Trusting and Obeying God When Doing So Seems…Weird
Kimberly N. Alleyne
The Harvest Magazine, Publisher and Editor
I stood up to get my purse so I could meet Shannon outside for lunch. When I stood up, my legs buckled and collapsed. What happened afterwards is a blur. What I do remember is that I was on bed-rest for several weeks; I gained a lot of weight from fluid retention. I had crippling migraines, I was fatigued, out of breath, and my back hurt. The pain felt like several people were walking on my back with spiked heels. It was crazy.
Something was not right, but the doctor, no one, had a clue as to what. They offered a few guesses, gave me pain medication, and sent me on my way.
All of this came out of nowhere. One minute I was enjoying my life as a healthy, fit young woman. I inline skated. I exercised regularly. I was a fitness enthusiast; at the time I was thinking of getting into personal training, and had even recently submitted my photo to a fitness model contest. I was in great shape! So to stand up and fall down because my legs gave way was startling, frightening and humbling.
I was scared…eventually I got better…in some ways. I had trouble walking after this initial episode, and even walked with a cane for a time. The migraines continued, and so did the back pain.
That was about 15 years ago.
The migraines have become less frequent, but the back pain has continued and progressed; it is intermittent, but when the pain makes an appearance, nothing can help me. I have learned to live with it and manage it as best I can. When I’m writhing in pain, I am always reminded of how desperate and needful I am for the Lord’s presence and touch. Over the years, I have asked Him and believed Him for healing … it never manifested. At some points I wondered if maybe this was my “thorn.”
Eventually the pain spread to my neck and in recent months, my right hip. Deep sigh.
Recently I was at a women’s prayer gathering. I was having a great time interceding and worshipping with sisters, most of whom were strangers. It was an awesome time, but I was in pain the entire evening. Even as we were praising and rejoicing, I was in severe pain. Then I realized, “Hey Girl, you’re in the midst of powerful prayer warriors. The don’t miss this moment, ask for prayer. So I asked for prayer.
The ladies began to cry out for my relief and declare healing over me. I was so moved by their compassion and sensitivity. As they labored and I agreed, and imagined that every cell, muscle, bone and nerve in my back was being saturated with the Blood of Jesus. The pain subsided some but it would not entirely cease, and it was actually quite resistant. In fact, the more the ladies prayed, the worse the pain got. Suddenly, Sandra, the host of the prayer gathering, ask me what might have opened the door to this pain. I lowered my head and said, “Unforgiveness.”
I was ashamed to admit that I was carrying a large (heavy) load of unforgiveness, and in some cases, it was anger, bitterness and unforgiveness rolled into one crazy ball of gunk.
I know the Word, and I know God instructs us to forgive our enemies. (See our 70×7 post). But I never considered how not releasing enemies from their offenses impacted my health.
There were two people in particular that I had been harboring resentment for. But everyday I gave them specific attention in my prayers, and uttered the words, “I forgive OFFENDER. I release OFFENDER. And I bless OFFENDER. God bless OFFENDER richly, and meet all of her/his needs.”
I had been dutiful about doing that so I thought I was in good standing. The sting of their offenses (abandonment, rejection, betrayal, deception, plotting, etc.) still vibrated across my heart each time I reflected on the ways they’d disappointed me. But, I was determined to forgive, release and bless, according to the Word.
I shared all of this with the Sandra and the other sisters. She gently revealed, “I’ve been there. I know where you are. I had to learn that forgiveness is not just words, it has to come from the heart.”
The sisters began to pray that I would release forgiveness from my heart, and so did I. I was desperate to do that. I cried out through tears and declared that by an act of my own will, I forgive and release OFFENDER. I did that several times. I stopped being aware of the pain; eventually the pain began to subside—dramatically. It. Was. Incredible. I was so thankful.
But it didn’t end there: the next day I was preparing a tuna pita, and my cell phone rang. It was Pastor Steven R. Woods, who is senior pastor of Living Word Faith Center in New Albany, Miss. Pastor Steve was my pastor when I lived in Memphis, and he continues to be a source of great counsel, a trusted adviser, and a great friend of The Harvest Magazine and prayer group ministry. I began to rattle off the events of the previous evening, and he interrupted me. He explained that many times we pray for healing, but we don’t pray for, or receive deliverance. I knew he was about to speak into my life in a dramatic way, so I just my pita down. He asked me if the pain was gone completely, and I said, “No, but it will probably leave altogether once I continue to forgive and release.”
“Ok. I need you to get a No. 2 pencil,” Pastor Steve said.
“Ok, got it,” I said.
He said, “Ok, this is going to sound crazy, but when I tell you to, on the count of three, I want you to break the pencil in half.”
“You ready?”, he asked.
“I’m ready,” I said.
“1-2-3, break the pencil,” Pastor Steve instructed.
Crazy right? What does snapping a pencil in half have to do with my back, neck or hip? Hmmm…
Do you remember the widow at Zarephath in I Kings 17? She had a handful of flour and a little oil, but the prophet Elijah basically told her, “Feed me first.” That took #crazyfaith to feed him when she and her son had nothing to eat themselves, but read what God did! And remember the widow who sold her oil or the Shunamite woman whose son died in II Kings? See II Kings 4: 1-36. Lol. The Shunamite woman WAS NOT PLAYING! She was determined that since she had been promised a son, that he was going to live, and she stood on her faith to see her son’s life restored. We need to get fired up like that to demand God’s promises to materialize in our life. Those promises include healing. After all, with Jesus’s stripes we were HEALED. That is past tense, so we have to believe and stand on that promise.
So, as of today, six days have passed since I broke that pencil in half. I have been able to do things that I normally could not do without experiencing significant pain or discomfort. For example, I can lift my hands over my head and hold them there for a long time. I haven’t been able to do that without severe pain and discomfort for a long, long time. I am thankful. I am thankful for #crazy faith, for pencil-breaking faith.
Get crazy. God loves our crazy faith — and He rewards it.
What do you have #crazyfaith for? What crazy thing has the Lord instructed you to do? Please share your story with us here, or on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!