Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
~ Lewis Carroll from Alice in Wonderland
Sometimes we look at circumstances we’re facing and the odds against us seem daunting, to say the least. We have things weighing on our hearts that threaten to consume us whole if we allow them to. The fears seem so big, and the possibilities seem so small. Yet, it is sometimes the act of choosing to believe the impossible that makes the impossible a reality. Indeed, there is little that is truly impossible, and it is what we give our attention to that determines what becomes elevated from merely an idea to a concrete reality.
I think that so often, we live in a world of “no.” We are told, through many outlets, not to believe the impossible. We are told to lower our expectations, to grasp for that which is easiest to believe and therefore less likely to disappoint us. We are told that life is hard, we should get used to that, and we will feel much better if we just give up hope for making our lives and our world better. It is no doubt easier to settle for the readily believed, although I don’t think ease necessarily equals comfort or happiness. I think many of us long for the impossible because we know that we were meant for more than what we’re being offered. We’re being sold a false bill of goods and told to accept it, lest we soar high on the wings of anticipation, only to fall to bitter disappointment if what we’ve reached for doesn’t become ours.
In terms of the trials faced by so many of us as we go through life, this instruction to set our sights only on what is readily available to us is not only setting us up to settle for less than what life could be, it holds an inherent danger. In choosing to accept only the reality offered to us by those in places of power and authority (media, banks, politicians, religious figures), we are choosing to accept, for example, that a diagnosis of sickness or disease is something we have to accept and we must therefore brace ourselves for the inevitable pain, physically and psychically, that disease will bring. Were we to come to the realization that we are co-creators of our realities, and we have the power to not only believe but to manifest the impossible things, imagine how that would revolutionize the way we approach our health and overall well-being.
I have been through seasons in my life in which I had to either choose to believe the impossible, or accept a dire fate.
When I was pregnant, I lived daily with the threat that my soon-to-be-ex-husband had every intention of taking my child away from me as soon as I gave birth. I had to listen to counselors tell me that even if I did maintain custody of my son, I would have to share him with his father, and there was nothing I could do about that. The law was the law.
It had been my hope that if my son’s father could not make the changes necessary to be a better father to my son than he had been to my son’s half brother, then he would just go away. My counselor laughed when I told her that, saying that it’s a nice idea, but men like that never just go away. They like the control too much. One attorney I called told me that it would be better to terminate the pregnancy (never an option I considered) than to give birth to a child whose life was going to be made hell by his father. Over and over again, I heard and witnessed horror stories about men who didn’t really want their children, but loved the power and control that came with being able to use the children to further abuse the women who gave birth to them.
I was determined that, somehow, this would not be our fate.
I had no money to hire an attorney, and as I didn’t hang around long enough for my husband to follow through on his multiple threats of violence, I didn’t qualify for legal aid. I had to handle the divorce myself. I decided to do away with diplomacy and call my husband’s bluff. When I filed, I said I wanted sole custody of my son. That’s all I asked for. I sent the papers, and waited.
Waiting is not something I do well, especially when there are a multitude of unknowns. I knew my husband had received the papers because he had to sign for them, but beyond that, I had no idea what to expect. All I had to go on were the many threats he had made about taking my child away from me. I wasn’t going to let that happen. But what to do?
During this time in my life, I was learning about the practice of meditation as well as visualization. I quickly grew tired of the fruitless worries regarding what my husband might do, and I began to practice these new skills every day. Every day, throughout my entire pregnancy, I would spend time in quiet meditation on the words “peace” and “protection.” I also spent a lot of time visualizing a life of safety for Jaden and me, one in which my husband, should he remain unchanged, was not part of our lives in any way. I refused to accept that I would be another woman abused through the court system, or that my son would be another child being forced to spend time with a parent who couldn’t have cared less about him or his well being, and would only use their time together to hurt him and degrade me.
I knew I was more savvy than my husband when it came to the legal wranglings, but the law was the law. According to Michigan law, children are property, and property is divided as close to 50/50 as possible. Every reminder of this fact sent chills down my spine, but I made the choice each and every time to believe that there was a higher power at work and this higher power would orchestrate events that would keep my son safe. It was a tall order. Impossible, many people said.
When Jaden’s due date drew near and I had my ”prepared stay” appointment with the hospital, we discussed where my room would be. I explained that my son’s father may show up, that there was an order of personal protection in place, and he was to have no access to me whatsoever. I asked what safeguards were in place to protect my son from being taken, and was comforted…and a bit saddened…that all babies born at this hospital were given bracelets and anklets which would sound an alarm if they were removed or if the baby was taken from the maternity ward. My room was going to be near the nurse’s station so they could keep an eye on who was visiting. I had to give them pictures of my husband so they would know who to look out for. All in all, it was a profoundly sad experience, and not one any woman should ever have to go through. Welcoming a child into the world should be cause for celebratory anticipation, not tension and security considerations. These things were necessary, though, to assure our safety.
In the months since I’d filed for divorce, my husband had not contested the divorce nor the terms I’d laid out. If he didn’t contest it, I would, by default, be granted the divorce and the terms therein.
In this time, I also had a dream that brought me tremendous comfort, and one that told me everything I needed to know. In my dream, I had been driving toward Traverse City. He had been driving on the same highway, in the opposite direction, heading toward his old stomping grounds. As our cars passed each other, I intuitively knew he was leaving and never coming back. I knew I would never see him again. I told my counselor about this dream, and was again greeted with a, “That’s nice, but it’ll never happen,” response.
As it turned out, that is precisely what happened. He disappeared from the area, never to return. When our court date came, his final opportunity to state his case and make a bid for the custody he claimed he so badly wanted to take from me, he was nowhere to be found. The Friend of the Court had recommended that I be granted the sole custody I asked for, as well as the condition that if my husband wanted parenting time at any point, he would have to petition the court for it and he would have to have any granted parenting time supervised. The court agreed with the recommendation. I walked out with sole custody, and terms in place to protect my son even if my ex did decide to return to the picture.
It is rare for anyone to be given sole custody in the state of Michigan. Not to be confused with primary custody, sole custody means one parent holds both physical and legal custody of the child, and doesn’t have to share. The other parent has no parenting time, no ability to make legal decisions for the child, and, essentially, no entitlement to the child. In a state where 50/50 custody splits are king…and are often messy and painful…to be granted sole custody was accomplishing the impossible.
I didn’t have to do anything to make it happen other than believe it was possible, indeed, believe it was already a fact, and take steps in that measure. That is not to say I never had doubts, never felt afraid, or would never again feel afraid that my ex-husband would return to the picture and rain fresh hell down on us. However, the reality I chose in those moments was to believe that the impossible had already been accomplished, and that is where my comfort dwelled. I didn’t need to allow my fears to get the better of me, because the fear had no basis in the reality I had helped create and would continue creating.
I remember when my divorce was finalized and I got a chance to tell my counselor what the court’s decision was. To say she was surprised is an understatement. I remember her smiling, shaking her head, and saying, “Wow. You did it!”
I believe our words are powerful, What we choose to speak into our lives matters. When we speak defeat, we invite defeat. When we speak of illness as though it has the final word in our lives, it will have the final word. When we speak of scarcity and want, we experience scarcity and want.
In Romans, Paul talks about God speaking of things that are not as though they were. In Hebrews, we read of faith being the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven being here, now, not some distant reality that we can only hope to embrace only after we’ve died and gone to…wherever or whatever heaven is. We are told in scripture to choose life that we might live, that life and death are in the power of the tongue, and we have the ability to see what is not yet there if we choose to see with the eyes of faith.
We reap what we sow, and our words and that which we choose to focus our attention on are a means of sowing the reality we will reap. As with any seeds sown, our realities take time to mature and come to fruition. We may feel frustrated when we choose to believe what seems impossible, and are yet confronted every day with the easily attainable yet undesired ”realities” in our lives. We may still feel sick. Someone we love may still be going through their own illness. We may still struggle financially, despite our mindfulness toward prosperity. Yet, life and death are in the power of the tongue. We can speak life to that which we desire, that which aligns with the good and perfect gifts God has for us, and in doing so, speak death to the cheap imitations or outright thievery of all that is good proffered by the enemy of peace.
This is not new age mumbo jumbo. This is a reality spoken of over and over again in not only the Christian Bible, but in many sacred texts. There is power in our words and our intentions. We have the ability to make and fulfill impossible wishes.
When I feel fearful, when something is weighing heavily on my heart and I think I am powerless to alter it, I remember what I went through during my pregnancy. I remember that at no time did I let the “no” have the final word. “No, you will not have sole custody. No, you will not be able to handle being a single mother. No, you and your son will not be able to carve out a life for yourselves that is comfortable, because all that’s ahead for single moms is struggling and more struggling. No…no…no…”
I remember that, against all odds, I was able to get an apartment for us that suited every need we had, and I was able to afford it on far less money than we have now. I remember that, despite my fears, I chose to operate in a place of victory rather than defeat concerning my son’s father. I remember that I was in a David and Goliath scenario, and I conquered the giant. I remember that the impossible became not only possible, but a concrete reality.
There are things weighing on my mind and my heart today, and these are things that are utterly beyond my immediate control. I want to fix it. I want to make it all better. Yet, it is not within my grasp to do so. The options that are right within my grasp are not desirable or pleasant either, though. I choose to believe for impossible things, and in doing so, usher them into reality. I speak life and health over those my heart loves who are struggling with sickness. I speak prosperity and abundance to those who are in need. I speak strength to the weak, compassion and healing for the hurting, companionship for the lonely, and I call forth every blessing God has for each of us, seeing it as a reality in the unseen realm which will manifest in the physical realm. Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and I choose to speak life.
We prosper as our souls prosper. Nourishing the soul with all that is good, excellent, and praiseworthy leads to prosperity in other facets of life. As we seek first the kingdom of God, making things on earth as they are heaven, what we define as prosperity may change. Yet, we can trust that all that is good and all that is blessed is added to our lives when we make the prosperity of the soul our most sought treasure.
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” -3 John 2.
When we choose to embrace the impossible and believe it, when we choose to take God at God’s word and believe that the kingdom of heaven in all its perfection exists here and now, when we choose to believe that we are vessels through which the unseen taken on faith becomes the seen experienced in reality, we are conduits for the extraordinary, every day.
We are the facilitators of miracles.