It is like an uninvited guest that comes to visit you. The guest simply arrives on your doorstep and walks right in. On that day, the guest arrived in the form of multiple sclerosis and interrupted the tranquility of my life.
A few years earlier, I had gone through a divorce and in hindsight realise that my health had taken strain over the ensuing years. One day I was driving and noticed that my vision was slightly blurred in one eye. I had tingling sensations in my arm prior to this, but had just dismissed these sensations. Now with the discovery of blurred vision, I sensed that something could be amiss. I began with an appointment to see an ophthalmologist called Ray.
In June 2005, Ray diagnosed the blurred vision as optic neuritis but was concerned that it could be linked to multiple sclerosis so advised me to be mindful of this. Multiple sclerosis is defined as a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision, and severe fatigue.
Over the next 2 years, the frequency of the tingling sensations in my arm increased and a slight numbness in my leg set in. I knew that something was seriously wrong with my health. In August 2007, I went to see a neurologist and specialist in diagnosing multiple sclerosis, Dr Wolpe who confirmed that I had the progressive version of multiple sclerosis. He advised me to go on medication immediately. The cost of the medication, if taken over a number of years, had the potential to cripple me financially. In that moment, I made a decision that God would heal me and that medication wasn’t the best option. To the specialist’s surprise, I chose rather to walk by faith. Trusting God to heal me seemed to be a safer bet than medication.
I had to fight fear as God took me on a journey of faith and healing. The reality of this dreaded disease that invaded my life hit me in waves. The impact that it had on my life was drastic and I had to make major adjustments to the life that I had previously known. It was difficult to continue with my work as I was exhausted most of the time. If I didn’t have an afternoon sleep, I would need to be in bed very early. I couldn’t socialize as much as I had before I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Now I had to accept my health was taking strain and I needed lots of physical rest. I listened to my body and rested. Rest became a comforting and kind friend to me.
For a sustained period, I chose to eat healthy food and reduce my intake of sugar. I wasn’t pedantic about my eating but I did try to eat food that would build and strengthen my body to help it fight multiple sclerosis.
I surrounded myself with faith-filled people. I was very selective of which voices I allowed into my life. In order to win this battle, I needed to fiercely guard who I listened to. Whenever there was an opportunity to be prayed for by men or women of faith, I stepped forward to receive prayer. I believed in the power of prayer so I never turned down someone’s faith-filled prayers.
I had been struggling with multiple sclerosis for over a year but slowly my energy levels started to increase. After a wonderful relaxing holiday, I had a strong sense that I was healed. I visited the specialist who confirmed that there were no further lesions on my brain. This was a miracle. Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease and as time goes by, the lesions on the brain usually increase and multiply.
My gamble, which for me was taking a risky action in the hope of a desired result, paid off. Trusting in the resurrected power of Jesus to heal me proved to be the better option than placing my trust in modern medicine. Sometimes medicine can be used as part of your story of healing, God just wanted me to walk the road of healing only by faith and prayer. That’s the reason I chose not to take medicine and believe in His healing power instead.
What are you trusting God for during this Easter season? Whatever it is, know that He is a miracle working God and that nothing is impossible for Him.
Luke 1:37: “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Practical tips on how to journey through a serious illness into wholeness and healing:
1. Ask God to give you a few scriptures that will strengthen your faith on those tough days.
One of the scriptures that greatly encouraged me when my faith waned was John 10:10 “The enemy comes to rob, kill, steal and destroy. But I have come that you may have life, life abundantly.”
2. Surround yourself with faith-filled people who believe in the healing power of Jesus. Don’t listen to any voices of doubt or unbelief but choose to listen to people who build and strengthen your faith. The same resurrected power that was evident when Jesus rose from the dead is available for us today to heal and deliver us from sin and diseases.
Isaiah 53:4-5 "Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."
3. One of the biggest lessons I learnt was to listen to my body. In a world that demands performance from all of us, physical rest is often overlooked. If your health is taking strain, slow down and make time to rest. Rest is part of the healing journey.
4. Believe in the power of prayer and take advantage of every opportunity for people to pray for you. Never feel embarrassed about responding again for prayer to be healed.
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
5. Guard your heart and your mind and don’t allow fear or anxiety to take root in your life. The reality is that you will have many moments of fear after being diagnosed with a dreaded or debilitating disease but Jesus has given you everything to overcome fear. Spend time in prayer and talk to God about your fears and anxious thoughts. Meditate on scripture that establishes peace and love in your heart and mind. Renew your mind daily with His thoughts about you and His Kingdom.
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Sharon de Beer is a guest blogger for Women of Reverence, she is a mother of a beautiful daughter called Lulu. As a single woman she embarked on the journey of adoption later in life. She decided to draw on the strength of her church community to help her raise her daughter. She is part of the leadership and prophetic team at Glenridge Church.
She worked for Unilever for over 12 years where she gained extensive business experience in marketing related positions. She established a marketing department and worked at Pakco for 2 years. She is an entrepreneur who has run a photography and marketing consultancy business called Alive Marketing. She has also worked for a dynamic NGO called Zoe-Life that is an innovative South African capacity building and development organization working in the field of public health and social transformation.
She has a passion for seeing people step into all that God has destined for their lives. She loves connecting with people and seeing how she can support them to succeed in life. She joined Red Light, an anti-human trafficking organization in 2012 and led a team on the streets to help vulnerable woman encounter the love of God.
She is an adventurous person who has travelled to many countries to experience different cultures and places. She appreciates being in nature and surrounded by trees and mountains. She enjoys going for walks on the beach and chilling out with a good cup of coffee with friends.