Before moving to SC, I didn’t realize all the perks of living in different places. One of those is that you get to know some pretty cool people with great hearts for Jesus.
Brooke is a beautiful girl inside and out. I didn’t know her story before I asked her to share. I believe her story will be an encouragement to you today–especially those who are praying over health concerns. May you find God to be Healer to you, too!
My God, My Savior, My Healer
I have been in church my entire life. I have an amazing family that has always been involved in ministry in some way. I have known about Jesus my entire life, but I did not meet him personally as my Savior until I was seven years old. See, I knew about him, but I didn’t know him. At seven years old I realized that I was a sinner and that the fact that my family was in church and working for the Lord didn’t mean that I was automatically saved from my sin and promised a home in heaven one day. At seven years old, I had a life-changing experience. My grandfather, who was pastor at Haile Gold Mine Baptist Church and only 50 years old, died suddenly of a massive heart attack. Even at a young age, his death impacted my life greatly. I was very close to him and did not understand why this had happened. During the months following his death I realized that I had to make a choice in my life – to choose Jesus. I have never regretted that decision! God changed me, and I have never been the same. I am so thankful that I realized my need for a Savior at such a young age. Without him, I do not know where I would be and I certainly could not share this story with you if it wasn’t for His love and grace in my life.
Have you ever heard someone talk about a trial that they are going through or someone give a testimony that made you think, “Surely that would never happen to me,” or “I just don’t know what I would do if that had happened to me?” I think that it is safe to say that we have all been there at some point. The truth is, we never know what tomorrow may hold, but I love that I have the certainty that I know who holds tomorrow. I am thankful that when times of uncertainty and trial come that Jesus is there to comfort, provide peace, and love me more than I can comprehend through it all. Four years ago I experienced one of these times in my life. I had gone to the doctor because I had kidney stones, something that I have struggled with since I was 16 years old. When the doctor came in to discuss my x-ray with me, he told me that they had discovered a small mass on my right kidney. My mom was with me and we both just stopped and looked at each other. See, my mom had this same problem five years before and had gone through major surgery to remove part of her kidney. The doctors had assured her that it was not cancer, but when the doctor came out after surgery he informed us that once he removed the tumor it was clear that it was cancer. Thankfully, it was contained and she did not need any further treatments. All of this was going through our minds as we sat and listened to the doctor’s plan to be aggressive with this discovery because of my mom’s history. I had one of those moments that I was talking about: Surely this is not happening to me. When we left the doctor’s office, it had been decided that he would send me to a doctor in Charlotte that specialized in small kidney tumors. I’m going to be very honest: I was scared to death. I had seen what my mom had been through and it terrified me to think that I was facing the same. On my way home that day, I called my family and my two best friends and told them to start praying. I realized that there was no way that I was going to get through this without prayer and support from those I loved the most. I am thankful for these amazing people that God has placed in my life, and I make sure to thank him every day. During the next few months, I had several doctor’s appointments and I was to go back to Charlotte in December for the doctor to discuss with me what method of treatment would be best. When I got there that day with my mom and dad I knew that no matter what, God was holding me. I kept repeating these verses to myself:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
When the doctor came in, he told me that after reviewing my tests, it seemed clear to him that the mass in question was cancer. The next few minutes were a whirlwind. He scheduled surgery for February 9….2 ½ months away. Just like that my world was turned upside down, and I was facing something that was bigger than anything that I had ever faced before. My sweet momma kept reassuring me that she would never leave my side and that all of this was going to be okay. My family and friends immediately surrounded me and began praying. Y’all, let me tell you, God heard their prayers! I can’t really explain what happened over the next few days other than the peace of God completely overwhelmed me. He turned my fear into faith and my worry into worship. I began to see this as an opportunity to get closer to Him. I’m not going to say that there were still not times throughout this process where I was scared or nervous, but I had assurance that no matter what God had a plan for me and it was good. It was also amazing how God placed people in my life to speak words of encouragement and love to me each day right when I needed them. It is so true that He knows exactly what we need and when we need it.
On the day of my surgery, we got up and headed to the hospital early. I woke up with an amazing peace that morning. My family and I prayed together, and I held my momma’s hand the whole way there. I received numerous text messages from family and friends telling me that they were praying and lifting me up continuously to our Heavenly father. I felt every one of those prayers. I went into that surgery that morning with the peace that Paul speaks of that passes all understanding. I have never felt anything like it. The surgery went well and the doctor only had to remove a small part of my kidney. All we had to do now was wait on the reports.
A few days after I got home, the doctor called and told me that he had received the reports and that although he could not explain it, there was NO cancer. Praise the Lord! The doctor may not have been able to explain it, but I could. God had not only heard our prayers, but answered them in the most amazing way! To Him be the glory forever! I share all of this for a reason. I don’t know what others of you may be going through or facing, but I do know that God can and will bring you through it. I am so undeserving of the grace and love that He shows me every day, but I am so thankful. My mind can’t even begin to comprehend the love that He has for me and you. Friends, there have been times in the last three years when things have happened that I don’t understand, but in those times I am reminded of God’s peace and the strength that he provides. I am not perfect and I still fail him every day, but His grace is sufficient and his love is without bounds. I thank God for allowing this to be a part of my testimony because it taught me more about who He is. He is my God, my Savior, and my Healer. Thank you, Jesus.