My twin sons are 4 ½ years old. At just 2 weeks one twin was diagnosed with a critical congenital heart condition.
We were told that despite all the progress in the world on cardiac treatment and surgical procedures, there was nothing in the world that could save my baby. Even if there was, he severely under weight and will not survive long enough to have a chance at surgery For the 1st time we were facing a situation where there was simply no options and no hope. Until then we have always been in situations where we could say “We will pray, but then we could always rely on medical intervention or some other fall back option if God decided not to show up. Until then the most desperate thing I had ever prayed for was for the blessing of becoming a mum, but even then I had decided that I always had the option of adopting.
The moment of sheer hopelessness and helplessness is paralyzing. You can’t see beyond the moment you are in, every attempt to look beyond with some sort of hope jut seems to draw a blank wall. I felt trapped, it felt like I was drowning and just couldn’t seem to breathe.
I could only see myself being one of those people running from pillar to post looking for God and healing and I was terrified.
I remember when the shock started to wear off, I just went and sat on the bathroom floor with the lights off. As a catholic my na
tural instinct was to reach out to God, but my relationship with him wasn’t perfect. I had walked away from him and lived denying him for about 8 years. I had felt he had abandoned me and let me down over an unfortunate experience in my early twenties. Even when my heart began to feel a void , a sense of emptiness, I had stubbornly refused to acknowledge Him, I looked at options like Buddhism and even Islam but my heart was restless until I found myself at the door step at church and tentatively walked in. My return to church was not an earth shattering one, but for about 5 years since then it was a gradual build up to me feeling comfortable and accepted in the church.
Sitting on the floor in the darkened bath room, as the reality of my situation slowly sank in, I realized nothing short of a spectacular miracle will save my son. The ache in my heart progressing to a physical ache, I huddled further into a corner because the pain, the terror, the despair and loneliness in that moment of misery was just too much to bear.
As much as I cried and spoke to God, it was just me in that cold dark room. I don’t know what I was expecting, because I never knew of God speaking to us humans. The more I spoke to Him the more miserable and isolated I felt. And then started the flashing of images in my mind’s eye, of my every moment of Sin and the conviction that miracles were not happening for someone like me. I felt that there was no way God was going to even acknowledge me for the person I had been. The guilt of this was tormenting me; my baby was not going to have a chance in life because I was the sinner that bore him.
I resolved that I had to find away to reach God, I didn’t know how or what to expect. The situation was already decided. Reaching out to God despite myself, was more of an inbuilt instinct to keep hoping, rather than the conviction of knowing that God will actually show up and fix my son. I didn’t know what prayer I could even say, I felt too filthy and a shame to ask God. A million heartfelt words could not justify my sin, nor could it explain my desperation, but I had to try for my son’s sake. In desperation, not really knowing how to reach God, or how to plead my case for His mercy , yet desperate to give my son a chance at life, I resolved that I was just going to keep calling Him till He got sick of my calling and did something. For two days all I did was just blindly, with all the pain and shame in my heart sing “Kumbiyya Lord, Kumbiyya” a song I had learned in the school choir.
Soon after, someone told me that I should go to the prayer meeting at St.Peters and that miracles happened there. So tormented with guilt and feeling totally unworthy, I took my baby to St.Peters with the hope that the Lord would take pity on my son despite me.
As I walked in, even before I entered the hall I heard thaththa say the words my burning heart so desperately wanted to hear “ Come as you are, I love you” and the fire in my heart just seemed to settle, like someone had doused iced water on a raging fire. During that 1st prayer meeting all the Lord did was just embrace me and assure me that my sin did not matter, that I could have a 2nd chance, that I too was a child in his eyes that is loved as much as my new born.
The Lord had spoken and told me that I could have a 2nd chance, and when I went home that day, I knew that I would not be running from pillar to post looking for God, I had found my place at his feet and he was right here In my heart.
I had found acceptance and forgiveness in the Lord, and I had hope, but yet life wasn’t easy at first. We left the country soon after, and in the ensuing months the only thing that kept me sane was the take me higher CD and the strength and hope offered in scripture. I was in a new country, cut off from all that I knew, with two new screaming babies, sleepless nights and dark visions of death terrorizing my every waking and sleeping moment.
People would say “Have faith” and remind me that the faith the size of a mustard seed would move mountains. Iwanted to scream, can’t you see? The mustard sees is the mountain right now? “Surrender your son to God” they would say, and I would think to myself “Yeah, try offering your child to God and say in truth that you will accept it if God chooses to take him from you”
Gradually the nightmares stopped, and as I felt more secure in the Lord’s acceptance of me, I began to slowly experience his comforting presence. For the 1st time in my life, I began to realize that God was not far away up in the skies, but that he is real and present in our lives.
For a while the Lord was just a comforting presence. I was driven by this need to have enough faith so that by this faith my son would be healed. I was driven by “Be it done on to you according to your faith”. This bit of scripture both gave me hope that there was away for my son to be healed, but at the same time gave me nightmares. Every moment of doubt filled me with terror. I began to try and monitor spiritual progress with what others were able to do, like speak in tongues, and the ability to have visions etc. My sinful nature filled me with terror and everytime I lost my temper and reacted to it I would be filled with a sense of defeat. It was bad enough I was struggling with doubt and weakness, ambition too had gotten itself into the mix.
Even with the knowledge that God was a presence in my life despite my sin, I was living with a full on raging battle
within my heart, head and spirit, It was not a nice place to be. In my more sane moments I could not believe that even in something as pure as pursing God, how things can be so twisted and ugly. It is as if you are invited to Elvis’ party and ending up dancing with Alwis instead who is stomping all over your feet.
I did not see God move profoundly in my life until one day, fed up of the doubt, the wanting , the comparing, envy , trying to keep up and failure that I finally prayed my single most important prayer. “Lord I don’t trust my head or my heart; I don’t know where I am or where I need to be in my faith. Please just take over. Lord youmove me to the place you need me to be.”
As I kept praying this and asking the Lord to lead me, the only sense I would get is this call to “Just be, Just be”.
he Lord began to show me that in trying to live the 4 steps, I had turned my spiritual journey into a process driven exercise, that I was managing it like a project with the end goal of absolute faith = miracle for my son. Iwas still in control of the process of the truths I gave, and trying to direct and monitor my spiritual Journey with accomplishing an objective of my own.
I realized this call to “Just be “was for me to just let go and stop worrying about where I was in faith or anything to do with my spiritual journey. All I was needed to do was to hold on to him regardless of what I thought of myself.
As I finally relinquished my life’s spiritual journey into the hands of the Lord and stood holding Him accountable in ensuring I got to where He wanted me to be, I felt so relieved and at great peace. If I did not believe or have enough faith it was not my problem but His. The moment had finally come for me to meet my counselor, my nurturer and refiner. With that began my experience of real freedom and peace in the circumstances that had brought my life crashing down.
are long I could see how the Lord took absolute control of my spiritual journey, leading me into a total cleansing experience with the Holy spirit walking with me through my every memory from child hood, making me see why I turned out to be the way I was, the root causes of my weaknesses. Leading me to forgive and let go, blessing me with repentance for sins I never realized I had committed. I never realized I had so much garbage buried in me. I felt so free.
He blessed me with the ability accept and embrace the fact that I was loved despite myself, a sense of total acceptance. That with Him, I will always have second chances. I was blessed with the ability to see God in every incident in my life. One fine day he opened the eyes of my spirit and made me look back. I saw the time period I was away from Him, every single defining moment during that time and I saw so clearly how He was right beside me in every single of those moments, holding me and keeping me safe in the dangerous situations I had put my self in.
He took control when my son underwent his 1st heart surgery. He held me in perfect peace throughout the entire hospital stay. Even when they said that the surgery had gone wrong, that they had to repeat the 4 hour surgery, not only was I calm, I was filled with a sense of joy and I couldn’t even bring myself to say a prayer. All I felt was the need to keep praising him. My husband who is a Buddhist was blessed with an uncharacteristic calm though it all.
Whenever I laid hands on my son to pray over him, the presence of the Lord in him was so great it would be like a current running through my body. For the 1st time, I felt like I was the outsider in my son’s life. That he was already in the care of his real Father and there was nothing I could ever wish for or ask for that his real father would not have already thought of.
It’s been almost 4 years since I 1st discovered the joy of surrendering my life to the Lord, and I have been blessed so very much, but yet I get carried away with life. I am a changed person, but yet my sinful nature is the cross I carry as I walk with the Lord. I fall so badly and I still keep crawling back, with egg on my face and stinking of sin but trusting that He still wants me. Having known His peace I don’t want to live without it, I can’t live without it. There are days I just say “Lord I have nothing to say” and We sit in total compatible silence. There are days I say “ Lord I just don’t feel like sitting with you, But I don’t want to lose your presence” and He would still show up. There are days I would only cry into his lap, the pain too much and He would just comfort. There are days I say “ Lord I just don’t get it “ and He would teach. I would call out in trouble and He is there with all His glory and powerresolving it perfectly. I am yet the ungrateful child and He still loves me, He still keeps showing up, loving and giving. He loves me like He is a fool in love and I deserve nothing of this grace.
He is my most intimate friend, He is all and everything that I need, He is My Lord, My God, most of all He is my Dad. In this relationship I live with the carefree abandon of a secure child.
In reality, no Mum in the world will want my life. As a Mum I was robbed of the joy of being a Mum without the tag of heart ache attached to it. There are no traces of the successful career driven life that once was mine. I have had to set up home in a foreign land away from my family and friends that cannot even be there for me. I am alone with my twin sons as my husband’s work takes him abroad for 3 weeks of each month. I deal with the daily realities of my son’s situation. The endless night terrors, getting him through his hospital checkups and surgical procedures, The emotional tug as I watch him yarn to and struggle to keep up with his twin, dealing with the twin who has his own emotional issues being a victim of his brothers circumstances. This is on top of managing the house, the school runs, the tantrums and days when they are both fighting the flu all by myself. Lurking in the back ground to all of this is that, my son is living with a death sentence hanging over his head and the doctors to date have never given us any reason to get our hopes up.
When I look at this list, my heart bleeds for the woman in the story, but the truth is I don’t recognize this situation to be mine. The Lord holds me in total peace through it all. It is as if I am spiritually functioning on a parallel universe to reality. I have found that when I am in the spirit, time stands still and I seem to fly through the day, but on the days when I am in the flesh, I seem to be standing still and time flies and I am unsettled and tired. People think I am going through hell, they ask me how I cope, and nothing makes me want to laugh more than their reaction when I say “Oh I just pray”.
As I write this my mind is drawn to the moment the Lord calmed the storm and invited peter to walk across the water over to Him, and in my mind’s eye I see how unknown to me this has become a reality in my life. I see me (my life) in the perfect storm in the middle of the sea. A few yards in front of me I see the Lord smiling. Behind Him and around us is the vicious darkness of the storm that surrounds my life, my feet are balancing gingerly on top the violently lashing sea water, nipping at my heals threatening to drag me down into the emotional despair of fear, worry, heart ache, self pity and all that comes with the storm of life. Yet in the few yards between me and the Lord is bright sun shine and as I keep looking at Him, I am drawn and mesmerized and oblivious to the storm that surrounds us, or the depths of despair that lie beneath my feet. I am held secure in that intimate spot of sun shine amidst the raging storm. This is not the journey I planned, but the one that the Lord is leading me on. Yes, I see the word come alive in my life.
I came to the Lord, looking for a miracle for my son, but I have stumbled upon a miracle that is taking place in my life. Somewhere down the line, my focus has shifted from my son’s situation to all that is of the Lord . Where I
am in my faith doesn’t worry me. I just keep giving the truth of how I feel and trust the Lord to move me to whereHe needs me to be. Besides I am not getting into that driving seat again.
I still don’t know what absolute faith feels like , the kind of faith that assures me that my son will be healed for sure. But that doesn’t seem to matter anymore. For now at least what I am blessed with is a sense of absolute trust in my God in everything about my life and everything that happens in it and I am at total peace. I am blessed with the ability to disregard all that I see or others see and to blindly trust the Lord whom I see in trust and faith.
I no longer beat myself when I doubt. I have learned that what matters is not my unshakable faith, but the trust in the Lord who stands true when I fall apart in faith. He is the rock that my soul and spirit seems to be wrapped around, holding me in place when I tend to fall apart.
In that trust, I realize God has set me free within my own circumstances to worship him with absolute freedom for the sheer joy of it. No I have not given up on my son; hope is very much alive in my heart. But I also trust my God to hold me and carry me through the darkest most volatile storms he permits in my life.
Yes, I know you will not want my life, but I pray to God that you will see and know for your selves the absolute beauty of the place I am held within this storm. I pray that my story is not one that will merely be applauded, but one that will have every one reaching out to embrace this same God who is so beautiful. A God I fall in love with a little bit more every day.