Delusional faith, or just delusional?
This question often plagues my mind. Even with all of the “proof” that has played out in the other crazy, unlikely things we’ve believed for, doubt never leaves for good. I don’t really think it’s supposed to, though. I think to walk in faith is to walk, believing despite the lingering doubt… despite the fear… despite the unknown.
Recently, I’ve been listening to Steve Furtick’s audio book, “Sun Stand Still.” The book is about believing with audacious faith… believing bigger and bolder, and stepping out to fulfill grand dreams for the glory of God. It has truly moved my spirit, even having me blurt out the next big thing, specific though, that we’re believing for. Once I said it out loud, I cringed because of the unrealistic circumstances. Ugh, here we go again. That’s another post for another day…
Walking in faith, to me at least, is frightening. It literally makes me sick to my stomach, at times. It’s gut-wrenching, emotionally draining, nauseating, tortuous, and even lonely at times. Not quite what I would have envisioned for a walk “out on the water, towards Jesus.” I would’ve envisioned angelic music in the background, a feeling of empowerment and boldness, feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside… Okay, so maybe that is what it can be sometimes, but that is totally only intermittently between the “Oh, God, why me? Why this? This is soooo hard.” Honestly, this faith walk ain’t no cake walk.
Maybe it’s just where I’m at in my faith walk. Maybe it gets better and the anxiousness eventually decreases, the “confidence in what we hope for” increases. More giants toppled means more proof, right? I often will flip back in my journal and find my writings where I was believing for something so outrageously unlikely that now has come to pass. It reminds me of what it feels like to feel unwound and doubtful, yet still choose to believe. You see, every single time I’ve had to believe for something, I have felt that I was going to look stupid when it didn’t happen. I have felt unsure about sharing. I have felt like maybe I was mistaken this time on hearing God. I get all emotional. Sometimes I’d fast to try to hear God clearer… Yes, reducing my diet to only liquids somehow reduces the volume of everything else besides God’s voice in my head. It could possibly be me being on the verge of passing out from hunger, but hey, it’s usually quite effective. All in the name of Jesus, right?
Reading over those “triumphs,” googling applicable Bible verses, and praying like there’s no tomorrow… all of this helps for sure, but the doubt and fear do not disappear. The enemy’s lies still camp out on the borders of my mind, waiting for any opportunity to push through. What getting my mind on God’s truths does do, though, is armor me up to push through it.
After Sophia’s seizures were gone for about two months, I couldn’t take the Holy Spirit “nagging” anymore. It was time to publicly acknowledge what we were believing for next. Okay, so her school notebook might not seem so public, but when I write or speak out loud any of my crazy beliefs, it literally feels like I’m on CNN… really putting myself out there, vulnerable to be judged, offering concrete documentation to be throw at me later. It just feels that serious to me.
Last year, I had taped that note in Sophia’s take-home binder, explaining that we believed in miracles and we were currently believing for her seizures to stop. Note got taped beginning of school year. At that time, Sophia was having 40 plus seizures daily (usually anywhere from three to ten during her 3-hour school day). Sophia was not on any medications (per Holy Spirit guidance, of course), and we waited… and waited… and waited some more. Christmas break came and I thought, “Yes, God! We are in store for a Christmas miracle!” Nope, more waiting… Fast forward 6 months after taping that note, a looooong six months of worrying about looking like a crazy lady, and Sophia’s seizures did indeed stop. Those visible seizures actually went on for an entire 16 months, and then Bam! Gone.
Well, praise Jesus, hallelujah, right? In the adjusted, wise words of MC Hammer, “Devil! YOU CAN’T TOUCH THIS!” That is truth, but let’s get it straight. God is good, and He is faithful, but we still have to do our part. I was grateful that the seizures had stopped but guess what took the place of fear of them not stopping? Fear of them coming back! I didn’t want to erase “Sophia’s Seizures Healed” from under “What we are believing for….” in her notebook. It was just as difficult, if not more, for me to start blogging and say it out loud to basically anyone who would listen… When does it end? One fear to the next… that’s exactly how the enemy wants us to live. God challenges that lie, saying we are to live our lives “gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful…” (2 Cor. 3:18), not letting go of one branch of fear to clutch to the next. Again, we have a responsibility in it though. It’s all-day long choices, it’s feeling the heat in the fire and still trusting, it’s stepping out on the waves when Jesus calls. It’s some no-joke, not for the faint-at-heart, get-back-up-after-you’ve-fallen laboring. The good news? We don’t have to do it alone. Cliche alert! Cliche alert! The good news… because God lives inside each of us, we already have that strength and power, even if you don’t feel like you do. You need only to tap into it. How awesome is that?
So back from my tangent… Sophia’s seizures had been gone for two months and I could feel the growing nudge to erase “Sophia’s seizures healed” from her notebook. So, they were healed but what was I supposed to write in next? The whole cycle started over… the anxiety of believing for something more. I had already been feeling that Sophia was going to make some incredible advances this year in her physical abilities, so I considered that.
To give you a clearer picture… Sophia continues to work on head and trunk control, which we’ve been working on for four years now. Sophia is four years old. We do see her advancing but when I say it is inch by inch, it is literally months, sometimes years, of work to see the slightest improvement. For example, “after a year of daily work and endless attempts, now she can hold her head up for longer that 10 seconds instead of just an unsteady second.” I don’t take it lightly or lack gratitude one bit. I could never even begin to put into words the gratitude that still pours over my heart when I watch her breathe…. simply, but not so simply at one point, breathe. So, when I stress how slow our progress is and how much work we put in, it is not to complain. Well, not in this moment, anyways. It’s simply to help others truly understand.
For years, friends and family have watched her working hard and will forecast her crawling, sitting, walking, etc. “in no time.” I totally believe it is possible because I know God is able. I think when others say it, though, they discount that the diagnosis of cerebral palsy prevents the body and brain to communicate normally. I know my God is bigger than diagnoses, so no worries, but these are the mountains we are facing. People reference back to what they know, which is usually the normal progression of a toddler. They don’t see the thousands of repetitions we do. They don’t receive the negative reports that are indeed very logical. I don’t say this with any considerable frustration. It’s just the reality. That’s why believing can be so lonely. People tend to usually be on the extremes of the spectrum. They either don’t get how severely Sophia is diagnosed or they do. Either way, they are usually operating logically with a touch of God, following. To be honest, and this might sound mean, I usually have to mute these conversations in my mind. I totally get that they come from a good place, but they usually just play on my own inner struggles. So, sort of like an “It’s me, not you” type situation. If people are overly positive, it sends me into thinking that they are dismissing all the hard work thus far and don’t understand how much of a miracle it truly will be for Sophia to do all things. If they are skeptical, of course, it plays on my doubts and fears, that are already trying to gain momentum. So, I have to just quiet the mumbling and place my ears closer to Jesus.
Okay, back from another tangent…. so I thought about writing something along the lines of Sophia making physical progress. I kept throwing phrases around in my head on how to best express it. I wanted to write something tangible, but not limiting. Ironically, when I went to erase, “Sophia’s seizures healed,” the marker wouldn’t come off. It was permanent marker but fingernail polish remover or alcohol were barely smudging the words. So I left it. Accident? Of course not; more time to pray.
The following week as I drove Sophia to school, I realized that I had been being very logical with my thinking on what to write in Sophia’s notebook. I wanted to write the “right” thing… felt like I was playing Jeopardy with God. I was overthinking what to write. I prayed, “God, I don’t know what to believe for next….” I thought I felt myself respond, sarcastically, “Everything.” I laughed to myself. Well, duh, we are believing for everything, eventually.
That night, I was pulled back to Sophia’s notebook and felt the nudging of replacing what we were believing for, again. I began to whine in my thoughts, “but I don’t know what… to… write….. Oh, no! I am NOT writing ‘Everything’ in her notebook. That is absurd! That is….ugh! Delusional. Okay, fine. Whatever.” My white flag went up. I obediently followed, with not one ounce of energy to fight, what I felt God telling me. “What does that even mean!?” I asked God. Part of me was convinced He was just so fed up with me asking what to believe for next, He gave me something that could umbrella, literally, “everything.”
By the next morning, a fresh piece of tape displayed the word “Everything” under “What we are believing for…” in Sophia’s notebook. I accompanied it with a letter to ease the possible shock from the teachers. No need to start a rumor that I’m smoking something on the side. The note read:
“Sooo, I know on our ‘Believing for’ Note, ‘Everything‘ might seem a little over ambitious. I’ve been praying on what to declare next, trying to make sure it wasn’t just my own desires, but truly God’s will and whispered promise. I’ve been feeling a stirring inside about Sophia progressing physically… like some leaps and bounds are coming. All of our goals were whirling through my mind as I prayed, ‘God, I don’t know what to believe for next.’ I felt ‘Everything’ in my spirit. I’m not quite sure what that means but I figured I’d just better be obedient and write it down. : ) So, yeah… that’s where that came from. Thank you for always making me feel that I can be open about our beliefs.
– E. Bobe ”
I did feel a little better this time since Sophia’s teacher had witnessed her seizures stopping, despite it clearly looking like they would not, but still… “Everything?” I’ve run through this over and over in my mind and I have considered that maybe God didn’t want me to worry about the specific things to write anymore. God knows we are believing for His promise of Sophia doing everything so why not just put it out there. I mean there is one hefty list of things to check off… Sophia’s level of cognition, her using her sight, saying words, her using her hands, her eating solids, don’t get me started on all the physical ability goals… I mean, girlfriend has some mountains to move, for sure. And I’m just delusional enough to believe that EVERY SINGLE ONE is moved, in the name of Jesus.
It’s hard to explain… it’s not just me hoping. Like, I know. That’s part of what makes this walk so challenging. The absurdity of knowing something that is not supported by earthly facts, at all. I totally understand that if I were someone else, I would think I was in denial too. We’ve done this before…. believed for certain mountains to be moved that looked impossible, improbable, and just plain hopeless. Every time, it was moved, but only after the blood, sweat, and tears of this faith walk. Whew, chills… As I just wrote that, I felt God remind me that it’s not our blood, though. Jesus has already paid the price, already put in the hardest work… now we only have to stand strong, trust, believe, and put action to our faith. Believe, as if we were, indeed, delusional.