I grew up in a Christian home, with loving parents and plenty of siblings. My days were full of energetic activities and socializing with many friends. I always received excellent grades in school. I was so blessed and I felt that my life was “perfect”.
This all came to a crashing end one day when I was a freshman in high school. There was one month left of school until summer vacation. As I sat through class, I felt very light-headed. I walked down the hallways feeling like the room was spinning. When I got home, I laid down to try to stabilize. But every time I was standing, I felt light-headed and nauseous. I was too sick to go back to school. I ended up missing the rest of the school year and my teachers had to send me the finals to work on over the summer.
Eventually, I was diagnosed with a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS for short. The doctors said there was no cause for it, and that I would probably grow out of it in three years. The medicines I tried were not very helpful. For the rest of high school, I had a home-bound tutor to correspond with my teachers at school. Occasionally, I felt well enough to attended one or two classes, but I would only last a couple months.
Years passed and things didn’t get better. I graduated high school, and began taking online college classes. I experienced more symptoms such as chronic fatigue, pain, insomnia, weight loss, palpitations, and more.
Because of my lack of social interactions, I developed social anxiety.
My days were spent mostly alone, and going to doctor’s appointments. I felt like I was dead. I didn’t have my life, I didn’t have my health, and I didn’t have my friends. I had become like a zombie, alive but not really living.
During this time, God really encouraged me to stay positive. I had every reason to hate my life and be depressed about it. But God showed me that thinking negatively was completely useless. So, I would try to find joy in the littlest things. I chose to be happy when I saw a pretty flower or watched a fun movie. One time, I saw owls outside my window. I had never seen any before and I was joyful for the whole week because of that! I learned that God is good no matter what.
God is good even when I don’t feel good. I was humbled. If I suffer the rest of my life because of this illness, then that is okay because God is still good.
Although I longed for friends, I was way too scared to go out and make any. I was scared that I would have a medical issue or emergency, and I was also scared of talking to people. What would I say? I didn’t want anyone to know I had a chronic illness. I just wanted to be “normal.” But despite all my worries, I prayed to God for a friend. He told me to go to my church’s weekly college group. “What?” I thought, “But God, if I go there, I will probably throw up in the parking lot from my nerves, my jaw will clench up when I try to talk to people, my neck will be in so much pain from sitting up that long, I might faint, and I will cry my eyes out went I get home.” God’s response was: “Yeah, that will probably happen. You should still go.” When the Lord says to do something, the answer is, “Yes, Lord.” So I went.
As I was getting ready for this big moment of “re-entering society” as I called it, I noticed something outside my window. There were two big owls right on top of the lamp post! This was the second time I had ever seen owls. I felt, wow, God is watching over me. He knows how I am feeling and He is with me every step of the way. As my mom drove me to the college group, I didn’t feel like throwing up. I just kept focusing on the fact that I saw owls, and I felt peace. God is with me on this journey! I made it through the evening, and surprisingly was able to talk to people a little bit. But that one evening out wore me out so much that I couldn’t do anything the next day except lie in bed.
I kept going week after week, pushing myself more and more. I thought of more things to say. It didn’t turn out well every time. Sometimes, the anxiety prevented me from getting out of the car, and sometimes I had to text my mom to pick me up because I felt too sick to make it through the end. But God encouraged me and pushed me to keep moving forward! It took me about two years before I finally made a real friend. And over three years before I stopped feeling nauseous before group started. God healed my social anxiety by leading me through struggles and heartbreaks and small victories!
I felt that God was leading me to complete healing of my physical ailments.
I didn’t know how or when God was going to heal me, but this was my only hope.
God led me to better doctors, and I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme disease. I received more accurate treatments. I had an IV bag full of vitamins and minerals every week to help my immune system. I loved this because now I was able to hang out with my new friends more!
One day, a friend invited me to a Good Friday church service at the last minute, at a church I had never been to. Before, there was no way I would be able to make last minute plans because of my health issues. So I excitedly went along with my friend. I wasn’t completely healthy yet, and still had to be very careful with my health. I wasn’t able to stand during church service, I always sat down. But little did I know that God had BIG plans for my last-minute planning.
There was also a last-minute guest speaker at this church, Bianca Olthoff. She passionately spoke of Jesus and how because of Him, because of His death on the cross, our lives are forever changed. “It is finished,” Jesus said. Our battles are won because of Him. Then, Bianca suddenly stopped talking. She looked confused and said, “Does someone here have lyme disease?” I froze and turned to my friend. Bianca said, “If you have lyme disease, can you please stand up?” My friend pushed me up to standing. I was the only person standing in a room of a thousand sitting. Bianca looked directly at me in the crowd and said, “God is telling me that He is going to heal you!” She encouraged everyone around me to put their hands on me and pray for me. I was so overwhelmed and started sobbing. I had heard of these things happening, but I didn’t think it would happen to me! God used someone I didn’t know to speak directly to me! It was a miracle!
Within the next couple of years, I was driving on my own, I got a job, I was exercising, I was healthy!
I am not experiencing any symptoms from Chronic Lyme Disease anymore, and after ten years, I am completely healed.
God has restored and redeemed my life. And He’s not finished yet! God told me that He didn’t just heal me so I could live a “normal” life again, He healed me so I can live an extra-ordinary life, becoming a leader in Christ and giving hope to others.
I highly encourage anyone who is in need of healing to seek God, persevere, and keep moving forward!
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