Fear invaded my sleep. I asked God to wake me up in the morning. After ten years of suffering and recovering, I thought God would heal me. But now I felt close to death. Where was God?
I became ill at age 15, unaware it would impact the rest of my life. Before, my life overflowed with happiness and health. I spent time laughing with family and friends, and loving school. Life was perfect.
Suddenly, I felt light-headed and nauseous. Whenever I stood or sat up, I felt faint. It was debilitating and persistent. I missed days, weeks, and months of school. The diagnosis? Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). When I was upright, my heart raced and blood pressure dropped. Blood pooled in my feet, creating a lack of oxygen to my brain. I was told there was no cause or cure. The doctors gave me various pills and good luck.
As I learned to live with the illness, I struggled to attend school. While my peers “faked sick” to get out of class, I “faked healthy” to attend school and socialize. But as my symptoms worsened, so did my social isolation. Painful exhaustion left me mostly confined to my home. Through doctor’s visits and disappointments, I tried to focus on God’s blessings and look forward to the occasional good day.
My friends grew up without me, acquiring driver’s licenses, boyfriends, and college degrees. I developed social anxiety. Every social outing, I felt like vomiting in the parking lot. My jaw clenched just thinking about speaking to someone. I felt like crying all the way home. This happened every time. My blatant awareness of the anxiety’s irrationality had no effect on the anxiety’s intensity. I wished for my old healthy self, socializing with friends and not having a care in the world.
I felt alone. The Bible’s promises of abundant life contrasted my zombie-life, with a decaying body and a dying soul. Then, I realized something. Even though I felt terrible, God was still good! God’s goodness was not determined by my circumstances. I could still praise Him with joy, with illness or health! Humbled by this revelation, I felt God’s call to new life. He called me to be healed! I did not know how or when; the hope of healing was all that mattered!
After six years of illness, I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. Finally, an explanation for my ailments! I began treatments targeting Lyme and gradually regained health. One helpful treatment was vitamin and mineral IV therapy to strengthen my immune system. Things were looking up!
God called me to attend youth group at church to face my fear: socializing. I was terrified and excited to make new friends. God encouraged me to go each week and relearn social skills. It took years, but I overcame social anxiety and made friends! I was slowly coming back to life. God was keeping His healing promise!
I experienced setbacks. Lyme is a complicated disease involving co-infections. When one symptom went away, a new one raged my body. Digestive issues caused my weight to drop dangerously low. My protruding skeleton produced fears of dying. I reflected on the past ten years of illness and recovery. Where was God’s promise of healing now? Facing an impossible situation, I prayed I would see the next day.
When all seems lost, God gloriously makes the impossible, possible.
God intervened and made a way! By His grace, my treatment started working! Over the next few months, I gained weight and health. I came back to life! I was restored and symptom-free!
The chronic illness gave me greater love for others. Overcoming a chronic illness humbled me to lean on God to face my fears. God gave me a new life with abundant health, joy, and peace, but He did not heal me just for myself. God blesses us so we can go bless others! I am forever changed and chronically healed!
My new life’s mission is to raise awareness and hope for chronic illnesses. God is calling me to inspire and help others facing impossible situations. Above all, I am closer to God. With God, it is possible to thrive after brokenness and bloom from the darkest of places!
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