Did you ever experience something that is so over-the-top-astonishing that you just know you will talk about it for the rest of your life? Today is the anniversary of this very personal story and although I have shared this a few times before … I am compelled to tell the story again.
In the early morning darkness, with most of the house sleeping, I’m snuggled up, having finished reading my Bible and worshipping, sipping my coffee while making the above graphic for this post. I find myself reflecting on just what today means to me personally and my family…and suddenly I am overcome by powerful emotions as Matt Redmond’s words play in the background…
“Never once did we ever walk alone, never once did you leave on our own, you are faithful God, God you are faithful. Every step we are breathing in your grace, ever more we’ll be breathing out your praise, You are faithful God, God you are faithful…”
My tears began to flow freely.
Although to most, today, January 10th, is an ordinary day, in our home it is an over-the-top celebratory day and by far the most personally miraculous event in my entire life!
It all began toward the end of 2005 when I sent a seemingly insignificant email to several old friends. The email contained some personal life experiences from (of course) a good, clean, fun, totally humorous, tongue-in-cheek perspective. Never would I have guessed that that simple, silly email would initiate God’s hand of grace and mercy to move in the most spectacular way – ever so personally – just for me!
The truth is though, friends, our faithful God is always, always, always at work. He moves. He does things that we don’t understand. He changes our direction. He orchestrates. He even does the miraculous when we least expect it through avenues we never could have dreamed of! And I just have to believe that our very personal God totally loves the element of surprise!
So as the Lord would have it a few months earlier, in the summer of 2005, my high school youth group had had a reunion. It was a crazy-amazing blast and it rekindled many old friendships – which now included my old friend Dan, who was a staff pastor in Texas at the time.
Dan was among the recipients of that benign, humorous email I sent toward the end of 2005. The email was sent to make my friends laugh…but God used that email to show my friend Dan something that I hadn’t even imagined in any way. Dan has an amazing ability to hear God speak and that day, reading my email, God spoke very clearly to him through it.
I have only shared what God spoke to Dan that day, with a few close friends. Someday I will likely share the details when I write my life’s story (which I am currently writing in my head – ha!)
But for now, suffice it to say, that after God spoke to Dan, Dan wrote to me and asked me a question. When I read his email, I was actually kind of stunned!! No one had ever asked me this before and yet, the second I read it, a peace washed over me and I knew that the Lord was speaking through my old friend.
I immediately phoned Dw at the office and read to him what Dan had wrote. Dw also knew instantly that the Lord was speaking through Dan. I wrote Dan back and told him I had never thought of what he had written and then I asked him what I should do? He suggested I pray with someone who was experienced in some powerful prayers! So I talked to Dw and asked him who he thought we could get to pray with us.
We couldn’t think of anyone that we would trust with this. So I wrote Dan again and said we did not know of anyone who could pray with us like he was suggesting, and wondered if he and his wife, Lavonne, would be willing to pray with Dw and I over the phone. He said they would!
Dw and I wanted to fast and pray before our phone call with them because this was a very spiritually significant event!! We set the call up for January 10th, 2006. Dan sent me an email with some ideas of how and what specifically we would be praying. In the meantime, Dw and I fasted and prayed. We were about to ask God to move in a very enormous supernatural way!
That night, 14 years ago today, Dw and I phoned Dan and Lavonne from our bedroom while the kids played in the family room. The four of us talked for a few moments and then got to business – we started praying!
The prayers we prayed were intentional. They were in agreement with scripture. They were forthright. And they were powerful!
Now I have to interject right here – In the 90’s I flew to Florida to see a world-renowned doctor who specialized in Multiple Sclerosis. It was then that I was officially diagnosed with having MS as he and I counted together the then seventeen lesions in my brain.
For those who wonder….When the MS had first appeared there was no warning – I just went to get out of bed one morning and there was absolutely no feeling in my legs – it was as though I did not have any! I collapsed to the floor with a horrible thud – as though someone had removed my legs in the night. They weren’t weak, they appeared to be GONE!
MS is not a nice auto-immune disorder (not that any of them are!). Over the years it wreaked havoc on my body. I had exacerbations that affected my hearing, my sight, some of my organs, my legs and my right hand and arm. The way it affected my right hand and arm was that it made it tremble, jerk and twitch 24/7. There was never a break from it. I found it quite embarrassing, it made it difficult to write and as a writer that is just plain miserable! Holding hands during prayer in a bible study I would cause the person holding my right hand to jerk, twitch and tremble right along with me. “Obnoxious” is the best word to describe how it was living with it.
With the rapid progression of the MS, somewhere around 2000 I began to use a cane all the time. Walking, at times, even with the cane, became increasingly difficult. By 2002 I was spending some time in my wheelchair. My right arm had been jerking and twitching and trembling 24/7 for years. My balance was so very compromised I was even falling into walls regularly. A couple other auto-immune disorders had piggy-backed on the MS. My body was not really my friend.
So to make it perfectly clear, the night Dan, Lavonne, Dw and I prayed together, my health concerns were not mentioned in any way as we prayed. Not even a tiny bit. What we prayed about had nothing to do with Multiple Sclerosis or any health struggles at all.
Back to the prayer time with Dan and Lavonne….as I said – The prayers the four of us prayed were intentional. They were in agreement with scripture. They were forthright. And they were powerful! But not one mention of my health!!
If you had been eaves-dropping outside our bedroom door you would have heard nothing except us praying quietly. It was an emotional time because of what we prayed about, but it was also so refreshingly, uplifting and freeing. It was actually exhilarating. Dw and I hung up the phone in complete joy.
Dw went to use the restroom and as I walked out of our bedroom I found Graham sitting at the island. All of a sudden I felt the Lord whisper, “Look down at your arm!” As I did, I stopped dead in my tracks! My right hand and arm was perfectly, completely still. Not one movement of any kind!!
I turned to Graham, holding both my hands (for comparison) outstretched in front of him and nearly shouting exclaimed, “Graham!! Graham!! Look! LOOOOOOK!!!” Graham had never remembered a time when my hand and arm did not tremble, jerk and twitch and his eyes grew wide as he gleefully shouted, “Ooooh! Oooooh! Mom! Oh Mom!” He jumped off his island stool and was now shouting joyfully with me!! I called Dw to come see! With all the commotion Emma, Liberty and Autumn came running!
Our extraordinary God had intersected our very ordinary lives and we were all in complete and astounding, unimaginable, joyous shock!! God had healed my trembling, twitching, jerking arm JUST LIKE THAT!! We hadn’t asked Him to. We hadn’t even mentioned any of my health concerns in our prayers together a few moments earlier.
The Lord then whispered to me, “I have evidenced in the physical, what I have done in the supernatural.” Meaning, our miraculous God had dramatically healed an “invisible” area of my life as Dw, Dan, Lavonne and I had prayed that night…and He was showing me just how big He had healed it by healing my very visible hand and arm of 24/7 trembling, twitching and jerking!
We called our kids who had already left the nest and told them! They were overjoyed!! We called our closest of friends and told them! We called family and told them! It was incredible. I well with tears thinking of that glorious, miraculous season!
I can truly imagine what the man with the withered hand had done when Jesus healed him. (Told by Matthew, Mark and Luke in Matthew 12:9-13, Mark 3:1-6, and Luke 6:6-11.) I bet he stared at it for days, weeks, months and years and the rest of his life!! I know I still stare at my perfectly-still hand and arm all the time. I still giggle with tears at what God did that night. Our astoundingly faithful God had done something so powerful that I was left in complete awe of His power!
The following Sunday Dw and I stood together and told both of our morning services at the church we pastored. People cheered and some jumped to their feet – it was so extraordinarily beautiful! They’d all seen my trembling, jerking, twitching hand and arm for years and now they could clearly see what God had done – our church erupted in great praise.
Yet I had to tell my childhood friend Stuart (who attended the same youth group as Dan and I) and is a neurologist here in Phoenix. Stuart treats people with MS as well as many other neurological difficulties.
Dan (L) & Stuart (R). Lavonne (Dan’s wife) smiling in the background at Dw’s Surprise Birthday bash in 2015
Back in 2006 Stuart owned a small plane. I asked him to fly from Phoenix to where we pastored in Colorado because I needed to tell him something. He agreed to come and a few weeks later he flew in for a visit.
When the kids and I picked him up at the airport he questioned me, “So what did you want to tell me?” I said, “Nope! You will just have to wait.” This was too extraordinary and I needed him to sit and hear me explain it all.
Later that day we sat in our little library as I told Stuart the story from the beginning. (He had also been a recipient of that benign email that started it all.) I told him what the Lord had spoke to Dan because of that email. I told him everything. And then when I got to the part of how God healed my arm I jumped out of my chair and thrust my steady hand and arm at him. “Look Stuart!! LOOK!”
I will never forget his response! Stuart jumped up too!! He was laughing and exclaimed, “Linn, this is God! MS does NOT go away! I bet God’s going to heal your legs next!”
Stuart’s words would prove to be prophetic!
A few months later I began to notice that my legs were growing stronger. I was hardly needing my cane anymore. Two different people at the church we pastored commented, “You look like your legs are stronger!”
Five months later, in July of 2006 we were asked to be Chaplains at our denomination’s youth camp outside Denver. Leaving our camper one morning (we had one at the time which we sold shortly after that camp to bring treasures home) I felt the Lord whisper, “Put your cane down!” I went back inside and left my pretty purple flowered cane in the camper and never used it again.
Later I would tell people that I call what God did with my arm and hand God’s ‘microwave” healing – fast as lightening! And my legs? Well – they were His “crock-pot” healing – ever so slowly, but undeniably healed in a mighty way!
I am a woman of integrity and being truthful there are days that I am reminded in various way that I still have MS. But each time I am reminded, I remember all that He did that day – I cannot ever thank Him enough!
Tonight in our home, our family will have a praise and worship time – celebrating His miraculous move 14 years ago.
As I was making the graphic above, I searched my files for the perfect picture. This picture, taken this past summer at our old home place represents so many things that He has done. Since that day of healing, January 10th, 2006, He has graciously allowed me to care for others and we have had the joy of adding 8 more treasures to our already sweet big pile.
I am in awe of His generous love, grace and mercy toward me, although totally undeserved, He loved me and I have a incredibly miraculous story to shout to the world!
Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.