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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




In Those Dark Moments

By Kendra Bryse
Mar. 23, 2014

"Doctors are saying to call in the family. You should come.”

Mom sent the text to loved ones when my doctors told her I might not survive. It appeared to be the end of a long and difficult journey.

In 2009, I started to notice I was feeling weak and did not have as much energy as in the past. Having turned 30, I put up with my family’s gentle joking that I was simply getting old.

I also came down with a persistent cough that was causing me to be very short of breath. In October 2010, a horrible, internal itching sensation in my legs and feet joined my other symptoms. I saw many doctors and was treated for a variety of illnesses, but nothing came of the treatments.

A doctor finally discovered what was wrong in January 2012 following a CAT scan.

“You have Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” he explained.

Cancer!

I could not believe it was happening to me. I began 12 treatments of chemotherapy over the next six months. In May 2012 I had a PET scan that revealed I was in remission. But in October, just five months later, a routine PET scan revealed my cancer had come back.

My oncologist laid out a very aggressive chemotherapy plan that would also include a bone marrow transplant. I was able to be my own donor, so my bone marrow was harvested prior to the chemotherapy treatment and was put back in March 11, 2013.

The doctors said that within 10 days I would begin to see improvement in my health. I kept waiting for the day I would start to feel better. That day did not come. I could barely get out of bed and was hardly eating or drinking anything.

In mid-April, I was becoming short of breath and my cough had come back. I called my doctor, and he told me to go straight to the hospital. I was put on a ventilator Saturday, April 20.

Mom stayed overnight at the hospital with me. Early Sunday morning Mom got up and told the nurse she was going to go home to shower and get some more sleep.

“I don’t think you should leave,” the nurse said.

The doctor came in and began to question Mom about the important people in my life. He asked if I had a dad or siblings around.

Mom explained they were all eight hours away in Minnesota. The doctor said they should come immediately because he was not sure they would make it in time to see me alive.

The medical team specifically told my family and friends there was nothing else they could do for me. They had tried everything medically they knew to do. The nurses said I was the sickest person in the ICU, and some of them had never seen a patient as ill as I was. They had no reason to believe I would live through the day.

But in the midst of it all, God was working.

Mom began to call people to pray, and prayers for God’s miraculous intervention were offered all across the country.

Pastor Barry Clair of the church where I serve as children’s pastor, Tiffany Fellowship Church (AG) in Kansas City, Mo., asked the congregation to pray for me. They called out to God for my healing.

Following the service, Pastor Clair visited my hospital room. He walked in and asked the nurse, “What signs are we looking for?” She began to say things like, “Her blood pressure will drop. Her kidneys will shut down.”

As the nurse explained what death would begin to look like, Pastor Clair said, “No, we are believing for a miracle. What kind of signs will we see that she is getting better?”

Pastor Clair believed without a doubt God was going to heal me. He looked at each person in my hospital room and asked, “Are you faith filled?” It was no longer a group of friends in my room coming to say goodbye. It was an alliance ready to see a miracle of healing unfold.

Sure, my probability of survival wasn’t good, but it is in those dark moments we have no choice but to completely rely on God. Instead of dying that day, as the doctors had assumed I would, I began to improve. The ventilator came out a week later, and I spent a total of 21 days in the hospital.

My follow-up appointments have left the medical professionals amazed. They still cannot believe I have survived, and I know it is only because of God’s healing power I am alive today.

I left the hospital with 33 percent lung capacity and was told to not expect my lungs to improve much. Just four months later, my lung capacity was at 71 percent as God continued to heal my body.

God has done an amazing work in me, and I would not trade it for anything. God used me to demonstrate His miraculous healing power and to see Him glorified.


KENDRA BRYSE is the children’s pastor at Tiffany Fellowship Church (AG) in Kansas City, Mo.

 

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