GOD'S MIRACULOUS HEALING OF ME FROM LYME DISEASE
by Brandilyn Collins
June 3rd, 2003
This is the miraculous story of my healing. But this is NOT about me. This is about God showing His glory to many in a fresh and vital way. My blessing in this is huge, yet it’s small compared to all the ways He’s blessing others who are hearing that their prayers for me have been answered.
I had Lyme Disease and two of its coinfections since July of 2002, almost a year. Even with treatment, I was going downhill. The diseases had attacked my joints like rheumatoid arthritis, my muscles like multiple sclerosis, and my brain's processing like Parkinsons. In the worst of days I couldn't even summon the energy to get dressed. Treatment to kill the Lyme and other diseases in my body caused periods of worsened symptoms called "Herx" periods, due to the toxins that are produced as the bugs are killed off. The Herx periods were supposed to lessen over time, but they weren't. My ministry of writing Christian fiction became so difficult, and I was falling behind on my book deadlines.
The last week of the illness was a relatively good one for me, which was expected. I went off part of the medication for a week, allowing my body to rest. On Monday May 12th I was scheduled to start another round of medication, the harshest yet, and one expected to cause the worst "Herx" periods of all. Taking advantage of my better week, my husband, Mark, and I decided to go to our second home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the weekend. Then on Tuesday 6th God impressed upon me that we should visit the Healing Rooms in Spokane, Washington (close to Coeur d’Alene). This is a Christian ministry with a plethora of miracles in its history. (Please see the Web site at www.healingrooms.com. There are various Healing Rooms across the country.) We’d known about the Healing Rooms for some time but had not been in Cd’A at a time when we could go. Suddenly I really felt a real urgency to go.
Meanwhile, a gal from the ACFW e-mail loop (American Christian Fiction Writers, www.americanchristianfictionwriters.com) got a word from the Lord. She was to proclaim to ACFW that Saturday May 10 was a 24-hour day of prayer for me, and to sign up pray-ers for 15-minute slots, starting at midnight Fri. night. Now no one on the loop knew I was planning to go to the Healing Rooms that very day. But God knew. And He’d now made it clear—Saturday was His day for me. I grew expectant. I started telling my family, "I’m going to be healed Saturday."
Then I began hearing from others in ACFW how the list for praying was filling up. I cannot express how humbled that made me feel. It is very humbling to see others choose to serve you, when you’ve done nothing to deserve such service. Yet there it was. And to see that people were even getting up in the middle of the night! I thanked God, knowing my unworthiness, yet also knowing that He was planning something big—for the good of us all.
Saturday morning I was really hurting, paying for trying to do too much on Friday. I hobbled into the Healing Rooms using my cane as much as I could, but with a weak upper body, you can’t lean much on a cane. Amberly, our 13-year-old, and Brandon, our 20-year-old, went with Mark and me. The four of us couldn’t fit with the prayer team into one small room, so Mark and I went into one room while Brandon and Amberly went into another room with another prayer team to pray for me. The prayer team of 3 prayed for Mark and then for my healing. I felt nothing. They told me to believe God for healing and that it would come.
After that prayer session, by God’s design, I’m sure, the place was unusually empty. No more sick people to pray for. The prayer teams were just sort of standing around. So I felt I should take advantage and go in a second time with a different prayer team. The second time Brandon went in with me. The team prayed for me, and this time (as one ACFWer had said I should do) I prayed too, commanding aloud that the illness leave my body in Jesus’ name. Brandon prayed also. Again I felt absolutely nothing. The prayer team said sometimes people don’t feel anything, but then the healing just swiftly comes. When I went out of that session, I was walking a little better. But to tell the truth I wouldn't admit it. I was disappointed, because I'd expected to be healed right then--and FEEL it. For some reason, I said to myself, God hasn't healed me. Still, I willed myself to praise Him anyway.
We drove back to Coeur d’Alene, about a half-hour, and stopped at a restaurant for lunch. When I got out of our SUV, suddenly I didn’t need my cane. At all. And I walked into the restaurant slowly, but completely NORMALLY. I hadn’t walked like that for months! By the time we got to the house, I was really feeling better. The pain was gone. My knees were stronger. My elbows and neck didn’t hurt. I felt energy like I haven’t felt before. I went upstairs to our bedroom—and walked up the stairs NORMALLY! Then I came down them (really hard for weak legs) totally normally. I’d had to turn sideways and come down one step at a time for months, lowering only by using my left leg, because my right knee had been the worst. Now I just sailed down them. I let out a whoop and called the family to come see. So of course I had to go back up the stairs and come down them again. Normally!
They were quite nonplused, let me tell you.
I couldn’t help it; I had to strap on the ol’ jogging shoes. Hadn’t had on a pair of those in a long time. I went outside to walk around our driveway. The driveways altogether around the house and garages and up to the road and back form about a 1/3 mile loop. And there’s some grades to them. I hadn’t been able to go up and down grades, even with a cane, for a long time. Suddenly I was just walking up those hills. Then walking down. The Healing Rooms had given me a long prayer for healing. I took the piece of paper with me and began praying it out loud. I completed a whole loop, walking like a normal person, and said the prayer aloud. And I kept doing loops, each time saying the prayer and shouting to Jesus, let me tell you! I ended up doing 5 laps, about 1 mile. The last lap I actually did a light JOG!! My knees felt strong enough and I just eased into for a while.
I was healed. The only thing left was some stiffness in the backs of my knees. Because I haven’t been able to straighten my knees for months, the body tissue and muscles in the backs were tightening, shortening. This was leading to even more drawing up of my legs. If I had continued to be sick for months, as my doctor had predicted, this would have gotten worse and worse and required some real therapy even after healing. This tissue had to be lengthened again.
I wanted to keep walking after the five laps, but I knew I have to take it easy on my muscles, which aren’t used to the exercise. So I went inside and turned on emails. What an outpouring from folks at ACFW who were praying! And please note: They STILL didn't know I'd gone to the Healing Rooms. Only one or two were even aware that I knew about the prayer vigil. Yet post after post came through about the powerful prayer times people were having. They were being blessed, and God was giving many an expectation of a miracle. That day of prayer, indeed, was not about me. It was about God releasing His power—in my body, and in the minds of all of the pray-ers. Some of them even mentioned telling others—spouses or friends—about the prayers, and how that message affected those people. One of the gals stopped the work in a beauty parlor, as she was getting her hair colored when her time came to pray. Her hair dresser and the receptionist prayed too, and the receptionist said, "I've never felt closer to God than right now." Others mentioned their spouses' amazement at the day of prayer--and how it was a witness for them.
By this time it was about 4:00 Pacific time. People would still be praying for me until 10 p.m. my time (the prayer list was on Central time). I knew without a doubt that I could not write the ACFW loop and say anything then. God was continuing to pour out his blessings on ACFW, and that should continue until the end of the prayer time—for the pray-ers and for me. I felt the continued prayers would help my knees right up to the end of the day, and people would continue to be blessed.
Other sample statements from the pray-ers as they wrote the loop on Saturday:
"I could see Christ's light of healing and love going right through Brandilyn's life."
"No words would come except for Brandilyn's name. The more I tried to concentrate, the more her name kept being repeated. So I spent the whole time just saying her name, figuring the Holy Spirit knew what He wanted to say."
"This prayer list was called forth by God Himself. He will be lifted up and praises from the results of this day will be spoken throughout the world for some time to come."
"I really felt the presence of God."
"By the time I finished praying and crawled back into bed at 3:05 a.m., I knew that God had already begun to answer."
"I felt the strong desire to pray that God would heal Brandilyn right then."
"I was amazed at how blessed I was MYSELF during my half hour of prayer."
"God impressed me with the need to pray for healing right now. That prayer stream went throughout the day."
"When I closed my eyes to pray, I felt like I was already at the throne room of grace."
"It was a time of indescribable peaceful communion."
And the last pray-er, at 11:45 p.m. Saturday night (after I'd been completely healed):
"The song 'Praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children' kept running through my head and interrupting my prayers, so I finally decided to just sing the song and changed my prayer of supplication to a prayer of praise for what I knew God had accomplished that day through the faithfulness of His children."
God had done an amazing thing. He'd used one small issue in my life as a springboard for pouring out His blessings on many.
I went to bed at 9:00. For the first time in months, I didn’t put a pillow lengthwise under my legs. I’d had to do this because I couldn’t straighten my knees, and because I needed my heels to hang off the pillow so they wouldn’t rest on the bed, which hurt. But no pillow that night. At first it was a little uncomfortable, but I would not use the pillow. I thought, "People are still praying for me, and God is still answering. By morning this is going to be better." And it was. By morning, I could sleep on my back with no discomfort. My knees were straighter.
Mark and I got up and went for a three-mile walk. Three miles! Dear friends, I’d counted it wondrous when I could shuffle a lap around the downstairs of our home. I came home from the walk and cleaned the kitchen. Did some vacuuming. Vacuuming! All of you who hate this job—rejoice now when you do it. Because you CAN!
Two days later on Monday the 12th I started the hard medication. I couldn't see my doc for over 4 weeks because she’d gone on vacation. Mark and I talked about it, and prayed, and it was clear that I was to take this medication. (The Healing Rooms tells you to not stop medication until a doctor verifies your healing.) I prayed for God’s protection against the hard medicine itself, which in those high doses has put people in the hospital. As for the bad Herxes, they only come when the Lyme and other diseases are being killed. I knew God had killed off the little buggers already, so believed that no Herx would occur. And that's exactly what happened--NOTHING! No Herxing has provided part of the medical proof of my healing. The final proof will come when my doc sends me for for re-testing of my blood.
I must say, as difficult as this sick time was, I would not trade it. Because God showed me SO MUCH. I am not the same person I was before the illness. He has used this illness for His glory in my life—a wondrous example of Romans 8:28. When I was first diagnosed the husband of an ACFW friend called me to tell me he had a word from the Lord for me. Now keep in mind I don’t even know this guy, so he was being brave to obey God and call me. He told me God would heal me in time, but in the meantime He wanted to draw me to Himself. More and more deeply. I heard that word deep in my spirit; I knew it was from God. And right away I vowed obedience to that word, and I began much longer periods of devotions, and I began praying the Psalms. Here in a nutshell is what God taught me:
1. An eternal perspective. As the old Southern gospel song goes, "This world is not my home; I’m just a-passin’ through." When we think eternally, even the harsh things of this world lessen in significance.
2. Praise. He showed me how to pray the Psalms daily, aloud. Didn’t matter how I felt. Didn’t matter if I could hardly speak, or if I was crying from frustration and weakness. What mattered was my WILL to praise God, because HE IS GOD, regardless of my circumstances. Our merciful Lord enlarged my heart and taught me how to do this. I didn’t always feel good for having done it right away, I can tell you, but God sure blessed me over time through this. And I can’t even take the credit for being faithful, because, good grief, without His help, I never could have done it in the first place.
3. Serving with delight. No, *I* wasn’t serving; I couldn’t do anything. I watched others serve me. Friends sent me cards, emails, flowers, gifts, books. Mothers drove my daughter to school. Most of all my husband did everything—my job and his too. And he did it with such patience and caring. When my brain would get all scrambled and I could hardly speak, he would patiently wait for the words to come out. He’d call every day from work to check up on me. He’d rush home and make dinner. He learned to navigate the treachorous aisles of the grocery store. My illness was very stressful and depressing for him because he loves me so much. Yet he always served me with DELIGHT. Not out of joyless obligation. What a lesson he taught me. What a lesson so many have taught me.
4. Humility. This comes right out of #3. You can’t accept all this wondrous, undeserved service from people and not be greatly humbled. And it’s humbling just to not be able to do things—to walk right, to think right or speak normally. God has stripped me of many ego issues—and wow, what a wonderful thing!
5. Faith. Somehow God in His mercy managed to show me, even when I was at my worst, how to have bigger and bigger faith in Him. He showed me how all of us believers are in the palm of His hand. And He WILL provide.
I also must mention that the ACFW friend’s husband called me numerous times during my illness. He called a month ago, encouraging me to keep drawing closer to God and praising Him. And he gave me a prophetic word: "God is going to visit you." Well, now, and didn’t God do just that. As one of the ACFW pray-ers said (in what is clearly another prophetic word)-- "God will be lifted up, and praises from the results of this day will be spoken throughout the world for some time to come."
Update May 10, 2008:
It's been five years! I remain healthy, I'm still running, I'm still praying the psalms. And at the moment I’m writing my 19th book.