A couple of weeks ago I read a story of a friend, Tanya Whitfield’s, healing. I asked permission if I could share it on here as I truly believe this is a story that will encourage many, many people. She graciously agreed, saying this wasn’t her story, but God’s.
About 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in my hands. This was managed successfully with medication & to be honest, I didn’t understand what having Psoriatic Arthritis meant.
Nearly 6 years ago, I had what has since been explained as swine flu. It was awful & I was very poorly. What I hadn’t realised straight away was that in the space of 2 weeks, the Psoriatic Arthritis had spread throughout my body & other conditions that had lay dormant, suddenly had a chance to spread & take hold of me whilst my immune system was almost non existent due to the swine flu.
All of this resulted in me being in constant severe pain due to 3 chronic diseases. Psoriatic Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoarthritis. These are all degenerative diseases that there is no cure for.
I was only able to walk with the aid of crutches.
I was put on high doses of steroids, very strong pain killers (including Naproxen & Tramadol), was injecting myself weekly with Methotrexate, Humira & Embrol. I also had to have a bottle of liquid Morphine at home at all times.
Life was hard. Very hard but my faith got stronger & I became closer & closer to God.
There was a Paddington Bear Trail to mark the release of the film. This was 55 different Paddington Bears, all decorated by different famous people, placed at various points across London. As an exercise in showing my son the importance of giving at Christmas, I suggested we do the trail to raise money for Children in Need.
It was hard for both of us. Me on crutches & my 9 yr old son, struggling to keep going. There were tears, lots of tears but we were kept going by prayer. We walked over 33.5 miles in 23 hrs 45 mins. We raised over £700 for a worthy charity. Fantastic.
I couldn’t move for the next few days. Christmas came & I was still bedridden. I had damaged the AC joint in my right shoulder. The arthritis had spread to my shoulder also. I was unable to raise my right arm above my shoulder. I was unable to use 2 crutches from then on. I wasn’t even able to wash my own hair.
* fast forward to this year *
After lots of physio, osteopathy & hydrotherapy, I finally got the date through to operate on my shoulder. December this year. Finally! They were going to operate on the AC joint & to trim the top of the bone too.
My Church, St John the Baptist in Hoxton, goes on a camping trip each year with HTB. In past years I’ve thought about going but my health & finances always prevented me.
This year, I really felt God was telling me to go.
It was something that was going to have to take a lot of planning. Not being able to camp like everyone else because of difficulties in bending, standing, walking, sitting etc
Everything was in place, my son & I went. Very excited but also very nervous about all the things that could go wrong.
We arrived on Saturday. I had major problems getting on & off the minibus because I couldn’t step up high enough. I know from experience that this is the case & took a fold up step with me.
Monday night Bill Johnson was doing the talk. He’s someone I’ve followed for a few years, read a few of his books & had always wanted to hear preach.
After his talk, Bill Johnson received word from God about someone needing healing. A woman with arthritis. No a woman with 2 forms of arthritis. Wait. A woman with multiple types of arthritis. I’m sitting up & getting excited at this point. He went on to say this woman had food allergies. Tick. I’m almost on the edge of my seat. Then he said that this woman was over 50….
Major sulk! Petulant child with arms folded in front of me. He asked this woman to stand up to receive prayer for healing. No one stood up. A friend of mine was sitting 2 rows in front of me saying it was me & I should stand up. Nope. No way. I’m not any where near 50 & I wasn’t standing up! Bill Johnson then asked for anyone with any of these conditions to stand, to receive prayer for healing. I saw lots of people standing & with my friend insisting, I stood up.
People were asked to go to whoever was closest to them & start to pray.
Two strangers to me & to each other, came & laid hands on me & started to pray. Zara & Fleur. Fleur said that she felt it was my shoulder that she was being told to pray for. They both placed their hands on my shoulder & we started to pray. We were praying. Bill Johnson was praying. The other 6,000 or so people in the big top tent were praying.
They asked me to raise my right arm. I couldn’t. They asked me to try. I tried. I couldn’t do it. All of a sudden, my right arm shot up. Straight up. High up, above my head. I was in complete shock, then tears as I thanked Jesus! It was amazing! I could raise my right arm, without any restriction, above my head & there was no pain! A miracle!
I was crying. Thanking God. Thanking Jesus. Thanking Zara & Fleur for praying for me. They wanted to continue to pray for complete healing for me. We were praying so loudly & in such a deep way that we hadn’t realised that Bill Johnson had left the stage, the other 6,000 or so people had left the big top, that people had been in & cleaned/tidied up things/rubbish left in the rows of seats etc. In fact, everyone had gone except the 3 of us & a member of security who gently interupted us & apologetically asked if we could leave because he had to lock up. We had no idea how long we’d been praying or that everyone had gone!
Fleur told me that God had told her He was going to totally heal me. That this was only the beginning of my journey to being fully healed. I was to ask God for more, each & every day.
They asked me to try to walk without my crutch. I explained that I could walk for a short distance without my crutch but I’d be limping badly & in a lot of pain. They said to try. I tried but it was exactly as I had predicted.
We said good night to each other, with lots of hugs & tears. I walked back to our camp using my crutch but constantly raising my right arm above my head, as I openly shouted my thanks to Jesus.
I was still crying as I arrived but with a huge grin on my face. The other members from my church were gathered chatting & drinking tea/coffee. I wasn’t able to say much but stood there raising my arm up & down. Slowly, one by one they all realised what I was actually doing. I told everyone what had happened. A miracle.
I hardly slept that night. I was constantly raising & lowering my arm.
In the morning, I woke up & went straight to use the toilets. It wasn’t until I was on my way back to camp that I realised what I had just done. I woke up & got up straight away. I haven’t been able to do that in years. On a good morning, it will take 40 mins to be able to get up, on a bad morning it could take up to 2 hrs. This morning, I woke up & got straight up. Huh!? Strange….
I carried on with my day as normal. Prayed, got showered, dressed etc. At about 10.30 I was due to take some pain killers but realised I wasn’t in pain. Huh!? Ok. I won’t take any. After lunch, I spoke to another friend & told her that although I was using my crutch, I didn’t think I was actually needing it. I wasn’t in pain & didn’t think I was limping. My friend agreed to carry my crutch to evening worship in case I needed it. I didn’t need it & haven’t used it since! A miracle!
The next day, still raising my arms above my head, still without any medication & still not using my crutch, I went to different talks. On my way back to camp, I walked a different way. I passed a unusually shaped tree. As I stopped to look at it, I heard God tell me to climb it. I shrugged my shoulders (still aware that shrugging my shoulders was to be apreciated) & walked back to camp to drop off my bags.
As I got to camp, a few of the children were lazing in the sun after their lunch. I asked them if they want to climb a tree with me? You mean you’re going to take us to climb a tree? No. Do you want to climb a tree, with me? None of them believed I was going to do any climbing. I mean, I was on crutches yesterday so that wasn’t possible, right?
I was straight up that tree! Thoroughly proud of myself & thanking Jesus all the while! A miracle!
It was then that I realised that my glasses had been on top of my head all day. I’d not been wearing them. These glasses weren’t glasses I needed for reading or for seeing. These were glasses I’ve had to wear for a few years because my medication had made my skin photosensitive & this in turn had effected my eyes in the same way. Tinted glasses that if they weren’t worn for 10 to 20 minutes would give me the worst migraine.
Monday my shoulder was healed. Tuesday I was off my crutch. Wednesday I was no longer wearing my glasses. A miracle!
My healing is still going from strength to strength. I’m not able to kneel yet but the swelling in my knees is half the size it was on my best days.
My wonderful parents bought me a gorgeous bicycle for my birthday last week. Yes. I did say a bicycle. I’ve been out most days riding. The most I’ve rode in a day so far is just over 11 miles. A miracle!
This has all happened because of God’s Grace & God’s Glory. I have not been healed because God has found favour with me but because He has found favour with those around me. That’s you. My friends. And the friends of my friends.
I hope you were encouraged by this. Tanya was a good friend to me when I lived in London (the first time!) and she is also an amazing rabbit sitter.