Do you believe in miracles?
I experienced my first miracle when I was about four or five-years-old. The memory of it is just as clear today as though it happened weeks ago rather than decades. My family was living in the parsonage of a church, my father’s first position as pastor in Brooklyn, New York. On this night, there were cats screeching and screaming in the alleyway and my sisters and I were fearful at the sound. As a child, it sounded like they were fighting and killing one another. As an adult, I realize it could have been that or it could have been a violent mating ritual. No matter the actual event, the sound was terrifying. My parents tucked us in and bade us goodnight but we were so upset by the otherworldly sounds outside of our window we could not settle.
“Let’s pray about it, okay?” Daddy started the prayer and we all joined in. I cannot remember the words we each said but I do remember the sound of my father’s voice asking God to calm our fears and my biological mother’s tone as she said, “and let the cats be quiet as soon as we say amen.” The prayer was finished, we all said, “amen,” and there was silence. It was the loudest silence I had heard up to that point in my life. Deafening. We thanked God for hearing and answering our prayers but I laid awake for quite some time half expecting to hear the cats attempt to defy my big God. They never did.
That was the first answer to prayer and miracle I recall in my life but not the last.
For those of you who have known me for some time, I have never hidden my faith or my walk. From the time little me slid my bowl of Spaghetti-o’s to one side, asked my parents to help me pray to ask Jesus into my heart, and then went on with my dinner, I have loved my Daddy God and tried to live out my faith in the ways I could understand. There have been peaks, valleys, oppressive shadows, radiant sunlight, sickness, health, death, and life, but through it all has been God. Even during the two and a half years that I battled myself due to trauma while away at university, my faith in the Most High remained.
This last eleven years has been riddled with serious medical issues that have baffled doctors and specialists, left me struggling physically, resulted in over a dozen major surgeries, left me with more scars that answers, and even prompted me to draft what I assumed were goodbye letters to friends and family should I not make it another day. As frightening as those moments of inwardly making peace with my death were, living in constant, agonizing, medicated, inconsolable pain were oftentimes worse. I know because I have lived both lives.
In the interest of time, I want to skip ahead to my most recent encounter with the miraculous but I will revisit the saga of my lengthy medical journey at another time. Make sure you are signed up for my newsletter and connected with me on social media so you will be notified when that chapter of my life is ready for reading.
Back to the present. Saturday, December 12th, met me with a horrific migraine. It plagued me all day long and I was unable to function. As far as I can remember, I accomplished hardly a thing besides barely feeding myself and napping fitfully. Sometime shortly before pouring the mushy goo of my being into bed, I texted the worship leader at my church to tell him I had a migraine and may not be able to sing in church the following Sunday morning. Well, I awoke around 0300hrs with the familiar hangover that I let me know I had just had a seizure episode.
That clinched it. The brain fog, need for medication, exhaustion, pain, and more signaled my inability to drive anywhere, let alone serve by singing on the worship team. Guh, I have been singing since before I could really talk and it has been the only thing I have ever really wanted to DO do if I were able to choose my “job.” Each Sunday I am unable to use my voice or my guitar to present my worship at the foot of the throne and help others enter into a heart of worship is one where I feel … wasted.
This same, physically challenging Sunday, my phone chirped and dinged unremittingly and I saw invitations from friends to attend a service where an amazing evangelist, by the name of Nathan Morris, would be speaking. There was such excitement in their messages and urgency in their attitudes and I knew I needed to go. I was not very familiar with his ministry or his giftedness, but I learned that day.
Evangelist Nathan Morris of Shake the Nations Ministry.
On this particular evening, at World Evangel Prayer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, things shifted. After an amazing message, Ev. Morris asked if any present would stand in the breach for our faith, Church, our God, and our country. The service had been powerful already and I had no idea what would come next. He asked all of those who would stand in the breach to come forward. I knew this was a call for my heart and my walk, so I went forward. My pup trotted along beside me, ever the loyal service dog.
Once up there, Ev. Morris got out of the way and allowed the Lord to move through him. Before this evening, I had only seen one of his messages and watched a sort of promo clip of him doing healings, but I was as skeptical as any human and believer in the Most High should be. I have full faith and confidence in the miraculous nature of God and that miracles are present even today - that is far from the issue - but I have seen people pretend to be slain in the Spirit, have read of many churches having “plants” in the audiences or congregations for “healers” and “prophets,” and the like. Mighty men have fallen low when their “sideshow acts” were brought to light and it has cast a mighty shadow on Christians and the very real phenomena of miracles.
This Sunday night, I needed to stand in the breach, miracle or not. Up to the front I went, grateful to have the company of some new friends who have become my family in front, behind, and on both sides of me. The closer I got to the stage, the more I was aware of a palpable change in the - for lack of a better term - atmosphere. With each step I recommitted to focusing only on what the Lord was going to do with me, emptying myself of any expectations, keeping my eyes on Ev. Nathan Morris or my pup, and eventually just closing my eyes and listening to the words soaring through the speakers and the music hanging in the air. This was a moment between me and my Daddy God.
Eyes closed. Arm raised at the elbow, parallel to the ground, palms toward heaven. Head bowed. My heart, open. My self, empty. The day’s preparation of emptying myself found me asking God to touch me in a way He had never touched me before. Whatever that was, my answer was “yes and amen.”
I have no idea how much time passed and, quite honestly, I lost track of my friends. You see, due to spinal trauma suffered during a routine spinal fusion, I was diagnosed with something called Brown-Sequard Syndrome (BSS). One symptom of this syndrome is that I have a lack of proprioception - meaning that I do not know where my body is in space. Where your radar may tell you that someone is moving close to you, how the average person can walk up a flight of stairs knowing where the position the next footfall, and the mechanism that allows one to pass a roadside sobriety test are some of the aspects of my body’s perception that are now missing. Some days are worse than others. The night of December 13th, my radar was practically gone, robbing me of any idea how close anyone was to me.
Without a moment’s hesitation, I placed my left hand on my neck - as close to the site of the incision from my two, failed, cervical spine fusions as possible. This was the medical issue that was limiting so much of my life. This was the situation that I had allowed to consume so many sleepless nights. This was the monster that I permitted to feed my fear. This was the foundation of the, “the life you used to live and know is now over,” statements from my specialists.
Eyes closed. Heart open. Self empty. Yes and amen.
The swell of praise and worship and music and prayer and celebration was thick as I realized tears were running down my face and falling from my chin. Ev. Nathan Morris stopped the music and asked those of us who had prayed with him, commanded sickness to flee, and touched our bodies with faith that our Father in heaven heals to test our bodies and see if there was any change. Were we healed?
Eyes closed. Heart open. Self empty. Yes and amen.
No. I moved my neck and felt the familiar icepick, the streaking lightning down my shoulders, and the limited range of motion. Nothing had changed. That prickly voice of doubt and lack of faith tried to hiss in my ear, awakening embarrassment and shutting down my, “yes and amen.”
Eyes closed. Heart open. Self empty. Yes and amen.
The warm jelly slid down my spine cord until it was just between my scapula and slowed down dramatically.
There were so many sounds around me. People were cheering, Ev. Morris was healing people on stage, the music was a declaration of praise, and the chatter of people lost in their own conversations pressed in all around me. The temptation to lose the point was almost overwhelming but I was determined to focus on this one encounter with my Daddy God.
Eyes closed. Heart open. Self empty. Yes and amen.
For the second time, Ev. Nathan Morris commanded us to test our bodies to see that we were healed. Was I healed? I was healed. The range of motion opened wide as I turned my head from side to side. The burning acid and searing lightning from my pinched nerve, my spinal fusion complications, my other nerve damage and all of it - gone, gone, gone, gone, gone. Simultaneously, my fear of and uncertainty concerning the future were gone.
There is no other way to say it - I wept. Yes, I was crying but the overwhelming emotion and catharsis was one I had not felt since the day I rededicated my life to Christ as a young adult finishing up my undergrad. This was more than tears or crying. I wept. Merriam Webster defines weep as “to express deep sorrow or passion for usually by shedding tears” and even that does not do the fullness of the experience justice.
An earthquake hit my soul. The Holy Spirit charged into the deep within me, shattering all of the “why me” and “it’s all my fault” and “I'm hideous” and “I deserve the bad” and “no one will ever really love me” and “I don’t matter” and the acceptance of earthly limitations and the lies of Satan that I allowed to distract and derail me. He flooded every dark corner with marvelous light and there was relief. That valley in which I had been living, shrouded in darkness and fog, exploded with promises and prospect and purpose.
Eyes open. Heart open. Self open. Yes and amen!
There was nothing else I could do but sing along with the swelling worship in the sanctuary! I opened my mouth, took a deep breath, and started right in, but the second breath caught me completely off guard.
Singing has always been my first love but one that came with the complicated strings of severe asthma triggered by many things and sometimes nothing at all. From the time I could babble, I was singing, and some of my fondest musical memories were singing four-part harmony with my two sisters and mother in church or anywhere else. My baby sister and I used to perform the National Anthem at sporting and formal events, something I miss very much. Well, having such weak lungs resulted in my finding ways to work around the limitation - such as memorizing songs in advance to determine where to breathe extra times without sounding too out of breath.
On December 13th, the second, singing breath after my spine was healed almost choked me. The only way I can describe it was that I almost drowned on all of the air that rushed into my mouth. It just kept flooding in and filling lungs that have never, ever absorbed that much air. Once the panic of being inundated with so much oxygen subsided I was able to sing the next line of the song without my additional breath break.
Wait, what? I kept singing.
No way!! And straight on through the next line. No breath.
Stop it right now! No, don’t stop!
This was more than I had commanded healing for. I placed my hand on my neck and commanded the pain and damage to go because it was the worst problem and greatest limitation in my life at present. It was something I had been suffering from for at least six years but maybe more like 14. My asthma, on the other hand, has been a part of my life for my entire life but I have never asked for God to take it away or commanded it be healed - it was a part of me. God decided to show off a bit and give me more than I could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) because He loves me just that much.
The next week was rich with sharing my experience with so many of my friends and family that I have lost count. While on the phone with my Daddy, he told me of a supernatural experience from his youth when the Holy Spirit covered him in protection with something he could only describe as “warm honey.” WHAT!?!? I know! Come on, God. I love it when He Shows off by confirming things like this in the stories of many different people at completely different times and places. And to have it be my own father with such a similar experience? SO GOOD!
Of course, some will say that my body just healed up - no miracle. Some will believe I was not as injured as I claimed and just gave up the act - no miracle. They will be wrong and the mountain of medical records documenting everything from examinations to scans to surgeries and more will attest to that fact. The reactions I have received from the physicians and specialists who have seen me since my miracle have ranged from complete disbelief, acquiescence to the fact that "something" has changed but unwillingness to go with my version of the truth, and one specialist who high-fived me with a "hallelujah." Their belief or disbelief in my Abba does not change what He did for me and wants to do for you.
What a blessing to be able to experience the miraculous healing the Lord was waiting for me to receive. God can use anyone, anywhere, in a myriad of ways to do the miraculous if we are willing to come to the end of ourselves, trust Him, and step out to do it. I remember reading a blog post by Anthony Scott Ingram and he wrote,
"The authority of a believer, today, does not come from within ourselves, and it cannot be something we claim
for ourselves. Our authority is explicitly given by Jesus, the same as it was to His disciples, and therefore we can only accomplish the things He commanded us to do, by doing them “in His name.” It is the name of Jesus
that is our ‘badge’ of authority."
This is the authority that Ev. Morris understands and acts upon - the same authority every believer has access to and is commanded to tap into.
So, what next? I’m sure you are wondering just as much as I am. Well, whatever God wants. He is going to open doors for me, speak to my heart, answer my questions, and more and I am committed to a response of ,”yes and amen” as I press in to hear from HIm. He healed me for a reason and I cannot wait to see where this testimony and this new body take me in His service.
If you want to know more about what a relationship with God is like, if you have been curious about a feeling that something is missing, if you need healing in any way, or all of the above, we should chat. I would love to share my faith and pray for/with you.
I am Christian Straightedge Christ follower, an Army Brat, an ex-milso, founder and CEO of FitnessAnyaMind, a sofa CEO, a nomad, a fur baby mom, and a mindset builder. I enjoy nature, reading, music, cooking, and taking care of those whom I love.