Antonio & Lorena Rouhana
and their children,
Juliana & Alexander.
31 October, 2014
Updated: 7 April, 2015
LEARNING TO TRUST IN JESUS
Matthew 10:32: “Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.”
My name is Lorena Rouhana. I confess I was initially scared to share these inner-most private moments of my family life and make them public. But the things God has done for my son through Jesus – and has continued doing for my son even as I wrote this - have been so truly miraculous that I now want nothing more than to passionately share this joy and the true power of Jesus with others. I am filled with so much love and sheer gratitude for God and His Begotten, Jesus Christ.
God has blessed me with a loving husband and two bright, beautiful children. He brought my husband into my life to both physically and spiritually take my hand and lead me to Christ. But it was through my son that my own true faith and belief in Jesus was actually born.
I met my future husband, Tony, in California a few years later in college, and we became inseparable. Neither of us was in Christ when we met. We both had strong personalities that often clashed, and yet we could not be apart. Tony’s heart was first to be touched by Jesus, and he became Born Again at the age of 28. For the next ten years he tried to share with me the Word. I was afraid of what “religion” could do to him, and that he would change and become a fanatic. I fought him and challenged him constantly over many teachings. I mainly struggled with the concept of Jesus Christ. I loved God and wanted to be saved, but how could I ever be Born Again and be a true believer if I couldn’t even fully believe in the importance of Jesus Christ as Savior?
As the years went on and I continued to struggle with truly accepting Jesus as my Savior, Tony and I were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. We named him Alexander. I eagerly left my full-time job as a Project Architect to whole-heartedly embrace our precious new bundle of joy. I was as dedicated a mother as could be, researching every single child-related topic out there, doting on his every move. Since God knew I would not come to Jesus easily, it took this precious baby to knock me to my senses.
He was beautiful, super smart, joyful, and charming. But he also had a lot of issues that gradually began to emerge, one after another. He was hyper-active. He developed food allergies. He had no control of his behavior or impulses and indulged in odd, uncontrollably silly behavior. He developed both vocal and facial tics. He was becoming a challenge both at home and at every preschool he was in. I will never forget how a particular teacher with years of experience pulled me aside the first week of school to let me know she felt he might have “high functioning autism”.
The first specialist (a pediatric psychiatrist) I took Alexander to barely took a look at him and diagnosed him as having ADHD. So quick was he to write up a prescription for Ritalin (classified as a Category IV drug which contains severely dangerous chemicals usually prescribed for cancer patients as a last reserve). I absolutely refused. There was no way I was going to run to have my son medicated based on a one-minute “diagnosis” without having had a complete set of all the necessary, proper medical tests and evaluations performed. My gut told me to dig deeper, that there was something deeper at the core causing all this. I feverishly began to research every possible behavioral, neurological, intestinal, physical symptom out there to try to find an answer. Every specialist I took him to contradicted the other. Most of the time Alexander would appear at the doctor’s office totally calm and normal, and they would look at me like if I was crazy. No one could give me a proper diagnosis or confirm anything. Was it autism? Asperger’s? Tourettes syndrome? Bi-polar? Schizophrenia? A neurological imbalance?
All I knew was that, whatever was affecting him, I was determined to “cure” him without the use of those toxic prescription drugs by finding the most gentle, “holistic”, non-invasive methods available out there. I researched everything under the sun. I arranged for him to receive bi-weekly behavioral therapy sessions. Based on the behavioral and physical reactions he seemed to undergo when eating certain foods such as foods containing dairy, gluten, honey, etc., I decided it would be best to put Alexander on a strict gluten-free and dairy-free diet which would last an entire year. I had read that avoiding both dairy and gluten could also help eliminate the ADHD-like symptoms. In addition, I had him receive bi-weekly NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques) sessions with a holistic chiropractor to supposedly help further target and eliminate his food allergies. I was strongly driven by determination – but with little faith. I was turning to alternative treatments, therapy, any “natural” approach – instead of going straight to Jesus Christ first and foremost.
All the while Tony stood by my side, ever the most supportive husband. All those years, my husband kept insisting there was nothing wrong with our son. This was a spiritual battle, he kept saying. “Just go to Jesus”. I couldn’t believe that. I thought my husband was in denial. I had heard of so many cases in the news where parents insisted that only faith would cure their child and would refuse medical treatment, and then the child would end up dying. I was so afraid of being that kind of parent. But Tony consistently told me that there was nothing wrong with our son, that this was a spiritual battle, and that only Jesus could heal our son and make everything go away. The problem was that I was not understanding the concept of Jesus Christ, try as I might.
My son’s behavior seemed to improve a tiny bit in the beginning with all these new forms of treatments, but a few months in, everything started coming back with a vengeance. His eyes were rolling back in his head uncontrollably at least a dozen times a minute. His allergies came back with such fury that he struggled to breathe at night and would tearfully gasp for air. (The immunologist/allergy specialist and top-notch ENT specialist, by the way, could detect absolutely nothing wrong, and could not understand what could be bringing on these bouts of congestion and airway obstruction.) His vocal tics increased to the point that a family member was reduced to tears seeing him in that state.
Tony was getting frustrated because he was well aware that for my son to be cured, I needed to fully commit and trust in Christ Jesus. Tony was essentially functioning as a spiritually “single parent” and his faith alone would not be enough to heal our son. As his wife and the neck of this family, I needed to use my faith as well. And FAST. But what I did know was that faith was something one could not fake or force, and I had too much respect for God to claim otherwise. I was crying out to God, begging him to help me break through. I was in a spiritual chokehold.
Now I know God must really love me, for he saw me struggling in this chokehold, and saw that my son was paying the price. And so he decided to reach in and provide me with a message:
I was taking a break in the middle of the day and was staring up at the ceiling. A sense of calm came over me and I had this feeling of finding peace in Africa. And so I thought of Africa. And then a firm, clear message came to me; “Eradicate your soul.” (The thought of finding peace from Africa would come to realization a few days later.)
For the next few days we continued to struggle immensely with our son’s dilemma when, on one particularly stressful morning, my husband started wondering aloud, “There is NOTHING wrong with our son. We have taken him to every single specialist, and clinically they have not been able to provide our son with a clear diagnosis. And yet his family and teachers can see there is clearly something wrong. Why is this happening? Something must be doing this to him. We are dealing with a spiritual warfare.”
As much as we had tried to keep Alexander’s situation private and away from the rest of the family, the issues were becoming more and more apparent. That very same night my husband decided to call his brother Pierre in Lebanon and, for the first time, confide in him the truth about what Alexander had been going through. Brother Pierre set up a special phone call and introduced us to Brother Nice through a conference call. During this phone call, Brother Nice spoke with our son and engaged him in a special prayer. He then asked my husband and I to place our hands on our son and pray over him as well. He also prayed on my husband and I, and told me three days would not pass before I was to receive a vision. Brother Pierre and Brother Nice told my husband that our boy had been healed and that he was ready to eat any food he desired, that the food allergies no longer existed. They also guided us to remain steadfast in our faith, that the healing would be a process because at this point a lot of it had to do with “habits”. (As the old saying goes, “Old habits die hard”.) Alexander’s vocal tics improved immediately after this prayer with Brother Nice and Brother Pierre. Without hesitation, Tony immediately began to give our son food that contained gluten and dairy, knowing without a doubt that our son had been fully healed.
(*Referring back to my vision a few days prior - about finding peace from Africa – well, Brother Nice is from Africa. My family and I live in California. And yet here we were a few days later, receiving strong prayer and messages of faith from Brother Nice as he guided us, in the name of Jesus, to begin the process of healing for our son. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and it was Brother Nice from Africa who was able to bring Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to the door of my heart. Now I just needed to let Jesus in.) I am also profoundly thankful to Brother Pierre for having provided my husband and myself with so much spiritual guidance and loving patience throughout this journey.
The vocal tics were gone, but Alexander’s eye twitching was still of great concern. In fact, so serious had his eye rolling become over those last few days that his pediatrician became concerned enough to personally arrange for an urgent appointment with the neurologist, out of fear it might be an indication of “absence seizures” (also referred to as “petit mal” seizures). Before we had the chance to meet with the neurologist, we again reached out to Brother Pierre, who this time connected us instantly to both Brother Nice and Brother Gan for another conference call. In this phone conversation, the Brothers provided some guidance to my husband and I, and Brother Gan requested that Tony gather the family in the center of the room and pray over our son in the Name of Jesus Christ. As soon as he finished this prayer, our son’s eyes NEVER, EVER rolled back again. NEVER.
This further awakened my belief in Jesus Christ. Jesus had proven to have blessed us time and again with our son, but I still had work to do. Although Tony had begun to offer our son all kinds of food, I still had concerns. Deep down I still believed that although the food allergies were cleared, the foods he ate could still be affecting his behavior. So, from my end, I was still trying to keep foods containing gluten and dairy away from him as much as possible. I foolishly thought, “Well, Jesus healed my son’s neurological problems, but surely there is no harm in continuing this so-called natural NAET treatment with the chiropractor to cure my son of any food-induced reactions that could still be affecting his behavior”, as my research based on books and online “experts” had suggested; or the behavioral therapy sessions for that matter.
So God kept working with me. In our first phone conversation with Brother Nice three days prior, he had stated that three days would not pass before I was to have a vision. On the second day, I did indeed have a dream, a dream in which an evil being wearing a black robe was smiling sadly but triumphantly at me, as if to say “You poor, poor thing. You have been looking for a cure for your son, running from doctor to doctor, around and around in circles…” What struck me was the fact that this evil figure was standing in my son’s chiropractor’s office. I woke up and immediately picked up my cell phone to begin researching more about this NAET treatment I had been subjecting my son to. This time instead of searching for “NAET” alone, I allowed Jesus into the equation by searching “NAET and Christianity”. What I soon learned made me break down and cry with such tremendous guilt. Unbeknownst to me, this particular treatment was not good spiritually. The dream God gave me of that evil being hovering in that chiropractor’s office was a clear, strong warning to me. I must cease from ever taking my son to a single NAET session ever again. That same day I picked up the phone and cancelled every single appointment. From that day on, my son’s nasal passages cleared up entirely. NEVER again has he had so much as a runny nose from the common cold. Gone were the desperate nights of him suffering, tearfully gasping for air.
My husband gently challenged my faith and assured me this was a sign that our son could now also be free to eat any food he like without suffering from stomach aches or intestinal issues – as Brother Nice himself had suggested in a conversation prior. And so his gluten free and dairy free diet was officially thrown out the window. For the past 12 months my son has been able to freely enjoy any kind of food his little heart desires without a single consequence! No more tummy aches after drinking milk. In fact, no more physical reactions after eating any kind of food at all!
So all of these physical symptoms had cleared immediately, but the one big thing left was his attention span and participation in school, as well as his uncontrollably silly behavior at home. He would indulge in such senseless behavior that would become so repetitive it would pull on our every nerve. This brought tremendous tension in the household. He was a very sharp, sweet boy, but it was as if he was still being maneuvered like a puppet with strings. It was as if something was fogging up his mind and controlling him. His teachers were almost pulling their hair out in frustration, and openly shared with me that if it weren’t for the fact that he was “so cute and charming” they may not have allowed him to continue at that school at all. I ached with despair on a daily basis. On one particularly arduous morning after he went to school, I could bare the anguish no longer and cried out to Jesus directly. “Jesus, Jesus! Heal my boy. He is a good boy and he loves you so. He doesn’t deserve all this. I can’t bare to see him like this anymore. I can’t take this anymore. I WANT MY SON. Forgive me. Forgive me for not believing in you more. I will meet you at the cross.” Then suddenly the presence of Jesus Christ appeared to me in a vision and comforted me (I never saw His face). Jesus let me know that He had forgiven me and gently turned me around and said, “Now go, go heal your son.” I took one step forward and immediately stopped to turn around and said to Him, “But not without you.” No sooner had I begun to utter this sentence than He gently interrupted me and said “It has been done.”
After this vision, as my first true act of faith in Jesus, I picked up the phone and made the most difficult choice I have had to make up until that point as a mother; I called his behavioral therapist and cancelled all his sessions and requested that his case be closed. (This might not seem like a big deal to many, but it was to me. It had taken tremendous effort to have my son admitted for behavioral therapy sessions at the center; there was a minimum 6 month waiting list that we had been able to by-pass through some networking. If I canceled now, there was no going back.) This was a tremendous hurdle I had just overcome; to be able to confirm my faith in Jesus from that day forward – to trust in Him as the only true Healer. That very afternoon, after cancelling all my son’s therapy sessions, I received my son’s daily report from his teacher: it stated he had been on the best behavior he had ever had the entire school year – even stating great self-control during “quiet time”! His amazing behavior continued for the next three days before they began to taper off a little bit. But this time, for once, my faith did not waiver.
Summer break passed and as we prepared for Alexander’s new school year in 1st grade, I stayed true to my faith. Both his father and I lovingly reminded our son every day to take a position in Jesus Christ. He now has the foundation (Jesus our Lord) with which to build on. Six months ago my heart would ache with pain of defeat, now my heart is filled with joy and gratitude for our Lord Jesus every single day, for Alexander has been doing – in the words of his teacher – “excellent”!! Music to a mother’s ears! And I give all the glory to God. Every single family member has noticed his immense improvements over the past year. His level of maturity and self control has sky-rocketed! GONE is every physical health barrier. GONE are his vocal tics, facial tics, and eye rolling. GONE are all his allergies. GONE are all the uncontrollable odd characteristics and “weird” behavior. In school he is now attentive, focused, learning quickly and completing all his assignments! We are able to truly enjoy him at home, to have focused conversations with him, to share thoughts together, laugh together, have fun together. But more importantly, Alexander has learned to go to God on his own initiative, for he is fully aware of the importance of trusting and walking with Jesus. By faithfully handing our son over to God through Jesus Christ, He has brought our son back to us. I am allowing myself to cry tears of joy for the first time as I write this. We have our son back! And he is flourishing in Christ. At such a young age he is proving to already be such a fine young boy with a deep love and understanding of God and a strong commitment to Jesus. Thank you dear Lord Jesus!
Throughout this experience, Alexander has served as a most precious vessel for my personal awakening, and to bring my family as a whole closer to God through Jesus. Like Alexander himself recently exclaimed, “It’s not the prayer that works, it’s the faith in the believer!” Amen.
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UPDATE – April 7, 2015: Our son has had a fantastic year in school, and we could not be more proud. In 1st grade, he has received recognition and won class awards for good behavior, discipline and self-control. His grades have been amazing. He is excelling and flourishing and thriving, and we praise and thank Jesus Christ every single day!