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

Posts tagged ‘healing’

Our Miracle of Healing! Pt. II: Going Downhill Fast

Me with Meghann (left), Chelsea (right) and Elijah--just a couple of months before the parasite crisis--down at my parents' farm which you will see mentioned in this story.

Me with Meghann (left), Chelsea (right) and Elijah–just a couple of months before the parasite crisis–down at my parents’ farm which you will see mentioned in this story.

(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.)

Another Sunday arrived, yet again with only Keith able to attend church. I had suddenly become positive that we had a parasite. I knew it was more than the typical worms that kids get from playing outside barefoot where animals have defecated. We had a serious infestation of SOMETHING!

Back in the summer, a close friend from church, Joy Brown, had loaned me a book about parasites and how incredibly common they are. Whenever Joy gives me a book to read, it is usually for a purpose. In nearly every case before when she had loaned me a book, I ended up dealing with a problem similar to what the book was about. I remember when she handed me that parasite book. I smiled politely but was thinking, “Why on earth is she loaning me a book about parasites?” Then I rolled my eyes and said, “Oh, great! I guess I’m going to be needing this knowledge!” Little did I know just how soon that would prove to be true.

At Sunday dinner at my parents’ house, the kids only ate mashed potatoes and bread, but I ate tiny portions of other food. Although they looked pale and had dark circles under their eyes, my children played outside with their cousins and even walked down to Belews Lake. Meghann did have to carry Elijah part of the way, due to his weakness. Later that night, Chelsea began throwing up again; she had been the only affected person NOT throwing up with us in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Monday, October 19, followed the pattern, just a minor diarrhea day with weakness. According to this pattern, I assumed Tuesday would be a rough day, and it was—all of us sick in the night once more.

By now, people were calling us, truly worried. My parents knew something really bad was wrong. Our assistant pastor, Mike Lane, came out to pray for us. He anointed us with oil, according to the Biblical example, and we all prayed for healing. He mentioned how Elijah Blue had fallen away to nothing. That was my biggest worry. I was constantly fighting a battle to keep fluids in him. We were going through Pedialyte like crazy!

On Tuesday afternoon, October 20, Keith took Elijah to the doctor. The physician’s assistant sent him home, recommending that we keep him on the BRAT diet and get Pedialyte in him every 10 minutes. I was absolutely exhausted from lack of sleep and nausea, plus having to nurse baby Abigail and continually monitor Elijah’s intake. He was hungry but didn’t want the things he could have. We were all starving….literally.

That night when Elijah had diarrhea, we mixed it with chemicals in three little vials which we took the doctor’s office the next morning to be sent to a lab for stool sample culture tests. There was nothing to do but wait and pray.

Wednesday was a weak day again; we skipped church once more. We were missing everything. The girls had missed dance the day before. We were praying so hard yet felt totally blocked—as if we weren’t able to break through.

Thursday, October 22, dawned with screams from Elijah who was sick again. He even threw up his Pedialyte. I was so desperate that I pumped some breast milk, although I was running low, and tried to get him to drink it, hoping it would coat his intestines with good bacteria. He simply threw it up.

Megh was sick again in the night, too. Two of my dearest friends, Vicki and Tracey Moses, came over and anointed us and prayed for us. It was so good to simply see someone new. Elijah even perked up and sat on Tracey’s lap, talking to her. But once they left, so did the joy. I stood in the driveway on a brilliantly sunny October morning and watched them drive away, wondering if my life would ever be the same again.

I had to call my parents to come up at one point, because Elijah was uncontrollable. He was screaming for spaghetti, of all things. My faithful friend, Heather Hampton, called at that point. Later she called another of our close friends, Lisa Stevens, and told her about Elijah screaming for spaghetti. Lisa felt strongly like calling me and telling me to let him eat anything he wanted, but she didn’t.

Friday, October 23, didn’t give us the break that the sickness pattern usually afforded us. Elijah was very weak and screamed if you even touched him. Keith was working for the first time in a while, and I ended up calling him off the job in the afternoon to get him to take Elijah to the doctor again. They wanted to weigh him and make sure he wasn’t dehydrating.

It was yet another beautiful sunny day, and I wanted so desperately to just see my children able to go outside and play. I carried Elijah to the front porch and rocked him in my rocking chair. His bones were prominent where he had lost so much weight. He screamed to play basketball, so I carried a beach towel out to the basketball goal area and tried to get him to sit on it and eat Rice Chex cereal. He didn’t want any food at this point. He actually tried to shoot the basketball twice but got too weak.

Keith rushed home and took Elijah, with Meghann in tow, to the doctor. I tried to pray the whole time they were gone. I lay in the floor beside Elijah’s little bed and beseeched God to help me somehow.

I had been researching online anything I could think of that had to do with our sickness. One website from a hospital in Iowa said the BRAT diet was not good for an extended period of time—that children only get 25 percent of the nutrition they need from it. The research said there was no basis for the BRAT diet anyway.

I called the 800 number and talked to the actual researcher in Iowa. She was extremely helpful and told me to give my children some real food as soon as possible. I feel as if God let me make that connection, because my kids were slowly but surely starving to death on that bland diet. I determined right then and there to give them real food once again.

Soon Keith was home with our little buddy who had lost a pound since Tuesday and was down to 28 lbs., 12 oz. Still the doctors said, “Take him home. He’s not dehydrated. The stool samples are still negative.”

The physician’s assistant sent home two prescriptions—one for a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic, Septra, and another for Zantac, an ulcer medication. Keith was all for getting the prescriptions filled, especially the Zantac to line Elijah’s stomach.

All I could do was cry. I didn’t want Elijah to have the medicine, and I didn’t really know why. It was a deep gut feeling of knowing that you know that you know. Keith kept following me around the house, asking me why not and what he should do. I couldn’t even talk about it.

I just kept remembering when Elijah was 11 months old, and we thought he had pneumonia. As I sat rocking him in the nursery, crying and praying to God to send angels and healing, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Do not trust him to the ways of man.” I knew then that I was supposed to trust God and Him alone for Elijah’s health.

That night as Keith held him in the den, Elijah perked up and started waving to something in the corner of the room. His little eyes followed “it” as it rose up to the ceiling. He smiled and waved as it departed. I am sure God sent an angel that only his little eyes could see.

The next morning as I nursed Elijah, he lost his breath from the mucous in his chest and began to turn blue. Disregarding what the Lord had told me, I rushed to the doctor where they sent him for a chest x-ray. His lungs were totally clear, and by afternoon, he had made a turn for the better. I have never gotten over the feeling that I had failed God on that one; He told me not to trust Elijah to man’s ways, and instead I subjected him to needless radiation.

(Note: I am not against doctors and modern medicine; Elijah’s situation is an unusual case based upon a leading from the Spirit of God which I do not question.)

Now almost two years later, I had the same feeling. TRUST GOD. But I felt blocked—as if there was something in the way of our breakthrough. Keith agreed we’d wait until Monday to decide what to do about the medicine.

Saturday, October 24, came, and we all felt rough. Elijah was so limp and weak that I had to carry him even from his bed to the potty then out to the den. He lay on the floor on his pillow and sleeping bag, too listless to even watch a movie. I had been able to entice him to eat by feeding him Ortega’s refried beans. I know that sounds like a strange food to feed an invalid, but that’s what tempted his taste buds, as well as the taste buds of the other kids.

In the afternoon, Mama came to get us to go sit in the sunshine in her yard. She had bought a pedal toy for Elijah to ride. He just sat motionless on it for a few minutes, then went inside to lie in the floor. I fed him a few refried beans, and he had a small diarrhea bowel movement. That was to be the last one he had for a long time, and it was a very minor one.

I could tell Mama and Daddy were extremely worried about us all, but especially the little buddy. He was fading away to just pale skin and bones, with dark circles under his hollowed-out eyes. He was extremely irritable and screamed much of the time. If I asked him how he felt, he’d say, “Not good. My belly hurts.” I was nearly beside myself with worry.

All day that Saturday, my phone rang. All kinds of people called to check. I was so exhausted and numb I could barely talk to them. Polly Marler, Leisa Rollins and others said, “You don’t sound so good.” I was too tired to put up a front. I simply said, “I’m not doing well.”

Some called to say I needed to put him in the hospital, but that brought such confusion to my mind. For some inexplicable reason, I didn’t feel right about it. The physician’s assistant called to check on Elijah and was a bit disturbed when he found out we had not yet put him on the antibiotics and Zantac. He was also displeased when Keith told him we had stopped the BRAT diet.

I frankly didn’t care; I knew the BRAT diet was not what you eat when you have a parasite. And I was positive in my mind that this was parasitic in nature. It fit all the criteria. The sickness came primarily at night or early morning when parasites tend to be most active. We’d have long lulls in the sickness as our bodies tried valiantly to overcome—again, a characteristic of parasites. And our appetites never left us completely.

But still the stool sample showed no parasites.

Then came a phone call that started the ball rolling. A precious saint of God called to say she had been praying and felt impressed to call and ask me if we had taken anything into our house right about the time the sickness came. I didn’t even have to think about it. I immediately said, “YES!”

This was a confirmation of something I had been thinking about that very morning when I woke up. I had suddenly gotten a funny feeling about something we had taken into our house the week of the fair, the very week we got sick. The item was nothing immoral, but I, for one, believe that objects can be accompanied by evil spirits which of course cannot possess Christians, but which CAN work to oppress and hinder them.

Because I had awakened suddenly feeling very uncomfortable about this very object sitting in my house, I knew without a doubt that when the woman called me to ask me that simple question, she was on to something. I thanked her profusely and told Keith to please dispose of that object immediately. Instead of arguing with me and thinking I was being ridiculous, he agreed wholeheartedly—another sign to me that it was indeed the will of God that we rid ourselves of that object since Keith had been the one who had so desperately wanted it.

He got rid of it, then spent the rest of the day doing anything he could to eradicate the source of our sickness—Cloroxing the basement floor, cleaning out a window where a bat had flown into the house and roosted a few months back, laundering rugs, etc. I felt so sorry for him as I watched him feverishly work. He was the only healthy one, doing anything he could to find out what was wrong.

I began to have a little more hope on that Saturday once the mysterious item was gone. My parents were adamant that we get out of the house for a few days to see if that made a difference; they thought perhaps something in the house was making us sick. So I called our dear friends, Rusty and Vicki Moses, to see if we could spend the night in their basement. Rusty was hunting, but Vicki told us to come on over. . .

 TO BE CONTINUED…..See Pt. III at https://timesofrefreshingontheoldpaths.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/our-miracle-of-healing-pt-iii-a-breakthrough-at-last/

Our Miracle of Healing! Pt. I–The Sickness Begins

(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.)

Me holding newborn Abigail, with Chelsea far left, Meghann far right and Elijah in front--about 6 months before the mysterious sickness struck.

Me holding newborn Abigail, with Chelsea far left, Meghann far right and Elijah in front–about 6 months before the mysterious sickness struck.

My life seemed to be going just fine when the sickness struck back in the fall of 1998. On Tuesday, October 6, our family went to the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem, N.C.—enjoying the rides, the food, the petting zoo and more. Wednesday found us tired but satisfied, ready to forge ahead with normal life.

It was the next day that our world flipped upside down, propelling us into a catastrophic free-fall that would forever change our lives.

On Thursday, October 8, I spent a lot of time in our basement, working to clear out clutter. By late afternoon, I ran my hand across my forehead and headed upstairs. I told my husband, Keith, “I’m calling it quits today because suddenly I don’t feel so great. I’m achy and feverish.

In the wee hours of the morning, I woke up, feeling nauseated and queasy. I determined to fight it off mentally, feeling sure I would be able to do that since stomach viruses rarely affect me. (Note: I did not understand faith for healing back then the way I do now, or I would’ve prayed, stood on His Word and claimed His promises for healing.)

It was only a few hours later that Elijah Blue, my 2 1/2-year-old son, woke up screaming with his stomach hurting. We rushed him to the potty where he simply had a case of diarrhea. Throughout the next day, his problem seemed to clear up, as did mine. “We’re simply tired,” I rationalized. But later that night after a supper of pizza, Elijah threw up, although his appetite had been great during the meal.

Another night’s sleep was disrupted shortly before dawn on Saturday when Meghann, my 11-year-old daughter, began to throw up. “Oh well,” I thought. “This stomach virus is going to work its way through the whole family, I guess.” (Note: We do not have to receive such negative thoughts! I know that now.) At this point, we were all certain that it was simply a stomach bug….until Sunday morning.

When Elijah woke up before daylight on Sunday, again he was screaming in pain and had to be rushed to the potty where he began to throw up. This was extremely puzzling to me. He had never in his almost three years had a stomach virus that made him throw up. Only once before had he ever thrown up, and that was due to a high fever from a respiratory infection.

“Okay,” I reasoned. “He has somehow reinfected himself.” So I took extra precautions, washing his bed linens in hot water, sterilizing everything he touched. Keith went to church without us that morning, asking special prayer for Elijah. That night, I attended service without the rest of them; I felt better but not up to par.

By now the pattern was set—never a night’s sleep for anyone! In the predawn hours of Monday, my 8-year-old daughter, Chelsea, was up vomiting. Still, I assumed this was a regular bug that was just passing slowly through the family. Keith and 6-month-old Abigail were feeling fine, although Keith had a sense of dread that he was surely next. He was the one of us most susceptible to stomach viruses.

Tuesday, October 12, was a blessed day for my family. Although we were all very tired and strangely weak, the day passed with no vomiting and just light diarrhea for the four of us affected. The girls even went to dance class and then on to the county 4-H Talent Show in Danbury. (In retrospect, I believe God intervened and gave us that Tuesday free of sickness because the girls had looked forward to the talent show for an entire year. They both performed and placed well, with Meghann being chosen as one of the two best acts overall to go to the District competition.)

Since we had been on the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast) for the past few days, we gobbled up some refreshments after the talent show. We were starving for real food again!

The blessed Tuesday was soon over, and as Wednesday crept in, I heard bare feet hit the floor in the girls’ bedroom. Sure enough, Megh and Chels were flying to the bathroom, holding bowls to their mouths. They fought over our one toilet all night, alternating with bouts of diarrhea and a bit of vomiting. All too soon, I heard that familiar scream from Elijah’s bedroom as he erupted with vomiting all over his bed. I, too, felt queasy but managed not to throw up.

By this time, I was worried. Perhaps the girls had reinfected themselves as I had assumed Elijah had done over the weekend. But Elijah reinfecting himself for the third time? I didn’t think so. I racked my brain to think if we had eaten something at the fair that would’ve led to food poisoning. The problem was that we had all eaten from different booths. I, especially, had eaten nothing in common with the children.

Nonetheless, I researched food poisoning on the Internet. Everything I read told me we should’ve gotten sick all at the same time and shortly after eating the infected food.

As we faced the daylight hours on Wednesday, the nausea was gone, and we recovered. But again, I missed church on Wednesday night, staying home with the kids and sending a request for prayer.

Thursday was a better day, and Friday, too. We were unable to do any heavy activities or go anywhere much, but the vomiting had ceased. The diarrhea was sporadic. The BRAT diet had long lost its appeal. I thought if I saw another bowl of rice, I’d jump off the roof!

So I cooked a big supper on Friday night—pintos, cornbread, mashed potatoes. We ate good portions, but no one overloaded. The curious thing about this sickness was that the appetite was not diminished. With a normal stomach virus, food makes one queasy even by thinking about it. Not so, in this case. We wanted food continuously, even immediately after throwing up.

I crawled into bed late Friday night, excited about the coming day. An old-timers’ softball game that I had organized for my dad was scheduled to take place. I had dreamed of doing it for years and had worked feverishly for the past three months to put it together. To see my dad play softball once more with his old team from the 1970’s was something I was yearning to experience.

At 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 17, nausea awakened me. For the first few hours, I simply ran back and forth to the bathroom with extreme diarrhea. Soon I was arguing over the toilet with Megh, who had gotten up shortly after me and casually vomited all over the bathroom floor.

Before long, Elijah woke up screaming. I knew this thing was really bad when I finally gave up the fight and threw up—something that had only happened a handful of times in my entire life. Since having a mild stomach virus at the age of 11, I had only thrown up one time since from a sickness-related cause. This time was especially severe. I felt such heart palpitations that I began to worry I was going to quite literally have a heart attack.

With the help of my parents, I was chauffeured to the ball field where I was able to watch the first few games before I had to be driven home. Mama assured me that out in the open air, I wouldn’t infect anyone else. I didn’t say anything to her, but I was almost positive now that we weren’t going to infect anyone; this thing wasn’t contagious and I knew it.

This strange sickness had an all-too-familiar pattern by now. We would be sick in the night, spend the next day recovering, have one or two fair but weak days before waking up sick in the night again. Would it never end? I began to wonder.

That Saturday night, I was supposed to go to our annual Richardson family reunion in Walnut Cove. I felt an especial urge to attend, because of a dream I had had the previous year. I had dreamed that I was at a picnic shelter at a park with many relatives around. As I walked and talked with them, I was fingering a pair of glasses in my right pocket. I knew that I was supposed to be wearing those glasses, but instead I just walked and reminisced with my cousins. The only cousin I remember specifically in the dream was one who attends the Richardson reunion.

Suddenly I heard glass breaking, and I felt the glasses in my pocket shatter beyond repair. My heart was burdened with such a sense of guilt and shame, and immediately I repented to God that I hadn’t put on those glasses when I was supposed to. Immediately—in a single second—with my hand still in my pocket, I felt the glass splinters re-form into a perfect set of glasses once more. It was a total miracle.

In the dream, I couldn’t see the faces of my cousins, but I could hear their dear voices calling to me—almost as if we were children again, calling each other to come and play. I reached into my pocket and put the glasses on. They were thick, Coke-bottle-lensed glasses that made my surroundings go blurry. I couldn’t see well enough to distinguish objects even a few feet in front of me, but when I looked up at the sky, everything snapped into distinct focus.

The sky was brilliantly blue, and suddenly I realized that I was seeing colors in a way I had never seen them before. I began to rise into that breathtakingly beautiful panorama. I could see snowcapped mountains to the west. The buoyant feeling was like nothing I had ever felt before. Then I woke up.

God spoke to me later about the dream and told me that at the time of the reunion, He would set my eyes upon Him. Not focus, but SET.

I was desperate to go to the reunion, especially since my mom had called to tell me that for the first time ever, it would be held at a picnic shelter at a local park rather than the usual place. And of my great-grandparents’ 11 children whose descendants rotate annually to host the reunion, THIS was the year that the branch of the family hosting it would be the one that included the only cousin I clearly remember in the dream. And I had dreamed the dream LONG before these decisions were made. It was too uncanny.

As it turned out, I was too sick to go to the reunion, but I see now that it didn’t matter. The timing was what was important. This sickness was one of the most important things that had ever happened in my life. It would truly SET my eyes upon Jesus.

TO BE CONTINUED…..See Pt. II at https://timesofrefreshingontheoldpaths.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/our-miracle-of-healing-pt-ii-going-downhill-fast/

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