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The Castle Doctrine

June 19, 2011 — 11 Comments

It’s Fathers Day 2011. For some I know it’s just another weekend, some get a chance to thank their fathers for all they have done, and then others get to sit back and think of their fathers for the life they had but are no longer with us. For me, it’s my first as a father and one I had been looking forward to for the last 7 months, but I can honestly say I am spending it in a way I never thought possible.


You see, three weeks ago one of my twin daughters was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in her eyes. She is currently fighting 4 separate tumors and is in a fierce battle to keep her sight. So my first Father’s Day was a trip to church to spend a few minutes with my dad and then to the hospital to sit with Kenzie as she got her first blood transfusion and scheduled a CAT scan to see why her eye is not healing.

It’s not the father’s day I had been hoping for, nor was it something I thought I would ever be dealing with. I can honestly say the last three weeks have been the most difficult I have ever been through. The mental stress, the heart-break, the hurt for a child who has no idea that she is sick, the thought of my baby girl never getting to see the white sandy beaches of Florida or the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, each of which I could stare at for days.

But the thing that has eaten at me more than anything else is the possibility of there being a day that I would have to give the doctor the ok to remove my daughters eyes to save her life. The thought that I would have to give the doc approval on an operation knowing that it would be the last day for the rest of her life she would ever get to see her mother and I, and knowing she would be too young to remember our faces, filled me with pure hate.

I’m sure I hid it pretty well. After all, I am the husband, I am the father, I am supposed to be the strong one…..right? If not for me, for my family, for my wife, and for my other daughter. I am not afraid to admit I was angry. I was angry at myself, for the possibility of this being something I gave to her, I was angry at God for letting this happen to my beautiful baby girl, and I was angry at the world, because at first it just felt good to be mad at someone else. There were even times in those first few days where I found myself questioning God and my faith all together. All of these things I kept under wraps because I felt the only way to deal with it was on my own. I temporarily reverted back to the old Matt and to be honest I hated every minute of it.

I felt dead inside. I felt betrayed by the God who gave me this gift and then let this happen, and I believe I was right to feel this way in the natural. I mean what parent wouldn’t. To have their 7 month old daughter hit with something that could take her sight or even her life is something I think any parent would be angry at.

It was during one of these “mini” hate fests I was having when I was alone one day that I turned to worship. You see, I believe the act of worship is a powerful thing. Hands down one of the most powerful things we humans can do to have a more intimate relationship with God. After all, he tells us that if we don’t worship, the rock and trees will cry out. (Luke 19) It’s because of that statement that I turn to worship when I need to hear from God more clearly. It’s been proven to me time and time again that worship can take one to a place with God that you can’t reach otherwise.

I came across a song by Bethany Dillon, simply titled Hallelujah. It states that whatever is in front of her she just wants to sing hallelujah. I found it to be a bold and gutsy statement because who knows what lies in your future. But there is a line in there that states “Only you can see the good in broken things, you took this heart of stone, you made it home and set this prisoner free.” See, I realized that the facts of Kenzie’s diagnosis had turned my heart to stone and filled it with anger. That the hate I had been producing was holding me back from the Truth, which was that God didn’t do this to my daughter but He will see her through it, every step of the way.

I began to let go of the hate and fill that space with faith, trust, and love. God did not go anywhere, He was there the whole time and during these last couple weeks. He has shown me a new way to look at our situation, a new way to trust, and I believe grown my faith to a new level.

I believe He shared with me a revelation that I had been taught but never really practiced. The simple fact that things like sickness and hate have no right in us and as my Pastor has stated time and time again, even though God is not the author of a situation doesn’t mean He won’t use it to further His glory.

If you don’t know me, I am a Texas boy. Born and raised. I love my state and everything it stands for. I’m proud to call myself a Texan and would not have it any other way. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a 10 gallon hat, chap wearing cowboy, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I am one who loves his heritage and the ideals and beliefs that only Texans carry. The simple fact is we are just a different breed of southerners and we are proud of it.

Down here we have what we call the “Castle Doctrine”, a law allowing our people to protect their home or “Castle” from those that seek to do evil. It is a law that has caused a lot of controversy over the last three years, but one I think is right and just.

The knowledge that one can stand their ground and defend ones person, family, or property with deadly force is a good deterrent to the enemy, or at least the ones with half a brain. The thought of knowing if I come into this persons house with the intent to do wrong they have the legal right to put me down, is something I think stops a lot of those acts. It doesn’t prevent all of them, but let’s face it; most thieves are a few sandwiches short of a picnic, if you know what I mean. You see, before this law was passed we were in a state that supported a doctrine called “Duty To Retreat”. Meaning that if someone came into your home with the intent to do wrong you had the legal obligation to retreat out of the house or away from the intruder if there was any way possible before you could retaliate.

You see although our State has only given us this ability for a handful of years, I believe God granted of a spiritual “Castle Doctrine” some two thousand years ago at Calvary. The fact is, that evil has no right in your “Castle”, and you have the tools, through grace, to stand your ground and defend it. I’m a firm believer in the truth that God does not cause sickness. The problem is we live in a fallen broken world with imperfections not because God designed it that way but because man turned it that way. Every moment since the fall in the Garden we have been subject to invasion by the enemy, be it sickness or any numbers of sin and tragedies, and because of this truth……crap happens.

We can’t run from it, we can’t hide from it, and we can’t retreat from it. There is no escape. Your only defense is to stand and fight and to invoke this spiritual “Castle Doctrine” provided by Calvary. You see the Devil is a crafty enemy, I believe he wonders the earth with his army just looking for cracks in our Castle wall and attacking the weakest point possible. It’s one of the old strategies in battle really. Why attack head on at the strongest point when you can find the weakest point and exploit it? Simply put, it’s warfare 101.

For me, that weak point was my daughter. You see, my wife and I spent years trying to start a family. We spent endless hours with doctors and getting tests ran. Only to find out they had no real reason why we couldn’t have a child. So to end up with two beautiful girls one November day after years of trying and treatments was a huge answer to prayer, and I believe the Devil knew that my crack would be my family. So that’s exactly where he attacked, and at first it worked. I think it’s no coincidence that it’s Fathers Day and I am writing this. See my Father God, my Daddy, is already using this situation for the good. Bringing people from all over the world to pray and to bare witness to the faith and trust my family and myself has in Him. I have already gotten one personal testimony about how the outward show of my faith during this whole time has impacted someone and they told me that they want what I have. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. To know that my actions are pushing someone to have a closer more intimate relationship with my Father……well its just a good feeling all around.

This may sound crazy to some people but I’m gonna say it anyways. The roller coaster of emotions, the hurt, the heart ache, the pain that not just I am going through but my entire family is all worth it. It’s worth it for me knowing that if I had to go through this to be a testimony or a witness for someone else to know my Daddy like I do, then I would do it all again tomorrow. After all, he gave his son for us, a debt I can never repay, but I will try until my dying breath. I have no desire for my daughter to be sick but I know I am just her earthly guardian. She is God’s daughter and He will take good care of her. This I know for sure. So if it’s a little rain today to make a better tomorrow, to show one more soul the Truth, I say, bring the rain. A little water ain’t gonna stop this Texas boy, in fact it just gonna make me grow stronger.

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"Never underestimate the determination of a quiet man." -IDS

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"Never underestimate the determination of a quiet man." -IDS

11 responses to The Castle Doctrine

  1. I am humbled at the obvious growth in my young brother. There is no greater area of weakness than seeing our children under attack. Thank God you recognize the truth. God loves your children more than you do and he knows the end from the beginning. Our job is to trust, worship and fight the good fight of faith. Your brethren are proud to stand with you and yours. God Bless

  2. Note: Mark 11: 12-23:-

    * Have the GOD kind of Faith:-

    V.22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[f] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

    * Illustration:- 11: v. 12-21 (Jesus commanded with faith & the tree withered away from its very roots).

    This is not just to relief you but to request you to BOLDLY DECLARE HEALING TO YOUR Kenzie. No weapon for against us shall remain!’)

  3. Amazing amazing amazing read. This touched my heart in so many ways. From you I’ve learnt and am learning and you had no idea your teaching. Your faithfulness is truly an inspiration to me. GOD is working so much greatness through you Matt and I’m blessed by your friendship. I love you dude, truly.

    Cato)ine 🙂 xxx

  4. Trese Strauss June 20, 2011 at 7:35 am

    On one hand I am speach-less with the stamp of genuine raw heart that brought the reality of OUR Lord’s presence through this blog! On the other a very clear reminder of the grace that He bestowed on my son Curt and wife Sandra as they too ventured on a journey together that tested everything they held dear. They waited and tried for the fruit of children in their marriage of 10 years to no avail. One day she became very sick and seemed she had a bad case of the flu. My son, Curt took her to ER. They ran extensive tests and found a tumor on her pituitary gland that the Doctors said would be very rare if it was found to be cancerous. Both sides of the family were strong Christians that trained our children to ‘HOLD ON’ and ‘TRUST’ no matter what things appear to look like…the news came it was cancer…so the fight began. Curt stood on every promise in the word! As things intensified with good news and then bad, I saw my son become more and more weary as the next few years tried his faith. Surgery, radiation and chemo rattled his very existence and whether or not this Christian stuff was real. My heart broke for him to know the goodness of the Lord for himself. The journey was up and down, in and out but the short of it…they were told after a report of remission that they would not be able to have their own children! That added another year of pounding heaven, decreeing and claiming our inheritance. The miracle, threw blood, sweat and tears is that they now have twins, a boy and a girl. So much could be shared that transpired but it would be a book, not a blog.
    Matt, I will tell you what I told my son, you are precious and important to God. His promises are forever true. The word tells us that many are called but few are chosen. I believe the chosen are the ones that have a greater harvest to touch many for God’s purpose here on earth, a special calling that only they can fulfill with a testimony that glorifies His amazing goodness. He allowed the man, Job to endure so much pain and loss but read the end of the chapter and be encouraged that God restores everything. My daughter-in-law was healed, the doctors amazed they conceived and as in the book of Job…rewarded with a two fold recompense!
    As the grandma of those beautiful babes, God gave me a heads up way back when Curt was born that twins would be in my lineage so I assumed that meant, I would have twins but as that possibility closed and my sons got married I wondered if it would be one of them. My other son Cyle had 5 children We waited for Curt but then this storm hit that I have shared with you…as a parent cries out for their child, (like a bolt of lightning that goes up to Father God’s heart like no other prayer) the Lord reminded me again of his promise that was part of his plan for me to have twins in my lineage and as I heard this the dots connected that it was Curt who was to receive this promise. Then he said call them out of heaven and be specific as you decree!!! I did asking for a boy and a girl and adding to them as I saw them in my spirit…6 months went by and on FATHER’S DAY, (2years ago) they announced they were pregnant and with twins!! This was the promised fulfilled after years of waiting on my part and then a few years of warfare to get the download from heaven.
    Thank you for your blog, your heart and the reality of your journey as it has refreshed my memory of just how GREAT and WONDERFUL our Father God is!
    Love, prayers and blessings of health and wholeness to Makenzie and you and yours,
    Trese

  5. What a wonderful young man you are. I know you are a great dad already to both the children. God does not give to take away son. Know Jim and I are praying often for you and your family. Be bold and stand firm in God’s word. I hope someday to meet your family and we will celebrate the goodness of our Jesus. mary

  6. Bonnie Burson Chapman June 21, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Matt, Francine is a dear friend of mine as is Susie and by extension you and Becky……
    I have not felt that I knew you prior to reading this, but what an awesome person you are! I am so glad that Becky found you and that you are in the family. Richard, my husband and I are Christians, and we have had prayers for you all from our church.
    Thank you for writing such a moving and Godly recount of what has been happening in your life.
    Much love to you all, Bonnie

  7. From Postcards From Heaven:

    Dear child of mine,
    Today the future may look bleak or shadow to you. But, oh, if you could only see what glorious plans I have for you, you would be rejoicing! These are plans to prosper you and bring you joy, not to hurt you nor humiliate you. All that I have planned has been motivated by my deep love for you.
    Do not fret nor worry about every little detail of my plans right now. They will not be revealed to you today. But as you TRUST and WALK WITH ME one step at a time, I will reveal them to you. Each day you will know what you need to know. And this much I can tell you today: The purpose of my plan is that you be shaped and molded into the very image of my son. That is the high calling of your life. So hold on through the darkness and trust me. I hold you in the hollow of my hand. Nothing comes to you without passing through the strong right hand of my righteousness. Al is well.
    Your faithful Father,
    God

    Praying for you guys! Great post. . . keep the faith!

  8. Brenda Douglas Larson June 22, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Please know that your blog has touched me deeply. It’s hard to understand that God’s love for our children exceeds our own love for them by miles and miles. I am moved by your strong faith and I will pray for your continued faith and strength as ya’ll face this hurdle in your lives. I will pray for healing in your Kenzie and for you and your family.
    God is good….all the time!!!!

  9. Kim (Corinth Vet) June 27, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Matt, when Cody was in the hospital for that 6 long months someone brought me a single slip of paper.. it stayed with me at all times and now hangs over my desk, you may have seen it there. They are words I live by and find strength in.. I now give them to you.
    “If God brings you to it, He WILL bring you through it”
    Your a strong man, a strong faith and a strong marriage, it’s gonna get bumpy (understatement) but you guys will be just fine!
    Huggs to you all.

  10. Matt, I am a friend of the Gages. I learned about you and your family through a Bible study with Stephanie. I am praying for you and your sweet girls. I pray especially for “Kenzie” as she goes through this little bump in her road through life. I also pray that God with give you the strength you need to take care of all of your girls in the coming days. Know that my husband and I are thinking of you and praying for you daily. Much love and prayers! D

    Debbie

  11. Amber Davidson Wood June 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Wow. First, I have to say that you have quite a gift with words. Possibly, God speaking through you too? I think so. Awesome.
    I love music, and words through music speak to me more clearly than anything. A few songs came to my mind reading this– Amy Grant’s “Better than a hallelujah”, Casting Crowns’ “Praise you in this storm”, Mandisa’s “God speaking”. And of course, Mercy Me’s “Bring the rain” like you mentioned- my favorite song ever. I pray that you and your family continue to be lifted up and strengthed during this scary time, so that your story may be one to shine His light. (The name of the song for that thought has left my mind- if I find it, I will share with you!) With love and prayers, Amber

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