Friday, April 14, 2017

Being Alright - No Matter What

I had the privilege last week of being interviewed for an amazing project called Women like ME, that focuses on connecting women through their stories, perspectives, and faith. 
One of the questions I was asked was how my experiences have helped me draw closer to Christ. 

As Easter weekend draws near, I have appreciated the opportunity to reflect on this further. The last decade-plus has felt like one trial after another in dealing with endometrioris, infertility, the death of my mother, and now autoimmune issues and POTS (PosturalOrthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) that have left me homebound and often bedbound. In all things, it is my faith that has helped me cope and push through.

Being sick in bed is an incredibly lonely place to be—even surrounded by loving and supportive friends and family. One of my sweet friends, Mickelle, currently going through chemo, was able to pen the thoughts much better than I could’ve. She said, “I am lonely because this is my trial-- something I have to experience and do all by myself. I can’t, no matter how much I want to, pass off part of this to others.”

Although others can sympathize and empathize and do their best to support me, no one around me knows exactly what I’m going through or has experienced exactly what I have experienced in the same way I have experienced it.

Yet, I have come to the same conclusion as my friend—“there IS one person who understands” …the Savior.  He is the only one that knows exactly what I am feeling and there are many times that He is the only one that can help.


It’s been 18 long months since my initial POTS collapse that turned my life completely upside down. For the first four months I could barely make it out of bed. I often couldn’t even walk the few feet from my bed to my bathroom without collapsing. It took so much effort to talk or listen or even think! My brain was so clouded and foggy all the time. Yet there were so many things left hanging on the line in my life—so much we had to figure out and so many important decisions that had to be made. 

How do I care for my kids and family? How do I fulfill my church, school, and home responsibilities? What treatment options do I pursue? And one of the most pressing was, as a business owner, how do I continue to run my business? Not only do we rely on my income, but I had legally binding contracts and obligations to fulfill. It wasn’t something I could simply walk away from. I was so wracked with the stress of this weighing on me and my muddled mind. My usually creative and logical brain tried to run through various scenarios, yet it was so difficult to see through the muddy mess. There didn’t seem to be an obvious, simple solution; every potential path only presented more immediate work and stress—two things I simply couldn’t handle. 

In the midst of this frustration and despair, my dear friend Marci (no stranger to trials, having fought cancer multiple times) came to visit.  She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Katie, Jesus is really, really smart. He knows exactly what you need to do.”

This was exactly what I needed to hear! Sure I had been praying my heart out for help and answers, but had I been trusting that the answers would come?  I was so caught up in my own anxiety and fear, I was forgetting to exercise my faith.

Faith is more than just turning to the Lord, but it’s also trusting and believing that everything will be okay—no matter what. 

A few years earlier, when my mom was diagnosed with terminal leukemia, I struggled to come to grips with the fact that she was dying. One evening a group of young women came to visit her to cheer her up.  As she sat out on the porch on that warm summer eve, she bore her testimony to these ladies that she knew that she was dying, but she knew that everything would be okay, no matter what.  She knew because of her faith in the gospel and Jesus Christ.  As she said the words, the spirit also bore witness to me of this same principle. As hard as it was to watch my mom pass away (and still hard to not have her here), I knew that everything would be okay.  It would be okay because of Jesus Christ.  He overcame death, and sin, and sadness, and loss, and grief, and pain so that we can also.

My faith had been strengthened then through the experience with my mom, yet here I was in another crisis and already forgetting this lesson. My friend’s poignant words that day reminded me of what it really means to have faith.

There is no question too complex for Him to answer, no mystery too great for Him to solve, and no disease too wide-spread that He can’t heal it. Sometimes we have to take a step into the darkness before we can see the light. Even though I can’t always see where I am going, someone else can, and I can receive direction from Him if I so seek it. What sweet reassurance that brings!

Of course, my undying hope was then (and still continues to be!) that I would be healed. But knowing that Christ has the power to heal us, does not always mean that we will be healed, or at least not in the way we may want. It wasn’t the case with my mom, and unfortunately hasn’t yet been the case with me either. However, even though I am not physically healed, all is well.

Now, 18 months later, I’m still dealing with this chronic illness, but it’s easier to look back and see how, even though I’m not fully healed, I have been blessed and received answers to prayers in so many ways. Although my life has been pared down dramatically, what remains at the core is still fulfilling. I have been sustained and upheld in the ways that I have needed most. My brain can function again (for at least a part of most days). I am miraculously still able to run my business. I am spending quality time with my family and able to hug, snuggle, and comfort my kids. I am finding little ways to serve and lift others. I am certainly more grateful and appreciative of the good days and tender mercies my life has offered.  And my faith has grown ten-fold. 

So at this Easter time, I’d like to bear my testimony of my Savior. At those moments that have been fraught with cold and darkness, He has shown me warmth and light.  On those days when I felt of little worth to my family or the world, He has sent others to buoy me up.  On those nights when I have cried out in exhaustion after hours of tremors running through my body, He has stilled them and stilled my soul. I am so grateful for a testimony of the gospel, for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the knowledge that everything will be alright—no matter what.