Member encouraged by “surprise blessings,” grateful for more than $98,000 shared
By Linda Stilwell, Evansville, Ind.
My husband, Greg, and I joined CHM in Jan. 2017 when friends suggested we look into the ministry after our monthly healthcare cost quadrupled. We fell in love with the idea that our money would directly help those in need, meaning that we would be the ones helping Christians carry their financial burdens. We didn’t expect that after just a couple months of participation we would find ourselves on the receiving end of such kindness.
Severe upper abdominal pain on Feb. 28 was so intense that Greg took me to the emergency room. Tests, however, revealed nothing, so the doctors prescribed me pain medication and said I could return home.
I did my best to keep the medication down, but eventually we returned to the hospital. The next morning I underwent gall bladder surgery and learned that it was inflamed, though not infected. I was blessed with a fast, complete recovery.
That fall we noticed that Greg was often out of breath and would wear out faster than usual, but it wasn’t until one cold day in January that pain traveled up his arm. The next two weeks saw a doctor’s appointment, getting an EKG, visiting a cardiologist, undergoing a nuclear stress test, meeting with a surgeon, and being told Greg needed quadruple bypass surgery.
It was a Friday and Greg was eager to have the surgery as soon as we learned the news, but as we all know, it doesn’t quite work that way. God was good to us all the same because he was scheduled for surgery the following Monday.
We were concerned, but we’d also heard stories from others whose similar surgeries had been successful. The night before surgery Greg shared his gratitude for having lived a good life, but we continued to pray for peace and a positive outcome. God blessed us with both, and at the time of this writing, he has passed his nine-month mark and is feeling stronger every week.
The next June I experienced some post-menopausal spotting caused by a polyp on my cervix. My OBGYN removed the polyp two weeks later, but a pre-exam ultrasound showed other abnormalities.
My doctor scheduled a hysteroscopy and I underwent a dilation and curettage procedure. Both procedures revealed cancer.
After undergoing a complete hysterectomy, I continued to see God at work because the cancer turned out to be endometrial only, with no follow up treatment necessary. From my perspective, this early discovery was a miracle because it was much easier to treat compared to what it could have been.
We had just finished up submitting medical bills from Greg’s quadruple bypass, and I didn’t know what kinds of bills we would now face. Feeling like we were becoming a burden and a bit nervous that our membership would be cancelled, I called CHM and asked if we were at risk for termination. The CHM staff were gracious and assured me that our monthly costs wouldn’t increase and that CHM members aren’t cancelled because of medical expenses.
Submitting medical bills was easy, but because we had three medical incidents in a row, remaining organized was key. I reminded our providers that we were self-pay patients, so we received most often between 40 and 55 percent in discounts. I’m amazed at the discount amounts given to self-pay patients.
I have learned so much in the last two years, most importantly that God’s plan is always best. God gave me peace through the kindness and love of others. So many Christians were praying for us—people we didn’t even know. We learned so much about humility, especially as the ones receiving more than $98,000 of financial help from others after $116,000 in discounts. From financial assistance to cards of encouragement to a phone call from a CHM staff person to see how I was doing, we were so grateful for each surprise blessing.
I felt a little guilty for receiving so much help from CHM members after having contributed so little, but I was told more than once by CHM staff members that CHM is there for exactly that reason: to help God’s people share one another’s medical bills. We thought we would be helping others when we joined—and our monthly gifts do help others—but we’ve also humbly received on our end. God is good, all the time.