, and for my new life of living fully alive.

Later in 2017, I established Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry dedicated to helping alleviate suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Support my ministry: make a donation.

“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25

Bless Online Discipleship For Women

How to Live a Joyful Life Fully Alive: 6 Steps 

  1. Take charge of your focus: do you focus on people or on Jesus?
  1. Recognize the importance of inner transformation on the journey to experiencing more joy every day
  1. Consider the relationship between emotional experience and physical health: emotion is created by motion, in order to change your psychology, you must change your physiology
  1. Set daily priorities to cultivate more joy from the sources that matter the most, including Christ’s unconditional love and passion for you, as well as encouraging others to pursue joy through faith
  1. Focus on the inner process of rooting out ANTs (automatic negative thoughts, including self-contempt, self-loathing, and self-condemnation) and replacing them with PMA (positive mental attitude), including self-love, self-compassion, and self-appreciation
  1. Express gratitude out loud throughout the day every day, use only positive verbal expressions to talk about yourself, others, and life in general

The Ultimate Source of Life and Aliveness 

There is an ultimate source of life I need to share with you. Nothing else can bring satisfaction, peace, and joy, but that one ultimate source. If you accepted Christ as your lord and savior, He lives in you and through you. Jesus is the one and only source of life and aliveness.

Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.

Ephesians 2:4-5

I was sinful and dead in my transgressions. I was living life like a walking dead. When I intentionally placed all my focus on Jesus Christ, He made me aware, alert, and alive. Jesus gave me life. My aliveness is beyond here and now. This kind of aliveness is eternal. 

We don’t have to buffer: we don’t have to binge-watch Netflix, binge-scroll through Facebook, binge-text for attention, binge-drink alcohol to detach from our conscience – none of that. We don’t have to be perfectionists or experience uncontrollable raging anger. Our lives have the gift of aliveness. It comes with peace and joy – from Jesus Christ.

Here’s what John 11:25-26 says about it referring to the conversation Jesus had with Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

I want to ask you: do you believe this?

Think about the behaviors that cause some deadness in your life. Make a list and begin eliminating those behaviors. You can be alive. The Holy Spirit dwells in you. You have the gift of life. You can choose to live your life alive, alert, and aware.

If you believe what Jesus said, memorize the Biblical affirmation below and practice it often to remember that you are alive in Christ.

I Am Alive In Christ

"I Am Alive" #52Devotionals

When I was dead in sin and blind,
God through Jesus made me alive.
He gave me new eyes to see.
He empowered me from sin to flee.

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How does it make you feel to know that you are alive in Christ and are able to live a life of joy? Share with me in the comments below so I can cheer you on. If this devotional was helpful, download all #52Devotionals now.

God bless!

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