For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14
If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I just came back from the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. When almost 600 Christians who also write fiction gather in one place, there is sure to be a lot of preaching, singing and praying in addition to learning about the craft of writing. However, we are all human Christians so anxiety over appointments with potential agents and editors from publishing houses still rears its ugly head. Thus, the need for a prayer room. I had several “divine appointments”, unplanned meetings with other people that provided exactly what I needed at the time I needed it. Non Christians call that coincidence. I believe it is more than coincidence, but God’s Hand at work giving me what I need, sometimes, before I know myself. I will write about some of those divine appointments in upcoming posts, but one was so dramatic and unexpected that I cannot wait to write about it. Before the conference, I was part of a “newcomers group” where information about what to expect and how to prepare was circulated via email. One woman who helps to organize the conference told us about the prayer room and offered to make an appointment to pray with any of us who desired one. I read about Brandilyn on her website and knew that she had been cured of Lyme Disease after a time of intense prayer. That intrigued me. I asked for an appointment and on Friday afternoon met her. I had to leave a very interesting seminar to be there on time and almost decided to cancel the appointment. It is not that I expect healing; I believe that MS is something God put in my life for a purpose. Sometimes, I have glimpses of it, but most times, I don’t really understand. But, for some reason, I felt compelled to meet with her. As I said, Brandilyn knew I have MS and it is obvious that I have problems with my legs, but most of my other symptoms are invisible. In fact, that is one of the main issues I have with MS. It is an invisible disease and there is not a warning light on my forehead that alerts observers to know walking causes terrible pain, my face sometimes burns like fire or my arms tremble with fatigue. Nor do I publish that fact on social media or in polite conversations. Complaining doesn’t get you very far in this world so I generally keep it to myself. In addition, I haven’t told many people that I have a torn retina in my right eye and problems with my vision. I don’t moan about headaches or arthritis in my back and hands. I say all this to confirm that there is no way Brandilyn would know in advance all my ailments on that Friday afternoon. Nor would she without an MRI know the location of my biggest brain lesion, the one that controls balance and mobility. When we first sat down to pray, Brandilynn asked God to show her how to pray. Then, she began praying and putting her hand on every place in my body that hurts or causes me problems, the ones related to MS and the ones not related. My thumb and spine where the arthritis throbs, the arms that are weak with the job of pushing me up out of chairs, the unsteady ankles and swollen knees, my forehead where a headache pulsed, my right eye with its damaged retina and finally, the back of my head near my neck where the brain lesion hides. By the time she got to that point, I was a weepy mess. You see, I did not realize until then, how much I withheld this invisible illness with all the people around me and with God. It occurred to me as Brandilyn prayed that I felt surprise, not that she knew my hurts, but that God did. God told her each place in my body, very specifically. She could not have known any of those points, but He did. And the reason He gave her that information, was not so much to offer up healing, as to convince me that I do not suffer alone. That I am not invisible to Him. I flew to Nashville looking for an agent and a publisher. I did not find them. I did not need them. I found God instead.