Some incredible things have happened to me over the last week or so.
When I say incredible, I mean AWESOME, AMAZING, FANTASTIC, GLORIOUS, UNFORGETTABLE, IRREVOCABLE, ASTONISHING, WONDERFUL, ASTOUNDING, IMPRESSIVE, but mostly loving… things.
Those words are honestly not enough to explain just how… perfectly Godly it was. I haven’t ever seen God work in my life this way before. What happened to me was so completely, wholly 100% God’s will amd it has completely blown me away. I am so excited to tell this story, and to keep telling it to all who will listen!!!
Where to start? Shall we have a large dose of back-story? Hmmm…. I think YES!
There are many physical and health issues, as well as mental and emotional issues that I have dealt with for the majority of my life. There are some family issues as well. There is a lot of them so I’ll try to list them the best that I can:
Depression- I’ve dealt with depression for a very long time. I first remember it hitting me really hard around the age of 12. It has been a non-stop struggle since then.
Anxiety- same deal as with my depression. Fear has really ruled over my life. It has kept me from doing things that I have wanted to do. It has kept me in a prison, locked from the inside. The sad part was, I didn’t actually know that I was the one holding the key.
Self-Harm- The first time I cut myself was when I was barely 13. I have battled with this ever since. I would stop for periods of time, just to start doing it again no matter how badly in my heart I didn’t want to do it any more. There are lots of reasons behind why I would do such horrible things to myself. Everything from my hatred for myself to random situations in life to my poor (that’s putting it kindly) relationship with my dad.
Relationship with my Dad- my dad has verbally abused me for as long as I can remember. He has told me things like that I will never be good enough, I wont go anywhere in life, I am ugly, I will never find a man that will love me enough to look past my faults, I’m fat, I eat too much, etc. The list goes on and on. My dad is also a functional alcoholic. Enough said.
Since I was a kid: Random joint and muscle pain for no apparent reason, Weight issues, fatigue, Weak immune system, Injured right knee, Sleep issues (which we had not looked into until later on when they became worse).
Since about age 14: Chronic fatigue, Worsening all-over pain, Chronic headaches/migraines, Severe sleep issues (inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or feel rested after sleeping. I had to take naps almost every day at this point just to be able to function.), Still struggled with weight, Had Epstein Barr Virus for a year and a half (which is like mono, Google it!), Possibility that I may have Fibromualgia (Google that one too, its pretty crazy!), Continued having a horrible immune system, Re-injured right knee several times by falling on it.
Past Few Years: Worsening Chronic Fatigue, Worsening widespread pain, Officially diagnosed with Fibromyagia, All-over swelling of back and joints (possibly due to Fibro) Tons of back pain, rib pain and rib area spasms (possible Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is a really scary form on Arthritis of the back, ribs and hips. In severe cases the back, ribs, and hips can fuse together and can be fatal), Consistent chest pain that is still unexplained to this day, Worsening sleep problems, Possible Sleep Apnea, Diagnosed with Fat Deposits on my Liver, Extremely High Blood pressure (especially for my age!), Still struggling with my weight, Chronic headaches still present, but less, Constant stomach problems including nausea (could be irritable bowl syndrome, not quite sure about that one).
Also Important to Note: I’ve been on Zoloft for depression and anxiety for over 3 years, and I have been on 2 Blood Pressure management medications for around a year after my blood pressure just would not lower using other methods. The doctor advised not waiting on weight loss to alleviate the problem because of how high my blood pressure was.
All of these things kept me from having any kind of job or graduating high school, even after trying an extra year and a half in high school and miserably failing. I just got my GED though, yay!
Ok, I think I covered all the back-story that is important to this story! Phew!
So, on November 15th Ben, Chris, and my new friend Hillary hit the road for Colorado! We were headed to the Resound Worship Conference! (You can find more information about the event at their website: ResoundConference.com). Needless to say, I slept the majority of the trip. But I was extremely excited! The cool thing was, is that I didn’t go into it with any expectations but meeting and seeing God work there.
We made it in time for the pre-conference worship night, which was AMAZING! I had never witnessed worship so passionate before. I don’t think I knew the true meaning of passion until that night. It was just incredible, and definitely unforgettable. Ascend the Hill and Jonathon & Melissa Helser lead worship. I love their music! Especially the Helser’s! That first night, God opened my heart so I could begin to see what he had in store for me, even though my heart shut back up before my head hit the pillow that night.
All the next day, I attended Breakout Sessions and a Main session. I participated in worship. I prayed with everything I could muster that God would open the flood gates like he had the night before, but my heart refused. I was sad that I just couldn’t respond the way I wanted to. I did, however, learn some pretty awesome stuff.
During the last session of the day, I was just disappointed in myself and in a lot of pain from the uncomfortable chairs. I just needed to leave the room. I went into the bathroom, I had seen comfy looking chairs there earlier.
I sat down, and a woman (who’s name has escaped me) started some friendly small talk while she was washing her hands. We ended up exchanging testimonies, which were terrifyingly similar in our relationship with our dads. I confessed to her while I was sharing that I had been really struggling with disbelief in God’s truth about my being his child, his hearing me when I pray, and other things too. I don’t remember a ton of it, but she did pray for me. The one thing I remember is that she prayed I wouldn’t leave this conference without reverencing something of significance from God to help me with my disbelief. I really hoped God would break open my heart, but I don’t really think I believed he would.
My head hit the pillow again, and my heart was hard and shut up tight.
Day 3 rolls in bright and early. Worship started at 9 am. That’s so early for me!!!
I had still been praying and praying and praying and praying and praying and PRAAAAYING for a breakthrough.
The worship that morning was FANTASTIC! The Helser’s lead worship again, which made me very happy! One song really stuck out to me during worship that morning. It was Jonathan & Melissa Heler’s “Endless Ocean”. Specifically the words “There is no end to the the affection You have for me”. I brushed it off as being catchy, and not really letting the meaning of the words truly sink in. God, however, wouldn’t have that.
Then, this Chad Johnson guy started to speak. I didn’t really know anything about him, but I always enjoy learning about new people and organizations To be completely honest though, I don’t really remember a ton about what he said (Sorry Chad!) Anyway, Chad had started talking about healing. I was thinking “Is this going to turn into one of those things you see where people are being thrown across the room by the healing power of God? Should I leave? This might get a little weird…..” but I stayed. My heart started pounding the more he talked, which I didn’t quite understand. I didn’t know why I was getting anxious about this. “I’m not getting healed today”, I thought.
Chad started inviting people up to pray over others, and then invited people up who wanted to be prayed for. I hesitated, even though I knew I was one of those people that needed to get prayed for and receive healing. I started realizing that this may be what God intended for me not to leave without, like that lady prayed for.
I was paired with a girl named Tiffany, and she prayed over me. I was so hopeful that I would be healed right then, but…nothing.
Hillary, my new friend who had come on the trip with us, walked up to me after Tiffany was done praying over me. I told her “I really feel like there is someone specific here that I am supposed to meet and pray with.” After a minute of looking around, she told me she knew who it was. I have to admit that I started to get reeeeally nervous when she started walking toward Chad. The last place I wanted to be was near someone that everyone was looking at. I was just having a bad hair day, and I felt like I looked awful. But, I let it happen anyway.
Chad and I talked, and ended up in the coffee shop area. I told him about most of the stuff that I mentioned above about what I deal with everyday. I even told him about how my dad treats me. You know what the first thing he did was? He hugged me and told me he’s sorry for everything my dad ever did or said to me. Oh man, I cried so hard. I’m pretty sure he cried too, and that made me feel that much more important. For the first time, I realized that there really are awesome dads out there, and that mine was not normal. I had seen great dads before, but I guess I had never had one step up in place of my own and apologize for what had been done to me. This brought so much healing to my heart. I was then able to truly forgive my dad for everything. That’s HUGE.
Chad, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for that. You could have stopped there and this would have still been an incredible story. Every time I tell this story, I wish you were around so I could give you a big hug and thank you for being such an amazing representation of what a great dad should look like. Your kids are SO blessed to have you!
As I shared a little more of my story, I told Chad that I knew I couldn’t leave that building until I received what I came for. I knew full well at this point I would be healed in some form or another. I already had been healed by Chad’s words, but there was more I needed.
Can you believe that? There was MORE.
Chad continued praying over me, along with a couple others, and I started getting really excited. At one point pain shot from my collar bone, across my chest, and out of my body. My shoulder-blades adjusted themselves back into the right position and the muscles around them tightened up to hold them there. I felt it happen! Pain left my back! I could bend over and touch my toes, stand straight, and hunch over without pain! My range of motion was extremely improved! All of the pain left my body. God spoke to me in the form of a “knowing” feeling, telling me that my fibro is gone. GONE. High blood pressure? Leveled out. Fat on my liver? COMPLETELY disappeared. Any illness in my body? GONE AND NOT ALLOWED BACK, PERIOD. Later that day I had noticed my right leg was straight and I had zero issues walking. My knee was healed!
Chad gave me a verse to memorize right after this happened. Psalm 107:19&20.
It reads: “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He send out his word and healed them, he rescued them from the grave.”
What a cool verse! I could had read that even a few minutes before and not been able to really believe it. I read those words though, and they broke my heart open like a reservoir so full that the pressure forced the dam to break! There was no stopping the joy in my heart and soul. I had been healed! I had literally been touched by the hand of God, and saved from my suffering!
After we returned from lunch, Robin Pasley (the next speaker) finished extremely early. The leaders of the conference decided to use that time to hear stories about awesome things that had been happening to people throughout the conference. One or two people volunteered their stories, which were amazing! But, I didn’t like public speaking so I sure as heck wasn’t going to speak in front of 500 people!
Sure enough, Chad comes walking over to me, very nonchalantly, and asks if I’ll share. I hesitated, but then I realized I needed to, so I said yes. I went and sat on the stage as the woman before me was finishing her story. I was vibrating with joy! I shared my story, with help keeping on track from Chad (Thank you! My mind was everywhere all at once!). I could feel the power of God riding on my words. Prayed over the people at the conference that had similar physical battles as I did, and God used me right then and there to declare that healing was for every single person, even those who didn’t think they deserved. I am so completely honoured to be the person God chose to speak that through. Within those words, I discovered my true identity. My heart was awakened to the truth that I am a daughter of Christ, always have been and always will be. I heard those words again, “There is no end to the affection you have for me!” and I realized how true they were! There really is absolutely no end to the affection God has for me!
After sharing, there was a man who came to me and hugged me and told me it would be an honor to have me as a daughter. WHAT?! That was so amazing! The love I received was overpowering any doubt I had in my mind that God loves me and I am his daughter. A girl had the courage to share a little of her story with me about self harm, and it was really amazing. I prayed over a couple people for healing, which was just totally amazing. I didn’t want to leave these people. I wanted to stay at the conference forever and just love people!
The time had come to leave, so I went and found Chad to say goodbye. I was so glad he and I met and became friends that day. We even took a dorky picture together!
That night, I dumped my pills with no regret. I slept the most peacefully I had in years! Praise God for all this awesome healing!
We headed home bright and early the next day, still zero problems in my body! God put it on my heart to share this story with my church family! We made it just in time for church! It was really amazing to share, and I even got to meet a couple new people!
When I finally got home, I was exhausted. Not exhausted like before, but the good kind of tired. I was still just completely overjoyed!
I still am overjoyed!!!
I haven’t taken any of my pills since I dumped them in the toilet, and I feel great! There have been minor withdrawal symptoms, but they are a thousand times more manageable than when I experienced them before!
I still am pain-free, illness free (other than withdrawal symptoms from my medications), and just completely wrapped up in God’s joy.
Thank you Jesus for your incredible, faithful, perfect, and unfailing love. Thank you for showing me that you are real and you love me in a tangible, physical way when I struggled with disbelief. I love you so much, Daddy!