My gaze focused on the tall bare branched tree, old and ash colored amongst the others still holding green.
It reminded me of hope and holding on, of being planted in just the place that the morning sun illuminates it. We walked together in rain jackets, pockets crammed with acorns and fallen leaves, feet bare because of spontaneity.
The rain sounds led to a prayer stance she copied. I smiled.
Peace. Sweet peace.
On the way to church on Sunday, a memory came. No reason, not a song or a scene that stirred up the scary long ago vivid memory.
Of a time marked by alone in a sort of wilderness, marked by events that changed the imprint of my brain. Changed and erased my sense of safety on most days.
I’m afraid altered workings of my brain forever.
Today, that fear of forever seems accurate. Powerful nightmares for no apparent reason woke me at 6:00 and then finished their working as I drifted in and out of their fearful overtaking until 8:00.
I journaled them, looking for the seeds that started the nighttime stories, the coal that fueled the frightening furnace.
I made sense of it in a way and then asked God if nightmares would always be my battle, if I’d ever be able to be effortlessly hopeful and free.
Matthew and Mark recorded two versions of the boy brought to the disciples and Jesus by his desperate father. I imagine the father was wondering if his son would ever be well, if he’d be overtaken by muteness and seizures forever.
Jesus answers questions firmly and with a tone of importance and perhaps, impatience with them all.
He tells the disciples your faith must be increased and he tells the father you must rid yourself of unbelief.
“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
Matthew 17:20 KJV
“Jesus said to him, “What do you mean ‘if’? If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.”
Mark 9:23 TPT
Then he tells them, you must have faith and most of all your prayer must be a committed, confident and consistent kind of prayer.
“And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
Mark 9:28-29 ESV
I gathered my journal and pens, other books and put them away for today. I sat with my coffee and my kitten.
Quietly, not at all condemning, the answer to whether my past trauma would always lead to debilitating nightmares and have power over me in my sleep came.
Yes, if you will hold fast to the faith seed I gave you, nurture it with prayer and commitment and allow the growth, you will be better, less held in the horror of past trauma.
If you will decide to believe. If you will have faith in your healing equal to the measure of me, your powerful Heavenly Father.
You will continue to be better.
The passage in Mark 9 has held my interest for a couple of months. I see the father, I see the disciples who’d just returned from the Mt. of Transfiguration with Jesus.
They’d been witness to God saying this is my Son.
“And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.”
Mark 9:7-8 ESV
Still, their faith was small, Jesus told them as they asked why they weren’t able to heal the boy.
“He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20 ESV
I find comfort in knowing belief wasn’t easy for them, having faith that made no sense must have also been a challenge.
I like the tone Jesus had with them…sort of you asked and I’m telling you. You need more faith, you need less unbelief, doubt and dread and more abandoned belief in me.
I sit now with the answer to the question I asked an hour ago, a note to God as a prayer.
Yes, you are well and you will be even more well as you ask for my help. Ask me to help your unbelief.
Is there something you’re sure you’ll never be fully free from? This side of heaven may always include our hardships, horrors and disabilities.
Ask God to bring you relief and to increase your faith, decrease your unbelief.
Perfection is not necessary in this pursuit. Recognition of its power and of your need are more important.
Turn your face towards heaven.
We were not made to carry burdens alone. Talk to God and a friend or counselor. Find someone who will believe alongside you.
Continue and believe.