This blog is where I can pour out my heart with my longing for God.

Posts tagged ‘blessings’

The Old Paths: The Right Thing to Do

**This was originally published on Thursday, August 8, 2013, in my newspaper column, “The Old Paths,” in The Stokes News. Due to a website change a few years ago, the publishing company broke all links to our old articles which were archived online. This was a tragic mistake and resulted in the loss of thousands of newspaper articles. Little by little, I am putting my old columns on this blog so that they can be preserved. Each column may be updated to reflect present times when transferred to this blog.**

do the right thing
“It may not be the RIGHT thing to do, but it’s the THING to do,” said my hubster after a particularly tense baseball game.

“But if it isn’t the right thing to do, then isn’t it the wrong thing to do?” I asked, trying to understand the logic of situational ethics.

The situation in question had occurred when an opposing pitcher in our men’s baseball league had purposely hit one of our players. Since the hit batsman happened to be our ace pitcher, our team’s strategy was that HE would hit THEIR pitcher next time he was up to bat.

I disagreed with the strategy, arguing that it was antiChristian. The hubster informed me that baseball was different—that such “eye for an eye” behavior was expected in a fiercely competitive atmosphere.

So good ethics for daily living are discarded on the field of play? Really?

This ethics morass in baseball troubles me. Yes, this game which I so love is indeed a competition where the best man/team wins, but must we incorporate dirty play? Must we bean them with a pitch after they bean us? Must we take performance-enhancing drugs to make us more successful? Have we lost some of the beauty and joy of America’s grand old game?

no right way to do wrong thing

Then I was reminded of something that happened in that tension-filled ballgame when even I—mild-mannered Leslie—stood up from the bleachers and cried, “Let’s just all go home. We don’t have to play under these conditions!” (The ump had just unfairly removed one of our players after accusing him of doing something he truly didn’t do.)

Shortly after the explosive situation on the field, a Hispanic boy—maybe 14—wandered up to the bleachers with his mother in tow. She did not speak English. They sat right beside me although the bleachers were fairly empty. At first, that irritated me.

Then he began talking to me, which normally irritates me as well in the middle of an action-packed game. But his face was so cherubic and innocent and his voice so polite and kind that I was quickly won over.

“Is your team the blue team?” he asked with a sweet smile. As I nodded yes, he declared, “Then I’m pulling for them, too!”

Then in a tone of awed wonder, “Are they a professional team?” I laughingly assured him they were not.

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My hubster batting at that field in High Point.

My heart melted even more as the boy kept explaining the game to his clueless mother with a respectful, loving tone. I understand Spanish fairly well and tried not to chuckle at his somewhat muddled explanations.

I asked him if he watched baseball on TV. He said sometimes. I told him I liked the Yankees. He got excited and said that was the team that played football in New Jersey, wasn’t it? I hid a smile as I explained to him that the Yankees were a baseball team in New York.

He obviously did not understand the rules of baseball very well, so I explained some fundamental ones to him so that he could, in turn, teach his mother. His mistakes were cute ones a much younger child might make, yet this teenager was so humble that no embarrassment entered into his realization that he had a lot to learn.

Suddenly I was seeing this tired old game with new eyes—like someone watching it for the first time and finding great joy in it. I was a little girl again, watching MLB with my dad as he explained the game to me.

innocence of a child

Then a fan nearby yelled something in a mean tone to the umpire. The fan’s cohort loudly echoed the ugly sentiment. Puzzled, the boy turned to look at the angry fans. His face was truly troubled—pained, even.

I felt horribly embarrassed. It was as if we had besmeared something innocent, as if we had poured black grease onto a solid white robe.

I apologized to the boy and explained to him that we had had some unfair officiating earlier. He smiled kindly and tried to understand. But I was ashamed—ashamed of my previous fit of temper and ashamed of the continued loudmouthed heckling by others.

Before long, the boy turned to me with his humble demeanor and thanked me for talking with him. His dark eyes were alight as he wished our team the best. “Maybe I’ll come back some time, and you guys will be playing again!” he said, as if it were the deepest desire of his heart.

As they stood to go, his mother nodded to me and tried to convey her appreciation in broken and heavily-accented English. She finally just stopped and haltingly said “Thank you” with an appreciative smile.

As he walked away, the boy turned back with a smile of pure joy and waved to me. Although I have returned many times to that field in High Point, I have never seen him again. I don’t even know his name. But I will never forget him. His behavior was so “unearthly” that I have even questioned if he was a real person or if I was entertaining an angel unawares, as the Good Book says we will sometimes do.

Later, as my hubster insisted that intentionally hitting a batter “may not be the right thing to do, but it’s the thing to do,” I felt led to tell him the story of the innocent boy and his joy in watching that game. In the telling of the story, my voice unexpectedly broke, and my eyes filled with tears. My hubster’s eyes also got suspiciously moist as he shook his head and said, “I was wrong. The right thing to do is ALWAYS the right thing to do.”

Sometimes it takes an innocent child to turn us back to the old paths of what is good and pure.

right time--right thing--mlk

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The Old Paths: What about the children?

**This was originally published on Thursday, September 26, 2013, in my newspaper column, “The Old Paths,” in The Stokes News. Due to a website change a few years ago, the publishing company broke all links to our old articles which were archived online. This was a tragic mistake and resulted in the loss of thousands of newspaper articles. Little by little, I am putting my old columns on this blog so that they can be preserved. Each column is updated to reflect present times when transferred to this blog.**

Little did I know in early September 2013 when I penned a newspaper column about time healing our hurts that our county would suffer several horrendous hurts that very week. I had used the example of Sonia Luster—the 16-year-old killed in an automobile accident on her way to North Stokes High School in 2008—noting that she died the day before the Stokes Stomp, our county’s signature festival.

NSHS--Dee Luster

Sonia Luster’s mom, Dee, at the North Stokes High School graduation the year that Sonia would have graduated—wearing a shirt with a picture of Sonia graduating from an earlier grade.

Imagine my horror at the 2013 Stokes Stomp when I heard the tragic news that three other Stokes County youth had just been killed in auto accidents—one the night after I wrote my column, two others the night before the Stomp. My heart felt like lead as I was told the heartbreaking details of the wrecks that affected every high school in the county.

One victim was a West Stokes High School student, another a South Stokes High student, another a recent graduate of Meadowbrook Academy in Stokes County. One driver, who survived but was charged with DWI and two counts of felony death by motor vehicle, had attended North Stokes High.

I had left the county fair in King on Wednesday just an hour or so before the first wreck occurred on nearby Meadowbrook Road. On Friday, I had left a prayer meeting in Walnut Cove just an hour before the second wreck; it happened on Highway 89—the very road I traveled to get home. Being so near the accidents, both in place and time, made me strangely affected, although I knew none of the victims.

Not knowing them didn’t matter anyway. Mothers lost sons those nights. I am a mother of two sons, so this was heart-wrenching to me.

What was also devastating was the fact that alcohol was involved in both accidents. One driver was of legal drinking age, the other was not. Legal or not, no one should drink and drive. Why is this a problem? And why does Stokes County have one of the highest rates of alcohol-related crashes in the state?

Years ago, I sat on a committee that had received a grant to study the high incidence of alcohol-influenced wrecks in the county. We spent hours searching for the root of the problem and how to resolve it. We even brought in teenagers to help. An initiative was launched to lower the number of these accidents.

And still they happen. Why?

There are many reasons: lack of fulfillment in people’s lives that leads to alcohol abuse, that youthful feeling of invincibility which results in the skewed thinking of “It can’t happen to me,” too little awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, etc.

One of the age groups most affected is youth ages 16 to 25. We can argue that we are not training up our children in the way they should go, that peer pressure to consume alcohol is strong, that irresponsible adults are purchasing alcohol for underage drinkers.

But I will also argue that there aren’t enough worthwhile activities for youth in Stokes County, especially on weekend nights. If you’re in King, it’s a little better; you are near Highway 52 which will take you in a flash to Winston-Salem where there are multiple things to do, such as bowling or going to the movies. In King itself, there may not be too much to do except eat at a restaurant that stays open late. The Stokes Family YMCA is located there, but it closes at 8 p.m. Friday night and 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Late at night in Walnut Cove, you can go eat at a couple of restaurants. That’s about it. You can’t even do that in Danbury, Pine Hall, Lawsonville or Sandy Ridge.

There are those of us in Walnut Cove dedicated to helping local youth prosper through education, recreation, service, a move of God; we are lobbying for a recreational center in town. We argue that kids need a place to shoot basketball, have space for games/seminars/tutoring, watch movies, hold Christian youth rallies and functions.

There are not even any real parks for children. There is an outdoor public basketball court in the London community of Walnut Cove—not ideal late at night or in freezing weather. There is Fowler Park—a lovely place but one which has no bathrooms or playground equipment. What kid wants to just sit under the picnic shelter or walk around the short path? At Lions Park, there is some rather outdated playground equipment, but again, no bathrooms unless baseball games are going on nearby.

So if you are a young person in Walnut Cove on a weekend night, you can either hang out in the Food Lion parking lot or hang out in the Food Lion parking lot. And repeat.

How do we get what we need for the youth? Community involvement is a start. We need more people to care about this issue. Most adults either have children, will have children or have/will have grandchildren who need a place for wholesome recreation in town. So you SHOULD care.

Some of you have lots of money that you can’t take with you. (Yeah, I said it.) Some of you know where to find money/grants, even if you don’t have any money personally. Some of you have land that would be a perfect place to locate a rec center. Some of you have skills that could be used to construct and outfit such a place.

So what’s stopping us? I say we can have a place in Walnut Cove (and other towns) that will give our kids somewhere to go to do something constructive. Would you rather see your kids at the local rec center playing handball, basketball or Uno late on a Friday night or out on back roads drinking illegally and then driving around because there’s no place to go?

If you are willing to put your hand to the plow to make this happen, contact me; I will be glad to welcome you to the group that is pushing to provide something for our youth in this town. My heart is to bless the children. I know the Town of Walnut Cove needs revenue; that’s why the leaders push for businesses to come to Town. But can you imagine how blessed Walnut Cove would be if Town leaders would get behind the effort to bless the Town’s children? Revenue would follow, per God’s promise that if you seek first His Kingdom, everything else you need will be added.

We don’t need any more young people killed on our roads because alcohol was an easy answer for “What is there to do?” That “easy” answer often turns into something hard for all of us to bear. We’ve had enough of that. It’s time to redeem this next generation. Who’s up for the task?

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The Old Paths: A Manic March

**This was originally published in a similar form in The Stokes News on March 21, 2013. When the publishers changed websites a few years back, all links to archived articles were tragically lost. I am attempting to republish in my blog all of my columns that once appeared in the newspaper. I have updated this column to reflect life in 2016.

March--hello--spring

I have always told people that June was my favorite month. Yes, yes, I’m biased because June is my birth month. But I’m wondering if I might have to change my favorite month to March. With the madness of March, you wouldn’t think it appeals to me, but it does.

March madnessThe term “March Madness” is technically a reference to the intensity of the NCAA basketball tournament and the conference tournaments that lead into it.
But the phrase also pretty much sums up my life in March for the past several years.

In fact, this year’s March is downright manic. There is so much going on that you barely have time to breathe and sit a spell. (You, too, huh?)

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Easter comes in March this year. Most of us identify Easter with April, but every so often it hits in late March. That makes for a much busier month.

Add to that the fact that it’s time for my hubster’s adult baseball team to start practicing. Since my son is now on that team—having graduated from high school baseball—you will probably find me headed to practices as I did on the old paths of his childhood baseball career. Opening Day of the season is in early April, so March is preparation month. (My sportswriter friend Dennis says the sanctity of the first day of the Major League Baseball season demands proper-noun-like capital letters: Opening Day. I have taken the liberty of using the caps for my family’s season-opener as well.)

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My son Elijah batting for the Twins adult baseball team in 2015.

Let’s throw something else into the mix—Daylight Saving Time. On the old paths, DST started the first Sunday in April. But the U.S. government passed an energy bill in 2005 which changed all of that. Since 2007, DST has begun the second Sunday in March.

That may not seem like such a big deal, but since it takes a few weeks for most people to physically acclimate to the time change, it is an especially huge deal this year with such a busy March. Many of us may feel draggy, blah, sleepy, even sick once we spring forward on March 13. Yes, our bodies’ circadian rhythms are so delicate that a mere hour’s change affects us in myriad ways—even resulting in more heart attacks and auto accidents the first few weeks after the time change. (Let’s don’t claim that—okay?)DST--Frodo

So just when we need that extra energy—to start running the kids to baseball, softball and soccer practices; to fill out our tournament brackets and get pumped over “one-and-done” basketball games; to start dying ye old Easter eggs and plan the family Easter gathering—we are zapped, slammed, run over by a time truck that took an hour of our sleep.

But lest we become despondent, let’s look at the joy that is March. The energy-sapping time change has given us more time in the evening after work to throw ball with the kids, start tilling up the garden spot, sit out on the porch and feast our eyes on the forsythia.

Then there’s St. Patrick’s Day—a holiday I am particularly partial to, given my love for Ireland and for St. Patrick, that phenomenal man of God who evangelized the Emerald Isle. We don the springlike green clothing and playfully pinch party-poopers who refuse the wearin’ o’ the green. We eat corned beef and cabbage followed by doughnuts or cookies decorated with green icing. Some drink green beer and Irish dance in parades and Celtic festivals.

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My kids and I at our 2014 March 4-H meeting!

And if that’s not enough joy for you, there’s that most excellent and bodacious day of the year—the vernal equinox. Before you wrinkle your brow, let’s put it in simpler terms—THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING!

I would lobby to make this a government holiday and give everyone the day off. We should celebrate the day we cross the line into more light than darkness. “Equinox” is the word for the day of the year that the periods of daylight and dark are equal. “Ver” is the Latin word for spring, so we arrive at the “vernal equinox” when hours of light begin to outnumber the dark…..until the autumnal equinox in September.Spring--1st day

We should all wake up rejoicing on this day—the cold winter has ended, buds are sighted on the trees, early flowers are blooming, days are steadily warmer on the average. We need a day off to drink in this nectar of nature’s new life, to sip this ambrosia of nodding yellow daffodils and cheerful red tulips, to lap up every last morsel of morning birdsong and evening peeper sounds from the creek.

Who’s with me? Let’s march on Washington! (It’d be nice to see the cherry blossoms anyway, wouldn’t it?)

And this year, we get the added bonus of Easter in this manic month of March—a celebration of spiritual resurrection paralleling nature’s resurrection. In the midst of it all, we figuratively hold our breaths for the beauty that is to come: azaleas, redbud trees, dogwoods, lilacs and more. No wonder I have spring fever all winter long!

Yep, March is closing in on June as my favorite month. I could do without the chilly gales and blustery breezes, but there’s much else to be thankful for.DSCN2611

I have always said spring is such an evanescent and fleeting season that we must savor every second of it before it’s gone. The British poet A. E. Housman was only 20 when he realized the poignancy of how quickly spring is past. He penned a poem called “Loveliest of Trees” in which he speculated that he may only have 50 years of life left. And so he wrote:

“And since to look at things in bloom

Fifty springs are little room

About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.”

No matter how busy this manic March finds you—watching basketball, perfecting the Easter cantata, practicing baseball—don’t forget to get out into the woods and imbibe the essence of spring before it’s gone.DSCN2609

Praying for Opportunity

mission field

I have long been one who sees everywhere I go as a mission field. I anticipate running into someone at the grocery store who is hurting emotionally and needs to talk, seeing someone at the restaurant who has just been diagnosed with something and wants me to agree with them in prayer, smiling at the person getting gas next to me in hopes they can feel the love of God. Brochures advertising my church are crammed into my purse. Anointing oil is ever-ready in a little container on my keyring.

But when my son Elijah told us all at our church, The Well, one recent Sunday morning that we needed to start praying ahead of time for opportunities to minister to people wherever we go, it really struck me. Yes, I look for such opportunities, but had I been praying beforehand for such opportunities to be created? No.

Hmmm….

Trust God to speak a good word to us and then give us a chance to put it into practice….always with a little twist, I must admit.

Yesterday was my chance. And talk about frustrating! By noon, I was asking God what in the world was going on that I was being hindered everywhere I went. That’s my problem when I have to wait on anything: I often start asking “Why?” rather than trusting His timing.

Because I had stayed up super-late on Wednesday night, I ended up sleeping later than I anticipated. Then I went downstairs to find that Abigail–who had been told to get up early so we could go to the DMV in Kernersville–had forgotten to set her alarm. By the time I got my sons settled with schoolwork to do, it was much later than I had planned on leaving.

Well, of course, the gas hand was dipping low, so I had to stop and fill up. Still, I remembered going to the Kernersville DMV–a very well-run place–on another Thursday not too long ago, so I relaxed. It had been nearly empty–we were in and out quickly. Rarely have I waited long there.

Oh, the shock when we pulled in to find a full parking lot and standing room only inside. Most every eye turned to look with pity at us as we walked in. They looked even more sympathetic as they watched me stand at the front desk for over 15 minutes–waiting for an examiner to simply acknowledge I was there. Finally we were able to check in, be given a number and take a seat….on the hard tile floor.

After quite a while, I told Abigail I was going to walk to the License Plate Agency to change my name on my car title. I walked for quite a ways and was relieved to see a short line. Very soon, the kind attendant was doing my paperwork. I paid the $20 fee with my debit card and thought I was on my way….

….until she told me the notary fee of $5 had to be paid in cash. Now in this day of plastic, yours truly does not normally carry cash. She pointed to an ATM inside the building but told me it would cost $3 just to get $5 out. Hmph! No way–I’d go to the CashPoints ATM in the next complex of buildings. She said she trusted me and would let me go get the cash.

Due to the distance to the ATM, I walked all the way back to my car at the DMV, checked on Abigail, then drove to get the cash. With Elijah’s words ringing in my ears, I had prayed ahead of time for an opportunity to minister. But by the look of things, I’d have to wait until later since things were about to wrap up at the Agency. I headed back, cash in hand.

And then came the slowdown. There was now a line at the Agency. Plus, in my absence, two people had come in to buy/sell a car and do a title transfer…..with the very attendant I needed. I prayed she would be free by the time I got to the front of the line. But she wasn’t. So I had to start letting people pass me to go to the other two attendants…..one…..two…..three…..and on up to seven people passing me as I stood there feeling stupid. Meanwhile, the other attendants were glancing suspiciously at me, obviously wondering why this “strange lady” kept letting everyone pass.

I struck up conversations with everyone who passed me, but I sure didn’t feel any ministry opportunities. My mind was racing…..Were they calling Abigail into the office for her test and she needed me there?…..What if she was texting me and my phone was in the car?……How much longer should I wait?

And still, the title transfer dragged on…..and on…..over half an hour of “on.”

Then it happened. Just as I was thinking about giving up and coming back later, a lady–maybe my age–limped in with a cane. My heart quickened within me. I smiled, she smiled, we began to chat. Before long, I learned she had MS and was worried because she was aging so rapidly and rarely felt well enough to get out for such business transactions. Aha–here was my ministry opportunity; I could feel compassion welling up in my very soul.

Then an attendant called, “Next!” It was my turn again, but it wasn’t my attendant. I told the lady she could pass me, and she thanked me kindly. As she finished her transaction and began to hobble out, I heard that still small voice deep within me say, “Follow her out.”

“NOW? Give up my place in line after all this time?!” I asked in panic–seeing that the title transfer was wrapping up with my attendant.

“Yes, GO.”

No more questioning–I took off out that door, catching her before she crossed the parking lot. “I hope you have a good day,” I said. “And I hope you get better.”

She smiled a sweet, trembling smile, “Thank you!”

I patted her shoulder and continued, “I believe in divine healing, and I know it’s God’s will that you be made whole.”

Suddenly she was very moved and said excitedly, “I believe in divine healing, too!”

That’s all it took. Right there in the parking lot, I laid my hand on her back and started praying for healing in the name of Jesus, speaking that by His stripes she was healed. I wasn’t loud, I didn’t embarrass her and I wouldn’t have even done it had I not felt from God that she was receptive.

She was overwhelmed with gratitude and thanked me fervently. We introduced ourselves by first names only and parted with huge smiles–the love of God marvelously flowing between us. Why? Because our good God had advised our congregation–using my son as a vessel to tell us–to pray ahead of time for ministry opportunities everywhere we go. Many Christians are probably already doing that, but I confess that I had not been.

I finally got to pay my attendant. Abigail finally got called in for her test at the DMV; she didn’t miss a question and is now driving! We even had time to enjoy a late lunch before she had to report to work. The hindrances were suddenly gone. What I was thinking that the enemy meant for my harm–the many delays, the many temptations to be frustrated–GOD used for my good! If I hadn’t been delayed at home, at the DMV, at the license tag agency, I wouldn’t have met this precious lady who needed encouragement.

He’s an on-time God. Yes, He is.

I will long remember this sweet lady He placed in my path. I will continue to speak that she is healed of MS. I will believe that wherever she is, she is noticing incredible improvement. I will trust that one day in Heaven, we will be reunited; maybe she’ll come running over to tell me about her miracle!

What if we all went out every day praying in faith BEFOREHAND for the Lord to CREATE opportunities to minister everywhere we go? Wow–what a revolution we would see! May that be our strategy every day for the rest of our lives on this earth.

Luke 10:2– “He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Our Miracle of Healing! Pt. VII: Keeping the Faith

(This story is much too long to share in one blog post, so I have divided it into parts. Be warned that it deals with a sickness that was so severe I must occasionally delve into graphic descriptions of the symptoms. This is necessary for the telling of the story.)

The kids and me just 3 months before the parasites struck.

The kids and me just 3 months before the parasites struck. (See a picture of us NOW at the end of this portion of the story!)

On that Monday, October 26, Keith stayed home with us all day and fielded phone calls for me, since it was ringing off the hook. Finally Vicki called. Again, she had been reading something in the Bible that was meant just for us at this time.

BEFORE the healing, I kept asking her, “So what is God telling you? Are you coming across anything in the scriptures?” She had been puzzled because all she kept reading involved false idols and how God’s people needed to get rid of them. That didn’t seem to fit at the time. But after my experience the day before the healing when we had to purify our house from ungodly movies, tapes and even things like totem poles and certain Native American memorabilia, I knew now why those scriptures about false idols DID apply.

(NOTE: Keith and I both have considerable Native American blood and are proud of our heritage. But some—not all—Native American items purchased in the modern marketplace are representatives of heathen gods or are tied to religions other than Christianity.)

Now on this beautiful October Monday morning, Vicki told me she had just finished reading in John. As she closed the Bible, she felt led to open it again. She told the Lord she would open it, and He could direct her to what she should read. She opened immediately to II Chronicles 29. The first word she read was “Hezekiah,” and she smiled. Aha!

This chapter told of Hezekiah sanctifying the Temple, throwing out idols and cleansing the sanctuary. She couldn’t help but think of Keith furiously throwing away anything even questionable. Then she said, “Leslie, when Keith purified your house, what day of the sickness was it?”

I did a mental calculation and said, “The 16th day.”

Vicki began to laugh and then read aloud verse 17 (there’s that 17 again!): “…so they sanctified the house of the Lord…and in the sixteenth day…they made an end.” I nearly came off the couch! I told Vicki I was going to have to run or shout or something. That was amazing!

Then she told me how that, after the Temple was sanctified, people began to bring thank offerings. She said the Lord told her to tell us that people were going to bring thank offerings to us and that when they did, we were not to say, “Oh, you shouldn’t have!” or anything apologetic like that. We were to simply say, “Thank you.”

This seemed strange to me. Thank offerings? I didn’t see why anyone would bring us anything. I said, “Have you talked to someone or something?” Vicki said no, that’s just what the Lord told her to tell us.

Then when I told her how I had awakened and was told at 1:11 a.m. that I would be tested on this, Vicki laughed again. She had finished her Bible reading this morning with the portion of scripture that told how—after the wonders were done in the Temple after sanctification—God left Hezekiah for a time to try him to see all that was in his heart. Now I was even more determined to prove to God that I trusted Him.

I had just hung up with Vicki when my mom called. She was thrilled to hear the news (Keith had told her this morning), and she totally believed. She said that my Great-aunt Fannie (whom I don’t see very often) had brought over a gallon of homemade chicken soup and just felt as if she wanted us to have it. I was stunned.

But the thank offerings had just begun. Someone else came with money for hospital bills. Then Mike Lane called to tell us the church had taken up a love offering for our hospital bill, and he’d bring it to church Wednesday night unless we needed it sooner.

Cordelia Hairston from my church called to say what a miracle it was and how it happened to strengthen our faith at Christ Temple. Then our church friend, Nancy Bullard (Jody and Joy’s mother), called to tell us that the miracle had helped spur a revival of miracles at our church. She said, “Rebuke Satan if he tries to bring something on you to make you think you’re not healed. Bind him.”

My Aunt Darlene Heath from South Carolina called to say, “No weapon formed against thee shall prosper.” I needed that at the moment, because Tracey and I had just been talking on the phone a few minutes before about people voicing unbelief. The last thing she and I had discussed had been how the prophecies seemed to be for Elijah Blue only. Some people had already called her and discussed this.

Darlene knew none of this, yet she said she felt strongly she must tell me that Meghann, Chelsea and I were ALL healed. Every time I had talked on the phone that morning, I had ignored the beep that told me another call was coming in. But for some reason, when Darlene beeped in as I was talking to Tracey, I answered the call—without even knowing who it was (no Caller ID). Thank God I did!

I started to wonder throughout the day what else was going on, because I kept noticing strange things that seemed totally unrelated yet pertinent somehow. For example, the birds had completely left our backyard feeder some weeks before, but suddenly today, I heard their chirping and knew they were back. Then I found a ladybug in the house. They, too, had been gone for a while, and now the first one was back in our den where they like to congregate.

Meanwhile, the phone kept ringing. I couldn’t get all the calls, so some people were calling Vicki and Tracey to check on us. I kept thinking about those scriptures in Hebrews that Joy had read to me on Sunday afternoon about rest, and suddenly, I wanted so desperately to get away and rest. We had been penned inside for so long. But I knew it wasn’t time. I needed to stay home and accept my thank offerings!

A sister in the Lord came and brought so many bags of groceries I didn’t know where to put them all! I had to go to the basement and store many things on the shelves down there. Keith had gone out for a brief time when she brought them. When he came back and saw the multitudes of groceries in the kitchen floor in bags, he said, “We’ve got enough to eat and a bunch more!”

Immediately, I thought of a portion of the scripture Vicki had read to me just that morning about the purification of the Temple. I ran for my Bible and read it to Keith: II Chronicles 31:10—“…Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the Lord hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.” We both started laughing. It was so true!

Tuesday, October 27, dawned—another lovely fall day. Again, the phone was consistently ringing. I called Vicki for a word of encouragement since Chelsea, who was feeling better physically, was still fighting a mental battle. Vicki said she was sitting with the Bible in her lap, waiting for me to call. She knew she had to read Psalm 105 to me. She read it, and oh, what a comfort! It spoke of giving praise unto the Lord for His marvelous works and how we should talk of these works and make them known among the people.

Vicki told me that this morning she had been wondering why Chelsea, at only 8 years old, was the one having to fight this battle of faith. Then Vicki’s mom, Betty Blansett, called her and out of the blue started talking about a dream she had when she was only 8 years old—a dream of two roads—one so well-travelled that dust was rising from it as if it was a cattle trail and the other one narrow but green and shady and refreshing.

Then Betty looked up and saw the skies part for the Lord to appear. The dream terrified her so badly she slept with her grandmother for a while afterward. She didn’t totally got over it until she received the baptism of the Holy Ghost when she was 12 years old. When Vicki heard this dream, she realized Chelsea was certainly not too young to have spiritual things happen to her.

Then my Aunt Sammie Bray stopped by. She “just happened” to have some yard sale clothes she had bought, thinking of my kids. They “just happened” to fit Chelsea—an expensive pair of Nikes, like the ones Meghann had gotten for her birthday, and four cute turtlenecks. I simply said, “Thank you.”

I told my aunt the story of our healing, and she became teary-eyed. She totally believed. Nancy Bullard then called and said she had some cute shoes that her granddaughter had outgrown and that Chelsea might be able to wear. I felt this was a definite confirmation that God was sending thank offerings to Chelsea in particular.

People kept calling, telling us how this miracle had totally changed them. Heather called to say people had told her they were so moved by the miracle that they had made vows to God to give up things that would be difficult to sacrifice. She didn’t mention these people by name, of course, but I was touched just the same.

Parents/relatives of backsliders called to say these backsliders had heard about the miracle and were pricked in their hearts. What if they should need a miracle? Would they have the right to ask God? Some who had shown no interest in God for years suddenly wanted a tape of Sunday’s service. A fairly new believer in the church called someone else to say, “I don’t know why they had to bear this, but this was for the church.”

And still the manifestation of the healing amazed me—no more vomiting, diarrhea or sleepless nights for any of us. Elijah’s bowel movements still became more solid and normal. It was fascinating just to watch the progression! (Yes, it’s strange what things you’ll take pleasure in after you’ve escaped a near-tragedy!)

Vicki called again to say that she had been humming a song all day and had just thought of the name of it: “You Can’t Make Me Doubt Him.” That became my theme song. Then when I told her Keith had just brought me Mexican food from “Mi Pueblo,” Vicki laughed. She had stopped by the same place to take food to the hospital to Robin who had travailed in natural labor while we travailed in the Spirit.

Vicki had told me earlier that morning to anoint my phone so that only those calls that would be uplifting and not doubtful would come through. Then when she went to the hospital later, she found that Robin had been placed in a confidential room—the number of which would not be revealed except to those who absolutely needed to get in to see her. The parallels were incredible!

Wednesday came, and we were so excited about going to church. A faithful saint of God called to say that as she was praying, she felt the Lord told her He had healed us from a parasite—a worm—to show that He was going to restore what the cankerworm and the caterpillar and all those parasitic worms had eaten and stolen from the church. That sounded good to me.

Several people called to say I needed to be writing this down, and I assured them I was taking good notes! I, too, had felt a huge compulsion to write about the experience.

Suddenly I remembered a strange dream I had dreamed the past August—a dream I had recounted to Keith and Vicki at that time because it had such an effect on me. I had been standing in my living room talking to our Stokes County 4-H Agent, April Bowman. As we chatted, snakes began to crawl from my walls and run toward the open front door. I was astounded that April never saw the snakes. As I looked more closely at them, I realized they weren’t snakes, but huge worms. (When I reminded Vicki of this dream, she reminded me that I had told her two months earlier that the worms in the dream had teeth and monster faces like the strongyloides Keith saw in the microscope!)

In the dream, after the 4-H agent left, I went into the bathroom to—guess what? Give Abigail a bath. I couldn’t because the bathtub was dirty (just as it was the night God revealed the parasites to us)! So I went to the back door which was also standing open and looked out at the rolling hills with beautifully-colored fall foliage at the peak of the leaf season. Then I woke up.

I had dreamed that in August. Now here it was October, the peak of the leaf season, as well as the week that ended our official 4-H year (April leaving our house in the dream). And all of these things had happened!

Recalling this prophetic dream that I had forgotten until this day gave me total confidence that the parasites were not only gone from our bodies but from our home as well. I had seen them crawling out the door in the dream.

As I sat on the couch that afternoon just before getting ready for church, I was thinking that the thank offerings had been nice but that they were over now. At that moment, the phone rang, and it was Dee Dennis from church, asking if she could bring our supper to the service that night. As instructed by Vicki, I once again simply said, “Thank you,” just as I did the day before when a 4-H friend brought my lunch and my sister brought my supper.

I smiled as I hung up the phone and then suddenly froze in disbelief. I heard a sound that I had not heard in a while—raindrops. The entire time we were sick, there was no rain at all. The meteorologists kept making a big deal out of the consecutive number of days with no rain. We had noticed how the drought days matched our sickness days. The last rain had come on Thursday, October 8—the very day we started feeling strange before we woke up sick on Friday, October 9.

Now I looked outside and saw that a brief shower was passing through. There was no rain at the airport that day, so the meteorologists didn’t list the trace of rain in their weather record books. But at my house, it truly rained on that Wednesday. I couldn’t resist calling Tracey to tell her that I could hear the sound of an abundance of rain—the latter rain.

God had been faithful and true and right on time once again.

Me with the kids today--with a new child, Malachi, added since our miraculous healing 17 years ago! (Baby Abigail--far left--is now taller than her sisters Meghann and Chelsea--far right!)

Me with the kids today—with a new child, Malachi, added since our miraculous healing 17 years ago! (Baby Abigail—far left—is now taller than her sisters Meghann and Chelsea—far right!)

Our Miracle of Healing! Pt. VI: The Visible Miracle

(This story is much too long to share in one blog post, so I have divided it into parts. Be warned that it deals with a sickness that was so severe I must occasionally delve into graphic descriptions of the symptoms. This is necessary for the telling of the story.)

My kids just out of bed about a month or two after the divine healing--never another sign of the parasites, praise GOD!

My kids just out of bed about a month or two after the divine healing–never another sign of the parasites, praise GOD!

Assistant Pastor Mike Lane was preaching that Sunday night, and we didn’t want to disturb the service as we had that morning, so we settled down to wait at the side hall door. I couldn’t quit praying in the Spirit even though people were coming and going and staring at me. I knew if I let up on my faith and prayer and started conversing with people, I’d lose my train of thought and my focused belief that something supernatural was about to happen.

I kept staring through the windows in the door, determined to go in as soon as Mike gave the altar call. I was afraid to move for fear I’d get sidetracked and miss the opportunity to be first at the altar. Because I was so much in the Spirit, I didn’t realize the people inside the sanctuary could see me and were beginning to worry about me. Finally, an usher came and said he had been asked to move me from the door.

It was then that Elijah began to scream. He was screaming for the thermometer. Somehow he had developed the belief that the thermometer would make him feel better—as if taking his temperature was some sort of treatment. He was in obvious pain and smelled absolutely rotten—a characteristic I had noticed for a few days. Whether he was able to go to the bathroom or not, he had developed an awful smell, even right after a bath. His very breath smelled like decay and rot. Now it was particularly noticeable in the hall.

Finally, Elijah got so loud we were forced to take him to the back foyer. He was screaming for a bowl, which was a sign he needed to throw up. Our close friend, Sandra Strupe, came out and said, “We need to get someone out here to pray.”

I was on the floor, already praying, when she came back with Joy’s brother, Jody Bullard, a fiery young preacher. He began to anoint Elijah and pray, but the child kept writhing and screaming in pain. I finally said, in utter desperation, “Why can’t we take him into the church?”

Jody looked at me calmly and said, “Well, why can’t we?” And off we went, Rusty carrying the little buddy to the altar in the midst of the preaching, with Keith, the girls and I close behind. Again our beloved church friends gathered around us immediately and began to pray as if the house was on fire. The whole time, Elijah was crying and/or screaming.

Mike Lane especially called the young people up closer to pray for us. I’ll never forget the fervent prayers from these youth—especially those of young Josh Elkes laying hands on Elijah and praying with as much anointing as I’ve heard many a preacher have. Nothing seemed to be happening still.

As the volume level began to subside, Jody—bless his soul—took the microphone and pleaded with people to stay at the altar and pray. He told them we had been at the hospital, and we had a parasite that couldn’t be diagnosed. That did it for awhile. The volume of prayers swelled once more.

After a while, things tapered off again. I kept thinking, “The Lord told Vicki we need to travail. Forget these normal little ten-minute prayers.” Then I had to leave the altar for a short time as the leaders asked me to come talk to them up on the platform. While I was gone, Keith also walked away with Elijah because he was crying so loudly.

People began to talk to me, and again I felt a confusion I didn’t like. Suddenly I felt absolutely dead inside and out. All the life and hope seemed to be seeping out of me. I’m sure that to those looking on, my whole body appeared to slump. Sister Teddi led me to the chairs on the platform and had me sit down. She said, “You are worn out.” I could barely answer her through my confusion.

After a while, I walked off the platform, down the steps to where Keith had been talking to a lady, Brenda Henry, who worked in a pathology lab. She was astounded that the doctors had treated us the way they had. I was too heartbroken to even converse with them.

As I tried to make my way through the crowd toward the back of the church, Barbara, the herb lady, walked with me. She was trying to tell me to give him a garlic enema since he needed desperately to move his bowels. She said, “Leslie, do you think you can do that?” In her desperation to help us avoid a hospital stay, she was attempting to buy us more time, thinking the enema would prolong his life until we could receive our healing. Thank God for her compassion!

Like a person in a drunken stupor, I just stared at her and shook my head. “No, I can’t do that,” I sighed a sigh of resignation. “I guess we’re on our way to the hospital now.” Looking back on that statement, I’m so disappointed in myself. God had given me so many clues that He was going to do something miraculous if I’d just hang on a little longer, and now I was giving up.

So many people had implied to me that the child needed to go to the hospital that I began to doubt what God had told me. I’m so ashamed that my ears were not tuned directly to Him and Him alone. And again, it’s not that there’s anything wrong with hospitals. If a person is severely injured in a car wreck, let’s pray for them while we rush them to the hospital.

But this situation was different. Elijah would’ve been dead before they finally proved he had strongyloides. I’m sure of that. And besides, God had dealt with me so strongly even before Elijah was conceived that I would indeed bear a son one day; that had seemed impossible at the time, considering the long span of infertility I was in the midst of. But of course, His Word came to pass, which made it easier to believe His next directive to me about Elijah, as noted previously—that he was not to be trusted to man but rather unto God in this last day.

This is why I had clung so tightly through so much suffering to all of the evidence God had given me that Elijah would be healed of the parasite. Yet late on this Sunday night—my mind wearied from all of the advice that seemed to go against my gut feeling, my body weakened by weeks of malnutrition and sickness and exhaustion—I was too far gone to hold on any longer.

BUT GOD! Once again, my God proved Himself faithful and true and RIGHT ON TIME!!! Just as I walked away from Barbara in total despair, my choir director, Patsy Todd, began to speak a message in other tongues. Everyone immediately became totally silent. I fell to the floor on my knees with my head touching the carpet. Patsy spoke for a while, and then we waited breathlessly for an interpretation. When it finally came, she ended with, “Just praise God. He is healed!”

That place went absolutely haywire with joy. I began to sob but somehow couldn’t get up. A dear friend and neighbor, Sherry Richardson, was there, sobbing with me. She had her arms around me. Later she told me she had felt my pain as if it was her child and he was about to die. I believe God gave her some of my pain, because otherwise I could not have stood it.

Rusty was watching the proceedings from the back of the church where he had retreated to as we left the altar. He recalls that he saw Patsy rise up tall as the Spirit came upon her, and she began to speak. He said the Holy Ghost was upon her with such force and power that when she finished, she crumpled and sat down, as if being used that forcefully by the Lord had sapped her strength. He, an admittedly backslidden person at that time, was totally convinced that what was going on that night was absolutely genuine.

Still I could not get up. I seemed to be waiting. I didn’t even know where Elijah was, much less whether or not he was improved. As if to drill it into my head that He is always on time, God moved again just in the nick of time.

I had finally risen to my knees, thinking I probably should get up now, when Jody, who had also been down on his knees on the platform, began to deliver another message in tongues. This was something I had never heard him do, but it was sure enough legit right now. This time I fell to the floor, totally flat on my face as I listened.

He spoke for a while then interpreted. The interpretation was forceful, all about how God had done this healing—even though there was doubt and unbelief—that we might be in unity. God said this was but the first miracle of others that were to come. My favorite line was, “Who is the devil?” as if to scoff at the enemy.

God had spoken by the mouth of two witnesses, and I felt complete again. I was able to get up, but I felt strangely light on my feet. People were laughing and crying and telling me I looked drunk in the Spirit. I felt very happy but far away from everyone.

Heather came over and put her arms around me. God had told her over and over again to come to me and speak these words: “Hold fast to what thou hast, and do not doubt. For what I have said, that will I perform.” Those words were to comfort me much in the coming days.

I turned to see Elijah in the back of the church, playing with the teenagers who had swarmed him. Keith said that a minute or two after Patsy finished speaking, Elijah suddenly quit screaming and got down from his arms to go to a young girl, Ashley Flowers—at which time he started asking for pizza and to go to the youth game room to play. People were crowded around, staring at him, while others fell all over themselves to bring him orange drink from the kitchen—anything they could do for this child they had seen almost literally rise from the grave before their very eyes!!

The thing I noticed most was that he didn’t smell bad anymore. The smell of death was totally gone. That absolutely blew my mind. God had done just what Heather had told me He would do—something miraculous to set the church on fire. He was right on time!

We celebrated that night with pizza at Rusty and Vicki’s with a whole gang of people. After a while of joy and laughter, I escaped to the bedroom where all was quiet to nurse Abigail. As I lay there, pondering the events of the night in my mind, suddenly I realized everyone had been focused on Elijah Blue. What about Meghann, Chelsea and me—all of whom had also suffered from those nasty parasites? My blood felt as though it began to run cold as I thought, “Hey, maybe just Elijah was healed.”

Then God spoke to me in a gently-laughing yet loving manner, “Will I not heal thee also?” My whole body suddenly relaxed and became peaceful again. Of course!

As we drove home that night, I was still worried that Elijah had not gone to the bathroom in so long. That was my next prayer request. We had no sooner entered our house than he looked at me, his eyes big, “I gotta go potty!” We barely made it to the bathroom before he relieved himself quite fully. For days and days, his bowel movements had been more like pure green liquid. Now they were already beginning to firm up and change color. I was so relieved! He slept peacefully the whole night through and NEVER ONCE had another sign of the sickness.

But peace was not to be mine that night. Everyone had said, “I know you’ll be glad to finally get a good night’s sleep at last.” And I did fall off to sleep quite easily. But then I woke abruptly, and these words were spoken to me,  “You will be tested on this.” I looked at the clock, which said 1:11. I immediately thought of the oneness of God and His power and immediately fell back to sleep.

An hour or two later, I heard little feet running to the bathroom. It was Chelsea, who was crying that her belly hurt. Now, if God had not awakened me and told me I would be tested on this, I probably would’ve panicked right then and there. Instead I was ready. I felt strong and full of faith. I smiled at her and comforted her and told her to go back to bed. I reassured her that she was healed of the parasites, but that Satan might try to bring something else on her to make us doubt.

Chelsea went back to sleep but still battled the next day. She kept feeling that she was going to get sick, although she never once did. Again, I was calm and kept encouraging her. Suddenly I had an idea. I asked Chelsea to let me check the sores that just yesterday had been festering on her backside. Glory be to God—they were already closed and healing rapidly! That was my proof that she was going to be just fine.

Elijah woke up feeling great, wanting food. He was still pale and weak, but that was to be expected after three weeks of virtually no nutrition. I began my job of fattening him up!

TO BE CONTINUED…..See Part VII at https://timesofrefreshingontheoldpaths.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/our-miracle-of-healing-pt-vii-keeping-the-faith/ .

I just realized tonight that there will be 7 parts of this story. I did not plan that; it “just happened” to end up as God’s perfect number 7. I simply divided it up into readable increments, and this was the result.

Our Miracle of Healing! Pt. V: In the Stillness Before the Miracle

Elijah, age 2--healthy and happy just a few months before being stricken by the parasites.

Elijah, age 2–healthy and happy just a few months before being stricken by the parasites.

(This story is much too long to share in one blog post, so I have divided it into parts. Be warned that it deals with a sickness that was so severe I must occasionally delve into graphic descriptions of the symptoms. This is necessary for the telling of the story.)

Then came the confusion.

People began to gather around me and question me. Some said, “You’re going to have to do something.” Others said, “You need to take him to the emergency room.” The Huddleston’s cell phone rang, and it was my mom. Her friend who is a nurse had told her frightening tales of strongyloides and said to let her know if I decided to go to Duke or Baptist Hospital because she knew some people who could possibly help. My parents were very worried.

I sat on the pew in a daze, seeing an ocean of concerned faces above me, all offering advice. They loved me and were only trying to be helpful, but I felt so confused, so dizzy. Tracey sat down beside me and touched my hand. She, too, felt the confusion and knew I must be about to go crazy. She said softly, “Why don’t you go on over to Rusty and Vicki’s?” She felt that I should get out of there immediately.

Joy sat down behind me and put her hand on my back. She began to whisper, “Lord, give her faith. You are not the spirit of confusion, Lord. Help her be strong.” Those two calming hands on me—Tracey’s and Joy’s—were what I needed right then. I stood up and said, “I’m going to Rusty and Vicki’s.”

As I walked to the back door, I paused to read some pages Polly had printed off the Internet regarding strongyloides. When I got to the part about the itching sores in the hinder parts, which is where the parasites make their exit in the night hours, I stopped in my tracks, my eyes large. I grabbed Chelsea and yelled, “Keith, come with us to the bathroom!” The three of us nearly filled the tiny nursery bathroom. We examined her and found the evidence of the parasites in open, bloody sores—just another sign that the original lab technician was right about his diagnosis of strongyloides.

Everything in the paper fit us to a tee—nausea followed by a remission followed by more nausea, primarily at night when parasites are most active. Strongyloides migrate from small intestine to lungs and lay eggs with each migration in each place. Respiratory symptoms often follow the abdominal symptoms. We had also noticed that very thing in our case.

We spent the afternoon in the peace and quiet of Rusty and Vicki’s house. At last, I felt a calming stillness that allowed me to regain my faith and strength. The children rested while we four adults sat around the table and talked. Our assistant pastor’s wife, Teddi Lane, had put in a call to her doctor in Kernersville whom I had liked immensely when I had met her months ago. We were waiting to see if perhaps that doctor would meet us at her office.

I wanted the ELISA test—a special blood test which detects strongyloides by a blood serum antibody level without all of the mess and time lapse of yet another stool sample. When the call came that only a nurse on call was available, my heart sank again. Elijah was getting weaker and weaker; his stomach was distended with bloating, a sign of the third and critical stage of parasite infestation.

Then Teddi called back with a suggestion. Her daughter, Tanzy, worked for a doctor at Baptist Hospital. That doctor was on her way to the hospital at that very moment and had suggested we take Elijah to the Pediatric Emergency Room to see if the attending physician, whom she highly recommended, would administer the blood test. My interest was sparked. Elijah could simply go in, have blood drawn and come home without being admitted and used as a guinea pig.

Keith agreed and took off with a pale Elijah in his arms. I thought my heart would be torn from my chest as I watched them leave. My little boy needed his mommy with him, but baby Abigail still relied solely on me for her food, so I couldn’t leave.

The rest of the afternoon was a tortuously lonely time for me. Rusty went outside to work on a car, Vicki went to the basement to get some rest and the children watched a movie. Poor Vicki had been up all night helping Robin deliver the baby at the hospital. She had unselfishly come to church that morning just to pray with us.

The whole time we had been at her house, she had been talking about the labor she had just witnessed. At first, I was puzzled. Here we were going through the biggest crisis of our lives, and Vicki wanted to keep talking about a woman I didn’t even know having her baby?!!

Then I realized that Vicki wasn’t being insensitive at all. She saw a genuine parallel with the labor and our situation. When Robin’s epidural wouldn’t take, and the pain was intense, she had to travail for the entire night. When Vicki prayed about our sickness, the Lord told her to tell us to push on through—no matter what.

He also spoke to her saying, “What will you do when the epidural won’t work?” Like Robin, would we keep pressing on through the pain toward deliverance or give up? Tears welled up in her eyes as she told us what the Lord wanted us to do. Here was all of this proof that God wanted to do His sovereign work; my faith was increasing steadily.

As I sat upstairs, all alone, the phone rang. It was Keith, and he was upset. They wouldn’t even let him go back to the Pediatric ER without full admission to the hospital. He told me to call Tanzy and see if she knew what the deal was.

Tanzy was puzzled; she said Elijah’s name had been given to the attending physician who was waiting for their arrival. When I called the hospital back, the Pediatric ER nurses told me this was true; they had my son’s name and wanted to know where he was. And still the front desk people wouldn’t let Keith go back to the nurses until he went to registration and admitted the little buddy.

I was again stunned! We were being hindered everywhere we went. As I hung up the phone from talking to Keith, whom the hospital had located for me, he sounded resigned and said, “I’m headed to registration to admit Elijah.”

At that moment, a van pulled into the driveway. It was my herbalist friend, Barbara Whaley. We sat on the front porch and talked awhile. She had brought me some herbs that could possibly help us feel better. As we went inside to the dining area, I suddenly got an overwhelmingly strong feeling in my gut.

“Barbara,” I said, “I just talked to Keith at the hospital, and he’s in the process of admitting Elijah. I don’t want that. I want the blood test and that’s all. I don’t want him in a hospital bed in a room without me there, with him so sick and hooked up to machines.”

Barbara nodded in agreement. “Call him back,” she said, “and tell him to get Elijah out of there even if he has to boldly pick him up and walk out.”

Instantly the phone rang. It was Joy. She read me some scriptures in Hebrews that spoke of rest; I was comforted. I asked her to help me pray and explained to her that I was about to call the hospital one more time. She agreed to pray. As I dialed the Baptist Hospital number, Barbara sat at the dining room table, praying in the Spirit as hard as she could pray.

When the front desk finally located Keith, he had already admitted Elijah and was waiting in a room for the doctor to come in. I told him to insist on the blood test and not to let them keep him, no matter what. He agreed. Hanging up the phone, I felt relieved. At least I had done my part to bring Elijah back home.

(NOTE: I am not against hospitals; thank God for the purpose they serve and for the many great doctors/nurses there! I cannot explain why we were led this way in this case, but when you feel a strong leading of the Spirit of God, you need to follow that—no matter what.)

After Barbara left, Vicki woke up from her short nap. I decided to pray in her bedroom while she got ready to take her daughter, Ashley, to church for youth choir practice. Vicki and I had decided to wait for Keith to get back from the hospital before going to church ourselves.

I had prayed just a little while, asking God to guide us, when Vicki knocked softly on the door. She came into the room, looking apologetic for bothering me. She said, “I felt like there was something I had to tell you, but since you were praying, I decided to take Ashley on to church then come back home and tell you then. But when I passed this closed door, I felt I needed to tell you right now.”

Needless to say, I was intently listening. Vicki smiled and said, “When Robin was laboring early this morning on her hands and knees, determined to finish having the baby with no more medicine, the anesthesiologist came in and said, ‘I recommend you have a second epidural.’ Robin, in intense pain, said, ‘No thanks.’ After a while, the anesthesiologist repeated firmly, ‘I think you need another epidural.’ Again Robin replied, ‘No thank you.’ She was weak but determined to travail to the end.

“When Robin’s doctor entered the room, the anesthesiologist, probably thinking she now had an ally in this effort to get Robin to take the medicine, said arrogantly, ‘It is my recommendation, Doctor, that she have another epidural now.’ The doctor looked calmly at her and said, ‘Thank you, but we won’t be needing your assistance.’”

Just as Vicki paused with a smile on her face, the phone rang. The timing was perfect. It was Keith. He said, “The doctor thinks Elijah is in bad shape and needs to stay here overnight with I.V.’s and the works, even though he admits we’ve done a good job of keeping Pedialyte in him, and he’s not dehydrated yet. When I hesitated, he left the room and came back with two other doctors, including the head of the department. They recommend that Elijah stay here and be turned over to the infectious disease specialist who will be in on Monday morning. They don’t know anything about strongyloides and don’t even have the ELISA test. Leslie, the pressure is on me. What do you think I should do?”

I quickly told this to Vicki. She merely smiled and said, “Tell him to tell them, ‘Thank you, but we won’t be needing your assistance.’” I then hurriedly told Keith the story about Robin and the epidural, but he was too stressed to really listen.

He said, “Pray for me. I don’t know what to do. I guess I’m coming home. I’ll tell them if Elijah isn’t better after church tonight, we’ll be back tomorrow morning.” I hung up the phone and sighed. There seemed to be stumbling-blocks every way we turned. Little did I know, the doctors were stern with Keith and made him sign a paper saying he was taking Elijah home against their recommendation, and they were not to be held responsible if anything bad happened to him.

While we waited on Keith to come back, I got on the phone to Chapel Hill and then to Duke. Neither of them could do the ELISA test in-house. They would have to send the blood work to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and wait perhaps a week for the results. For some reason (probably the fact that I wanted to go on Oprah Winfrey’s show to tell how our doctors misdiagnosed us so that others with parasites would take heed and get help), I was determined to find someone to do that blood test.

Rusty was back inside by now and sat silently at the table. He had indeed been at church that morning and had been very much affected by what took place as we went to the altar with our family. For the rest of the day, he had been extremely quiet. I suddenly desperately wanted him to go with us to church that night. I began to beg while he shook his head no. I followed him around the house begging, even when he went into the basement. I was crying and desperate. I knew that tonight was the last hope for us. My little boy was possibly dying.

Finally Rusty shook his head yes. He’d go with us to church, but he wouldn’t carry Elijah to the altar as I was also asking him to do. As he went into his room to get dressed, I went into the kitchen and fell to my knees at the table. I had never been more desperate in my life. Keith and Elijah were back, and everyone was waiting for Rusty. It seemed to take forever. As we walked out to get into the car, I tearfully asked him one more time to take my son to the altar. He didn’t answer.

To this day, I’m not sure why I felt that Rusty had to carry Elijah into this second service. Perhaps it was the ultimate act of humility on Rusty’s part—a man who was running from God at that time—which would help remove hindrances to our healing.

All the way to church, Keith and I prayed in the Spirit. The night service had been going for a good while, so we felt the need to hurry.  As we all parked in the back parking lot, I was still crying and praying. No one knows desperation like a mother, at the point of total exhaustion, who feels she is about to lose her child. As we approached the door, Rusty quietly said, “Give Elijah to me.” I thought I’d faint right then and there.

TO BE CONTINUED…..See Part VI at https://timesofrefreshingontheoldpaths.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/our-miracle-of-healing-pt-vi-the-visible-miracle/ .

I just realized tonight that there will be 7 parts of this story. I did not plan that; it “just happened” to end up as God’s perfect number 7. I simply divided it up into readable increments, and this was the result.

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