Words of
Encouragement & Hope
Submitted by Karen Blessing

Many are feeling right now with Covid-19 they are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. This is not the first time I have been on this walk.

When my daughter, Leslie was 19, she was home from college working at a Michigan state park before beginning her Junior year. In June she began projectile vomiting, had horrible headaches and slept for hours. We of course, took her to the doctors who did CAT scans, blood tests for drugs, personality tests, in short, every test they could think of, but couldn’t find the cause or cure.

We took her to St. Joseph hospital in Ann Arbor for the new MRI. Before we got the results, we were back at the hospital again after her projectile vomiting had covered the walls of her bedroom, and we were thankful she didn’t die in her sleep. She was admitted, thanks to the medical floor nurse who told the ER doctor (who wanted to send her home because “She’s just sleepy”), “Admit her at once.” When he said he couldn’t read the MRI, she said,”Get someone who can.” That was Dr. Judge. His first words to me, “Your daughter has white lesions in the gray matter of her brain and down her brain stem. If it is cancer she is already dead.”

It wasn’t cancer, but there followed months of seeking a diagnosis and cure. Her autoimmune systems were shutting down and our beautiful, dean student daughter, couldn’t even make a two-word sentence that made sense.

I remember one day when I was on the phone talking to a relative who wanted an update on Leslie’s condition. I thought I couldn’t tell it again. I felt like I would collapse, but was literally held up by prayer. I had been through fighting for her care for months with doctors who couldn’t find a simple answer and wanted to dismiss her.

But God was working. On my husband’s 50th birthday, Oct. 27th we were in Cleveland Clinic for her brain biopsy. He had to take a bus home so he could leave me with a car as mine was being repaired after I hit a deer while driving to church. While all this was happening, my stepfather had a heart attack. In spite of the fact it looked like he would recover, he died days after Leslie’s biopsy. But God’s promise was true: He was with us.

At one point I told Leslie, even knowing she wasn’t understanding anything or remembering anything, “Honey, I put you in God’s hands the day you were born and I’m not taking you out now.” Many times after that I was shocked to hear her say, “You aren’t taking me out of God’s hands.” After the biopsy, when the brain surgeon wanted to prescribe some strong meds, out of my mouth came a loud NO. He asked me why and I said what if God is already healing her. He didn’t order the meds. Back at home on Thanksgiving Day we got the results of the biopsy. God had indeed healed her. Her body had been fighting encephalitis and had attacked itself.

So if you are walking through the valley of death, fear no evil for God is with you. Other promises you can rely on:

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn for they will be comforted.
Matthew 11:28 Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 6:27 & 34 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow: for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
John 10:10 I have come that they (my sheep) may have life and have it to the full.