Making All Things New
Hi, I’m Ali Wood. I’ve been married to my husband for 18 years. We’ve got three precious kiddos: Middle School, Lower School, and High School this year, so keeping life exciting, but thankful for just all of them being in a great season of life. So lots to celebrate there.
About six years ago, I lost my mom very unexpectedly. She was my best friend and my family was really close. My whole extended family was just a really tight knit group. And I remember Nelson looking at me that day and just saying, “We’re gonna get through this together.” I didn’t really know what he meant in that moment, but now I know that it was gonna take a lot to get through that.
We started bringing community in, as more of the extended family started falling apart, but what was really sweet about that was the Lord kind of formed that community before my family started unraveling. So we actually had people around us as that second deep, giant layer of grief came, like, I literally lost every single person in my family of significance at once. And that had been my whole world for 34 years.
So it was probably about two years after my mom passed away, and then about two years after that, some of that community that we had been walking through these deep layers of grief said, “This cohort class is coming. It’s going to be really amazing and you should do it.” So Nelson and I hopped in to do the cohort class and we went through a year of that. When that year ended, there were some couples that wanted to go deeper into it, like almost like a second round of it. We were just on fire with these awesome tools, these awesome prayer tools that we were learning. We called it “Cohort 2.0.” We were just meeting in each other’s living rooms and sometimes we would have a facilitator come in and take us deeper.
I had grown up knowing Jesus since I was really young, and had prayed all my life. But we were really given some tools in our belt that were new to us and that transformed not only our prayer life, but our marriage, and even our parenting. It was really exciting.
One of the prayer tools that we learned about was physical healing. And, you know, I was used to praying for someone who was sick or had an injury or something, but I had never experienced modern day physical healing in the way that you hear about it in the bible or something.
I was two knee surgeries in; I really liked playing sports. I had grown up playing sports and I tore my ACL playing basketball and my knee was just giving me a lot of trouble. So after two surgeries, and meeting with a series of doctors, we landed with a really great doctor. He recommended that I needed to get a femoral osteotomy, which is where they go in and they purposely cut your femur. They break it. They were going to shift all the weight from the outside of my knee, where it was kind of bone on bone, to try to straighten it up and shift it more to the inside of my knee. So, I was really scared about that, and I don’t think I get scared by too much, but I was terrified, especially not having my mom around and not having my family. Just knowing I was going to be bedridden and homebound and I was going to need help with everything was a pretty helpless feeling.
We gathered as our small group a week or two before [the surgery], and Bill Randall, who has some amazing stories of physical healing, happened to be, by no mistake, at our small group that night. He was just sharing these great stories of physical healing where he would just call on the name of Jesus and the blood of Jesus to physically heal somebody. We were so impacted by these stories and we gathered round knowing this knee surgery was coming up and just everybody laid hands on my knee. We just started praying that God would heal it right then and there.
They would pause and say, “Check in. How are you doing? How are you? How’s it feeling?” I could feel things physically shifting inside my leg, it would feel warm. Our friends in our group that were around [praying] said the same thing. They could feel things happening inside.
We finished praying and I knew right at that moment that my leg was healed. Then watching the people around me talk about what they experienced in that moment, and what they heard, or saw or felt physically happening inside my leg, as we were praying, was just further affirmation. There was a real excitement in our group to just know a miracle had happened.
I had my surgery a few days later and we had known going into it that he would take a peek, and that if the inside was really damaged, they wouldn’t be able to do it. But he didn’t see that. He wasn’t worried about it. No one was expecting anything other than like, this is going to be what heals it: break the femur, shift it over. That’s what’s going to heal it.
So before, when I was sitting in the operating room, I looked at him and I just said, “When you, when we go back there, will you please just double check and see if it’s healed?” I really thought he thought I was crazy when I said that. I told him, “Our group has been practicing praying healing prayer, and we prayed over my leg. I just want you to be really, really sure that we have to do this.” And he was just very dismissive. I mean, kind enough to say, “Yeah, we’ll look.” but pretty dismissive that they were going to, that anything else was gonna come out of it.
The next thing I remember, I woke up and they said, “We didn’t cut your femur.” And I remember saying to him, kind of half in a daze, like, “Why not?” And he couldn’t explain it. He literally said, “We didn’t need to do it. I’ll follow up with you down the road, in the office visit.” And I was just, in my heart, I knew that the Lord had healed my leg. It was just really exciting to experience that.
As it turns out, the parts that they thought were damaged, once he could really get in there and look at it –I’d had MRIs and all the things– but once he could go in with his scope, and really get into the inner parts of it, were not as damaged as he thought that they were. The inside was pretty damaged and so it didn’t make for a great situation to try to shift all the weight over there. But the amazing news about it was I was spared of a major, really difficult surgery and given that time back with my kids and family and just experienced God’s power.
The recovery was so quick. I mean, I was back driving and doing all the things and just back to life which is what I didn’t want to miss out on and I just was so grateful for the Lord healing my leg. What I didn’t realize is that at the same time He was physically healing my leg, He was also healing my heart.
In losing my mom, everything kind of just spiraled apart when she was gone. The pieces that she had held together, those weren’t being held together anymore. Any ounce of energy that I had leftover was spent towards acting like everything was okay. And, I think, a big sense of performance; that’s a role that I had played in my family for a really long time – to be the joy and be the sunshine and keep everybody together without actually really talking about what’s going on. It’s kind of an impossible thing, really.
The amount of pressure to play that role and pushing a lot of stuff aside, ignoring it, just kind of trying to keep on going, put a smile on, and just show up, while all along, the inside [was] just really crushed. A lot like my leg, you know? Just not really even being able to see or know that damage that he found on the inside of my knee, when he could really get in there and look at it. No one was expecting that. We thought we had a fix for what was happening.
There was a lot of damage, I think, inside from years of keeping secrets and living in lies that you just put a smile on, and you show up and you perform. That’s what’s expected. You don’t talk about what’s really going on. That crushed my mom and I watched her suffer, suffer in that place. But I was one of the few people that really knew how much of that crushing she was carrying. I know that I was similar, kind of feeling that crushing and carrying the weight of that grief. But not really wanting to face it either. The Lord wanted to bring freedom and healing to my heart and to my husband’s heart, who had also been affected by it and our kids, and so He did.
We needed community kind of pumping truth and light into those places and just saying, talk about the hard things, you know, and put a voice to them and bring them to the light and let the Lord heal them. Don’t keep them hidden away. The enemy has so much power in those places when he can keep our secrets and the hard things hidden away and we don’t pray about them with other people and let light and truth seep into those places.
So in kind of losing my mom and losing the rest of my family, and just deciding not to do things that way, and not to live in chains of secrets and lies that have really been there for generations, The Lord, He has brought healing and restoration. And He’s been telling me for a really long time, “It’s kind of like your leg, I’m doing something new. I’m making all things new.”
We’re a little bit in that in-between phase right now of just of waiting patiently and receiving that joy and healing and also at the same time really grieving a lot of loss of family members that are still here that we aren’t able to be in relationship with and, obviously my mom, who we lost.
But it’s really cool. I’ll tell you a story…My mom’s grandmother, Her name was Sugar and she just lived a life larger than life. Creative and colorful and just loved so huge, so big, so well, so selflessly.
There was a spot at the end of my neighborhood where I would go, where I just would feel close to the Lord. It was at the end in my neighborhood. I would go every day after that May 23, 2016, when we lost her. That was when we were in a place of still interacting with my family quite a bit. Still just kind of trying to ignore most things and yet there was so much we couldn’t ignore. I would go to that spot. I would see the sun coming up, I’d feel really close to the Lord, and it just became the “sugar spot” and my kids love it. We ride our bikes there. Everybody still knows it’s a “sugar spot.”
It was an empty lot at the end of the neighborhood. In that really bad time of storms that came, the first round of storms. Soon after it, I was going to my “sugar spot” and it was demolished. The giant, huge trees that filled our neighborhood were just knocked over. The beautiful, like it was almost like a forest at the edge of our neighborhood, when the light would just trickle through, it was just gone. And I remember thinking, like, That’s okay, like, it’s still there. It’s just really damaged and broken but the spot’s still there. I was sad at first, when I saw it, but I was just trying to hold on to even those broken pieces.
Soon after that they cleared it, but they left the stumps there, of these giant trees. And I thought, Oh, good, I’m so glad those are still there. They’re gonna grow back and they’re gonna be bigger and better. And I’m just glad to see that those pieces were still there.
Then a few weeks later, I came back and they had removed the giant stumps, and they were just root up. I could just feel the Lord telling me, “I’m not keeping any of these broken, damaged pieces. You’re not going to hold on to any of them. I’m removing them. You don’t even get to hold on to the little pieces of those roots.” And they sat root up giant, huge roots. I mean, some of the biggest trees you see in Dallas, in our neighborhood, just root up, raw for a very long time.
I knew what the Lord was telling me. “You don’t have your mom’s things. You don’t have the spaces and places used to be able to go. You can’t go sit with your grandmother at her kitchen table and feel close to your mom. You can’t go back to your house, because it’s not there. You can’t go sit with family members and share stories. You don’t have pictures of when you were little, you don’t have any of your mom’s things. I’ve removed all of that.” And when I saw it, I was like, Okay, God, that wasn’t just my family taking that from me out of rejection of us facing the truth. This is, this is, You’re severing this and You’re asking me to let go of it.
Soon after that, they cleared it. They took those big roots out, and they just emptied that land into this vacant lot. And I thought, Oh, well, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen on this lot. I was at a place of, The Lord had pulled those broken roots of captivity and of secrecy and lies and darkness, and He had turned them over and poured His light on all of them.
Now I’m excited to see what He’s going to do in my heart because it’s just level ground. “Lord, You just work.” And that included my own sins and temptations in this journey of grief, where I’m tempted to rely on people, or places or things that are not of the Lord.
But I thought, like, maybe He’s going to build a beautiful house or someone’s going to buy this lot. I just didn’t know what He was going to do. But I was expectant. I had learned by now, through physical healing, through watching friends be physically healed, through watching friends be healed internally, that we can expect and hope in that. So I was excited and this little lot at the end of my street just tracked with what the Lord was doing in my heart.
The person that lives next to it, bought it and filled it with tiny evergreen trees. Rows of them. Like, beautiful little trees. But not just that, he put a light on each tree and you watch this new growth happen under such tender – I have chills, – under such tender care and watch, over like a tender care and watch from the Lord that says, “You may not have your family, but you have Me. I’m making something new. I’m caring for you in ways you have never been cared for before. I’m intimate with you. I’m tracking with you. I see you. I know when each little tree needs light, when each little tree needs water.”
This guy, I’ve watched these trees blossom into giant evergreens, and he decorates each one of them at Christmas. They sparkle and they shine and he puts Christmas decorations on each one. It’s like, it’s like my mom in fullness too because that is how she was sparkly, shiny, and just on fire for the Lord and for life. That life got drained out of her but she has it in full right now, as she stares into the face of Jesus every single day.
So I go to that “sugar spot” and the Lord speaks to me and I feel close to her. In fact, I rode my bike there today and as I was driving back I said, “Lord, and mom, you guys do this story today. Y’all work together and tell me what You want me to share.”
So I am, I’m very grateful for the healing over my leg and I get to, even though it’s not it’s not a perfect little knee, I get to experience the fullness of living without that major surgery every day and I’m so grateful for it. And I’m also just so thankful for the inner healing that the Lord has brought, for the community that He’s brought around, and that we can call on these friends and just say like, “We need our army around us. We need help fighting these battles. We can’t do it alone.”
I think we were headed on a pathway of doing things alone, based on how my family did things and am I just saying that doesn’t work. We’ve got to talk about things. We’ve got to bring things to light. We’ve got to be vulnerable in those places and then we’ve got to call on the Holy Spirit to come now and bring freedom to those places, and He’s done that! I’m so thankful and so grateful.
That’s where it’s changed my faith. I can really believe, I can really know now, He’s gonna show up. And I think after walking through what we’ve walked through, His faithfulness is so sure and so certain and I really know that now. I’m not afraid of what’s to come.
I can really know now He's going to show up and after walking through what we've walked through, His faithfulness is so sure and so certain and we're not afraid of what's to come.
God stories delivered to your Inbox!
Through physical healing and healing through this grief journey, I’m just more in tune to the Lord’s voice and to wanting to hear His voice above all else.
Kind of another cool, just physical healing story that’s happened recently [involves] a guy in our neighborhood who I’ve gotten to know. He seems pretty lonely and I know is just living in some brokenness from what he shared. He walks his dog up and down our alley. When I saw him recently, I noticed that his body was just covered in these sores everywhere. I don’t know him, well, I just know him well enough. I felt this feeling of like, I want to make sure that he knows Jesus. I want to make sure that he knows the gospel. And Lord just help me kind of tenderly share that with him at some point. When I saw him covered in sores, I just said, “What happened? Are you okay?”
After we talked for a bit, [I learned] through a series of some blood thinners and some things mixing together with some cream that he had been using, his whole body just got covered in these open sores. He said when he showers, blood just gushes down. When he puts clothes on, blood will just – you know, long sleeve stuff – blood will just come onto his clothes, and it just looks so painful, and he’s in a lot of pain. He’s been called things because of it and people have said really unkind things to him about it. And I can just feel a shame about it, and just the sorrow and sadness, and I think a loneliness in it.
I think before the [NOVO Spiritual Authority] cohort, and before we learned these tools, and before I had my healing experience – Honestly, physically and just the inner healing of the freedom that the Lord brought – I would have just probably said, “I’ll pray for you. I’ll be thinking about you. Like, let me know.” And I would have prayed for him, but [instead] I’ve just realized the importance of stopping and just calling on the power of the Lord, right in that moment. I don’t know if I would have believed or expected that the Lord could do it, really could do it. But now I’m so sure of it. I’m so confident that He hears our cries and that He wants to show us His power and His healing. And so I just said, “Would you mind if I prayed with you right now?”
I laugh because I would have liked to have actually touched him, but his dog is really scary to me and anybody that knows me knows I don’t really love dogs, except kind of our own dog. And so I just held my hand out and prayed healing over his body, and healing over his heart. Because I think a lot of times, there can just be more going on and more that the Lord wants to do. I definitely sensed that and was in tune with that with my friend.
I have learned the power of, that we have the authority as children of the Lord and as heirs of His kingdom to bind the enemy in Jesus’ name and to bind him from despair and discouragement and shame, and these things that [the enemy] uses to keep us stuck and to keep us captive. We can bless in Jesus’ name and the opposite of those. So I just bound the enemy over his heart from any shame, or hurt, or wounds that he was feeling internally as well as externally in Jesus’ name, that he would be healed. That [Jesus] would heal those places, that he could get back to living life again, that he could not be living in pain. I just asked the blood of Jesus to cover him and to cover those wounds.
He said, “Ali, I’ve been a believer all my life,” which was very exciting for me to hear. So I was really rejoicing in knowing that, but he said, “but I’ve never had anyone pray like that before.” And that was just the Lord, you know? That was just Him, just showing up and just coming into that space. It’s just inviting the Holy Spirit into these spaces in places and just letting His power move. I think we chuckled about the like, Well, I would have touched you, but your dog…and we kind of laughed.
I saw him a few days later and he said, “Ali, my legs are healed.” And physically, especially one leg that was really giving him the most trouble, just healed. He was so excited to tell me, so excited to report back, and there was a freedom in him that I heard too in his voice. You know, a rejoicing over the physical healing, but that inner healing of just experiencing the power of God and His healing. So it was really exciting. His arms were still giving him trouble, and I prayed again over his arms. I haven’t seen him since that last time that we prayed over his arms, but I’ve just been really, really blown away by the Lord wanting to show up and physically heal.
I know that He doesn’t always heal on our terms, or in our timing. And one of the things we talked about with Bill Randall that night [when my leg was prayed over] was my husband lost his dad to a surgery that led to blood clots and went out of control fast. We were all praying on behalf of Pops to be healed. The Lord did not heal him here on this earth. But we know that he’s healed now. We know he’s fully restored. But it wasn’t how we would have wanted it and same with my mom, I think, and just living in the in between, knowing that God was at work, is at work, and will continue to be at work. In the meantime, just using the power of the Holy Spirit that He has given us to be aware of our assignments around us and the people around us and to see them through those eyes and to be able to bless people with those tools. I think I stop a lot more now and just say, “Let’s pray now.”
Through physical healing and healing through this grief journey, I’m just more in tune to the Lord’s voice and to wanting to hear His voice above all else. It’s really easy to hear a lot of other voices, whether it’s voices from the past, and just the way that I grew up that says, you have to perform, you have to do this role. That’s where your worth comes from. My eyes have just been open to seeing things through a spiritual lens. I sometimes get this picture of just an enemy like tentacle hanging down and the Lord saying, “You know what that is, he is not creative.” And when we use being in His Word and prayer and being in community and worship, and when we claim the armor of Christ over us, we have the sword of the Spirit to slay those tentacles, to slay those voices that are not from the Lord and to cast them out. So with those experiences came an expectation to know that His power was going to show up in those spaces and places and it has nothing to do with me. My performance can never get me there.