The Power of Testimony
Hey guys, it’s Brooke here. Today we wanted to give you guys an update, to let you know some things that have been going on with our family, just some challenges and hopefully be able to encourage you as we encourage ourselves. I don’t know if you have ever been in a place where you need to even encourage yourself, but that’s kind of where we are. So this is as real, probably, and as raw as it gets.
So over the last year or so our youngest son, Liam has been, I’ll just say sick, for lack of a better word. He’s lost a lot of weight. When he doesn’t get sleep at night, when he doesn’t get good sleep, he ends up getting a fever. His skin tone is just kind of gray at times, and he just doesn’t have energy. He definitely has not been himself. We have a friend who is a functional nutritionist (Holistic Health Practitioner), and she helped us run some tests. Based on those tests, and the panel results that we received, we made an appointment to see a GI doctor. His conclusion was to have Liam undergo an endoscopy and colonoscopy to see what is going on. We did that last week and the findings were confirmed that he does indeed have Crohn’s disease. The doctor says, lifetime disease, we say anything is possible with our God. So we are praying for healing. We are praying for a miracle. It is so hard to see your child not be himself. And any parents out there with kiddos who are sick, you know exactly how this feels. It’s such an uphill struggle and it’s just a daily battle to think positively, to speak words of life and balance that with the reality of what you see in front of your face and the emotions that come with all of it. So it has been quite the journey lately.
Friday night, as we just sat and kind of gathered our thoughts and prayed, we remembered that we have been here before with Liam and God has been so faithful. And this is why we do this podcast. We do this podcast because it is so important to remember. It’s important that we write these stories down so that when we feel like we’re not being heard, when our cries and our tears feel like they’re falling to the ground empty, we can be reminded that God hears and He sees, because He’s done it before and if He’s done it before, He’ll do it again! Because it’s His nature. It’s who He is. So I just wanted to read to you the Ebenezer from four years ago, almost five, of the trial that we went through with Liam then, and how we believe it’s a testimony of hope for what the Lord is doing now.
So I wrote this for a blog that some friends of mine were doing a while back. I’m just going to read some excerpts from it and try to hit the highlights. So basically, our son Liam, he has had some challenging years at school. Second grade was really hard for him and because it was so hard for him, we had requested his principal put at least one friend in his class. We volunteer a lot, or did volunteer a lot at the elementary school when our kiddos were there, and so we were up there a lot in the second grade year for Liam. Every time I saw him at school, whenever I would go and volunteer, he would cry and be asking me to take him home. It was just really hard. And so I went to the principal’s office and I said, “Hey, you know, this has been a really hard year. We need to make sure that Liam has at least one friend with him next year.” So I gave her a list of five friends and we prayed and we prayed. We prayed all summer that he would get this teacher that was a great third grade teacher at his school. We got her! And we found out that we didn’t get any of the students/friends in his classroom that we wanted. But we did get a new friend there, so we knew that things were going to be okay.
Three days later, we find out that that new friend was actually moved into another class. Needless to say, I was mad at the school and I felt let down by God, I didn’t understand how this could happen, couldn’t He have prevented this? My emotions were really raw at the time because my son was hurting, emotionally, you know? So I went and spoke to the principal, and the principal gave us some options. We told Liam those options and we asked him to pray about it. Adam said, “Well, let’s do this. Let’s go to God’s word and listen for Him to speak and guide us down the right path.” So Liam took his Jesus story Bible to his room and prayed for guidance. A few minutes later, mind you, he’s in third grade, which is little bitty. A few minutes later, he came back to the living room and he exclaimed, “This book didn’t tell me anything.” So we asked him to grab the Bible, bring it to us so that we could discuss what he had read together.
He opened his Bible to 1Kings, where Solomon built the temple partnering with Lebanon, for cedar and others for labor. Liam pointed to the picture of the men working together to cut the cedar and said, “I think these guys are friends and they’re able to do the work together, because they’re a team.” I was like, Whoa, those are some wise words for a sweet little nine year old boy. And then Adam challenged him and said, “Well, buddy, what if they aren’t friends and they’re getting to know one another by working together as a team?” So that night, we put him to bed after talking a little bit more, and we prayed for him and we asked him to pray for the next 24 hours and to listen to God for direction. We promised him that we would search God’s Word and pray for wisdom that night too.
I climbed into bed a little later, and I couldn’t believe it. I opened my Bible to Ezra, and guess what chapter three talks about? Restoring the temple! One would think this was a seemingly obvious sign that would bring me peace, right? No. As I read and prayed, I just kept getting visions of Abraham and Isaac and a sense of sacrifice. I felt as though God was asking me to trust Him and sacrifice my plans and hopes for Liam. To make matters worse (just in my head) my husband shared that he thought God was telling us that our son was God’s temple and He was doing a mighty work in Liam to prepare him for something that was bigger than third grade. I was on an emotional roller coaster, all of my emotions and hormones were just beneath the surface waiting to explode. I dropped to my knees and wailed. I cried out to God, “Please don’t make me do this. Please don’t make me force my son to stay in this class with no friends again this year. Please don’t do this.”
My feelings prevented me from seeing the goodness of the Lord and the truth of His Word, His promises that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, that He’ll never leave us, that He will guide us, that He is a loving Father who gives good gifts. I couldn’t see any of it. I was relying on my feelings instead of God’s word, which is kind of where I am right now at times. That night, I ugly-cried myself to sleep basically. The next day though, we kept praying and we kept asking for guidance.
Later that afternoon, at about 3:05, I heard boys running to the front door and our oldest walked in. He was in sixth grade at the time and he said, “Hey, Liam is going to stay with friends on the playground. Oh, and he made his decision. He’s staying in his class.” I was like, “What?” What in the world? I couldn’t believe that. The issue that was so big was just settled so quickly in Liam’s little heart. So when Liam got home, I said, “Do you know what you’re going to do?” And he said, “Yeah, I’m gonna stay in Miss Williams’ class.” Y’all my heart as a mom was so full.
When we asked him later on, why or how he was able to make that decision so easily, he shared that when he walked into his classroom that morning, his teacher gave him a big hug and asked how he was doing. – She knew that he was having a hard time and knew all about the previous year. – That was all he needed. A hug. That simple. Knowing that he was loved and his feelings mattered meant the world to him. He knew that she was the right teacher for him. The story goes on just a little bit and those are just the highlights. But we still feel like that testimony rings true today…Liam is God’s temple and that God is doing something bigger than we can see, bigger than third grade, bigger than seventh grade, bigger than we can understand.
It is because of that testimony that we wrote four years ago, that we’re able to see the promises of God and the plans that He has for Liam are so much bigger than our hopes and dreams are for him. If you have kiddos that are sick, or if you’re going through your own journey of sickness, or loss, or trauma, or whatever it is, we are right there with you. We know how hard this is. As you go through it, and as you come on the other side of it, write it down. Every word that God gives you, every verse He puts on your heart, write it down. It could be that four years later, it’s gonna minister to you again, in a different way, but with just as much impact, if not more.
We write these things down because they matter. These stories matter. They give us hope. They show us the nature and the character of God, who He still is today. That He still rules, He still rains, He is still good. And He is still working all things together for the good of those who love Him. So we just wanted to share that with you guys and tell you that we’re hopeful. We’re there. We’re learning a new language as we uncover medical terms that we never thought we would have to learn. We’re learning new languages as we declare God’s goodness and God’s promises and speak life, over our home, over our family, over kiddo, over everything because we realize as a culture, gosh, we sure do speak a lot of things that are anything but life. And we don’t want to do that anymore.
So I hope this encourages you in some way that we are right there with you in the fight. And we’re not asking you to do anything that we aren’t doing ourselves. We’re also telling you hey, guess what? We see you! We hear you! We’re praying for you! Write it down. Write down the goodness of God in your life. It just might come back to bless you.