Happy April 1st… otherwise known as April Fools Day. 🙂 This is a special day for me and my family. Every April Fools Day, we celebrate something incredibly amazing that God did. He miraculously healed me – and I’ve been well for 15 years!!! In fact, as of this year, I’ve lived “healed” longer than I lived “sick”!!! I still bow and shake my head in wonder. And I still wrestle with a gazillion questions like these: Why me? Why not my dad when he needed it most? What do I say to others who are desperate to be healed and haven’t yet?
I don’t claim to have these answers, but soon after this miracle, the Lord helped me get a tiny grasp on the truth that I won’t ever truly understand the multifaceted purposes of the Lord in this miracle. I bet you thought I was going to reveal something profound. wink. But it IS profound! We will NEVER fully understand God’s “yes, no, wait” ways and purposes – that are so much higher than our finite minds can comprehend! (Isaiah 55:8-9) What we CAN know for sure is that God will never leave us or forsake us, and that He will use everything for our good and His glory – everything!!! (Heb. 13:5b, Romans 8:28)
On this day 15 years ago, as the Lord would so graciously work it out, someone made a picture of me (and a few characters in my life – haha) and sent it to me. Little did this young mama know how her world would change within just a mere hours from posing for this photo. I left this event sick, and before I walked into my front door that afternoon, I was well. Praise the Lord!!!
For as long as I live, I’ll never get over the overwhelming sense of gratitude to God for what He has done for my family and me. I don’t deserve it. In fact, we were living a fine life without it. God was our Strength, Provider, and Joy. He was enough. But He gave us so much more than “enough.” Right now, there are several of you on my heart who are desperate for the Lord to work a miracle and bring healing to you or your loved ones lives.
I’ve been praying for you, sweet friends. And I’ve asked the Lord to use His story of His healing of me to strengthen and encourage you as you wait upon Him.
“With man, it may be impossible. But not with God. With God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
To share my story, I’m reprinting an article I wrote back in 2001 for the Lifeway magazine “The Minister’s Family“. I had written an article the year before called “Answering the Call (of being a minister’s wife) When the Phone is Out of Order.” In that publication, I shared how the Lord had helped and enabled me to be a minister’s wife, mom, and serve Him beside my husband in our church(es), while living with major physical limitations.
By the time that article was published, the Lord had healed me! So, I wrote a followup article that was printed the next year. It’s called “I Am Now A Leaping Cow”. 🙂
The name comes from Malachi 4:2, which is the verse the Lord gave me on the day He healed me. “But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and gambol like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.”
That’s exactly what I did! Here is my story…. I am Now a Leaping Cow!
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“Answering the Call (of being a minister’s wife) When The ‘Phone’ is Out of Order” was the story of my life. At the age of thirteen, I knew that God had called me to be a minister’s wife, a mother, and an encourager of women. But four years later, I had a severe case of Mononucleosis, which was the catalyst that started me on a downward spiral with my health.
I went from a life of marching band, tennis, cheerleading, and power walking to hardly being able to walk up porch steps. During some periods of life, I would be stronger than at other times, but life as I had known and imagined was changed forever!
For fourteen years weakness was a daily companion, but Jesus was my Faithful Friend. He NEVER left me with a need. He gave me strength every day to do the things He had called me to do. He planed and grew a husband just for me – one with the motivational gift of service! He allowed me to have two children, and provided care for them everyday – either through giving me strength, or allowing my husband to work from home, or sending friends to step in when we didn’t know how we would get through the day.
When our four year old (who is now 14 1/2) was a baby, I became really weak and couldn’t lift him. God worked a miracle and sent us a home-schooled girl who tithed her time to help us. She came into our home to care for our son, and I would help her with her lessons. We were overwhelmed at God’s detailed provisions for our every need.
Daily, God reminded us of His love and of His promise in Hebrews 13:5 “…be satisfied with your present circumstances and with what you have; for God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax my hold on you)! Assuredly not!”
As a family, we clung to His promise and began to accept this “thorn” as what God would use to bring me into His likeness, and to bring others to Himself. There were days when Jesus helped me honestly thank Him for being physically weak, because He really did make His strength visible in my frailty (2 Cor. 12:7-10). I soon learned that anything I accomplished (even the task of brushing my own teeth) was really Jesus in me and through me. I could do nothing without His power.
After nine years of going from doctor to doctor searching for a diagnosis, The Lord led us to Nashville, TN to Dr. Burton Sanders. He discovered that I had fibromyalgia, a disease in the rheumatoid family. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but the symptoms can be eased with medication, exercise, and healthy eating habits. We were so thankful to have a name for the physical problems that had been plaguing me since high school!
God continued to strengthen and sustain me year after year. Many times I would call out to Him to use doctors, medicine, exercise, vitamins, magnets, or the latest health craze to heal me. His answer was always a loving “No, but I will never leave you without help and support Heb. 13:5).”
Along with Scripture, God used a quote from the movie, The Robe to encourage me to joyfully embrace the life He had allowed me to live. An unbelieving Marcellis questioned a paralyzed woman who found peace and faith in Jesus:
“You say He could work miracles, but He left you as He found you.” She gently replied, “I used to wonder at that myself, until faith taught me the answer. He could have healed my body, and then it would have been natural for me to laugh and sing. And then I came to understand that He had done something even better for me. He had chosen me for His work. He’d left me as I am so that all others like me might know that their misfortune needn’t deprive them of happiness within His kingdom.”
Jesus, His Names, His Words, and His Promises became sweeter to me every day. When I let Him do as He desired with my day, He always lifted me, walked with me, carried me, loved me, encouraged me, supported me and held my hand. Jesus became my Rock, Provider, Anchor, Protector, Daddy, Joy, Teacher, Leader, Lover, and Friend. I wish I could say that I walked obediently filled with Him every day, but I didn’t. Yet He remained Faithful and True. He kept His promise to never leave nor forsake me – even when I grumbled, complained, cried and demanded answers from Him. (Job 38 through 42:6 are sure fixes for a demanding spirit toward God!)…
In February and March of 2000, God led seven special friends, who for years had been faithful prayer warriors on my behalf, to call me and tell me the same things. They each felt led to ask me, “What do you believe about God healing you?” Without praying and asking God to help me answer that question, I would quickly give the reply, “I’ve asked God to heal me, but for now, His grace is enough, and He will be my strength.”
After the seventh call, my husband and I “got the message” and decided to ASK GOD what He had for me in the way of healing. God led me to a scripture study in Matthew 17 where the disciples asked Jesus why they were not able to do the work that Jesus had sent them out to do. In verses 21-22, Jesus explained to them about the seriousness of faith, and consecration to the Father by prayer and fasting.
I began to pray and fast, although I didn’t go on any 40 day fast. I didn’t even go on a three day fast. I would fast when the Lord would tell me to, but because I didn’t do a “marathon” fast, I didn’t expect God to work a miracle in my life. (Truly, I know better than to think that anything I do is ever good enough for me to gain God’s approval, or astonishing enough to twist His arm to do what I want Him to do. – But my actions showed that I still chose to put limitations on God and on what He could and would do for me.)
To be honest, I was praying and wanting God to heal me, but only in the ways I deemed appropriate for today. In the past, I have rolled my spiritual eyes at people who talked of being healed, as if they are just a little bit more peculiar than I am. Of course I would always respond with words like, “Wow! That’s Great! God is still in the miracle working business! Praise the Lord!!!” But in my heart, I would be thinking, “I’ll just wait and see if it really works before I will believe it.”
However, on April 1, 2000, God humbled me, went beyond my limited belief in Him, and worked a miracle in my life. On a regular day, going about my regular business, God interrupted my life, and brought healing to my body!
I was visiting with my sister and a friend of hers at “A Taste of Heaven” Tea room, when God used the owner, Benita, to speak His words of Scripture to me. I had accepted “MY illness as MY thorn”, but God was saying to me that this was NOT “MY” illness, but “His tool”. He whispered in my heart, “This is the day that I will heal you. Humble yourself before Me.” I bowed my head and said “Lord, I believe, Help my unbelief!”
Then for the first time ever, I asked God to heal me without adding any suggestions of my own.
As we prayed, and as I let go of all preconceived ideas about how God could work in my life, He healed me!!! I experienced a heat that coursed through my body, and when I lifted my head, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had been healed! My legs no longer hurt, my arms and hands no longer hung limply at my sides. I cried and laughed for joy at the same time!!! I jumped around and my legs didn’t bother me at all! God had restored my body, and I felt better than I had in 14 years. I felt like a teenager again!!! Praise the Lord!!!
On that day, I met my Savior as my Healer, and He made me well!! I can not find adequate words to express my excitement and joy, and my amazement and awe that God would choose to reveal Himself to me in this way!!! I am bursting to tell everyone that He really does still do miracles!
As soon as I returned home, I asked my Healer for a verse to commemorate the beginning of this new stage of life for me. He led me to Malachi 4:2, “But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and *gambol like calves released from the stall and leap for joy.” (Amplified version) *Gambol = skipping and leaping about in play! I am a leaping calf, and thrilled to be called one!!!
I am studying every scripture passage I can find that contains words about healing. I have so many questions. But I know that as I keep on seeking God and His wisdom, He will continue teaching me what He wants me to know and understand. At this point, I can only share four things that my Lord has illumined to me about His healings.
1. Only God heals (not man, not methods, nor medicine), but if God so chooses, He can use man, methods, and/or medicine. (Isaiah 57:18-19; 2 Kings 2:19-22; 20:5-7)
2. God may not choose to heal our bodies, but always chooses to be and do exactly what we need. ( 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Hebrews 13:5)
3. When God chooses to heal, it is NOT because we are “spiritual enough” or have done anything to deserve it. He heals only because of His great love, and His majestic mercy. He chooses to heal for His glory, and for His name’s sake. (Psalm 30:2-5, Jeremiah 17:14)
4. God always heals the broken hearted. Through His Words, His Unconditional love, and His forgiveness by way of His Son, hurt hearts can be mended, and diseased lives can be made whole. (Isaiah 53:3-5, Psalm 107:19-20)
The Lord used a lesson from Beth Moore’s Bible study, Breaking Free, to help me grasp the balance between faith and healing. “Christ is fully God. He can heal anyone or perform any wonder, whether the belief of the person is great or small. Christ isn’t asking us to believe in our ability to exercise unwavering faith. He is asking us to believe that He is able.” (week 3, day 1, pg. 55)
How I so desire that every sick person would be healed! Yet Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that God’s ways and plans for us are so much higher and better than the best we can dream-up and design. Jesus loves you so much, and is at the Father’s right hand interceding for you this very moment (Romans 8:34).
Jesus told the disciples in Luke 10:20 that the only thing to truly rejoice in is the fact that He has saved us, and that our names are written in Heaven. If for no other reason than this, please join me in leaping for joy at being released from the stall of sin to the vastness of victory in Jesus!
Are you in need of a physical healing?
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 is an encouragement to look to God and His workings in and through our weaknesses and pains.
“Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day. For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.” (AMP Bible)
If you are physically broken:
• Refuse to be defeated,
• give your body (pains and all) to God to use for His glory,
• daily remember that God will NEVER LEAVE YOU HELPLESS!! (Heb. 13:5)
Does your heart need to be healed?
Jesus said, “The ‘Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity]” (Luke 4:18, Amplified Bible). Jesus is the Healer of broken hearts.
If you are heart-broken:
• Release your heart to Him,
• read His Words of love,
• Trust Him to put you back together day by day, and piece by piece.
Every day that our Lord tarries can be a day for Him to work in and through our lives so that others will see who He is, and come to know Him as Savior and as Wonderful Daddy Lord (2 Peter 3:8-9).
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There it is… That’s my story… I can honestly say that if the Lord had chosen to allow us to live with that sickness for the rest of our lives, He would have continued to help us and live through us, and He truly would have been enough! Inspite of all of the struggles, we had a wonderful life, because we have a wonderful Lord!
I pray that if you are in need of a miracle today, you’ll see that you actually already have one. You are still living and breathing, and The Lord has not left you, nor has He forsaken you (Heb. 13:5). He loves you, cares deeply about you, and nothing is impossible for Him!… Nothing!
I am praying that the Lord will take these words and use them in your life, for His glory. And, I’m praying for you, friends… and thanking the Lord for what He is doing in each of you.