It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog – I guess you might have noticed! I’ve learned a lot, especially about patience, listening for God’s voice – and then TO God’s voice, forgiveness, how to handle and begin to deal with whatever the enemy throws at me – and boy, has he had a field day this year! I’ve learned an immense amount about pain, and coping with it, loneliness, hurt, rejection, and – MUCH more importantly, about the LOVE of the Jesus I adore, worship, and who loves me with an unspeakable love. I’ve learned that, even after all my 65 years (soon to be 66!), he can still surprise me, and delights in doing so.
Come January 1, 2019, I celebrate 40 years of God’s unbelievable faithfulness: it was in 1979 that I started out on the wonderful road – often tough, difficult, and attractive for the enemy, loss, gossip, – of full-time Christian ministry. There have been incredible moments of amazement at what God has done – miracles, healings, provision, resurrection. There have been almost unbearable ‘down’ times – pain, criticism, lies. jealousy out of which comes the ‘magical’ (lol) Christian grapevine. Often, Chinese whispers have nothing to compare with that!
It’s been a very difficult year, to say the least, right at the start of January I had a ‘statutory’ 2 yearly-appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon in Belfast. The letter said it was one I knew: when I got there, it was someone different. I think I’d go as far as to say he didn’t know what he was doing, and ‘wanted to try something out’ and my right knee – the worst one for the osteoarthritis – was….er…. ‘manipulated, with dreadful cracking noises from the already badly damaged knee. I couldn’t stand after it: was taken by wheelchair to my car (I hadn’t gone IN in a wheelchair!) made it home, and then couldn’t walk for the next 8 months. The first few days I had to get around on my stomach until the pain subsided enough to ‘climb’ up cupboards and walls to stand using 2 walking sticks. I could say a lot about the ‘support’ (??) I got from local Christians, but I’d rather tell you about how God drew close to me as I had to sit and rest my leg as much as possible.
Help DID come, when some dear friends phoned to ask if I was doing anything at the weekend’ (no, couldn’t walk!) and they said they wanted to come for 5 days to clean my house (I couldn’t), cook a load of meals (I couldn’t stand to cook), and do whatever I needed done….FROM 500 MILES AWAY in Plymouth at their own expense (and no, they’re not rich!)…. THAT is church, Acts 2:42 –> It’d be an interesting church survey to find out how many Christians live within a mile of my house, when others would come 500 miles…!!
In September, some other good friends arranged for a man with a healing ministry (who also came a long way to my home) to come and pray for me: the next day, I could walk, ok still with pain, but I could WALK! Not being able to walk, living on your own, with an upstairs loo (Toilet, for non-Brits!), with a staircase so steep and difficult it’s more like a ladder, is something I now want to use AGAINST the devil when praying for other people. I’ve seen, over the past few years, hundreds of pairs of osteoarthritic knees: believe me, that’s going to increase!
Last weekend I had the privilege of speaking at the AVM Ministries Revival Conference in Dublin, with Thanney: it was a great conference, our sessions seemed to go down well, and ended up with quite a few to pray for, including a lady who had osteoarthritic knees: she was healed! Another lady, a ‘seer’, had a vision of an open heaven over the lectern, and shaft of brilliant white light coming down to engulf the speaker – me! – before was due to speak on…’Healing under an open heaven’! She then saw a black spear driven into and under my right kneecap by the enemy…. if ever I’m asked (quite often!) to explain what the pain is like, I describe it as a very long sharp knife driven into my knee under the kneecap….se prayed for me, and did the ‘action’ of pulling the spear out. A prophet, Billy Beattie, had a vision of shackles around my knees, in the form of bicycle locks, so my knees could only move in limited directions, and nails driven into my knees in the full circle around them. He ‘removed’ them in the spirit, too, and as with the spear, I could feel them go…. his colleague in the prophetic ministry, Niall Fahy, then had a vision and a word about me carrying the marks of Jesus in my body – the stigmata – which totally blew me away…..
Billy then said he wanted to anoint me: I was expecting a cross on the forehead as is usual – but he had quite a large bottle of very fragrant oil, which he proceeded to empty over my head! I felt like Aaron with it dripping off my chin, nose, into my eyes, over my clothes…! I’d rather have the anointing than a sweatshirt.
Then on Friday comes a day I’d never expected as little oas 5-6 weeks ago: a home move back to England! God has brought it all together so fast, including the miraculous provision to purchase a new trailer in which my home is no loaded outside the house…. and a ferry crossing to Heysham on Friday during the day, a trip for the weekend to Joel’s house in north Kent, another visit to the fantastic Eastgate Church on Sunday, and then on Monday to a beautiful cottage in the countryside for a few weeks…. I’ll fill the rest of the story in another blog!!
Thank you so much for your prayers during this harrowing year of immense pain and immobility – culminating (today, though not yesterday when the trailer was being loaded – incredible pain) in less painful knees today than any day recently, and the ability to walk. My friend Davy is crossing with me, as there is no life on the ferry, just some very interesting steep stairs (he’s going to follow me up in case I fall backwards! and lead me down in case I fall forwards!) and then staying with Joel too. He’s a good friend. Thanney has been brilliant through all this, and I’m truly going to miss his regular company drinking coffee together….but I’ll come back here for a couple of weeks at a time to see people and preach…..