The Devil Loves Doubt
The last swallowing test we had for Piper we had been praying and believing for good results, we had people around us praying into this test. It had been over a year since her last one so we had been waiting a long time for this, for answers.
The two weeks leading up to the test, Piper was able to have a few mouthfuls of purée each day to practice and she absolutely LOVED it. Her face lit up each day the food came out, her delighted little face when she told people she did eating. It was such a wonderful feeling feeding her.
Then the test came. We hadn’t fed her all morning and she was so excited to eat. They put a dye into the food which turns it a white colour and it tastes gross. Piper sat in a high chair and I began feeding her. She definitely knew it tasted bad, but because she loved eating so much, she would keep wanting more. I heard the speech pathologist and the radiologist say, “she just aspirated” (went into her lungs), but I chose to ignore it because I was believing for a good report. We repeated these mouthfuls for about 20 minutes, while the therapists are behind a screen watching the live x-ray video of her swallowing.
Finally, we went back to the speech therapist’s office to receive the results. I came prepared for something good, even though in the back of my mind I knew it might be negative.
After a long chat and discussion these were her results:
“Frank silent aspiration after 5 swallows of Level 150 Penetration and aspiration on Level 400 fluids. Runny puree characterized by pharyngeal pooling and multiple clearing swallows. Thin fluid chaser resulted in frank silent aspiration.”
As she was telling us the results, I wanted to break down and cry, but I held in the tears, I was being brave while part of me was dying on the inside. I was in shock. How is it fair to now deny Piper food that she had been loving the last two weeks?
As we went back to the car to drive home Josh and I didn’t really speak. We didn’t have the words to say. Josh usually rings our parents on the way home from appointments to update them with the outcome but this time he couldn’t do it. This time was different. This time it hit home that maybe Piper will never eat.
The following days were really hard. I was disappointed, disappointed that God didn’t answer our prayers, I was doubting that God was on my side. We have prayed a lot of things that haven’t been answered, but this time it felt different. Different because this may be it forever. Different because I can’t see an end.
The devil loves doubt, because once you are there, he feeds off it. He puts thoughts in your mind. He made me question everything about my faith. Every day I would wake up and say “I trust you God”, and then I questioned if I even did.
Who is this God that could allow this suffering in my life, why couldn’t he just heal her?
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil”
– Ephesians 6:11
The following week I caught up with my counsellor. I hadn’t talked out loud to anyone about it. When I spoke it out loud I just broke down. I didn’t know how I was going to move forward because it was so painful. It hurt so much to say the words, “she may never be able to eat”.
Over the next few days, I prayed. I surrendered my circumstance to God and I said, “I accept this God, that Piper may never eat, I don’t know how to get through this but I trust you to walk it through with me, I trust your plan through this, I still ask you heal her God but I surrender it to you and I trust you”.
Something shifted in me, it wasn’t instant, it was a process but I have found much more peace accepting this, while trusting God.
When you are in a place of doubt it’s very easy for the devil to keep you there. It takes courage and faith to stand up and say this isn’t acceptable.
Pray. There is so much power in prayer. An intimate meeting place with God, with all fears, worries and pain surrendered, and with peace that comes from him. I know that God is a good God. I know that God has a plan for my life, for Piper’s life and I know through this storm His glory is shown because we are given the strength to wake up in the morning, and say I trust you God to get me through the day, one day at a time.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
– James 1:2-4
One thing I have learnt, is that often life is full of disappointment, doubt so easily becomes a stronghold in your mind, and the devil loves that because it robs you of the joy and peace that’s yours, and it’s a hard place to be.
It takes practice, and I’m on a journey, but when doubts fill my mind – I rejoice IN HIM, then I’m filled with joy, my circumstances may not be changing right now, I often feel lonely but God’s word speaks louder then any lie the devil tells me and I know storms don’t last forever, and the heavenly prize is far greater then the pain that we suffer now.
“Who stood up for me against the wicked? Who took my side against evil workers? If GOD hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, GOD, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.”
– Psalm 94:16-19 MSG