In 1973, I was working as the head nurse of an orthopedic unit at Chicago General Hospital. It had been 10 years since I had left my Christian home in Ontario, Canada, to enroll in Bible school after finishing nurses training.
My purpose had been to become a missionary nurse. But after studying for more than a year, I decided to drop the word missionary from my goal.
Feeling that I had disappointed my family, I did not return to Canada. Instead, I put my faith on hold and pursued my nursing career in Chicago. Nursing became my life, and I enjoyed my work immensely.
Little did I know that my life was about to drastically change.
That year, in a car accident, I sustained a severe neck injury that left me in terrible pain. Doctors performed neck surgery, but a few months later I was faced with the prospect of another surgical procedure to fuse more of my neck.
I was terrified. At the same time, I felt that I deserved to be in this predicament, because I had forsaken my family and the Lord.
That's when a good Christian friend challenged me to ask God to show Himself to me and to prove that He still loved me. I was desperate, so I took the challenge and prayed.
Amazingly, when the doctors checked me the next day, my symptoms were gone. The surgery, they said, was no longer necessary!
I left the hospital with no explanation for what had just happened. I knew nothing about miracles or divine healing at the time.
All I knew was that there was a God, and He still loved me.
Touched by the Spirit
As soon as possible, I went to visit my family in Canada. I asked my father for forgiveness for rebelling against him. What a wonderful family reunion we had!
I was surprised when Dad asked me to return home, but somehow I knew it was the right thing to do. I resigned my position in Chicago and took up residence in Canada once again.
I was home for only a few weeks when I began to experience a series of colds, flues, headaches and serious lung infections. Then, suddenly, I was overcome by weakness and symptoms that the doctors couldn't diagnose at first.
After much testing, it was determined that I had a serious immune deficiency. For some reason my immune system had been weakened and was unable to fight infection of any kind. According to the doctors, I had only three or four months to live.
What followed was not death, however, but 20 years of fighting for survival through miracles and much prayer. I was bedridden for most of two decades.
By the end of 1993, the physical challenges were so constant and so severe that I decided to give up. I was suffering with terrible headaches, muscle pain, difficulty breathing and one infection after another.
I wanted to be with Jesus. I simply did not have any more energy to fight. That's when everything changed.
In January 1994 some friends took me to a meeting at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF). The church was just experiencing the beginning of what would become a worldwide movement called "the renewal."
That night God powerfully touched me. I ended up on the floor, where I had an amazing encounter with the Holy Spirit. I experienced the incredible love of Jesus and the embrace of my heavenly Father.
When I tried to get up, I discovered that I was completely overwhelmed by God's love, and I could not walk or talk. I was filled with joy and laughter—a state that people referred to as being "drunk in the Holy Spirit."
I had never been drunk before, and I had certainly never heard of being drunk in the Holy Spirit. All I knew was that I was overwhelmed by the love and joy of God. My friends had to carry me out of the meeting.
It took me a few days to realize that the pain I'd had for so long was gone and that I was sleeping through the night—something I had not been able to do in years.
I continued to go back to the renewal meetings at TACF. I was filled with such excitement and expectation that I could hardly wait to see how the Holy Spirit was going to move each night.
- Continue reading >>
For the month of August we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Charisma. Join us for giveaways each weekday, pages from our past, and more. We're including an anniversary special where you can get 40 issues of Charisma for only $40!