“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG)
Two and a half inches of medical paperwork and lab reports, three full shelves of supplements (so many that we had to add a shelving cart to our pantry), visits to over ten different doctors from the east to the west coast, a trip to the Mayo Clinic. Add to that, nearly thirty blood draws, a heart EKG, two Cat Scans, saliva spit tests, urine and fecal samples, and mold detoxification. Still, there’s more… a chelation therapy (a therapy used to remove metals and other toxins from the body) that involved traveling two hours away from our home every treatment day for over four months, chiropractor visits, and tens of thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses. We did all of this, and gladly so, as our family sought to resolve four, very long years of unexplained fatigue. Reid, our son, was sick and our hope was waning.
Having grown up in a sports family with a father who is a Division I college basketball coach, I can hardly remember a day when Reid wasn’t on a basketball court. Whether at home, our neighborhood courts, his school gym, an AAU practice, or the court where his dad coached, Reid put up a lot of shots, sometimes more than 700 per day. He was one of the most committed young athletes I, or many others, had ever seen. He worked tirelessly to earn what he hoped would someday be a Division I college basketball scholarship.
Reid’s plan was right on track. His work and sweat was paying off. That is, until he met an opponent his junior year of high school that he couldn’t out-work or defeat. After attending a week-long, highly intensive basketball “boot camp” in the summer of 2013, Reid’s body went into an unusual state of fatigue. He was exhausted. He experienced a tiredness in his body that a weekend of rest couldn’t begin to remedy. In fact, Reid’s fatigue required 6-8 weeks of rest, limited activity, and a change of diet that consisted only of clean, organic food. Two months in, Reid’s body recovered. What a relief. Soon enough, he was back on the court pursuing his dream again.
One year later, however, Reid battled fatigue again. Still in pursuit of a college scholarship and wanting to do “whatever it takes,” Reid asked if he could return to the high intensity basketball boot camp. We agreed to let him go. To that point, none of us had made the connection between the camp and that first, sudden onset of fatigue.
When Reid returned to the camp, so did the fatigue. This time, however, his worn-out state would last much longer. It cost Reid his senior year of basketball and the D-I scholarship he had worked so hard for. Reid was devastated. As was Reid’s body. His health became so poor that he couldn’t begin attending college the fall following his high school graduation. Reid remained nearly bedridden at home for most of what should have been his freshman year of college.
This was one of the most emotionally painful times in our family’s history. What was going on? Why wouldn’t his energy return? Where could we go for help? Answers seemed far away.
From the onset of Reid’s initial fatigue, four years had passed with very little marked progress. We had spent so much time, energy, prayer and money. We had engaged in countless conversations with doctors and healthcare providers. Still, we felt like a car whose tires were stuck in the mud—spinning, spinning, spinning.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2017 that we would begin to receive the answers from God we had so diligently prayed for. From mid-May to the end of June, Reid attended a summer discipleship program called, The Experience (ForgeForward.org/equipping) on a limited-energy budget. Although limited from a bedrest lifestyle and ongoing fatigue, Reid was determined to make the most of His summer away with God. As he was able, Reid began to release the fear and confusion that accompanied him to Colorado. God, through His power and presence, began to alleviate Reid’s fear of being far away from home and his confusion over why God hadn’t chosen to heal his body.
Through The Experience, Reid was beginning to experience God’s restoration in new ways—like when Reid’s team actually had to roll him in a wheelchair through the airport en route to leaving the country. The challenge didn’t limit God. In fact, God used it to break through stubborn barriers in unseen places in Reid’s heart. Reid was learning firsthand that God didn’t have to remove the trial to prove He was a God who Reid could trust. In the middle of his fiery trial and helpless state, Reid was learning that He could depend on God and the people around him to love him—even in his broken health.
Reid returned home from The Experience two weeks earlier than his fellow team members. What may have seemed like defeat in previous situations when his body just couldn’t continue was claimed, this time, as victory. God had met Reid right where he was to give him just what he needed. Reid was now seeking spiritual answers above medical answers.
Soon after Reid’s return home, he and my husband, Barclay, decided to attend a “Be In Health” conference in Thomaston, Georgia. Once again, God—in His power and presence—showed up, and Reid and Barclay’s lives were changed forever. At the week-long meeting led by Dr. Henry Wright, Reid and Barclay received dynamic teaching on the relationship between spiritual brokenness and broken health.
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” Dr. Wright began to explain, “but a broken spirit drieth up the bones.” He was sharing from Proverbs 17:22.
Dr. Wright began to elaborate. When a person’s spirit is broken, scripture is telling us that this impacts the bone marrow that affects a person’s immunity. What we began to realize is that Reid’s unexplained and undiagnosed fatigue was rooted in spiritual brokenness. He was living a performance-based existence, trying to earn his earthly father and Heavenly Father’s love and approval (the same desire that lies within every individual living on the planet, whether they are aware of it or not). The brokenness was impacting his thought patterns, which was impacting his endocrine patterns, which was directly influencing his energy patterns. All his unhealthy striving was making our son sick.
What’s more, spiritual unhealth was chipping away at my husband’s life too. At the conference, Barclay became aware of his own striving patterns rooted in sin and generational sin patterns. He too was miraculously set free of incredible spiritual bondage that had unknowingly impacted him his entire life. The infirmity that was linked to my husband was also linked to Reid.
Can this really be true? Can a person be sick because of spiritual brokenness?
I am here to tell you, “Yes!” Our family has lived this story. I have witnessed Reid’s recovery and the change that has taken place in both my husband and my son.
All that said, please hear this crucial interjection: not all sickness and disease is created by spiritual brokenness. Bacteria, disease, environmental toxins, and other natural maladies can contribute to the breakdown of our finite bodies. Conversely, we are integrated beings of body, mind, and spirit where each affects the other.
Here’s what I know. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, God did more for my son (and husband) in one week than medical doctors from all across the United States were able to do in four years. When truth replaced the lies once held in Reid’s mind, his body (along with his mind and spirit) was also free to really live.
Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so he is.” Medical science confirms that neurons in the brain that regularly fire together, wire together. In other words, the things we think about ourselves and others hard wire in the brain to create chemical pathways that dictate how the endocrine system and other body systems behave.
God wants us to think about ourselves the same way He does… as dearly loved children, treasures with great purpose—so loved that we were not redeemed with perishable things such as silver or gold… but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19). When our thoughts begin to align with God’s thoughts, our body and its systems begin to respond as He designed them—returning us to homeostasis, peace and often good health.
God’s Word is timeless and true. His Word breaks every chain and barrier and exposes every lie. His Word brings life to broken places. “He’s making all things new” (Revelation 21:5), immune systems included. God’s Word brings peace, a wholeness and completeness to all that makes us who we are—body, mind, and soul.
The journey of understanding these truths and seeing God for who He really is has given life back to Reid—God’s workmanship, our son.
Remember that “car” I described early that was “spinning, spinning, spinning” in the mud? It’s back on the road—taking classes on a college campus, living away from home, meeting new friends and enjoying life one day at a time. Potholes and muddy roads still exist, as do occasional temptations to go it alone and strive and strain apart from God. The difference these days is that “car” refuses to stay stuck in muddied lies. Truth from our good and loving Heavenly Father gets him quickly back on the highway and moving forward in the rhythm of grace.
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