Healing in Unbelief 2/2
(Please listen to Camille’s story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)
I grew up in a cessationist theology, that we believed in the miraculous healings of Jesus. You could read them in the Bible, you could celebrate them, but I was taught that they ceased at the time of Christ. So, only the apostles that walked with Christ had those gifts. And after they wrote their experiences down, we now have the scriptures in our hands; and that is a substitute for the miracles. Does that make sense? That it points to finding Jesus in the Scriptures, not in the miraculous experiences.
I went to work one day in here in Texas, on an ice day, where we get ice all over everything. I came out from the door, heading to my car, I slipped on some ice and I fell down some stairs. In that fall, I had fractured the lower two vertebrae and my hip was rotated and up slipped, and just everything was in the wrong position. When I began to have an extraordinary amount of pain and began to check with the medical people, I realized that I had done a lot more damage; it was irreparable, and the pain was very severe. So there I am, in my early 30s, and I’m dealing with limited mobility. I had about a 10-15 minute tolerance for any position, walking, sitting or standing. I walked with a cane. I had a pretty significant limp and managed my pain through primarily drugs and limited mobility. But I was a artist at the time, I had moved from the banking industry into entrepreneurial art, as an artist.
I found myself, 18 years after my fall, in the Dallas gift market and they were having a show where retailers come to buy from wholesalers. And so I was there with my business partner, and we had a booth and I was sitting there painting. At the time, my cane was in the back. So nobody would have seen that I wore a medical device to help control pain. The wires were concealed beneath my clothes; so you wouldn’t be able to see that. I was sitting there painting when this man approached me. And it was quite an interesting person. But when you’re in a public place, and you’re talking to retailers, and wholesalers and buyers, you talk to anybody, and everybody that comes along. But here was this guy, he’s probably in his mid 30s and he had very pale skin but really dark hair. When he approached me, we began to talk about my products, which is why we were there to talk, he interrupted and he said, “You’re in pain.”
That kind of startled me because Yes, I was; but how would he know? He didn’t see me move. He didn’t see me wince, he didn’t see me…I didn’t know how he could have known that. He didn’t see my limp. And he began to describe it. He pointed to the back of his spine, lower spine, where my pain originated. And he says, “it’s traveling down your leg, and it crosses over here and it’s really severe.” I was like, How on earth would he know that? I mean, this weird looking tattooed guy telling me about my pain. And I tried to dismiss it because I never wanted to be defined by my pain. And I said to him, “oh, it’s just chronic, nothing to worry about.” And I tried to change the subject back to the art and the products. And he said, “Tell me about your two dogs.” Well, that startled me, because how on earth would he know I have two dogs. And so I began to describe my dogs. And he said to me, “the way you described your dogs is the way God sees you.” [I’m thinking] God sees me as like, dogs? That kind of startled me. [I’m thinking] who is this weird character?
And he began to say that God sees…one of my dogs very exuberant, the other one very loving and adoring. He said, “God sees your personality in that way. And He’s sent me to talk to you; to tell you that He wants to heal you.” Okay, that kind of like set off some warning flags. Who is this weird guy? He said, “May I pray for you?” Sure. I love Jesus. I’ve known Jesus; He was my Savior since I was eight. I know Him. I love Him. And so if somebody wants to pray for healing, that’s fine. It hasn’t worked in 18 years, but if you want to pray, just go right on ahead. Which, he did and nothing happened. He left my booth that day and the last thing he said to me, as he left the booth, was, “don’t be surprised if you wake up in the morning pain free.”
Yeah, right. Okay. See you later.
Well, it was a four day show so he came up every day. And I remember the second day, he came up and he said, “Can we talk? Is there a place [we can talk]? Can you take a break? Can we talk?” I remember that. And we moved; we were still in a public area, but we moved away from the booth so we wouldn’t be interrupted by customers and such. And he just began to talk to me and he began to tell me some odd things. The first thing was, he said, “God told me yesterday,” so this was the second day, “to go upstairs and find the woman who was in pain who had two dogs.”
Okay. That’s weird. Why couldn’t God just give you my name? You could have looked that up in the booth directory. But he came up and he said, “when I felt, when I began to talk to you, I felt the pain in my body that you were feeling. So I knew that you were the person that I was supposed to talk to. And I said, “Okay, well, let’s say that’s true. I’m not going with ya, but let’s say that’s true. Why would God want you to come find me? He said, “because I have a message for you.” Okay, I [was] startled. Okay, wait, wait, wait a minute. You have a message. For me? From God? “Yep,” he just sat there. I told him, I said, “You know, I don’t believe any of this.” He goes, “Yeah, I do.” And he just sat there. I said, “Okay, okay. Okay. Just tell me. What’s the message?” And the message was, “God wants you to tell Him what you want.”
“Okay, well, what do I want?” He goes, “I don’t know, that’s between you and God.” And then he began to talk to me about some things that were very personal, that I wasn’t willing to talk to anybody about, quite frankly. And yet, here’s this guy, and he’s telling [me], we’re talking about my divorce. Which, how on earth would he know that? By that time, I’ve been divorced 20 something years. And it’s like, Okay, how did he know that? And also about a dog that had been part of the relationship with my husband and the dog had died. Whether they came from God or not, those were two very personal things that I had made a promise to myself, an unrighteous promise – I would learn later, that I would never love another man and I would never have another dog. Because the pain of losing both of those relationships in my life so quickly, was too much. And I promised myself I would never do it. It was a vow and a promise that kept me in bondage for many, many, many, many years. And Lee touched on it when he just mentioned those two things, those two weird, obscure things, and he touched on it. And it really hit a part of my heart that was so broken. But it got my attention. Let me just say it that way. It was so personal, it got my attention. And here’s this guy telling me, God wants me to tell Him what I want. And he’s describing these experiences and dreams and other things. And it’s like, Okay, this guy’s just too much. He’s too much.
So on the third day, he came up again, and we were talking. I can’t remember what we were talking about. But in mid sentence, he stopped and he closed his eyes abruptly, and he said, “Oh, I’m seeing a picture.” And I’m [like] okay, this guy is just really weird. But he’s interesting. And he, with his hands, he began to outline a painting. And then began to tell me what was in this picture. He says, “it’s, it’s a painting. And there are pots, and they’re only stocked pots over in the corner, and it’s kind of dark. And they’re pots in the corner and they’re all different shapes and different sizes. But over here, kind of in the middle, on the left, is another pot and it’s got a light in it, but it’s cracked. And the pot is cracked, and the light is shining through the cracks onto the other parts that are in the dark. And there’s, in the center pot, in this pot that has light, there’s also water. No, it’s oil. Oil coming out of the top of this pot, and it’s splashing onto the pots that are in the dark.”
And he’s telling me this story. And I’m like freaking out, because I had painted a painting and I had a sense of urgency that it had to be done before market. Although, it had nothing to do with what I was selling at market. But he’s literally describing the painting that I had just finished. And he’s telling me it’s got oil coming out of this pot that’s splashing onto others. And I told him, “No, it’s water.” And he said, “No, it’s oil.” And I said, “No, it’s living water.” And he said, “No, it’s the oil of healing.” I said, “No, it’s living water.” And he opened his eyes and he said, “what are we talking about?” He had no idea, other than he saw this picture. I explained to him about this painting, nobody had seen it. It was on my desk. I didn’t describe it to anybody. But I had finished it literally two days before market, with a sense of urgency.
And I have to tell you that really got my attention. You know, not only did he know things about my past, not only did he know about my pain level, but he’s describing this painting that nobody saw. And he said to me, he said, “It’s not living water.” And I said, “Yes, that’s the paint name of the painting- Broken Vessel Filled with Living Water.” And he said, “No, it’s the oil of healing and it’s going to pour through you and over you and onto you. It’s going to be released to other people as well and God is going to heal you.” Okay, this is like, more than I can handle. That was the third day, fourth day [was] break down, I didn’t see much of him. But we did engage, [because] he gave me his business card. So we did engage in a business arrangement following. He was a sales rep for a web development company and I needed some help with my website. And besides, he was interesting. I couldn’t just take four days and leave it. And so we entered into a business relationship. We would meet, you know, periodically at the local Starbucks.
So I began to go back to God in this conversation and say, “Okay, is this from You?” And so as the weeks began to unfold, and my story continued, I went back to that. It’s like Lord, I’m drawn to this person, but at the same time, I’m not and I’m wary of him. So just guide me in this. My church, they would shut me down because it was like, No, that’s bad theology. Stay away from those people. God doesn’t work that way in the modern world. And so I had this conflict going on. And then Lee, at one point, invited me to his church, and I thought, there’s absolutely no way on earth, I’m going to a Holy Roller charismatic, “Jesus healed me!,” kind of church. I wasn’t going to do it. I wanted to keep my worship nice and predictable. And I didn’t want this open emotional stuff. But he kept inviting me, kept inviting me. He and his wife, “Come. Come.” And so finally, just to get him to shut up, I went.
I pull up in front of this church, which wasn’t even a church. And I’m like, danger, danger, danger. It was just a storefront, like a Dollar Store, or something. And I walked in, and there was nobody in front to greet me. And I laughed, because all the handicapped parking spaces were full. So I’m thinking, “Okay, if this is such a great healing church, why aren’t these handicapped parking spaces empty? But I pulled up, I went inside to the church. During all this time, from the time I started meeting Lee to the time I got to this point, that question that Lee had asked me, “What do you want?,” had been rolling around in my spirit. “What do you want? What do you want?” And people instead of saying, “Hey, where do you want to go to dinner?” They [would] go, “we’re going to dinner? What do you want?” Or I would be at a clothing store and say, “Hey, I’m looking for a sweater.” [And they would say,] “Well, what do you want?” What? It was like that question just kept…It was haunting me. “What is it that you want?” Because he had said, “God wants to know, He wants you to tell Him what you want.” And so, I go into this church, and they’re worshiping in a way that I never worshipped before. The lights were out, which I thought was kind of weird. I walked into this dark place, people were moving around, there were people waving flags, and there were people dancing, and there was somebody up on the stage painting, and they were worshiping to words on the screen. And I’m like, okay, I don’t get this place at all. And Lee was waiting for me, even though I was late. And he saw me at the front and he motioned for me to come up front. And I’m like, No, I’m not coming up front. I’m gonna stand back here. I’d been sitting for too long anyway, it was too painful. I’m just going to stand at the back.
Well, what I didn’t realize is that I was a mark. Because I stood at the back, even during the sermon. I had a cane, so that was their trigger. ‘Go after her. She needs healing.’ And so I was a victim of their desire to see people healed. So the sermon was over, and I’m thinking, Oh, good. I can say goodbye to Lee and I can get the heck out of here. And then these people started come up to me, “Oh, are you? Are you going to go get healed? You need to be healed. Oh, we’re so glad you’re here. Let us pray for you. You need to be healed.” And I’m like, Who are these people? And I felt very attacked by them. [I’m thinking] You don’t even know me from Adam. What makes you think that just going the front somewhere is going to get me healed after 18 years? So Lee came, dispersed the crowd, gratefully, because if I had dispersed it, it wouldn’t have been pretty. And he said, “Would you mind if one of the pastors prays for you?” And I’m thinking, Okay, this is why he’s got me here. And it was like, let’s just do it and get it over with so I can get out of here. So it takes me up to the front. Lee and the pastor and this woman and I were holding hands, with her hand on my back. And the pastor began, like he was going to pray and then he stopped. And he looked up at me and he said, “What do you want?” And I shot daggers at Lee, like you wouldn’t believe. Like, he’s been telling these [people]. And he said, “I didn’t say a word!” But there’s that question dangling at me. What do you want? And defiantly, because I refuse to say, “I want to be healed.” I couldn’t do that. I said, “I only want what Jesus wants no more, no less.” Defiantly. So they prayed for me. Nothing happened, of course, was going through my mind. I said my goodbyes and I left.
The God that I knew, that was not that God, because I had that God in a box. And so, I didn’t know what to do with this new God. I could no longer say God doesn’t heal miraculously in the modern world, because here I am! And my job at that point was to go explore. I needed to find out who that God was.
I’m driving home and I’m getting really, honestly, I was getting really pissed off. Who are these people? Who did they think they are? I’m mad at Lee because he’s getting my hopes up. It’s not working. I went out here for nothing. What is the whole point this? I want to go back to my safe, comfortable life and I don’t want to deal with this anymore. And so when I got home, that was on a Sunday, and on Tuesday, he called me Tuesday morning. And he said, “Hey, let’s meet to talk about…” No, we’re not. And I told him, “No, we’re not doing it. We’re not talking about it. No. We’re done. We’re done.” And he said, “give me just a few minutes. Come up to Starbucks; meet me just for a few minutes.” And I’m like, “Okay, okay, I’m on my way. When can you be there?” Because I was pissed off, and I was gonna let him have it. And I did. And he said, Let’s go outside. Because I was adamant. And I was angry, and I was upset, and I was disappointed. It was all those emotions. And I let him have it. I said, “Stop praying for me. I don’t want to talk about this. I don’t want you ever to talk about this again. We can talk about business. But we’re not talking about God. We’re not talking spiritual. We’re not talking about healing. We’re not talking about any of this. And by the way, y’all are really bad healers. So stop it, stop praying for me. Stop talking about it. Because I just don’t have enough faith for this.” And he let me rant. And then he looked at me, very gently, and he said, “you might not have the faith for it, but I do. And you can borrow mine.” And that just, and then I melted. It’s like, Oh my God, I can’t fight this anymore.
He said to me, “okay, so tell me about the dream.” And I said to him, “Well, if you already know, I’m not telling you.” He said, “okay, you had a dream at three o’clock on Sunday night.” And I did, I had this dream. I never paid attention to dreams much. My dad would have said they were ramblings of an unconscious mind and you shouldn’t put any stock in them. But here’s this guy who’s been telling me things that he shouldn’t know. He’s also, now, not only interpreting the dream, but he’s telling me the dream, in every detail. So in this dream, I’m standing in front of a residential door, it’s white. I’m in a hallway, but I don’t know if I’m literally inside or outside. But, I’m on the other side of this door and the door is locked. And I’m moving my hand trying to unlock the door and I’m juggling it and it’s locked. And nobody’s answering the door and I’m not afraid. Nobody’s chasing me, but I’ve got to get on the other side of the door. I’m knocking, then I’m banging on the door and nobody’s answering it. Then panic starts to arise because I’ve got to get on the other side of the door. Then in the dream, the hinge pin of the door, the upper hinge pin, came flying out over my head. And I remember the sound in the dream and I ducked to keep from getting hit by this. And then the door opened unconventionally, and it opened downward with a bright light on top of me, like the door would fall on me. And I woke up, my heart racing. And I remember thinking, that was a weird dream, and I dismissed it. But now here two days later, Lee is describing, in detail, this dream. And so I said, “Okay, so what? So you know, the dream. So what?” And he said, “Well, let’s think about this dream.” And he began to interpret it.
He said, “there’s something that you want that’s on the other side of the door, and you can’t get to it by conventional means. You’re trying, but you don’t have a key. You’re trying to unlock the door, nobody’s answering it in the way that you’re answering it. You’re knocking on the door with absolutely no results. But when the door opens, it opens powerfully, unexpectedly. In a way that you could never have imagined.” And I remember waiting, I said, “Okay.” And he’s waiting for me to get it. And I’m not getting it. And he said, “what’s behind the door that you want?” And I remember in that moment, looking at him, and revelation hit me, but I didn’t know exactly what it was. And I said to him, “Oh my God, this is what it’s about. You. Me. All of this weird stuff that’s going on. This is what it’s about. And he goes, “Yes. Tell God what you want.” And although I didn’t exactly know, because I didn’t know in my head, but I knew in my heart. God was releasing what that desire was, but I couldn’t articulate it. I said, “I can’t, I can’t tell Him.” But it wasn’t because of a desire not to, it was just I couldn’t articulate it. I didn’t know exactly what it was. And he said, “Keep praying and you’ll be able to tell God what you want.”
So that was on a Tuesday. By Wednesday, I’m still trying to process all of this. I had about an hour and a half where I was completely paralyzed during the day, which really scared me. I mean, literally, I could not move. My feet weren’t working. And I’m thinking, Oh, great. I prayed for healing. And God paralyzed me. By the end of the day, I’m exhausted, I’m tired, I’m angry, I’m frustrated. I’m disappointed. I don’t know where this is going. I had a lot of fear with the literally being paralyzed. It came back after about an hour. It was a very frightening experience and I’m thinking, I don’t know where this is going. And my pain meds aren’t working that night. It’s one o’clock. It’s two o’clock. It’s three o’clock. And the question that kept rolling around in my mind…”Do you trust Me? Do you trust Me? Do you trust Me?” And it’s like, okay, what is this? It’s like it wouldn’t go away. “Do you trust Me?” One o’clock, “Do you trust Me?” Two o’clock, “Do you trust Me?” Three o’clock, “Do you trust Me?”
And the next morning, I woke up and [I said,] “Okay, I don’t know what all this is about, but if You really want to know what I want…” And this was like a great revelation to me. I’m sitting there in pain. I’ve got my legs on the edge of the bed, and I’m talking to God. I said, “Look, I don’t know who this Lee is. I don’t know if he’s from You. I don’t know if he’s from Satan himself. I don’t. But something about him tells me You’re in this. And so if You really want to know what I want,” and honestly, this was the first time I had said it out loud, “I want to be pain free.”
And that was it and I just let it hang there. And that was a great revelation because, you get in your comfortable world and you’re told you’re always going to be in pain. So you learn to live with it. And the idea of saying you want to be pain free just breaks your world open. And not, necessarily, in a good way for me, a very frightening way, because I was locked in fear. Nothing happened. Of course! In my way of thinking, but I had said it. And that was the end of it.
I went about my day. Thursday morning. I remember it very clearly, because I’d had the similar night to the night before, where I couldn’t sleep. And all night long… “Do you trust Me? Do you trust Me? Do you trust Me?” One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock. Pain meds weren’t working. The narcotic drugs weren’t putting me out. It’s like, I can’t get to sleep and it was about 3:30 in the morning when I totally exhausted myself to sleep. And so I woke up the next morning at first light. I rolled over to look at the clock. And when I did, it was like, “oh, my goodness,” and I rolled back. And the clock said 6:29; I remember very clearly. What just happened? Okay, this is just your imagination. This is just your imagination. So I rolled over again. 6:30. Same result. “Oh my God! Oh my God!” I sat up and I’m like, literally, [in] no pain at all. And those first moments of the day, every day for 18 years, were the most pain filled moments of the day. Every day is like, Lord, I can’t do this without you. Lord, I need you. I can’t handle this pain. You need to come help me get through this. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I quote, scriptures to get myself [up] every morning. And now this morning, I’m completely pain free. And I don’t know what to do with myself. It’s like I stepped into this huge, vast room and I was lost in this unknown experience.
And I’m like, Oh my God. What? What do I do now? I got up, took my shower. No pain. [I’m thinking] Okay, this is just your imagination. This is just your emotion getting the better. This is Lee getting into your brain. And I just couldn’t call anybody; I couldn’t. I was frozen in shock. That’s all I could say. Luckily a girlfriend called me needed help with her computer. I went next door. I told her I said, Amanda, I gotta tell you what happened.” And she’s not a believer in Jesus. She is now, she wasn’t then. And I’m relating the story. And she said, “Well, let’s just wait and see what happens.”
So on Sunday, I decided, I hadn’t talked to Lee; he hadn’t called me. Which I thought was weird, cuz he knew everything. And so on Sunday, I decided to make the trip back to his church. I had just chewed him out on Tuesday, I’d been healed on Thursday. And now, a week later from when I was at his church, when they prayed for me, I’m now back and I’m pain free. I took my friend, my neighbor friend, with me. She wanted to go with me. And so I’m standing there talking, or Lee standing there talking to a group of men. He’s got his back to me when I walk in, and I got there on time, this time. And somebody must, because they’re all…He’s telling a story, and everybody’s stopped talking. And they’re looking at me. I went up next to him, and I put my arm in his arm. And I guess he thought I was his wife, because he didn’t look at me. He didn’t. And everyone was like, Who is this woman that’s cuddling up to Lee? He looked at me. And when he did, he started. It was like a startled look on his face. And he goes, “You’re back!” He said, “Oh my gosh, what are you doing? What are you? Why are you here?” And I said, “Well, I had to come because I have a gift for you.” And and he’s like, for me? Really? Like, you just chewed me out. And so I had my Bible with me and in my Bible, I had my handicapped parking tag that I had cut in half. And I said, “Here, I don’t need this anymore. It’s for you.” And he looked at it. He goes, “Oh my God, what are you saying? What are you telling me? What are you trying to tell me?” He starts looking, he doesn’t see my cane. He’s looking for the wires. I said, “some kind of profit guy you are. Don’t you know, I don’t need that anymore? I’ve been perfectly healed.”
Before I knew it, I’m up at the front testifying. This good, Southern Baptist, later Bible church girl, up testifying of the miraculous healing that God had given me. And so from that day forward, my world changed. It changed dramatically. It was very fearful at the very beginning, because I didn’t have any grid for this at all. My theology, totally blown apart. The God that I had known for 50 years, because this happened in my 50s, right before my 50th birthday. The God that I knew, that was not that God, because I had that God in a box. And so, I didn’t know what to do with this new God. I could no longer say God doesn’t heal miraculously in the modern world, because here I am! And my job at that point was to go explore. I needed to find out who that God was.
The people at my church rejected even the testimony. When they’re exposed to a story, they have to either reject it outright, to maintain their theology, or they have to open the little bit to their box to be able to say, well, maybe there’s some truth in this. So, I am the witness. I’m God’s. I love to say, “I’m God show and tell,” because I was a woman of faith, but I didn’t have a grid for supernatural healing. I rejected it. I didn’t want it. I was afraid of it. And then some weird, odd-for-God talking, tattooed, earring, weird guy came and said, he talks to God and God’s going to heal me. And sure enough, it has played out.
I am now 10 years past my anniversary. I was healed on March 19th 2009. I just passed my 10th anniversary on this past year. And what I’ve come to know, is the God that does heal miraculously and He calls us into identity. And He has shown me who my identity is. He showed me that I am so absolutely, adoringly loved by the Creator of the universe. He healed me, not because I earned it, not because I did everything right. Not because I did all the religious stuff, but because He loved me enough to send a weird kooky guy to break into my world and say, “Hey, open up your box a little bit because God loves you enough to heal you.”
So that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.