God’s Greenery: Lisa, thanks for sharing your story with God’s Greenery. How old were you when you became a Christian and how did that decision change your life?
Lisa: I grew up going to church and I knew about Jesus. I even asked Him into my heart when I was young. But I also grew up in a home where my parents hated each other but stayed married. They still hate each other, and they are still married. The problem is that when you are focused on hate, it makes it impossible to really love. Their disdain for each other and yet their steadfastness in staying together gave me no basis or understanding of God’s love. I never saw or felt unconditional love, so I did not understand that Jesus loved me personally. I knew He was the savior of the world; but I did not realize He came to save me as an individual, that He loved me and accepted me. So accepting Christ didn’t change my life for a while.
God’s Greenery: When and how did it change?
Lisa: I grew up going to church and I knew about Jesus. I even asked Him into my heart when I was young. But I also grew up in a home where, it seemed to me, my parents hated each other and really didn’t get along. Their disdain for each other and yet their steadfastness in staying together gave me no basis or understanding of God’s love. The problem is that when you are focused on hate, it makes it impossible to really love. I never saw or felt unconditional love, so I did not understand that Jesus loved me personally. I knew He was the savior of the world; but I did not realize He came to save me as an individual, that He loved me and accepted me. So accepting Christ didn’t change my life for a while.
That was Friday, and that same night I developed a terrible headache and started having some gastrointestinal distress. By Saturday, it got worse and worse and I passed out. My parents took me to the hospital, and the doctors thought I had overdosed. Then they changed me into a hospital gown, saw that my skin was all blotchy, and realized I was septic. They called the lab and asked, “What are we really looking at here?” They ran tests and discovered I had bacterial meningitis. My condition was so critical the doctors told my parents I would not survive.
Lisa slipped into a coma for several days. Later, she found out that her older sister prayed all night long on Sunday that Lisa would be taken to Heaven if her life was going to continue down the dysfunctional path she had been on. However, if God could use her baby sister’s life for His glory, she humbly asked Him to save Lisa’s life.
Lisa: On Tuesday, I started waking up. My condition changed so quickly and levels improved so drastically the doctors said it was not medically possible. They could not believe what was happening. They had told my parents to get ready for my funeral. Now they said my recovery was nothing short of a miracle. By Wednesday, I could talk and think coherently again. I remember my friend Brandon came to see me, and I told him, “You’re not going to believe this, but I know the Lord. I met Him, and I made a vow that I will never do drugs again.” I told God if I ever did them again, I knew I would not make it. He could take my life. I never abused drugs again. Not once.
God’s Greenery: What do you mean, you “met Him”? Did you see God when you were in the coma?
Lisa: I don’t remember actually seeing Him. I just remember waking up with the absolute knowledge that I was saved. I had already accepted Jesus but hadn’t felt worthy of salvation. If you have never experienced love, it is very hard to accept it. But I woke up knowing it completely with my whole heart.
After Lisa got out of the hospital, she started reading the Bible, attending church, and shortly after her miraculous healing fell in love with a young Christian man named Timothy. The couple married almost 23 years ago and now have six children who range in age from 9 to 21. Timothy serves in ministry as Director of Video & Technical Arts for Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrollton, Texas, a Dallas suburb. Lisa runs Hope Designs, a custom heat printing, personalization, and embroidery company. She homeschools their kids and is currently working on writing books and Bible studies on the names of God and how they apply to health and wellness.
God’s Greenery: Looking back on the almost 25 years since your miraculous recovery, what does it mean to you now to be a Christian?
Lisa: It changed everything. First of all, I would not even be alive. I wouldn’t be married to my best friend. I wouldn’t have the six amazing kids I have. I wouldn’t know what true love is. Everything in my life became new, just like 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” That doesn’t mean life is not hard. It is. We have spent our whole marriage with Timothy working in ministry, which means we have always struggled financially. Two of our daughters have been diagnosed with epilepsy, and that journey is so incredibly hard. But when you have God, you have hope in the hard. You have the knowledge that you are not alone in it. He is always with you. He allows us to see Him in each of these situations. We are not excluded from having hard things happen, but we can see Him in them, see His strength, His power, His presence. Even in the darkest places, you don’t walk alone. The world wants to tell us that darkness is all around us, but we are also surrounded invisibly by His presence, which is light. You can choose to see the darkness or know what the Bible says, which is that what is unseen is more real than what is seen. I have chosen to ask the Lord to show me that every day.
God’s Greenery: What does it mean to you now to live a true Christian life?
Lisa: It means that rather than wanting my independence, I want to live in dependence of Christ. God’s way of doing things rarely makes sense. It seems counterintuitive. But when I wait for His direction and do things His way, His plan is so much greater than anything I can dream up. I love to run, and I think of the Christian life as a race. Sometimes we run, run, run, and then realize the gun hasn’t even gone off yet so it doesn’t count. Or that because we jumped the gun we are already tired. Sometimes God says, “I want you to wait to hear me. Don’t move yet. Rest.” Runners know that resting between sets gives us more strength. I’m learning to rest in Him, because I know that increases my strength for when He calls me to go.
The Christian life is the opposite of what this world says. We are told to be self-made and that it’s terrible to grow old. The Bible says we are to surrender our lives and be God-made and that it is our splendor to grow old. The world says you are not good enough, not skinny enough, and you are getting old. But the Word of God says, “In me you are going to live forever.” It says, “Your face is lovely and your voice is sweet.” You just have to decide who you are going to listen to. I choose Christ and His spirit in me.