( September 9, 2015) Maureen McQuillan shares an encouraging testimony given this month by a remarkably bright (literally small) little lady:
Leanne John’s journey inspires Christians to trust God for everything, even in life’s dark moments.
Assisted to the platform the immaculately dressed little lady turned to immediately hold the Highton congregation of Moolop and Barrabool Hills Baptist Church mesmerised as she glanced around to tell of her recent encounters with our miracle-working God.
With godly confidence Leanne (57) began to share a wonderful testimony to God’s glory. ‘The story I’m about to tell you is really one of the amazing love of God and his grace poured out to me.’
Only four foot ten, petite but vivacious, Leanne’s smile was as warm as the welcomed sunshine outside which was approaching 25 C degrees (77F) on this first really hot day of the welcomed spring season.
‘It was only four months ago that I was diagnosed with lymphoma in the brain,’ Leanne shared quietly. ‘But my journey actually began in July last year when I was admitted to Melbourne’s Austin Hospital. They performed many tests and, after eliminating everything else, came up with a – probable – diagnosis of neurological sarcoid.’
Deterioration ending in a wheelchair
At the time, she added, none of the tests indicated lymphonid trouble and she was treated with high doses of steroids.
‘The symptoms I experienced,’ Leanne said, ‘were numbness and weakness in my legs to the point where I started to have falls and needed a walker. I would have double vision, headaches and both back and neck pains.’
It was in April this year that Leanne started to deteriorate and develop numbness in her left hand and arm. She returned to the Austin for yet another MRI.
With yet another winsome smile, she added, ‘This was actually MRI number 11! And it showed black spots all over my brain. This discovery resulted in more tests over the following week, culminating in a brain biopsy.’
Awaking from the biopsy was a shock for Leanne with the realisation that she now had further problems.
‘I couldn’t do anything, ‘ she told the attentive congregation. ‘Initially I couldn’t even push with my arms to lift myself up in the bed. Then, each day I got a little better and was able to move a little more. But the reality was that four months ago I was in a wheelchair!’
Leanne, two days after brain biopsy, and seven weeks before Emily’s wedding
The worst possible time – but no fears!
Leanne glanced down at daughter Emily (22) in the front row and confided, ‘I had been told that the diagnosis of the lymphoma in my brain indicated it was aggressive and that without treatment I only had two months to live. And this was seven weeks before my daughter’s wedding – the worst possible time for something like this to be happening!’
She looked around the auditorium and with another of her winning smiles said, ‘But here’s the best part of my story – throughout it all…all the tests, the diagnosis, the chemo – I wasn’t frightened. I had no fear! I had so much trust and faith in God. I also knew that it was like he was saying to me… “Here, I’m giving you the gift of faith and the gift of trust and the gift of peace and the gift of joy.”’
Leanne went on: ‘Yes, I was even happy. I have several entries in my journal about feeling so happy – and it was because of God’s love. It was like he soaked me in his love to an extent that I’d never experienced before. So many things happened that just said: “Yep, I’ve got you.”’
She pointed out: ‘There were so many things – big and little miracles – that happened during my four months in the Austin…to me, through me … and also I worked very hard with the physio to be able to walk at the wedding – and even dance.’
In fact the physio had encouraged Leanne to bring in her little court shoes – she now calls them ‘my dance shoes’ – and she wore them while exercising, even dancing with the physio. Soon she had gained enough confidence to let go of the bar along the wall. As she did so a group of nearby grinning nurses spontaneously clapped her.
Leanne had been thinking that because of her dilemma she was no longer useful to God. But as she came from physio one day still with her dance shoes on, another patient who had been fearful of her own coming chemo treatment greeted her with: ‘Leanne, you and your dancing shoes have greatly encouraged me . You’re my inspiration. My thoughts now are “If little Leanne can do it, I can too.”’
Referring to comforting scripture and her trust of God, Leanne said, ‘There were many scriptures that were special during my time in hospital, but one I went back to time and again – and which gave me a lot of reassurance – was Psalm 91 which speaks of the security found by trusting God in dire circumstances.’
Then Leanne’s smile really widened as she added: ‘There were also two songs that I listened to over and over, which really helped get me through: It is Well by Bethel and Hillsong’s Free to Dance Again. I’d listen to this in bed when I couldn’t walk, and jiggle away. It would prove prophetic!’
So much miraculous energy!
Quickly giving glory to God, Leanne delightfully added, ‘But I got to Emily’s wedding without a wheelchair! I walked down the aisle with my son, Ben. I even got to dance with Nathan, my new son-in-law!’
‘I had so much energy – this had been was my physio goal, and I reached it with God’s help … my feet and legs were able to hold me up and move’ she said.
Leanne dancing with Nathan, her new son-in-law
And two days later her father phoned to say: ‘I was so proud of you at the wedding. You did so well.’
But Leanne couldn’t take the credit and told him, ‘It wasn’t me, Dad, it was God. It wasn’t as if I was in pain or tired and was just soldiering on …I really did have so much energy!’
Her candid truthful declaration blessed her father and strengthened his own faith, even as it touched the congregation as the energetic little lady shared from a full heart.
Leanne wrapped up her testimony in telling that the most recent Petscan (three weeks ago) showed no sign of lymphoma.
‘Praise God’ Leanne acknowledged enthusiastically and added. ‘I want to thank you all for praying for me. Prayer definitely works. When I heard that our pastor, Graham Clarke, had shared with you one Sunday what was happening to me and that you all had got into small groups to pray for me, I was really humbled and so appreciative.’
Leanne, Emily and Nathan
Again she looked over everyone and smiled winsomely as she finished with ‘I can’t fully tell you how much it means to me and how supported I felt. Prayer does work.’
Leanne’s journal records that God had told her that she would have a story to tell.
She certainly has – and did. The appreciative Barrabool Hills church instantly applauded her repeated acknowledgement of God’s grace, love, power and personal assurance demonstrated to her on her journey of miraculous healing.
Although she still has to continue treatment and undergo checkups, Leanne smiles as she confides her strong trust in God and his love for her. A fireball of joy and inner peace, she encourages others to trust him too. Her link is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maureen McQuillan, Life Focus Ministries, is a gifted communicator ministering practically and prophetically. Special to ASSIST, Dr Robert and Maureen regularly minister cross-denominationally and cross-culturally. Links: www.connectingwithyou.net / email@example.com / Int + 61 411 615 855