Overwhelmed, confused, and scared, I sat in the hospital bed with tears streaming down my face and a lump in my throat. Trying to make sense of the medical gibberish coming from the doctor’s lips, the only words that continued to play through my mind were “chronic disease“.
I was 19 years old. A newlywed. My husband and I had just said our vows a few short weeks ago. In sickness and in health. Little did we know, the sickness was waiting just around the corner. Up until recently, I had always been relatively healthy. But in the weeks leading up to our big day, I started experiencing severe stomach pain. Everyone insisted that it was just the stress of planning a wedding. I just kept on truckin.
When I returned to work from our honeymoon, my symptoms grew much more severe. The pain was crippling, enough to put me in the fetal position. At work I was spending more time in the bathroom than I was actually working. Anything I ate seemed to go right through me. I couldn’t even finish a meal before i had to make a run for it. And then one day at work I vomited blood. At that point, I decided a trip to the hospital was in order.
The diagnosis… Crohn’s Disease. Crohn’s is an autoimmune disorder that effects the entire digestive tract. A simple explanation is that my body recognizes my own cells as foreign, and attacks. Scientists are uncertain of a cause, therefore, have not yet found a cure. I had a chronic illness. I was told I would be on medication indefinitely. I would be sick forever.
I am sure you can imagine how devastating that may be to anyone. But it happened to me. And it wasn’t fair. I was young. I was just married. I had so many plans. Why me? I didn’t understand. Was I being punished? What did I do wrong? I know now that I was wrong for having those thoughts. I knew it then, but I was allowing Satan to convince me otherwise. I was convinced that it mas my own fault. Even worse, I was convinced that my relationship with Christ was not strong enough to have prevented me from getting sick.
I was on medication for three years, which never relieved 100% of my symptoms, and in turn added to the list. I prayed and I fasted, and I didn’t understand why God had not yet chosen to heal me. I questioned my faith multiple times. I never doubted the Lord’s ability to heal me, I have always known he has the power to do so. I questioned that he would choose to heal me. After all, I don’t deserve it.
After a serious flare up following the birth of my oldest daughter in 2011, the doctors wanted me to start medicating with an intravenous immune suppressant. The list of side effects were terrifying, and included lupus, tuberculosis, and death. That was where I drew the line. I began to search more diligently for a natural cure for Crohn’s. I continued to pray and ask the Lord for healing.
Then one day I found a testimonial video on youtube explaining how a man had healed his Crohns Disease by following a simple diet. It was called The Specific Carbohdrate Diet. Immediately, I ordered the book “Breaking The Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gotscholl, and I read it from cover to cover. My eyes had been opened. I learned so much about my body and how it works, my disease, and how food effects it. For years I had been told that “diet has nothing to do with it”. That wasn’t so true.
Within a few weeks of the diet, and no medication, my disease was in remission. I was symptom free. I continued to research and learn about cooking with real, unprocessed, organic food. I learned about inflammation foods, and additives, and GMO, and how all of these things wreak havoc on our gut. I started developing my own recipes, and not only did I love them, but my family did as well. I decided to start a blog and share my recipes. I wanted to reach out to others who were going through what I already had to. I didn’t want anyone else to have to go years like I did without knowing the truth. Over the next couple of years, I absorbed a multitude of information, and made changes to every aspect of my life. I started growing my own produce, raising chickens, medicating holistically, living life the way God intended. It had become my passion.
I began receiving emails from readers explaining how I have helped them in different ways. But what stuck out to me the most is that every one of them said I was an inspiration. I inspired someone to keep going. I inspired someone to choose joy.
It was then that I realized what God was doing in my life. He was using me. Although I continued to pray and ask for healing, God had bigger plans. He was allowing me to experience pain and trial so that I might use that experience to minister to others. What a blessing! I am truly honored and thankful that the Lord would choose to use me in such a way. Thinking back, I am reminded of a sermon that my Dad once preached. He explained that God always answers prayers, but his answer is not always “yes”. Sometimes his answer is “not right now”. Sometimes his answer is “I’ve got something better”. It is important to remember that God’s plans are always bigger than our own.
I was in remission for 3 years with no medication. And then one day, I got food poisoning. After that, it was just a downward spiral. I fought so hard, but my body was not strong enough. I was hospitalized twice within 3 months because I was losing so much blood. At one point my hemoglobin had gone as low as a 4, and I had to receive two pints of blood. If my blood had gotten any lower, my organs would have started failing and I could have died. That was a very eye-opening experience for me. At that point I realized that I needed medication. Even though I was only feeding my body real, whole foods, the nutrients were not being absorbed. I had a number of deficiencies. And so began again the search for the right medication. I am still currently making my way down the list. I have been on high doses of steroids for much longer than anyone should. But I know we will get there, and it will be a glorious day.
I give thanks to the Lord every day for leading me to the Paleo diet. I would be in such worse condition if I hadn’t learned to eat better, how to take care of my body. The diet may not work alone, but neither will the medicine. The two have to work together. I thank God for every stage of this journey. I thank him for allowing me to experience the rain, so that I may also experience the rainbow. And I praise him in the storm. It was my disease that led me to the more natural way of living that I have grown so passionate about. And it is my experience that allows me to reach out and minister to others. My trials were a blessing in disguise.
My passion continues to grow to this day. The Lord is working through me to reach people across the world. I strive to live life the way He planned. But my prayers have changed. I no longer ask for healing. There is no need. I asked once, and he heard me. Instead, I thank him for the healing, and I claim it in the name of Jesus Christ. I have faith and believe that one day, I will be healed. On HIS schedule, not my own. Because his word promises that “By his stripes I am healed.” (Isaiah 53:5.) This journey has only just begun. I put my life in his hands. He is doing some incredible things. And I know he’s not through with me yet.
photo credit: My amazingly wonderful husband and best friend, Joshua Holland. (aka Cowboy). I love you.
Wear the Promise – “By His Stripes” tee // Covenant Gear
This had become my absolute favorite t-shirt. Not only is it cute, comfortable, and modest, but it is the perfect representation of my testimony! Covenant Gear is an amazing Christian clothing company that I am proud to support through my business.. I can’t wait to add more of their products to my wardrobe!
*I was not financially compensated for this post.