Janelle Sloetjes – Healing From Chronic Back Pain and Whiplash-Induced Concussion

Janelle’s Testimony


As I’ve thought about how to share my testimony, I am still amazed at the way God has led me through many different layers and types of healing over these past few months. God healed me physically, but this was only the beginning to an amazing work that he has done and is still doing in my heart and in my life.


When I was 6 years old my dad began a new career in truck driving. He had always been around my whole childhood.  And suddenly he was gone for week-long periods at a time. My mom was left to take care of my three older brothers and I.  Me being a daddy’s girl, his absence made me feel hurt, lonely and very sad…


I vividly remember deciding at one point to not let it hurt me anymore, and that feeling angry about it was easier than allowing myself to hurt. I think that this experience as a child may have caused a root of anger and bitterness to germinate and grow within me over many years. From that moment on, any time I experienced hurt, loss, sadness, confusion, or loneliness, I would let anger mask the hurt.  Over the years that anger root was allowed to survive and flourish in my life. I even thought that my anger was in fact making me a stronger person.


Perhaps being tall and having poor posture and being a sports fanatic as a teenager, I also began to have chronic back pain. It has intensified over the past 10 to 15 years. The most pain has always been in my upper spine. I lived with this constant pain, as well as my anger …. and did not even realize how it was consuming me.


The pain steadily got worse, and this past Mother’s Day I had an MRI taken of my upper spine and I was waiting for the results. In the meantime, my doctor had prescribed strong pain medication which I was relying on just to function each day.


I work part-time at Christian Horizons as a Developmental Service Worker. On June 1st of this year, I was at work supporting a client, he was a larger man.  We were just walking in a parking lot, and he suddenly tripped.  When he tripped I broke his fall, supporting his full weight to keep him from falling.  Immediately I thought, “Oh no….that’s it, my back is broken”.  I had very intense muscle tension that instantly gripped my upper spine and neck.  I could not move my neck.  I went to the hospital, had x-rays taken and nothing appeared broken.


The ER doctor told me that the MRI that had been done two weeks earlier only showed normal degeneration and some arthritis. I was given more pain and anti-inflammatory medication.


Over the next week and a half, while I was not working, the muscle stiffness and spinal pain got worse. On June 10th, I began to experience other symptoms. I felt nausea, sensitivity to light, movement, and noise. My doctor told me that I was experiencing symptoms of a whip-lashed induced concussion.


This really scared me, because I know how long concussions can take to heal. I also became very anxious and worried, because my husband and I had big plans for this summers Sunday school program here at our church, which I was very excited about.  We had planned on using a VBS program called Shipwrecked and spread it out over the summer Sunday’s.  Delays were putting things into jeopardy.


That week was horrible. All blinds in our home had to be kept closed, I wore sunglasses all the time, everyone in the house had to whisper, and I couldn’t talk to my kids or help them in any way.  Even being near their movements made me nauseous. Paul had to do everything at home and I just cycled from the bed to the couch and to my chair. I was consuming heavy duty muscle relaxants like candy to ease the pain and muscle tension. I felt like I was fading and slowly slipping away….I felt as though I were dying.  It was terrifying.


Paul and my three children were laying hands on me and praying every day.  Again…I would have moments of relief…and then the symptoms would always come back.


I believe God was teaching us as a family to draw near to Him at every moment.


Pastor Howard called to check-in each day or two, and he would pray for healing. He would always ask if I felt anything, and if there was any improvement.  Sometimes there was. I had relief and was thankful …..and knew that God was with me. But all the symptoms kept returning with a vengeance.  Somehow, strangely enough….I was not getting angry during all of this awful pain, I was allowing it to just hurt.


God was teaching me to abide in Him.…


The pain and symptoms kept intensifying.  I was immobilized…unable to do anything.


On Sunday evening, June 17, Paul wrote an email to all our Sunday School Teachers who were planning on helping me with decorations for Shipwrecked.  In that email, he explained all my symptoms and that I was unable to do anything. He was trying to arrange to have people help, but he didn’t really have all of the decorating ideas figured out himself, and I couldn’t communicate them to him. He told them he’d get back to them in a day or two. Paul was also very busy with his job at the time, and he was very tired out from not having me to help with anything at our home. It was such a stressful time, but we were not overwhelmed and I wasn’t angry!


Monday, June 18, I woke up crying, and likely crying in my sleep due to the intense pain, confusion, and losing proper function of my senses.  I somehow made it downstairs and again took some more pain killers and asked Paul to stay home with me.  I was unable to be left alone.


My children left for school seeing their usually fully-operational mom…..curled up in a ball, wearing sunglasses, crying, shaking.  Paul made arrangements to have someone cover his class, so he could stay home with me that day.


He had been caring for our children, making all the meals, packing lunches for our children and himself, cleaning the house, writing report cards, planning for all of his year-end activities for his grade three class, and preparing shipwrecked and Sunday School, and yet we had been managing, step by step at a time.


Well…that morning we felt we were at a breaking point. There was no end in sight, and my doctor said it would be a long recovery, even though my symptoms had definitely gotten worse since he said that.


Just after lunch I was going back to sleep. Paul was wiped out too, so he came up to have a nap. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep any longer since I had been sleeping almost all day, every day. I was so restless.


Paul said, “….look if you aren’t miraculously healed by, say,….. Friday, we are calling off Shipwrecked…which I did not want to do.  I was very excited about it.


He was going to pray again for me but said…”Hey, you have had everyone pray for you. You need to pray this time.”  Well, I had been praying quietly in my heart and when people were praying for me I was in agreement with their prayers, but I knew he was right. Other people were praying very boldly for me, so I thought in my head ….all right, God … here we go.


I prayed with a whole new level of boldness! I declared who I was….precious in God’s eyes.  Even though I didn’t fully believe it in my heart, I declared that God loved me, and that he wanted me healed. I prayed 1 Peter 2:24 – By his wounds, I have been healed!  I also reminded him, because he may have forgotten, that if he wanted our children’s program to happen this summer, He needed to heal me quickly!


After praying, Paul asked how I was, and I told him I was feeling better. He said to pray again, so I did, for about a minute.


Immediately all of my senses normalized, I could open my eyes without squinting, I could move my neck without pain, all spine pain and neck stiffness were gone. Paul and I were over the top excited!  Paul said….ok you need to do something big.  Go for a walk and get the mail.  Which was a little way down our street.  But it was big, because it was 1:30 on a sunny June day, and previously I had not even been able to stand for 30 seconds at a time constantly wearing my sunglasses.


I went without sunglasses and got our mail….came back, no problems, smiling and carrying a large parcel along with the rest of our mail.


When our kids came home Paul came up to them with a big smile saying….Guess what guys??  They all knew immediately that their mommy was better.  Alayna, my youngest, was literally jumping up and down in excitement.  It was amazing and so beautiful to see their joy!!  It was such a gift for them to see how AWESOME God is and how he can heal in our most trying and lowest points.  That night we wanted to celebrate and do something fun as a family.  We went swimming at the town pool, and I was able to swim too!  It was fantastic! We had not done anything fun together for quite a few weeks.


That night Paul again, sent out another email to all the Sunday School teachers saying….Janelle’s been miraculous healed!


The next day, we started receiving texts, phone calls, and emails from people who expressed their praise and glory to God for what He had done!


Curt Hawkins who works with us in Sunday School asked what time I had been healed. Paul told him that it was around 1:15 or 1:30.


It turns out that he had come back to his cabinet-making shop after lunch on that Monday and began praying for people. One of those people on his list was me, and he prayed that God would heal me within the hour. We figure that it could have even been within that exact minute that God healed me!


As well, my sister-in-law who lives in Orillia had taken a personal day off from work that day.  Not even really knowing how bad I was, she felt God had put it on her heart to pray for me on the morning of June 18th.


You never know what the Holy Spirit’s prompting to pray might accomplish. He leads us to pray so that His will in heaven will be accomplished here on earth. I’m learning to never ignore those prompts, whenever they happen.


So many amazing things were coming out of my healing. I’m convinced that the purpose of my physical healing was multi-faceted.


The day after I was healed, I was just driving in my van (which I wasn’t even able to do for the last week).  I was praying and thanking God out loud…. looking like a crazy woman I’m sure. I just wanted to express my love and gratitude to him. Well, I’ve always wanted to pray in tongues… while I was driving I told God that I just want to pray in tongues, and instantly I was praying in tongues (and driving in control at the same time) 😀  Incredible!!


That same night at 2:14am I was awoken by pain in my upper spine once again.  Fear and doubt began to grip me. I began praying in tongues knowing God had healed me and that my pain was already gone.  Well, it wasn’t going away.  So at 4am I woke up Paul.  He was tired, but got up and we began praying.  God revealed to me as we prayed that I still had a root of anger in my heart.  I began confessing my anger and repenting of the hurt and destruction it’s caused in my life.  God also laid on my heart specific people that I needed to confess this to, and ask forgiveness from.  While praying, the pain fully left once again.


Well the next two weeks were amazing….I spent every day creating Shipwrecked with many incredibly talented crafted people from our church!  Thank you so much for those who came out to help!  The children love it!!  It’s been an amazing summer. The whole time we were working on it I was so amazed, because Shipwrecked was all about how Jesus Rescues us, and Jesus truly rescued me!!


Well….the story continues….


God is still revealing himself to me more and more….I have struggled with anxiety and feelings of inadequency my whole life.  Even the fact that I’m here speaking and sharing this with ALL you is simply a miracle! In the past I would hardly acknowledge a request to stand up and share. I’m sure all my friends and family would attest to this.  God is so good, and so incredibly faithful!


God Bless

About the Author
Translate »