By, Ruschelle Khanna
Author, 30 Days of Prayer
Healing Autoimmunity for Women
When I first became ill in March of last year, I was extremely angry with God. As a psychotherapist, I had already decided to spend my career helping women obtain optimal mental and physical health care. Why had God thrown me into a mysterious illness, causing me to be shuffled from physician to physician with no answers?
I had begun attending a nearby church about five weeks prior to the time when my seizures began. LIttle did I know what a huge support my church community would be in my recovery. About one month into my illness, one of the Ministers hosted a half-day prayer retreat where we learned different styles and methods of praying. I was so sick and could barely remember any details of the event. But there is one part I will never forget.
I remember coming in late. The Minister led me to sit next to this beautiful young woman. There, tucked between the edge of the pew and this new stranger, I suddenly felt supported. I actually had the strength to sit through a half- or long day of prayer and reflection. The retreat continued and we were separated into groups. Each group was given a different person from the Bible to reflect their prayer style. My group was given Jesus as an example. Of all the people in the Bible, Jesus’ unique way of approaching prayer is one of the most inspiring examples of a life well-lived. Jesus was real. He wasn’t afraid to question God. And this was exactly the message I needed, since I was in the midst of a sea of questions.
The day ended and I went to thank the Minister. She asked me to wait and she wanted to introduce me to someone she had chosen to be my personal prayer partner due to my current medical crisis. I waited in the hall as everyone gathered their things to leave. A few minutes later, she came back into the hall with Abby. Abby was the beautiful woman whose presence so comforted me as I sat beside her in the beginning of the retreat. I burst into tears. I had an overwhelming feeling that I was actually going to be able to get through this lonely, dark period in my life.
Weeks passed and I slowly started to recover from the light and sound sensitivity. I was able to stand for more than a few minutes. My cognition returned. I was diagnosed with Neurological Lyme Disease and began the proper treatment. Week after week, Abby would meet me, come to my home or chat on the phone. We prayed out loud. We prayed silently. We set designated times to pray apart. We were honest and open about how to approach God during this scary, confusing time. There were times when I felt that I might overwhelm her with my pain. But she was consistent, loving and available. Before this event, I never knew that such a thing as a prayer partner even existed. I am forever grateful to my church and their prayer partner program for providing me with an absolute angel in Abby.
Today, almost one year after having met my prayer partner, I am well on my way to recovering. And more than that, my life has blossomed in unimaginable ways. Before my illness, I aspired to do many things. My illness and pain catapulted my life into a direction of clarity and focus like I have never had before. One of the first projects that came from my healing has been the writing of a collection of prayers, reflections and healing prompts for women with autoimmune disease and/or disorders.
Lyme disease caused extreme inflammation in my body which resulted in months of intense pain. Without Abby, I would not have survived.
It is with great joy and thanksgiving that I share my healing story with you. I want to remind everyone that pain is an incredible catalyst for growth and that there is absolutely no reason to run from seemingly difficult seasons that arise. We are here to experience the fullness of life.
That is amazing grace.
Ruschelle Khanna, LCSW is a dynamic speaker and psychotherapist in Manhattan. Her beautiful voice of grace has been shared on Simply Grace Radio, offering the gift of present moment awareness and prayer. Since 2001 she has worked as a psychotherapist in Manhattan helping women restore health and vitality to their lives. In early 2014 she was diagnosed with chronic lyme disease and began experiencing autoimmune reactions. While experiencing extreme physical pain in her brain and spinal cord, she awakened to the full meaning of present centered living and connection with Divine Spirit. Since that time, she has devoted her time to teaching women to stop running from their pain, to take control of their lives and live in the joy of the present moment. It is her hope that you are nurtured, inspired and revitalized by her experience, resources, meditations and prayers.