When we get difficult news, Ryan sleeps a lot, and I barely sleep at all, this is just how things go. So I was up late and woke up at 5:30, Ryan went to bed by 8 and is still sleeping now.
I wanted to let people know about a couple kind of cool things. Specifically, I had been really discouraged for the last week or two, I’m not sure exactly how long. I had a discouragement I couldn’t shake and then little things would encourage me but it would last an hour or two before I felt really discouraged again. I did not understand or like it, but I also didn’t do much to fight it. Anyway, I just wanted to let people know that since we got this terrible news that discouragement is gone. All of the hopelessness has left, which I know is really strange because my actually circumstances are much more hopeless now, but even in great sadness I feel amazing hope, and I really have not had to fight away the discouragement, it is just gone. The contrast is startling. I know many of you picked up on my discouragement from my posts, and I just am so thankful that the grace God gives us immediately triumphs over that natural hopelessness.
I woke up with great faith this morning. I don’t really know how to explain that either except just God’s grace and the way He gives me His vision, because although I wanted to go back through things I’d written and find all the scriptures God had given me through these past four years that had mattered, I never did do that. I didn’t dig into the word, I didn’t flood our house with worship, there is just a strong faith, it is a gift and I am thankful. I was awake just long enough to process this gift, when Joel began to have a seizure, a pretty big one, and I prayed for him. We have learned so much about prayer through praying for Joel’s seizures. I have a persistence in prayer now that I didn’t before. I can see circumstances get worse instead of better as I pray and continue to pray, I can feel discouraged while praying and then pray through that until faith rises up greater than the discouragement. I have often thought that eventually the devil will realize that his attacks on Joel are only strengthening my faith and training me how to pray more effectively and just give up all together, but that hasn’t happened yet. Anyway, today as I prayed and things got worse instead of better initially, faith in God just kept building and building in me, faith in His victory, that He has already defeated sickness and death, that the devil can not triumph over Jesus, that (and I have lost my train of thought because just now as I was writing Joel had another seizure.) As I was testifying to the faith that welled up in me for Joel in a mighty and powerful way when I prayed for his seizures over two hours ago, a new seizure interrupted what I was writing. I stopped just now and prayed for him, and I guess I should clarify that I do not enjoy praying for his seizures, every time I want to just skip it, I am so weary of it, and I don’t want to press in, I want to let the seizure just take its course, and sometimes I really do just let it because I’m too tired to pray, but I prayed again, and again I was just amazed how despite my weariness God rises up a faith for Joel that is greater than I thought I had. Both this time and last time I prayed until I had nothing more to pray about the seizures so I began to pray for Joel’s full restoration, for the wholeness I want him to have, eyes straight, deafness gone, and language restored. Each time it was as I prayed for Joel’s future that the seizures finally stopped. (Maybe that’s the prayer the devil is really afraid of and he stops his attack so my prayers will end.)
Anyway, I was only going to write all of this to say that God is so faithful. His grace is new every morning. I have yet to discover a circumstance so hard that God’s grace did not lift me high above it. I also wanted to be clear that what we are praying and believing for is a mighty miracle, and Joel fully restored. It is my hope that even if Joel physically dies we will not lost faith but then pray even more fervently for him to be raised from the dead. Whether our faith will be able to withstand the symptoms that may come, which will likely include the turning in of Joel’s other eye, his left eye, something we are already seeing, more facial drooping and paralysis, an inability to swallow, headaches and vomiting, problems breathing, inability to walk and possibly blindness or full deafness, and eventually death, I don’t know. I hope our faith will continue despite all those things. I hope that if Joel dies it will be with me fully convinced that he will live and holding on to the hope of resurrection for way longer than anyone things reasonable. However, if that is not the case, if my faith fails, my great desire now is that your faith will not. Would you continue to pray for Joel’s miraculous healing, even if we stop praying for that? I know that’s a lot to ask, perhaps it is impossible, but if you see our faith flounder and you feel God ask you to continue in strong faith despite our lack of it, please know that would bless us. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I know how human I am, and how hard it is for me to see Joel suffer. I keep praying that God would come quickly, so quickly, before the worst of this can happen, but I have no assurance that we will be spared even the most difficult parts of this, but I ask that we will be anyway, because that would be amazing, wouldn’t it? I suspect I will keep posting too much, writing too often, pushing important updates further and further down the page, but I can’t help it, so I hope you keep reading the older stuff even though I will keep burying it much too soon with new posts.


There are 5 comments for this post.

  1. Amy Gerhard on January 4, 2014 8:53 am

    Lifting you all up in prayer and faith. We love you all. Kiss him for me…

  2. Wendy on January 4, 2014 9:18 am

    You can never post too much Amy. I appreciate the updates on how you guys are feeling. 🙂

  3. Kelly on January 4, 2014 9:43 pm

    Still here and still praying….You guys are always in my thoughts…

  4. Jessica on January 4, 2014 10:33 pm

    i find it ironic that i can check this blog every day and go days or weeks without any news. then i am gone for awhile–out of town without regular connection time–and i come home to so many updates with not what i was hoping (or even expecting,) to hear. as i read and pray, and try to process all of the things you have written, i just cannot. and i absolutely cannot imagine walking this path you are walking. keeping you all in my prayers. even when we don’t know what to pray God hears the cries of our hearts and the unspoken words. i will never hear that song, “speak life” the same way again. i could almost see you all in the van and hear your boys (whom i have never met,) singing along just as my own kids sing along. i am praying. please update as you are able.

  5. Lacey Ballard on January 5, 2014 10:20 am

    Though we have never met, your posts mean the world to me. I pray fervently for Joel each morning. I pray while I read your updates. I pray whenever God randomly lays your family on my heart. I beg and plead in Jesus name for sweet Joel to be healed. I send loves and hugs and prayers from Tennessee. God bless you and the family, and my God show off how mighty He truly is on Joel!

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