TURNED UPSIDE DOWN
This story begins on a cool but sunny day in March; March 15, 2006, to be exact. You may wonder why I remember the day so well. It was the day my beautiful little Emily was born into this world. The story actually began thirty-three years earlier (my age at this time), but the chapter of my life that God was writing began on that day. I was in labor with my daughter, and the song “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was very popular, sung by Carrie Underwood. To take my mind off the contractions and pain that I felt like would take my life, I remember singing this song in my head. Be careful what you sing, or pray for that matter! Little did I know that God would use the birth of my sweet baby girl, and the events surrounding it, and that song to radically change my life!
A few weeks after giving birth to my daughter, I began having severe lower leg pain. I knew something was wrong—very wrong. There are some things that we experience physically that seem to pass and are no big deal. I remember buying several pairs of sandals for the upcoming summer, and none of them fit right. They were so uncomfortable, and I had to take them all back. I told my husband Andy that I wondered if something had happened to my feet. They looked different. They felt different. Something in me told me that this was a serious problem. I had already made a few trips back to the doctor within the first month due to some health problems related to giving birth to her, but my knees and lower legs ached so badly. I was scared because I did not know what was going on. I can handle pain. I had both of my children with no pain medication!
One day after laying my girls down for their nap I threw myself across my bed and cried out to God. I said, “God, I need you to heal me. I hurt so bad, and I have a newborn and a two year old to take care of. Help!” I was desperate for a touch from Him. I had the thought to go turn on The 700 Club, so I did. Little did I know that the Lord heard me and was answering my prayer.
As I watched, they began praying. Terry Meeuwsen had a word of knowledge: “You are having problems with the arches of your feet, and it is affecting your lower legs; and God is healing that.” I stood there as if all the blood had gone out of my body. It was eerie, but a good eerie! I knew that God had spoken to me.
Shortly after, as I got back from taking my daughter to swim lessons, I came home, and the words of Isaiah 55:10–11 were in my spirit. It says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (niv). I knew He was working but could not yet see the hugeness of what He wanted to do. His Spirit kept encouraging me to keep believing there was a bigger purpose than what I was seeing.
I had lived a lot of my life in the natural realm—believing what I felt and could see and touch. His healing seemed a million miles away at times. But there I was, three and a half months after the birth of my daughter, standing in my living room, and Jesus shows up! Wow! I had no idea what was causing the pain, but God not only promised to heal me; He diagnosed my problem! God loves stepping into the middle of our lives and changing them forever. He used this word to begin a season that would last seven years and counting!
Boy, am I glad I am on this side of that word, if I may be honest. Don’t you look back on some of the trials you have been through and wonder how on Earth you made it? I bet there are some circumstances, no matter how much God worked in them, you would not want to step back into! God has almost completely restored my body, but the miles we have traveled together and how much He has done are just absolutely crazy!
So, two days after hearing the word God gave me from The 700 Club, I had an appointment with a physical therapist to try and strengthen my muscles that were so sore. Ariel was the name of my therapist, and she said to me, “Take off your shoes.” She looked at my feet and said the arches in my feet were almost flat and that one side was worse than the other. Good grief, even my arches could not fall evenly! That would explain what was going on. I stood there, not sure what to say because of the word the Lord gave me two days earlier about my arches being the problem. Two days. God’s timing is never off! He was supernaturally orchestrating these events and the timing with which He spoke to me. I remember lying on the bed in the room by myself while receiving some electrode therapy just pondering what God had spoken to me about my feet. I walked around the office in almost a daze about what He was going to do. I left that appointment knowing God was up to something!
Over the next weeks and months I found myself in an emotional, physical, and spiritual whirlwind. The word I heard about God healing my feet really challenged me and my belief system. Certainly, I knew God still healed people because I had seen it happen to others and experienced it myself. At times I would have faith to receive that word and look expectantly for my healing. I drove my husband nuts as I said over and over, “God is going to heal me.” Actually much of the time I said it with more doubt than faith. It came out to him as a question, “Is God really going to heal me?” At other times, I found myself doubting that He was really going to do it for me. And therein lay my problem—me!
God was getting to the root of my problem. I did not believe that I was worthy of His healing and that He would arrange something so miraculous for me. Did He not see how much I doubted His promises at times? Did He not see the fear and torment from fear and shame and unworthiness that I felt? He sure did. And that was what He wanted to heal before He healed my body. God, in all His wisdom, knew what I needed way better than I or any other person.
I waited a few weeks before I shared the word from The 700 Club I felt like was for me with my dear friend, Carrie. I realized that a part of me felt like hiding what God had shared with me because it was so personal and because it was exposing the need in me to be healed. (Little did I know that He would use her to continue to bring even another prophetic word to heal me—and that would turn my world upside down!) I also shared the word with our pastor at the time, my husband, and a few other who were close friends. Each time I shared the word, I felt like hiding. My shame, at times, was greater than my faith, but God was getting ready to lay an ax to that root.
I remember being so excited for the next few months that my healing was going to occur any day and at any moment. I remember seeing signs around town about events that were coming up and wondered if I would be healed by then! I knew God was going to heal me any day, and I wanted proof to show the doctors. They had given me arch supports to help support my feet and body, but nothing helped. In fact, they hurt me more at times. For the next few months my focus was on my body and the word that God had given me about healing me physically. I went to the doctors but knew that my healing would ultimately come from the Lord. I wanted to be wise. I began going to physical therapy two times a week to strengthen my legs and knees, which were hurting so badly from my arches that went flat. They told me that the hormones that loosen up your ligaments to prepare you to give birth to a baby are the same ones responsible for the ones that made my arches go flat. The arch in your foot is a ligament, and it is not only responsible for supporting your foot but your whole body. Trust me when I say that you should really appreciate your little footsies (or your big ones for that matter). Each foot has twenty-six bones in it (the bones in both your feet make up a quarter of all the bones in your body), and there are tons of ligaments, tendons, and muscles that support all those bones. Yes, I do believe that I am now qualified to be a podiatrist (foot doctor)!
Though my focus was on being healed, nothing was happening. My pain was getting worse and not better. Why was God not healing me yet? Oh, I remember bending down to feel if my arches were being raised yet. My feet still looked as flat as a pancake, and I continually looked at them in the mirror. I would look at them from the side to see if they had been raised yet! I knew at any moment they would be healed and life would go back to normal. God didn’t want my old normal, though!
Was I crazy? I was beginning to think so when I was not experiencing yet what He had promised. My husband and I were so convinced God’s healing was coming that we began to take pictures of my feet from all angles. You do not realize how much your body has gone through until you see it in a picture. My feet looked sick and disabled. The blood was not flowing properly, and they had lost a lot of muscle tone. While I had faith that I would be made whole, grief and sorrow also filled my heart about what was happening to my body. My old body before the birth of my daughter was gone, but there were also thoughts and dreams about what I would do when He healed me.
I am so glad our gracious Father does not condemn us for our attempts at believing Him. I had faith to be healed, but I also had doubt that it would really occur. The more time went by and I was not better, I felt unworthy again and discouraged. Welcome to my world. I cycled from faith to doubt to unbelief, then back to faith— just to go to doubt, fear, discouragement, shame for not walking in victory, and back to faith. Talk about exhausting! I have a feeling some of you know exactly what I am talking about. The good new is that Jesus broke me out of that cycle, and He will do the same for you if you let Him!
The caption on the front of this book talks of a journey through fear to freedom. Notice I had to walk through it before I walked out of it! Little did I know then what God was up to. But I am not going to let you jump to the end of the story so quickly. I want you to read the whole book! What I will tell you because I just cannot keep it inside is that He is way more faithful than I ever imagined Him to be. I love Him now more than ever.