My First Encounter With Jesus – Testimony of Polly Riddell


I have known pain for most of my life. It started at age 19 and affected my life for thirty years.  What began as leg pain for a skinny 99 pound girl became full body pain in my 30’s.  By my 40’s I had gained nearly 100 pounds and reached the point of needing an electric cart to shop the grocery as I could not stand and walk for long.  I had every medical test western medicine had to offer.  Nothing ever appeared to be wrong.  As the years passed, the medical establishment coined a term for this “all over” debilitating pain.  They called it fibromyalgia.  Sadly they simply have no idea of what caused it or what cured it.  My parents paid for every treatment and pill and supplement known to man.  Nothing helped and some really hurt.

Try Harder

My personality during those years was one of control, willfulness, if at first you don’t succeed, try harder, where there is a will, there is a way.  I was fully in charge of my universe.  I was sure I could make anything happen.

I was married the first time for 20 years to my high school sweetheart and he was a wonderful guy right up to the evening he left me for his secretary.  I married the second time for health insurance and the name on that piece of paper lasted for 10 years.  The third time was for 5 years but we did not marry as the government said he would lose his veteran health benefits if he married me. We came to live under the same roof as a result of a head injury from a car accident we were in together.

Last Leg

After thirty years of pain I was on my last leg and on my last dollar.  The effects from the car accident changed my entire life.  I had been a commercial real estate appraiser and after the accident I had to relearn my multiplication tables.  I could no longer do the analytical work of an appraiser.  I could not drive or work for a year.  The accident exacerbated my already poor health and the anxiety caused me to have tranquilizers for breakfast and anti-depressants for dinner.

A friend recommended a natural health consulting practice.  I had taken only a few sessions of hands-on techniques when the technician invited me to a training class.  It was being given for free to his church, but he got permission for me to attend.  I could count on one hand the number of times I had set foot in a church.  I went anyway.


After the first day of class, I had an epiphany and a full understanding of where all this pain came from.  It was the information I had been looking for all my life.  I did not need a pill or a supplement, I needed to get rid of the congestion in the body’s energy flow that caused the pain.  Pain is our early warning sign that something is not right in our body.  In my case, something had been very wrong for thirty years. We were exploring the relationship of how thoughts and emotions affect our entire well-being.  We explored anger, worry, fear, sadness and grief and then when we got to the emotion of pretense/control/my-way-or-the-highway, I knew that belonged to me.

Who Controls Your Life?

The techniques were developed by the King Institute, a Christian health organization based in Dallas.  In the course of the discussion, we talked about who controlled our life.  I was the first to raise my hand and I easily answered the question.  I controlled my life. But then as others began to share how they turned their lives over to God, I realized I had never heard of such a thing.  But when I got home and started to reflect on how well I had run the universe or even my own life for that matter, I realized what a lousy job I was doing and I began to see there was truly something missing.  I heard many stories that day of people laying their suffering at the feet of Jesus.  I did not even know this was possible.

First Encounter with The King – Born Again

That night as I reached the end of my endurance and I lay in bed full of pain and unable to even reach around the back of my neck to do one of the sequences, I closed my eyes and offered my broken body to God.  I told God I realized I had been trying to run the show my whole life and I could see I was powerless to effect any real change.  I surrendered myself to God and asked Him to take me and do with me what He would.  I told Him I knew I had done much wrong in my life and I asked for His forgiveness. I promised I would follow no matter what he asked me to do.  As I did this, I started to feel the pain lessen.  I sensed a gentle pulsing light.  I opened my eyes just a little to see if there was a light shining in my bedroom and there was not.  Then as I closed my eyes, I saw this light and felt a peace come over me like nothing I had ever felt before.  In my head I heard and felt God assure me that everything was going to be ok.  I found out later that what I did in that blessed moment was ask Jesus to come in to my heart and as a result I was born again.


In the coming weeks, I realized my pain had left.  I was still continuing my health studies and doing the sequences and discussing this with the person who invited me to the training class he put on for his church.  He said that Jesus healed me in the moment I put my total faith in Him.  The pain has never returned.

Prayers for a Miracle

I started going to the church where the training class was held.  I was like a sponge soaking up all I could learn about who Jesus is.  It was unbelievable to me that I had gone 50 years without this knowledge.  As I grew and learned about God’s ways, I could see I was not living in a manner that pleased God.  I prayed for a way out of the living arrangement I was in.  I had not been able to work for the year following the accident and I was not able to continue my appraisal career.  I could see no possible way to move out on my own, but I prayed telling God I could not see a way, but if He found a way, I would follow no matter how hard.

Put out on the Street

Within a few weeks God arranged everything.  The man I was living with got up one morning and was waiting for me as I was getting ready to go the job I had just started.  He told me he wanted me gone and to not come back.  I was in complete shock.  I packed what I could in my car and called work saying I was going to be a little late.  I went first to my church to discuss what had happened with my pastor and his wife my Sunday school teacher.  I knew without a doubt it was God’s solution and the answer to my prayers.  My new boss said his parents were going on a 10-day cruise and I could stay there for a few days to try and work things out.  I had a tiny bit of savings and was able to buy a little mobile home.  It was miracle transaction that got me moved in to my little place before his parents returned from their cruise.

Answered Prayer

In the course of these ten days, the man who tossed me out begged me to return.  As tempting as it would have been to return, I knew God had other plans for me. I prayed and God answered and even though I was scared to death, I knew I had to follow where God was leading. God taught me forgiveness and my ex and I have remained friends.  After all, how could I remain embittered toward a man who was acting out God’s plan in answering my prayers.

I have been on a wild adventure ever since.  I spent several years in Florida developing a firm understanding of God by regular bible study at church.  When I returned to Indiana, I still had much learning to do in terms of applying God’s word to my life.  I found myself in the depths of despair having to return home and live with my mom at age 55.  I felt a dismal failure in every way and I had no hope for how I would rebuild my life and start again.  Digging a hole and getting in it was a serious consideration.

Single in a Sea of Sappy Happy Couples

I joined a new small church full of happily married couples.  I was the only single person.  I was so jealous.  I knew no one and had to force myself to interact where I felt most uncomfortable. Over time God urged me to be a church greeter and He gave me an in-depth love of people to see people in the same way Jesus does.  I want to know a person’s story.  I have also learned to be more than content as a single person.

Getting Me Fixed

My sister and mother were determined to get me fixed and made appointments for me to see a neurologist and a neuropsychologist.  I submitted to the doctors my thick file of tests.  I told them I did not need any further testing, what I needed was a solution to improve my debilitating circumstances with brain function.  They had nothing to offer.

Take off the Grave Clothes

Next I wrote to the friend from the King Institute who lead me to Christ asking for help to tackle the significant issues from the brain injury.  Instead of sharing with me sequences to perform, he sent seven pages of discussion I did not fully understand, but did include “taking off the grave clothes.”  See the blog post Take off the Grave Clothes.  I enlisted a Christian counselor to help me with the very difficult relationship with my mom and my own distorted thought processes.  I immersed myself in who I am in Christ and developed a love of God’s word as I researched this.  As I took every thought captive and re-framed the thought in the way God commands us to think and act I was truly transformed by the renewing of my mind.  Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Over the years this took place, I re-read the seven page letter I could  not originally understand and today it makes perfect sense.  God has not only healed my body but He healed my mind as well.

Chaos and Cubicles

I had to return to work and figure out how I would deal with the workplace environment and my sensory issues.  The only job that called me was one featuring cubicles, chaos, loud voices, multiple radios playing and I told God ahead of time I could not handle this.  So be careful what you tell God you can’t do.  That is exactly where He placed me and He won’t let me leave.  With my first check I did have to buy some Bose noise cancelling headphones, but over the years, I have excelled.  The chaos is manageable, the loud people were terminated, I have been able to memorize all 250 of my locations names and the vendors who service them.  Nothing is impossible with God.

Christ Lives In Me

Today I am full of pure joy.  I have plenty of challenges but keeping my focus on Jesus and the word of God is what keeps me in sync and able to handle all life throws at me.  I am well liked and I love people.  I mentor young people.  My life is quite exciting and full of adventure.  I am deeply content and see humor in everything.  There is no doubt Christ lives in me.

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