I’ve written before about an intimate experience I had with Jesus shortly after my diagnosis. I know it might sound crazy, but it’s the truth – and so I roll with it. What I never said was that experience lasted all of .25 seconds. It was there and gone. It was the answer to a prayer that I literally sobbed out when I was feeling more hopeless, alone, and scared than I’d ever felt before.
And to be honest with you, it really really shook me up because Jesus had chosen to personally answer my prayer in a really powerful way. It took me a long time to write about it and it’s taken me even longer to write this and point more attention to it. But of course this week I randomly opened my Bible and read this story, and it reminded that Jesus didn’t heal me to keep it to myself.
But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” – Mark 5:19 (NLT)
The long and the short of what happened is, I had a moment in which God told me, “I hear you. And I have you in my arms. And it’s going to be OK.”
The next few years were definitely very hard. Again, I’ve told you guys little bits and pieces about it, but I don’t know if I’ve ever really laid it all out there. I got sicker before I got better. I lost friendships when I didn’t heal on others’ timelines and couldn’t maintain the social life I had as a music industry publicist. I lost nearly everything I owned and had to sleep on the floor for weeks when I moved into a more affordable apartment and found out it was so infested with bed bugs that the safest move was to throw everything out and leave. I had a seriously bad reaction to all the chemicals used to treat the apartment building, and my hormones went haywire as a result. I lost thousands of dollars. I lost way too much weight. I was in pain and I was scared. I was walking a daily tightrope between dangerous disease and dangerous treatment. And sometimes I felt really, really alone.
But at the same time, I was growing closer to God than ever before. I was working with a fantastic LLMD who wouldn’t give up even when I wanted to. I was learning about nutrition and health and how to care for myself out of hope that the body God gave me wasn’t a burden but a gift. I was making new friends, who would turn out to be the best friends of my life. I was getting the financial rug pulled out from under me on a regular basis, but I was still standing. And when I put my hope in God that He could restore me, He picked me up, put me in a beautiful new apartment surrounded by organic grocery stores, and showered me with the things I needed to start over – a new air conditioner, a couch, a Queen bed with a pillow top mattress, and more. Not right away. Not in a week. But Seriously – God was with me.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
The point of the story is this… For the next two years I stubbornly latched on to the hope that Jesus gave me that night, and I told everyone that God was healing me. I never let myself stop believing it, even when it was hard to believe. I still prayed for healing every week with my small group for over two years, but I thanked God for the healing that He was already doing and had already done in the same prayer.
And two years later, to the surprise of a lot of people around me who couldn’t see the change happening in small baby steps day by day, I was better. I was healed. I’m still rebuilding my health, and I’m still growing stronger every day. I still have set backs and upsets. But God healed me, and more than that, He used that experience to show me how to live by hope.
Hope is hard. I don’t think it’s the easiest choice when we’re down and the world seems to keep kicking us anyway. But I do think it’s the only real choice. I still have a lot to learn about hope, and over the years, God has given me more than a few tools to help me make that choice.
I’ll share some of my favorite hope-full resources soon, and I’m also going to keep trying to post Daily Doses of Hope for all of us. I hope you’re all having a great day.
p.s. If you have prayer requests, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.