The Touch That Changed My Life

It all started that cool and windy September day our family visited friends in Corvallis, Oregon. Even though the long hike up to Mary’s Peak was fun, I paid for it later. My throat began to hurt on the way home. The next morning I noticed a small lump on the right side of my throat. I assumed I had swollen glands, so I medicated with aspirin and throat lozenges. After a few days the sore throat went away. I kept watching every day for the swollen gland to decrease and become normal again but after three weeks it was still there. That’s when my husband suggested I go for a check-up. I called the hospital and explained the situation. The advice nurse scheduled an appointment right away. “Does anyone in your family suffer from a goiter?” the doctor asked as he examined me. “Yes, my mother has a very large one.” “Hmm. I see a note written on your chart in 1973 that this growth started during your second pregnancy.” “What? I was not told something was “growing!” He started treating me for a goiter and prescribed medication to be taken before breakfast each morning. It made me nauseated and weak so I thought I’d try taking it before going to bed at night and see if that helped. It didn’t. I returned to the doctor and told him about the nausea and weakness. He changed the medication. Over the next few months the nausea continued and I felt no stronger. “Don’t worry,” he said, “we’ll just keep switching the medication until we find one that agrees with you.” A few weeks later my in-laws retired and moved to Oregon to be close to their only grandchildren. They moved in with us and the first few weeks were like an extended vacation. We enjoyed each other’s company and caught up on all the things families share when they’ve been apart for a time. The children couldn’t believe their grandparents were really going to stay more than a couple of weeks. I was thankful for the help with the house and children. I wasn’t as tired during the day, but if I didn’t have a nap with the children in the afternoon, I still couldn’t stay up late. One night Dave decided to take his parents to a local pizza parlor to see the great pipe organ and have pizza. I begged off. “I can’t honey, I’m too tired. You all go without me.” That was the beginning of many nights I stayed home and went to bed alone. I didn’t have the energy to go out. Life wasn’t fun anymore. I was beginning to be a bore with my tiredness all the time and, consequently, I became deeply depressed. That fall, our son, Jeff, started kindergarten and because Dave’s mother was available to look after Kristy, I returned to work part-time. “Maybe getting back into the work force will help my state of mind.” However after a few weeks, I found that even the pace of part-time work was more exhausting than I imagined. I was even more discouraged. I wondered why I bothered. Life like this wasn’t worth living! My illness, whatever it was, was getting to Dave too. He insisted I go back to the doctor and ask to see a thyroid specialist. The specialist examined me and scheduled an ultrasound immediately. Although the procedure is painless the huge machines were intimidating. I laid on a table as a large machine was lowered over my body. The top part looked like a large ball point pen head which passed over my neck and throat. The technician applied a jelly-like substance, then moved a long slender tube over neck and throat which transmitted a picture of the lump to a screen nearby. I heard the words “hard tumor.” The doctor explained that meant there was a chance it could be malignant. I would have to have surgery. By this time I really didn’t care. I had been in a state of depression for months, only going through the motions of living. The appointment for surgery was made for January. We were attending church and I was trying to get some answers from God. Why was I feeling like this? Why were all these things happening to me - and at the same time? Why didn’t I care for my family anymore? Why was I so tired? I couldn’t pray - not in the sense of kneeling down in a state of reverence and closeness with God. But, I talked to him a lot. I just felt He wasn’t answering, or, at least, not the answers I wanted. I was thoroughly frustrated. The Sunday before I was scheduled to go to the hospital for surgery our Ladies Bible Study leader stopped me to say my mother- in-law had requested prayer for me. She assured me many people were praying for me. Suddenly my reserve broke and I told her what the doctor said about the tumor. I guess until then I hadn’t really faced up to the fact that there was a possibility it could be malignant. A few days later I was home alone with the children washing dishes, thinking about the upcoming trip to the hospital and the possibilities, when it hit me, hard! Maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t be the one to finish raising my children. Suddenly I ran to our bedroom and fell on my knees, crying out to God. “Please, Lord, let me live to raise my children,” I sobbed. I felt a desperation I’d never experienced before. “Lord, I promise if you will touch me and take this thing away, with your help, I’ll do my best to raise them for you.” After a while, emotionally spent, I realized I couldn’t barter with God. I had to trust. He was God and I needed to released my children and their future into his hands. Just as this thought penetrated my heart I felt a touch - a soft touch – a hand on my neck and throat - so real it was, I turned to see who stood beside me! Then I was startled. No one was there, no one visible. But, my mind reasoned, I FELT IT! I could still feel the warmth of that touch. Suddenly I realized, Someone was there with me Someone had touched me. I started to cry. Tears of joy overwhelmed me. I wasn’t afraid anymore - whatever came. It didn’t matter because He really did care! Throughout the day I cried tears of joy and praised God! I cried while I did laundry, made the beds, and vacuumed. After dinner I realized I wasn’t depressed anymore! I felt more energized than I had been for ages. I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I had felt so good. Dave couldn’t believe the difference either. I went into surgery the next week with a different attitude. I knew I’d be all right. I had been reading Psalms 91:1-7 (TLB) “We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods. This I declare, that He alone is my refuge, my place of safety, He is my God and I am trusting Him. For He rescues you from every trap, and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with His wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark any more, nor fear the dangers of the day, nor dread the plagues of darkness nor disasters in the morning. Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, the evil will not touch me.” I claimed that scripture! When I awoke in the recovery room, my family was there waiting to give me the good news. They had removed all of the tumor and it was not malignant! The week of convalescence was one of the most enjoyable times I’ve ever experienced. I felt God’s love all around me. I just relaxed in it. I reveled in the fact that He would go to so much trouble to let me know Him. My children are raised, married and serving the Lord. God proved so faithful to a young mother’s scared, agonized prayer. I thank Him every day of my life for that wonderful touch. It changed my life!