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- Shirley Vaughn -
The pain controlled her life. It told her when and what she could eat. It limited her activities with friends and family. It was a merciless dictator and little by little was literally stealing her life. Something had to change.
Shirley Vaughn’s strange illness first manifested over forty-five years ago when she was in high school. After being hospitalized with internal pain and sudden weight loss, a battery of tests showed no source for the illness. And even though the symptoms disappeared while she was in the hospital, they never left Shirley’s life.
Over the years, the attacks on Shirley’s body became more excruciating and more frequent. She tried every type of doctor: MDs, naturopaths, chiropractors, and other specialists. Test after test still did not reveal any real answers for her condition. Shirley likened herself to the woman in the Bible with the issue of blood. “I had spent much time and money and was none better,” she reflects.
Her life became one of coping with the pain. She learned she could manage it somewhat by restricting her diet. But this limited the activities she could do with others, since so much of her fellowship with friends—especially at church functions—revolved around food. The illness was something she was forced to confront every day of her life.
As a mature believer, Shirley had often seen God’s hand of healing on her own life and others’. She had a revelation of healing from the Word of God and had personally encountered instant manifestations of healing. She convinced herself that God would once again heal her through a sovereign act of His power, since He had done that previously in her life.
But after forty-five years, healing still eluded her. It was now July 2006, and Shirley, her husband, and her son had come to Andrew’s Summer Family Bible Conference in Colorado Springs. Up to the last minute, there were doubts that she would make the trip because of her weakened condition. With Shirley down to a feeble ninety pounds, her family was desperate for her and insisted they would get her to the conference—at any cost.
Shirley went to the conference expecting a miracle. “The next day was the Fourth of July, and I was claiming my independence from the pain,” remembers Shirley. Upon arriving, she met with Andrew, who prayed with her and told her to watch the Niki Ochenski video—the story of a girl miraculously healed from fibromyalgia.
After Andrew prayed, Shirley “felt” healed. She decided to act on her faith and participate in the conference barbecue. “I don’t think there was ever a meal I enjoyed more, and I ate food I hadn’t eaten in years,” says Shirley. Even though she took this step of faith, the next day she was sicker and in more pain than ever.
Her intense pain kept her out of the following day’s meetings. Her husband bought her the DVDs of the meetings, and she watched them in their hotel room on her portable DVD player. When her friend Jim Ertel, one of Andrew’s directors, heard she was too sick to be at the meetings, he sent prayer warriors to her. The following day, Cecil and Lisa Paxton, who used to manage the prayer ministry at AWM, met with Shirley in her hotel room and ministered God’s Word to her.
“Cecil commanded the pain to go from my body and prayed that I would have a peaceful night’s sleep, which I hadn’t had in forever,” remembers Shirley. Cecil also explained that when people deal with an affliction for a long time, it becomes part of their identity. They find themselves, almost subconsciously, adjusting their life style to compensate for the illness. Even though they are making all the right confessions, they really don’t see themselves healed in their hearts.
The person must have a change of heart to receive the full manifestation of healing. Cecil left Shirley his teaching “The Heart: Our Success for Life” to listen to before he and Lisa returned the following day.
Shirley slept better that night than she could ever remember. After listening to Cecil’s teaching and praying for God to help her with any unbelief she may have been harboring, she was ready for Cecil and Lisa’s return visit—and ready to receive her healing!
While Cecil and Lisa ministered to her, God revealed to Lisa through a word of knowledge that He was giving her a new lining in her digestive tract. Shirley knew at that point she could mark that day as the first day of the rest of her life.
Cecil warned her, however, that the devil would come to challenge her healing. “He told me that in order to meet this challenge,” says Shirley, “I must be careful of my thoughts and only say what God says about me. The Word of God must speak louder than my circumstances.”
That night was the final night of the Summer Family Bible Conference. Shirley was not only able to go to the meetings, but was also able to testify to God’s goodness.
The following day, Shirley and her family headed home on their two-day journey to Arizona. Just as Cecil warned, Satan’s challenge came. But this time, Shirley was ready. Even though she woke up with excruciating pain all over her body, she was not deterred. She plugged in her CD player and kept God’s Word echoing in her ears. She only allowed one thought into her mind—the Great Merciful Father God is healing me.
Even while she slept, Shirley kept Cecil’s teaching playing. The symptoms slowly subsided, and by the time she reached her hometown, she knew victory was at hand. Her appetite returned, and now she could eat whatever she wanted and not get sick. The kitchen was about to become one of Shirley’s favorite places.
It’s been a little over a year since Shirley received her healing, yet she still listens to teaching that will keep her heart established. She’s gained thirty pounds and is now pain free. “I am so grateful to Andrew Wommack Ministries,” says Shirley. “They wouldn’t give up on me, but just kept sending people until I got healed. But most of all, I am grateful to the Great Merciful Father God for His enduring love. Even when I could have given up on myself, God never did.”