Six years ago this past June, Jack and I drove to Blanco, a small town about an hour’s drive from San Antonio, for dinner with friends to celebrate my birthday. We had a lovely dinner and visit with our friends and were enjoying the trip home in quiet companionship.
Suddenly my left leg and arm flailed out, and I made a sound. Jack asked, “No? No, what?” I responded that I hadn’t said “No” … or anything. Then the jerk and the sound came again … and again … and again … The movements continued through the night and the next day. While I was sitting in the doctor’s office, several of his staff came to see what was happening. They thought someone was yelling “No” or “Oh” over and over again.
The doctor referred me to a neurologist, starting a round of tests, prescriptions, emergency room visits, more tests, more prescriptions, doctor’s appointments—but no results. In fact, some of the medication gave me symptoms like those of a stroke, requiring more tests. Month after month, year after year, the symptoms continued and worsened. I was continually cold on my left side, and cold triggered the “jumping” as Jack calls it. So did bright lights, loud noises, a touch to my left side, the motion of a car, air movement, and a myriad of other ordinary things. Gradually I became more and more reclusive. I went to church on Sunday unless I was in the midst of a jumping spell, but I seldom went anywhere else.
I could control the environment in my small office and in our home much better than I could control the environment anywhere else. Yet, even controlling my environment to eliminate triggers as much as possible, I had jumping spells almost every day. On occasion, the symptoms would be much worse: slurred speech, staggering, a feeling of disconnection with the world around me, and eventually strange noises and sensations that I couldn’t control.
Loss of control. That’s what I hated the most. The feeling of powerlessness that no matter what I did or didn’t do, the jumping would take over my body.
I prayed for healing but wondered if God was testing me or teaching me a lesson. I always knew God heals today just as much as Jesus healed in His earthly ministry. God had healed and saved me a number of times in my life.
- A Doberman knocked me down and started biting me on the top of my head. I tried to fight him off, but my resistance led only to bites on my arms. After what seemed like forever, I thought I would surely die. I prayed, Lord, it looks like I’m about to meet You. I don’t want to be fighting when I enter Heaven. Forgive my sins and take me into Your Kingdom. Then I went limp, at peace and ready to die. As soon as I went limp, the dog let me go. He stood and watched while I got up and walked away. The doctor consulted with a plastic surgeon before treating me because my skull was exposed in an area about the size of a quarter. The plastic surgeon recommended my family doctor stitch me up as best he could and treat the inevitable infection before the plastic surgeon would do skin grafts. After 50+ stitches, daily wound treatment, a course of antibiotics, and several days in bed with the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced, the wound healed with no infection and no skin graft.
- I was robbed and molested in my retail store by a serial armed robber/rapist. But what he did to me was not as bad as what he did to some of the other victims and what the police anticipated he would have done if he hadn’t been caught—the violence escalated with every attack, and the police feared he would commit murder before he was caught. Though I was traumatized, in time I overcame my fear.
- I suffered a rare Wallenberg syndrome stroke at the hands of a chiropractor. I was paralyzed on the right side, lost all sensation on the left side, couldn’t speak, suffered severe vision problems, and couldn’t lift my head off the pillow because my balance center was destroyed. The neurologist told me, “If we don’t see significant improvement in the first three days, you could be like this the rest of your life.” I was convinced that if I could move the fingers of my right hand and grab the bed rail with my left hand and lift my left shoulder off the bed, I would be all right. For three days, I lay in bed praying and trying to move. In the wee hours of the morning of the third day, I succeeded. I wanted to call everyone I knew and share the wonderful news, but I still couldn’t talk nor could I reach the phone. I spent a month in a rehabilitation hospital, three months in outpatient therapy, and five years in a wheelchair, but I knew I was healed on that third day.
- One day I crawled into bed with chills and fever. When Jack got home, he took my temperature—103° in a person whose normal temperature is 97°. He took me to the doctor, and when the doctor touched my abdomen I bounced high off the table. “Appendicitis,” the doctor pronounced. He instructed Jack to drive me to the emergency room because that would be faster than calling an ambulance. The surgeon who had removed my gall bladder a year earlier was in the hospital and arrived in the ER just as a nurse was preparing to take me for an ultrasound. “Take her straight to the operating room,” he told the nurse. Then he turned to me and said, “I’ve heard of people being green around the gills, but I’ve never seen anyone blue before. That appendix is going to burst any second.” After surgery, he asked me how I could have stood the pain. My appendix had burst at least a week earlier but had shriveled up in a little pocket without spreading into the abdominal cavity and causing serious problems. I had never felt any pain until the doctor palpated my abdomen, and the first symptom had been fever. I remembered that I had been nauseous about a week earlier after I ate lunch, but the nausea went away quickly, and I thought my meal had disagreed with me.
You would think after all these healings, I would expect God to heal my jumping. But the longer the problem persisted, the less faith I had that I would get better. Every time I had been healed before, I saw steady, though sometimes slow, improvement. I could look back and see how much better I was than a week, a month, a year, or several years earlier. Not only was the jumping not improving, it was actually getting worse. I reached the point that I was having frequent bad spells, each followed by a long, deep sleep. Waking up after that cycle, I felt like I was trying to drag myself out of the miry pit of Psalm 40:2.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
I desperately wanted God to bring me up out of the pit and set my feet upon a rock.