Tritheos Podcast – Melodie Hewitt God’s Miracle
Seattle based triathlete Melodie Hewitt shares with us how she came to know Christ, including a miraculous healing she received as a child that in the end she just couldn’t ignore.
What follows is a reproduction of Melodie’s blog post, which is basically a letter she wrote to her pastor at Bethany Community Church. The original can be found on her blog, “I quit Christianity and found Christ,” at www.foundchrist.blogspot.com.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, or even half, or even one but through this blog I hope to touch on struggles I believe we have all encountered. Basically, the only truth I know is Jesus. This is my story of how I quit “Christianity” and found Christ.
To make a long story short, I grew up in the church and my first year of college I even went to Northwest Bible University in Kirkland. After a semester in college I moved to Honduras to be part of Alternative Missions. I felt like my faith was extremely strong but through that experience,coming back to the states, having a rough time adjusting and having a few “bad” experiences with the church I quickly walked away from my faith. At the time I told myself that I just needed a “break” from religion not realizing that the small break would last 10 years.
Over the years, I slowly convinced myself that there was no such thing as God or a soul or heaven. I believed that we were all just decaying matter on the earth no different from a tree or any other cells. I actually thought that I felt more comfort in that than the idea that there was a heaven, hell, or purpose to life. I tricked myself into believing that the idea of purpose to life was actually hurtfully to people, I actually thought that it was silly and foolish to believe in God. I was just like Thomas; I wasn’t going to believe until I felt the holes in Jesus’ hands, and since that wasn’t going to happen I couldn’t believe.
The thing that I kept going back to in my head was that in a way I did feel the holes in Jesus’ hands! When I was 9 years old I had a brain tumor that was fairly big (1/4 of my brain size). I had it removed and the doctors expected a good outcome. After the surgery I had to get check-up MRI’s every 6 months to make sure the tumor was not growing back. When I was 12 years old I went to get a routine check-up MRI and met with my doctor afterwards. I was told that the tumor was growing back and he wanted to get me into surgery as soon as possible. I was pretty dead set on not having another surgery (although I’m not sure why). I ran out of the hospital and hid from my mother for the day. My mom decided that she would allow me time to think about it before rushing me into surgery. The doctor was so angry about this decision he called child services for “neglect.” After the social worker checked out my home life they agreed with my mother that I could have some time to think about surgery.
Six months went by and rarely did my mom and I speak about my tumor or surgery. Whenever it was brought up I quickly shut it down! I have realized over the years that my coping skills mainly consist of pretending everything is fine and ignoring problems. At about the six month mark I had another MRI and it showed that the tumor was growing but it was growing very slowly so I still had time. My mom truly believed that God was going to heal me but I had a very hard time believing that.
A few months later, I was at a youth group winter retreat. After the worship service a girl by the name of Abbie (a youth group leader) who knew nothing about me came up to me and said that she had something to tell me. She told me that this might seem strange and she had never done anything like this before but she felt very strongly that God wanted her to tell me that he healed me of something but she wasn’t sure what. The bible reference that God told Abbie to relay to me was Matthew 9:20 about the woman who had been bleeding for years and no one could help her. When she found out that Jesus was coming she thought that if she could just touch his cloak she would be healed, and the woman was healed by her faith.
At that point, I knew it was a physical healing and when I returned home I went to get another MRI and the scan showed that nothing was there. I never had to get another surgery and every check up MRI I have had over the last 16 years has been clean.
I can remember it like it was yesterday. Laying in the MRI, hearing the loud humming of the scans, for past MRI’s I had laid there terrified, almost paralyzed by fear of what the MRI would reveal. But on that day, I knew in my heart that Jesus had healed me and I was overwhelmed by peace in my soul. In fact, I don’t think I have ever felt so calm, peaceful, and sure of anything the way I did that day.
So, how does one walk away from that? I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t a miracle that I experienced. I went so far to research cases where scar tissue after surgery can resemble cell growth but in fact be harmless, and I thought, “Sure that’s what happened, there was just nothing there to begin with. It was just scar tissue.” Although, that theory did not account for the fact that the doctor was so upset that my mom was not forcing me into surgery that he had child services called. It did not account for that fact that Abbie knew absolutely nothing about me and was a 17 or 18 year old teenager that felt compelled by God to tell me that He had spoke to her on my behalf. It must have taken a lot of courage to tell a stranger what she told me that day. And yet, I still denied the truth.
I spent the last 10 years making goals and accomplishing them just to feel no more satisfied than before but telling myself I was fine and happy. I kept telling myself over the last 10 years that I would be happy once the next goal was accomplished. Finish college, get a good job, qualify for Boston, race an Ironman, make more money, and the list goes on, but after each check mark I felt no more satisfied than before. Sure, have I been “succeeding” in life? It may appear that way but when I look over the last 10 years of my life I realize just how lost I have been. Even though I have been able to check off those goals on my 5 or 10 year plan I have felt like something was missing. I figured I just needed more goals!
Until last year, actually a year ago this month, my friend’s little brother passed away. I attended his memorial and throughout the whole service every person spoke about how he had gone to heaven to be with Jesus, and I wanted to believe that so bad! But I couldn’t. My heart was so hardened by loneliness, sadness, angry, cynicism, brokenness, and the list goes on. From the outside it looked like my life was great but inside I knew that there was a huge part of me missing!
A few months prior to the memorial, little did I know God had placed some pretty influential people In my life. You see, for the last 10 years I had pretty much avoided “religious” folks. I had absolutely no desire to read a bible, go to church, or even have a discussion about God. One of the influential people that God had placed into my life was not just a go-to-church-on-Sunday Christian but a person that was so authentic in the way that he lives because of Jesus that I was intrigued. Of course, I had no idea when I met him that he was a man of God, but that quickly changed! We met through triathlon which was probably why I agreed to go on a group bike ride with him. After the ride we went for a swim and he noticed a cross tattooed on my foot with the word faith beside it. He said, “You must be a believer,” and I thought, “oh great, this is NOT a conversation I want to have.” I told him that you could sort of say that but I pretty much left it at that.
In the months to come, I’m not sure I could count how many times he invited me to church or bible study. Most of them I declined. Until the memorial service, when I realized that it had been almost 10 years since I had decided to take a “break” from religion. After I left the service I called my friend.
It’s been about a year now of checking out different churches, reading the bible, talking to Abbie about that day when I experienced “touching the holes in Jesus’ hands,” and trying to figure out what I really believe. And what I know right now is that there are still things that I don’t understand and maybe I never will but that doesn’t make Jesus any less real! The one thing I can know for certain is that Jesus is real and He died and rose again to save me from my sins so that I could live the life through Him that I was created for.
Last night at service, when you talked about John 20:19 “So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Peace be with you….even after the disciples betrayed Him. When He came into their midst He was not angry. He didn’t say you guys totally screwed up instead He said “Peace be with you.” Wow! Pretty incredible! I feel so hopeful to know that Jesus has been patiently waiting for me to come back to Him and instead of being angry that I’ve been away for so long He welcomes me with open arms and says “Peace be with you.”