Emily’s Story:

Out of college, I had a great job. I loved my life, and I didn’t think I could love God more than I did. One weekend, I went to the mountains with friends. On the last night, we had a snowball fight and I fell backwards into the powdered snow.  It was as soft as a giant pillow but the next morning I woke up with severe neck pain. I thought I had a crick in my neck, so I took Advil every few hours and moved on.

Focused on a project at work, I chose not to listen to my body. One morning, as I got out of the shower, I felt something possess my brain and body. I screamed. Thankfully my sister was there and came running in. My brain said to reach for the towel, but my left arm did not respond. I felt the innate response to fight for my life. I tried to speak as I felt my eyes forcing shut. I lost control of my body. My sister helped me to the ground, and I began to throw up repeatedly.

I learned that two of the four arteries that bring blood to my brain were partially torn and I had a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack, or a mini stroke) and an ischemic stroke. Surgery wasn’t an option, and I was told my body would heal on it’s own with medication. I couldn’t work or get stressed. I had to say goodbye to travel, church, restaurants and even taking a walk, because they might bring blood flow to my brain and cause another stroke. Many of the “good things” I loved were gone.

I experienced neck pain, headaches, and very limited energy. I would lie down in silence and just be for the first time in my life. I saw God’s mercy as He provided for me financially. The highlight of my day was going outside to read the Bible with my dog by my side. My family took the best care of me.

The doctor said my arteries would heal within a couple of months and much like a healed broken bone with a scar, the mark would always be there. My next two scans showed 0% progression, meaning there was no healing that took place. The doctor said to go home, lay low and wait three more months. I was so disappointed. I felt mentally prepared for the first couple of months but was not expecting that report.

I knew I needed be still and wait. In that time, I spent every day finding true delight in God’s Word. I had no distractions or excuses. Before the strokes, I prayed, “Lord, give me a story that let’s people see you as Healer and make it to where medicine and doctors don’t fix me, but you do. Give me a story to tell that speaks of your power.” I believed Romans 8:28, which says “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.” I knew God could heal me in an instant and that He would if it was for His highest glory and my good. The posture of my heart was surrender at this time, but when I went in for the 5-month scan, I was saddened to receive the exact same report. The doctor’s response was, “Some people’s bodies choose not to heal” and he sent me home again. I then began to give way to temptation and sin began to grow in my heart.

I went back to the doctor 7 months after the incident to find the same grim report. The doctor told me that was my “new normal,” and out of my heart came an entitled spirit that was angry that I was not getting the healing I wanted. One night just before falling asleep, I saw the ugliness in my heart. I wanted my old life back and felt robbed. I thought God owed me healing because I lived for Him. I confessed my sin of pride towards a holy, loving, and sovereign God. In that moment, I saw that it was all worth it. He took everything away so that He could give me more of Himself, the very best gift of all. My heart confessed with sincerity that knowing Christ is better than the best things this world has to offer. The next morning, I woke up and my pain was completely gone. I knew with confidence that He healed me!

At my 9-month scan, my doctor said, “We cannot explain it but your arteries are completely healed. If they healed on their own, it would have shown a slow progression over time. This is unexplainable.” The radiologist’s report said there is “no evidence” that anything ever happened. Not one scar. My arteries were not repaired but are brand new. God doesn’t make things better – He delights in making things NEW.

God healed the sin in my heart first. While the physical healing is indeed a miracle, the forgiveness of my sinful heart is the greatest miracle of all. Only God knows my heart and has the power to forgive my sins. From this journey, God has blessed me with an empathetic and compassionate heart for the sick and chronically ill as well as a desire to intercede and pray healing on their behalf. He has given me the gift of faith, as I have seen firsthand the powerful hand of God. I desire for others to see and know Him as I do as a loving Father, Savior, and best friend. I truly believe He is able to do the impossible because He did it for me!

“He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua 4:24