Where Faith Gets Awfully Messy

Last night I had a really hard time sleeping. The screeching in my ear reached an all time high and not even medication could keep me asleep. My throat tightened as the frustration of the past 3 weeks threatened to spill out in a million tears. I could feel myself slipping over a terrifying edge.

That edge where hopelessness pulls right in the moment where you feel too weak to resist.

I whispered, “I’m slipping God. I can’t stand this for another minute. Much less 5 more minutes. Or 5 more hours. Seriously God. I can’t. I’m trying to be brave. I’m trying to deal with it. I’ve claimed your healing. I’ve begged for your healing. And I truly believe you are healing me. But in this minute, I’m freaking out. And I’m so sorry if “freaking” is a bad word-I’m still on the fence about that one. But, really God, I feel myself falling and I can’t figure out what to grab onto.”

Gosh this is where faith gets awfully messy, isn’t it?


Most days, I am like the little kid on the swing going higher and higher, touching the clouds without a single pang of fear. I know the swing will hold me. I know the chains are secure. So bold. So assured. So confident.

Last night, I was terrified of the swing. The chains felt more like unraveling threads with a screaming me dangling at the end. My faith felt small.

But my faith is what was right in front me. And when one falls, out of instinct they grab onto whatever is right in front of them.

And I guess I just want you to know today that even small faith is completely able to hold you.

Because it held me last night. Through the minutes and hours I didn’t think I could press on.

I started recounting all the ways God has made sure my faith was right there in front for this inevitable slip.

I thought about the ways that I’ve seen the hand of God in the past couple of days.

Recounting His faithfulness secures the chains. Shows me I’m not dangling by a thread out on my own.

One of those ways was the discovery that my husband’s sound machine is a gift. That darn sound machine has aggravated the stink out of me for years. But, I discovered that when put on the rain setting, it helps soothe the screeching in my ear.

Without ever having told my Pastor this, he sent me a text saying he was praying for me and God had put on his heart these verses: 1 Kings 18: 41-46.

And what are those verses about?

Rain. The sound of a heavy rain.

A rain that happens in between two vastly different displays of faith in Elijah’s life. One minute he’s swinging with great faith so bold and secure he calls fire down from heaven.

And then only a few verses later we see him dangling by a thread as he runs and hides in a cave.

The Lord soon comes to Elijah in a gentle whisper and shows him what to do at the end of that thread. “Go back the way you came,” (1 Kings 19:15).

God was saying, “Backtrack and remember all the places where I’ve been so faithful before in your life. And know. Know with assurance. And boldness. And confidence. I AM. I AM the same faithful God.”

So, these words slip into my soul. I turn up the sound of rain. I grab onto my faith right in front of me. And discover, I am held.


  1. Jenn says

    I continue to pray for your healing, Lysa. There are so many precious promises in God’s Word- no wonder we are told to hide it in our hearts. When we are grasping and falling, they are brought to mind and our faith is strengthened. On that I like is Psalm 94:18- “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping!’ Your love, Lord, supported me.”

    • Cheryl says

      Thank you Jen, I forwarded your scripture verse to my daughter who is currently going through a rough time. Lysa, I continue to lift you up in prayer. May it bring comfort to know that through your struggle, you continue to minister to us and our families.

  2. says

    Lysa, Praying for you, knowing God hears all our prayers. Will he answer them? All we know for sure is that He is always for our ultimate good. Was raising a knife to his firstborn good? No. But, good came out of it. I’m praying God holds you close. There are so many things that don’t make sense to us, pain is a hard one. I recently heard a tape where Larry Crabb said “initial pain turns us toward God, but continual pain reveals things in us.” Only God can help you in this and I pray for his unending strength to start each difficult day. Praying for you, Lysa. Praying.

  3. Michelle says

    Oh what I would do to have
    The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
    With just a Sling and a stone
    Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
    Shaking in their armor
    Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

    But the giant’s calling out my name and he laughs at me
    Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
    The giant keeps on telling me
    Time and time again “boy, you’ll never win!
    “You’ll never win”

    But the stone was just the right size
    To put the giant on the ground
    And the waves they don’t seem so high
    From on top of them looking down
    I will soar with the wings of eagles
    When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
    Singing over me

    I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

    GOD HAS THIS LYSA STAND FIRM….. in the midst of this something Big is going to happen…

  4. Laurie says

    Have you considered checking in with a homopathic doctor? Have a lady in my Made to Crave class that said she took magnisium and her ringiing stopped. There are several forms of magnesium, so checking in with a homopathic would be good. The good thing is magnesium won’t hurt you and it helps with chocolate cravings!!

  5. Christine Marie says

    Oh dear Lysa, so many times I have read your blog and tears run dowm my cheeks because you have showed me something and lead me back to God. In the past three years you/your blog/your books, have been a rock for me. During this time I have struggled with my friendships with women but I have always felt at home with Proverbs 31 and with your blog. When you came and spoke at my church I tried to gather up the courage to introduce myself to you but regretfully I “chickened out”. Now you are struggling and my heart is breaking for you. What can I possibly say to you to make you feel better? The only thing I can think is to try to encourage you the way that you have encoraged me over the years. On Easter Sunday my 21 year old daughter was in a major car accident on I-77. She was on her way to our home to have breakfast with us and go to church. Right about 9 am we got that phone call. The one every parent dreads. It was a State Trouper and all he told us was we needed to get to the Hospital. There are so many details to this story but the most important thing I want you to know is that God’s hand was and is on my daughter’s life. She was not wearing her seat belt, the police and the doctor’s at the hospital kept saying to her and to us “do you know how fortunate you are?”. We do know because we serve a mighty God. We don’t always understand why things happen but I do know that God has a plan for her. It’s hard for our human minds to comprehend the level of God’s plan. I know that I have forced myself to become a “big picture” person. I am praying that your suffering will end and I am drawing a circle around your healing. In Jesus name, AMEN. Love, Christine

  6. says

    Hi Lysa,
    God keeps pulling me to the Proverbs Ministries 31 website, maybe trying to help you is why. I am a holistic Chriopractor. When my health started to decline, I started to get into Nutrition. I have now went all the way and am an Advanced Nutrtion Response Testing Physician. (There is more to the story…God having me speak about Bibical Health in churches.. but for another time. I realy want to come to the conference…) I would highly recommend to go to a Nutrtion Response Testing doctor. It sounds to me that the one part of the medical field is not being able to help you? I would imagine the ringing in your ears is causing stress at home and work. If you need a change or an answer look up Nutrition Response testing and find a physician by you. Its extraordinary and has kept me from being a diabetic. If you have any questions call 641-357-4499 or email me at drkathleev@neitins.net. I would be happy to help you find a referral in your area. The clinic does it everyday because my patients start to want their family that live away from home to start. I will pray for you no matter what you choose to do and will always be there anytime if you have qsts. Kathleen Voortmann

  7. Sherri says

    Lysa….I can not even tell you what you have meant to me…I started out reading “more that a good bible study girl” and now am on “what happens when women say yes to god” you have changed the way I see things, the way I speak WAY to often and thus have absolutey changed my life…YOU will be prayed for by our Bible Study group in Oak Harbor, Wa… praying for healing, and HIS widsom for you, HIS peace for you….HE is our GREAT provider!!!! Feel our prayers and thankfulness for how God has used you, LYSA in such huge ways to minister to woman!!!!

  8. Paula says

    Hi Lysa,

    I might have one of a few possible explanations for your ear problem. It involves the envioronment. PLEASE email me. I’d rather not post why on this site.
    You were heavy on my mind yesterday – I continue to pray for your healing. But the information I have might be helpful to you.


  9. Garland Hays says

    Lysa, praying for you! I’m sure you have the best doctors, but just felt the need to tell you, here in Memphis, there is one of the worlds leading ear doctors, Dr. Shea. He has a big practice called the Shea Ear Clinic I think it is. Thought you might want to know. Hoping and praying for you and your healing dear precious sister in God!

  10. Sheila Bair says

    “aggravated the stink out of me”… I know you’re working on a new book (maybe it’s done)… but this phrase made me think of your book… and me. We were camping recently and were aware that a skunk was right outside of our trailer rummaging through the trash can he had just knocked over. We didn’t want to breathe (make a sound) for fear that we’d scare it, and then we wouldn’t be ABLE to breathe. Your phrase connected some dots for me. When life (typically something my dear husband does) “aggravates the stink out of me”, I know he wants to avoid me like a skunk rummaging through spilled trash. Lots to think about! Praying for YOUR miracle!

  11. says

    I am so sorry you’re going through this. I feel your pain. I’ve had tinnitus for about ten years now. Ugh. One of the biggest helps I have found so far, is to sleep with a fan going. I have asthma and purchased an air purifier that goes right by the bed, and the humming sound really helps drown out the ringing. I’ve tried ‘sound machine’ sounds, but to me they just aren’t enough. I will be praying as you navigate this. I know it’s hard. : (

  12. Dawn says

    Bless your heart!! Even in the midst of this trauma you are going through you are a blessing- At the Women of Joy conference you spoke at in Sevierville, TN- the next day Sherry Rose Shepherd spoke about when she lost weight and her parents entered in a beauty pageant- She tripped over the lights fell off the stage- her dressed ripped and she hobbled over to the microphone and said I am Sherry Rose Shepherd from such and such place – I just wanted to make an impression. All the judges unanimously changed their votes to her because how she responded to adversity and she won the pageant. You are responding well my friend- I know this is difficult, but through this your faith will become stronger even when at times it waivers. I am praying for you and I have my church praying for you. Love you dear sister in Christ.

  13. Nola says

    I feel for you Lysa. Losing your hearing is so depressing. I have hearing loss also along with ringing in my left ear. Your situation definitely seems worse than mine. I have come to acceptance similar to needing glasses to see. I have had my hearing aids for about a month now and am getting used to them. I have no problems with the ringing now. So I pray that you are looking into getting hear aids. They have ones specifically designed to address the ringing. Some word of warning though, you need to shop around a bit. Some places have much higher prices than others and some brands are higher than other. I would get a couple of estimates from multiple practices. I was able to save quite a bit that way. Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t seem to cover much of the cost. Hang in there and God Bless!

    • Linda Gerber says

      Nola, I have heard of the hearing aids that are designed for tinnitus. Do they really work? The cost I was quoted was $2000 each ear. I am unemployed right now and don’t have that kind of money. I don’t know where to check prices that might be cheaper. I was wondering if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

      • Linda says

        Check to see if your state has a divivion of vocational rehab or a divison of the deaf. They often pay for hearing aides if you are unemployed. Also, you can check with a local audiologist to see if there are other organizations in your area that would help cover the cost. Do NOT shop around. As an experinced hearing aid wearer, trust me, you don’t want a cheap pair of hearing aides.

  14. Alison says

    Hello Lysa,

    Can you believe that what you wrote about Elijah, “go back the way you came”, completely answered my prayer to God about following his direction on something. Even in the midst of your pain and suffering, God is using you to bless other people.

    I know you know God works all things for good and that he is holding you right now. But I am going to pray for you – just like all the others – and we know our prayers are answered and special to God.

    God bless you, Lysa,

  15. Linda Gerber says

    A friend sent me your blog today as she knows I also suffer from tinnitus. And, I mean suffer. What surprised me so much was what a bad day you had yesterday. I also had one of the worst days I have had in the 14 months since this started. I, too, cry in the middle of the night and have a hard time sleeping. I am supposed to be on the team for a women’s retreat in two weeks and am struggling with the decision as to whether or not to go. I hate to have the devil win, but, I also don’t want to take the chance that I won’t be well and be able to do my part.
    I lost my job last June and have not been able to find other employment. I have to admit I have not looked as hard as I should as I can’t imagine starting a new job with screaming noise in my head. And, I look to God and wonder why. Yes, faith is hard.
    When I pray for myself, I will also pray for you. No matter what the doctor report is, I am believing for total healing!

  16. Angela says

    Lysa, it breaks my heart to hear of the trial you are in right now. Know so many are praying for your recovery and peace. You have been such an inspiration to so many, I hope you feel those prayers. God bless.

  17. Cheryl Messier says

    Lysa- I feel like I know you through your book and your e-mail newsletter. I am a speech path and your hearing loss and tinnitus hit close to my heart. I will continue to pray for you. Let those of us who are praying lift you up just now as the parylyzed man allowed his friends to carry him to the roof and then let him down right in front of our Lord. I am begging God for healing right along with you!

  18. Holly says

    I’m praying for you all the time, Lysa. Stay strong in faith.


  19. Marcia says

    You know, Lysa, the condiiton you are dealing with right now reminds me a lot of the “transitional phase” of labor – when the pain is the most intense and our bodies are under the most stress is when we are getting so much closer to delivery. Precious woman of God, our prayers (my husband’s and mine) continue for God to “deliver” you from this condition. If for no other reason, you certainly should be greatly assured of all the love, concern and prayers that are surrounding you, your husband and family right now. Praying as I write, Marcia

  20. Linda says

    Hi Lysa
    I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. This has been on my heart, a nagging that won’t quit, so I feel God is leading me to write to you. I have a hearing loss and my audiologist also specializes in treating tinnitus. Many of her patients do not have a hearing loss, but suffer from the “screeching” that you are experiencing. There are many options out there and she said that you DON’T have to live with this. Pray about seeking out an audiologist in your area that may be able to help you. Sometimes God heals us in ways we least expect it.

  21. Sharon says

    Lysa, I noticed that your husbands sound machine helped you. I have found that during the day, I can get relief from the noise; when I use my iPod to listen to my praise music. Albeit, when I stop listening, the loud noise in my ear returns, but during my praise time, I have a reprieve. Also, at night, if I lie on my side, with my “good” ear facing toward the ceiling fan, and focus on the sound of the ceiling fan; I fall asleep much quicker. I hope that you are healed soon, and please keep me in your prayers, as I believe that God is going to heal me fully, in His time.

  22. Jennifer rizzo says

    I found you by accident and I am glad you did. I’ve had tinnitus for years from a horrible virus and the only way I can sleep at night is with a white noise machine. Certain ones drown out or cancel out the ringing. Ive also found that by staying on fish oil and b vitamins with my multiple it also helps. Hopefully as your body heals, the tinnitus will calm down, mine has improved even though it was slow. I found no relief from Valium or Xanax or anything else they gave me, I found the natrual remedies helped the best. God bless you and I will pray for you.

  23. Dori says

    Dear Lysa,
    I’m happy to hear you’ve had some relief recently with your ears! Ever since reading about your situation, I’ve known I needed to send this link to you. My husband and I have recently began watching these DVDs by Joseph Prince on “Health & Wholeness Through The Holy Communion” – it brings a beautiful perspective of our healing that Jesus provided for us. I hope you and your husband to watch them together and continue to see God move daily in your life…

  24. says

    As always , the Lord speaks to my heart in mighty ways…. He has been speaking the same thing to me and this was a wondrous confirmation… Lysa, I am so sorry you are going thru this and I continue praying. I am believing our Abba father will be faithful!
    Love you….

  25. Andrea says

    I’m not a regular reader of your blog, but God lead me to look you up this morning. Funny thing is, just as I was reading the part about the heavy rain, the rain came pouring down outside. We are having one of those gentle thunderstorms in WI right now. I guess God is trying to reinforce your message to me, to hang on to my faith. Admit and pray to God that I am hanging on by a very thin thread. But I can believe him when he says He will get me through. I just need to open my eyes and see all the positive ways he has and is helping me get through the tough times. I pray that you continue to find relief and healing.

  26. Jennell Houts says

    Praying for you, Lysa. SO sorry that you’re going through this.
    And in case you haven’t heard this — ringing in the ear (tinnitus) can be related to a thyroid disorder (which I too have, though not the ringing in the ears). I don’t know if you’ve ever had a FULL thyroid panel done (TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Total T3, Total T4, thyroid antibodies), but it may be worth doing. Request that your doctor do ALL of the tests I listed to get a FULL picture of what your thyroid is doing. I believe in God’s healing and have experienced it in my own body many times, but the underlying cause of your condition may be coming from someplace you haven’t considered.
    Blessings, friend.

  27. Kathy says

    My heart goes out to you. I pray that you will find healing and peace. You are always so positive and encouraging to others.
    I also wanted to share with you that your message had another meaning for me. Last week my daughter’s fiance, age 25, had a massive heart attack and died suddenly at work. They were planning to be married in September. These things are never easy to handle but the added stress of cancelling plans for a wedding and knowing the all the promise of “happily every after” were meant to be has been gut-wrenching. You wrote “One minute he’s swinging with great faith so bold and secure he calls fire down from heaven. And then only a few verses later we see him dangling by a thread as he runs and hides in a cave.” That explains how my daughter feels right now. Please keep her in your prayers. I know that God has a plan and we do not always have the satisfaction of knowing why things happen.

  28. says

    Lysa, all I can say is thank you for your faithfulness. I feel like I know you and could tell you anything. Please pray for me. I just got out of hospital with a bowl blockage and I hate to say but the hospital did resolve my intestinal problem but for some reason one of the doctors took me off all my insulin I had been taking for several years. My sugar went through the roof and he would do nothing at all. I am having trouble getting it stabilized again but I know God is faithful and will give me wisdom of what to do.
    I am also praying for your healing. I am so glad God brought you into my life through this computer. I pray one day to meet you in person here on earth or in heaven. Your are such a blessing.
    Your friend in Jesus,

  29. Shiney says

    im really touched ..God bless you dearly..
    in awe of Him for His faithfulness..
    He is a real God..
    and He loves you so dearly..
    bless you..for your faithfulness still

  30. Izabela says

    Dear sweet sister…
    I cannot imagine what possibly I could add to all those heartfelt comments….only that I am praying for you dear Lysa. You are so precious to us folks online, who may not have ever met you. Yet you have encouraged me as well as so many others….always through the reality of the struggles you have faced and your openness about the realities of living out your faith. This time is so precious to the Lord…when our faith is tested and refined. Thank you for reminding me of this. I will be praying for your healing, that the Lord would put his healing hand on you and give you peace….May the Lord keep you and bless you…He never sleeps and watches over you.

  31. says

    Dear Lisa,

    Last year I had oral surgery and some of my facial nerves were damaged. Much of the time, I couldn’t feel myself swallow and couldn’t taste much. This left me with the sensation of suffocating. Many nights I paced my kitchen floor, crying, praying . . . trying so hard to cope with the anxiety. On one occasion the anxiety had reached an all-time high. It was two in the morning and I as I sat on my kitchen floor crying, I looked up and noticed the chalk board that read: Taste and see that the Lord is good. I knew then that I would be alright. It’s taken every bit of a year for the nerves to regenerate. I still have “weird” days, but I’m grateful that they are few and far between. I continue to pray for healing and regeneration for the nerves that were damaged in your ear. I look forward to seeing you at She Speaks this year. You have faithfully been about our Father’s business. With joyful confidence, I know He will faithfully be about yours.

    May the saving strength of His right hand guide you through this journey.

    Wendy Saxton
    Keller, TX

  32. says

    Hello Lysa,

    My name is Robyn Endres. I’ve been reading your blog and hearing you talk about the ringing in your ears. I have a very unique approach to healing and was wondering if the doctors have diagnosed you with tinitis. If so I may be able to help. The equipment I use is called an Advanced Electro Reflex Energizer (ERE). Basically in a nutshell it is an instrument that helps reconnect broken or damaged electrical circuits within the body by stimulating it with the correct wave form, current, and frequency. I have been reading a little bit about your condition and I think I may be able to help. Testimonies have indicated that using the ERE helps eradicate the ringing in peoples ears, which is known as tinitis. The ringing can be caused by scar tissue and the vibration in the ear drum or different things. A lot of times when people have this condition, it can be caused by parasites. It is very possible my ERE may be able to relieve the ringing or possibly eliminate it. I have thought about you several times since reading about your condition. For more information on this instrument you can go to my website at HealthyEssence.net. Feel free to contact me at any time.

    Robyn L. Endres

  33. Martha T. says

    I want you to know that I am continuing to pray for you !
    I read something in a magazine(Good Housekeeping, May 2012) that may be of interest to you. This is what I saw;”Taking Ginkgold(120 mg of a standarized extract of ginko biloba)once or twice per day for 6 weeks can significantly relieve constant ringing in the ears, a German review has found.” I looked at both the Mayo Clinic website and the National Institute of Health website and found that this herb has been used for this condition,but that’s all they said. They said not to take it if when on any kind of blood thinner. I think that it might be worth considering,but you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure it would not interfere/adversely react with any medicines that you are already taking!

  34. Martha T. says

    I want to clarify my earlier comments. The NIH and Mayo websites do indicate that ginko is used for ringing in ears, but they also said that studies are inconclusive and don’t indicate either that it doesn’t work at all or is the cure for it.

  35. says

    Hey there, I’m sure you’ll know what my heart truly means….. This blog post has been encouraging to me. And I’m sorry that I find encouragement through what seems to be so difficult in your life right now – But I just KNOW, you KNOW what I mean. Lysa, I’ve stopped by from time to time (not nearly commented as much as I know I could have), I’ve read a book of yours and I’ve heard you speak – Can I just tell you something? Your heart has always been an encouragement. Your heart for Jesus and for the women that you so desire to touch with His truths!! I’m grateful for you today. The You that has obeyed God countless times (even when its been difficult), the Jesus IN you that has enocouraged the hearts of women. You my dear friend are TRULY influencing our World, One Heart at A Time!!
    HUGE (((HUG))