Delores Winder was dying. Although she was just 48 years old, the disease that had tortured her life was now poisoning her kidneys. Her esophagus was ruptured, a fractured bone was poking through her skin, organs were failing, and the doctors said they could do no more for her. Delores was granted permission to leave the hospital so that she could die at home. Death would bring relief from a life of terrible pain and disability, but she was deeply grieved about leaving her husband and child alone.
With these mixed feelings, she went home and set about making her own funeral arrangements, but she didn’t die as expected. Instead, she experienced what Sid Roth calls one of the greatest healing miracles of the twentieth century. Today she is 80 years young and busy ministering the healing power of the Holy Spirit from her home in Shreveport, LA. Delores told Sid all about her remarkable experience in a recent radio interview. I have paraphrased and summarized Sid’s interview with her in two parts. Part 1 describes her own healing, and Part 2 gives some of her teaching about the Holy Spirit and healing.
A Rare and Painful Disease
Delores’ symptoms began in childhood – she seemed to break bones very easily. Numerous medical tests were conducted to try to determine the cause of her fragile bones, but nothing was diagnosed. When she was in her late twenties, she experienced a collapse of several vertebrae that required a fusion of her spine. The spinal fusion failed and had to be repeated three more times. Her doctors realized that something was terribly wrong with her bones.
Delores was ultimately diagnosed with a rare disease in which her bones thinned out because they could not absorb calcium and other needed minerals from her bloodstream. This made them old and brittle and as easy to break as a twig. Her hip sockets were so fragile that she could barely walk and she lived in fear of them failing completely. She had to live in a full body cast with a neck brace to avoid more breakage.
Delores also had to take a lot of medication, and it made her sick and unable to eat. She weighed only 73 pounds, was almost completely disabled and required help for the most simple body functions. It is hard to imagine living for 15 years in such a condition. She could not walk without assistance, hold her own child or enjoy anything like a normal life.
One of the worst aspects was the excruciating pain. Delores described her normal pain level as “15 on a 10-point scale.” Even the heaviest pain medications could not alleviate her suffering, so the doctors carried out an agonizing surgical procedure, called a percutaneous chordotomy, in which they went into the brain and burned out the nerves to the lower part of her body. The good news was that the pain level was greatly reduced because of the procedure. The bad news was that her lower body now could feel nothing and could not move on its own. This procedure was an extreme measure, taken only because she was at the end of her life.
Delores was not afraid to die. She had been a Christian since childhood. She loved God and believed in God, but she did not believe in healing. She belonged to one of those churches that taught that healing had passed away with the Apostles. In fact, people that believed in supernatural healing made her uncomfortable. She believed that everything that happened to her was God’s will, and that her job as a Christian was to bear her suffering as best she could.
The idea of dying did not bother her, but she was deeply grieved about leaving her husband and 14 year old son all alone. She did not tell her son she was dying, but he knew, and she could hear him crying at night in his room. She said, “I begged God to tell me what would happen to my boy – how he would get along and be cared for after I was gone. I just wanted to be able to tell him it would be okay for him. That worry, along with the worry for my husband Bill – that was the main thing I thought about. I prayed about it almost constantly as I waited for the end to come.”
Jesus Set Me Free
“One day I was lying in my bed and a lady I knew as an acquaintance came into my bedroom. She had come to pray for me and then she turned on the TV to a show with Kathryn Kuhlman, the miracle healing lady. I was just revolted by what I saw. I did not believe in divine healing at all, and I felt at the time that these television ministries were making a mockery of faith. I asked her to turn it off, and to please leave me. Well, she did turn it off, but she asked me just to pray about Miss Kuhlman and not close any doors.
“Later, after she left, I was pleading with God to tell me how He was going to take care of my son Chris and my husband. As I prayed, I clearly heard the name ‘Kathryn Kuhlman’ just as if someone had said it out loud. Then I knew that my answer about Bill and Chris would come through her.”
It was not too long afterward that Miss Kuhlman came to a nearby town to speak on the Holy Spirit at a Methodist conference, and Delores knew that she had to go to this conference. Her friend Gail agreed to help her make the very difficult and painful ride to the conference. When she finally arrived, Gail was unable to get her out of the car. They had decided to give up and go back home, but fortunately a man came out of the meeting and helped her get out of the car. He carried her into the service and got her and Gail settled in their seats.
Kathryn Kuhlman began to teach saying, “I am going to introduce you to the Holy Spirit. If you call the Holy Spirit an ‘it’, you don’t know Him. He is God here with us. He is the third person of the trinity.” That is the last thing Delores heard, because she suddenly felt that she was in the presence of God. A great sense of peace washed over her, and she had a vision. In the vision she saw her son standing with a man that she recognized as Jesus. He told her that her son need never feel alone, that He would always be with him. Delores had her answer; she had what she had come to the conference to receive.
Delores later said, “I had been in church all my life, and had even taught Sunday School. I read my Bible constantly, but the reality of the Holy Spirit had always escaped me. He is so real, and He wants us to know Him as a person – to be conscious of Him in everything we do. He wants to use all of us to deliver gifts of healing. All we have to do is open our hearts to Him. Healing is the ministry of the church, and He wants to use all of us for this purpose.”
Meanwhile, people in the audience were being touched. Some seemed to faint, some were getting healed and others were laughing. Although she had encountered the Holy Spirit, she wanted no part of a healing service, which she thought was a lot of bunk. She was ready to leave and was pulling herself to the edge of the seat, gathering her things. Suddenly, her legs started burning as if they were on fire. This made her even more desperate to leave. Delores did not realize that her legs were supposed to be dead, and medically speaking, they had no potential to feel burning pain. Something supernatural was happening to Delores, and she did not even recognize it.
Delores described what happened next: “I wanted no part of this sideshow. My friend was about to get me up to leave, when I noticed a man standing next to me. He said, ‘Something is happening to you.’ I told him, “My legs are burning like fire and I am dying, and I need to get out of here right now.”
He helped her up, and as he helped her shuffle to the door, he asked her if she had had any surgeries. Then he asked how she could feel her legs burning if she had had her nerves deadened. She did not know it at the time, but the man had come off the stage to Delores because he knew she was being healed, and he told her this. At the bottom of her heart she thought this was just more of the sideshow, but there was something in his face that said, ‘he knows what he is talking about’ He persuaded her to take off her body cast, and then had her carried to the stage. There, her worst fear came to pass – she was standing with Katherine in front of 3,000 people, the center of a big spectacle.
Katherine told her to walk, and the men holding her up backed away. Terrified of falling, she tried to prove she could not move her feet. To her amazement her feet did move, and she started walking She could feel the floor! Then the feeling came back into her hands and arms, and she started shouting, I can feel! I can feel! Later they told her she began running around the stage. When she came back, Katherine told her to bend over, and she did so, finding her spine was completely healed. She could touch the floor with no pain and was able to stand up. Everything was different! Different! Katherine smiled at her and said, “There is work for you to do. God wants you to have a dose of the Holy Spirit.” Then she went down from the power of the Holy Spirit.
Delores said, “When we left, I walked off that platform – no cast, no cane, no assistance. This was medically impossible. I had thought the woman was a kook, but I was healed. I was in such shock that I did not really know what had happened. But I was completely healed!”
When Delores finally arrived home, it was 2 AM. Her son had been waiting up for her, and came to the door. He saw his mother get out of a car unassisted for the first time in his life. He was so excited, he ran to her and picked her up, all 73 pounds of her, and began dancing around with her. Her husband was in shock, but really thought somehow it would not last. He made up his mind to enjoy it as long as it lasted. The next morning she got up and took a shower by herself for the first time in many, many years. She went to church and then went out to lunch where she ate a normal meal for the first time in years. She went back to the same doctor who had sent her home to die. When he confirmed that she was completely well, she said, “Is there any possible medical explanation for this?” And there wasn’t. It was God.
It took Delores a long time to process what happened to her. She had never believed in healing at all and was disturbed because she could not explain what had happened. Gradually she began to understand, however. As she got to know the Holy Spirit she started to have quite a number of supernatural experiences, signs and healing miracles coming through her.
Delores said, “God has given a healing ministry to the whole church, not just to special people. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, but we must step out and take a chance to pray for people. I often wonder what would have happened if that man had not stepped forward to help me out of the car. We should all be doing these works. If people will only open their hearts, God will do it. We just have to believe. And if we cannot believe, we can pray, ‘Lord, I do believe in you, help my unbelief.’ My belief was in Jesus not in healing.
Wherever she goes, Delores walks in signs and healing miracles. More details about her healing, her miracle experiences and her teaching are revealed in her book, Surprised by Healing (formerly Joy Comes in the Morning). Some of these ideas are summarized in Part 2 of this article.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.