God is doing a work in me – It’s like nothing I ever expected, could have asked, or imagined.
Most folks know that I have (had? heh) a genetic joint condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It causes, among other things, joint subluxations and dislocations, along with hypermobility. I’ve had to wear splints on my fingers for some time (they’re pretty – look like silver rings) because without them, my fingers would bend backwards and to either side. (The hand therapist nearly cried when she felt of my hands, they dislocated so easily at every joint). I had a hard time typing without them, punching buttons on the microwave, things like that. The splints served as sort of an exoskeleton for my fingers to keep them from bending too far or even dislocating.
I also was in a wheelchair for a season. At first, I thought that getting the chair would be a good thing as I’d been in considerable pain and had been dragging myself around on a cane. The doc said my hips were degenerating (another facet of EDS is arthritis and early osteoporosis). So the chair gave me mobility but it also took away my independence. I couldn’t simply take off to the store any more, someone had to help me load and unload it from the car. We toyed with outfitting the van we’d bought to carry the chair with a lift, but that’s pretty expensive.
One day, I read in my Bible, in John 11:21-27 “Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
I’m not sure why I equated that passage with healing in that moment, but I began from that day to cry out to God earnestly to heal me. No more “well, I know that when I get to heaven.”I wanted to be able to live my life, pain free, in the here and now, not limited by physical handicap, and I sought Him. Back around Thanksgiving of last year, I felt that I’d had a breakthrough (and everyone around me did, too – people at church and in the neighborhood said, “What’s happened to you?” Well, I started walking. At first it was dragging myself around on the cane, then hobbling, then walking w/the cane just for balance with the occasional relapse. Which is where I’ve been until this weekend.
Now, around the time this all started, God whispered to my heart, “You’re going to dance for Me.”
I’ve never been able to dance and have always wanted to! so the double promise was staggering. At first I was tempted to think, “well – yeah. Right.” But one night a woman at Calvary (our old church) that I’d never seen before or since came up to me and said that she’d had a vision of me dancing joyously before the Lord, and God had confirmed to her that it would be on this side of heaven. Talk about tears flowing!! I clung to that promised and prayed for Him to complete the good work He’d begun in me.
Months passed. Incrementally, I’ve gotten better and better each week – but it’s been a ‘two steps forward one back’ process, and sometimes a three or four steps back and start again sort of thing. But I’ve gotten to the point where my morphine levels are way down, most days I can function really well, and I’m enjoying a relatively *good* existence.
God wasn’t satisfied with that, I guess.
Friday morning I was up early, went outside and prayed, came in and made myself some coffee, and sat down at the computer. Only a few minutes later my hands started to HURT SO BAD that I had to tear the splints off! The pain felt like when nerves heal – that electrical-shooting-ZING! It lasted for about an hour at that intensity and has been slowly subsiding since. I still get ‘shocks’now and then but not so bad. I’m surprised I didn’t tear off my skin getting those splints off as they fit quite snugly!!
So I’m sitting there in pain, and holding my hands, massaging my fingers because they HURT – and I realize that they’re not bendy. AT ALL. Won’t bend backwards, won’t bend sideways, and the ‘forward’ motion into a fist is normal and not overextended the way it had been. My eyes got real big at that point but my hands hurt too bad to process much of anything!
Over the day, as the pain went down, I started to check them out more – and sure enough, I’ve got normal range of motion in my hands.
Other times I’ve taken the splints off, I’ve had to be very careful because they’re so used to being splinted, there’s no muscle tone or anything, and bones pop right out of joint. But now – it’s no more bendy than Ken’s fingers (we checked!)
I even went and worked over @ the church on Saturday, using my hands for all sorts of things, unsplinted.
So – Sunday rolled around. First Sunday am at our new church, and it’s homecoming. Had an excellent preacher, had lunch on the grounds, and then we had singing. Now, my church has a Latino church that uses the facilities Sun afternoons, and so they came for lunch too, and joined us to all sing together and worship the Lord. It was awesome Smiley We had an interpreter for the spoken parts, but once the singing started – we all just sang and worshiped. Have you ever heard the phrase, “The Holy Spirit fell?” Well, the Spirit fell in that place – we didn’t get home from morning church until after 6pm.
Here’s the best part: about the 5th song into the set that the Latino church was doing – an exuberant fast-and-faster sort of hand-clapping song – all of a sudden I felt like my body just had to MOVE. And I was dancing for the Lord.
Words just cannot express the emotion I have as I type those words! I was dancing! to see that promise fulfilled is – I’m just overcome by the goodness of God. Literally completely swept-off-my-feet overcome.
We came home last night, slept like babies all night long, woke up this morning feeling so great I took Lucy for a walk (I never take Lucy for a walk – she pulls and it hurts. But this morning she pulled and it didn’t hurt. Praise the Lord!)
Last Friday night (the Friday before the Sunday, so to speak) we were at a Missions Conference at Calvary. The speaker, Greg Johns, talked about time and how ‘in the fullness of time’ is God’s way of doing things. Sometimes, certain things, people, places, and events need to come first, in order for a thing to take place. I’m guessing that’s what happened? I think back to all of those trips to the altar to have the elders pray for me, at Calvary – asking and asking in faith. God heard every time! All the times that I was huddled in pain, praying – He heard, He knew, and indeed He was there comforting me in it. But it wasn’t the ‘fullness of time” for healing me yet; there must have still been things to accomplish. There may yet be things He needs to work out with this but, akin to the blind man in John 9 who once said “I was blind but now I see” – I can say, “I once had bendy fingers that popped right out of joint and now they won’t, even with some force applied. I once was in too much pain to walk, but now I am walking without pain. I’ve never been able to dance my whole life – and pain has prevented me from even trying – but I DANCED FOR THE LORD YESTERDAY!
God is awesome beyond our wildest imagination and WORTHY to be praised!
The following Tuesday I took the handicap tag from my car. When I did, it disintigrated into bits. I took that as a sign.
The next day, I went to see my orthopedic doctors. About six weeks ago, I hurt my right wrist and was scheduled to see Dr. Li, a surgeon, to see if scoping my wrist might help. The pain in the wrist had gone away at the same time as everything else. At first I was simply going to cancel the appointment, but then I thought – nah! I want to see what the doctor thinks of all of this!
First, I went and checked in. Saw Rosemarie, one of my favorite people there 🙂 She said, “Kathi, you’re glowing!” That’s what everyone says. It’s the power of God and my joy. 🙂 I danced in the lobby of Comp Rehab at Baptist Hospital. How about that? Hehehehehehe! She cried, she was so happy for me.
Dr. Li examined my wrist first and pronounced it not only “fine” but “remarkably stable” (no one’s ever said that of me before :::grins:::) He looked at the other and said the same. He even tried to hyperextend the joint – couldn’t do it.
I asked, “Since I’m here, would you give an unbiased opinion on my fingers?” I told him the reason Dr. Koman had put me in the splints, and told him about the nerve pain and that I’d had to take the splints off, and that they seemed to be fine now. He said that my fingers were somewhat flexible at the hand but certainly not beyond normal range, and that at the other joints they were perfectly normal. And stable. They couldn’t be dislocated.
I just grinned.
Then I went dancing off to my regular hand doctor’s. I wasn’t scheduled to see them, but a form had been sent to me for my daughter’s school by their dictation department, and they’d forgotten to get the doctor to sign it first. So I went in to see if she could sign it, and when Susan saw me, she said, “Kathi, you’re glowing! What’s up?” So I began to tell her my story, and her eyes got bigger and bigger. She looked at my fingers and pronounced them “medically impossible – but WOW!” Then I told her how I was walking around and had removed the handicap tag from my car and how I had danced in church. She asked me to add her to my prayer list. You bet!
It’s really odd – I was SO hypermobile before. I could ‘beyond’touch my toes. Now I can barely reach them. Could reach one hand over my shoulders and the other behind my back and clasp them – now I can barely touch them. Could touch my thumb to my wrist, now it doesn’t touch. Could lay my hands flat on the wall, now it hurts to try. My husband says that it’s like I’ve become normal.
Me! Normal, by the grace of God! Hallelujah!