When Ginger Brooks moved home to Tennessee to be close to the hills, friends, and family after 30 years in the Chicago, Ill., area, she was desperate. Her health had tanked. She was obese, had congestive heart failure, borderline diabetes, and a balance dysfunction that had been causing her to fall multiple times per day. But those were merely symptoms of Brooks’ deeper problems.
Brooks had memories of only a few fleeting childhood experiences of believing that God’s love and acceptance were for her. Those had happened in Sabbath School when she learned that Jesus loves the children, but the joy had been crushed when someone repeatedly told her that Jesus could not love her because she was so bad.
At a very early age, Brooks began having a recurring dream. In her dream, Jesus was coming. She could see him on the cloud. She saw those around her lifted to be with Him, but she would be left behind. She would wake up in a cold sweat with her heart pounding.
Year after year, the dream would repeat every few months. She became totally convinced that she was irreparably lost.
During her years in Chicago, she came to the conclusion that she needed to move to a place of peace. After moving back to Tennessee, Brooks renewed an old friendship with Steve and Karen Wickham, who shared principles of health from their Reversing Diabetes program. She consulted with her doctor and began weaning down off some of her medications. She added beans to every breakfast, limited her desserts, and started walking in the hallway after each meal. She began feeling more stable on her feet and graduated from using her walker. Within a few weeks she was able to join a staff member and walk down the hill and back after meals rather than in the level hallways. By continuing to stay active, her weight continued to melt.
After finding rest in an atmosphere of acceptance and involvement, and always bathed in the prayers of family and friends, Brooks was able to address her deep spiritual longing. She started by reading her set of Uncle Arthur’s Bible Story books and the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Soon, she asked her friend, Sarah Dixon, to pick her up and take her along to Bristol Church where Dixon’s husband, Paull, is the pastor.
Brooks agreed to study the Bible with Dixon, and the two of them met once a week for several months. Brooks always came over-prepared — with the lesson and Bible answers typed along with additional questions. Each session found them laughing and reminiscing, celebrating God’s goodness in rekindling their friendship after many years, but also weeping for joy over the sweet assurances Jesus has given in His Word.
One day when Dixon came for their study, Brooks was excited and almost speechless with emotion. She said, “I had the dream again! I saw Jesus coming, only this time I felt myself being lifted. I was taken directly to Him. Oh, Sarah, that face! Those eyes! Those kind eyes! I got to talk to Him. I woke up with a deep peace in my heart. It is still there. I have no more anxiety. The jitters are gone!”
Soon Brooks began planning to be rebaptized. She brought with her a friend whom she had nurtured for Jesus, and the two of them were baptized together at the Bristol, Tenn., Church. She currently serves as the bulletin secretary and as an adult Sabbath School teacher.
During a recent medical visit, Brooks’ doctor was astounded that her anxiety is gone. She is maintaining more than 100 pounds of weight loss. There is no trace of diabetes or congestive heart failure.
Brooks is always happy to share her testimony that Jesus’ love, acceptance, and transforming grace are the best medicine. He delivers His gifts in the context of loving, dependable relationships. Her disturbing dreams are gone — swept away in the assurance of forever life in Jesus.
Ginger Brooks experienced many personal and spiritual challenges, but through friends, prayer, and God working in her life, she was rebaptized in September 2020. She is now active in her church and follows up with Bible study interests, starting as many as eight Bible studies a week.
Georgia-Cumberland | March 2022