Although going to a hospital was not my choice, I ended up being taken to one when a loving and concerned family member called for an ambulance one day after I had a health scare. After I was admitted, nurses rolled me down a hall where I read the words “Stroke Unit” on the wall. My grandmother had passed away at a young age from a stroke, and I began to feel fearful. I let discouragement get the best of me.
The next morning, I was informed I would be moved to rehabilitation for the next two weeks. Almost immediately after that, I had another episode. A nurse put me in a wheelchair and sent me right back for more tests. Then I was rolled into a dimly lit room to wait. I sat there in the quiet and reached out to God in prayer.
Thirty-four years earlier, doctors had predicted that I would die from cancer. I had turned to Christian Science and was fully healed (see “Diagnosed cancer healed,” Journal, December 2001). Since that healing I had always totally relied on Christian Science, and I knew I could rely on it now.
As I prayed, the thought came to me, “You do not live in this world.” “This world” meant the world of matter and disease. I thought of “the scientific statement of being” in the Christian Science textbook, which affirms that man is spiritual, not material (see Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 468). I knew that in reality I was spiritual, and God, Spirit, was ever present and taking care of me as His spiritual idea. I lived in God’s spiritual universe, which was present right there, right then. I was not governed by so-called material laws, but only by divine law.
I relaxed and felt a sense of peace. Before this, I hadn’t been able to feel my right hand, but almost immediately after this prayer, I felt a tingle in my hand and some strength return. I sat up in my chair. I decided I would go home and call a Christian Science practitioner to give me healing treatment through prayer.
Family members tried to convince me to stay in the hospital, but I held my ground. A nursing student came in to talk to me. She said that everyone in her nursing class was talking about me—the patient who was sent for tests slumped over in a wheelchair and returned sitting up straight, demanding to go home. I told her about Christian Science and all the many examples of healing I had experienced through its practice.
The doctor said tests showed I had had a stroke, but there was nothing they could do for me. He said he would release me to go home and give me a prescription, but that I should see a doctor. I thanked him, but I knew I would need neither the prescription nor a doctor because I could fully rely on God’s healing power.
When I got home, I called a Christian Science practitioner to pray for me, and I read that week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson. I found I was able to walk by myself and could hold a sandwich that my daughter had made for me.
The practitioner encouraged me to know that I was not needing to regain strength because the truth was I already expressed strength as God’s image, and I could prove that.
I had been given a heavy cane and some dire predictions, and since I could not lift the upper part of my right foot or its toes, I was told I would need a lift in my shoe. I mentally denied every false material belief that had been presented to me. In Science and Health we read, “Deny the existence of matter, and you can destroy the belief in material conditions” (p. 368). There was no way any of those material beliefs and matter-based predictions applied to me, God’s spiritual idea.
A couple of days later at dinner, I was struggling with my fork. I reached out to God, and the thought came to me that the whole material belief of stroke was only a dream, not the truth of my being. Science and Health states: “A mortal may be weary or pained, enjoy or suffer, according to the dream he entertains in sleep. When that dream vanishes, the mortal finds himself experiencing none of these dream-sensations” (p. 250). If I were to dream I was falling, after waking up I would not look for evidence of having suffered a real fall. In reality, the same was true with the stroke. It was just part of the mortal dream of life in matter. It was no more real than a dream of a fall, and so in reality there couldn’t be any evidence of having suffered a stroke.
I felt a sense of calm. After dinner, I watched a short movie with my son and grandsons. My son then took my grandsons to get ready for bed, and I reached over and picked up the remote control for the television and changed the channel. As I set down the remote, I suddenly realized what I had just done. My right hand was functioning completely normally. Earlier that evening, I would not have had the strength nor the coordination to pick up the remote control or to push the buttons on it to change the channel. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I thanked God.
At the beginning of each day, I declared my perfection as God’s child, read the Bible Lesson, and spent time in prayer. I enjoyed the visit with my son and grandsons, and we were able to do everything we had previously planned to do, such as go out to dinner and attend the state fair. I moved slowly at first, but I refused to give in to a lie about my true spiritual nature as God’s image. I improved daily.
A week after being released from the hospital, I went to return the cane to those who had given it to me. The staff who saw me were amazed. I was told that I was so lucky, and I explained that luck had nothing to do with my freedom, but prayer did. They saw how I could lift my hand and foot normally.
By the end of the following week, I had regained my full strength and returned to work teaching middle school. Not long after that, I retired, and two days later, my son called to say he was getting a divorce and asked me to move to another state to help take care of his sons. I prayed and felt led to go. My house sold quickly, and I moved in with my son. Today I am still very active taking care of housework, shopping, cooking, and caring for two small children.
A few times very early on after this experience, I seemed to have a feeling of a symptom, but each time it was met quickly with Christian Science prayer. The healing has been complete and permanent for three years. I am very grateful for Christian Science.
Phyllis Schulze Valentine
St. Louis, Missouri, US