Twelve years ago my life as I knew it disappeared forever. I lost my beloved teaching career, my financial security, my love of racket sports, and worst of all my mobility and independence. I had developed severe spinal scoliosis as a result of the genetic disorder EDS, I was in constant pain and had became wheelchair bound. My son then 14 became the parent figure by default, caring for the home, while helping me with basic needs as I tried desperately to get better for him. I was hospitalized many times over the next few years and underwent six intricate spinal surgeries in an attempt to stabilize my damaged spine. Thanks to the charity Canine Partners, I became the proud owner of an amazing Canine Partner, and she enabled me to be more independent day to day, although the loss of my finances remained a daily challenge. Then last year our lives took another unexpected downward spiral,  as my pain levels rose exponentially and my hard- fought mobility deteriorated.  I was sent for an MRI scan which revealed that the scoliosis, surgically rectified nine years ago, had returned and was compromising the nerve supply to my legs. I also had developed acute osteoarthritis in my hips, which made any kind of walking extremely painful.  At the same time Mum was struggling with memory loss, and my 24 -year old son was immobilized by the same disabling genetic condition that had destabilized my spine. He had to take a year out of university just before his final year, and spent most of it house bound; exhausted by constant joint pain and debilitating depression.. We had hit rock bottom as a family, and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
I had always prided myself on my fiercely independent streak, but now felt completely overwhelmed by circumstances. I’d called myself a Christian since my late teens, but had never truly relied on God.  So after another night full of fear, I just let go and cried out to God. "I cannot do this on my own anymore,  I give up, and I'm handing all of it over to you. Take everything; my mind, body, soul, spirit, and my heart. All that I have is yours, take over my life Father God and use it for your purposes.  I meant every word, and looking back now see that the moment I uttered those heartfelt words my life began to transform. Almost overnight I developed a hunger for the Word, I started to feel His peace everywhere I went, and found answers to prayers in the most unexpected ways. As I prayed for wisdom about my future I picked up a leaflet at the back of my church about 'Many Voices', an annual Christian convention at the Dome in Brighton, and just knew that I had to go. I never normally ventured beyond my own town as my mobility was at best limited, but the urge was so strong that I asked my son to drive me there. The moment I arrived my feet seemed to do the talking and led me to a room upstairs, where a group of people were offering healing prayers to visitors. I eagerly hobbled forward with my canine partner and found out that they belonged to the Bethesda Brighton Healing Rooms. Afterwards they invited me to visit them at Costa Coffee in Churchill square on Friday morning and I readily agreed. 
It wasn’t long before I noticed subtle but significant changes happening in my life, first my pain levels dropped, and then my energy levels rose, and I became far more adventurous and confident.  By the fifth visit I felt strong enough to get on a bus to Churchill square with my canine partner, something I had not attempted for 12 years. I was no longer afraid for my future and in fact started to feel excited about the possibilities! Visiting the Healing Rooms week by week felt a bit like peeling back the skin of a very tough onion, as members of the group gently guided me in prayer, and helped me to offload my spiritual blockages; from my unspoken fears, to the boulders of fury locked deep in my heart since childhood. I’d been a Christian for many years and had always felt like an outsider in the world, I had never felt that I was good enough, and that feeling of rejection only worsened after my disability.  I was so hypersensitive that when members of my church asked why I didn’t attend a bible group or service (on bad pain days when I couldn’t drive or even walk) or queried the viability of a canine partner joining Outreach activities, I didn’t try to explain but just stopped volunteering. Yet at the Healing Rooms it felt different from the first day. I felt instantly accepted by the group and never once felt judged, even when I chose to offload some very painful and angry childhood memories. I could literally feel the warmth of their love radiating over me as we prayed together, and each week I left feeling peaceful and full of hope. Each time they prayed for my mother and son and I felt infused with strength, which then impacted greatly on my life at home. I was able to attend church weekly, joined an early Morning Prayer group, and even offered to help special needs children at my local primary school, something I’d wanted to do for twelve years. 
Just last week my son told me that since I’ve been visiting the Healing Rooms I’ve become such a joyful person, which I would have to agree with! Best of all my prayers are being answered! My son’s health has improved too and he is now feels well enough to return to university for his final year in September! Mum also now has weekly help from an unexpected source, which has helped us no end, as I can focus on my son and my own future.  I have not only seen answers to their prayers but and their unconditional acceptance has completely changed the way I feel both about myself, and deal with others around me. I no longer hold onto anger in my life, as I feel accepted for who I am, and best of all part of a loving family. I’ve become a lot bolder and now offer healing prayers at the prayer group that I attend at my own church.
Last Friday I was at Costa coffee with the group when middle- aged man walked in and asked for healing prayers. He suffered from Parkinson’s’ and his hands and face were trembling badly. As he was prayed over the tremors began to slow down, and then just disappeared altogether. The look on his face said it all, and I understood exactly how he felt! I know exactly what it feels like to be touched by Christ’s love. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to this committed group of Christians who have chosen to follow Christ’s directives for his friends, and reach out with tenderness to those in need the community. I have received both emotional and physical healing during my time at the Bethesda Brighton Healing Rooms, and can now watch on in joy as week by week my son’s health improves, and he accepts my healing prayers when he is having a hard day. I am no longer afraid for my future as I know who is in in charge of my life now. I know The Lord Jesus Christ is in charge of me because I have met Him, and if anyone else would like to experience His Love for themselves all they have to do is can visit the Bethesda Brighton Healing Rooms at Costa Coffee in Churchill square Brighton on a Friday morning.  https://www.healingrooms.org.uk/testimonies

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