Have you ever just been so amazed by something that you feel different? You shake, your eyes well, and your face won’t quit smiling?
All you can do is get down on the floor and say, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Today I heard a word I knew I would hear. Today I anticipated that word. For days, I’ve imagined it reaching my ears, the smile, and the excitement. Yet, I could have never known how sweet it would be until I actually heard it. Today the word, negative, changed my life for the better. I’ve never welcomed it more. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
As many of you know, I was diagnosed with TB infection about two months ago. I have been on INH (the preferred antibiotic for TB for a month). I was sick, exhausted, and becoming very depressed. (For more information, check out the testimonial on this very blog from a few weeks back.) About three weeks ago, I asked for prayer while we were serving our homeless friends under Jefferson Street Bridge here in Nashville. I was tired and had almost decided that it would be better for me to stay home and rest, but instead I went to The Bridge. That night, Heath and I were to be prayer partners. I’d been tearful. I felt like I couldn’t find a job, I couldn’t find myself in community here, I missed my family and friends in Alabama, and it was hard to keep my eyes open from the antibiotics I was on. How was I supposed to be the woman God has called me to be, find that lady I love, and be a fabulous new wife while feeling sick and stuck?
The first thing that happened that night when we arrived at The Bridge is that several people remembered us. When I say that they remembered us, whether from the wedding or from us volunteering at the ministry for about two years now, I don’t me that they don’t recognize our faces on other nights. However on this night, we were hugged, the lady that helps with the volunteer bracelets was excited to see us, and asked to see our wedding rings. In several ways, I was reminded that I do have family in Nashville, we are loved under The Bridge. The volunteers and the homeless at The Bridge are family to me. They are community. Mr. Christmas (The husband of the amazing woman that started the ministry who is a pastor here in Nashville.) told us to go have a seat in the chairs up front where some of the prayer partners sit on Tuesday nights. I hadn’t sat from that perspective since the wedding when he married us. It felt special. While we were singing I got up and went to talk to Mr. Christmas. I told him about some things that had been troubling us since we got married, that I had TB infection, that the medicine was making me ill, and that I was depressed. He said that he wanted to pray over me before we left. So during the prayer time, I prayed for two special ladies and then I stood as Heath, Mr. Christmas, and another pastor from his church laid hands on me and prayed for immediate healing.
We’d just listened to a pastor talk to the crowd about the woman with the blood disease in the Bible who reached out and grabbed the edge of Jesus’ robe (a very special story to me because I felt like God used it in my life in amazing ways when I was healing from self-harm). He also talked about Jesus healing the blind man, one of Heath’s favorite accounts of Jesus healing in the Bible. I listened to Candy as she quoted a shirt she’d seen that read, The church has left the building. I wanted one. I stood as three beautiful, Godly men prayed for healing in my life.
May I share with you my story? Pastor Daniel asked. Yes, I answered. He said that his family was a praying family and later in life he found out that he had tuberculosis. They found crystalized scar tissue in his lungs and that later when going to the doctor for his liver, he mentioned the connection with TB. The doctor prayed over him. Another x-ray was preformed and there was no scar tissue and no sign of him ever having tuberculosis. His name was Daniel, like the prophet. Daniel held my hand as he and Mr. Christmas imparted faith to me. As Paul did in the Bible, they shared some of their faith with me. While they were praying, I chose to believe God. I began walking in a miracle from a beautiful God that’s bigger than imaginable. He is listening. He is here. He cares. Powerful. Loving. Great.
While Heath and I were helping put away the chairs, I told him that I didn’t want to take the medicine anymore and that I wanted to be re-tested for TB because I believed God had healed me. The next day, I called the Department of Health that had initially diagnosed me with TB infection and where they were overseeing my treatment. I was told that the test would not be re-ordered by the state because I had been exposed to TB, I carried the bacteria that causes TB, and that the test was accurate and ALWAYS came back positive once someone had tested positive for TB. I was advised that I could go somewhere else and get a test done on my own, but that it was a waste of time because once a test reads positive, it’s impossible for it to read differently. I called my primary care physician and told him what happened, how sick I’d been from the medicine, and that I believed God had healed me. I knew he was a believer in God and healing. He’d also been part of my journey when God did great healing in my life before. He said that it was true that people always test positive after having been exposed to TB, but he wanted me to get a second opinion and see a specialist because the side effects.
Several beautiful confirmations and hugs from God came before that second test was preformed. I read a verse in my Bible that talked about God releasing from their troubles those who had high regard for the weak. A girl at the temp job I was doing said, “God listened to you.” It was in reference to something different and kind of out of the blue. She didn’t know I was a Christian, and I felt like the Spirit was calling me to pay close attention at the time, to take in the moment. I went to the walk-in clinic that afternoon and told them that I wanted another test. They’d done an early chest x-ray for me when I’d first be diagnosed. This time I noticed some things. The Bible verse on the wall, the lion (Aslan) up on the cabinet. The doctor there agreed to do the test. He was the second doctor that day that told me he’d never heard of the blood test that they use to test for TB (I later found out it is fairly new and used by those who do more specialized work with TB because it is more accurate than the skin test). I felt God that day, smiled, and praised Him in my car all the way home after having my arm punctured for the test. I knew it would be clear. Anytime, thoughts would come into my head that were contrary, I asked to be healed from any unbelief. Every couple of hours, I smiled at Heath and showed him my arm. Clear. In fact, nothing came up on my arm at all. Even a bump coming up on your arm is not how they determine if you have TB, they measure it in centimeters and test its firmness. We walked in at 4pm on Saturday, as I’d been instructed (Ok, we were early because I was excited!), and the nurse looked and said it read negative. The doctor ran his hand over my arm and said, There’s absolutely nothing there. I’d been after they injected me with the test, knowing that not only had God healed me from TB, but that He would have to do the impossible, change the outcome of the test. Knowing it was a Christian facility, I told them about what happened at The Bridge and how I believed God healed me. They were excited, and the doctor thought it was very interesting that I’d had two clear x-rays and now a negative test. He said that if I’d come there for testing, they never would have used a blood test instead of a skin test, and I would’ve never started the medicine. He was interested to see what the DOH would say and faxed them their findings.
The DOH told me that the test was fallible. That the results could be a false negative. That they believed in healing, but also in taking medicine when it was needed. It was up to me whether I continued the medicine, but that they wouldn’t make the decision without another blood test. I went to get my medicine and although they wanted me to start it back because my body had rested from it for over a week, my doctor wanted me to wait until after I saw the specialist. He, like me, was excited that God had healed me. Heath and I had left the walk-in clinic a few days earlier thanking God and celebrating at Chuy’s. Both Heath and Dr. Alford said, God doesn’t just do thing part way.
Now, while the guys prayed for me under The Bridge, they also prayed for healing from the depression I’d been feeling. The next week I struggled a bit after running out of my anxiety medicine that helps me sleep. It wasn’t a fun thing. It was a hard week, but it wasn’t the same as it had been before. I went to The Bridge and served despite my feelings because I knew I needed to be brave, to be there, and to be with God. That week God blessed me with a new job (that I really enjoy going to), I got to see my family, and some hopeful possibilities happened with our housing situation. All of these things occurred during the week after the prayer at The Bridge. and not because of anything I did, but because God is bigger than, well, everything. I also found out that the shirt Candy had mentioned, The church has left the building, was from a church in Brentwood and I asked the missions director if I could come and buy one. We spoke, he gave me the shirt, and when I left he said (having never met me), Wear it in good health. I’d never heard of this shirt until the night I was prayed over at The Bridge. I’d googled it and found it here in Nashville.
So, I made an appointment at Vanderbilt for last Monday. I didn’t ask for prayer because all I wanted to do was be thankful. God already healed me. He didn’t have to do it again. I was nervous to go to the Infectious Disease Clinic (I am OCD, and I asked God for a doctor who was kind and who would listen. She was amazing to me, and she said that the problem with having the new test and the skin test was this — what if you tested positive on one and negative on the other? She told me about other treatment options and the option of me just playing the odds, but that they would re-do the blood test for me and then we would talk. Maybe it was a false positive. Maybe it was a false negative. Maybe your pastors really did heal you. (I thought, Pastors don’t heal people, God does. However, I was thankful for her kindness and her listening ear.) She also told me that false negatives are mostly common with elderly people and that given my age and that my immune system works the test should have showed some kind of reaction. So the doctor left me in the room for the nurse to take my blood.
I sat there and I prayed. I thanked God. I smiled. I prayed claiming that His blood was alive inside of me and believed it would be His blood they were taking. I waited while more samples were taken. Four tubes. Today I called for the second time to ask if the test results had come back (It takes a week.), even though I knew the answer (I believe please heal me from any unbelief). I know how great God is. When we’d told Mr. Christmas about the negative test from the walk-in clinic he’d said, “God cared about you.” It surprised me, his response, but it was what I needed to hear at that moment.
Today I heard the word. Negative. The nurse said that she’d mailed me a letter, that the doctor said my thyroid was fine, and that my blood test was NEGATIVE. No sign that there was recent TB infection. No reason to continue medication. I was shaky. I thanked her. When I got off the phone at work I teared up, overwhelmed and amazed by God. Overwhelmed and amazed. I went to share with my coworker. No one could know how I was feeling, meeting with God on the inside at that moment, but I wanted to share. I want Him to be blessed, to receive the glory. My mind was blown. I went to get my things to leave and got down on my knees with my head on the floor. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I was in a daze.
Lord, I am amazed by you. I said this when I got home and laid face down on the hardwood floors at our house. How thankful I was to Him for letting me believe in Him for big things, even when others told me they were impossible, and for never letting me down. Every day I am loved and cared about by God. Today I felt very loved and special. Miracles do happen. Never believe God for just the small.
My God, how great thou art.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Even without words.
In the next minute,
in the following days,
when the things come,
when the distractions rise
may I never forget this moment.
Lord, you are Healer to me.
Lord, if you can, heal my son!
Jesus looked at him and said, If you can? Anything is possible for him who believes.
He replied, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!
Mark (I think), The Bible