EACH one of us has our
own individual journey with God; so your experience of God's
blessings may be completely different to mine. God's grace can come
in most unexpected forms. I'm a paediatric intensive-care nurse. I
have laid out dead children; so I know I don't have all the
answers. All I can do is tell you what has happened to me since
October 2011. In brief, my systemic lupus and coeliac disease have
I was diagnosed with
lupus in 2005. It flared for the first time in 2010. This was
life-changing; it resulted in me having to rest a lot, go part-time
at work, and remain on steroids. Several attempts to wean below 7mg
a day of steroids failed.
For those who don't know,
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune condition in
which a person's antibodies attack their tissue. This can cause
problems in almost any part of the body, including the skin,
central nervous system, joints, heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Accordingly, symptoms are wide-ranging, which makes diagnosis
difficult, and confusion with other conditions easy. It can also
flare, giving periods of extreme symptoms such as fatigue,
weakness, joint and muscle pain, skin rashes, chest pain, and
I was diagnosed with
discoid lupus (i.e. just on the skin) in 1999. The SLE diagnosis
came in 2005, at St Thomas's, London, the national centre for
lupus, after tendonitis in my right ankle rendered my foot and calf
very swollen and immobile for several months.
When my SLE flared in
July 2010, my consultant confirmed that it was definitely SLE, but
said that the symptoms were atypical; so it could be another,
closely related, autoimmune condition. The treatment meant
increasing my normal dose of hydroxychloriquine, a lot of steroids
(60mg, one day), and much rest. From then, and for the whole of
2011, I was on at least 7mg of steroids daily; if I tried to reduce
this, the symptoms returned.
Coeliac disease is
another autoimmune condition. The treatment is a gluten-free diet.
I was diagnosed when three years old, and was under Great Ormond
Street for this, and an irritable bowel through my childhood. At
15, I was transferred to St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, who
decided to retest me: they put me on ordinary food for three weeks,
and took several biopsies of the lining of my small intestine. I
was sick every time I ate.
The biopsies confirmed
that I would be on a gluten-free diet for life. Since then,
whenever I made a mistake in my diet - the last time was in about
2007 - I knew instantly, as I always had the same reaction: a very
blown-up abdomen within one hour, sick in three to four hours, and
exhausted for the next day or two.
In October 2011, I went
with my mother-in-law on a three-day Christian retreat in Guernsey,
led by an Anglican priest, Canon Andrew Sharp, who is Vicar of St
John's, Guernsey. I hadn't expected the emphasis on physical
healing, a Christian ministry I had never encountered before.
During the retreat,
Andrew highlighted God's rich blessings on those who believe in
Christ: all these blessings are inside my heart, waiting for me to
let down my barriers and let them flood through me. He told us that
God's will is to heal everyone, but we each have to ask him for
healing. This was very challenging to me, not least because of my
We also looked at why
people do not ask for healing. Andrew stressed that our faith in
God's healing should be based not on our experiences, but on God's
nature, and his promises revealed in the scriptures; and that there
is no blame or condemnation in physical illness. He also spoke of
the need to persevere - like learning to drive a car, we do not
give up just because we hit the kerb. Finally, we looked at how
God's blessings can flow out of us to others.
With trepidation and
many questions, I decided to ask for healing of my lupus. I asked
Andrew how many steroids I should take the next day. He said to
follow my doctor's advice, although at some point I would know when
I was healed. Andrew and his wife, Jasmine, both prayed with me
with their hands on me, telling the lupus to leave in the name of
Jesus, and releasing God's healing to me. I felt immense peace.
On returning home,
although lupus symptoms recurred intermittently, I felt physically
better than I had in 16 months.
After four months of
much praying and reading about healing, fortunately, I had to go
back to Guernsey to visit my mother-in-law. So, on 1 March 2012, I
attended a healing service at St John's. This time, I wanted to ask
for healing of my coeliac disease. I was used to being on a
gluten-free diet; but healing of this would make others sit up and
think, and it would squash any doubts I had about my lupus being
Again, Andrew and Jasmine
prayed with me, specifically asking for continued healing of my
lupus, and for healing of my coeliac disease. Again, I felt very
That evening, I asked God
to continue healing my lupus, and to heal my coeliac disease; so I
could use this healing to God's praise and glory. Immediately, I
felt the ability to accept this healing. This felt the same as when
I had finally accepted that Christ was my redeemer, at the age of
That night, in bed, I ate
a lot of flapjack. My abdomen did not swell up, and I wasn't sick.
Instead, I slept deeply, and woke in the morning completely
refreshed. Since then, I have been eating ordinary food with no
adverse affects at all. Hot-cross buns are the current favorite.
After 48 years, it seems very odd.
I have had no more lupus
symptoms. I weaned myself off steroids as quickly as the doctors
recommended, coming off completely since May 2012. I have now been
discharged from the lupus clinic.
How healed am I? I know I
am healed, as best I can, although, as far as the lupus clinic is
concerned, I am in remission. About three weeks ago, after I'd been
overdoing it decorating, I felt a tingling on the side of my face
for about half an hour. I said to God: "What's going on here?" and
prayed specifically for it to go. Maybe it was a remnant of the
lupus; maybe it was just the way my body reacts to being
The coeliac disease is
more clear-cut, in a way. Blood tests show that the coeliac marker
is still present, but I have absolutely no clinical symptoms. My
consultant said last month: "I have no idea why you have no
symptoms." He'll see me again in a year.
I am a very, very
ordinary person. My life is transformed. I remain stunned at God's
rich blessings. I work in the medical profession; so I don't want
to be irresponsible. Healing is a big deal, and a big part of it is
asking and accepting; have the courage to ask, and then let God's
grace flow through you.
It can take a long time. There is no logic to it. But I find it
so helpful to think of all God's blessings being inside each one of
us. I tell this story so that others may know God more.