In July 2011, just weeks after I started as First Reader at my local Christian Science branch church, I noticed a lump on my breast and discoloration. I immediately called a Christian Science practitioner to support me in prayer. To be honest, even as a lifelong Christian Scientist, I had always thought I might react with dread and panic to a symptom such as this. But wonderfully, my initial response was naturally calm and unafraid, and I was confident of complete healing.
I was convinced that this condition was simply a suggestion—mortal mind’s attempt to dislodge me from my post as Reader, which I loved. I felt certain that I would not have been given this privilege and opportunity to bless others and grow spiritually, only to have to forfeit it for illness.
The practitioner pointed me to the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, and this promise: “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build” (Nehemiah 2:20). This reminded me that God is doing the healing work (not me), and, indeed, that divine Love upholds our church.
The temptation to keep checking my body for signs of progress was strong. This led me to put together a reading for a Wednesday testimony meeting on the need to “look away from the body into Truth and Love” as Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, instructs readers in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 261).
I prepared another reading on the topic, “Spiritual healing for the ages, and for this age.” It was important to remember that spiritual healing is effective, that it is based on God’s laws, and that it goes back millennia and will ever continue.
Over the next two months I was in almost daily contact with the practitioner, who assured me that the Readership was carrying me, not the other way around. I also read testimonies of Christian Science healing every night before I went to bed from a collection of Christian Science Journals a friend had given me. These were tremendously encouraging and confidence building.
Still, fear and discouragement crept in. One day, a friend pointed me to an online lecture on Christian Science. The lecturer recounted that a lump in her breast had been healed when she gained a better understanding of God as Love. It hit me. For years, I had believed I couldn’t palpably feel God’s love for me. The practitioner reminded me of the verse from a hymn by Samuel Longfellow: “Embosomed deep in Thy dear love, / Held in Thy law, I stand: / Thy hand in all things I behold, / And all things in Thy hand” (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 134).
The message from this hymn relieved me of a false sense of responsibility in many areas of my life and emphatically showed me that divine Love is responsible for me and cares for me. Naturally, this turned into a Wednesday evening reading on God’s mothering love.
About this time I was also in touch with a longtime teacher and practitioner of Christian Science. Among other things, he wrote me that in his experience with healing, “It is always a need for more God in the equation and less self-concern, self-analysis, self-doubt.” But I wasn’t sure how to actually go about practicing “more God, less self.” I asked the practitioner who had been praying with me about it, and she put it simply: “Turn your face to God.”
So I did. At work, I often turned away from my computer screen and prayed a quick prayer. Something like “God, I’m so glad You are All,” or “God, I’m so grateful that You are parenting me; I feel Your love and guidance right now,” or “God, I know that You are the only power in the universe and that sickness is not power.”
I did this quick turning about every ten minutes, whether at work, walking down the street, or preparing dinner. I came to see that it almost did not matter what my prayer was, as long as I stayed focused on the allness of God.
Then a setback tried to throw me off course. A lump in my other breast appeared. It grew rapidly and was painful. I voiced concern to the practitioner. She remained steady and strong in her work with me. Shortly after this conversation, I drove home from work listening to a CD produced by a Christian Science nursing facility. It contained powerful firsthand accounts of people who had experienced significant healings while at this facility.
When I arrived home, I turned the car off and sat there in wonder. Tears streamed down my face. I felt almost overcome by the presence of divine Love, specifically the love manifested in the Christian Science movement today and through history. Out loud, I thanked the practitioner for her steadfast support. I thanked my Sunday School teachers and my parents who had brought me up in this wonderful religion, all of the Christian Science nurses, healers, teachers, and church members who had come before me and those who are practicing Christian Science healing today. Most of all, I felt deep gratitude for Mary Baker Eddy, who so faithfully followed the teachings of Christ Jesus, and who did not give up on her writings and her Church despite setbacks.
Within hours, the second lump began to drain. In the morning, I called a visiting Christian Science nurse. She efficiently and gently bandaged the area and showed me how to do this myself. She reassured me that healing was going on.
And indeed it was. That lump drained completely and healed, and the first one simply faded away. For a time, I worried that the symptoms might reappear. But in one of the Christian Science Bible Lessons following the healing, I found my reassurance from Christ Jesus. “Go in peace,” he said after he healed the woman with an issue of blood (Mark 5:34). I took that message to heart. I could go forward in peace because I have Christ’s own promise of the permanence of Christian healing. A year has passed, and I’m grateful to say the healing has been permanent.
Washington, DC, US