Mary Fox Murphy, President, Christian Women’s Outreach and International Prayer Network, and my friend writes, “Prayer changes things! Every praying Christian knows this is an absolute fact. However, with the help of technology, prayer itself is changing. With the advent of rapid communication delivery systems, prayer has entered a unified, worldwide dimension. E-mail and fax capabilities make it possible to send prayer requests around the world instantly. Thousands of intercessors can be praying for a critical situation within thirty minutes. When thousands or perhaps millions , networked in worldwide prayer, begin to beseech God for a critical, personal difficulty, a no-hope condition , or an international crisis, miracles begin to happen. Such was the case for Rosalie Willis from Post Falls, Idaho.”
I’m alive today because of global prayer. Treasured friends and strangers around the world took time out of their busy schedules to fervently pray for me as the Lord healed me of multiple strokes, three code blues, multiple seizures, paralysis, blindness, deafness, 10 hours of surgery, a month in the hospital, and as I learned to breathe, talk, and walk again.
A year and a half after my brush with death, I visited Israel for the Feast of Tabernacles, I met many from different parts of the world who, when they heard that I was Rosalie Willis, exclaimed, “I was praying for last year”. Then we’d hug, laugh, and praise God that we got to meet, that He answered their prayers, and that He’s totally healed me!
On January 15, 1998, while packing for a conference in Yakima, Washington, a paisley pattern blocked the vision in my left eye as I was overcome by a sickening feeling of weakness. After resting for an hour, I seemed to be fine. Five days later, however, I returned from Yakima feeling extremely weak.
A speaking invitation on my answering machine requested that I come to Cove, Oregon. Because this trip was important to me, I make the five-hour trip alone by car.
Disturbing symptoms continued to plague me. As I lay in bed at night, I heard a gurgling sound in my neck. The weakness in my body increased, so I drove home a day early. Once home, weakness again consumed me. This time I had to grab hold of a chair to keep from falling. I promised myself I would see my doctor the next day.
The doctor wasn’t available so a nurse practitioner examined me. She cleaned out my ears and told me that I had water on my eardrums. An antibiotic and antihistamine was prescribed, and I left. Later that day I saw more jagged, brilliantly colored lights even when my eyes were closed. But by the time I got home that day, the lights disappeared and I seemed normal.
That night two seizures flailed me about like a rag doll, flinging me to the floor. When I called the hospital, the doctor said, “Come in immediately.” It was in the middle of the night and I was home alone. I knew it wasn’t safe to drive myself to the hospital, so I agreed to call my doctor first thing in the morning. I also called friends from A Company of Women to pray.
On Wednesday, January 28, I went to the emergency room of the local hospital, knowing that something was drastically wrong with me. After describing my symptoms to the ER doctor, and MRI and a barrage of other tests were ordered.
The next day my daughter, Shanette, flew in from Seattle to stay with me in the hospital. Test indicated a problem in my carotid artery. Assuming that the artery was clogged, the doctor scheduled me for surgery the following day.
I suffered a stroke at 5:00 in the morning. The hospital staff called a code blue. At the same time, the Lord woke women from A Company of Women and instructed them to pray for me. Three hours later I regained consciousness but was paralyzed, blind, deaf, and unable to speak or breathe on my own. Most of the alarming symptoms disappeared within hours. When the surgeon began to operate later that morning, he discovered that the artery wasn’t clogged but was torn. I was bleeding internally.
While on the operation table, my heart stopped and a 2nd code blue was called. They again brought me back. After five hours of reconstructive surgery, the surgeon broke the news to my family, “I’ve done all I can ,” he said. “There’s not much hope.”
Two hours later, I awoke in the ICU Recovery Unit only to hear my surgeon say, “we’re taking her back in.”
The monitors indicated that I wasn’t responding properly. Another arduous five-hour surgery transpired. The surgeon approached my family a second time, giving some hope if only I could survive the night.
I woke up at 11 P.M. in ICU. I was on oxygen and had tubes extending from me in all directions. My face was so swollen that I was unrecognizable. The pain was unbearable.
Trying to bring the swelling down, they put a block of ice wrapped in a towel on my neck but the weight of the ice increased the pain. My dear Shanette brought packages of frozen peas in small plastic bags and rotated them throughout the night. It worked.
The Lord had also alerted precious intercessors around the world to pray for me.
After the initial crisis, my daughter, family, and friends had contacted intercessors across the U.S. and in international prayer networks around the world to pray. They were told that the next few days were critical to my survival. Shanette’s loving 24-hour presence in my hospital room during my hospital stay was also critical to my survival. God gave her the wisdom to know what to do at the right time. I was stabilizing although I was still in critical condition.
Four days later I suffered a third stroke and a third code blue. Once again, they brought me back. God’s people were praying, and His intercessors continued to carry me.
For almost a month, I wasn’t allowed to sit up, get out of bed, shower, or wash my hair. Everything had to be done for me. I had to learn to breathe, talk, and walk again. The muscles and nerves in my left arm shut down for three months because of the swelling in my neck. The Lord miraculously brought completer restoration and use to that arm. When I was released a month later, my recovery amazed the doctors.
During the second month of my recovery, Shanette commuted back and forth from Seattle. She worked three days a week and then spent the next four days caring for me. She scheduled around-the-clock care for me. Friends from A company of Women came to my home for their appointed time of care but often stayed over to enjoy the love and fellowship of other dear friends. The house was always filled with loving, laughing, worshiping, and praying women. What a wonderful way to heal!
On Easter Sunday, April 12, 1998, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection became my day of resurrection as well. I attended church and rejoiced over my miraculous healing and restoration. The nurse who had cared for me in the hospital was also in the service that morning. At first she didn’t recognize me because she had only seen me at death’s door. When she realized who I was, her obvious shock of seeing my full recovery spread across her face. Others were stunned when they heard of my brushes with death, and their faith was strengthened as they witnessed my recovery.
A year and a half later I visited Israel for the Feast of Tabernacles. I met many people who, when they heard that I was Rosalie Willis, exclaimed, “I was praying for you last year!” We hugged, laughed, and praised God that we got to meet and that He answered their prayers!
God is still in the miracle-working business as we pray in one accord! Although I don’t know how many people prayed, I’m fully persuaded that became of their faithfulness to intercede, I’m alive, restored, and able to continue this wonderful adventure of loving God and loving His people.
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by his wounds we are healed.” ISAIAH 53:4,5
P.S. About a dozen years later we saw my surgeon at a dinner party. He had been retired for a number of years. He greeted us joyously and said that I was truly one of his greatest miracles.
Featured photo- Rosalie and daughter Shanette in Israel