(Disclaimer: this is copy/pasted from my Facebook status. I just wanted to let all my subscribers know of the joyous news!)
At the end of 2013, I received a word from a man of God that God was going to take my ministry to greater depths than ever before, but to get me there, He was going to shatter me. I would need to be completely broken so that when people saw this ministry, they would see Him and not me. He would be glorified. I had to be willing to 100% surrender, and that would require that I be broken emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically.
As most already know- this definitely came to pass. My life seemed to turn upside down in the blink of an eye. As soon as it was the worst it could ever be, it got- well- worse. Loved ones passed away, my dad faced down stage three cancer, my family broke in two, and to capitalize the pain – I was diagnosed with an incurable chronic illness. My fate, per the doctors, was to be in literal pain for a lifetime. Pain that would continue to worsen as I aged, deteriorating my body until it was nothing and I was not the person I once was. Exhaustion, mind numbing fatigue, took over most of my days. I couldn’t think straight, walk straight, act straight whenever a flareup hit. It was all I could do to just keep going. And it was only going to get worse. Life was becoming an onslaught of devastation.
I knew that it was of God and if He was allowing me to be here, He would get me through it.
As time went on, it became difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Especially as people started coming to me to ask what was going on in my life that such terrible things happened as a result. When ministers prayed healing over me and rebuked Satan for the attack, I quietly listened – frustrated because it wasn’t Satan master minding this. God had already told me what was going to happen and it was unfolding exactly as He said.
Occasionally God would send a refreshing word: “Don’t give up,” and “It’s not over, but I’m with you,” and “Let Me be your strength today.” He gave me respites from the pain so that I could dance and shout in worship, but shortly after this, it all came rushing back.
In 2015, two years into the war, God sent an angel to Undignified Event. This angel once again confirmed the words of the Lord. He reminded me that this battle was of God, that if I would trust and worship and keep going, the end of the war would come. My healing was coming, and just like God took everything and yet restored Job, He would do the same for me. Still, for now, my testimony was in my pain.
Then, more kind words confused me. Some people told me that I just needed to have more faith, others that I should go back on/off meds, others that I needed to try more holistic medicines, still others that I just needed to sleep more, eat more, sleep less, eat less, exercise more, exercise less, etc.
One night, roughly a year ago, I was feeling particularly discouraged. Someone had recently told me that I needed to just ask God to heal me already and stop milking it- rebuke the enemy, make him flee. Just before crying myself to sleep in pain, I told God that He would just have to tell me when it was time for healing. I was so tired of hearing that God wanted me to be healed and that I was the reason this was sticking around, when I knew from His Words that He wanted me to endure this for a while.
More time went by and the illness got worse and worse. Just recently, I faced down the longest flareup to date. I’ll be honest. It made me feel crazy and sad and alone. What if this really was an attack of Satan and not something God had designed to get me to a new level of dependency on Him for my ministry?
The angel’s words rang in my ears. The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. So I kept plowing forward, determined not to give up.
*Post-Facebook Comment: We had special revival services at our church this past Friday and Saturday night. An evangelist and friend of our local Pastor preached the sermons.
Saturday night, Bro. Greene found me in the altar, yet again wondering when this fight would end. And he said the words I had been waiting to hear: “You’ve been carrying this emotional and physical illness, and now it’s time to let it go.”
“Now it’s time..”
Hello, magic words.
At first I was silently shouting, “Sounds good to me – let’s do this thing!”
Then he said something that threw me:
“So we’re going to pray for God to restore the chemical balance.”
Uhhhh chemical balance? Okay, he was clearly confused. I had FIBROMYALGIA, not a chemical imbalance. Still, I allowed him to pray over me and quietly asked God that if it really was time, please go ahead and heal me even if the prayer was a liiiiittle off the mark.
I went home last night not thinking too much of it. A teeny part of me hoped, but really the prayer just didn’t make sense so obviously God wasn’t in it.
Then this morning, as soon as I awoke, the idea to google “chemical imbalance and fibromyalgia” hit me square in the forebrain (or whatever part of your head that processes thoughts first thing in the morning – I’m not a doctor, give me a break).
So I did.
And what I found was article upon article upon article, by leading medical research teams, saying that discoveries were linking fibromyalgia to chemical imbalance. This imbalance in the nervous system may be what made the brain misread pain signals.
How had I missed this in my studying the illness for years and years?
And even more what-even-y… His prayer was actually kinda-sorta RIGHT ON THE MARK.
I told myself and others “God maybe-might-have healed me last night!” as I entered church this morning. After all, I wasn’t going to be the one to say He did for sure without some kind of proof first (oh geez, Rach).
Service progressed, I worshipped God with everything in me, going and not stopping… I didn’t even notice that not once did I get dizzy, see spots, feel pain- despite dancing for ages and shouting and waving my arms (clue the first – these are things that usually result in excruciating pain for me).
When Bro. Greene shared his message, He spoke on the word of our testimony- that God would offer healing and we needed to search within ourselves and then testify of our belief in His healing if we believed. That testimony was turning the proverbial key in the lock. Disclaimer – that’s an incredibly watered-down-dumbed-down version of the sermon (it was a really good theological sermon that held a lot of depth and would take a long time to rewrite). Throughout his message, I felt the Lord moving on me.
Before the altar call was even given, the Lord spoke to me in the stillness of my heart. “Rachel, are you healed?”
And suddenly, after years of waiting and believing on the Lord, seeking after Him, trusting Him, wondering when the end would come, it was right there. The realization that I was not in pain, that I felt CLEAR in my mind (y’all don’t even know how beautiful that is), hit me. The ball was in my court. The question was waiting for a response-
And the response is YES. I believe. I believed it then and I believe it now. And here’s my proof – I worshipped harder than I have worshipped in years, and 8 hours later, I’m still awake. I normally turn in for bed by 6pm on a day with little to no movement, and after some intense Rachel-cardio (as Tim has dubbed it), I’m still awake.
Oh, and minor thing here, I don’t have any pain in my body.
At lunch, I had my brother hit me in the arm (LOL!). Previously, that would have made me freeze as pain washed over and radiated through every inch of my body – but there was nothing. It literally DID NOT HURT AT ALL. I turned to my friend Tami and told her to press on the pressure point in my back. She pressed, I urged her to press harder, she did, and I felt NOTHING. That kind of pressure would have sent me to bed and kept me there for days previously (pressure point pain is the worst kind of pain for FMS in my experience). You guys. I’m not kidding.
This is real.
It’s finally over.
I don’t know what this means for my future, but I know that today, the anointing I felt as I walked, the power I felt in my spirit and heart, had me soaring. I’m ready to go wherever He leads, because at just 23 years of age, I have learned what it is to trust and rely on God in the darkest of nights. I’ve learned how to worship when I just don’t feel like it, when I literally cannot move my body, and when I’m too tired to think, let alone speak. I’ve learned what it is to just trust that I’m going to be okay while in the ER with a room full of nurses and aids and concerned parents- everyone poking and prodding me without the faintest clue of how to help.
I’ve learned how to have compassion for the hurting and the wounded, how to love the weary and downtrodden. Because I have been one of them for a long time.
And here’s the very best part: I still have my whole life ahead to testify of His goodness.
I’m not saying there will never be another trial or frustration or ailment. I’m definitely not saying I’ve hit the height of maturity and have no room for growth (good Lord, I’m Rachel Allene Carpenter. I need more growth and maturity than I need oxygen!) I’m saying that God’s Word which was spoken over me at the very climax of my youth in 2013- that Word has become finished.
The process hurt and hurt and hurt – but glory be, the other side is quite a picture. I could gush for hours about the doors opened for ministry because of this illness and the emotional devastations I’ve faced. I could praise God for days and weeks and months and years, and it would never be enough.
I know I’ve been rambling for half a decade now, but I’d so love the opportunity to testify some more. So if you want to hear more about how these years of pain have revolutionized my walk with God and my ministry, hit me up.
If you want some encouragement because you are in the thick of the trial, I am here for you. I may not have fought as long as you have, I may have fought longer, the point is not the type of trial or it’s duration – the point is that you are not alone. God sees you in your pain and in your suffering, and He was made a way out of no way. It’s just a matter of time. And I’m happy to give out all the hugs you may need until then.
Because that’s right – hugs don’t hurt anymore. HUG ME PEOPLE – I WON’T EVEN CRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It all boils down to this..
I love to gab; I love even more to glorify God. And what a gloriously deserving God He is!
(P.S. I hope this made sense. I’m still shaking with excitement and the words just keep tumbling all over themselves in an effort to get out first. haha!)