Five years ago, Renessa Bailey’s prognosis was bleak following surgery: multiple tumors along her spine, no remedy except radiation, no chance she’d walk again.
“I believe God reaches you at the weakest moment in your life,” Bailey said. “That was the turning point for me.”
Paralyzed from the waist down, she literally had nowhere to turn. She had put her faith in tarot cards, palm reading, Ouija boards and a little Hinduism. Those things did not help her face an uncertain future.
Bailey was in a hospital bed when her dad, who has followed Jesus for years, and a nurse asked to pray for her.
“Yeah, sure,” Bailey said without enthusiasm.
Then a friend Bailey hadn’t seen for a long time visited her hospital room.
“God brought me here,” she told Bailey.
And she, too, began to pray. Her parting words were: “You will walk again, and when you do, you’re going to go on a discipleship weekend with me.”
The only reason Bailey agreed to the discipleship weekend is because she believed she would never walk again.
The next day, Bailey moved her foot a tiny bit. Though that was the beginning of a miracle in the making, nothing changed quickly.
Bailey cried through days at the rehab center until her husband Duane grabbed her by the shoulders and told her they would get through this challenge together.
Through intense therapy, Bailey walked with a walker and finally stood and walked on her own.
Bailey and her husband went on a discipleship weekend together and radical life change began. They were baptized soon after that, followed by their daughters, Makayla, 14, and Megan, 12.
The tumors never disappeared. Five years later, Bailey’s right leg remains numb, and she deals with chronic pain. Her long-term prognosis is not promising. She has had the strongest radiation possible, and specialists at the Cleveland Clinic have no idea what to do next.
But Bailey does not dwell on what could happen. Paralysis unleashed her faith. She doesn’t look back or too far forward. She focuses on what God wants her to do every day.
In 2018, the Baileys moved to the Louisville area where Duane is an airline mechanic at UPS, and Renessa teaches at East Oldham Middle School. It took them away from everything familiar at home and church.
“I knew the only way we’d make it is not to sit on the sidelines,” Bailey said.
They knocked on doors to meet neighbors. Daughter Megan was looking for a friend when she accidentally knocked on the door of Tina West, First Impressions coordinator at the La Grange Campus. West invited the Baileys to the La Grange Campus. As they got to know each other and West saw Bailey’s faith and love for others, she invited her to help with the single mom’s group.
“It is awesome,” Bailey said. “I love these women.”
Helping a family at Christmas opened even more doors.
“I asked Tina for the name of a single mom. We built a friendship, and I now mentor her. Soon I’ll begin teaching her to read,” Bailey said. “I also mentor a grandmother ‘mom’ who has custody of her granddaughter after her parents died.”
Bailey walks through the neighborhood to invite people to church. So far, five have come.
Look closely, and you’ll see that Bailey limps a little. She can’t run or ride a bike, but she hasn’t ruled that out in the future.
“There is nothing I doubt now,” she said. “If He can do this for me, He can do it for anyone. I want my girls to know every day that our lives have changed dramatically. I was literally walking away from God when He allowed me to walk again. Only God.”