Praise precedes the victory

Praise precedes the victory

It’s easy to give praise to God when everything is going your way: a promotion at work, a baby, meeting and marrying the love of your life, a new car, and a dream home. It’s good to praise God when we are succeeding in life.

But how does one praise God when all hell breaks out and nothing goes your way? Or worse, your chances of being a mother is at risk, even your very life?

In January 2008, I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Because I’d have to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I was also told I wouldn’t be able to have children.

The diagnosis felt surreal. Me? Cancer? I was shocked and devastated.

As I processed the diagnosis—what to do and what direction to take—the Lord spoke to me to praise Him for healing. As you can imagine, praising God was the last thing on my mind. It seemed random, because we often praise God after the breakthrough comes.

So, after prayerfully considering it with my husband, Az, and committing to praise God, we immediately felt a shift.

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The cancer no longer occupied our thoughts, we no longer assumed the worse, but rather, our thoughts were fixated on the good of what God was going to do and He would be glorified.

Praise became the stake in the ground when we prayed. Praise shifted the atmosphere of heaviness. Praise became our weapon of choice when we were in the middle of a storm.

Six weeks later after being diagnosed, friends invited me to a healing meeting with Todd Bentley as the main speaker.

On the second night, Todd Bentley gives a word of knowledge, “there’s a woman in her early 30s with breast cancer. Jesus is touching you right now, come to the front….” my heart starts racing, I immediately respond almost running to the altar call and I feel a sensation going through my body. I fall backwards ‘bang’ without anyone laying hands. I am lying on the floor trembling.

My natural response was to check where the cancer was and sure enough it had shrunk to half the size!!!

I couldn’t believe it, I had to double, triple check. It was exhilarating and I couldn’t stop trembling. As much as I wanted to jump up and down like everyone else who had received a miracle that night I couldn’t stand up I felt pinned to the ground by a weighty presence.

After receiving my miracle, I went back to my oncologist to tell him the wonderful news unfortunately he dismissed it. Then I sought out a second opinion and had another scan it was confirmed the cancer had shrunk.

Then three to four months later would you believe it, the cancer was shrinking—without any medical intervention. Towards the end of 2008 I went back to my oncologist for a follow up and the lump was gone there was nothing to biopsy. I was miraculously healed.

PRAISE GOD FOR HEALING

Two years later, Az and I received another miracle. We were ecstatic to welcome our bundle of joy.

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William Seymour was born healthy and strong on 29th September 2010.

 

But soon after breastfeeding William at six months old, I found a lump the size of a pea and to my dismay the breast cancer returned on the same side. I burst into tears as my doctor confirmed the news.

What should’ve been a time of joy and adventure navigating motherhood for the first time became a year of hell.

Az had to quit his job as a full-time Pastor to care for me and our son because I was unable to physically do anything. We found ourselves homeless and ended up staying with friends who were an incredible support.

September 2011, I was told the breast cancer was at stage 4—a size of a grapefruit—AND I had secondary cancer in my lungs. I was terminal and given a prognosis of twelve months to live. As the words came out of the doctor’s mouth I felt the air get sucked out of the room. I could barely breathe!

All I could think of was my son that I may not be around for his 2nd birthday.

During the turbulent season, Az and I won’t forget some of the most powerful, faith inspired prayer times with friends who prayed and persevered with Az and me trusting God’s word for a miracle. I had sought healing in various ministries even flew across to Bethel Church, USA but despite all of that the growing lump remained in my chest I was not getting better but slowly deteriorating.

The medical route was my only option. I wanted to see my son’s next birthday—all his future birthdays! I wanted to be present for his first day of school, attend his sports events and even meet the love of his life.

my life is in you Lord

The oncologist had recommended chemotherapy first to shrink the cancer then a mastectomy. After having had my first round of chemo, I started to go downhill rapidly. With time against me, I was scheduled for three more treatments of chemo. But unfortunately the cancer didn’t shrink, therefore I was required a mastectomy and a second surgery; a skin graft to cover the large hole in my chest from the mastectomy.

After two surgeries and four rounds of chemotherapy I was informed the cancer was still present in my body.

I was depleted of hope and became despondent. I had lost all my hair, I could barely keep my weight on and I felt like death. How do I get back up? I was exhausted emotionally, physically and mentally from fighting this losing battle against cancer. It felt like the end. I was confused and disappointed. Where was God?? Maybe seeking God for healing was all in my head.

But I couldn’t deny the miracle of when the cancer had shrunk the first time and William was a sign of God’s promise.

But contrary to how I felt, the thoughts of defeat circulating my head and the war in my heart to almost want to give up, I did something I hadn’t done before since my second diagnosis.

I was at my friend’s house with no one around I played worship music and started to raise my hands towards heaven, even though it felt like I was lifting 1000kgs. I couldn’t sing or pray because there were no words left in me, but with a heavy heart and my head hung low. I swayed to the music with tears rolling down my face, I danced.

I began to feel lighter, a sense of relief that this was the right thing to do. I danced and twirled around the room with tears and snot running down. I felt strangely invigorated, bursting with joy and hope for the future.

dance in praise

Eventually, the heaviness in my heart dispelled, and I understood the importance of letting go of reason and letting go the need to understand why all this was happening.

I gave up the right to question God, and instead, I praised Him and felt the tangible peace enveloped me.

This was the most memorable breakthrough I’ve had because of God. The revelation unfolded to me God not only wanted my praises but above all else He wanted my heart, to trust Him.

On July 22, 2013, eighteen months post-surgery, I received wonderful news from my oncologist: the cancer was no longer present in my lungs and chest wall and my blood cells were back to normal. And I have been in full remission ever since.

PRAISE GOD.

To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, “The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;” That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified

Isaiah 61:3 NKJV

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6th January 2012. William and me after my surgery and chemo.

26 thoughts on “Praise precedes the victory

  1. Wow Jo, thank you so much for sharing such a personal story. With tears in my eyes & I am again reminded of Gods miracles & love for us. I am so happy you received your miracle women of grace, strength & beauty. Beautiful photo of you & your son. Much love.😘😘😘

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  2. Wow! Such a powerful, POWERFUL testimony and experience. The pic of you & baby William made me cry for several reasons: the physical reality of what you’d been through, that you could still smile because it sounds like there wasnt a whole lot to smile about ,sometimes, and that you survived to be an amazing mum to William. Praise God, all right! Xxx

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, your struggles & your victories Jo. You have suffered much, & you’ve gained much ❤️ So encouraging to read. Love your equal amounts of strength & beauty xox

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  4. Crying as I read this and just a burst of love for you my beautiful darling cousin.

    Your amazing story of triumph will encourage and give hope to many but more importantly, keep our hands and hearts lifted in praise to our faithful healing Father in every season.

    Love you xox

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  5. Wow Jo. A timely confirmation on the same direction He gave us. To praise! As we still press in for full healing. Strengthening to hear the story and the good news of those who have gone before us. Some days can seem really dark, and it’s so encouraging to read the markers of your story, God’s faithfulness, and the reality of how difficult it can be sometimes. I had a very similar moment with the dancing a couple of months ago, but am yet to see positive results in tests. Did you continue in praise/dancing daily? Did you also get hooked into natural therapies? Foods? Can all get a bit confusing sometimes. Would love to hear more, and get some advice from you X

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    1. Beautiful Megs! I am pleased this is a timely
      confirmation for you, it is only a reminder of the breakthrough your receiving for your healing. Your Praises impact the spiritual realm and the enemy loathes when we give praise rather than lie down in defeat. I would encourage you to keep praising and declare the word He has given you for your miracle.
      There are things I did physically when I knew I had cancer in my lungs I went for a run believe it or not… it was making a stand that I was not permitting this illness to dictate how I lived my life. And most of the time the battle begins with our mind….I have had to not just praise but speak the word of God as though I was healed.
      When I had cancer I had strict organic diet or more plant based diet no meat, no diary, coffee, alcohol, refined foods etc. I had seen a natural therapist who recommended the right healthy food that suited my body type. These days I eat clean whole foods 80 percent of the time with no preservatives, additives or numbers. Every now and then we need to treat ourselves. Hope that helps.
      Bless you heaps and if there is anything else let me know xxx

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  6. Dearest dearest Jo…I’m so lost for words! Pls let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I would love to meet you and your beautiful son, he looks so handsome! Stay strong! Love Aisling x

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    1. Hello Aisling!! This is a lovely surprise!!! So good to hear from you…yes would love to see you and your boys! How’s Max and Harry?? And of course Andrew? Hope your all well. Lots of love xxx

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      1. The boys are gone big. Max is taller than me now! I’ve left my email address so maybe we can organise a coffee next week if you are free and feel well enough. Looking forward to seeing you. Love Ais x

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  7. Dearest Jo. So often do people make regular comments such as “it must have been hard” but the truth is they don’t know how hard, but simultaneously how easy it is. I’ve put behind me DM and hysterectomy, chemo and radiation. Yet I can’t begin to tell you how “easy” it was in comparison to what one would believe. God carried me in such a profound way. The drugs caused drowsiness and even damage to my eye sight so I could read Bible. The thing that kept me going worship. Today I am healed and I somehow miss those times I had with God when I was to exhausted to function. Flat on my bed I’ve learned more of Him than ever before. He is a good good Father and I am loved by Him – as are YOU gorgeous xxx

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    1. Hi Liza, I am so thrilled about your healing!!! Praise God for his goodness that we live to tell the testimony. I agree there is something profound in this journey of faith when we are in the middle of hell He is closest to us. No words can describe the intimacy, the deeper place of knowing Him. The strength we didnt know that we had before. We come out on the other side of our trial changed for the better!! Being grateful for every day and making a difference in someone else’s world. Love you xxx

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  8. Wow, Jo I am crying my head of and happy at the same time that you are here and strong! a truely inspiring story. I think its wonderful that you are sharing your story with all that will hear it 🙂 You now have a gorgoeus happy and healthy family and more love and devotion to our Lord
    lots of love and best wishes
    🙂 xxx

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