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Greetings! Many of you recently received a letter from my sister describing the Lord’s healing in her life, and I want to join my voice with hers in honoring our Physician! I also have been healed. Truly Jesus is faithful to seek out the sick and needy so He can bind up their wounds. He is a God who keeps His word. He gives us our heart’s desires in this life as well as in the life to come.
Many of you have helped relieve our burden during these years of physical stalemate through your thoughfulness, prayers of faith, and practical acts of love... That is why you are receiving this letter. Besides wanting to share the awesome news with you all, I wanted to thank you for standing with my family and me during some pretty lonely and confusing times. You probably don’t realize how important that was.
There are also those among you who are my friends from the world of chronic illness. We’ve been there for each other, we truly know what the other is going through, we’ve shared a very difficult season of waiting. I want you especially to know how thankful I am for your friendship. What a special joy I have in relating this new season of my life to you with the anticipation of sharing it as well.
I want to say up front that I understand what it means to hear many different, often contradictory paths and promises of health and healing. I’ve experienced what it means to repeatedly pursue those promises only to come up short somehow, to find less than was promised, and hoped for, and sincerely believed for. So, it is not lightly or prematurely that I write my testimony.
I believe truth has to stand the testing to be true. Truth will weather the test of time, knowledge, and godly discernment. A good tree bears good fruit. The basis for the healing that has touched my sister, brother and I, as well as many friends has stood these tests.
For those who aren’t familiar with my history, I began to experience a loss of health at the age of thirteen, in 1984. When I began to have reocurring bouts with Mono and bronchitis, my parents realized there was something wrong with my ability to resist illness. I also started to experience unexplainable fatigue, pain, confusion, and other symptoms not in conjunction with these illnesses. My parents brought me to many doctors and specialists who administered a myriad of tests, trying to understand what was causing my symptoms. I was a creative and active young girl, what was happening to me physically was not normal, but no one could come up with firm answers. I received all kinds of diagnoses, including rheumatoid arthritis, depression, hypochondria, chronic viral infection, then finally, Chronic Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. This last diagnosis fit the bill, but while it was a relief to know what illness I had, the sobering fact was there was no understood root cause or cure for it.
As the years progressed, so did my physical problems. Despite many treatments, diet and lifestyle modifications, I developed other diseases and symptoms: food allergies, increased hypoglycemia (a major factor in CFIDS), chronic and extreme sleep-related disorder, non-inflammatory muscle pain, IBS, thyroid dysfunction, and especially, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (Aka. Environmental Illness). Between the prison walls of CFIDS and MCS/EI, I lost my entire adolescence and young adulthood. And my brother and sister began to fall sick with the same illnesses six years after I did.
When all was said and done, the treatments, diets, and altered routines made it possible through some alleviation of symptoms for us to keep going. But it became apparent as the years progressed that nothing was bringing significant restoration. All that our efforts amounted to was disease management, not cure. Instead of climbing the slope to recovery, we found ourselves caught in a cycle of survival that basically had the effect of making illness the definitive element of our life.
To come out of the quagmire of CFIDS and MCS/EI is to come out of a prison house, and that is exactly what the Lord Jesus came to earth to rescue us from! “I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring prisoners out from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house, I am the Lord, that is My name, My glory I will not give to another...” (Isaiah 42:7-8)
Before I go any further, here are some ways the Lord has set me free: Instead of waking up tired, I wake up with a full day’s worth of energy. I don’t have to plan my life in minutes anymore, I can plan weeks and years ahead. Instead of a hike to the mailbox, I can hike a mountain trail. Instead of having to eat expensive, alternative foods to avoid allergic reactions (to wheat, soy, nuts, dairy, sucrose, additives, eggs, etc.), I can eat anything without a reaction, the way God created my body to. Instead of being isolated by allergies to even extremely small amounts of chemicals found in public places, I can go wherever I want without fear of reaction. I can go to school, church, peoples’ homes again after over a decade quarantined because of illness. I can drive significant distances without fear of memory loss, confusion and panic attacks. My chronic sleep problems are gone; I no longer have months at a time where my daytime is in darkness and my nighttime is keeping the sun behind the shades. “Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let Him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God!” (Isaiah 50:10)
Can you imagine what it is like to read the Bible and not have to “spiritualize” my illness above all of those passages about healing, about God’s desire to heal, clearly spoken and demonstrated through Jesus? Can you imagine the relief to finally understand a little bit WHY, when for years I and my family went to God for healing, with tears and faith and anointed oil, I was still not healed?
When I described how my family and I pursued healing from the medical and alternative medical community, there was a parallel spiritual pursuit too. I was raised in a Christian family, I accepted Christ when I was six years old. My parents, three other siblings and I loved God and served Him as faithfully as we knew how. My parents asked the Lord to heal their children—they prayed, they fasted, they did battle for us.
I prayed and asked my God for healing. I remember praying, “God, I can’t stop hoping in You. You are all I have. I know You are going to answer my cry, Your Word says You will. I’ve heard of people healed, even people with the diseases I have. Jesus healed all those who came to Him, You don’t have favorites. Please heal me.” As time passed, I continued to hold on to this hope: that God would give a doctor somewhere the wisdom for a cure, or I would have a miraculous healing. I couldn’t imagine He would heal me any other way.
Months turned into years and I continued to pray. I prayed from the depths of my heart. I prayed in sincere faith. I claimed scripture promises. I waited for His perfect timing. My parents and family continued to pray. Several churches prayed. I was anointed with oil and prayed for by the elders of our church (James 4). I went through spiritual warfare books and prayers. I listened to songs and sermons and studies. I claimed, I stood, I rested, I worked, I resisted, I watched, I believed, I hoped, I persisted, I sacrificed, I submitted, I died to my flesh, I waited….
No healing. After years, the questions come: “God is love, He says He will answer my prayers, He says, ‘I am the God who heals you…’, so why doesn’t He answer my and others’ prayers for healing?!? What do You want me to do, Lord? What am I missing? Is this a great test, the great trial of my life, my cross?”
Anyone who has gone through it will agree that it challenges a believers’ faith deeply when God doesn’t seem to answer their prayers for healing.
No Christian can live with these difficult circumstances without in some way making a resolution about God’s role in them. It raises questions that have to be answered, and will be, either consciously or in the secret places of the heart. Sometimes the right answer, though, is to keep listening for His answer.
After years of waiting and doing all I knew to do, I concluded that God must have a special reason for not healing me. I decided I must be one of the chosen ones like Paul, whose answer was to be, “My grace is sufficient for you.” I decided that, while I still believed God could heal, this illness must be for my own good and God’s glory. It was a blessing to me, to make me rely on Him more, which it seemed to do... My illness and the torment of it was to make me more like Christ, to make me like Him in His sufferings. Though I was dying daily on the outside, I would be increasingly renewed on the inside. All this was scripture, and I applied it to me. The pieces fit. So my spiritual world was in order again.
I never perceived that it was ME, not God, doing the ordering. I didn’t remember that my enemy, a liar who steals, kills and destroys, knows how to quote scripture. In light of God’s seeming silence, my flesh, dressed in religious reasoning, with the Enemy’s help, found some stones I could turn into bread. It was the only way my world made sense again. But, “Let God be true, but every man a liar!” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” (Romans 3:4, Proverbs 3:5)
The way the Lord brought me and my siblings, and many others to healing from otherwise incurable diseases is simple; please understand that. It’s what the Enemy of God enmeshes us in that is not simple. “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:3)
I want to expose the lies I fell into, so that I can comfort others the way God has comforted me. It was lies that brought our bodies to a point of breakdown, and it is simple truth that set us free. My brother, sister and I walk in healing after years of incurable illness, and it’s because the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. There is no change in Him. His words don’t come back to Him empty; they accomplish the purpose for which He sent them.
Listen to the hope in these words! “Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him smitten by God and afflicted. But He was pierced for our sins, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Isaiah 53, Psalms 103)
During the summer of 1998, a good friend of mine, also a long-time sufferer of CFIDS and MCS/EI, went to a seminar hosted by a Wycliffe mission center. A pastor, Henry Wright, was scheduled to speak about “Spiritually Rooted Diseases,” and she wanted to hear what he had to say. A couple years earlier a woman who had been healed of MCS/EI sent her a tape by Pastor Wright, who taught that this illness, as well as CFIDS, were spiritually rooted diseases, and if treated accordingly, were curable. She threw the tape away, as I would have! We had heard so much to the effect that our illnesses were all in our heads, and this seemed like a religious version of the same tune. And, being raised in the church from childhood, this sounded a little off—certainly nothing she’d heard of in Sunday school! However, as she heard more about what this pastor was saying, her spirit and a personal examination of scriptures bore witness with it.
She called me after the seminar was over to tell me about it. Honestly, I was skeptical about the whole idea that my disease had a spiritual root. I had a good relationship with God, I had fruit in my life, I felt my prayer and praise life were great, I grieved over my shortcomings, I helped people around me as I could, I was a mature Christian, I was suffering in God’s will. And this guy is going to lay another burden on me by telling me I have a spiritual problem? I don’t think so. I will tell you, what broke my skepticism was not what this pastor said, but what God did through it for the health of my friend.
She was worse off than I was in both diseases. She had nearly died several times from throat closure, and experienced severe muscle weakness and collapse in allergic reaction to chemicals and foods. She, as I did, had to use an industrial strength, chemical filtering face mask nearly anywhere outside her home. The final night of the seminar, the pastor led those who were sick in prayer, encouraging them to repent before the Lord of those things that were demonstrated as being a spiritual factor in their illness. She told me she prayed and was prayed for that evening and then she took off her mask—in a room full of chemically saturated people, carpet, and chairs—and was fine.
I could not argue with that. I knew her too well to deny that was a major change. Nor, as she continued to speak, could I argue with what was bearing witness in my own heart. This pastor taught that God knows how our bodies are wired together, that He created us to be very chemically responsive to what is happening in our spirit-man. For example, he explained, when a person panics, their cerebral cortex sends signals to the hypothalamus gland—the brain of the endocrine system. It in turn sends out impulses and chemicals that make the body respond with a faster heartbeat, slower metabolism, an adrenaline rush, dry mouth, shaking knees, etc. This is called a “fight or flight” reaction. Normally, this lasts only a few minutes. However, when a person is in bondage to fear, when stress and anxiety are a way of life, their body is going to respond very negatively. You weren’t wired to remain in constant “fight or flight,” and many serious illnesses are the result of just that.
Pastor Wright went further on to say that fear is in fact a sin, not simply a “negative emotion.” How many times in the Word does God say, “Do not fear”? We are not to be in bondage again to a spirit of fear… Fear, stress and anxiety are not emotions we need to “manage,” but sin we need to repent of. Only then can we be free of it. He observed that when people repented of those sins, turned away from them and were cleansed from spiritual bondage, their bodies started to return to health.
Through the Word, pastoral observation and education by the medical community, he discerned that not only did the sin of fear have a physical consequence, but also sins like self-hatred, unforgiveness, jealousy, rebellion, double-mindedness, bitterness, anger, rejection, occult involvement, self-condemnation, etc. Generational sins, and traumas like abuse, and failure of a man to be a godly leader in the home also manifested in the physical realm.
With this discernment he was seeing people with a myriad of incurable diseases completely healed. He wasn’t operating in the gift of healing—people were simply responding to a revelation of truth about their life, repenting, being set free from spiritual bondage, and their bodies were returning back to health as a result.
After my friend’s call, I sat on the sofa with a growing conviction of the truth in what I just heard. I never would have called myself a fearful person, but the practical reality is that I was. I functioned daily in a gut belief that fear, not the Holy Spirit, gave me foresight, and made me alert to details that I would not notice otherwise. Fear was looking out for me, because, let’s face it, God failed to protect me and those I loved one too many times. The same with bitterness. After wiping away some religious denial, I had to admit I believed God wasn’t just when it came to standing up for me; I needed a wall against people who hurt me, and Bitterness was a better defense lawyer than God. I discovered I was bitter against God, myself, and others. That was another thing Pastor Wright pointed out: disease is often a result of separation from God, yourself, and others. When it comes to healing, bitterness has to go. It is the sin God said would open your life to spiritual torment (Matt.18:35), and where you find spiritual torment you will find physical torment. He just didn’t create us—spirit, soul, or body—to function in unrepentant sin! (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
So, that night, overwhelmed with a deep and refreshing conviction, I let go of all the things I knew I had turned to instead of God, especially those things Pastor Wright said were at the root of my illnesses. I really felt like a infant, helpless, dependent for my very life, it was a frightening feeling. Hope was starting to awaken in my heart again, hope that I could be healed— truly, finally healed. It was too good to be true, too simple. Fear and other spirits of Satan’s kingdom fought over my thoughts and emotions. I had been disappointed too many times! But God did not let me go, and hope grew into single-hearted anticipation that He not only wanted to cleanse my heart, He wanted to heal my body, too. The new refreshment I felt in my spirit testified that indeed something big was about to change.
It did. Three months later I began to see changes in my energy, in how I felt all over. I could think clearer, I could breathe more comfortably, I could eat small portions of once forbidden foods…. I began the process of “walk-out,” taking back the abundant life God promised me, with the Holy Spirit, and help from the family of God (tapes from Pastor Wright’s ministry helped tremendously). Within six months I was 80% well, and after a year, 100% well. The pain of fourteen years of life-devastating disease is now just a memory! God is good!
I first wrote this testimony during the fall of 1999; it is now 2004 and I remain in total healing. My brother was healed soon after I was, and God healed my friend and my sister during a stay at Pleasant Valley Church in Thomaston, GA. Other friends were healed by simply responding to the Holy Spirit as He spoke through our testimonies. God has no formula, but His truth remains the same.
I had so many questions about things, and no doubt you do too! Please feel free to contact Pleasant Valley Church. They have many resources available, including awesome ministry and training programs. Thousands of people—the sick, doctors, pastors—come yearly from across the country and around the world to partake of this awesome grace of God in discernment for healing. Some examples of disease that God is healing through the ministry: Asthma, Allergies (food, particle, chemical), Anorexia, Bulimia, Cancers (including breast and Leukemia), Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease, Blood Pressure disorders, Crohn’s, Panic Attacks, Addictions, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Arthritis, Sleep Disorders, Spiritual Oppression, Depression, Manic Depression, Schizophrenia/MPD, OCD, ADD/ADHD, Scoliosis, CFIDS, MCS/EI, Lupus, Some Virus Related Diseases, Osteoporosis, Epilepsy, MS, Cysts, Parkinson’s Disease, Skin Disorders, Migraines, Hypo- and Hyper-thyroidism and others. Creative miracles also take place at Pleasant Valley Church as they operate in all the gifts as a home church for the area.
The ministry notes on their materials and carries out in practice that they “Do not seek to be in conflict with any medical or psychiatric practices, nor do we seek to be in conflict with any church and its religious doctrines, beliefs or practices. We are not counselors, but ministers, administering the Scriptures in line with 1 Corinthians 12, Psalm 103:3, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 and Ephesians 4.
We are not a part of Medicine or Psychology, yet we work to make them more effective, rather than working against them. We believe many human problems are fundamentally spiritual with associated psychological and physiological manifestations.”
It is my hope that the changes God has brought to my and so many other lives will bless you too. Good news spreads quickly and keeps spreading! It is so awesome to praise Him with you!
P.L., Central, SC USA