5 things I’ve learned since the Lord healed me 2 years ago

Keith and Karen at the Taj Mahal. Impossible with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

In the fall of 2010, I was at the end of my hope. I was on reduced work; my doctor was trying to get me to agree to go on disability, and he had recommended that I needed to think about resigning from my job. I knew that God had work for me to do in my current job, and I clung to that knowledge.

Yet, I just got worse.

On November 21, 2010, God miraculously healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. That Sunday night, I took no pain or sleep medication. I slept through the night until 7:00 a.m. Even with medication, I had not had such a restful sleep in, perhaps, a decade.

Coincidentally, the next afternoon, I had an appointment with my doctor. My doctor, a dear Christian, listened, asked many questions, and then said, “This could be good, Karen. What do you want to do?”

I went back to work and am no longer on fibromyalgia medication.

Five things that I learned since the Lord’s healing:

  1. God requires a walk of true faith. Friends asked me if I was afraid to say that I was healed. What if this was the placebo effect, and two weeks later, I still had fibromyalgia. Jesus asked many people He healed to do the impossible, like the man with the withered hand–stretch out his hand.
  2. God creates opportunities to point people to Jesus. Because of my experiences, I am now able reach out to others in similar conditions and give them hope. This has occured in one-on-one conversations, opportunities to speak, and a Bible study on the promises of God, healing, and walking through chronic illness.
  3. God equips us for His plans. Without the healing, I would not have been able to accomplish what I am doing now, including accompanying my husband on study abroad courses. Each one has provided an opportunity to point students to Jesus.
  4. God has a sense of humor. I had to learn how to be well, and our first physical demonstration that I was well was on New Year’s Day. I ran on the San Diego beach flying a kite.
  5. God blesses His children beyond what we can think or imagine. No limitations. I had limited God. I did not realize the power of the promises in the Bible.

My prayer for you

Our Great Healer, You know the suffering that Your children are enduring. Thank You that You are carrying them through their valley and that You are in control of their lives. Draw Your children to a much deeper intimacy and knowledge of You as You work Your perfect will in their lives. Bring healing to their bodies and their souls. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, Bless His Holy Name!

What is the Lord teaching you as you walk with Him?

Pain, sleeplessness … 5 tactics from Psalm 77

My soul refused to be comforted…
You have held my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Psalm 77:2b-4

Have you experienced pain so deep, so intense that you could not be comforted; you could not sleep, and you had no words to express your pain? I’ve been there. I’ve cried out to God and wondered if He heard me.

I’ve asked like the Psalmist, “Has God forgotten to be gracious, or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion?” Psalm 77:9

During those nights of pain, I turned to the Psalms to help me refocus. There are five tactics that I learned from the Psalmist that brought hope to a hopeless condition.

  1. Remember the past. “I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.” Psalm 77:11 As I focused upon past storms in my life, I was able to see God working in my marriage, in my work, and in my family.
  2. Think about the meaning of the past. “I will meditate on all Your work, And muse on Your deeds.” Psalm 77:12 I thought about those times that God had moved, and I meditated on how those times had prepared me for what I was facing with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  3. Refocus from the pain to God. “Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples.” Psalm 77:13-14 I moved from thinking about my problems and thought about who God is, awesome in power and wonder-working.
  4. Praise the Lord. “Your way was in the sea And Your paths in the mighty waters, And Your footprints may not be known. You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Psalm 77:19-20 Although I sometimes do not recognize the footprints of Almighty God, I can trust that He is there, leading me by the hand as He led the Israelites in the time of Moses and Aaron.
  5.  Rest in the Lord. Although the pain was still with me, I often would be able to rest in the Lord and find sleep. Sometimes, I could even see a slight rainbow in the storm.

My prayer for you:

Our Heavenly Father, You are the God of all Comfort, and You are the Great Shepherd who leads Your people. Comfort Your people as only You can. Provide great peace and restore their souls and bodies as they remember Your awesome works and think about what Your works have meant in their lives. Turn their focus upon You, and graciously bring them to praise You for who You are. Finally, Father, bring rest to their souls and restoration to their bodies. Breathe upon Your people Your perfect peace, a peace beyond all comprehension. Thank you, Father. You are an awesome God!

Please share how God has worked in your storms and the tactics that you use to gain peace.

A friend prayed without ceasing – 40 years later she learned of miracles

Twisted, snagged, and bent, like the Joshua Tree, we reach to heaven and give God glory.

We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 1 Colossians 1:9-10

On August 28, 2011, I received an email,  “This is a voice from your past.” I had lost contact from a dear friend in high school.

She caught me up on her life in the first email, and I caught her up on my life in the next email, including the fact that the Lord had healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome in 2010.

The next email from her brought me to tears as I praised God for her faithfulness to the Holy Spirit‘s urging to pray for me throughout all these years.

We had lost touch the last several years of high school. When I was 19, I ended up in the hospital, and there was a possibility that I would die from one of the tests that the doctors were performing. She had a dream that she ran through the hospital urging everyone to pray for me. When she woke up, she was very discomforted and only told a few people.

“But, the bottom line is, as weird as this sounds, through the years I have continued to pray for your health.

Prayer works! James tells us:

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16-18

Thank you, Elaine, for praying without ceasing for my health. Throughout the 40+ years of your praying, the Lord has worked great and mighty miracles in my family’s lives, including healing me and renewing my strength beyond what I had ever hoped for–all for the works that He had prepared for me to do from before the foundation of the world. Thank you for obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit and praying earnestly.

My prayer for you:

Our Father in Heaven, You alone are great, and Your Holy Spirit urges us to pray beyond our understanding. Bless our prayers and our spirits as we follow Your bidding. Thank You for great saints who persevere even when they do so in faith. Guide us in Your ways and teach us to pray without ceasing. Thank you, Father.

What are you fervently praying for?

When the Healer touched my pain

And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Mark 1:40-42

There was no cure for leprosy. Lepers were considered unclean, and they lived away from others. When they walked down the street, they cried out “unclean.” People moved to the other side of the road.

Isolation. Loneliness.

Desperation gripped this leper. He had no other hope than this man they called Jesus. This leper did the unthinkable; he came close to this righteous Teacher, this Healer and begged Him for healing.

If You are willing …

He wasn’t sure that Jesus was willing to heal him, although he had healed others. Leprosy was a symbol of sin, and this Jesus was considered holy.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia. I wasn’t sure that Jesus wanted to heal me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I thought that it was my place in life to reflect grace through my sickness and pain. After all, Jesus did not heal the entire world. Maybe I was one who was to endure until my death.

You can make me clean.

No doubt. Jesus was capable of making the leper clean.

Jesus was able to heal me.

Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing;

The God of the Universe was moved with compassion for this leper. He stretched out His hand and touched the disease; Holy touched disease and sin. Purity touched the unclean.

My Creator was moved with compassion and told my husband and me two years before I was healed, that He was willing to heal me.

Unlike the leper, I had not reached my desperation point. Jesus had a divine appointment for us, and in those two years, we grew closer to Jesus and to each other. For me, I had to get to the point of desperation, so that I would boldly march up to Jesus and drop to my knees. Unlike the leper, I told Jesus that I no longer cared about healing; I just wanted more of Him.

Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Jesus touched the leper, and sickness immediately left him, but more importantly, he was cleansed–cleansed from sin.

When I was at my lowest point, Jesus had compassion upon me and touched me. Immediately, the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue left me, and I was freed. Freed of pain and sickness. Freed to accomplish the works that God had prepared before the foundation of the world for me to do as a healthy woman. Freed to soak up more of Him.

My prayer for you:

Compassionate Father, You are willing and able to touch each life. Have compassion on Your servants and touch their lives with whatever they need to become the men and women that You are equiping them to be. Wrap Your loving wings around them and make Your presence known to them. Renew their strength and restore their love for You and others.

The Lord be gracious to you and bless you.

Blessings from pain

As He [Jesus] passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, “ Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3

Have you reflected upon this and thought this might apply to you? It applies to me. I was a sickly child. Hospitalized many times in my teens. Later, I developed fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. For years, I suffered and cried out to God.

I found many blessings in the pain and fatigue.

The greatest blessing came to me as I lay on our living room couch in the middle of the night in pain. Many nights, I turned to the Psalms and observed David’s agony turn to praise. David taught me to cry out to God and then turn my focus upon God. Gratitude filled my heart as I saw how small my pain was in comparison to how great God is. Those intense, painful moments melted into moments of blessing and love.

I also learned how much my husband of 41 years loved me. He is the embodiment of a servant-leader, giving and caring with no expectation of return. Without the pain and limitations, our relationship would not have been as intimate as it is today.

Blessings from the pain turned into opportunities to minister to others in pain and suffering. Coworkers, family, friends and their friends knew that I had walked a similar path of pain for years and that I understood what they were going through. They also saw a woman who had been delivered from her pain, and they wanted to hear about how I had been healed. They wanted prayer. They wanted compassion. They wanted practical insight in coping with the pain.

I am grateful for the years of pain. The pain opened doors into people’s hearts that would never have been opened without the pain.

This life journey has truly been a gratitude adventure.

My prayer for you:
Great Comforter and Healer, we honor You and praise You for what You are doing in our lives and for who You are. You have promised that You would never leave us nor forsake us. We trust You and lean upon You in these times of trials. Jesus, we thank You for love beyond measure that You bestowed upon us. You were beaten and scourged for us, and by Your stripes we are healed, whether it is today or tomorrow or when You take us home. You hung on the cross to pay the price for our sins, so that we could be with You for eternity. That is the greatest blessing of all. What a friend we have in You, Jesus. Pour out Your Spirit upon us, so that we can point people to You. It is because of You that we have blessings and we can bless others. Thank you. Amen.

Wishing you a gratitude adventure as you contemplate the blessings that we experience in our pain and limitations. We can turn them into opportunities to impact the lives of others.

What are you doing to turn your pain into blessings?

 

Love is a verb … Friend of Jesus is the promise

Through the Waipoi Valley

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14

What a precious promise—friends of Jesus. The only requirement is to love one another as Jesus loves us. His definition of this love is to lay our lives down for our friends.

Jesus laid aside His glory for a season as He entered the world as a baby in his mother’s womb. He taught the people, fed the people, healed the blind, raised the dead, turned water into wine, ate with sinners, and served others to exhaustion. He finished His work on earth by enduring beatings, whips, mocking, nails, shame, and the wrath of God … all for His friends, you and me.

What if we were to take the example of Jesus as we look at our marriages? A love-filled marriage requires that we lay our lives down for each other day-by-day, sometimes in small ways, other times in global ways. Think of it; if we choose to lay our lives down for our spouses, we are obeying the command of Jesus, and He considers us His friends.

When I was so sick with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, my husband, Keith, took gentle care of me with no expectation of me. He tucked me into bed, kissed me, and darkened the room for me to get rest. He cooked; he mopped the floors; he bought the groceries; he took me to the doctor; he sat beside me; he held my hand, he prayed with me, and he loved me selflessly. Keith led me through the valley. He laid his life down for his friend—his wife.

Every day, there are many small opportunities for me to serve my husband, from the first kiss in the morning, to the last “goodnight.” Below are some ideas to bless your husband.

  1. Before you get out of bed in the morning, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for your husband and ask the Lord to bless him and walk with him throughout the day.
  2. Write a love note and sneak it into his lunch or briefcase.
  3. Call him at work and tell him you love him.
  4. When he snips at you, recognize that he may have had a rough day and bless him with a smile.

My prayer for you:

Father, what a wonderful promise You have given us—the opportunity to be the friend of Jesus. Lord, open our eyes to the opportunities that we have to demonstrate our love to our husbands. Go with us this week as we walk in love, laying down our lives for others, as your friend. Thank you, Father.

Share your insights:

Watch yourself as you interact with your husband this week.  How do you show love?  How are you shown love? Please share what you learn.