August 2019

My battle with ME ended with a miracle

Bedridden and cut off from her friends, Lynda Heron thought life as she knew it was over. But a trip to Toronto changed her life forever.

Lynda Heron is a healthy, strong and happy lady, who leads Elim Northampton Church alongside her husband, Jason. It’s a far cry from just a few years ago when the debilitating ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) disease threatened to stop her from enjoying life. At her worst, she was bedridden, had to use a wheelchair and couldn’t even remember her son’s name.

“It was a sudden, unexpected illness that took me out of normal life,” Lynda says.

“It challenged my faith but Jesus became all that I had during that dark time when I couldn’t even communicate.”

Lynda recalls how distressful it was going from dealing with an undetected sickness to living with the dreadful diagnosis of an incurable disease following a year of worsening symptoms.

“I went to church for the New Year’s service in 2012. I got home and into bed and never properly got up for the next three months,” she says. “It was a lonely and frightening journey. I started to lose my vocabulary and had no energy for the simplest of tasks. I couldn’t wash my hair, cook, read or even dress myself at times. My walk was unsteady, so at times I needed to use a wheelchair. Eventually, we had to leave our home and live on the church premises so that my husband could become my carer and continue working as a pastor.”

As Lynda’s health continued to deteriorate, she became confined to her bed for countless days and weeks on end. Unable to keep up with conversation, texts or social media, she became cut off from friends and community.

She adds, “My world shrank. Even watching television was too strenuous so I had little idea of what was happening in the world. I got to the point where I was just finding life too hard with the myriad of pains and symptoms, and it felt like life was slipping through my fingers. I’d resigned myself to this debilitating disease that was taking over my life."

The Herons mustered up the strength to celebrate their birthdays together in New York in 2014 and planned a visit to a Christian conference in Toronto to end their trip. Lynda was too sick to attend the first night of the conference, but they watched online from the hotel.

But that didn’t stop the power of God touching her life in the most amazing of ways. She recalls, “I was too ill to go the first night so Jason watched it online in the hotel room. As I listened, the power of God came into the room and my body started to shake. The next morning, I went and swam in the hotel’s pool which for an ME sufferer was miraculous. But I didn’t read too much into it because ME can have its ups and downs.”

Feeling better, Lynda was able to attend the rest of the conference and on the final night, her life was transformed.

“John Arnott was speaking and I felt the power of God come right through me like a bolt and it hit me to the floor,” she says. “I was down for about two hours shaking, and I had a vision where I saw angels all around the auditorium. They were so huge that I could only see up to their knees. They were so loud; it was like standing near the Niagara Falls. I felt like God was saying that they were protecting his presence.

“It was an amazing experience but frightening, awesome and powerful. When I eventually opened my eyes, my husband said to me, ‘You’re healed!’ Although I knew I felt completely different, I asked him, ‘How do you know that?’ and he answered, ‘Because your eyes are white – they’ve been grey for three years.’ The next day I went shopping for eight hours, which is unheard of for someone with ME.”

Upon returning home, Jason shared Lynda’s healing with the church – with unexpected results.

“The first Sunday back Jason quietly announced that I’d been healed and the church erupted in joy,” Lynda says. “I didn’t realise how much my illness had affected the church. Jason called for anyone who needed healing to come forward and it turned out that during those three years of severe illness, many of our church leaders’ wives had also been chronically ill.

“One had severe arthritis and another had dry eyes with no water but she cried that day. They were healed that morning.

I have been free of all symptoms ever since, and I have God to thank for that. He’s given me my life back.

“I’m even busier now than I was before I was diagnosed, but I have much more compassion for people with chronic illness.

“During my illness, I invited a group of ME sufferers in Northampton to use our church facilities. We meet monthly to chat and encourage each other. My healing brings them hope.

“I now know and understand the struggle, frustrations and pain that living with ME causes, and I am amazed at their tenacity as they keep on going. There is no cure for this debilitating illness, so please join with me in praying for everyone in this group to be healed as I have been.”

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a long-term, fluctuating, neurological condition that causes symptoms affecting many body systems, more commonly the nervous and immune systems, according to Action on ME.

ME affects an estimated 250,000 people in the UK and an estimated 17 million people worldwide.

ME sufferers experience debilitating pain, fatigue and a range of other symptoms associated with post-exertional malaise, the body and brain’s inability to recover after expending even small amounts of energy.

Not everyone will experience the same symptoms so it’s important not to compare someone who has ME to another person with the illness.

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