June 7th, 2016

It has been said that a word from the Lord can change a life, and I am here to testify to the truth of that statement. Recently, a word He spoke to me unwound a spiritual snake that had been wrapped around me for years.  Since that day, I continually find myself looking back at that event, amazed at the transformation that took place in my mind.  In this piece, I will do my best to share the story with you.

More than twenty years ago I was struck with an illness called Bells Palsy, caused by a virus that attacks the seventh cranial nerve connected to the facial muscles. This virus causes the nerve to swell, so it gets pinched as it travels though the small hole in in the skull.  That damage causes the nerve to shut down, leaving the facial muscles on one side of the face without any working instructions. This is what caused one side of my face to completely droop.  I was ashamed of my appearance, believing I looked like a circus freak.  Previously I had been socially and professionally active, but I immediately pulled inward, partly because of the pain I was experiencing and mostly because of how my face looked.  I even felt sympathy for the people who had to look at me.

The damage was so severe that the nerve itself died. Over time, new nerves took its place, but they did not attach correctly to the facial muscles, causing that side of my face to be pulled in wrong directions.  To this day I continue to deal with the constant tightening of those muscles, especially those attached to my eye and mouth.  I have learned to manage the discomfort and I am mostly at peace, but it is still a continual effort to speak and focus.

Sadly, I never found lasting victory in letting go of how my face looked, and in particular, how I lost my smile. My face has definitely improved – mostly as a result of many people praying over me – but the pulling and distortion still remains.  My friends and family tell me they don’t even notice it, but I notice it every day.  I continually ‘turn it over’ to the Lord and I am okay for a while.  But when I see myself in a mirror, especially if I am talking, I melt down all over again.  Over the years, I have done everything I know to do, spending thousands of dollars in therapy and thousands of hours in prayer, shedding thousands of tears.  When I seek the Lord about the issue, He always tells me all is well.   But I can assure you, all was not well in my soul.  I have refused to let myself stay in that heart-wrenching place for too long, but I never found lasting emotional healing.

Recently, I went around that mountain for the very last time. While I was talking with a friend, I glanced over her shoulder and saw myself in a wall mirror.  Once again, that image pierced my heart, and I choked back the tears.  Because of all the activity going on at that time, I buried the pain and did not deal with it, and for the following days I allowed it to eat at my soul.

The Word says that God collects our tears in a bottle. When I look at the bigger picture of life, I fully acknowledge that this problem is a minor one, but I am so grateful that God still has compassion for even the little things.  And for me, though a small thing, this had certainly stolen much of my joy over the years.  Little did I know the Lord was about to step into the picture.

As we drove home one night after a wonderful Passover Seder at church, tears began to stream down my face as I sat quietly in the dark. I recalled a time during the service when a number of people answered an altar call for healing; now I kicked myself for not also going forward.  I wondered if I would ever experience the joy of seeing the Lord heal my face, or if I would ever be at peace about the matter.

Ordinarily, when the Lord speaks to me, it is like a download. In an instant my mind receives an entire message.  Not so this night.  As I sat in the darkness, absent of thought and feeling quite numb, my spirit heard specific words from the Lord, words that remain burned into my soul.  He said to me, “What, do you really want to be just another pretty face?”   I tell you, I was completely stunned by those words!  And I must admit, I was thinking about telling him, “Actually, that would be lovely!”   Before I could respond to His question, the Lord spoke again.  This time He asked, “Why would you care about your outsides when your insides are so beautiful?”  That question left me speechless.  I had no answer at all, so I just sat quietly to let it all soak in.

A few minutes later, the Lord gave me a download that led me to a complete change of heart and mind, a solution that cut off the head of the snake that had ensnared me for so many years. We were planning to attend an immersion service the next day, and the Holy Spirit offered to help me remove that snake and drown it.  As I dunked in the water, I asked the Lord to completely renew my mind and remove all the lies, replacing them with truth.  I asked Him to let me see myself exactly how He sees me, and teach me to walk in that truth.  I committed to take every thought captive and never again see myself as ugly, no matter what it would take.  As it turns out, that has not been a problem, not even once.  Holy Spirit completely renewed my mind, allowing me to see myself in an entirely different light – just the way He sees me.  Nothing changed but everything is different.

Praise the Lord!! My heart is so grateful that I will never need to go around that mountain again.  I cannot gather up sufficient words of praise and thanksgiving to pour at His feet for the joy I received from such a life-changing renewal of my mind.  I pray you will ask the Lord for a word in due season that just might change your life.  All snakes beware, when the mind catches up with the Truth of the Cross, your days of tormenting are over.