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My Testimony

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes. 

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24 

I want to share my Testimony with you.  How God healed me and equipped me to start the Motherless Daughters Ministry.  

My hindsight sees my life in four distinct seasons. Let me share these with you.  First let me spare you from doing the math as I talk about dates.  I am 73.   

  1. The Old Me 

My parents had divorced when I was 10, and then my mother died when I was 15. My father was physically absent, so emotionally and psychologically I was on my own at 15. My loss and unresolved grief left a “hole in my soul” that I constantly was trying to fill with achievement, self-sufficiency, and success. I was addicted to achievement. I grew to be a competent, professional business woman, a registered nurse, a small business owner, and a college professor. I was always working. I did not know until 1990 that I had a congenital defect in my brain, called a Chiari Malformation, which would end up changing my life. 

  1. Working through recovery 

Gradually, I began to experience a variety of symptoms that affected my everyday life. Among those symptoms was losing the ability to balance myself to walk. I became disabled. I used a walker. I had visual problems among a host of other symptoms. The only sense that seemed to increase was my hearing. The volume was turned up. By 1999, I experienced my first brain surgery to relieve the debilitating symptoms. It was marginally successful. I could not work. Because my work had defined me, I did not know who I was. I felt as if the old me died and I was a stranger in my body. The changes in my life forced me to emotionally deal with all the losses from this surgery. I sought out counseling. Through counseling, I began to uncover losses that I had experienced. As I peeled back the onion, I discovered my “core loss” was the unresolved grief of losing my mother at age 15. I had put my grief away, locked the door, and thought that I could just go on. After all, my mother had died 35 years earlier. 

   As part of my healing, I looked for other women who had also lost their mothers. God called me to begin the first Motherless Daughters group in 2000. 

I began to gradually physically decline again. My symptoms escalated. I was confined to a wheelchair. I could only sit and listen. I spent many days in “forced quiet time.” It was almost as if God said, “Sit down, shut up and listen!” He talked to me about “the hole in my soul” that I had been trying to fill all of these years with achievement. He helped me to understand that my grief and blaming had disconnected me from Him. I had not given this to Him. 

My condition worsened bringing me to the need for a second surgery in 2001. Doctors said they could only hope the surgery would halt the progression of my symptoms, but the odds were that I would not be physically any different. I was spending my days in a wheelchair. 

  1. Surrendering to God 

My dilemma of whether to chance having another invasive surgery that could or could not change anything was the center of all my thoughts. Then one night I couldn’t sleep worrying about my choices and my future. I picked up the bible on my bedside stand, opened it, and began reading. It was Mark 9:23-24 – The story of the possessed boy and the father who asks Jesus to heal his son, IF he could. Christ says (paraphrase) “What do you mean if I can? Don’t you know who I AM?” The father responds, “Lord, help my unbelief.” That was me; I had not surrendered to God and believed that He could heal me. I prayed, “Lord I am so sorry that I doubted You, help my unbelief.” God said, “Trust Me.” 

  1. The New Me 

I had my second brain surgery in Jan. 2001. It was a very difficult surgery. I had many problems including a reaction to medication and a respiratory arrest. I was close to death. God was faithful and within three weeks after my surgery, I was in physical therapy learning to walk again. I experienced a steady progress from that point onward. I learned to walk again. My other symptoms slowly subsided physically. 

I have been blessed in regaining my health but I am different. I not only experienced physical healing, but emotional and spiritual healing as well. I knew that God wanted me to help grieving women who had either lost or missed the nurturing care of their mothers at any age. The Motherless Daughters Ministry helps these women with their grief and to ultimately amend their relationship with God. I get confirmation frequently that God has His hand on the Motherless Daughters Ministry. It has flourished, helping hundreds of women. 

I am one of God’s miracles. I like who I am today. I feel whole. I walk with God. The “hole in my soul” is filled with His love. Everything I do now is to be in ministry and do God’s will! 

Rick Warren, author of 40 Days of Purpose says that “God will never waste a hurt. He will use it for good if you let Him.” What is the hurt in your life that God wants to use? Will you let Him use it? 

2 replies on “My Testimony”

What a beautiful testimony, Mary Ellen. Thank you for reminding me to trust God with my troubles and not try to carry them on my own. I have been so blessed by this ministry and thank you for your dedication.

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