Prayer of Faith

Prayer of Faith

Taking a six-month break from my job in 2005 did not go as planned. Instead of using the time to write a book, I ended up taking the lead for my mother’s care and three years later, she made her transition one month before the economy suffered a severe recession. Turning 60 did not bode well for my resuming full-time employment. For the next four years, I depleted my savings to supplement part-time work. I figured my situation couldn’t get any worse. That’s when I began to feel the strangest kind of pain whenever I sat—an experience that nearly pushed me over the edge.

Since I had no health insurance, my holistic chiropractor agreed to trade with me for services. Dr. Wendy did what she could, but my symptoms worsened with severe burning, intense internal pressure, and numbness. Laying down was the only thing I could do that helped. Uncontrollable panic gripped me. I felt fear about what caused the problem, fear about paying for treatment, and most of all, fear that the pain would never go away.

Yes, I prayed for my body to feel better. That’s how I was raised growing up with Unity teachings from the age of 5. My mom loved the “Prayer of Faith” by Hannah More Kohaus, which we always said at bedtime—especially the last verse: “God is my health, I can’t be sick; God is my strength, unfailing, quick; God is my all, I know no fear; Since God and Love and Truth are here.” Reciting the prayer was one thing. Believing it was something else. I was often sick and the two back surgeries I had in my twenties were not exactly a success.

Finances and health definitely challenged my faith the most. Being an “A” student in school and doing well professionally didn’t stop me from feeling like a total failure at trusting God to get me through this nightmare. In the darkest of times I thought about ending my life.

Fortunately, Matthew 17:20, a favorite scripture, reminded me that with even just a little faith (“faith the size of a mustard seed”), we can accomplish great things. After months of research, I experienced a breakthrough when I searched online for “feels like I’m sitting on a tree trunk” and found that someone else had made the same comment on a medical website. At last, I had a glimmer of hope.

With more investigation, I found social media support groups for conditions that shared some of my symptoms. While connecting with others helped, I was disturbed to read how these conditions could devastate people’s lives. My biggest concern was that while medication and surgeries were mentioned as recommendations for treatment, neither was an option for me because of extreme reactions I’d had in the past to prescription drugs and anesthesia.

I kept praying for the strength to trust, to believe the Unity inspiration I heard as a child—that “God is my help in every need; God does my every hunger feed; God walks beside me, guides my way; Through every moment of this day.” While I still couldn’t sit comfortably and my activities were minimal, my faith grew.

Finally, my answer was revealed: noninvasive treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction with specialized internal physical therapy. After becoming eligible for Medicare, I changed primary care physicians four times until I found Dr. Saam. She understood my symptoms immediately and referred me to a center that specialized in treating pelvic floor conditions.

Pelvic floor physical therapy is not a quick fix. It takes time to delicately work with muscles that in my case were compromised by a spinal fusion and years of sitting at a desk, causing unbearable pressure. I also had to do my part: learn about muscles, change how I sat at the computer, and breathe more to avoid holding tension.

A year into treatment, my physical therapist suspected that fear of making the pain worse was holding me back. Assuring her otherwise, I took up hiking and line dancing. My recovery was remarkable and I was discharged after two years of rehabilitation. Yet the best outcome of all was finally believing God is always there for me, just as Unity taught me as a child.

Author Biography: 

Cheryl RussellCheryl Russell is a freelance writer, children’s and educational book author, blogger, certified laughter leader, and keynote speaker. She’s also the executive director of Imagination Now (imaginationnow.org), a nonprofit organization Russell founded in 2012. She writes a monthly column for the Orange County Register. Visit cherylarussell.com.