CBN.com/700Club: Easter weekend 1993, Ema McKinley lost her balance and fell from a storage loft at work. Her foot was lodged between boxes and her body hung upside down until a coworker found her and called 911. “My head hit something very hard and I did not come to until the next day.” remembers Ema.
As Ema healed from the wounds she received in the fall, she developed widespread reflex sympathetic dystrophy, known as RSD, a chronic and progressive nerve disorder that left her entire body in severe pain. “I partnered up with God because this accident was bigger than I could handle and I knew that I needed to know Jesus more in my life now than ever before,” says Ema.
Eventually Ema was bound to a wheelchair. Cathy Ruggeberg has been her caregiver for the last 18years. “She could not walk at all she was in her wheel chair 24/7 with the exception of toileting and she’s been like that for many, many years.”
“Eventually that pain got so bad in that foot and in the left hand that the foot started to grow crooked.” says Ema.
Ema’s left hand closed into a fist she was unable to open. Her neck and spine twisted to the left leaving her body in an awkward and painful position. Her son Jason, saw how hard life had become for his mother. “It was difficult to see her just doing daily things. You could see the pain in her face,” says Jason. “It’s hard to see somebody go through that, much less a family member.”
Through the years Ema maintained a positive attitude despite her painful situation. Cathy Ruggeberg remembers, “No matter how rough her life was physically she’s always had a bright smile on her face and always been so warm and encouraging and the other thing I’ve never seen waver is her faith.”
“I kept pressing forward each and every day, knowing that Jesus was going to give me that strength; that He was going to be there for me and He never let me down. He was there for me,” says Ema.
Blood clots formed in her legs, which posed life threatening issues. Doctors wanted to amputate both of her legs, but Ema refused. “I never gave up. I kept praying and thanking God for my healing because I had that much faith in my Jesus to know that someday He was going to give me that healing.”
The night before Christmas Eve 2011, Ema fell out of her wheelchair. For eight hours she lay on the floor in excruciating pain, crying out to Jesus for help. Ema says that Jesus came into her room and reached out to touch her.
“What I saw was the most awesome white robe,” says Ema. “I knew Who that was. Our human eyes can hardly look at it, it’s so bright white. I couldn’t see it, but I could feel that left foot going from this position to this position. Jesus was straightening out that crooked foot. I knew my neck was being straightened. My spine was being straightened. That left hand that had been a clinched fist for over 18 years – Jesus started to take those fingers and open them up. I could take that hand and I could flex it and use my fingers. Jesus was now kneeling on one knee right beside me and He extended His hand out to me, asking for mine.”
“And then we stood up together and even though the bones were sounding and cracking like crazy He still had a hold of my hands. Then I knew I had to start walking and use those feet and legs. And I did.”
Just a few hours later, Ema’s two sons and her grandchildren came over to celebrate Christmas Eve, unaware of the miracle their mother just experienced.
Jason remembers that day clearly. “I could see down the hallway a little bit, and here she comes walking and it’s like, ‘No way.’” “I hadn’t seen my mom out of a wheelchair since my wedding in 1993. At that moment everything I knew was different because she’s supposed to be in the chair but she’s walking. It was a surreal moment seeing her walk. It’s like, it’s a miracle. There’s nothing else it could be.”
“We kind of got through hugging my two sons. I went over and grabbed those two grandsons, and I gave them a big hug for the first time in all those years,” says Ema.
That night Ema and her family were in awe of God’s love and power as they celebrated her Christmas miracle. Ema says the being able to stand and walk on her own has changed her life forever. Although she still has RSD symptoms, she and her family believe that God is in control.
Today with her son Jason, Ema joyfully shares her story of how Jesus heard her prayers and forever changed her life on Christmas Eve.
“This is such a story of hope. This miracle is not just for my mom; not just for our family, but it’s for everybody,” says Jason. “Whatever difficulties people may be facing, there’s always hope.”
“Jesus has never let me down,” says Ema. “He has always been there for me. In His Word it says He will never leave us or forsake us and I knew that and I trust His word. I’m no longer the crooked lady with the broken body in the wheelchair. I’m known as the lady with the Christmas miracle!”