Last Thursday I was awakened from my hard bench in our hospital room at 3:00AM by Carson who wanted to tell me something. (If you are not familiar with our son’s health battle, you can read more here.)
“Mom, I was out walking in the hallway and I met another mom out there with her daughter, who’s in Room 7, so I talked with them for a while. Sarah (not her real name) is 16, and they’ve been through all the same stuff we have. This hospital stay has been three months long for them, and Sarah just had her colon removed. I asked if I could pray with them and they seemed happy that I asked, so I did.”
Although both of our families have since been discharged from the hospital, Carson has relentlessly prayed for Sarah. He doesn’t have her contact information and may never see her again, but that’s not stopping him. He continues to pray daily for her because “she needs a new colon.”
FYI — in case you are not intimately familiar with your body’s digestion process, your colon is also known as your large intestine. It is possible to live without a large intestine, although not preferable, since waste has to be channeled from the end of the small intestine to an opening outside the lower abdomen, where a small bag is worn that needs to be emptied every couple hours.
Colons do not regenerate. It is a life-long, permanent situation….
unless it isn’t.
See, in our family we are just crazy enough to believe that God, who intricately created the human body is not limited in any way. We actually believe that “anything is possible with God.” (Mark 10:27) A God who makes all things new can certainly handle something as small as providing a new body part. As it turns out, Carson also needs a new colon although his painful, poorly functioning one is still intact.
Long term trauma changes your perspective on everything. The five of us already know that we are “not normal.” Our family doesn’t focus on anything that is trivial or doesn’t matter in the scope of eternity. We keep up with a couple of TV shows as a little distraction, but overall we don’t care about sports, don’t have hobbies, and we don’t plan anything that is not more than an hour ahead. We don’t worry about small stuff or relate easily to those who complain about rain, parking spots or whether the Starbucks employee got their coffee right.
We live deeply. By that I mean we have a keen awareness of eternity and staying tuned in to God’s heart. Our everyday conversations are filled with wisdom and insight as He gives it to us. We live with no agenda of our own. Just this week I’ve had hours of deep conversations with my three kids (ages 18, 18, and 19) on topics including spiritual warfare, how God prepares people for future influence, and how the enemy attacks the destiny of people from a young age. Maybe these are topics that would seem weird to some, but to us they are LIFE. My three have chosen to be more influenced by the Spirit than their peers, society or social media. We aren’t perfect, certainly not, but we do have a close relationship.
Jeff and I would like to think that it’s our great parenting skills at work, but we know better. The trauma of the last six years has produced something in them that goes way beyond anything we could have offered as parents. We watch them, and we are filled with awe. These past years we were just desperately trying to survive our situation while grieving in constant deep loss, and here all along God was doing amazing stuff in the background that we could not perceive.
It wasn’t always this way. In fact three years ago I thought our marriage would never survive and our family felt like a smoking heap of destruction. Our interactions were painful and ugly. We couldn’t figure out how to fix it.
Without the intense pain and opposition, we would not have had the chance to find out who we really are, who God really is, or who we were meant to be with Him.
Without the intense pain and opposition, we might have coasted through life and been content with a cheap superficial imitation of the lives we were actually meant to live.
But when you lose EVERYTHING and you actually have to LIVE THROUGH YOUR WORST FEARS, there is suddenly a realization….
The enemy can do NOTHING to me because I am ACTUALLY NOT SCARED OF ANYTHING ANYMORE. There is nothing I can be threatened with that I haven’t already lived through. This is a very freeing, empowering realization.
The devil’s plan totally backfired. In trying to destroy us, he actually made us unified, stronger and unshakeable. What can the enemy do against a deeply unified family that simply continues to choose in hellish circumstances to BELIEVE?
This is the state of our family now. This is what has been built through daily, unrelenting fire. There is nothing much now that can shake us, nothing that we fear, and nothing that can break the unity that has been formed.
In Carried by the Wind, I told you about my friend Melody Paasch with the amazing spiritual gift. Her words have held me up and spoken into my life more than she knows. Three months ago, she put words to our process:
“Bryn, I see you standing on quicksand. I know, quicksand is not a safe place to stand. But I see you standing effectively upon the surface of quicksand where the quicksand cannot engulf you. It cannot suck you in. That’s what I see in your walk with God, your faith walk. A situation which for many has the potential to engulf you is not engulfing you. You stand very securely on the surface of the quicksand, and you, by the Spirit of God are defying its nature. Its whole character, everything that it is, you are defying. That is what is happening in the Spirit. And you are absolutely not afraid, because you know there’s nothing to fear.
You are defying the very nature of the enemy.
You are standing so stable. So tenacious. It’s not something you have to work at. It’s who you are Bryn. You can cry and have weak days and it’s not changing the belief that you have, and the trust that you have in your Father. This is the essence of who you have become, who God has made you. Only God could make you this.”
Last week I watched my son walk the hallways of the children’s hospital in the middle of the night, praying at the doors of all the other kids on that floor, dragging his own IV pole as he went. His life demonstrates what it’s like to stand firmly on quicksand.
This is what is possible, in the middle of the worst conditions of life. We can live, defying the enemy and defying the nature of death.
Your battles will be entirely different from mine, but they don’t have to overtake you. God can cause you to stand defiantly on quicksand too, if you let Him.
When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:3-4)