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Radiance in the Fire




Voting Has Closed

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I wake up and watch my husband walk around the room getting ready for the day. He pulls the ventilator mask off my head, worms his arms under me, and sets me upright. He puts my socks and slippers on my feet, picks me up, and places me in my motorized wheelchair. I motor after him into the kitchen quietly, trying not to waken our three kids. He kisses me goodbye and I wait for my mom to come over and feed me my breakfast, help me to the restroom, and take my two-year-old to daycare. God has blessed me with another beautiful morning where I get to verbally encourage my husband and where I get to homeschool my six-year-old and four-year-old.

Some have said that suffering reveals what is already in the soul. There is an element of truth to that, as it painfully reveals the tested genuineness of our faith. Yet we don’t stop growing when we walk through suffering’s flames. A new creation is forged there in the middle of our fight against the ruler of this world.

Two years ago when the diagnosis of ALS was laid on me, I was a scared and hurt and proud wife and mother and musician, doing my best to follow God. I was afraid to die, afraid of not being able to move my body or breathe.

And so, “I sought the Lord.” I prayed. My body wasted away. I sang. My breath weakened. I read the word. I was loved on by the body of Christ. And quietly, the Spirit moved. The unexplainable fear of death that had gripped me several years earlier when I ran around on two strong legs chasing squirrley toddlers finally melted away. “He answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

When I learned that my neurologist assigned me a terminal diagnosis with no hope for a meaningful treatment from the established medical community, I prayed for healing, yet I sought healing primarily through alternative treatments. And while I believe I have benefited some from alternative treatments and from the established medical community, it took me two long years to learn to set my hope fully on the power of my risen Savior and his Spirit living in me. Two years to learn to obey his admonishment through Paul to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, including gifts of healings. God works through doctors, and God works through herbs, and let us not forget that God works directly through his Spirit.

So how do I earnestly desire spiritual gifts? In my life, it has looked like gobbling up scripture, obsessing over YouTube preaching videos, and traveling to learn from those who have spent much of their lives pursuing the gifts. Praying. Listening for God. Doing what I can where I can. I am among “those who look to him.”

And he has seen me. He has heard me. I am seeking tongues. I am seeking visions. I’m even seeking the daunting gift of prophecy. I am seeking gifts of healings. And he is slowly giving me what I seek. Am I out of the big, black wheelchair? Not yet. I know I will be- I hope in this life, and I know for sure in my glorified, immortal body. A vision, a dream, a prayer in tongues, a healing. These are precious gifts, given to me to build up the body of Christ. Here in all my abilities and disabilities – while my husband serves me like Christ serves his bride, while I serve my children, and while I do what I can to serve my church – my Christ is actively equipping me as a member of his body. And because I sought the Lord, and because he answered me, and because he delivered me from all my fears, and because I looked to him, here in the middle of my suffering I am filled to overflowing with my God’s love. While I live and while I die, my face is radiant and it will never be covered with shame.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:4-5

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