Friday, June 11, 2010

My Own Personal Miracle

Jen AlLee

If you've ever watched the TV show House, you know how often the term "lupus" comes up as a possible diagnosis. In fact, it's happened so often, now it's become a joke: It's never lupus.

When I was ten, the word lupus came up in my doctor's office. And for me, the diagnosis was correct. It actually was lupus.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disorder. The disease manifests itself in many different ways, but its most basic definition is that the body attacks itself. I was hyper-sensitive to sunlight, so much so that I became violently ill when my teacher put my desk in front of a window. And, as if the lupus wasn't enough, I was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. That's kind of a lot for a ten-year-old to handle.

Because of my sun-sensitivity, I had to be completely covered up when I went outside. Long sleeves, long pants, a sun visor, and sun screen on any exposed skin if I was going to be in the sun for more than a few minutes. As you can imagine, this made me extremely popular with my classmates. Not.

Over the course of the next two years, I underwent all kinds of different therapies. I had gold injections, which, due to an allergic reaction, gave me a fever so high the skin on my palms and the soles of my feet actually burned off. Check that off the list. At one point I was taking 28 aspirins a day. Problem was, I couldn't swallow pills. So my mother would melt them. She melted them in everything: chocolate ice cream, milk, water, root beer (a disaster!) The best choice was orange juice, although it still tasted awful. In the end, the aspirins didn't work, but I did develop a hatred for anything orange-flavored until I was about thirty.

Throughout this time, my mom and grandmother never stopped praying for me. When I was delirious from my gold-induced fever, they prayed. When I cried over the latest round of playground teasing that ended with my visor being plucked from my head and tossed on the schoolhouse roof, they comforted me and prayed. And when it looked like nothing was working and I had a life full of doctors, hospitals, and questions ahead of me, they prayed. In fact, my mother even took me to a prayer meeting.

This might not sound like a big deal, but my mom is very happy as a traditional Lutheran church-goer. She likes the liturgy. She likes order to the service. But someone told her that a pastor was having a meeting at the LA Convention Center, and that people got healed at his meetings. At that point, my traditional mother was ready to try just about anything, so we went.

To this day, I can't tell you the name of the pastor. But I remember sitting in a high upper level. I remember the pastor calling out illnesses and people with microphones taking people out of the audience and up on the stage. Then the pastor would pray for them and they'd fall over. That kind of freaked me out, and I prayed in my mind, "Don't come get me." But as the meeting went on, I changed my mind. "Okay, if you can heal me, then come get me." But nobody did. And the pastor never called out my disease. Although he did call out a blood disease, which might have fit. But by the time my mom and I left, we were both a little dejected because it hadn't "worked."

A few months later, my doctor greeted us with amazing news. "I don't have an explanation for this, but she doesn't have lupus anymore."

I was healed. Was it because of the prayer service? Was it all the prayer in general? I don't know. My grandmother used to say that the reason none of us could remember the name of the preacher at the convention center was because no man deserves the credit for my healing. I think she was right. God, in His grace, chose to heal me. That's all I need to know.

Some people have said I must not have really had lupus. That I was misdiagnosed. I respect their opinions, but I totally disagree. My doctor was a specialist, one of the top guys in the field. He wasn't just guessing. More importantly, I know how sick I was. I experienced it. And I know how much better I felt afterward.

What's interesting about my healing is that, while the lupus is gone, I still have the RA. I used to struggle with that fact. Why only half a healing? Why do I still have to deal with this arthritis stuff? I've done all kinds of spiritual calisthenics trying to shake the RA: I've been prayed for, had hands laid on me, been anointed with oil, had someone yanking on my arm (long story)... Nothing. Then, about ten years ago, I finally made peace with it. There's some reason why God healed me from one thing and not the other. I couldn't tell you what that is, but I think it's like Paul's thorn in the flesh.

So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7b-10, NLT

His grace has, and continues to be, more than sufficient for me. The Lord has blessed me in so many ways, not the least of which by giving me my own personal miracle.

Now it's your turn... How has God touched your life?

Photo credits:
House with cat - Photobucket
Aspirin - MorgueFile
Question mark - Dreamstime


  1. What a blessing it is that you can 'see' your miracle as well as receive it. :0)

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. I feel that God works in so many miraculous ways each day of my life.

  2. Thanks Jen for a beautiful story. I'm so glad you were healed of lupus!
    Did you ever get your visor back? :)

    I thank Him for all the big and little things He does. Seems like it's the big things that get notice. Rightfully so! but all the little things add up to so much more.

    The Miracle story I have involves an impossible way that two cars avoided a deadly collision. I think a little piece of that awe flickers up in me each time I make that same left turn every day. It's a long story but I wonder how many stories we could have if we really knew what God has done to protect us when we didn't even know it!

  3. Oh, Jen! I thank God for your healing, and also for the compassion and grace he birthed in you through your suffering. No wonder you can tap into emotional struggles in your writing. Arriving at the point when the only option is a miracle is no fun. It's always painful, but he is faithful! And we learn as much in the storm as we do in the miracle.

    Wow, he is awesome!

  4. Wow! I agree with your grandmother, Jen, about not remembering the preacher's name so no man could steal even a portion of what is God's doing alone!

  5. Good morning, All!

    Deb, I don't know if I got that particular visor back, but I had several! There was one I kept for years as a reminder of where I'd been. The once bright yellow material had turned gray, and the carboard beneath it was cracked from the time when one of the boys folded it in half to make it easier to throw. I've lost track of it now, but it could very well be in one of the many boxes at my mom's house :+}

    Ladies, God is SO awesome! We may not get everything we ask for, but we get what He knows we need. May you all be blessed today!

  6. Such a powerful, powerful message, Jen.

    Both my boys were born with severe milk allergies. The specialist said they just didn't have the enzymes to process cow milk proteins (casein). So, we became dairy goat farmers. It took me 3 times longer to grocery shop than anyone else because I had to read every label. Do you know there are cow milk proteins in:
    - weiners
    - ketchup flavoured chips
    - margarine
    - soy cheese!

    When we went to a pancake breakfast, I had to bring their mix and cajole the workers to fry it up. Church potlucks were murder as the boys wanted to sample so much. The dessert table was the worst. Everything had margarine in it!

    I ended up making my own goat milk butter until we found a salt-free margarine that for some reason, didn't contain casein. My goat cheese wasn't great but I could make a mean mozzarella which rivalled the store-bought kind.

    And all this time, the ladies at church were praying. Steadfast in their request for my boys. I didn't realize until the Pastor's wife asked how they were doing and I mentioned that one of the boys had eaten a brownie without repercussion. She nodded and said it was because they'd been praying. She patted my arm and said they'd keep praying for complete healing.

    And it worked! Praise God! I am awed and inspired by His miracle of healing.

    The boys can eat anything from a bowl of ice cream to a smoothie made with cow milk. I still read the labels of everything but now it's for salt and nutrient content for my HBP and not for the dairy ingredients.

    Praise God! Have I said that yet? I'll be saying it for ever!

    And yes, Jen, the naysayers say it's because the specialist was wrong and mis-diagnosed. But they didn't live through it.

    And we know better.

    Sorry for the long post.

  7. Anita, I can only imagine the frustration and anxiety you must have gone through. There's nothing worse than seeing your child suffer. But praise God for His healing hand! And I'll bet your boys savor ice cream all the more because of those dairy-free years :+}

  8. Thanks Jen, that gave me chills. I have a similar although far less dramatic story. I traveling healing minister prayed for me and my food allergies which were causing rashes on my face went away immediately. However, I still have lot of airborne allergies. Weird how that works, huh.

    I was also miraculously and instantaneously healed of a turned out foot that was supposed to require braces when I was a small child.

    Praise God for his wonder-working power.

  9. I have RA, too, Jen, and am so glad to hear you were healed of your lupus. I am praying one of my family members is healed from it, too. It is so hard on a child to go through what you did, yet you have this wonderful testimony of faith and of perseverance. God bless and continue to fully heal you! Carrie


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