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The Gift of Praise

This month my miracle feels most personal. Perhaps because I haven’t shared it more than a handful of times and never to nonbelievers. But as my sisters and brothers in Christ (fellow believers) I feel nudged to share it now with all of you.

Music has always been important to me. As a toddler, I could belt out a tune. As early as first grade my grandmother would get me out of school to sing hymns at funerals. I witnessed firsthand how music affected people. And that affected me.

I joined choirs, became a soloist, and grew up with hymns in my heart continuously.

As worship leader at my church, during Covid when we couldn’t sing, I felt robbed. It felt wrong to me on so many levels. But the Lord, and my car, heard my praise and I cranked up soundtracks in my art studio (not part of my house) and praised alone until my heart felt satisfied.

So how does this relate to a miracle? About thirty years ago I found a lump in my breast. On Monday, my GP saw me right away and the look on her face as she examined, then re-examined me, told me everything her words did not. She was worried. She painstakingly explained the mass did not feel normal (in so many words) and that she was going to set up a surgeon’s appointment before I left the lobby. She did.

On Tuesday after the surgeon examined me with a sonogram, he confirmed that I had a mass that must be removed because it had signs of fast-growing cancer, so he was going to schedule immediate surgery and line up a plastic surgeon before I left the lobby. He did.

My GP called me that night after 8PM and told me she talked with the surgeon and that she was praying for me, for me not to worry. Her going out of her way to call me in her personal time at a late hour, reaffirmed her concern. That increased my anxiety.

Wednesday, I met with the plastic surgeon. In those days radical mastectomy was common. All three doctors prepared me for that on Thursday.

After the plastic surgeon appointment, I went home to an empty house. And prayed. Not the nervous, worried prayers I had been praying. This prayer was one in which I thanked God for how quickly all of the appointments fell together and how caring everyone was. I thanked God for being the head of my team. Then I stopped to listen, and what I heard struck me as odd. But only briefly because when God speaks to me it usually feels as though I have been previously instructed and I’m now being reminded of what I need to do. So, I did it.

I gathered every candle in the house, placed them on a light-colored sheet on the floor in our home office, dressed in white, lit the circle around me, and sat motionless in the middle. It sounded “new age” to me but I did not doubt it came from God.

It seemed strange that I wasn’t told to bring my Bible. But I waited expectantly for what God intended. Then I heard in my spirit, “Now, sing Deborah. Sing. Sing. Sing.” For more than an hour, I sang every hymn I knew (and I have an incredible memory for lyrics). When my legs cramped, and candles were burning out, I extinguished them and went into our great room, (with impressive acoustics) and sang some more. My songs had started with, “It is well with my soul” and moved on a continuum to “I’ve got joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart.” My emotions had migrated to pure delight. It defied logic. I felt so free, so happy. I was totally praising God. if this was what heaven felt like, oh my goodness!

The next morning at the hospital, I was prepped and rolled into the operating room. The surgeon, OR team, and plastic surgeon greeted me. They hooked up the sonogram to guide the process. Then I watched their faces. Above the masks and below the blue caps were frowns. Different people took the little mouse and moved it conferring in medical terminology. They were looking at a split-screen with my former sonogram. I could see it too. No mass.

My surgeon looked at me and said, “Well Deborah. There’s no explaining it. The mass is not there.”

Oh, trust me. I explained it. “It’s a miracle!”

How do you know when God is speaking?

Do you have times when His message to you seems odd? Did you follow anyway?