This exciting story can take much of the credit for putting me on the journey I’ve been on with God for the past decade or so. Some of you may know my lovely mom, but few know how much suffering she actually went through battling a so-called “unknown disease” labeled chronic fatigue – and fewer still know what actually happened to bring her back in 2007. For those of you who have been on board with the healing ministry for awhile, the way this healing came about might mess with you a bit, but perhaps we should grapple with stories like this. Let me be clear, I’m not trying to teach new healing theology – but I do want to tell this as it actually happened. And to do that, I am honored to present to you my mom’s story, in her own words. Thanks mum for letting me share!
I asked the Lord for help, and He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
I was once a woman full of fear, so heavily weighed down by fears that I was near death. But the Lord Jesus looked at me, called me “Daughter,” and set me free–and continues to set me free. I want to give God all the glory for His amazing work in my life, and share my story in the hope that it will encourage you and let you know there is always hope in Jesus.
At the age of eleven I accepted Jesus as my Saviour, but I did not know the power of His life and His words. I grew up longing to know that I was loved, but I did not know that that was what lay buried under my drive to perform in order to receive the attention that would assure me of being accepted. I did Christian things, very sincerely, but the foundation of my life was weak; it was built mainly on what I could do for God (or so I thought) using my own human strength.
At age forty-seven the house of my life, built on sand, began to collapse. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer; my thyroid was removed; and I was given radioactive iodine capsules to swallow in hopes of killing stray cancer cells. The radiation was very hard on my body, and I began a descent into extreme fatigue and exhaustion that was eventually labelled chronic fatigue syndrome and lasted for the next ten years. During that time my children grew from elementary school kids to nearly completing high school. My heart broke a thousand times over my inability to be there for them and care for them as a normal mother would.
At my worst I could do nothing at all, not even read, which is one of the great joys of my life. I remember how wonderful it felt at one point to have just enough strength to lie perfectly flat and motionless on my bed and read a book lying on the floor near my head. I could manage this for maybe 2 hours a day. The merest effort, including trying to be present to visitors, could tip me into nausea and the soaking sweat of exhaustion. But there were times when I gained a little strength and I could attempt more. A huge challenge was meals for my family. Often I would have to lie down on the floor of our kitchen between steps of a simple meal. Many times I struggled to make a meal on my knees because I was too weak to stand. To make the simplest meal was a huge triumph for me, even if I was too exhausted to sit at the table and eat with my family afterwards!
The church we had been attending was kind and they cared, but they did not know how to help me. The medical system too was kind, and tried to help me, but they also did not have answers. We turned to alternative health options and spent thousands of dollars we could hardly spare, but there was no significant help here either; in fact, I often got worse. At times, after long periods of almost complete rest, I would be better, but my threshold for over-doing and causing a relapse was so low that even a cold could send me to bed for months.
Along the way, however, my husband and I encountered people who believed and experienced that Jesus heals today! We were excited. Our whole family began pursuing the words of Jesus with regard to healing. We searched for a church that would help us grow in this and found one that taught us much and blessed us greatly. I was prayed for many times–yet still I struggled with debilitating fatigue, although overall I was functioning better. But a decisive crisis was still ahead. Ten years after this battle began, I crashed into perhaps the worst relapse of my life. Too exhausted even to eat, and utterly worn-down by the struggle, I felt that death was near. One morning my husband came to me in my bed and said, “There is a Be In Health conference in two days in Calgary. We have to go.” I told him I could not; I felt the effort would finish my life. He insisted vigorously. I felt a deep anguish; what was I to do? I called my sister; praise the Lord that she was home and answered her phone, for this was my last chance. She said to me, in effect: You must go. There is nothing to fear; you will only experience the goodness of God.
I have thought of and repeated the words, “No fear; only goodness,” hundreds and hundreds of times since then. I did not know it then, but my sister was describing a part of the character of God to me in exactly the words I needed to hear at that time. My husband and I went to the conference, with me lying on the backseat of the car for the seven-hour drive. I attended sessions lying flat on a collapsible lounge chair. What I heard was transformative: that God does indeed heal; God longs to heal, but sometimes there is a spiritual root to illness that must be dealt with before healing can flow. The root of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I learned, was fear and anxiety producing drivenness to meet the expectation of someone in order to “measure up” and receive love. Simply put, I needed to repent of basing my life on fear, the weapon of satan, and receive by faith all that God was waiting to give me. My spiritual eyes were opened and I began the switch from a fear-based life to a faith-based one. There was so much for me to un-learn, and learn anew, but the effect in my body was immediate and amazing. By the end of the weekend, I was much stronger physically; and I knew that the miracle of grace and restoration in my body, mind, and spirit that I desperately desired for so long had truly begun and would endure. The whole foundation of my life had shifted.
One amazing memory of that weekend was taking back the foods that had been stolen. You see, during the years of my exhaustion I had progressively stopped eating more and more kinds of foods because doctors would say they were bad for me. Meals were drudgery, because I had been conditioned to look at them with fear. Then one of the speakers at the conference said that God made ALL foods and that we were invited by Him to freely enjoy them all – including milk and honey, or sugar, which were often the first two ingredients CFS sufferers are told to give up. So, after eating almost no sugar for years, my husband took me to Dairy Queen and I had a hot fudge sundae! It was so good, and I enjoyed every bite, and I did not get sick.
On the way home, I sat in the front seat with my husband! I had not done this for years. What a thrill to be strong enough to sit for hours–and not have to lie down.
So much has changed since then. I am strong and healthy, and I praise God for His goodness to me. Today one of my most thrilling things to do is to STAND with my arms RAISED UP to my glorious Redeemer and SING praise to Him for the miracles in my life. Do you realize what an extraordinary thing it is to have the strength to stand while raising your arms while singing? For years I could not do any of those–now I do all three at once! I give God all the praise and glory, and my deep desire is that you too would know the love and power of our Lord Jesus to meet and heal your deepest losses, wounds, shame and sickness. In God there is no fear, only goodness. Be blessed and whole in Him!
Live it real.