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Beauty From Ashes: God's Abounding Love

ZeenaPhoto courtesy of Zeena Smith

Zeena
Photo courtesy of Zeena Smith

In January of 2009, I was flying back from Hong Kong and noticed the lymph nodes on the back of my neck were swollen. That was the beginning of a journey that, in the end, reminded me of God’s love for me.

I gave my life to Jesus when I was 12 years old and have always felt his presence in my life. In my early thirties, I had become lazy about going to church and had slowly drifted from the loving arms of the Lord. I still loved God but was not actively pursuing him.

When my lymph nodes began to swell I went in to see my doctor who ran what seemed liked hundreds of blood tests, x-rays and physical exams. My symptoms began to worsen. I noticed a rash began to form on my scalp so I treated it with natural oil, which caused an allergic reaction and my face swelled up. I was having a chain reaction of symptoms.

My doctor noticed some irregularities on my lungs while reviewing the chest x-rays so she ordered a CT scan. This revealed cysts, or air pockets, along the bottom of my lungs so they sent me to a lung specialist. The lung specialist was almost certain that I had a form of terminal lung disease called LAM with limited life expectancy. As you can imagine, I was terrified!

There was a slight chance that the lung specialist’s prognosis was incorrect and that the cysts on my lungs were an inflammatory issue so the first thing I did after having a tearful breakdown was pray. I asked everyone that I knew to start praying. I surrounded myself with people who knew how to pray. Under my spiritual warrior mom’s advice, I filled my house with worship music and just prayed.

The next few months were stressful and spent doing a lot of research and undergoing many tests. I was only 31 years old so the thought of a life threatening disease was frightening. I was able to find my peace in prayer and as I began to pray each day I began to desire more and more of God. He led me to a Bible study, “Experiencing God”, which taught me among other things that God will ask us to align our lives with His and that we need to take action. That is when I found Women of Vision and got involved.

Over the next couple months, God made himself known to me. One day in church, before morning announcements, somebody from the congregation felt God tell them that somebody needed prayer for their lungs and when they asked that person to raise their hand, I knew it was me and I was the only one to raise my hand. When our pastor prayed for me he mentioned specific issues I was dealing with in that moment. God loved me enough to meet me that day in church.

In the end, my doctors were able to determine that I did not have LAM but instead an autoimmune disease that is not life threatening.  I am thankful for having gone through this experience because it reminds me that the most important thing in life is to seek God and He will pour out his love in return.

by Zeena Smith, WOV South Puget Sound, WA

*Read more WOV Lenten devotionals in our “Beauty from Ashes” series.

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