Jean became something of a celebrity in 1988 when she was dramatically healed of long-term paralysis and leaped out of her wheelchair in front of an audience of thousands!
One of eleven children, she was born in Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, just before world war two. Jean’s father was a drunkard who abused the children, and her mother did nothing about it. Financially things were tough, and her parents so uncaring that they left her in a cot beside her dead sister for several days. The police eventually came because her father had injured one of the boys in a drunken rage. Jean, along with most of the siblings, was sent to live in children’s homes until she was eighteen. In the homes she faced more abuse. She grew up with bitterness and rebellion in her heart and couldn’t wait to leave her awful background. Jean hated her parents, and had little time for many of her ‘carers’ who had also treated her with brutality at the age she was most vulnerable. But Jeans’s life was about to change for the better.
At nineteen she went to work in a children’s nursery. She loved the job. First, she was able to love and care for the babies in the way she wished she had been cared for, and second Gaye, the sister in charge, was a lovely caring Christian. Gaye invited Jean and her friends to an evangelistic church service. Jean went only to make fun by intending to disrupt the meeting, but when she heard that God had sent his son Jesus to give his life for her, she was “gobsmacked!” As the preacher described the way Jesus was cruelly tortured and murdered so that forgiveness could flow into broken lives like hers, Jean broke down in tears and prayed, asking Christ to save her. That was the first miracle!
Soon, Jean met her future husband John through a church pen-friend scheme. They eventually met and fell in love. Jean chose to leave Jersey to live on the mainland with John in his hometown of Rugby. She found a good church and the young couple started a family. But more problems were to come when a practical joke went wrong. Friends and family were helping John and Jean to move house. Jean was refusing to move from a rug she was standing on, so two of the men pulled the rug from beneath her. She fell on her back and injured her spine on the kerb. At first, everyone thought it was just severe bruising, but when Jean’s legs went numb after a few days she was rushed into hospital.
After many weeks of treatment, doctors decided to remove the coccyx. It only provided temporary relief, and over the next few years Jean suffered more serious back problems, a major road traffic accident, and various illness which left her crippled and in a wheelchair. Three operations on her spine were just the start of all the medical treatment. During the next few years she suffered three heart attacks, angina, bronchitis, a hysterectomy, brain surgery to remove glass caused by the car accident, and a whole host of treatment as long as your arm. Being a Christian, she went for prayer at every opportunity and was prayed for by the UK’s most prominent evangelists, but at the end of it all Jean was still sick and wheelchair bound.
But deep inside she kept her hope in God. Knowing that God uses the medical profession too, she continued to go for treatment for all of her conditions.
“My back pain was so severe that eventually I was offered a very radical operation to fuse my spine together. It would have meant being away from my family for many months, and it was stressed that due to my serious condition, I could be left totally paralysed, or could even die during the procedure.”
But Jean was so desperate that she was planning to have the operation despite the dangers.
Then, in 1988, the second miracle happened. Jean had two dreams in one night. In the first dream, she saw herself having the operation, and they dying during the procedure! She woke up frightened, but eventually managed to get back to sleep. However, the second dream was both very specific and very positive. She dreamed of being in a large auditorium and being prayed for by a tall man with a foreign accent. She woke up and told John about the dreams, both of which were very real. She shared them with her pastor, who told her that he believed they were dreams from God, the first a warning and the second a promise that she would be healed.
A short time after the dreams, Jean went with her family and the young people from the church to a national Christian event in NEC, Birmingham. It was 12th March, 1988.
“I was wheeled in to sit with the other wheelchair bound visitors in a special section. As soon as I entered the arena, I recognised it from my dream! It has the same red seats, the same design, the same huge platform, the same packed audience of 12,000 people. When the main speaker came on, I recognised him too. It was the tall man with a foreign accent!”
German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke gave his message and then prayed for those who were ill. Reinhard says that God told him that the lady in the green jumper in a wheelchair would be completely healed that night. Just as jean had seen in her dream and Reinhard had heard from God, she was miraculously healed when he prayed for her. To the utter surprise of her her doctors, her family and those who had seen her in such a crippled condition, Jean’s health was totally restored and she was able to return her wheelchair and her benefits.
Jean’s life changed totally from that time and she has since travelled the world praying for the sick and seeing amazing miracles herself. Her book ‘Wheelchair Bound to Heaven Bound’ is available from Amazon [ORDER HERE] and from Christian bookshops.
Story by Ralph Burden