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.