Matt’s story: ‘Your prayer has been heard’

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About my little bro Matt…

He was 19 when he was diagnosed with paranoid Schizophrenia. For those who have known this illness, you know it’s not a quick visit to your local GP and an off the bat diagnosis. No, this came following years of pain, torment, violence, and imprisonment.

We were told these words. ‘Prepare yourselves for him to be institutionalized for the rest of his life’.

The 23 years that have followed have been both stable and tumultuous. As pray-ers we’ve wrestled with how to pray, with the dark feel of mental illness, the spiritual influence that accompanies, and the voices that have called us out.

We have seen God answer many prayers. We’ve fasted; we’ve travailed and cried as the pain of unanswered prayer pushes us to breakthrough for his life. When the time came for hi-security rehab for a while, we prayed and he received the best care. When certain medical intervention was/is needed we pray. When wisdom is needed over meds we pray. We refused to believe what had been spoken and saw the dedication of faithful people praying God’s word. All wrapped in the beauty of a Mom and Dad pouring out unconditional love.

Why do I tell you this? I love to tell God stories. He’s a good, good Father… Love this song. On repeat.

Matt knows God’s love and forgiveness. He has broken free from many addictions. He’s realized the dark influence of occult practices and disposed of anything attached to it. A good friend has been and prayed through his apartment, yes, Matt’s apartment – because he lives independently now. Shopping, cooking, paying his bills. Matt’s an encourager, he has the gift of generosity, he’s a great Dad. He’s currently serving at our old church in Stourbridge – Chawn Hill. Helping to cook meals at Alpha and helping with the Diners club – where a group of guys cook a meal and eat together. There’s the table again.

I tell a snippet of Matt’s story to encourage praying parents, siblings and carers and of course those who are affected by mental illness. Please understand I am not making light of a desperate situation by suggesting a quick fix prayer. I understand the depth of pain. What I do know is that God hears your prayers, every one of them, spoken and not. He sees your desperation. God is committed to answer your prayers. He is committed to show you His heart, He is for you. Remind Him of His promises, stop and listen to Him – He is faithful.

For the moments when you ask why.  The real Jesus turns to our questions of why, why this sickness, who is to blame — and he says it like a caress to the aching,“You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here.” (John 9:3 MSG)… “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him” (John 9:5 NLT). Anne Voskamp.

…and if you’ve run out of faith and hope – tell God that too and find a community who will support you. He gives strength to the weary. When the angel spoke to Zechariah he said ‘Do not be afraid; your prayer has been heardLuke 1:13 If you study this word it actually means ‘the prayers that you no longer pray have been heard’. I love that.

Prayer changes things. Answers to prayer reveal God’s love.

Matt’s life is a beautiful testimony of this.

And we are thankful.

Jesus: ‘Remember, what is humanly impossible is possible with God.’ Luke 18:27

‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?’ Jeremiah 32:27 

‘For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope—never forget that.’Jeremiah 29:11

‘The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Love, Michelle x

(Written with permission – thanks lil’ bro)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30 thoughts on “Matt’s story: ‘Your prayer has been heard’

  1. Tears! ..I love you shell and mat!!…… mat you have incredible inner strengh……not many people would understand the severe
    battles you have faced!! You are an amazing individual with an amazing family and an amazing god xx

  2. This blog has stirred so many memories in me Shell….memories of pain…memories of speaking out the word of God into the darkness of situations that we faced…yet beautiful memories of a family that knew the power of unconditional love….memories of standing together in the darkest of times….and now…..standing together and seeing the answer to our prayers…..PTL man…..exciting times…..xxx

  3. Beautiful story, Michelle. Thanks for reminding us NEVER to give up on anyone no matter how dire the situation…. and that God is bigger. Always bigger. Thanks so much for sharing xx

  4. Thank you for sharing Michelle! So encouraging! I have a sister who is in desperate need of a new liver— either a transplant or a miracle! We have many praying and believing for her!

  5. This is such an encouragement to many who have been in prayer for a long season and are still seeking answers to their prayers. Thank you and Matt for sharing here. Might you consider sharing on fb. It would encourage so many.

  6. Thank you Michelle and Matt for sharing. Many families experience variations on this story. It*s a long journey, through dark valleys at times. But God walks it with us, and when we are blessed with the support of family and friends along the way, we don’t travel it alone. … and there are surprising gifts and joys along the way too!

  7. I remember praying for you Michelle when you were a little girl!! I remember praying for your mom and dad to get saved after I was saved!! I remember the conference in Birmingham I went to and saw your mom and dad worshiping the Lord I remember tears of joy running down my face!!! I look at you all now and my soul is blessed!!! You are an amazing family who have overcome so much but you know your God and He has never let you down!!!! So thank you for sharing parts of your life on this blog cause it blesses me no end!!!! Much love Linda xxxxx

  8. I knowed you for such a short time and adored your family,you could see there was that much love amongst family,i always wanted to be part of a family who was interested in every day life concerned worried or èven curious what you got up to,i am glad that you all are well,

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