Before 2004, I lived a life that had rarely seen discomfort or heartache. While our family had just come out of a difficult time in ministry, I had never personally gone through any tragedies. I rarely, if ever, got sick. My pregnancies were fairly smooth. I had never broken a bone, much less a significant injury. Goodness…I even had perfect vision and didn’t need glasses. Regarding my physical health, I’d say I had it made – that is, until a January day in 2004. I’ve written about it multiple times, so many of you know some of my story. A fairly routine gall bladder surgery turned into a 15 year nightmare. Because of an injury sustained in my surgery, there has been complication after complication in my health. Much of the time, doctors were not 100% certain it was related to my injury, so test after test was performed to find a named diagnosis. I always thought if the reason for my, much of the time, severe pain, fevers, yellowing of eyes and skin, fatigue, and other random symptoms would be easier to go through if it all just had a name. Maybe if I called it something, I could get through it. I never got a reason or a name until recently.
Two years ago, during separate time periods, my husband and I both sensed that God was going to heal me of whatever this was making me so sick. To say I had hope was an understatement. I expected it would be immediate.
While the previous years of being sick were like one big roller coaster ride, these last two years have felt like a roller coaster that never reached the fun point. You know, the point when you stop being so scared and suddenly you are propelled into intense laughter and giddiness? I could hardly wait for God to answer my prayer to be healed. It didn’t come, and it didn’t come. The longer I waited, the more my faith waned. I still believed that He would heal me, but having faith even the size of a mustard seed is hard some days. While I walked through this one specific thing with my health, more life still happened around me. There were days that were filled with laughter and the BEST memories, and there were some very REAL LIFE days to throw into the mix. I walked through seasons of deep anxiety and depression that landed me in a counselor’s office multiple times. I watched the other half of my heart, my husband, walk through his own battle and my heart ached for him. I went through dark valleys with my children, saw my own friendships change and some became non-existent. I failed at new things I put my hand to, and sometimes I succeeded. I marked many days off the calendar because I was too sick to go outside my house. I put on a brave face for those of you we serve because I desperately wanted to walk through your trials with you, but many days were pain-filled and hard. There were hard blows that hit me in the face on top of my health that left me angry at God, confused by Him, and scared to trust Him. But He had spoken so clearly, and for that reason, I never fully quit fighting for a miracle from Him, which is why I started completely over with my medical care this past November. God led me to a new family doctor who practices with a group of doctors whose entire practice is based on ministry. They try to carry the love of Jesus into every patient’s room, and they regularly serve in the community and the world BECAUSE of Jesus. He is threaded all throughout. My family doctor led me to a new Gastroenterology group, where I happened to be familiar with a nurse practitioner there. She had treated me in the early days alongside my first gastroenterologist, and her husband is our banker at LifeSong. To say it simply, I trusted her, even though we do not really know each other deeply. In the course of my visit with her, she referred me to a doctor within the practice well-versed in my bile duct injury, and he treated has treated me for the last few months. While treating me with every bit of medical knowledge he has, he gave me so much more hope for my spiritual life. All along God has been working even when I couldn’t see every part, and He had led me to a doctor that believes God can do anything. I would only know the impact of this later, but as he prayed for his patients, God spoke clearly to him the same thing He had spoken to my husband and me…
“God will heal you.”
So, we believed this together while we proceeded ahead with procedures and tests, confirming my symptoms did, indeed, have to do with the injury I sustained in that 2004 surgery, while at the same time hearing my doctor utter prayers over us in his office, “God, heal her liver, restore her damaged bile duct…heal her.”
I have always wanted a story that was undeniably God as the author. If I had my way, I would’ve been healed the day He spoke the words to me. Sometimes we focus on the grander picture and miss the quiet, still voice words He speaks to us. You see during that time, God had also put another prayer on my heart – to return me to a simple, childlike faith. That had always defined me from the time I was saved at age 7. I followed after Christ because I simply believed that He loved me, sent His Son to die for me, and could do ANYTHING! A child has an awe and wonder about them that I had lost over time. It felt like part of me was missing without it, so while I didn’t immediately have an answer to my health, these past two years God has been so faithful to restore to me a childlike faith, reminding me He sees me, and hears me, but I have never truly been able to trust Him with my health until recently.
When God writes your story, sometimes you get to choose some of the characters, and sometimes you don’t. I brought my family into my story to walk it out with me – to pray for me, to take care of me, etc. There have been friends that have often stood in the gap for me. They show up even when it hasn’t been convenient for them. I’ve had opportunities to share my story with random people God has put in my path that I could encourage. I had people along the way encourage me that didn’t always fully know my story, but knew that God had also spoken to them I would be healed. Being a lover of writing a good story, I like being able to choose my own characters and creating a storyline for them, but that has not been the case completely for my own story because, remember, I wanted God to be the author. When my husband’s phone rang several weeks ago, I had no idea that another character in my story would appear, and impact my story forever. Usually when the chairmen of the trustees for church, Mark, calls, I know it’s to encourage my husband, to pray for him, or just discuss “business”. This day, it was to encourage me. As God woke him up during the night to pray, it was for me – over and hour of prayers on my behalf. Because I know very few people with the unrestrained prayer life he has, you better believe that we listened.
“God clearly revealed to me that He is going to heal Amy. He has told me when, where, and who should be there.”
You need to know that when you ask God to write your story, the characters He writes in are often to give you a kick to make you move forward. When His call came, I still believed God would heal me, but I had been stagnant in my belief. I stopped pursuing Him intentionally to answer my prayer. I stopped pursuing Him just to know Him more deeply. I settled. I did not quit completely. I settled. It almost felt worse than quitting.
“He said to me in my prayer, ‘I will heal her through the faith of a child.'”
Remember He had been moving me back to a child-like faith?
“He told me to bring my two young sons to lay hands on her, and it would be through their simple faith she would be healed.”
“He said to come on Saturday and He’s told me who to bring to pray.”
On Saturday, May 11 at 5pm, people came into my home. Even the ones who came I knew, I did not know intimately. There were some I barely knew at all. I mostly knew them all because of what I had either seen, or heard, of their faith. These are not the characters of the story I would have ever hand-picked, but add them to the ones that God has allowed me to pick for my story, I knew that they all had the same thing in common – they were storming the gates for me to be healed.
“If you do not believe, go ahead and leave,” Mark said, to the people that had gathered in my home. Prayers are only answered when we have the undoubting faith to believe. No one left the room that day. Everyone believed.
As the people gathered around me to pray, his two sons knelt before me and placed their hands on me, and Mark prayed what God had told him to pray, and in that moment I surrendered the belief that I had held tightly onto…the belief that I had struggled to let go of to truly believe. That day, GOD HEALED ME! I am no longer sick. I am no longer in fear. Through the faith of a child, those boys, and through the faith of this child, ME, I was healed.
When I went to my last appointment with my doctor, I barely had to get the words out of my story since I’d last seen him. He knew. God had healed me just like He said He would. My doctor shared with me that when I had first started seeing him in February that he had attended a conference where a missionary spoke of her story of radical faith. He said the Holy Spirit moved throughout that time she spoke, and afterward they went into a time of worship through music. As they sang, he said God suddenly stopped him right in the middle of the song, and said, “Tell Jeff and Amy to live out a radical faith.” I believe that is what I’m doing today…Living out a simple, child-like faith radically. I know that to believe God still works through miracles isn’t the popular thing, or even the thing we see happening day in or day out…or are we? I believe He is performing miracles everyday, but we are not looking, or we’ve stop believing he could/would. There is no magic formula. There is just faith. It stretches in the whole of your story. It has no time table. It has no limit. It has no method. It doesn’t even have fireworks. I always thought that it would. It was in the quiet of a moment with a boy who is very American in his appearance, and another boy who is very Hispanic in his appearance, but both with a child-like faith, in a God who knows my heart was to return to a child-like faith, and even through the detail of the two cultures these boys represented for me – two cultures I’ve lived in and two cultures that God has changed my life in. It was in the faith to surrender my forgiveness to a God I had been angry with, and to a doctor that is human, and made an error affecting me with an injury. The final piece of a faith I just couldn’t stop overthinking and overcomplicating, but NOT the final act of faith I’d ever need.
Since then, I have had to get up everyday and lay down my surrender to believe. I have to believe that I am healed, that it was all real, and that He has a plan to use me to tell you that having faith is always worth it. God even gave me added affirmation that prayer changes everything when one of our staff shared with me that he had been discipling a man in jail, and he called him the same day I shared with the staff here my story of God healing me so that this man could share something with me. I listened over speaker phone this man in jail tell me that this man on staff here had shared he would be part of coming to my house to pray that day I was healed, so he and his cell mate wrote the date and time on their calendar to pray, too. As the time approached, the man’s cell mate reminded him that it was almost time, and as the clock changed to 5pm that day, two men in a jail cell prayed for my healing, and BELIEVED for my healing.
“No matter your past… if God is in your present, and you believe, He can use you to change lives.
Our worship pastor shared a song with me a few months ago called, “There is a Move”. I believe it’s words can be hope for you today to know that it’s always worth it to have faith in a miracle-working God. If we really believe that is who He is, I believe the whole culture around us would change. Our churches would be filled because we come in the doors expectant for Him to move, and we don’t want to miss it. When the pastor invites us to respond, we wouldn’t leave in a mass exodus during the final song, because we would be too busy being aware and waiting on Him to move in us and around us. It would change every moment of everyday, if we just believe as the song says,
“Mountains are still being moved
Strongholds are still being loosed
God we believe, cos yes we can see that
Wonders are still what You do”
To you waiting for a miracle today, I simply say to you, DO NOT QUIT. Do not give up. Do not trade faith for a lie that it wouldn’t matter. Have faith. Doubt it if you must, but do not EVER give it up. DO NOT QUIT!