How sick became the new normal

[Note to readers, visitors and all curious holistic types: I am not selling anything on this site. There are no items to buy. I just believe these things. This is my story, my health evolution in progress. Thanks for reading and learning along with me.]

On Wednesday, I mentioned the pandemic acceptance of illness and disease in our culture, especially with the ease of access to medicine and medical procedures, all of which we consider normal.

We simply do not question illness. And we do not question the prescriptions and advice of our doctors. We never seem to notice that they are only treating our symptoms: “When you have acid reflux, take this pill.” “When you start to get a migraine, take this triptan.”

But I’ve been longing for answers to my real questions: “But why? Why am I sick? Why do I have migraines? What causes the sickness? I don’t want to just treat symptoms anymore.”

I got no answers. Until I discovered naturopathy and learning to heal the body from the inside out. Since then, I’ve been motivated to make changes, mostly small, but already with significant impact.

I am certainly not claiming overnight results. My process is belabored and slow. Old habits die hard, but I am motivated by my progress. I am seeing it. I am seeing health arrive. I am turning a corner. I am ready to be responsible enough to take care of myself, instead of relying on sick days, doctor visits and over-the-counter medication to treat the symptoms and give me a day of self-care, which has been my lot for nearly a decade.

In the video below, Naturopath Dr. Lindsey Duncan addresses the current status quo of accepting illness and sickness in our lives. His information on true health, as well as the tips he offers, are beneficial for anyone who is curious or just getting started on the journey of health.

He urges we’ve accepted the toxins in our food, the gunk in our air and land environments and the chronic illness that result. We feel it’s normal to be tired and worn down and sick more than we’ve been in recent history.

Dr. Duncan argues that the barrier to health and whole living is not what we’ve assumed, which is merely a natural digression of health over time. It’s because we’ve accepted our diets and the resulting maladies which result.

Here are a few general suggestions Dr. Duncan offers to clean up your diet and transform your life. My favorite tip is the simple wisdom that this change doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t. As I said a few days ago, it’s better to add in the good. It will crowd out the bad.

  • Learn your family’s health history, what we’ve inherited. Know your weakest organs.
  • Learn about your own organs, their location and function.
  • We are not what we eat. We are what we choose to eat, what we digest, absorb and assimilate. We become what we do not eliminate. 
  • Find out what the seven classes of nutrients so you can feed your body appropriately. We’re eating an empty harvest and it won’t nourish your body. 
  • Follow holistic living: inversion posture, yoga, remove dead skin, fast occasionally
  • Don’t try to overhaul your life overnight; do it slowly. You can undo forty years of wrong life choices in 40 days. It’s a slow process, but that produces lasting change.

And if you’d simply rather watch, rather than read, here is his 15-minute TEDx talk from 2011.

Fear and Faith: Stories of Healing

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I went to a conference and mustered some courage from seeing God do the impossible. And then I started to believe it was possible. And that maybe God could use me to bring healing to people’s bodies and lives too.

For years, I complained to God that I just didn’t have faith to see him heal people. But I still noticed all the sick and injured people as I went about my life.

I saw them, but I did nothing. It was miserable.

While at the conference, I realized it was hope I was missing the whole time. Faith is the substance of what I hope for. So if I don’t hope, faith has nothing to hang on to.

The catch: without faith, it is impossible to please God. Wow. Straight forward.

So essentially, if I need hope to have faith, and I need faith to please God, then I need hope to please God. 

Hope is just as essential as faith. It is the building block of faith.

So that was what I learned, and little by little, I started. I prayed. And I still do.

I see some healing, and I feel great. And some days, when I pray and people don’t get healed, I just get frustrated and disappointed and wonder what’s wrong with me.

Josh reminded me that faith pleases God, and my prayers, even when I don’t see answers immediately, demonstrate faith. So I am making God happy, and that really is all I need to worry about.

So without further ado, I would like to introduce to you my latest project. It used to be scratched down on little index cards, and the stories still are. But I wanted to put them out here to encourage people who want to pray for healing too, and to let the skeptics know that I’m not selling anything, this doesn’t always work, but I want to believe big because God is big.

The Prayer and Healing Journal can be found here. Stop by often for new stories of breakthrough, miracles, healings and the honest truth about the in-between days when I wonder where God is.

Sick of being sick and a new kind of health

During my recent efforts to partner with God and see the sick healed, I’ve noticed a tragic pattern in my own life. Much like those I pray for, I’ve allowed sickness and poor health to inhabit my life.

In this, I made a painful discovery. Even if I pray for someone and they are healed, they have to stay well. And this right here is the biggest problem.

I can pray for stomach pain to leave, and it probably will, but then, the person has to care for their body in such a way that stomach pain is not a regular occurrence.

I’ve prayed for migraines that have been instantly cured. Awesome! But with poor diet, the person could potentially get another one the next day.

I’m not saying God isn’t powerful enough to cure a person of an illness completely. Obviously we know of people who are healed of cancer and tumors, never to return again; or broken bones completely restored like new. Incredible stories.

But it’s the upkeep of the body that God doesn’t want us to neglect. He loves our body and he’s designed it heal itself. But our diet and lifestyles in the United States are not conducive to health.

Even though it’s considered a little “out there” in our medicine-saturated culture to pray for sick people, we need it as badly as any developing nation. We are what Dr. Lindsey Duncan calls “the walking wounded”, people living lives with extremely debilitating illnesses, and yet we change nothing. We just accept it.

We see our family members go through it, and we assume it’s normal. We put sickness on the calendar for age 50, or 60, like it’s inevitable, and we just wait for it. We never think it could be preventable.

I’ll admit. I’ve been having a great time seeing God heal people. It’s crazy stuff. I say a few words, and the person will often report a burning or heat or tingling in the body part we prayed for. Sometimes there’s no sensation. But often, there is healing. Pain = gone.

I pray for co-workers, friends, patients, even strangers. Not often do I pray for strangers, but I’m opening up to it. Anyway, I pray, ask, believe and God heals. And it is so fun to see people’s expressions on their face when they are shocked that their pain has left their body. What a moment! And the goal is to help them see God healed them. He loves the way he made their bodies, he loves health and he loves them.

Instant healing is a powerful testimony of God’s love and strength. 

But despite this, I would love it if we were healthy. What if I didn’t have to pray for people because they were already well? What if I just prayed for bug bites or sunburns or the occasional broken body part? That would be awesome. Instead, it’s all this wear and tear caused primarily by poor self-care.

And we act as if there are no options.

I’ve realized that being a healthy person requires healthy choices. It (often, not always) requires maturity. At least, that’s my story. I’ve not been mature enough to take care of myself well, and so I’ve been sick a lot.

But I realized I could choose health, and so I did. I read, I watch videos, I experiment with new foods, and I make the sacrifices of taking out “bad” foods and adding in “good” ones.

I’m not perfect. I still eat too much sugar and too many carbs. But I’m changing slowly, adding in the good, as a friend of mine counseled me to do. And it’s paying off.

In a couple days, I will feature more on this topic by Dr. Lindsey Duncan, the naturopath I referenced earlier. I found his TEDx talk quite enlightening and inspiring. I will give you some of the notes from the talk so you don’t have to watch, if you don’t want, but it’s worth your time if you’re in the pursuit of health.

You will also be seeing more from me on the topic of nutrition. Probably some recipes for food, or scrubs, or little health tips I’ve learned provide this cure or that. I’m in the discovery stage right now. Here are a few “crazy hippy” things I’ve been doing:

  • Experimenting with essential oils for a plethora of uses
  • Drinking twice the water I was drinking before (probably about 70-80 ounces a day)
  • Using grapeseed and coconut oil for everything from sunscreen to skin care to cooking
  • Pasteurizing raw goat’s milk from a local farm
  • Trying to include more fermented foods (kombucha, kefir) in my diet
  • Giving John probiotics in his milk
  • Using Stevia in a few different recipes 
  • Taking Colloidal Silver as a natural antibiotic,
  • Making my own bone broth soup, and
  • Figuring out how to add more whole, natural foods in place of processed carbs. 

I plan to share my recipes with you as I learn ones that work for us. But I don’t have too many yet. I’m still learning.

It’s hard. I’m not a planner or a hard worker by nature, to be honest. This all takes such intentionality. It certainly does not just happen. But the reward is noticeable, and it seems to be worth it. Maybe it’s not. And if it’s not, I will tell you. But I suspect it is, and I’m going to do the experiment.

So here’s to health and the experimenting toward wellness.

I’d love to hear about your miracle cures or holistic treatments you love. Share them below.

The battle of healing among the sick

It was about two and a half weeks ago, a Monday, and the healing conference was only a day behind me. I didn’t pray for any strangers for healing at the conference, but after coming home and hearing the stories I’d heard, I decided I was going to do it.

I would stop saying “No” to God, to the nudges, to the stories of hurting and injured people around me. It was too much.

So I started saying, “Yes”. When someone would tell me about pain or injury, I became more likely – not perfect – to say, “Well, let me just pray for you really quick…” or “Do you mind if I pray for you really quick?”

Most people would say “Yes”. In fact, everyone has agreed to prayer if I have offered. Wow. Didn’t even think about that.

So I haven’t been dealing with rejection. I’ve been dealing with the possibility of it, which is still there. I’ve also been dealing with how to respond when God doesn’t heal right then.

I’ve realized most people don’t expect God to heal them. I do, but they think I’m just a nice, little Christian lady who is doing a good deed. Maybe so, but I have seen, and therefore expect, immediate healing.

And that’s good. I should.

After I pray, I say, “Does anything feel different?” People think this question is funny because, well, all I did was pray, so of course nothing will feel different. And they are often surprised when something is. They realize they can move this or that body part, their range of motion returns, pain decreases or leaves completely.

And they are shocked. And so am I. Even though I expect it. I have to play it cool, of course, but I’m always thinking, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it. Wow!”

Another huge struggle I’ve been having, aside from the fear that God won’t act like I hope he will, or the fear that I will get rejected or thought of as weird, is the most difficult struggle yet: my own sickness and increased injury/illness in our family. 

I have been more sick the past two weeks than I have been in a while. My family seems to be getting it too, as John has had a severe case of eczema that ebbs and flows, and two days ago, he banged his head on our bed and required two staples in head at our local E.R. This does not seem normal.

A few days after the conference, I had prayed for 5 people in three days and seen a few of them receive healing. By Thursday, I had a powerful, insane migraine that persisted beyond prescription medication and other remedies that normally do the trick. I went to the doctor, got new medication and was told to go back on my iron supplements to treat anemia.

Okay, then. But almost without reprieve, I began to have head pain and various headaches, some of them migraines, throughout the week. I went through my migraine prescription in a little over a week, and today, I am home again for the second day with a sinus infection.

I remember at least one time, probably more, where I was in pain from a headache and prayed for another person and they were healed. One particular moment was at work when a co-worker announced to the people in my workspace that he had severe back pain and even had trouble sitting and standing. I said, “Let me pray really quick” and he obliged.

In front of four other co-workers, I put my hand on his back and commanded the pain to leave. It probably took 20 seconds. Afterwards, he was shocked. He bent side to side, sat down and stood up again, and marveled at the missing pain.

The pain was gone. I made sure the bystanders knew it was Jesus who took the pain. I can’t do it. 

Some people have suggested the cause of my illnesses is simply that I need to take better care of myself, which is always true. Almost everyone needs to take better care of themselves. But I’m not eating or sleeping different or doing anything different. I shouldn’t be more sick. The only thing I am doing is praying for people.

Other people have suggested that the pain or injury from people I pray comes to me after it leaves the person. This is not true for two reasons. First, I am not getting all the illness I pray against. I don’t have back pain, knee pain, hip pain, leg discomfort, etc. I have a sinus infection and recurrent migraines. I did pray for a friend who had the sinus problem, but her issue didn’t go away. And I vaguely remember praying for someone else’s migraines in a group of people, but I highly doubt that was it.

The second reason and most important reason I am not receiving the injuries of others is because that transference of pain is simply witchcraft. When Jesus died on the Cross, HE took all our infirmities, all our pain. When I say, “Be healed in Jesus name”, I am recognizing the power in Jesus’ gigantic act of crucifying all sickness and infirmity and death with himself.

He took it up our diseases so we don’t have to.

When I lose my faith at times, which I do, I repeat Psalm 103 to myself, “He forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases…”

ALL your sins. And ALL your diseases. 

All of them. 

Me and John, waiting for Jesus.

I am not walking in the full measure of the healing available to me. I don’t know of anyone who is this side of heaven. But I am not giving up. I am asking for revelation on my own healing.

And I am going to keep praying for restoration from a God who I know loves to give it. 

Stories of Fear and Faith #6.1

This is all a little surreal. I’m really doing it though. I am praying for strangers and friends alike for healing. I am realizing what an adventurous God I’m working with here. He loves so much. I just have to stay connected to that love or I’m headed for compassion burnout. But it’s been fun to just watch what he does. I know I’m not the one healing these people, but I pray, and that gives him the opportunity. Amazing!

I got sick this week, and that messed with me a little. I prayed, friends prayed, but I stayed sick and in pain. It messed with me, but I decided I would keep asking God to heal people. I decided not to give up.

Stats from the week:
9 people prayed for
4 strangers prayed for
4 people experienced immediate healing, full or partial

Watch the video for short stories of some of the people I prayed for. And be encouraged that God can use all of us scared, broken people, wherever we are in life, to do miracles and great, big things!

I am found, or The thing I’ve been missing

I learned a lot about love this week, but it was kind of a backwards experience.

I learned how much I needed love when I tried to “love” people without feeling loved myself, and without truly loving them.

I’m great at being nice. Just ask anyone I work with. I practice forgiveness and written extensively on dreaming. Over the past ten years or so, I’ve heard God whisper kindness and love into my ear about other people, and while I haven’t delivered every message, I shared many of them.

I’m well-practiced at faith, at Christianity. At being good. At rituals, at standing and sitting at the right moments.

I’ve traversed the path of earning my salvation. But I’m so tired. Or I was. It wore me out trying to work so hard to love all these sick, despairing people. My heart hurt for them for a while, but eventually it was just the duty of the pastor’s wife, or the social worker, to console, to comfort, to pray, to offer encouragement.

I did it well, but I ended up bitter and resentful. And I couldn’t figure out why because I feel called to this crazy, taxing life. I don’t want to, can’t fathom, doing anything else.

This week I had to give out all this extra love, to total strangers too, not just people who can eventually scratch my back and tell me they appreciate me next week at church. But people who might tell me I’m bothering them. I had to take risks and try to give love when I didn’t have any to give.

So tonight I just laid here and cried because I’m so shriveled up and dead and I’ve been a branch off the tree for so long, trying to nourish myself and produce leaves and fruit without the sustenance of the tree. It’s been bad.

So I canceled my religion and converted from this belief system where I earn love and salvation and a spot in heaven. Cause I’m too tired and here was Jesus offering me love without a performance review in 90 days. Just giving out love for free. And I’m too tired to protest. To try to validate why I deserve it.

It makes me sad I went so long, but at least I remembered. This was always about love. That’s why I’m doing this. Because I got suckered in with good love. With him. With the feeling of forgiveness and newness, something no one else ever gave. With the knowledge, the absolute certainty I couldn’t earn it and that was just going to have to be okay with me cause I’m not making the rules. God can love whoever he wants, I guess. I can’t argue if he’s picked me.

Here is Austin’s live album. This song and these words are my Coming-Back anthem, the song of every minister whose heart is tired and broken. “You, Jesus, are the reason that I stayed.”

It was always about love. And I die when I forget that.

Stories of Fear and Faith #5

Wrap up of our third day here in Oklahoma. The stories just got better and better. And I didn’t even mention the physical healings yet. 🙂 Be sure to check out the last video where you will meet our new friends from Manhattan.

Stories of Fear and Faith #4: New Friends

Meet our newest friends from Manhattan, a group of five men who, like Megan and I, want to see Manhattan restored and revitalized through miracles, healing and all-around God-powered awesomeness. Meet the crew right here.

Stories of Fear and Faith#3

Yesterday was our first full day at the conference. It was full of 2/3 fear and failing and 1/3 success and bravery. I know that’s better than 100% failure, but it’s clear I have a long way to go. I’m realizing some major blocks in my desire to pray for sick or injured people. My faith to see total strangers walk out of wheelchairs has been pretty low. So praying for the sick is my next frontier.

Stories of Fear and Faith #2

It’s our first full day in Oklahoma. Check out the video for a little background on why we are here, what we’re doing and a fun story about God giving me a message for a junior high girl. She was adorable!

Also check Instagram and Twitter (@sarahsiders on both) for my crazy #4days4ways challenge, wearing one shirt 4 ways in 4 days.