The Warrior in the Woman by Jennifer Boender
I was always an independent woman. I was firm in my belief in God. I had hope in His promises and for the destiny He had chosen for me. I was grateful for all I had and all He had done for me. I was seeking for God to show me people I could pour out His Spirit on from the Spirit that filled me. I experienced real JOY because of Jesus. I was living the FULL life He had created for me, at least I thought I was.
The fall of 2015 came and my world was rocked. Everything I thought I knew about God in my mind broke open and what was left was raw and gritty. I had been diagnosed with Chronic Late Stage Lyme Disease two years before but for two years I worked out of my own pride. I tried my absolute hardest to maintain a semblance of the life I had been living. I relied on my own strength to push through every day, to put on an “Oscar performance" and smile through the debilitating pain. I continued to do all that I had been able to do, even though my body was breaking down, the pain was becoming unbearable, and my strength was leaving me. I would crash into a ball of mush, wet with tears, every night exhausted from my efforts to maintain the life I was living, the life I thought God had called me to.
I woke up one day in September 2015 and the world around me appeared as an extreme opposite to what was happening in my body. It was a beautiful day, hot with sunshine. People were buzzing about town, continuing with their busy work days, preparing for school to start, meeting people for lunch: fast and full and hectic. All the while, inside my body, things were coming to a complete halt. I was unable to proceed and be a part of the world continuing around me.
That morning, my vision and hearing were functioning fine and then not at all. I tried to get out of bed and my legs were shaky. I leaned onto the wall and tried to move but my heart felt like it was going to explode and my lungs felt tight. My husband and I rushed not to the ER, but to a 24/7 prayer room. I received prayer for healing from this disease. I felt the power and the promise of the Lord that He would heal me. I left the room I was receiving prayer in and collapsed in a heap on the floor. My whole body was shutting down and I could see it happening outside of my body, looking in. It was emergent and we started treatment for Lyme at that point. My doctor told my husband, "If we don't start treatment tomorrow, we could lose her."
The next year and a half I was bedridden and enduring intense Lyme protocols that I liken to chemotherapy. My legs stopped working, because the Lyme had entered my brain and the connection was lost. I was having daily seizures, some for hours at a time and quite violent, often followed by a long period of losing consciousness and/or hallucinating. Everything that I used to be able to do was taken away. I couldn't drive, I couldn't reciprocate in a conversation, I couldn't paint or do anything with my hands (I lost that connection too). I couldn't handle being with my children, because the stimulation would set my brain off and I would go into hours of seizures. I couldn't leave the house in my wheelchair, because even that would cause a major setback for a week. I was on oxygen because I struggled to breathe and many times we rushed to the ER because breathing was so difficult and I could sense death creeping in. I couldn't pass the time by reading the Bible or devotionals because my brain could no longer comprehend what I was reading and my vision was so disturbed. I couldn't even watch tv or a podcast because the light and sound would trigger me.
Every day, there I was, feeling like a woman shunned from her tribe and sent to a dark isolated cave to live alone in my bed in the dark. I knew the power of my God and knew that He could heal me in an instant, and everything would change. But He didn't. I was angry, confused, and felt betrayed.
"My God, why have You forsaken me?", “Why won’t You just heal me?", were the questions I cried out every day. When all hope and understanding of my God had left me, He met me in the secret place when I was alone in my bed in my dark room. He said, "I'm allowing you to go through this because I am going to align you with your anointing in your long suffering." Well, that's not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I knew immediately that suffering was not my cross to bear alone.
Every day from that point on, I gave my battle with this evil disease to God. I could no longer do this on my own strength. I was so broken and so weak that my only choice was to be weak in Jesus. Let Him wrap me up and carry me every day through the fire that was on every side of me. I no longer had to fight this fight, my only job every day was to wake up and give it to Him, and meet Him with HOPE that He would heal me as He said He would do. Hope that He would keep me alive and keep aligning me with my anointing.
Even though I was not seeing the promises of healing come to life yet, my Hope was beyond my bed, beyond my situation. I kept placing it over and over and over into the Almighty’s hands. The One who was and is and is to come. My Hope became an atmosphere where joyful anticipation of God working could grow. "In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade."1 Peter 1:3,4. I just wanted to experience His kingdom in me while I lay helpless in bed. God fed my hope until it became an anchor for me. No matter what storm came across my body, my hope did not waver. I had complete certainty that my God would not fail me or abandon me.
My future was certain: I would experience the kingdom of God while I was imprisoned in bed, and the rest would fall into place. My kingdom armor began to form. Hope surrounded me like the strongest steel armor. Nothing could penetrate it. Friends and family began to be astounded by the strength I had to continue through the terrible relentless pain and agony. But it wasn't me, it was the armor being made around me that they saw.
Their comments made me realize though, that it wasn't just around me anymore. My hope had grown so deep, that armor was IN me too. I felt it. My blood ran through my body more spirited, and with unexplained power. Like when Spiderman got bit by a a super powerful spider and he felt strength in his veins. I was bit by the power of Hope, and now my blood ran thick with the supernatural strength only elite warriors had. I didn't need physical strength to fight the demons of my disease, I had the blood of Jesus running through me and that's all I needed. The enemy would try to throw death at me: a night of struggling to breathe, a 3-hour violent seizure, crushing pressure in my chest, my heart feeling like it would stop if I fell asleep, none of it phased me.
I FELT the power of God's promises in and around my body as indestructible supernatural protection, because my God could not be defeated.
Just as He said He would do (because He cannot lie), God began to heal me fast and miraculously. In two weeks of a new treatment I was out of my wheelchair and walking again. I didn't need my oxygen. I stopped having seizures. I was off all my prescription medications. I could eat again. I could hold my baby again. A month later I had my port removed because I no longer needed meds or iv fluids through it to keep me going. I was doing physical therapy to retrain my brain how to tell my body to move again. I was shouting my victories from the rooftops! I wanted everyone who listened to experience the certainty of God the way that I was. The enemy was not a fan of all this. He sharpened his sword and threw anything he could at me to discourage me in my quest for spreading hope. He attacked me relentlessly but my armor protected me. His lies and attempts couldn't break down anything that God had built. I was experiencing Kingdom power and there is nothing like it.
In a special week of treatment at a clinic I had two different people tell me they saw magnificent armor on me while I walked around. My doctor saw me with a giant and glowing shield- "almost like Captain America's," he said. Another patient saw me with a metal helmet forming around my head, and "special warrior shoes" on top of my actual shoes. I smiled when they told me these things, because I already knew God was doing this. My hope is rooted and growing every day, and therefore, my armor was too.
I had all the aspects of protective armor that a real warrior would have, but what was my weapon? As I thought about this, God gave me a beautiful picture. The enemy was attempting to pound me constantly with his weapons to break me. But there God was, in a metal smithing shed while I fought off the enemy outside in my armor. He had my back (as He always does). Working away in the shed, taking every piece of shrapnel that the enemy threw and God was piecing them all together, pounding them with His hammer and turning it into my sword. Forging it away in the hot fire that was around me. He makes all things good. He makes beauty out of ashes. He makes swords from meager, ugly things. Now I know what He meant when He said, "I am aligning you with your anointing." He made me a mighty Woman Warrior from my weak body in my dark room. My armor is made from the Mighty One who saves. My warrior footsteps will shake the ground underneath me. My sword will defeat any enemy that comes against me. My battle cry will sing of the victory He has given me, and it will ring in all the earth! I am a Woman Warrior, hear me roar His victory.
"Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you"-Zechariah 9:12
You can follow my journey fighting Lyme and Holding on to Hope on ig: @jenn_kicks_lyme and on YouTube: Jenn Kicks Lyme
Written By Jenn Boender