Author Dedication: As featured in Kelly R Baker's '14 miracles of God in our everyday lives' blog post. For GuardianDragon790 - thank you for prompting me to write this story and also to Pastor Roy Hullah.
I often get compliments for my blue eyes despite their irregular hazel streaks. During high school, I accepted those compliments with a polite smile and an inner bitterness, because those much-praised eyes did not see very well.
When I failed my first eye test in year eight, my initial response was anger. I told the health professional I had failed because I'd left the bright outdoor sun to enter a gloomy portable building. "My eyes just need longer to adjust to the light," I insisted.
By the following year, I had admitted to myself that my eyesight was deteriorating. I could only see the board if I sat in the front row, but I didn't want to sit in the front row. I wanted to sit with my friends and I didn't want to tell them, or anybody else, that I was having trouble seeing. I didn't want my friends to become front-row 'skoogs' for me or worse, ditch me so that I sat alone.
Instead I developed a variety of strategies so that my poor eyesight would go undetected. If there was work to copy down from the board, I would squint at it first, to try and make the letters clearer. If that didn't work, I would sneak peeks at my friends' work or those nearby. If worst came to worst, I would take something to the bin by the teacher's desk, to get a closer look at the words I could not read.
Then one day I was publicly exposed, in maths class of all places. My maths teacher was Mrs D, a short dynamic woman who regretted not choosing a more brilliant career.
"Aim to be the boss, not to work for a boss," she preached.
One day Mrs D pointed to a maths equation on the board and asked me what the answer was. I was sitting three rows back from the front and couldn't see it. I squinted before saying, "I don't know".
"Can you read the question?" she snapped back.
I flushed, humiliated in front of all my classmates.
That night I told my mother, who also has short-sighted blue eyes. I was taken to the optometrist and fitted for a pair of most unattractive glasses. I have a square face and the glasses were too round and too small to look good on me. I tried to wear contact lenses and after a number of tries, mastered putting them in, but they made the rims of my eyelids turn red and often felt uncomfortable.
As a teenager returning to the Christian faith of my childhood, I prayed and prayed and prayed that God would heal my eyes.
One day on a family holiday, we visited a random church. There the visiting speaker asked if anyone wanted prayer for healing. I put my hand up and asked him to pray for my eyes. He did so but then with microphone in hand, he asked if I could see any better. Under the scrutiny of many strangers, I scrunched my eyes to try to see clearer.
"A bit," I said into the microphone. Everyone was pleased but after I left the church it became apparent to me that my eyesight had not improved. In fact, each time I went to the optometrist, my prescription grew stronger.
Then one day I was invited to go with some friends to Ballarat for a special healing meeting. Pastor Roy was to be the speaker.
We drove three hours to get there and sat at the back of a crowded traditional-style church building. When Pastor Roy asked if anyone wanted prayer, I stood up as did many other people. I waited as Pastor Roy prayed for person after person ahead of me. Finally it was my turn. My turn to be prayed for. My turn to be healed.
He laid his hands on me and I felt a warm and joyful presence envelop me. Then to my surprise, Pastor Roy told me to put my hands on my hip bones. I did so. He put his hands on top of mine before praying that God would move my hips back into position. Beneath my fingers something shifted. Then Pastor Roy went on to pray for someone else.
I'd never thought anything was wrong with my hip bones. They stuck out like chicken wings, but I thought that was normal. Yet often I would run my hands up and down the sides of my body, feeling how my hip bones were a jarring bump on an otherwise flat run.
This random prayer astonished me, but I was on the ground now, with no recollection of falling, just enjoying how good I felt, a tremendous happiness curving my lips upwards until they could stretch no further.
Eventually I reluctantly got up. As I unsteadily rose, I noted that my eyes were the same as always, but I was very curious about my hip bones. Had God really moved them? Why would he do that? I went to the bathroom and checked, running my hands along my body as I always did. To my amazement, there were now no bumps on the run. My hip bones were neatly tucked in. Stunned, I left the bathroom.
Later on, I told my story to a paramedic, who said that if your hip bones stick out you can have trouble having babies and may need corrective surgery. I still don't know if that is true or not, but during my many years of being single, I held on to that like a promise: that God must want me to have babies, else why would he fix my body?
And my eyes? Years later, I heard of corrective laser surgery. The surgery was a new thing and I held off, afraid of what would happen if something went wrong. As a new bride I would wake up seeing only my husband, the rest of the room was a blur before I groped around and found my glasses.
After yet another depressing eye check-up where I was told my prescription had worsened again, I looked again at laser surgery. I became convinced it was safe and my husband was supportive.
My eyes hurt after the operation but a day later I had twenty-twenty vision. The world was clear and sharp and bright and I gloried in it.
I now have excellent vision, flat hip bones and three young children. And if I ever doubt God is real or good, I can run my hands down the sides of my body and feel a miracle.
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Pray, Laugh, RepeatSpiritual
When people ask me why I believe in God, I answer with these true stories of answered prayer and God's extraordinary grace to me. Includes 'How Bimbo helped me believe' as broadcast on 'The Writer's Corner' on 89.3 Gulf FM and 'The Bones and the Blu...