Praying for a Stranger’s Nose, and Other Crazy Prayers…

Oh, what to say??! I have been so overwhelmed by the support, prayers, and encouragement passed on from all of you!! Thank you for blessing me so richly in this way!

I was very tempted to keep Wednesday’s post to myself, originally. When a friend asked me if I would blog about my December experience, I immediately said, “NO WAY!!!”

My thought was that I could write about it in January, when it was all over, and just let you know about all the awesome things that had happened. And if nothing ended up happening, you would never need to know!

But as I prayed about it, I got the sense, over and over again, that this is for everyone. It might be happening to me, specifically, but we all learn from each other. We share our struggles, and pass on encouragement, and God speaks to everyone involved.

Ann Voskamp wrote (long ago, in a post I can’t find anymore) that when we choose to share our stories, it heals twice – we are healed, and the one hearing the story is healed. This is why we share.

I was thinking of all those people Jesus went around healing in the New Testament, and realized that by healing, He blessed those who were healed directly, but He also blessed everyone who witnessed it, because it was such a display of His awesome power. He used His words and His actions to communicate with people, and they were all amazed.

Sometimes I wonder if we all just need to be amazed a bit more often. He is as amazing today as He was back then.

I was recently blessed with being part of a healing experience for someone else, and it was incredible.

A few weeks ago, at the prophecy class I’m attending at Church of the Rock, the pastor said he had paired us all up with someone before the class started, but he wasn’t going to tell us who we were paired up with. He asked us to sit where we were, pray for this person we didn’t know, and write down whatever God said to us.

Because I was extremely skeptical about how this would go, I turned to my friend and said, “And after that, we’ll do palm reading and get out our crystal balls!!”

She said, “Oh, Kendra, have more faith!”

So I sat there, trying to focus, asking God to take away my snarky attitude and to increase my faith.

Gradually, my mind seemed to slow down and become quiet, and I waited for what God would tell me. A verse from Romans came to mind, so I wrote that down, and then I got a few different pictures in my mind, as well as some words.

But what stood out the most came when I asked God if this person needed healing for anything. Suddenly, all I could see in my mind was a nose. I had a really bad cold myself, so I brushed it off at first, thinking I must just be thinking of my own nose. But again and again, this picture of a nose seemed to be in my mind.

So I began to pray for this nose, asking God if this nose needed healing, and it seemed to me as though this nose was very congested. There was a hard mass that was blocking it.

Still feeling very uncertain and skeptical, I wrote on my paper, “Nose? Healing? Congestion?”

After awhile, the pastor paired us up with the person we had been praying for. As I sat down with my partner, it was very obvious that he did not have a cold. I began to feel very foolish about this whole nose business.

I told him about the verse, and the other things that had come to me while praying. Some of them were very meaningful for him, others not so much.

Finally, I could avoid it no longer, and confessed that I felt led to pray for healing for his very normal-looking nose.

He started smiling, and he said, “Believe it or not, I’ve actually had chronic congestion in my nose for years, and it bothers me a lot.”

What??! So I prayed for him.

And then for the next two weeks, I kept on praying for him, because his nose was continually brought to me mind.

If he had just asked for prayer for his nose, I would have done it, and then probably not thought of it again. But God had made that nose my nose. I owned that prayer need. I prayed like I’ve never prayed for any nose before.

Well, at the next prayer class, I couldn’t wait to ask about his nose!! And guess what – he said his nose was much better! Not completely healed, but much improved. I’m not sure why I doubted God’s answer to my prayers for this man’s healing – God told me to pray for it, so it would make sense that He would do it!

It wasn’t my nose getting healed, but my joy and faith increased because of that man’s experience.

That is my wish for all of us – that our joy and faith would increase as we see all that God is doing, everywhere around us.

I would obviously really, really love to be healed, and live a life free of all this pain, but if I remove myself from that, I realize there is just a growing desire in me to see Jesus glorified. If He wants to use me in that, awesome. If not, I’m sure He’ll find another way! But I don’t want to hinder Him in any way. I will share my story, and I will take leaps of faith, and put myself out there in scary and vulnerable ways, because really, all I want is for Him to be glorified. What else truly matters?

So thank you for your prayers, thank you for sharing in this with me, and thank you for standing with me as we all wait on Him to act in powerful, unexpected, awesome ways, whatever they might be!

“We” Instead of “Me”

Once a week, I get to spend time with a wonderful therapist named Giselle.

I love going to see her, partly because she makes the pain in my body go away, and partly because she is such an amazing person. She has this wonderful combination of positive, enthusiastic energy, while still being incredibly relaxed and laid back.

Each time I go to see her, she is slowly changing my view of health and wellness.

The other day, I was sharing with her how my personal definition of “wellness” leads me to see myself as an unhealthy person, even though I know I have so much to enjoy and be thankful for. The physical limitations I have are not very great, compared to what many people have to live with.

But Giselle told me something that changes everything.

She asked me to imagine a person with some physical challenges, but chooses to faces those difficulties with acceptance and a positive attitude, and surrounding themselves with great relationships and a rich, wonderful life in spite of the pain.

Then she asked me to think of a person without any physical limitations, seeming to be in excellent health, but miserable in every other way, suffering through a horrible job, loss of relationships,  so unhappy that one day, this person commits suicide.

Then she asked me, “Who is the ‘healthier’ person?”

Maybe physical health isn’t quite as important as I’ve thought.

This idea of health simmered in my mind for a few days. Could I consider myself “healthy”, even if I was never able to overcome my physical limitations? Could I let go of the labels I’ve claimed for my life?

In the meantime, we traveled to BC for Ben’s grad, and the speaker at the graduation ceremony was just incredible.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about five years ago, and he had the most amazing attitude I’ve ever seen in someone dealing with physical difficulties.

He talked about the choices he had to make, and decisions regarding how he wanted to live his life despite his diagnosis. And he shared that the most important thing he had learned was this:

“Illness starts with ‘i’, but wellness starts with ‘we’.”

He asked us all to close our eyes, and think about “I”.

Then he asked us to think about “you”.

Finally, he asked us to visualize “we”.

I started out with a picture of myself in my mind, but I ended up thinking about the people beside me, all of us together on that bench. The emotions that come up when I visualized “we” instead of “I” are dramatically different.

I was reminded of Giselle and her definition of health.

And then I remembered how someone once said to me, “If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.”

I do not agree with that.

I once read Corrie Ten Boom’s story, and she shared how her mother, unable to get out of bed, would spend her days writing encouraging letters to people. She wasn’t wasting away, useless and depressed. She was doing what she could, which was actually quite a bit.

photo   © 2010   William Arthur Fine Stationery , Flickr

If you haven’t got your health, you’ve still got a whole lot of something. You just need to be willing to give it to others, rather than sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, and thinking about “I, I, I.”

That idea goes far beyond health issues. I think every person out there could gain from “we” instead of “me”.

No matter what my personal challenges might be, there are still countless reasons to be thankful and joyful. There are countless ways to reach out to the people around me.

During our struggle with infertility, I spent years feeling depressed and frustrated because my situation wasn’t changing. I could spend hours praying for myself, begging God to do something new in my life.

All that time, and it turns out that “something new” could have been getting up and doing something useful for another person.

I’ve spent far too much time thinking about “me” instead of “we”!

What is your definition of health or wellness?