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Catherine Reese: Easter Eyes

CBN.com “We were very busy.  We owned a business out of town.  We commuted back and forth.  We had employees.  We were constantly keeping up with what they were doing, keeping up with what the children were doing, and just trying to balance both sides.”

Even with their busy schedules, Catherine and Steven Reese also took time to minister to people in the Appalachian Mountains.  But in 1999 strange illnesses began to slow down Catherine’s energetic and generous lifestyle.

Catherine Reese"I had some weakness," Catherine explains. "I had some numbness in my different extremities.  I had actually miscalculated distances.  I would walk into door jams. I ignored all these different symptoms, because I was so busy.  I had unbelievable headaches." 

The symptoms went on for months.  Then one Friday, Catherine started having problems seeing out of her right eye.

"It was like looking through clear water, just these squiggly lines.  I was like, 'Wow, this is strange.'  Then Saturday it was like looking through muddy water."

By Sunday, a week before Easter, Catherine’s right eye had gone completely blind.  Then she began losing sight in her left eye as well. The next morning she went to the eye doctor.  After the exam, the doctor pulled Stephen and Catherine aside.

"The doctor closed us in this little room and said, 'Catherine, your eye is hemorrhaging.  Your disc is off to the left.  There is pressure.  There’s damage…There’s something we have to immediately look in to, and I’ve already made appointments for you to go to these two doctors.'  He said that there’s usually only two things that cause this: the onset of MS or a mass behind your eye, a brain tumor."

Stephen says, "I was grasping for the faith that I knew I was going to have to have, but was not able to really speak it yet.  It was shock."

The ReesesBut by the time they got into their SUV, their faith replaced their fears. Catherine, barely able to see, reached for their Bible.

Catherine recalls, "I picked it up, opened it, and I said, 'Just read right here.'  He took it, and I had my finger on it. It was Psalm 118:17.    It said, 'You shall not die, you shall live and declare the works of the LORD.' I was like, 'Thank you.  I needed to hear that.'”

"It was a tearful moment for both of us," Stephen says. "It was one of confirmation that we were at a place in our faith that was in agreement with His Word."

From there they went to a neurologist.  The diagnosis was the same -- go blind from MS or die from a brain tumor.  Steven and Catherine knew there was only one thing they could do. They called their family and asked for prayer.  At home, Steven humbly and expectantly prayed over Catherine.

Catherine says, "He laid his hands on my head and was just praying, speaking life.  While he was doing this, you’ve heard about people talking about the audible voice of God. I heard the voice of God, but I heard it in my heart. It told me, very distinctively, to go to the top of the mountain. So I sat up, and I was telling Steven, 'I think God just told me to go to the top of the mountain!'  So he said, 'Well then we’re going to the top of the mountain!' I just believe that at that time we were ultra-sensitive in the spirit to what He was calling us to do.   

"So we asked Phillip, our middle son, to go for a walk with us. Phillip is on one side, and Steven was on the other.  It takes me a little while to get up there, because I’m weak. I get tired very easily.  So I had to stop, but they walked me up to the top of this mountain that we’re on here.  I asked them to leave me alone for a few minutes.

"I just looked out at this vast valley that God has placed us on top of. I looked up and said, 'Lord, I’ll come home if You want me to, but I want to stay. My husband is a minister. I want to stay and support him and raise my children.  So, I’m going to trust You.'  I stood up, held my hands up, and said, 'By His stripes we were healed.  In the name of Jesus, I claim healing.  In the name of Jesus.' The second time I said Jesus, the hand of God touched me.  It was like being electrocuted but not being burned, just hot. Then as quickly as that heat came into me, cool right back through.  A cool breeze.  I could only describe it as a fresh breeze of cool air washing the warmth out.  Then this love just pours into me."

Stephen ReeseStephen recalls, "When we got back to Catherine and she shouted that, telling us what had just happened, I remember saying, 'I know.  I know.' Because in my spirit, I knew.  I didn’t even have to hear everything she was telling me, because I already knew."

"I was still blind in my right eye," Catherine continues, "but I knew I had been healed, because with that pouring of love, all my energy just came right back. I felt like I had felt when I was 22 years old."

Catherine went for a CAT scan, but it showed up negative.  Puzzled by their findings, doctors scheduled her for an MRI that Thursday.

"The technician walks out with a smile on his face and says, 'Mrs. Reese, that’s the most beautiful MRI I have ever seen.'  Steven and I just look at each other, and we’re just praising God right in the middle of these people," Catherine says, laughing.

With the doctors still baffled and Catherine still blind in her right eye, Easter morning arrived.

"I was in my sister’s home Sunday morning, and my niece had bought a beautiful butterfly balloon and attached it to my bed," Catherine says. "I looked up, covered my left eye, and my right eye was perfect. The first thing I do is hit the floor. Just praise Him!"

Catherine says it was the most beautiful balloon she ever saw.

"The colors were magnificent.  The sun coming through the windows.  It was just so overwhelming," she says. "I called Steven and said, 'I got my sight back.'  He said, 'Praise God.  I knew it was today.'”

"We just praised God," Stephen says. "We were praising God on the telephone. Tears of joy... both of us."

God used this experience to change Catherine’s and Steven’s lives in amazing ways.  Within a year of her healing, Catherine and Steven sold their business and devoted their lives to ministry. They started Shelter Rock, an outreach to their Appalachian neighbors.

Catherine Reese"Going through that experience really brought home one scripture specifically. 'Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established', which truly is a tremendous act of faith," Stephen says.

Catherine concurs, "I was definitely His vessel.  I was obedient.  It was like, 'I owe You my life, Father.  I owe You everything.  You just use me.  You take me wherever You want me to go.  I’ll speak whatever You want me to speak.  I’m open to You.'"

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“We were very busy. We owned a business out of town. We commuted back and forth. We had employees. We were constantly keeping up with what they were doing, keeping up with what the children were doing, and just trying to balance both sides.” Even with their busy schedules, Catherine and Steven Reese also took time to minister to people in the Appalachian Mountains. But in 1999 strange illnesses began to slow down Catherine’s energetic and generous lifestyle. "I had some weakness," Catherine explains. "I had some numbness in my different extremities. I had actually miscalculated distances. I would walk into door jams. I ignored all these different symptoms, because I was so busy. I had unbelievable headaches." The symptoms went on for months. Then one Friday, Catherine started having problems seeing out of her right eye. "It was like looking through clear water, just these squiggly lines. I was like, 'Wow, this is strange.' Then Saturday it was like looking through muddy water." By Sunday, a week before Easter, Catherine’s right eye had gone completely blind. Then she began losing sight in her left eye as well. The next morning she went to the eye doctor. After the exam, the doctor pulled Stephen and Catherine aside. "The doctor closed us in this little room and said, 'Catherine, your eye is hemorrhaging. Your disc is off to the left. There is pressure. There’s damage…There’s something we have to immediately look in to, and I’ve already made appointments for you to go to these two doctors.' He said that there’s usually only two things that cause this: the onset of MS or a mass behind your eye, a brain tumor." Stephen says, "I was grasping for the faith that I knew I was going to have to have, but was not able to really speak it yet. It was shock." But by the time they got into their SUV, their faith replaced their fears. Catherine, barely able to see, reached for their Bible. Catherine recalls, "I picked it up, opened it, and I said, 'Just read right here.' He took it, and I had my finger on it. It was Psalm 118:17. It said, 'You shall not die, you shall live and declare the works of the LORD.' I was like, 'Thank you. I needed to hear that.'” "It was a tearful moment for both of us," Stephen says. "It was one of confirmation that we were at a place in our faith that was in agreement with His Word." From there they went to a neurologist. The diagnosis was the same -- go blind from MS or die from a brain tumor. Steven and Catherine knew there was only one thing they could do. They called their family and asked for prayer. At home, Steven humbly and expectantly prayed over Catherine. Catherine says, "He laid his hands on my head and was just praying, speaking life. While he was doing this, you’ve heard about people talking about the audible voice of God. I heard the voice of God, but I heard it in my heart. It told me, very distinctively, to go to the top of the mountain. So I sat up, and I was telling Steven, 'I think God just told me to go to the top of the mountain!' So he said, 'Well then we’re going to the top of the mountain!' I just believe that at that time we were ultra-sensitive in the spirit to what He was calling us to do. "So we asked Phillip, our middle son, to go for a walk with us. Phillip is on one side, and Steven was on the other. It takes me a little while to get up there, because I’m weak. I get tired very easily. So I had to stop, but they walked me up to the top of this mountain that we’re on here. I asked them to leave me alone for a few minutes. "I just looked out at this vast valley that God has placed us on top of. I looked up and said, 'Lord, I’ll come home if You want me to, but I want to stay. My husband is a minister. I want to stay and support him and raise my children. So, I’m going to trust You.' I stood up, held my hands up, and said, 'By His stripes we were healed. In the name of Jesus, I claim healing. In the name of Jesus.' The second time I said Jesus, the hand of God touched me. It was like being electrocuted but not being burned, just hot. Then as quickly as that heat came into me, cool right back through. A cool breeze. I could only describe it as a fresh breeze of cool air washing the warmth out. Then this love just pours into me." Stephen recalls, "When we got back to Catherine and she shouted that, telling us what had just happened, I remember saying, 'I know. I know.' Because in my spirit, I knew. I didn’t even have to hear everything she was telling me, because I already knew." "I was still blind in my right eye," Catherine continues, "but I knew I had been healed, because with that pouring of love, all my energy just came right back. I felt like I had felt when I was 22 years old." Catherine went for a CAT scan, but it showed up negative. Puzzled by their findings, doctors scheduled her for an MRI that Thursday. "The technician walks out with a smile on his face and says, 'Mrs. Reese, that’s the most beautiful MRI I have ever seen.' Steven and I just look at each other, and we’re just praising God right in the middle of these people," Catherine says, laughing. With the doctors still baffled and Catherine still blind in her right eye, Easter morning arrived. "I was in my sister’s home Sunday morning, and my niece had bought a beautiful butterfly balloon and attached it to my bed," Catherine says. "I looked up, covered my left eye, and my right eye was perfect. The first thing I do is hit the floor. Just praise Him!" Catherine says it was the most beautiful balloon she ever saw. "The colors were magnificent. The sun coming through the windows. It was just so overwhelming," she says. "I called Steven and said, 'I got my sight back.' He said, 'Praise God. I knew it was today.'” "We just praised God," Stephen says. "We were praising God on the telephone. Tears of joy... both of us." God used this experience to change Catherine’s and Steven’s lives in amazing ways. Within a year of her healing, Catherine and Steven sold their business and devoted their lives to ministry. They started Shelter Rock, an outreach to their Appalachian neighbors. Going through that experience really brought home one scripture specifically. 'Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established', which truly is a tremendous act of faith," Stephen says. Catherine concurs, "I was definitely His vessel. I was obedient. It was like, 'I owe You my life, Father. I owe You everything. You just use me. You take me wherever You want me to go. I’ll speak whatever You want me to speak. I’m open to You.'"

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