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 heard’ Luke 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)