Waiting On Prayer
I don’t speak about my childhood very much. In fact, unless provoked or compelled to share my testimony with people I love and trust, it is not readily exposed. In continuing the series on kingdom living vs. worldly living I realize that my testimony has a lot to do with hope, so this month’s post will reveal the journey of Waiting on Prayer.
I was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, a kidney disease, at the age of 4. At the time of my diagnosis research was not advanced enough nor was there substantial information on the disease. Truly it was mysterious on how I even got it. Much later in the 90’s it was discovered that Nephrotic Syndrome was linked to the Chicken Pox, which made complete sense as I was diagnosed shortly after recovering from the viral infection.
Some symptoms of the disease were significant weight gain due to the steroids taken to support my kidneys, water retention, a buffalo back (hunch back), swelling in the face, hands and feet, lack of mobility due to severe cramping in the legs, among many other things. Just reading these symptoms one would reconcile that a child would not be able to participate in physical activity like sports, dance or much of anything. This was indeed the case for me. For almost 10 years (4 year to 13 years), I rarely participated in after school activities, sleep overs with friends or anything fun. My relapses led me to be in the Children’s Hospital more times than not and the bright colourful walls of the play area was my familiar place amongst all the other children battling their own sickness. It’s fair to say that my family truly became my everything, which is likely why I have such an unbreakable bond with them. They were my saving grace, my protection, my best friends and at times, my only friends.
Elementary School was torment. Bullying was at its finest. In fact, one day after school the girls and boys in my 5th grade class thought it was prudent to torment me in the school parking lot amongst all the parents waiting for their children. My mother waiting in her red Mazda was horrified one day when she saw me being pelted by stones from my classmates. I will never forget that day. The agonizing screams of my mother as she opened the car door running across the lot shouting “Stop! Someone stop them! Please stop!” Not one parent watching from their cars or in close proximity to me came to my rescue that day. Not one. My mother shielded me as the children laughed and taunted and she held me tight reassuring me that it was going to be okay. Rest assured, my Italian mother is one of great compassion and love, but if you so dare mess with one of her children, momma bear certainly prevails. I never did return to that school. Actually, my parents removed me and my younger siblings from that school to set a precedent that bullying and lack of safety would never be in question for their children.
As I got older High School obviously became much worse. In physical appearance, I looked different than the rest. Emotionally, I was withdrawn, self-conscious, lacked esteem, and felt rejected. It’s one thing to have children mock and taunt, but it’s something vastly different hearing it from teachers and perfect strangers. This is likely why I am such a huge advocate and preach so strongly about speaking life and encouragement over people. It truly is because I’ve had words of rejection spoken over me continuously. It is by God’s grace that He has given me a level of compassion and a teachable Spirit enabling me to rise up and be an example of love that was contrary to my own experience.
I’m thankful God blessed me with a mother and father of strength, prayer and what seemed like unshakable faith. Yes, of course their faith was tested, but through the years of my disease I only saw their relentless hope that one day I would be healed. I can recall an evening after coming home from a parent teacher interview. I was in my room tucked into bed while my mother and father were in the room next door. My mother was distraught saying “One day those teachers are going to regret their words. My daughter is brilliant, smart and beautiful. That ugly duckling they perceive her to be is going to turn into a beautiful, strong, faith filled young lady and they won’t even recognize her because she is going to be healed.” Dear mom, I don’t know if you realize the power of your words, but that day you not only spoke life over me, you prophetically declared healing to be released from heaven so it could meet me here on earth. In retrospect that cry from your heart was not returned in void because God indeed answered. – Ref. Isaiah 55:11.
Why did it take 10 years for healing? I do not know. I’ve asked God many times. As a young girl I can recall my prayers, “God If I was a bad girl please forgive me. I just want to get better.” Trust me, I cried myself to sleep many times because I was simply sick of being sick. I remember the events leading up to the supernatural day I learned I was healed. I had yet another relapse, and it was days away from my 13th birthday. The doctors warned my parents that I was in my teen years now, and that it looked to be too late for me to grow out of the disease. We were told to prepare that the disease was likely something I would have to live with the rest of my life. That particular relapse was the doctor’s last attempt to ween me off the steroid my kidneys were reliant on. If it didn’t work the only other option was a trial biopsy on my kidneys, which I can attest that there is no parent in the world that would want that for their child. Word went out to our local church to pray, a congregation at the time of 300 people praying at mid-week service and Sunday service. The church had done this fervently many times before, but this time it was different! When I think of it now, the collective power in the Body of Christ is remarkable! “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them”- Matthew 18:20. The doctor’s visit followed not long after and the test results came back. Without explanation the doctors were not even certain what to make of it. The response to my parents was “well sometimes these things happen and they cannot be explained. It’s gone. There is no trace of Nephrotic Syndrome.” My parent’s bold response is a demonstration of faith I hold all the days of my life, “It’s nothing short of a miracle. We know God healed her”.
One may ask, why do you think you had to go through all of that for a decade? We cannot explain the mysteries of God. That is why He is God, and we are human. We do not have the capacity to understand the orchestration of all that God does behind the scenes. I am convinced that my childhood shaped me into the woman I am today. A woman who has a heart ready to explode for children, especially the ones that are sick and feel limitless. God birthed a level of love in me for children that to me, feels bigger than a mother’s love and it’s because of my personal experience. The courageous woman you see before you, one that cares too much about everyone, walks with confidence and speaks with assurance, she had to develop late in life; however, the life lessons of spiritual and physical healing are undisputable to me. My view on healing can never be shaken or put into question because I know the power of God.
When you learn about how everything in your life is part of your story and you get to a place of allowing your purpose and destiny to align with the anointing on your life, there will be a shift. God wants you to tell people about what He did for you already, and not dwell on the lack of what is yet to come. Be encouraged that I had to wait until the midnight hour for my miracle. In fact, almost every miracle I’ve experienced in life has been in the midnight hour. Readers, the process for some needs to be painfully stretched because it will become your stability and confidence in preparation for the bigger piece of your testimony. The very thing that pained me the most has become the poignant thing God is using in ministry to target spiritual and physical healing for others. Resilience and strength are built through these kinds of life experiences dear ones. I never knew the back-bone and strength within me had I not gone through trials of pain. Retrospect is vital for spiritual and personal growth.
If I think of all the people from unbelieving family members, to people within the church who perhaps questioned modern day miracles, to nurses and doctors in the hospital; I have no idea what impact my healing may have had on any of them. One thing is certain, God had a plan for all of it and the Bible says His plans are “perfect”. If I had to be used unknowingly as a vessel, as a sign of hope, then I wouldn’t change a thing about my childhood. I pray that whatever you are waiting for, no matter the magnitude of your request, please be encouraged. Hope for things unseen with eager anticipation because one day you will know without a doubt that it was God who brought you through.