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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Caught Between Divine Healing and a Lie

I debated whether or not to share this all over the web.  But, I really feel this is something that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.  This is a rather lengthy post, so please bear with me and ignore any glaring grammatical errors.

Let me start here by giving you some background - I have a spiritual pedigree about two miles long. Born into a family of pastors, church planters, evangelists, Christian musicians, and missionaries that date back to the early foundations of the state of Mississippi and raised in the Bible-belt, I seemed to have a lot of pressure on my life to be "all that and a bag of chips" when it comes to spiritual things.  So for me to share something that was such a personal struggle and hidden from everyone is very difficult for me.  I'm hoping it will encourage others to keep pressing on.

You know that moment when a truth is revealed and you don't know whether to cry, shout, scream or faint?  Yeah....I had that moment on Wednesday, January 13th.

For years, I had believed a lie.  I had swallowed this jagged little pill handed to me from the time I was a small child.  This lie gave me excruciating pain throughout my life progressively getting worse as I got older. You see, I was born with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele meaning the end of my spinal column was open to the outside with fluid leakage.  Keep in mind this was the mid-70s. Apparently, the doctors missed the hole in my back when sending me home with my mom.  She was the one who discovered it at the first diaper change.  She immediately went into prayer and saw the miraculous take place.  The hole in my back closed instantly.  No more leakage, no more gross looking opening.

All my life I have been plagued with back issues.  Every time my back would ache or it would hurt for me to walk, my mom would tell me it was because of my birth defect.  And this is where the lie began without me even knowing it.  No fault of my mom.  She is a God-fearing, faith filled woman.  She just didn't understand the power of her words.

The pain in my back grew worse as time went on.  I would have falling spells where it felt as if I lost all feeling in my legs and I would collapse. Again, the "it's because of ..." would come up.  This went on and on.  I had difficulty standing for long periods of time, walking long distances, and sitting for extended periods of time.  The lie grew stronger.

In 2004, I sought medical treatment for a pinched nerve in my neck that was causing migraines.  When the doctor showed me the x-rays of my back, I knew that I was in trouble.  I was missing discs up and down my spine, there was degeneration of the vertebrae, and my spine looked as if someone had twisted it.  The bones looked weak and fragile. He told me that eventually I would lose the ability to walk.  So, the lie became a dark reality.   I never told anyone what the doctor said.  I didn't want to be seen as anything less than a faith-filled Christian.  I knew my mom would always tell me the story about being healed as an infant.  And yet, here I was looking at this horrible future of being wheelchair bound.  I was caught between divine healing and a lie that had become so real it was frightening.  I did my best to believe I was healed, but it never materialized.  I have seen many miracles in my lifetime, but I had not received the one that I so desperately needed.  I had prayed for others to be healed and watched as their healing manifested all the while feeling like a hypocrite because I didn't have my healing.  And the lie dug deeper and took root.  I believed the Word of God to be true, but somehow I just couldn't grab hold of it for my own personal miracle.  I couldn't seem to make it work for me.  I would quote the Word when I prayed, but nothing happened.  I struggled to believe.  I knew that God would heal me in His own time. I knew that when He did, He would get the glory.  I kept on saying, "one day, I will get my healing".

Over the years, my condition seemed to grow worse and worse.  I could feel grinding and grating in my back as I moved.  Every day that I could walk, I would praise God  There were days that I couldn't walk without excruciating pain. But I got up and moved anyway.  There were times that all I could do is lay in bed and cry because of the pain.  There were days that I would take pain killers and muscle relaxers just so I could get through the day.  The lie was branching out more and more as I struggled. And yet, I praised Him. Through the pain, through all the difficulty, I praised Him.

Then kids came along.  The doctors were amazed that I was able to bear the load of carrying babies with my back in the shape it was in. Because of my spinal condition, I had to have C-Sections.  No biggie. Yes, I felt like a failure as a mother for a bit anyway before I had to snap back to reality and take care of the babies. With the first child the epidural took. With the second one, not so much.  The anesthesiologist ripped the sack that holds my spinal fluid and  I had to have a procedure done called a "blood patch" to seal the hole.  PAINFUL!  But it was better than passing out every time I stood up.
Now, I had to get up and move no matter what.  I would push through it to take care of the little ones.

And my back worsened. My back issues became my crutch to blame for what I couldn't do.  I can't go there because of my back. I can't do that because of my back.  I would use that as my excuse to not be involved and not participate.  I had been prayed for numerous times. The lie became such a stronghold it was defeating my faith.  There were times I would stand in prayer lines to be prayed for and I would get passed over by the people doing the praying. I figured it wasn't my time to be healed yet or that God had decided not to heal me which was nothing more lies sprouting up.

The last time I received prayer for my back was during a home group meeting.  My back popped.  Part of me wanted to believe while the other part was saying that it was just a routine pop and nothing more.  I left it at that. I so desperately wanted to believe that I was healed.  The pain, grinding and grating continued.

Right before Thanksgiving of last year, I took a nice little tumble in the Kroger parking lot.  At the urging of the guy from Fire and Rescue that happened to see me fall and ran to my aid, I went to the ER.  I had deeply bruised my right knee and hip.  So I went home on some really great pain killers.  One week to the day of my fall, I bent over to pick up a toy and was stuck.  I couldn't come back up.  I had to walk my hands up the wall to straighten myself out.  I cried all the way back to the living room.  I looked rather mechanical in my movements.  I figured I had done damage to my back when I fell. My husband urged and begged me to go see a doctor about my back.  He found huge knots in my back as would massage my back. He would rub and massage my back while praying over my almost every night all the while begging me to go to the doctor.  I was bed-ridden for a few days and had to take everything slow.  I even gave up something that I really enjoyed, going to the gym every day.

At the beginning of this year, I prayed and asked God to reveal the areas in my life that I have been believing a lie.  I had no idea the repercussions of praying such a prayer.  It's like praying for patience and then face palm with a "DOH!" when you all the sudden have a load of tribulation.

I finally gave in to my husband's urgings and made an appointment to see a specialist.  My appointment was set for Monday, January 11th.  They x-rayed, scanned, poked and prodded my back.  The doctor sounded encouraging as she said that the initial look at the x-rays didn't show any degeneration.  Huh?  No degeneration?  Odd.  I had a follow-up appointment on Wednesday, January 13th.  She sat me down and put the x-rays up for me to see.  I had to ask her if she had the right x-rays.  She said there was no trace of the Spina Bifida at all.  All my discs were intact and healthy.  No bulged discs, no slipped discs, no missing discs. My spinal column looked strong and in near perfect alignment.  Creative miracle!  God restored my spine!  This is no other way to put than God rebuilt my spine.  I didn't know whether to faint, shout, cry, run around the building or what.  I sat there in awe, completely dumbfounded.  Speechless.

The Word says in Mark 11:24, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."  This is hard to do when the symptoms haven't left.  When everything is telling you that you haven't received, how then are we to proceed?  It's hard to have faith when there is such a stronghold of doubt and unbelief.  Matthew 7:7-8 has the answer, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."  We have to fight for our faith.  Jude 1:3 tells us to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints". How do we contend for the faith?  Through prayer.  I never stopped praying or asking for prayer for my back.  I never stopped believing that one day, I would have my healing.  I had nothing else to go on.  The doctors said I would lose the ability to walk. I had all this negative information bombarding me telling me that there was no hope.  But even with the tiniest shred of hope, faith can grow.  I had a sliver of hope to believe that one day I would be healed.  I held on to that hope no matter how fleeting it seemed.

Some might ask, why do some receive such miraculous healing and some don't.  I have no clue.  I don't have all the answers.  All I can do is encourage you to hold on to hope with all you have.

Does my back still hurt? Yes, but now I don't let it define me or define what I can and can't do.  Am I undergoing therapy on my back? Yes. Why? To strengthen my back muscles and improve my posture.  I plan on being as strong as I can be.  That all starts with a strong foundation.  Our spines are the foundations of our bodies.  If our spines are jacked up, then we are jacked up.  It leads to all sorts of problems in different areas of our bodies.  The same is with our spiritual walk.  If our foundation is built on faith and hope through Christ Jesus, then our life will be strong through the storms.  If we build on a foundation of fractured faith mixed with lies and doubt, then our spiritual walk will be a faulty one plagued with all sorts of issues.

So be strong and stedfast in what you believe.  Let go of fear and spit out the lies the enemy has fed you.  If the Word says you can have it, then confess it, believe it, stand on it, and fight for it.

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