My name is Faith. I’m a nurse practitioner in Ohio. During the summer of 2019, my life was quite busy with my family. We went camping, took vacations, and had cook-outs. I had no idea my life was about to change. Sometimes God needs to get your attention, turn you around, and put you on a different path.
On August 17, 2019, I was driving home from Michigan. I had stayed in a cabin with my sister and niece. My husband and daughter were in Wisconsin with the Pathfinders. As I drove home, I started feeling nauseous and upset to my stomach. I remember praying on the way home and listening to Christian music. By Saturday evening, I was achy and feeling like I just wanted to climb in bed. My oldest daughter offered to take our youngest for the night, so I could get some rest.
Sunday was awful. I thought that I had the worst stomach flu ever. I started running a fever. Each time I took my temp, it was higher: 101° by Monday evening; Tuesday morning, almost 103°. I called my husband at work; I said, this flu should be better by now. But I am worse than when it first started. We discussed options. Should I go to the doctor’s office? Urgent Care? Or the ER? I did not want to go; as a nurse, I appreciate that ER visits ought to be truly necessary.
I knelt and prayed, asking God what I should do. When I finished praying, I told my husband that I was going to the ER. Now Tuesday morning, I took my younger daughter with me and headed there. They ran a lot of tests, sending me home with a pill form of antibiotic. One of the tests they drew was called a set of blood cultures (to check for bacteria in your bloodstream); one drawn from the left arm, and one drawn from the right arm. Wednesday morning, I received a call from the ER telling me that I needed to come back right away. My blood cultures were positive, meaning that I had bacteria in my bloodstream.
Admitted to the Hospital
I was scared. Having bacteria in your bloodstream is very serious. The infected blood runs through your heart, kidneys, brain, and lungs; and everywhere it goes, it can cause serious problems. I sent a text message to at least two church members requesting prayers. I said, “Please pray for me, and ask everyone you know to pray for me.” I called my husband to tell him that I was headed back to the hospital, and I thought that I would be admitted.
This situation rapidly became a very stressful time for us. We were trying to figure out who was going to care for our active four-year-old girl. Who was going to pick her up from school? Our lives were already so busy! It was hard not to panic.
In the meantime, I did what anyone else would do — I searched the internet for some answers about my illness. I learned that I needed intravenous (IV) antibiotics to fight this infection. If I did not get these IV antibiotics fast, I could go septic, which carried a high risk of death.
Even more, than that, I knew that I needed God’s healing. I was admitted to Kettering Medical Center on Wednesday morning. I prayed as much as I could. My husband had to leave me to take care of the girls, and he had work. Thursday night came. Several people came by to visit. Pastor Baldwin came and prayed with me. I was very grateful for all the prayers, visits, and flowers.
The nurses and hospital staff were kind to me. I felt blessed. I tried to be cheerful and pleasant. I wanted to show Jesus as much as I could — and considering that I work at this hospital, I was particularly concerned about my witness to my co-workers. Everyone left and night came. The night nurse came in after and told me in passing that they found salmonella in a stool sample. Then she left. It can be hard to be alone in the hospital, isolated from your family.
I started Googling again on my phone. My anxiety level was already high; my mind was racing. If the infection was in my colon, then it had to be in my bloodstream. Horror set in. I had food poisoning that was now freely running through my blood. Everything that I read on the internet put me into a frozen state of fear; heart-pounding fear. Blood-borne food poisoning can create pockets of pus around a heart valve, the spine, kidneys, etc. “Death possible,” it said; “septic shock, possible.” I would need six to eight weeks of IV antibiotics.
I called my husband twice, after 10:00 p.m. at night, crying. He asked, “Are you on your phone? Are you Googling?” He then calmly told me to put down my phone and pray. Prayer was the only place to go. The poor guy was stressed out, exhausted, and trying to be me, caring for two girls. When I got off the phone, I felt deep darkness settle over me. Thoughts were coming harsh and fast. You could die here. You could be sick for a very long time. I started to pray. I pleaded with God as I had never done before. I was crying out to Him. I said, “God, please lift this darkness and fear, bring Your peace and healing.” “Let me feel Your presence, for if I know You are here, then everything will be okay.”
Praying & Pressing Hard
I prayed for a long time. Maybe an hour. Maybe longer. No peace came. I repeated some Scriptures. Nothing brought relief. All I could feel was total dread and cold fear. I remember saying, “God, why are you ignoring me?” “You love those who love You, and you know that I love you.” I also prayed that, in this time of sickness and fear, He would give me an experience with Him that was beyond anything that I had ever had; that He would use this time in my life to truly draw me into His presence.
While I can not remember everything that I said while praying, I pressed hard. I prayed and prayed, even though I did not hear an answer or feel any relief. I did not give up! I refused to back away. I refused to stop praying. I knew there was only one God, one Healer, and He was the One to whom I needed to press my petition for healing. This ugly dark feeling continued; it was awful. I wanted it gone. It felt like there was a huge wall separating the Lord and myself. This barrier was a new feeling for me, and I could not understand this separation. I remember thinking that we are told not to trust our feelings. I was claiming Scriptures. I was desperate for God and His peace.
It is difficult to describe what happened next. My eyes were closed because I was praying. I thought maybe I was dreaming, but I was aware of the repetitive noises emanating from my IV pump. I saw a window, or a room, open up in my mind; it was a large space. It was as if I had been picked up and placed in this empty room. I felt a presence in the room. I was not alone there. I started to shake all over; I was scared. I could not see a face, but I knew that it was God’s presence. I was totally terrified, as you can imagine. He could see right through me — He knew my thoughts and motives, and nothing was hidden from Him.
I felt like I was being given an opportunity to present my case before Him. What would be the first thing you would say to God if given the chance? I asked him, “Why are You ignoring me? Why will You not grant me the peace that I need so badly?” At first, nothing was said.
Then, I started seeing what looked like photographs. I asked, “What are these?” No answer. Each vivid color photograph was a scene of my life, at different points and times. Without any explanation, I knew the meaning of each picture. I cried. Each picture showed something that I had said or done—and that I knew to be displeasing to Him. I confessed everything that I was shown.
One photograph confused me. I thought, “I did not even say anything in that situation! How could I have been in the wrong?” But He read my thoughts because I instantly saw my motive.
I was seeing myself the way God sees me, and I cried. It was extremely painful; I was sobbing. I realized how I had dishonored His character. I had let Him down. The one person who loved me enough to send His Son to die for me, I had hurt.
Not Everything Was Right Between Me & God
A voice began to speak very clearly to me; I knew that it was God’s voice. He told me some very personal things. I told Him how sorry I was for hurting Him. I was a broken person. Several times, I felt like I wanted to leave this room. I was afraid of what He might show me next. He said to me, “Faith, you can go whenever you want if this is too painful for you.” I said, “God, I have nowhere else to go but to You” (John 6:68); “You are the one and only God.” I would rather be at the mercy of the almighty God who loves me, than in the hands of the evil one.
I do not know how long this lasted. Now, I am not sure sharing everything that He showed me would benefit others, for some of it was very personal. BUT, I will tell you this, He addressed pride, selfishness, and more. This experience was a time of rebuke, housecleaning, confession, and a total breaking down of self. At one point, I said to God, “Why are you doing this? Am I going to die? Are you preparing me to die?” I remember thinking, “I know that You love me, or you would not be taking the time to help me be right with You.”
I had no idea things were not right between God and me. I go to church every week. I pray. I read my Bible. Satan is so subtle though. Self is so deceitful and desperately wicked. I had been letting my prayer and Bible reading time get shorter. I was distracted with the girls, my work, everyday life, and other worldly things. I will tell you some things He told me. He said time was short; and that we all need to be free of sin. He told me He had the right to take my life from me or give it back.
It was very hard to do and took some time, but I submitted to Him. I said, “Do with me as You see fit; You know all things; You know what is best for me.” He told me that He would heal me and restore me to my family, but not because of my prayers; but only because of the prayers of a friend of mine. Honestly, that hurt my feelings, but I submitted to Him. He is a fair and loving God. He did not cause my sickness, but He allowed it to happen, so He could have my full attention. It was very clear to me that God is not pleased with a lukewarm, half-hearted relationship with Him. He does not appreciate insincere prayers.
Finally: Joy & Peace
Finally, I did feel His peace; indescribable joy came over me. I thanked Him for healing me. I thanked Him for answering the prayers of my friends. I thanked Him for forgiving me, even when I did not deserve His mercy.
This peace did not come until after painful confession and brokenness. He started to show me things. At one point, I saw a dirty glass. He said, "This glass, represented me; I needed to be cleaned, emptied of self." Then, I saw a pitcher of water pouring into the glass, until it was overflowing. He said, "That was His spirit. Once my glass was cleaned and emptied of self, He would pour out His spirit into this glass/me to overflowing." Once the glass was full, He told me to look through it and He said, "When people look into this glass, they will no longer see you; instead, they will see Me."
Please know that I am not a special person. I am a big sinner to whom God showed great mercy. God explained that He was working in the lives of many of His people. If any were willing to submit to Him, He would clean up your glass and fill you with His spirit. He wants to raise up “an army of clean vessels” (His words, not mine), who will perfectly reflect Him (Ezekiel 37:9-10,14; Joel 2:11).
He told me that He had a special work that He wanted me to do for Him. I asked Him if my husband would be by my side. He said, “If he is willing and submits to My leading.” I believe my husband will submit. Time is short; it is time to commit to Him more fully than ever before.
The next morning, I received a text message from a friend from my church. The text simply said, “I have been up all night praying for your healing.” I knew her prayers for me had been answered. I cannot express how grateful I am that she is a faithful godly person, who took the time to pray for me.
I called my husband and told him that I needed to talk to him. I asked him to listen closely, as I explained, “I am sold out to God. You cannot say or do anything that will convince me differently. I have sat in His presence. He is full of love and mercy, but He is also a God of justice. Do not be deceived; He will not take sin lightly. If you think things are okay between you and God, they might not be. You do not want to stand before Him having sin in your heart. I cannot express this point enough to you. He is so powerful and wants to do big things in the lives of His people. He has the power to heal you physically and spiritually.”
Praise God that with His blessing, the antibiotics worked to help heal me. The infectious disease doctor walked into my room Friday morning; I felt peace as soon as she walked into the room. I asked her if she was a Christian, and she said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you an Adventist?” She said, “Yes.” I knew that she was going to play a part in my healing. I was discharged on Sunday with lots of pills to take for two weeks.
Here is a summary of things that I learned from this incredible experience:
- I had no business making chicken for my family, which I was preparing when I got sick. I do not even eat meat myself. God told me to quit trying to please others. He is the one that I need to please.
- I need to be more vulnerable, in order to share with others. We cannot keep pretending everything is okay. We are God’s people. Share your struggles with someone; confess your brokenness, and pray for each other.
- The prayers of the righteous are indeed very powerful. Get yourself right with God, so you can pray for your loved ones and those in need. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results ” (James 5:16 NLT).
- Everyone is in a different place in their journey with God; that is between them and God. Pray for them. Do not judge others. Love them.
- Things that you do not think are a big deal, just might be a big deal to Him. Pray and ask Him for clarity.
- And this last one is very important! We do not have time to mess around with sin, the world, or anything that keeps us from spending time with God. If you are lukewarm, you need to stop your own ways and get sold out to God.
- We are on a journey home to heaven. We cannot look back, slow down, or keep making the same mistakes. We do not have any time for that nonsense. As for me, I am done with worldly things. I am one hundred percent sold out to God.
He also told me that the more I become like Him, some people will not like it, but that is okay, because other people will be drawn to me because of Him. I was broken, but I have been healed; emptied of self, but filled with Him. I told God, He gets all of me. I want to share His love and mercy with all of the broken people that I meet. All that God shares with you is to be shared with others. Do not be selfish with your time, means, or the Truth written in the Word. All is to be generously shared with those around you. There are many broken people who need you and I to represent Christ to them. I am praying you will be drawn closer to our most amazing God, and that you will submit to His working in your life.
So that is my testimony of how God reached down and touched my life. And here is a little update — I have ever since felt such intense love for God, His Son Jesus, and those around me. My prayer life has become such a beautiful time of communion with Jesus, involving a daily experience of submitting to God, being emptied of self, and asking Jesus to dwell in my heart. It is Jesus working in me through the power of the Holy Spirit that is transforming my heart. It involves a moment-by-moment work of continual prayer and surrender, claiming Scriptures, while believing with all my heart that Jesus has the power to change me.
I want my heart to be pure and my hands clean. I want to be a part of His army of witnesses (Acts 1:8) that He is raising up to finish His work (John 4:34). This world is such a dark place. We need to be bright lights, showing Jesus to others (Matthew 5:16). I have a hunger for the Bible and reading Ellen White. It is so exciting to me to see a revival going through my home. It is contagious, loving God and His Son Jesus! I am excited about what Jesus is doing in my heart and my life. I have been sharing His goodness and love with all the people that I meet. I do not want to disappoint God ever again. It broke my heart to learn that I was lukewarm, and how much that hurt Him. The love I felt, the warmth, the joy in His presence, leaves me wanting more.
Call to Action
Heaven is going to be the most amazing place. Friend, if you are not right with God, do not delay another minute. Seek Him in prayer with all your heart, confess your sins to Him, and submit to what He wants to do in your heart and life — let us walk daily together with Him on this journey home to heaven.