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Monday, November 28, 2011

Crazy for Him

I have a confession to make.  I have been holding back a little when it comes to this blog.  Not a lot, but a little.  I've tried to discuss my faith and my experiences candidly but sometimes when I get to saying or sharing certain things I balk.  Not because they are too personal (I am the self-proclaimed queen of the over-share) nor because I'm embarrassed or ashamed.  No, it's because I don't want people to think I'm crazy.  Like, certifiably nuts.

I used to not care about this at all.  In fact, shock-value was something I highly prized.  But I no longer like to shock just for the sake of shocking; I don't like to make people uncomfortable if I can avoid it.  And to be honest, when you tell the average person something like, "God told me..." or "God said the funniest thing the other day..." you get a reaction that ranges in subtlety from a mere double blink of the eyes to an all out recoiling in horror.  I talk to God and, here's the cool part, He talks back to me.  All the time.  Some times in a still, small voice in my head (see, I said "voice in my head"; the men in white coats are on their way for me as we speak), sometimes in a deep sense of knowing in my gut, sometimes audibly.  Yes, audibly.  And some people might think that is crazy, but it also happens to be true.

God talked in the Bible all the time.  I'm not sure why the feeling in modern day is that He suddenly just shut up and let other people do the talking for Him.  He spoke so clearly to Samuel that he got up several times to ask Eli what he wanted from him, only to discover it was God's voice, not Eli's, he was hearing.  God talks.

He also does lots of other crazy things.  He heals.  He raises people from the dead.  He casts out demons (I believe in demons; angels too... wow, this is getting fun).  He makes cars pass through each other rather than wrecking.  He causes the blind to see, the lame to walk, and makes babies hearts beat when before there was none.  And He does it through people who are crazy enough to believe He does it.  That know that when the last apostle  died, the miracles didn't end.  That hear His voice and do what He says, even if it sounds crazy.

When Eddie was about nine months old, we moved back to Austin after a six month stay in Dallas.  While in Dallas, Eddie's care had been badly handled by one of his primary providers, but when I tried to switch to a different hospital I was told that his liver disease had progressed so far that it would be pointless to change.  No specialist wanted to take a patient that only had a few weeks, if that, to live.  It was a fair prognosis; Eddie was extremely yellow, his blood had no clotting factors to speak of, his systems were failing.  I didn't want to stay where he had been mistreated, however, so I called his original GI in Austin and he took him back.  Thanks to generous friend who offered let us stay in their home in Bastrop, we were in Austin a day or two later.

During our hospital stay upon our return, a preacher came to visit us.  One of his parishioners had met my husband, heard our story and passed it on to his pastor.  With Phillip's permission, Pastor Scott paid us a visit.  He laid hands on Eddie and prayed for his healing.  What I witnessed was crazy.  My sick little baby threw his arms in the air as if he'd been electrified and laughed, obviously feeling a flood of Holy Spirit power course through him.  We were discharged a few days later.  His numbers were improving.

Not surprisingly we began to attend this church.  At first it was so awesome to be around these people who believed in signs and miracles.  In radical, crazy healing miracles.  I wanted so badly for my baby to be made whole and had already witnessed God's healing power at work in him time and time again.  I wanted this to be the place where his healing would be completed.  Where he would go from being terminally ill to perfectly well in the blink of an eye.  I just knew it was going to happen.

And great, miraculous things did continue to happen.  Eddie's numbers had improved so much that even his gastroenterologist was beginning to think differently.  Then, suddenly, he was in terrible shape again.  The gastroenterologist wanted Eddie have a liver biopsy, the first step toward transplant.  After much, much, much prayer, we had decided not to go the transplant route.  It would be a terribly painful process for Eddie with very little chance of helping him.  His best case scenario was a liver transplant that would allow him to live long enough to have yet another liver transplant and an intestinal transplant.  Long shot does not even begin to cover it and his quality of life would suffer greatly.  Every time I brought "transplant" to God the answer was "no."  (Remember, He talks.)  So, I bit the bullet and told his doctor our decision.

It wasn't pretty.  Eddie had miraculously recovered on so many occasions that his doctors, who from the beginning had thought his case was completely hopeless, were beginning to think he had a fighting chance.  He did not understand why I wouldn't want to try the only medical option that was left.  My answer wasn't easy, but I said it.  I said, "Because I think it is what God wants and I believe Jesus is the Healer.  If he wants to heal Eddie He will and, if not, there is nothing we can do about that."  He responded diplomatically but I could see it in his eyes.  CRAZY.  I called a time out and asked that he schedule us for an appointment in a week's time.  During that week, we would pray and be open to God changing our minds about the transplant. He said that a week from now Eddie could be in the ER dying of an esophageal bleed.  I said then that would be God's will.  CRAZY.

A week later we were back.  The doctor had spoken to a transplant specialist and, having gotten a realistic look at Eddie's chances of merely surviving the surgery, had reconsidered his opinion and encouraged us to talk to hospice.  The transplant pressure was off, but, better than that, Eddie was better.  Lots better.  He had gained weight and his liver numbers were the best they had been since we had moved back to Austin.  Shocked by the improvement, his doctor asked, "What did you do?"  I answered the only way I knew how.  "Nothing," I said, "We just prayed."  He shook his head but smiled.  Crazy.

We did not attend Pastor Scott's church long.  We found out that part of their theology was that, if you didn't get a miracle, if someone's cancer didn't disappear for example, it was from a lack of faith.  They believed that we have complete control over everything in life -- disease, death, finances, etc -- so if you were poor or sick or if you died, it was because you lacked faith.  One pastor actually said in a sermon that the recent death of an elderly member, who had a heart attack while mowing his yard, was because he didn't pray the right prayer when Satan brought that heart attack against him.  I could go on for several paragraphs citing scriptural examples of why this is faulty logic, not biblically based, and just overall bad ju-ju, but I'll just say that it's...crazy!  Phillip and I actually affectionately refer to that as "The Crazy Church."

I am grateful for The Crazy Church, though.  They were bold enough to pray for my baby with a mad, radical kind of faith and God used their hands to restore him, to buy him time.  They emboldened me to speak the truth, no matter how crazy it may sound.  To speak with boldness that God was going to heal my son and then, when He did, to give credit where credit was due.

When the time came for Eddie to receive the ultimate healing, God didn't blind side me.  I knew it was coming.  Eddie had been a living testimony of God's grace, love and His crazy, miraculous, healing power, but he wasn't going to have to do it forever.  He was going to get to go home and rest as a good and faithful tiny servant of the Lord.  God spoke it to my heart a month or two before he died and, while I fought and prayed against that truth, I knew.  By the time it came, I was as ready to let him go as any mother can be, I guess.

There were probably people back then who had heard me talk crazy -- heard me cry healing, miracles, hope and restoration -- and felt sorry for me.  Thought I probably felt foolish once he died for all that hope that I had carried for so long.  But I didn't; I don't.  Hope sustained me and, through me, it sustained Eddie.  Crazy faith, crazy love, crazy hope carried us through the craziest, most wonderful adventure of our lives.  Our journey was lit up by miracles, by signs, by the Holy Presence and Voice of God and I think it was in large part because we hoped.

God is calling my attention to the crazy people again.  He is surrounding me with them; He is placing them in my path and in my ear.  To the ones who know that the kingdom of heaven is in part a state of mind and we get to live in it and experience its power.  That you don't just learn about God, you experience Him.  You can encounter Him in miraculous ways while you are just hanging out doing ordinary things.  I need that kind of crazy again.  I want to be bold in speaking about the power of God.  Not just talking about it, but exercising it.  Believing, against all odds, full of all hope, unafraid of looking foolish if things don't go the way I thought they would.  To pray radical, bold prayers, sometimes even  out loud and believe that they will be answered.  I want to lose face to gain the kingdom.  I want to make a total ass out of myself for God.  Crazy.

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