My physical and spiritual journey through life

My health problems started when I was six weeks old with severe eczema, followed by asthma. In the 1950s, there was no prednisolone creams for eczema nor “puffers” for asthma.

I wore bandages day and night, which had to be washed and reused many times. I would, on occasions, have my hands tied to the sides of my bed, to stop me from scratching myself and prevent the open wounds getting infected. I also had plaster casts on both my legs, from hips to ankles, to discourage scratching. I had to be carried everywhere.

Pink medicine was given to me for my asthma, which gave little relief. From a very early age I was prescribed antibiotics. I was allergic to many of these. My body rejected them causing me to vomit soon after taking them.

I went to our Lutheran church and Sunday school in outback Broken Hill, NSW. My love for my Lord grew. There were times, in my early years, when nothing was helping me to recover. I felt I would not have survived without my heavenly Father helping me through the bad days and nights. I spoke to him as if we were having a conversation – a daily chat.

It could be 14 continuous days gasping for breath in my bed, sitting up, unable to sleep. I would talk to God and ask him to make me well. I can still remember one occasion, when I was so exhausted that I yelled out to God that I had had enough, and I was angry with him that I wasn’t getting any better. I felt so guilty straight after yelling at him, that I apologised and begged him to help me. I did get better, and I felt very strongly that Satan was trying to tempt me to curse God, so, when I apologised to God for yelling at him, I literally kicked Satan in the backside. “God is so good, Hallelujah”, I sang out loud, and Satan left in a hurry! To this day Satan keeps tempting me, and I reply with a swift kick and singing to God!

My first “puffer”, Allupent, was given to me when I was 13. I thought all my Christmases had come at once! I could finally breathe! I thanked my Lord for this wonderful invention.

As time went on, I grew closer to God. He was, and still is, my very best friend. There was a lot of damage to my organs during my early life. I was left with many health problems that are still ongoing. 

I remember being at home with my three young children, having the terrifying knowledge of being very close to death, due to my lungs collapsing. The Lord was with me as I fought to stay alive. My doctor arrived at our home and was unable to inject my veins. They were all shutting down. I started to turn blue. The ambulance was called. I lost consciousness and awoke in the emergency department at the local hospital. A respiratory specialist from Adelaide was visiting our hospital and was there to give me the treatment I needed to survive. When he came to visit me later, in the ward, he said, “You should’ve been dead!”

Each time these miracles happened, the closer I came to God. I tried to pass on this wonderful feeling of love for God, through teaching his Word to children for 42 years.

Satan delights in trying to hurt God through us, and it’s a battle! There was a little girl, Sandra, from our church who had cancer at nine years of age. This affected me greatly. They treated Sandra for the cancer, and all was okay for two years, until it decided to rear its ugly head again. There was no treatment this time for little Sandra. Her mother lovingly looked after her, at their home, through this terrible illness. I watched this little angel for months suffer extreme breathing difficulty and pain, as the cancer made her life unbearable. I prayed and prayed for her to be cured.

Sandra was not cured. I sensed when Sandra passed away and rang her home. Sandra’s mother answered and said, “How did you know, Sandra has taken her last breath in my arms.” It was following Sandra’s death that my love for God was tested. There was now a battle inside me between God and Satan. I fought so hard to remain God’s faithful child, but Satan was strong. He played on one of my most vulnerable weaknesses: the suffering of a beautiful child, who died such a vile death. Trust, I kept saying … trust God!

Trusting in God is important. My favourite Bible verse, Proverbs 3:5–7 (GNT) says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong.

As the thief on the cross was told by Jesus, This day you will be with me in Paradise. I too know, I will also be with God, and all of his children, in Paradise! 

About the Author

Ann Smith

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