“My husband, two of our girls, and I moved to Duluth June of 2015. I hated it here. I have never lived so far away from family and friends in all my life. Little did I know that God was moving in ways that I couldn’t even imagine. In April of 2016, one year ago, I experienced some physical weakness. I was unable to walk or stand without assistance. I ended up spending some time in the hospital and pretty much lived on our couch that entire summer. The doctors had discovered some fluid on my spine and just the right movement can kind of cause weakness or tingling in my extremities. This is something that I will live with forever, I may never have symptoms again or I could have them every other day and if I did have them again, they should go away with in an hour or less. Meaning the fluid didn’t explain why my symptoms were not going away. A few months into living in a wheeler chair and needing a walker to get around my house, I quit my job and was feeling defeated. After much physical therapy and many tears, the doctors started talking about my ailments being related to stress. If you ask my friends and family I am a pretty happy person and have always lived my life by trying to go with the flow. So the idea of this being stress seemed crazy to me. Like the doctors thought I was crazy.
This is where the Vineyard comes into play. We had been attending Sunday services for quite a few months before “all the stuff” happened. The whole family loved it here. I had grown up going to church, but this was different. There was something special about the Vineyard. The first Sunday I arrived in the wheelchair, one of the Pastors had recognized that, that was new for me. I received my first prayer, Vineyard style that day. Before, going up for prayer or joining a small group just “wasn’t my thing.” I continued to get prayer and I know now, that that was the beginning of my healing process. Even though many prayed for supernatural healing, what was really happening was that I was starting to not just believe in God, but have relationship with him. So at this point my spirits were lifted and I was handling things a little better even though I was still weak and still didn’t have answers. One evening I was alone sitting on my couch and I started reading this book by Joyce Meyers, “overload” She wrote about how stress can really distance you from God and how hard it is to keep up with today’s busy lifestyle, but that God doesn’t want you to do it alone. I had a complete light bulb moment and everything I had been learning through church and the stuff the doctors talked about with Stress, it all made sense. I was trying to do it all alone. From parenting, friendship, grief and loss, being a wife, and just everyday emotions and stuff we go through. I lost my dad about 7 years ago and I prayed for my mom, my aunts and uncles, and I thanked God that my dad was not suffering, but not once did I give my grief to him. All the things that life and the enemy throws at us, not once did I ever pray for myself.
So that night I surrendered. I laid all my “stress” at the cross and I surrendered my life to God. As I gave up control of my emotions, I gained control in my legs. The tingling and weakness completely left. I took my first walk (literally) of true faith across my living room floor that night. I haven’t been back in the wheelchair since then. With the resources and support of the Vineyard, I have been able to grow in ways that I didn’t know was possible. I joined a small group with really incredible ladies who are now my friends. I have friends in Duluth!! YAY! They have taught me how to listen to God and how to pray out loud with intent and the power of Jesus. I have also learned that it’s ok to pray for myself. Like what? Prayer is totally my thing now; I even hope to be part of the ministry team soon. In fact if you are one of those people who are scared or feel totally awkward coming up for prayer and you see me up there, come on up my friend. I get you and God has sent me here to pray for YOU. To help you get started on your journey of faith and surrendering your life to him.
Matthew 5:14: “you are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” A CITY ON A HILL CANNOT BE HIDDEN. The Vineyard movement is powerful here in Duluth. God moved me here for a reason and I know that reason is the Vineyard. He has even highlighted some leadership for me. The beginning of this journey was so that I could accept Jesus’ heart and now I am in the part, where I can learn to give my heart to the community.”