Didn’t mean to leave y’all hanging yesterday. Wait a minute. That’s a bold-faced lie. Forgive me?
Speaking of lies, Gabe was listening to a lot of them this morning while I was at the math testing center with Ava, and he had a ROUGH time. I came home to find him in tears, and I’ll admit, my first thought was, “How in the HECK am I supposed to blog Gabe’s victory story tomorrow with THIS crap going on?!”
I’m convinced the devil hates it that we’re sharing our story and demanding that God be given all the glory for it. Well, he can just SHOVE IT, because I’m not afraid of him. And GOD WINS.
So I left off yesterday with Gabe’s mom telling us she thought we needed to get rid of anything in our home that reeked of Buddhism, that the devil was using it to get a foothold in our home and in Gabe’s mind and heart. And Gabe didn’t take it super seriously. His mom knows a lot about spiritual warfare and has spent extended time in Africa right smack dab in the middle of it, but we just haven’t seen as much real, tangible evidence of it as she has.
Fast forward a week or so (it all blurs together now). Livi was on spring break, so she went with me to meet with our Reading Buddy on a Wednesday morning (March 28). We peeked into Dr. Hinds’s office (she’s the principal of the school and goes to our church) like I always do. She was on the phone but motioned us in. She asked how we were doing, and I ended up telling her all about Gabe.
“Now I know exactly how to pray,” she said. And something inside of me just welled up with hope, because Dr. Hinds is just the kind of person you want praying for you–an older, black woman with the Holy Spirit just oozing out of her and not afraid to shout her praise to Jesus.
That was Wednesday. Late Friday night my sweet grandma died. Sunday was Palm Sunday. Our pastor’s father-in-law, John Thomas, was preaching. The topic? Healing.
He shared the story of his wife Karen (my beautiful friend Shalla’s beautiful mama) being healed of her thyroid disease that had plagued her for 15 years. The story would take a whole blog post, but it was stinking powerful. He shared verse after verse about God’s healing power, and then opened up the altar for prayer.
I’m on the prayer team, and that was my cue to take a spot somewhere around the outside of the auditorium (school cafeteria), so I could pray with people. Except I was sitting in my seat, tears streaming down my cheeks, begging God to heal my husband. I asked him if he wanted to go up for prayer. Yes, he said. How about Dr. Hinds, I asked. Yes, he said.
We went up, got in a little circle with Dr. Hinds. She had one arm around Gabe’s back and one hand on his chest. She prayed the devil away and claimed victory and healing for Gabe in the name of Jesus and by his blood. I don’t remember everything that she said, only that it was electrifying, and that she said she fully expected him to wake up in the middle of the night, completely healed.
We got home from church, and for the first time since Gabe went on anxiety meds, he went an entire day without taking his “take-as-needed” pills. He’s on two types of anxiety meds (along with his 6 heart attack/blood thinning/cholesterol lowering meds). One he takes daily in the a.m. The other can be taken up to twice a day any time he feels panic coming on. He’d taken 2 every single day since he got them.
I called my mama (we hadn’t talked much about Gabe in the past month, because she’d been spending all day every day with my precious grandma) to tell her about Dr. Hinds’s healing prayer for Gabe. She told me that my dad had spent 6 straight hours praying for Gabe one day recently. Wowza. That is a whole, whole bunch.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I was just waiting for Gabe to sit up in bed and yell, “I’m healed!” and start dancing.
It didn’t happen. And the next morning, he was so exhausted that he started to get anxious and took one of his pills. Sigh.
It’s now Monday, April 2nd. I called my mom to discuss the evening’s soccer game plans. She told me Dad couldn’t sleep the night before because he couldn’t stop thinking about Gabe. He told Mom that finally he pictured putting all his worries about Gabe in a box, closing the lid, and putting it at the foot of the Cross.
I could barely speak after she told me this, because while I know my dad is a deep, deep thinker, I don’t always get to hear the things he deep, deep thinks about. He often keeps stuff inside, and when he does share, it’s usually pretty profound.
5:30 rolls around, and it’s soccer time. I was worried about Gabe and how he’d do coaching Ava’s team. You have to understand, the past two months had been a big long string of him not wanting me to leave his side even for a second, canceled meetings with people, only being able to be out in public for little stretches of time or not at all. Frustrating, disappointing, exhausting.
My mom and Gabe’s mom went with Gabe and Ava to Ava’s game. My dad, Livi, Nina, and I went to Livi’s game. I was riding in the passenger seat of my dad’s car and we were talking about this, that, and the other thing. And we were almost to the game when I said, “Thanks for praying for Gabe.”
“Well, I don’t know much,” Dad said, “but I keep coming back to one thing.” I had no idea what he was going to say. “I was raised believing that you shouldn’t have idols and other things like that in your house. I’m wondering about all the pictures of temples and monks and everything that Gabe has. I feel like it shouldn’t be there.”
I don’t remember what I said back to him, but I couldn’t think straight the rest of the night. HOLY COW. So, let me get this straight. Gabe’s mom prays extensively for Gabe and makes the Buddhist connection. My dad prays extensively for Gabe and comes to the same conclusion. And they didn’t talk to each other about it.
I prayed hard and waited until the girls went to bed before I approached Gabe. He was up in bed, on his laptop, and I said, “So, um, my dad said something crazy tonight. You know how he’s been praying a lot for you? Well, he told me that the only thing he can think of is that maybe we need to get this temple and monk stuff out of our house.”
“Go get rid of it,” Gabe said.
Excuse me, what? “Are you for real?”
“Yeah. Go get the photo book I made and the canvas. And the painting from Angkor Wat that’s down in the basement.”
People, I cannot begin to describe my shock. Stunned, I walked downstairs, grabbed all the offending stuff, and headed out to the trash can in the garage. I ripped and shredded and trashed it all, and prayed over and over for God to take it all away.
Oh, this is getting long, AND I STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN TO THE GOOD PART.
I immediately called my dad and Gabe’s mom (with Gabe’s blessing) and they were both excited (Dad in his reserved way and Janelle in her not-reserved way). Janelle said, “I still think he needs to get those pictures off his computer.” I told her to pray about that.
The next day Livi and I had some uninterrupted time together, and I told her about destroying the temple stuff. The two of us went around the house and ripped up some t-shirts (with temples and/or monks on them), tore up some postcards, and some other random souvenirs.
Fast forward to Thursday. I blogged this verse prayer for Gabe, then we spent the lunch hour fasting and praying healing Scripture. And then we went through Gabe’s hard drive and deleted hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pictures from our trip to Cambodia (any where the main object in the picture was a temple, idol, or monk). My heart ached for Gabe (man, he got some gorgeous shots), but it felt right.
The next day was Good Friday, and while God can heal people on any one of 365 days in the year, how awesome would it be to receive healing on the day we celebrate Jesus dying for us? By his stripes we are healed, amen?
It was a little after 11:00 a.m. Gabe had gotten up for breakfast but had laid back down. I went upstairs and opened our bedroom door to ask him if he was hungry for lunch. He had this startled look on his face.
“Did I wake you up?
He stared at me for a minute, then, hand on his chest, “I just felt something go out of me.”
“Um, like something you need? Or you mean, like something bad left your body.”
Holy cow. I didn’t know even what to say. We prayed, and I made lunch. After we ate, Gabe went up to the bedroom again. A few minutes later, I found him sitting on the edge of the bed, staring out the window, tears streaming down his cheeks. My heart sank.
“Are those good tears or bad tears?”
Then we did some crazy stuff like anoint Gabe with oil and thank Jesus and command the devil to stay the heck away from our home FOR GOOD, and the five of us went around our house and prayed in all the rooms. And everything was amazing until 9yo Ava refused to pray for her daddy, and the rest of us girls started crying, and long story short, she and Daddy spent 30 minutes alone talking while the rest of us cried and played a game and worried about her sinful heart.
And then she prayed too.
And Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday? Were filled to the brim with extended family time. Like 12-hour days. My sister was here from South Carolina, then all of my family was here for Grandma’s funeral. We spent Easter at Gabe’s grandpa’s.
And Gabe did amazing. I’m telling you, he went from spending most of his days in bed to going the whole entire day without a nap and being around PEOPLE. Not just any people, but LOUD PEOPLE. And driving hours and hours. And he only took his meds once or twice that whole time.
Friends, my husband has been healed. He’s still got a road ahead of him. The temptation to worry and fear and panic is something he still has to fight against. He still has moments where he’s convinced he’s going to die. It’s still hard for him to sit and work on websites for long stretches of time. He still gets tired more often than he used to.
But my husband is back. And he’s a new and improved version of himself. He’s physically strong and healthy, he’s closer to Jesus than he’s ever been in his life, HE’S STARTED READING. The Bible in particular.
The light is back in his eyes.
Do we know what we’re doing with our future? No. Heck, we don’t even know what tomorrow will hold. Are we excited that the hospital bills keep adding up, and we’re no longer getting regular paychecks? No, but God’s got this.
Am I doing a stellar job of being a supportive wife and attentive mother and trusting God for provision and our future no matter what my circumstances say?
But I can’t deny God’s faithfulness. And even though his timing’s not my timing, and his plans aren’t my plans, I KNOW he knows what he’s doing. And he doesn’t have any intentions of letting us suffer through anything alone.
We owe him our lives. And whether we stay here or traipse off to Cambodia or wherever the heck else, he’s gonna get them.