“Once in awhile…when you believeee.”
I hope the song from Princess Diaries is playing on repeat in your head like it is in mine.
So for those of you who have followed this blog in the past, one thing is very clear: I definitely did not stick to my goal of posting once a week. (3 week streak though, hooray!) In fact, I’ve been putting off posting for months now, and I’ve been making plenty of excuses for myself along the way.
However, something miraculous happened this past weekend. God touched my life in a way that I never expected, or even thought possible. And I’m pretty sure that now, He’s calling me to talk about it openly without shame.
For the last four to five months, I’ve been dealing with a condition known as Red Skin Syndrome, an ailment caused by steroid withdrawal from medicine prescribed to me by my doctor for eczema. Unfortunately, my body reacted negatively to the steroids and went into a severe relapse after the treatment ended, flaring up at extreme levels. This, plus the combined methane toxins in the air from the Porter Ranch gas leak, led to my body becoming an absolute mess.
The symptoms included unbearable itching, skin breakages, rashes, severe skin shedding, nausea, insomnia, hair thinning, and chills.
Side bar- DON’T TREAT YOUR ECZEMA WITH STEROIDS.
After consulting a doctor about it, I was advised to take medical leave from both work and school for a few months.
I was devastated. Lying idle at home for days on end isn’t exactly all it’s cracked up to be. Especially when it’s physically painful to even move around the house. I hated the fact that I couldn’t get out of bed without wanting to break down. Part of me became angry at God because I couldn’t understand what the purpose of this suffering was.
In the past two weeks, my condition eased up enough for me to be able to return to my work and classes. But I was still hurting, still miserable, struggling to re-adapt to being amongst crowds of people every day. Worst of all, my neck- one of the most eczema-ridden parts of my body- was constantly tearing and breaking, and it was visible to anyone who wanted to make conversation with me. I could barely tilt my head up towards the sky without it coming apart. The constant comments about it have eaten away at my self-esteem.
Fast forward to last Saturday. My boyfriend, Josh, had been telling me about an upcoming event called Azusa Now that was happening that day- a huge gathering of thousands and thousands of people at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where the crowd was dedicating the entire day to fasting, prayer, proclamation of the Gospel, and signs and wonders for Christ. I’d never been to an event like this, and I was intrigued when I heard that people would often pray over the ailments of others for healing. Since I couldn’t attend the event myself, I decided to live stream the whole thing while catching up with some work I was doing on the side.
It. Was. Beautiful. You’d think that watching it online would take away from the magic of it all, but there were over twenty thousand other people watching that live stream with me, all of us being touched and moved by the music, the prayers, and the healing that was happening at the Azusa Revival. In the chat room, people were sending out prayers and encouragement to strangers around the world.
Around 8:00 PM, a woman named Heidi Baker went up on stage. “For those suffering from skin ailments, allergies, digestion problems and the like…we pray for your healing now. We pray that God give you healing.” She told us to focus on John 6, Jesus’ Feeding of the Five Thousand, and to remember that no matter how broken we were, God would fill us and make us whole. I closed my eyes and let her words seep in. A warm sense of peace came over me. I felt so blessed that God had gathered all of these amazing people together to pray over one another so selflessly.
8:06 PM. I got up to use the restroom when I noticed that something was off. I felt..lighter. My hand reached for the wounds that I’d become so accustomed to feeling on my neck.
But nothing was there.
I ran towards the mirror in my room and moved my neck around little by little. No pain. No tearing. No bleeding. No eczema.
For a second I thought I was daydreaming, so I leaned my head back and took a photo of my neck. But it was as real as ever. I started to tear up. I rolled up my sleeves to check my arms. The tough, red skin had faded into soft, pink patches.
“God…what have I done to deserve this?”
Even with all of my doubts, my anxieties, my shame, and my sin, God somehow thought that I deserved to be saved. I think that was a lesson I desperately needed to relearn. And I did.
God’s love and grace is completely, utterly, and infinitely unconditional.
These last couple days have been such a huge blessing. I haven’t felt this painless, this happy, in months. I didn’t realize how much I’d taken stretching my neck around for granted. I spent a lot of Sunday just looking up at the sky, beaming like an idiot. It was worth it.
It’s amazing how powerful God can work through the hearts of those who have faith in Him. And what’s just as amazing is how much we can touch the lives of those around us when we put Him at our core, asking Him to do good through us.
I still have so much to learn. And to be honest, I still don’t fully know what God intends to do with my life. But this is only a ripple in the ocean of his plan. I think I’m finally ready to take the dive.
Thanks for reading! And if you’re looking for more amazing sources of inspiration, check out the blogs below. I promise you won’t be disappointed.