I woke up recently thinking about all the healings I have experienced. After writing them down, I realized they all had a connection with church. Here are three.
When I was twelve, I injured my pinky toe while running through the house. My toe was swollen and very painful, but I got in the car and went off to school anyway. As we drove, my mom prayed with me. We talked about how God never lets us down, even for the instant during which the injury seemed to happen. By the time I got out of the car about thirty minutes later, all the pain had stopped. The swelling, however, had not gone down.
Over the next few weeks the toe remained misshapen and swollen, but I was able to do all my normal activities. My mom and I always read a section of the Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly before school, and we continued to pray about my toe. I was able to go to ballet class four times a week, wearing larger ballet slippers. I had a recital coming up, though, and I wanted to wear my pointe shoes as I had been used to doing. My shoe wouldn’t go on that foot.
I realized I needed to have a complete healing—that it wouldn’t just get better over time, and that I had some praying to do. I had seen and experienced enough healings in my family to know that healing happens when thought changes. I knew it was my thought that needed to be changed, not my toe. So I gathered up all the copies of the Christian Science Sentinel we had in our house, spread them out on my parents’ big bed, and began to read all the testimonies in the back of them.
At first I was thinking about my toe and about having a healing. But very soon I forgot about my toe and just got lost in all the wonderful healings I was reading about. I was so grateful for all those proofs of God’s care and love for all those people. Although I didn’t know them, I felt a great love for them.
I was interrupted by my mom’s voice calling me and my brothers down to dinner. I jumped up and ran downstairs. When I got downstairs, I remembered my toe and realized I had run with no restraint or tightness. I looked down, and my toe was completely normal. There was no swelling or malfunction at all. I was not surprised, but I was thrilled! The next day I put on my pointe shoes and practiced my dances on pointe with no pain at all. I didn’t even have any feeling of having been out of pointe shoes for so long. I was free.
That healing has been a beacon for my practice of Christian Science over these many years. It showed such a clear connection between my thought and my body. It also showed me the importance of being grateful for others who have gone before me and who have demonstrated the truths Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy so clearly illustrated in their ministries.
I needed those examples many years later. I was a mother of two young boys, and I became unable to sleep or eat normally. Over a period of three months I hardly slept at all each night, and I stopped having any appetite. I also exhibited other symptoms of some kind of mental turbulence and found it hard to keep up with my work and family commitments. I told only my husband and a few friends about this condition. They were very supportive, but I knew this was ultimately between me and God.
I prayed constantly, engaging various Christian Science practitioners over the weeks and months. I received much help but no permanent progress. The hymns from the Christian Science Hymnal were constant companions over the long nights of wakefulness. At one point I wondered if I would end up in a mental institution, as I simply wasn’t sure how much longer I could go on like this.
Two things stand out about this “wilderness” time. First, the kindness and deep love expressed to me by each of the practitioners who helped me. One sent me a wonderful article on gratitude, and I tried to live that gratitude. The other thing that stands out is that the only place I felt any peace or relief from the mental pressure was at church. I never stopped teaching my Sunday School class, and those young children were my life raft week after week, as were Wednesday testimony meetings.
In fact, it was during one testimony meeting that I learned the final lesson of this experience. A fellow member, a friend of mine, stood up and said she was having trouble with insomnia. She made the (to me) startling request that we pray for her. I had never heard anyone do that before, and my first thought was that I was the last person who could help her. But on my way home that evening, I felt a strong nudge to call her and tell her I would be happy to support her through prayer. I did just that, and for the first time in all those long, sleepless nights, I prayed about this imposition for someone else. I fell asleep that night and didn’t wake until morning. I was healed!
The next night I woke as I had been used to doing—very agitated and upset. But this time I knew I didn’t have to accept those feelings. I said out loud, very forcefully, “Oh no, you get out of here!” I got back into bed, put my head down, and fell asleep. That was many years ago, and I have been free of this problem, including the appetite and mental turbulence aspects, ever since.
The third healing I want to share happened when I was hit in the eye with an object at great force. I couldn’t see at all out of that eye for a few days, and I could only see shapes a few days later. The fear I felt turned into a deep desire to feel God’s presence and to be able to turn away from wanting my eye to be healed to understand more about spiritual reality.
The next Sunday after this happened, I went to church and sat in the balcony, where no one could see me. I tried to read the quotes on the wall but couldn’t, so I just closed both eyes and listened to the Lesson-Sermon being read. I listened more carefully than I ever had before. As I did, I felt that peace and harmony that we finally experience when seeking God’s voice. When the service ended, I could see the words on the far wall perfectly. “God is Love” was one of the quotes, and I certainly felt loved in that moment.
I am grateful for all of these healings over many years. But I am most grateful for the fact that they helped me move forward; helped me look more closely at what is real and what is not; and enabled me to understand a bit more that, as we turn away from our very understandable desire to “get better,” we find that the thing that needed to get better has.
Bridgton, Maine, US
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