I have always been fairly self-motivated and driven. I grew up in a Christian home, accepted Jesus at a very young age, and attended a Christian school, but I still thought that I didn’t need Jesus to walk with me through life. I could handle things myself.
On October 5, 2010, I received the first of seven concussions. Over time, the pain became unbearable. I had to drop out of college. I wasn’t performing well at work. I essentially sat in a dark basement.
I spent the next two months in and out of doctors’ offices. A couple of specialists started to entertain the idea that I might have brain cancer. This ruined me. I never admitted to it, but I was a wreck.
One evening I was driving home and attempted to pull my car in front of an oncoming semi truck but I could not turn my steering wheel. I had two hands trying to pull my car towards the truck, but nothing happened. We sailed right past each other.
A week later I was in my room consumed with the thought of dying of brain cancer at 18. I couldn’t fathom this grim reality so for the second time in a week I attempted suicide. This time I was going to put my mouth over the exhaust pipe of my car, but after looking everywhere I could not find either set of my keys. It turns out that they were both sitting on top of my night table and they were hidden from my sight until more people were home and I was safe from myself.
Following two failed suicides and the news that I did not have cancer, I began to continue on with my life by myself.
Praying for healing
That summer I got two more concussions. The pain was getting worse again. My parents kept suggesting that I go to our church and have some men I respect come to pray for me. I wasn’t too keen on this idea, but because of my parents’ persistence I eventually agreed.
They prayed over me and not long after, all of my pain and symptoms disappeared. Just like that. I felt reassured that God was with me and that he cared about me. I rode that spiritual high for about a month and then when I was feeling 100% and doing well in school and at work, I figured that I was good to go on my own again. “Thanks God, I’ll take it from here.” Everything was going great.
A year later a received another head injury. I was in the worst pain I have ever felt. My parents decided to invite the church leaders over to our house to pray for healing again. I don’t recall much from their visit, except for when we took a moment of silence to listen to what God had to say. During the silence I heard, clear as day, Not right now. When God told me that he wasn’t going to heal me at that time, it confirmed three truths: God is with me, God has a plan for me, and God is in control.
With this new reassurance, I began to renew my relationship with God. I bought a Bible and immersed myself in it for the first time in years. A few months later, I was driving by myself through my favourite spot in the mountains just spending time in worship. The song hit the chorus:
Christ alone; cornerstone Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love Through the storm, he is Lord Lord of all.
At that moment a strange tingling sensation took over my head. Again, it’s not a feeling that I can easily explain beyond the fact that it was surreal. After a minute or so the tingling left and all of my symptoms went with it. I knew I was healed again. God was showing me that he could heal me in his own way and that there wasn’t a special formula. I felt healthier than ever and went full force back into my activities. My relationship with God had been repaired and I realized that I always need him whether in sickness or in health.
Four months later my symptoms became more severe again and pain got worse every day. One day, at around 2 am, I literally felt my body shutting down. Each breath was excruciating. I was losing feeling and control of my limbs, and was cognitively lost. One of my only recollections is realizing that my brain was finally giving up.
Praying for healing again
I spent the next several hours preparing to die. Around 5 am my mom texted me because she could hear my dog barking. I don’t remember doing this, but I texted back that I was dying. She came to my room and immediately contacted my doctors as well as our friends who have prayed with me. These friends and a couple of pastors came over to pray with me.
I felt I was just hanging on to life, sensing that I could slip away at any second. The core group of them were by my side for over two hours and near the end of our time together I could slowly feel the life coming back to me. First I was able to whisper, and then speak a word or two. Eventually I sat up, drank some water and was able to stand. I was healed for the third time. I cannot put into words how much of a blessing that is. I am totally blown away by the grace of God.
Going forward, I know that life will not always be happy or easy. Nor should it. Over the last several years, I have learned that it takes adversity to shape character. I also learned that I cannot function in life without God; if it wasn’t for him, I would be dead three times over.
Even though there may be hardships in days to come — and God tells us there will be hard times—, and even though I will not always have happiness, I will always have joy: joy that I’ve found in Jesus Christ. I don’t have to try and live alone. The Holy Spirit is always with me and as I invite him into my circumstances he gives me the strength I need. As long as I walk with God, I cannot lose this joy.
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