When I was a kid I was a bit of a wild child! If my folks took me to the ocean, I would go as deep as they would allow. If we went to a forest, I would have to climb the tallest tree. If we went to the swimming pool, I had to dive off the highest diving board. When we would hike, I would have to go off the trail and climb over the bumpy rocks. I kept my parents on their toes to say the least.
God made me fearless. It was an inborn strength that sometimes got me into trouble, but it was simply just me. I gave my life to Christ when I was 13-years-old and began to use this gift to further God’s Kingdom. I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with my whole high school and didn’t care if I got made fun of for it. At one point, I was nicknamed “Hitler” because I encouraged all of my beautiful girlfriends to save sex for marriage. Our teen-boy friends didn’t always appreciate my influence.
It was not until my early twenties that I started struggling with fear. By that point, the worries of this life started to get to me. I suffered with chronic migraines most of my life and in my early twenties this illness took a turn for the worse. I became plagued by fear. Would I be able to pursue more education? Would I be able to work? Would I be able to be in ministry? Will I be a good wife? Will I be able to take care of baby someday? How will I function? How will I enjoy my life?
Chronic pain changes a person in all ways – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. As a child and teenager, I ran with freedom and basked in peace. Life was not perfect, but life was good. I was OK. I was happy. I was not afraid of much of anything. But, chronic pain is almost unbearable to live with and it is not only hard on the person in pain, but also the loved ones of the person in pain.
Pain is crippling and the fear that comes along with pain is even more crippling. It is impossible to understand until you have been through it.
Sometimes when I close my eyes I dream of what it would be like to just feel normal. I picture myself in a flowy sundress, no shoes, dancing freely in a field of wheat. I also imagine myself dancing around the kitchen with bare feet. There is something about bare feet that symbolizes freedom for me.
When I was a child, I refused to wear shoes when I went outside to play. I stepped on bees consistently, but I was not about to allow my fear of bees control my life. I ran all over my neighborhood with bare feet. I was free.
I have prayed that God would take away my migraines, but he has not. I still deal with a lot of pain and a lot of fear, but I believe that God created me to live freely. It is my faith in God that keeps me holding on, even in the darkest moments. I believe that God is a good father and wants to heal me. I am not sure why He has not healed me yet, but I believe He will.
In the meantime, I seek to be me. It is very easy to lose ourselves as adults. Life is hard. Life is very hard, but life is also good. We must focus on the good and stay positive. We must recognize fear when it enters our minds and tell ourselves that fear is not from God and it leads to despair.
Even though I suffer with chronic migraines I have continually pushed forward and pursued my dreams. I will not let migraines ruin my life. I have managed to complete seminary, get married, work full-time jobs, have amazing friendships, stay involved in ministry, travel the world, and have a pretty awesome life.
Sure, there are times when I want to give up and months when I have given up; but when I forget who I am, I think of myself as a child. Children are generally themselves. They do not carry the weight of this world the way adults do. They are resilient and even when life is unfair they move forward without much hesitation. I may step on bees everyday, but bees will not steal my liberty to dance outside in bare feet.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -John 8:36
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