Today marks eight years since the day that turned my life upside-down. Eight years ago, I tore my achilles tendon- leading to the onset of my now life-long battle with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
In honor of the past 8 years, I’ve decided to share with you the ~short~ version of my chronic illness testimony. I hope that through it you discover a sense of hope and motivation to embrace hardship in your own life, no matter what you’re currently facing.
You’re never alone.
I was 12 years old when the pain started. I had no grasp of the concept of ‘forever.’ The words ‘chronic’ and ‘incurable’ were foreign to me. In the span of 18 months, I went from the highs of making the school volleyball team, to the lows of being diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
Before CRPS, I was happy, busy, and active… I was healthy. I was ‘normal.’ I had a memory bank full of good times, laughter, successes and love. My dreams resembled those of every other overachieving little girl. My future was bright, my faith was strong, and my heart was full.
Pain changed everything. Being so young and having your body begin to fail you is nothing short of devastating and incredibly confusing. I very quickly became a person that I swore I would never be. My diagnosis dictated my every decision, my every move, and my every thought. My spirit was overcome with anger and hatred for the life that I was living. My thoughts were clouded by dozens of the most hard hitting questions: ‘Why me? What did I do wrong? When will it end? Is the fight even worth it? Where are you, God? Why won’t you heal me? God, why have you done this to me?’ I fell victim to the traps of the enemy and the lies of chronic illness. I began inflicting emotional pain onto people that I loved, because I thought that if I had to walk through hell, they should too.
It wasn’t until I was 16 or 17 years old and in remission that I realized I had it wrong all along. The most defining moment of my battle came when I made the decision to stop being a victim of chronic illness, and start being a survivor instead. As I faced the reality of relapse right before high school graduation, I clung so desperately to the fraying ends of the rope I had woven of hope and bravery. I moved forward through the darkest months of my life, holding on to the thought that maybe, just maybe, God had something great for me waiting up ahead. Sure enough… He did. I discovered an entire community of people facing similar (yet vastly unique) battles against various chronic ailments. I found support. I found friendship. I found love. I rediscovered Jesus. I was reminded of the irreplaceable purpose and tremendous potential that I possess. Through the encouragement of the Word and incredible friends, I have been able to replace the lies of the world with the truth and promises that God provides. He is sovereign and almighty. No matter what these earthly doctors tell me, He is the ultimate physician. He knows my every pain and every hardship. He’s supplies me with the strength I need to rise up above my illness each day and share His love with the world. He’s promised me the ultimate gift: an eternal life free of these chains that bind me, free of pain, free of suffering, and free of darkness.
I am sick. I am broken (spoiler alert: we all are). I fall short. I mess up.
But in the very same breath of life, I am loved. I am worthy. I am strong. I am brave.
I’m a survivor.
With all the love,