Catherine Weiskopf shares how God pushed her outside of her comfort zone for healing:
When we cry out to Jesus for healing, he rarely delivers on our timeline and in the way we wish. Jesus healed the bleeding woman when her fingers grazed his muslin tunic. (Luke 8:43) Jesus healed the blind man with a mud patty formed with spit. (John 9:6) For years I wanted to be healed by a minister putting his hand on my forehead, me collapsing on the ground, and all my problems would be gone. For this type of easy healing, I pelted the gates of heaven with prayer.
My issue was regular debilitating panic attacks. They started the day I moved to Texas in 1994. My husband had moved down ahead of me because of a new job opportunity. I joined him after selling the house, quitting my employment and leaving my extended family in the Midwest. Lying in bed my first night after the long road trip, my panic attack began with extreme disorientation. Something fearful seemed to be waiting in the wings. My heart beat instantly jumped from slow to quick rapid beats. The walls and ceiling rushed in on me. I grasped for air. Terror poured into my body. What was happening? Heart attack? Stroke? My husband dialed first call for help. Their correct diagnosis, "panic attack," did nothing to ease my mind. As I struggled for answers of my own, only one seemed plausible: I must be going crazy.
What seemed like hours later, but was probably only minutes, the attack was over. Shaking continually wracked my body for the next five hours as I lay sleepless. Would I soon be in a mental institution? How would I survive so far away from the support of family and friends?
This anxiety incident was so out of the blue, so terrifying, I began shutting down my life in an effort to avoid the awful feeling. After this episode, each time I left our house, I felt unsafe and always made sure an escape route was available. I needed to get home quickly if the dreaded attack struck. My fear of leaving our house ruled my days.
The Catholic nuns, my friends and my church all prayed for healing. I expected and desperately wanted a quick solution to this problem. Healing didn’t immediately happen so I often felt my prayers were going unanswered. Didn't God care enough about me to take away what felt like a daily hell? Didn't I warrant a big miracle?
In the middle of this struggle with anxiety, came another low point: infertility. The obvious choice was to go to China to adopt since my husband is Chinese, but I was terrified of being trapped in a tin can at 12,000 feet for 14 hours and horrified at the thought of being so far from home for two weeks.
Even with my anxiety we took the first adoption step. We submitted our paperwork to China. In the meantime, I got busy trying to get over my panic attacks. I also bombarded heaven with daily prayers for a referral delay so I would have more time to get mentally well. My plan was to get over the panic attacks before I flew to China. God had a different plan.
Six months after our paper work went overseas, the shortest of any wait time I know, we got the call that a baby boy was waiting for us in China. Excitement about our baby, was mixed with terror about the trip.
A few weeks later, the moment of truth came in the LA airport with the grueling flight ahead of me. Pacing up and down the terminal I said to my husband, "I don't think I can do this." Then they called for us to board and I got in line, and walked onto that plane knowing that our son was waiting for us half a world away. Business class seats, at the front of the plane were a gift from God, and my favorite classical piano piece was playing on the intercom. I felt God's presence and while I can't say I had no anxiety on the trip, I can say God helped me to do what felt impossible by clearly showing me he was near.
Standing in an orphanage in Chongqing, the director placed our fat little Benjamin in my arms and it felt like we had always been family. On the way home, two weeks later, holding our son, panic was the furthest thing from my mind. I had wanted to be healed before I went to China, but God had different plans.
When I stepped out and did the impossible, he used it to draw me closer to him, to build my trust and to calm my anxious heart. God does answer our prayers for healing, but most often not in the way we ask. The prayers I once thought weren't answered, the doubt I had about me warranting a big miracle, were answered in a way that blessed my life with a new sense of reliance on God, a less anxious heart and a child that fit perfectly into our lives and hearts.
Catherine is the author of three Christian books: If I Only Had . . . Wrapping Yourself in God's Truth During Storms of Insecurity, Pearls of Promise Devotional, and her newest book Faith Marker Journey which is designed to help people notice, record, and remember their God adventures.