Healed of Chronic Pain

Phoebe Lawson
Published by The Christian Science Sentinel, 6.23.2020
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Under God’s Umbrella

About 13 years ago, before I knew anything about Christian Science, I’d been diagnosed with debilitating “cluster” migraine headaches. These went on for more than a decade. My life went something like this: I would take about 23 pills a day to manage the constant pain I was in, and was very regimented about what I ate and drank, believing that this could prevent the onset of alarming symptoms. But none of these efforts really seemed to help.

Daily, I tried to avoid the migraines with over-the-counter pills. Then I had to switch to prescribed narcotics for pain relief, and after each episode had passed, there was a period of recovery from the side effects of the medicine. I would lie in bed three days out of a week with the curtains drawn to block out light, unable to care for my young children, who often roamed the house until my husband came home from work.

On the weekends, when I felt well enough to leave the house, I went to horse shows where one of my daughters rode. I’d been an avid horsewoman my whole life, participating in many competitions and owning my own horses. So this sport was something I’d never been willing to give up, despite the fact that it involved rigorous physical exercise. I had a friend at these shows who was a Christian Scientist, and I would tell her all my woes. When she told me that I could be permanently healed of the migraines, I thought she was nuts! Prayer could be used as treatment? Instead of medicine? You must be kidding! I thought.

But over time my condition continued to deteriorate, even though I had kind doctors who were doing everything they could to help me. Nothing seemed to work. Desperate for relief from the migraines, I even agreed to undergo a hysterectomy, which the doctors said might bring solutions. Unfortunately, this operation did not solve my problem. And it meant that I was left without the ability to have more children. I was really at a loss as to what to do.

In the meantime I’d been talking to my Christian Scientist friend, who shared some ideas about the all-loving nature of God. These helped me in times of fear or pain. One powerful idea I remember was that “we are all under God’s umbrella.” Now that was the kind of thing I’d never felt before. I’d had a very rocky childhood and struggled with feeling unprotected. I liked that idea of the umbrella, and found that as I began to express honesty, integrity, and love in everything I did, I could feel God’s care. Daily anxieties began to subside.

One day, my doctor wanted to put me on a new drug he said I would have to take for the rest of my life. I balked because I’d always thought of my condition as temporary. Now here I was, faced with relying on medication indefinitely—and it didn’t feel right. So I called my friend, and she gave me the names of some Christian Science practitioners whom I could talk to.

Over the next few weeks, I was in touch with two practitioners at different times. The first weekend when I sought Christian Science treatment through prayer from the practitioner, I stopped taking all my “meds”—a big step. And over the course of the weekend, I was completely free from pain. This was miraculous to me!

On Monday morning, when I felt the early stages of a migraine beginning to take over, I placed another call. I reached a different practitioner, who asked me if I had a copy of Science and Health. I said a friend had given me the book, but that I hadn’t read it yet (in fact, it had just been collecting dust on my bookshelf). He suggested that I try reading the first and last chapters.

As I hung up I remember thinking, “As if it’s possible to read with a migraine!” But I opened up the book to the first line of the preface: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings” (p. vii). Hmmm, I thought. That’s actually really nice. I remember looking at my bed and wondering if I should get into it. But instead I decided to do a bit of housework. The rest of the day just passed. Later that afternoon I was walking down the road leading my pony to a pasture in the blazing Georgia sun. All of a sudden I paused, stunned by the fact that I was not lying in bed with a migraine. And there wasn’t one drop of medicine running through my veins. I just couldn’t believe it — I was floored!

Later that evening I got rid of all my medications and began a diligent, ongoing study of the Bible and Science and Health. That night marked the end of my migraines, but not of milder headaches. However, after that major healing and awakening in my thought, my gratitude for God and commitment to Christian Science were so big that I felt comfortable sticking exclusively with prayer for treatment. It was clear to me that my answers did not lie in medicine—I’d tried it all—and that God’s plan for me could only be amazing and leave me in awe.

So every time a headache would come on, I would address the challenge immediately through prayer. I’d often call a Christian Science practitioner for support, and soon would be free for that time. But the headaches still recurred periodically for many years. I really held to the idea that each time I had to face the pain, it was just another opportunity to shed fears in my life. Intense fears of storms, fears about my kids’ safety, fears of traveling, all began to dissolve, replaced with a calmness and grace I’d never known before. And as time went by, my trust in God grew. I learned that He really was all-good and the only governing power. Soon, not just the “big” fears, but daily anxieties I’d held close for so long, started to dissolve.

I began to learn that the painful memories in my past had nothing to do with my real life, which was held securely in God. Mary Baker Eddy had seen through divine revelation that matter was illusive—a dream state—and as I studied more and more, this spiritual fact became clearer. This concept had seemed absolutely ludicrous to me when my Christian Scientist friend first told me about it years before. In fact, I’d literally rolled my eyes at the concept that matter was an illusion, because my whole life had been based on the premise that I was subject to a series of material laws. But after my healing of migraines, I just could not turn my back on what Mrs. Eddy was saying in her writings, despite the jarring interruptions of those more “common” milder headaches that would come on from time to time.

As I began to see the indissoluble link between my Maker and myself, as well as between Him and my loved ones, our family experienced many blessings. Although there were times when I wavered in my trust that God was in control, my children and I were healed of countless conditions, including asthma, strep throat, chronic earaches, learning disabilities, a herniated disc, and more.

I was leading my pony to a pasture in the blazing Georgia sun. I paused, stunned by the fact that I was not lying in bed with a migraine.

So each time I was confronted with another headache, I reached out to God in prayer, as He revealed to me my true spiritual being. I loved the idea that He was all-good, all-powerful, and that I was bathed in the light of these truths. The concept of persistence was especially relevant, as mentioned in this passage from Science and Health: “By lifting thought above error, or disease, and contending persistently for truth, you destroy error” (p. 400).

After my many years of experiencing headaches, they just stopped for good, in all their forms. I was left with a transformed character, a fearless outlook on many aspects of my life, and a new view of my spiritual innocence. My complete healing of recurring pain has been permanent for several years now.

The lessons I learned throughout this time of spiritual regeneration have been invaluable in my current work as a Christian Science practitioner. I’m learning each day that every single disease is an error, no matter how big or small it may seem, no matter how long it tries to linger in our lives. And as one healing naturally follows another, the proof that God is supreme is strengthened. This idea gives hope to anyone who knows in their heart that it’s always their divine right to be healthy and free.

Copyright © 2020, The Christian Science Board of Directors

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