The healing power of God

Author: Brigid Haran

The healing power of God

Brigid Haran witnesses to the healing power of God, she experienced at Ffald-y-Brenin, where she was healed of crippling ME.

I live in Galway in the west of Ireland with my husband Jimmy.

I have 3 adult children, 2 adult stepsons and 5 adorable grandchildren.

I am a psychotherapist and pre- my illness I had my own successful private practice.

I was always a very active person and in 2008- 2009 Jimmy and I took a 12 month sabbatical and travelled around the world together.

Some months after our return, however, I went to have a minor medical procedure in hospital. Unfortunately while being treated I contracted MRSA and ended up in intensive care. I was so sick that I thought that I was dying.

I was very ill for the next 5 months. During this time I also developed acute pain in my right arm due to two protruding discs in my neck.

In May 2010 I had spinal surgery to have these removed and replaced with titanium discs.

This operation set me back again. I found I wasn’t recovering and my energy continued to be very low.

My energy and symptoms got worse until one day in February 2011 I collapsed and ended up in a wheelchair.

Even worse than the tiredness was the severe brain sensitivity which meant that I couldn’t tolerate noise, movement or light of any kind.

I couldn’t watch TV. I couldn’t listen to or play music. I couldn’t talk to anyone for more than a few minutes at time. I couldn’t cope with movement e.g. Jimmy moving his hands when talking or trees in the garden blowing in the wind. I couldn’t cope with sunlight, flickering candles or the open fire flickering. I couldn’t walk for more than 2-3 minutes. I was so tired that when I had a shower, I had to lie down and rest before I could get dressed.

Once I got down stairs in the morning, I wasn’t able to go back up again until night time as my legs were too weak. I had a bed downstairs where I spent hours every day.

My day consisted of resting in bed or resting in an armchair or lying on the sofa. As well as the chronic tiredness I had desperate headaches.

My speech often felt slurred and words disappeared mid-sentence and I couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes.

Some days I wouldn’t feel as bad and I would try to cook dinner or take a 2 minute walk in the garden, or talk to someone on the phone for a few minutes. On rare occasions Jimmy or one of my children took me out for an hour in my wheelchair to sit by the sea or be wheeled along the promenade in Salthill. Eventually in May 2011 after extensive tests I was diagnosed with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The isolation of the illness

Because of how sick I was and not being able to spend any quality time with people, friends gradually disappeared from my life.

The isolation which the illness caused was nearly as bad as the sickness itself.

I tried telling people how I felt but they just didn’t know how to deal with me or the illness. Where was God in all this?

Well when I first got sick I pleaded begged and screamed at God. Then I thought ok enough of that because it wasn’t helping.

My GP had told me initially that I could have ME for anything up to 10 years. Some people I connected with in ME/CFS support groups on line told me that no one recovers from ME.

But I had to believe that I would get well otherwise I was afraid that I would just give up and die. And at times death looked like a blessed relief.

I tried to pray every day but I couldn’t read the bible or say long prayers.

When I wasn’t pleading with God, my prayers usually consisted of simply sitting inside looking out at our garden when I was able, and thanking God for the birds, flowers, shrubs, for blue sky, rain or whatever I could see. I learned to be thankful for all seasons and all weather.

On days when I couldn’t tolerate movement, light etc, I imagined I was resting in God’s nurturing presence and thanked Him that I had a comfortable bed downstairs to lie in, or for Jimmy and the people who did support me through my illness.

Sometimes I read short excerpts from books like “From the Father’s Heart” by Charles Slagle. Jimmy brought me Holy Communion from mass most Sundays.

In August 2012 a cousin gave me a little booklet.

In it the reader is encouraged to say the prayer “Thank you Father that through Jesus wounds I am healed.”

I decided that I was going to say it several times every day no matter how I felt. In December 2012 two friends, Rosie and Anj, from the UK sent me a book called “The Grace Outpouring” by Roy Godwin and Dave Roberts about a Christian House of Prayer and Retreat Centre in Pembrokeshire, South Wales.

I could only read 1 or 2 pages at a time so it took me a while to get through it. But all the time I was reading it all I could think of was that I had to go there.

In January 2013 I called the prayer centre to enquire about going there the following weekend.

They informed me that they were fully booked for ten months. I was taken aback as I had a strong feeling that God wanted me to go there very soon.

Then the lady realised that they’d had a cancellation for the weekend I was enquiring about.

There were 3 single rooms available beside the old stone chapel and the dining room! I called my 2 friends and they said that they would come and look after me!

On the Thursday my husband drove me to Rosslare. I had to lie down in the back of the car for the entire journey and we had to stay in Rosslare overnight as I wasn’t able to do the car and boat trips in one day.

On Friday morning Jimmy wheeled me on to the boat in my wheelchair and Rosie and Anj met me on the other side and drove me to Ffald-y-Brenin.

What could possibly happen here as there was no Blessed Sacrament?

When we got to Ffald-y-Brenin and I had rested I went to see the little stone chapel which was very close to my bedroom. It is simple but spectacular.

It’s a small round stone chapel with a rock protruding from the ground which is the altar and had 2 night lights burning on it and a plain crucifix, and a large wooden cross hanging on the wall.

The seating is a stone bench which runs around the walls with cushions on it.

My first impression was that it was cold and uncomfortable and what could possibly happen here as there was no Blessed Sacrament and Roy, who I was hoping would pray with me, was away that weekend!

Then I remembered the strong sense I had that I needed to come here. I decided God is bigger than the Blessed Sacrament and Roy, and I decided to trust that God would do whatever He brought me here for. The people who work in the centre meet for a short prayer service every morning and evening, Monday to Friday. Visitors are free to attend too.

I went to the Friday evening service which lasted 20 mins. It was a lovely prayer time but I could barley tolerate the two verses of a song they sang.

I felt that my head would explode.

I felt I should go to the chapel

The following morning I awoke at 6.30 am and felt I should go to the chapel. I said to God “you must be joking. I’m so tired and sick and it’s dark and it might not be safe to be out there on my own.

I’ll freeze to death if I go out there in this cold”!! So I ignored the prompting and tried to go back to sleep. An hour later I was still awake, still convincing myself that I was safer in bed. But then I started coughing! I couldn’t stop and worrying that I might awaken Rosie and Anj, I got up and put on a tracksuit and coat, over my pyjamas and a woolly hat and scarf, and went into the chapel.

It was freezing, but I noticed that I stopped coughing as soon as I went in. I couldn’t sit but I noticed some cushions on the floor underneath the large crucifix hanging on the wall. I got some more and made a bed of these under the cross and just lay there and said to God, “ok have Your way and do with me whatever you want.”

And that’s where I spent most of the day. I just came out to eat and when I needed to rest in bed.

On Saturday evening Rosie, Anj and I had our own prayer service. I was amazed that when a song was sung I asked if we could sing another one. I knew my brain sensitivities must be improving!!

My two friends looked at me in wonder!

By Sunday evening my brain sensitivities had improved

On Sunday morning I was wakened again at 6.30 am. This time I put up no resistance and went to my space underneath the cross where again I lay for most of the day.

By Sunday evening my brain sensitivities had improved even more and my walking too.

My friends and I went into the chapel after our evening meal. We made a few shy attempts at praying. I felt God wanted us to do something.

The answer came so clearly “Praise God”. So we started praising, praying and singing in tongues.

The power of God manifested itself powerfully and I went from being freezing to stripping layers off me.

We laughed and cried as the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit ministered to the three of us.

We were there for about two hours that night.

I awoke early again next morning and the two ladies were also awake so we got together in one of their bedrooms and worshipped God again.

And the Lord was there in power as in the chapel the night before.

Even more healing took place. It was WoW!

Jimmy couldn’t get over the change in me

After the community prayer time later that morning the man who was leading prayed a blessing on all who were leaving that day.

Again I felt I was being powerfully blessed. Before we left I walked down to reception, for the first time. I was asked if I would like a blessing.

Of course I said yes. We walked back up to the chapel and two of the team prayed over me that my ME would be completely gone!

When Jimmy picked me up from Rosslare later that afternoon he couldn’t get over the change in me. I sat up in the car and chatted for most of the 4 hour journey home (and that was after the boat journey!).

Two days later I was walking for 12 minutes and my brain sensitivities were completely healed.

It’s 16 months now since that amazing healing weekend. God has continued to heal me physically and emotionally from all I have suffered during my illness.

I have my life back again. I’m doing all the things I couldn’t do when I was sick.

I know that during my illness and healing God has drawn me into a closer, deeper, more intimate relationship with Him than I had ever known before.

I have been back to Ffald-y-Brenin 3 times since then and I continue to be greatly blessed each time I return.

I feel like I’m going home each time I go there. I continue to be in awe of what God has done and continues to do for me!! I give thanks that He has healed me! PRAISE GOD!

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