Milestones, not millstones

A milestone healing represents overcoming some obstacle through God rather than seeing the hardship as a millstone weighing us down.

A milestone is a stone marking the distance in miles to a particular place, but it can also refer to a significant accomplishment or point of progress in our lives. This concept can be helpful to those seeking healing. Having once proved that we can be healed, we know it can happen again through a deepened understanding of God as the healer and of our own identity as His child. Recognizing this gives us confidence that victory over the trouble is inevitable.

Healings that stand out to us as milestones and proofs of God’s all-power can inspire us to seek more healings related to body, employment, relationships, supply, and other everyday needs. On the other hand, if we think a healing is not going to happen, the problem can become instead a “millstone” (a heavy stone used in grinding grain). 

A milestone healing represents overcoming some obstacle through God rather than seeing the hardship as a millstone weighing us down, even crushing or overcoming us.

As a young child being raised in Christian Science, I experienced a number of healings—of stomachaches, colds, fevers, and injuries—as well as protection from contagious diseases. I did not think about my health, being too busy riding my bicycle and climbing trees. I was taught early that God is Love and loves me. It was clear to me without question that this was the truth, and I was blessed by a healthy and happy childhood. 

What had threatened to become a millstone dragging me down had turned into a milestone healing.

One milestone healing I recall is of an earache that occurred when my mother was working full time as a secretary for a university professor. As I couldn’t go to school and was too young to be left home alone, she took me with her to work. After taking some time to pray with me and seating me in a comfortable chair, she put me on the telephone with a Christian Science practitioner, who shared some ideas about my true nature as God’s child. I felt the warmth of God’s love, and shortly forgot about the pain in my ear as I began helping my mom by filing papers. Later, I realized the pain was entirely gone.

Earaches had plagued me two or three times a year in my childhood, but after this healing, I had no more earaches. I have always been grateful for the Christian Science practitioner who prayed for me.

I have thought about this healing when challenges persist and feel like millstones weighing me down. When I was a college sophomore, for example, I had an experience that started out feeling that way. Shortly before returning to college after summer vacation, while touring a big city with my parents, I stepped down from a high curb and badly injured my ankle. 

At first I was unable to walk on my own, and my dad had to support me. Having always relied on God effectively for physical healing, it was natural for me to turn to our all-good God this time, too. We stopped at my grandfather’s home on the way back to my school, and he shared with me some ideas he had written out based on the teachings of Christian Science. These included Bible-based names for God—Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, and Principle—alongside attributes of each, such as kindness for Love, intelligence for Mind, law for Principle, etc. Also included were declarations of what I am as God’s child—spiritual, safe, and perfect—and denial of the erroneous belief that God’s child is material and subject to suffering. My grandfather’s prayerful ideas ended with gratitude for God’s goodness. 

This gave me a starting point for my prayers, which I changed up each day by reading a new idea, thinking deeply about it, and applying it specifically to my desire to walk freely and comfortably. 

I was still hobbling to classes, but was amazed by the number of new ideas that flowed to me each day about my identity as not a material mortal but an immortal, spiritual reflection of God, Spirit. It was indeed a time when gratitude for spiritual growth exceeded all physical discomfort.

My trust in God kept me going through sorority rush, where I was supposed to star in a skit but instead sat on the sidelines. The love I felt from my sorority sisters and God, however, lifted me out of the disappointment to enjoy someone else’s performance.

While making my way to classes, I would say silently to myself these words from the Christian Science Hymnal: 

I walk with Love along the way, 
And O, it is a holy day; 
No more I suffer cruel fear, 
I feel God’s presence with me here; 
The joy that none can take away 
Is mine; I walk with Love today. 
(Minny M. H. Ayers, No. 139, adapt. © CSBD)

Continuing to realize the truth that God loved me and that I had never fallen out of His care, I was soon able to walk freely. When the weather turned cold, with confidence and trust in God I accepted an invitation to go ice skating. Gliding across the ice, I realized I was completely pain-free and joyfully did a ballet jump. I had experienced complete healing!

What had threatened to become a millstone dragging me down turned out to be a milestone healing. It was a revelation of God, Truth, to me, giving me a better understanding of myself as spiritually complete, not a suffering, unhappy mortal struggling to walk. Being able to walk—and leap—free of pain after a challenging injury is a milestone that I have turned to many times when difficulties have arisen, in gratitude for God’s goodness.

Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Philosophy hypothetically regards creation as its own creator, puts cause into effect, and out of nothing would create something, . . .” She adds that revelation “must come to the rescue of mortals, to remove this mental millstone that is dragging them downward, and refute erring reason with the spiritual cosmos and Science of Soul” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 362).

The trials and triumphs I have had through my practice of Christian Science have been many since these milestone healings. Some have been a piece of cake, others not nearly so easy. But I remain grateful for the “Science of Soul” that I continue to strive to understand and demonstrate. Why? Because once we’ve proved for ourselves its power and effectiveness, we build on that to prove it again and again. As we exercise spiritual sense and keep in mind “the verity of being,—that man is the image and likeness of God, in whom all being is painless and permanent” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 414), millstones indeed become milestones.

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