My grandmother and I spoke on the phone a couple of days after my surgery, and she told me that in addition to her and my grandfather praying for me, her friend Miss Rose* and Miss Rose's whole prayer circle were praying for me.
I've never actually met Miss Rose, but she's something of a legend in our family. My grandparents used to take an annual trip, and they'd stay in the same hotel every time. Miss Rose worked at the hotel, and as soon as their paths crossed, Grandma and Miss Rose realized they were kindred spirits. Both have a habit of making friends with complete strangers, so I imagine that God had a good chuckle bringing these two ladies together. Guaranteed friends for life!
Anyway, back to the present. According to Grandma, Miss Rose's prayer circle can be connected to a number of miraculous things, especially the healing of some very sick people. I think they've been praying for my cousin and me to get pregnant, and they're one for two there. ;-) Miss Rose's husband has been at death's door several times, and it sounds like he's doing really well now. So, Grandma has a lot of confidence in the prayer of these ladies, and I am happy to have anyone praying for me, so Miss Rose's prayer circle: thank you!
Grandma tells me that the first thing Miss Rose told her when she heard about my tumor was "don't claim it." Then her other piece of advice was to thank Jesus for healing me up front.
I think that this is such interesting advice. At first, thanking Jesus for healing me up front came across as a way of guilting him into healing me. "She's already thanking me for healing her. How can I not do so?" I was certainly not comfortable with this, and I can't imagine that it's what Miss Rose meant. I've been trying to figure out other ways of understanding it, and I realized that combined with "don't claim it," it means something else.
Claiming a disease makes it a part of you in ways beyond the physical. You may end up holding it close to you, even when it's not yours any more, even if you are healed from it. Thanking Jesus for healing you ahead of time, that part is meant to put you in a mindset to accept healing, to prepare you to be healed in your heart, as well as physically.
Of course, I immediately started thinking about infertility. After 7 or so months of trying, I knew something was wrong, and being infertile was a clear name to give to our situation. The Family Foundations Magazine issue on fertility challenges that came out right around then was sort of like a flashlight in the dark, pointing me first to Matching Moonheads' blog, then to a whole group of amazing women who were in the same boat as me. I claimed infertility, and I don't have regret about that. I think with something so long term as infertility, something that you cannot escape month after month, you need to take ownership of it. If you don't, how can you address it?
I still have confidence that Jesus could heal my fertility problems if He wanted to, but it seems less and less likely that it's on His to-do list. I admit that I feel betrayed: instead of getting answers, I ended up with a problem bigger than I imagined. If I'm to apply Miss Rose's advice here, I think that the healing Jesus will be doing first, in regard to both of my medical conditions, is going to end up being on my heart. I still trust in Him, that he won't abandon me, but it's hard to imagine that he'll be healing my infertility any time soon.
*names have been changed!