Thanksgiving is a day where it’s easy to be thankful. But for me, this year’s Thanksgiving meal was much more than a time to “say thanks.” It was a milestone. A remembrance of my healing of psoriasis.
It started with a spot on my leg during the spring of 2013. At first it was just a red blotch about the size of a dime. Then a few months later another spot appeared on my other leg and the first spot began to grow.
Kellie and I became concerned so I made an appointment with my dermatologist. Thankfully it wasn’t skin cancer. It was psoriasis. So I was given an ointment and sent home.
Unfortunately the ointment was like trying to put a band-aid on a broken leg. The psoriasis began to spread like wildfire. Two spots became four. Four became twenty. Up and down both legs. And my lower back. And my forearms. So I began wearing sweat pants to the gym and long sleeve shirts when I preached.
When the psoriasis began to appear on my eyelids and my face around my eyes, I really began to struggle.
I remember one particular night about a year ago… When the psoriasis was raging in my body, I got out my computer and began “Googling” about psoriasis on the internet. Story after story of people fighting it for decades filled my computer screen. People who tried every remedy possible… with no victory. My eyes filled with tears and I began to sob.
Was a body covered in psoriasis going to be the “new normal” for me? For the next 50 years of my life?
And the blotches weren’t just a cosmetic issue. They were itchy and painful at times. For whatever reason, on certain days when I took a shower the water felt like needles poking my skin.
Scriptures like this became very real to me: “So Satan . . . afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it.” (Job 2:8). I finally understood why Job did that. The itching was unbearable.
And reading chapters from the book of Leviticus that I always blew right past, passages about “defiling skin diseases” that kept people from entering into the presence of God (see Leviticus 13 & 14), those Scriptures hit too close to home.
I will never forget the advice one pastor gave. He said, “When in doubt, fire in every direction.” In other words, if you begin to be afflicted with something and you don’t know the root cause of it, do everything you can in the natural to fight it… and do everything in the supernatural that you can to fight it as well. When in doubt, fire in every direction.
So that’s what we began to do.
I went back to the dermatologist numerous times. And we prayed. And I went to a naturopathic doctor. And we prayed. And I started going to a chiropractor. And we prayed. And along the way I had blood work done and the results led me to join the ranks of those who have gone gluten-free. And we continued to pray.
We weren’t certain if any of the above — besides prayer — was having any positive effect in my battle against psoriasis. But we kept fighting.
That leads me to why I am writing this blog at this time. We host Thanksgiving at our house every year and Thanksgiving 2013 was gluten-free for me. Last year Kellie prepped special gluten-free alternatives for my plate. Gluten-free gravy, gluten-free stuffing, etc. And other things were simply on the “banned list”… like pumpkin pie.
But because we “fired in every direction”… because we did everything we could in the supernatural through things like praying and quoting healing Scriptures… and because we did everything in the natural that we could think of as well, I am excited to proclaim I have been free from psoriasis for over six months.
As our house was filled with 16 members of our immediate and extended family this past Thursday, and as our 5-year-old daughter Evelyn prayed before the meal to thank God for our food, I silently prayed as well. I thanked God for our home, the feast set before us, and that the “adult table” and “kids table” were both overflowing with people. In addition, I was reflecting on my healing from psoriasis and thanking God for it.
And the stuffing never tasted better.
Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. – Psalm 30:2
***Treating God Like Santa Claus. That’s the title of my sermon this Sunday and there is actually a double-meaning in that title. 🙂 It’s week 3 of our series “Lord, Teach Us to Pray.” Please join us! November 30th. 10:30am. The Eastside Vineyard Church. More info at tevchurch.org***