Meet Shierly, a beautiful and treasured friend.
Seven years ago, as I was greatly pregnant with Justice, husband and I conducted a medical mission with some doctors visiting from California, other missionaries, and local pastors.
We saw hundreds of patients who came from the nearby community and filled the basketball court.
From morning until night we did checkups, gave medicines, and prayed for masses of men, women and children.
Halfway through the day, I was handed a chart for a patient.
The assistant who had checked vitals thought she was pregnant.
I looked up at her and then felt the familiar whisper of the Holy Spirit, that voice that so often silences the chaos around me and shines a spotlight on the one.
He’s always interested in the one.
Shierly was emaciated, gaunt, sallow, with a massively swollen abdomen.
I took her aside and began to examine her, quickly realizing that she was not pregnant, but had a mass in her uterus.
I called an OB-Gyn over to consult. He concurred, eyes filled with concern.
He whispered over his shoulder to me, “I think it may be too late.”
I wrote an order for an ultrasound and medical consult to be done the next day, and sat down beside her. Her head hung down, tears dripping onto her clenched hands in her lap.
I asked if she knew Jesus, how much He loved her and wanted to meet with her in the middle of this.
“I’m a strong catholic,“ she said
“I read my bible and go to mass every week, I almost became a nun. I am good and help others.”
I told her that those things were good and wonderful, but none of them bring us into a personal relationship with Jesus. He wants to rescue her, save her, have relationship with her.
I asked if I could put my hand on her belly and pray for healing because I believed Holy Spirit wanted to heal her. She nodded her head.
As I invited Holy Spirit to come and heal her body and heart, I felt Him move powerfully.
Francis, several incredibly powerful pastor friends and their wives surrounded her, anointed her with oil and prayed healing over her.
Glorious things happen when we all join together and pray expectantly. The atmosphere was changing... from fear to life.
The next morning I was jarred awake by my phone ringing. The voice on the other end was sobbing and broken. I could barely make out the words.
Shierly had woken up to go get an ultrasound and her abdomen had gone flat. The tumor was gone.
She cried the entire way to the clinic, and saw for herself on ultrasound that the tumor was gone. Not a trace.
She surrendered her life into the hands of the One who touched her and her life has never been the same.
Shierly is now a force of love, passion and joy.
She loves Jesus and radiates His goodness. She tells everyone she sees about His love and how He’s changed her life.
She went on to Bible school and now does church from her home, partnering with local pastors.
She’s a powerful light in her community.
She’s a person of peace. A minister of reconciliation. A gift to everyone who meets her.
All because that day, in the middle of the crowd, Jesus saw and passionately went after the one.
I saw Shierly again this week, as she battled fear and anxiety, thinking the tumor had returned.
I reminded her of God’s love for her as we drove to the clinic together for an ultrasound. No matter what we see on the ultrasound screen, God is with her and fighting for her. Whether the diagnosis looks grim or not, she is held, and not hopeless.
I reminded her that all through history God tells his children to “Remember”.
Remember what He has done, how He’s always come through, all the miracles and every way He’s held us, how He’s fed us from His own hand, gently comforted us, split the sea in front of us. He’s moved mountains, led us with kindness, never left us alone. He creates hope out of desert sand, and He’ll never stop.
We forget... when the road is dark and pain-filled, when we’re at the bottom of the empty barrel, when fear comes against us like a tidal wave, and loneliness echoes off the walls.
We forget so fast that He’s the God of all hope.
Remember in the dark and dead of night what our God has shown you when the sun was shining. His presence is still with us when our feelings have gone numb, when the answer doesn’t look like we think it should, when brokenness look final.
He’s still holding us, filling us, anchoring us with His hope.
Shirly and I sang, cried, and remembered out loud, to ourselves and each other, all the ways He’s faithfully held onto us.
Oh, and this ultrasound was clear too.
(Photo and story used with permission)