Author and Founder of Living Beyond Disease
Michele O'Donnell was a pediatric nurse when she discovered the healing presence and power of God through reading the Bible. It changed her life, so she opened a healing center to help change others' lives. Every disease has been healed. She has also authored three books, conducts Living Beyond Disease seminars and programs, and has radio and television shows trying to let people know that their lives can be changed. During our interview, Michele shared her story and talked about the insights that changed her life, how she feels the presence of God's Love, how healing follows, and much more.
What impact has the Bible had on your life?
Without sounding dramatic, it took me from a consciousness of death to life. It introduced me to a whole world all around me that I didn't know existed. It saved my life. It probably has saved thousands of lives. It's amazing what type of impact the Bible can have on people.
Literally, I lived in a swamp of death, disease, and miserable sadness -- people's horror. I thought that's what we had to do here. To find, after I read the Bible, that this was not necessary, that life didn't have to be this way, was overwhelming and exciting. I ran up and down the pediatric center where I was the head nurse saying, "It doesn't have to be this way! It doesn't have to be this way!" And they fired me.
What did you do after you got fired?
I took what I was learning and applied it to myself. My daughter was very ill, which I explain in my book Of Monkeys and Dragons. She wasn't supposed to live, and if she did live, she was not supposed to have a real life. At the hospital, they gave me a paper to sign her over to the state school, telling me that she would never know the difference. To make matters worse, her daddy left. He just couldn't handle the situation. So I took this new-found view of life down deep into my own being instead of getting up and trying to save the whole world in one day. I grew up over night. I realized that the Bible was telling me about a relationship I needed to understand and make personal. I wanted to let it fill my own soul. I spent eight years not shouting from the housetop. I went away to Bible college. I would go to the dock and talk to fish because there was no one to talk to. I'd go into the cornfields and talk out loud, but there were never people there to hear it. After I graduated, I taught in Bible college, Old Testament mostly -- always trying to help the students understand the spiritual significance of the Bible and how it impacted them.
In your book, you share how your daughter was completely healed in the midst of all this.
Yes. She was healed when she was three. Now she's the Assistant Attorney General of Texas and has two children. It took awhile for her to catch up to others her age. Some of it was just a confidence issue, as her confidence had been massacred by comparisons. But I never told her what was wrong with her. I never felt there was wisdom in telling her all the problems the doctors said she was supposed to have. It would've only made things harder. She would've had to deal with the ramifications of what everybody else thought about the problem. And she was clearly healed. Later on, of course, she knew, and I wrote about it in my book. She's sharp as a tack and has been ever since the healing.
So how were you introduced to the Bible so that it literally saved your life and your daughter's life?
The first time someone handed me a Bible, I was 25. I didn't know what a Bible was. I hadn't heard the word; I wasn't aware of one growing up. The man who gave me one told me to read the book of John. I read it and cried all night long; I felt so loved. I had never experienced that. It was something that I wanted to go out and shout about because it was so overwhelming. So it was very surprising to me how it was not received. I was so amazed by the difference between what I was reading and what I had spent my whole life doing and believing. It was huge.
The Bible is a source of incredible strength, power, inspiration. I see it as a progressive unfolding of man's understanding of God with God interjecting the real thing throughout. In Bible college, we call it the "scarlet thread" that weaves throughout. It's the Christ, Truth, revealing itself. You may be reading, weaving through the maze of stories and confusion, and the truth jumps out at you. The culmination of this thread is what Jesus was saying: this is what you're looking for; this is what God is; and this is what you are! It's God filling all space at every level. It's like the psalm: even "if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there" (Ps 139:8). God is always there with the intention of drawing us closer to what is real. It's an exciting journey. Every time I turn a page, I feel loved.
What made you feel loved?
I think I felt the presence of God. I remember as a little child sitting in church looking up at the crucifix and asking the question, "Why did you let them do that to you?" I never got the answer, so I let it go. The night that I read the whole book of John, I felt the presence of Jesus answering the questions I had asked when I was so little. When I first read John, I felt like I was introduced to a "person" who was love and peace. But as my relationship with the Bible and the Word grew, I began to see that this Love is not personal. I realized that there is one Life, one son, and we are all included in that love and sonship. The tenderness of the Word grew. The idea that the compassion of God is healing and meeting people's needs and that we aren't abandoned in all of our misery was just amazing to me.
At some point, you started talking so people could hear, though, because you founded your center for healing, and you've written books and have a website to help people out of their misery. How did all that come about?
When I was in Bible college, I started having dreams: I was sitting behind a desk, and people were coming in with all kinds of diseases at every level of morbidity, and they'd all leave healed. Then I'd wake up. A year later, I'd have another dream just like this. By the third dream, I wondered what it was. I was the associate pastor at a church at this point. The pastor and I got talking. He had gone to a program where they get rid of all the metabolic toxic waste in your body and teach you how to take care of your body, which is something a lot of people do not know how to do. Most people just plod along doing harmful things to their bodies. The pastor wanted me to go and learn about it. I was working in intensive care in pediatrics at this time and was resistant to going, but he kept pressing me. Finally I went, and when I came back, I opened up the clinic the next day. We had three blocks of people waiting to get in.
What happened once you opened the clinic?
People were being healed no matter which room I went into because I knew that that Love was so present. My desire at that time was to relieve suffering. I felt the mercy of God. Seeing the healings was strengthening me. This was huge; it was impacting people. People were noticing that these healings were happening. I had no idea exactly what I was doing. I still felt I had so much to learn. But I kept praying and praying, and people kept coming and getting well.
What types of healings have you witnessed at your center?
Every disease in the world has been healed-- MS, ALS, you name it! There are so many lives that need to be saved. There was a woman sucking on oxygen who couldn't get a sentence out. By the time she left, she was breathing on her own. I helped her realize that she is not who she thought she was. She can make another choice. She was rolled in sitting in her wheel chair. I walked her out.
How did you expand your center to share with your patients the power of Love behind their healings?
There was something in me that knew this was not exactly what I had hoped my life would be. I didn't want to be working just with the bodies. People think that what we do to their bodies at our clinic makes them well. But it's not. I began to see a new path. I saw an open door, a genuine opportunity to reach them in their hearts and souls. Most of the people who come to the clinic are so open and want to know more. So we started the program called "Living Beyond Disease" -- explaining how we can go beyond just physically getting better. About 85% of the patients at the clinic now come to the meetings, which teach them how to challenge disease and apply the principles of Life, which heal. This is now my focus, and I love it!
Have you ever had any challenges?
About fifteen years into the clinic, maybe longer than that, I had an experience where someone didn't get healed. I wrote about it in Of Monkeys and Dragons. She was a young girl with breast cancer. She had little children. They lived with me for three years. Everything I had prayed before didn't work, even though I thought she'd be healed. I couldn't understand it. It had such an impact on me. I finally realized that the error was with me and certainly not with God. There was something I still needed to understand that I didn't yet. After her memorial service, I closed the Bible and didn't want to open it until I did understand. I took long walks for four years asking God to help me. I would take my little imaginary eraser and erase my thoughts so God could fill me up. I wondered why we have to suffer, or if we just run around healing and then the people we heal just get sick later on. I wanted to know what was more eternal than this.
After about four years of this, I met an individual who helped me see a totally spiritual view of life. I began to understand a whole new world. I discovered I was not alone. Many others see that life doesn't have to be the way so many think it is. I spent time talking, thinking, studying, and praying. I learned about the overwhelming government of one Life. That's the answer. I'm still praying to understand it. I took some time off to write Of Monkeys and Dragons because I didn't want to charge off into this eternal bliss without sharing my journey with people. I wanted to give the footsteps of my spiritual journey. I turned the clinic over to competent people and wrote another book and then another one. My mouth just keeps going.
It's because your heart keeps going. What's your role in the clinic now as you continue to explore ways to reach more people?
I do the initial three-hour sit-down talk with incoming people about their history, even if I don't see them again. This conversation gives me a whole world of information about them, about their expectations. When people come to the center, they're coming for physical reasons. Most of them hope to get well, but not all of them expect to be healed. Some people are still resistant to healing, so we don't always heal them all. I seem to be impressed by the resistance to healing sometimes. So I have to work more on seeing and knowing just one Mind.
I feel no different from the day I got fired. I still want the world to hear that life doesn't have to be the way we think it is. I think people are closer to understanding this than they were. There's been a big pendulum shift in thought. When I first started, there was a focus on materialism. But now people are starting to see that such focus on materialistic living does not make them happy. They're more willing to accept spiritual ideas which empower healing.
We have a TV show every Saturday night at 9:00 Central time. It's called "Living Beyond Disease," and is on WHT, World Harvest Television. Currently, we're primarily on Direct TV satellite, but I'm told that there are a lot of areas where the show is bleeding over into dish and cable. You can also get us on the internet, and if you go to our Living Beyond Disease website, you can link to WHT TV. I don't know how long they're going to leave me on. The more I talk, the more nervous they're getting. But it's a place to start.
Is there anything that stands out to you from the Bible?
The one thing that stuck out in my mind is the constant page-by-page instruction, commissioning us to do the same healing work. At first, I didn't understand how, but since I was constantly reading that I was supposed to go out and do the same thing, I also realized that we are able to do this. I became overwhelmed by the mercy and compassion that is the real heart of God. I talked to God about this a lot. I still do. Every time I'm faced with a problem, I ask God, "Where do I go from here? What do I need to know? What do I know? What do I need to do?" And God always answers. The Truth, the Love, is always there. I was 25 when I was given the Bible, and I'll be 64. So it's been a lot of years, and I just love the Bible. There's hardly a time that I sit down to read it and something doesn't jump out at me and stay with me.
What is it that allows you to get continual, practical inspiration from the Bible?
I pray, expecting things to jump out at me. I know that sitting down simply to read isn't that great. I can't just read it like a newspaper. So when I sit down, I feel very humble. I get to a place where I let the Spirit reach me so that I can be impacted. I've had people tell me that they can't read the Bible, that they just don't get anything out of it. I tell them, "Move yourself aside and let the spirit of God read it through you." When they do, they've always testified that the Spirit has moved them. That's because the old mind, the human consciousness, or as the Bible calls it, the "carnal mind" has been moved aside. If you read the Bible like a newspaper, it's not going to work for you, but if you turn it over to the Spirit with the desire to have a closer relationship with God, to learn about the nature of God, you will always get something new and refreshing. You will hear it; it will happen. It's a journey all in one book. It's better than a movie.