My story starts in a very small town where I grew up the eldest of three in an average working-class family. Being the eldest, and having been blessed with a Type-A, perfectionist personality, I quickly fell into the “Performance” mindset. I was the proverbial straight A student, valedictorian of my senior class (never mind there were only 28 of us), and captain of the cheerleaders. I didn’t have much in the way of friends because I simply couldn’t stand all of the girl-drama, but I had a steady boyfriend and spent most of my time with him or a good book.
With the exception of my Confirmation, I went to church only sporadically, usually Christmas and Easter. I don’t remember much about it really.
My Senior year, people in my life started to die - two uncles, a grandmother, two friend’s fathers, and a life-long friend. By the end of spring I was emotionally exhausted. I’d applied to a few colleges, but never had I accepted any of their acceptances.
As we were preparing for graduation, I started to panic a bit, not know what I was going to do. And what would everyone think - “The Valedictorian doesn’t have a plan?” Performing kicked in…
We made a few calls, and one of the Colleges that had accepted me agreed that I could still attend, get the grant money promised, and start in August. Whew…I dodged that bullet. BUT (there’s always a but isn’t there?) it was a CHRISTIAN college, so I decided I’d go for a year and transfer.
Fast forward a few months and I’m at college and I realized I wasn’t all that prepared. I had breezed through high school, but college was another story. It was hard work, even for me. One Friday night in October, the 21st, a friend of mine decided I needed a study break, and took me to a small concert on campus. I was broke, but it was free so I decided to go. I don’t remember the name of the group or anything they sang, but I remember the feeling I had. I was overcome by a strange sense of peace.
Before I knew it, I was standing up during an altar call, and saying the sinner’s prayer. That was it. No fireworks, just peace…un-imaginable, indescribable peace.
That was the start of my walk with an amazing God.
I had a couple of good, supportive friends at school who supported and mentored me for the next several months. Which low and behold I would need desperately come August.
The summer after my Freshman year, I worked a lot of hours as a cashier at a local grocery store. Like most college students, I needed to earn the extra money.
In August, I went with my family to Washington DC to watch my siblings in a marching band competition. At some point I ended up sleeping, A LOT in the hotel room. I remember sleeping all the way home, and then some more when I was at home in my own bed. I went to the Doctor to find out I had strep, and mono. Great. Lots of meds and rest. A day or two later, I woke up and discovered my feet were numb. I wasn’t sleeping in a funny position, but I still didn’t think much of it.
The next time I woke up (several hours later) my knees and legs were tingly. Now I was nervous. Mom took me to the doctor, but there in Small-town, no one knew what was going on. By the next day I couldn’t feel anything. Nothing. Nada. Now, I was scared. But I knew to pray, so I did. And I called some of those friends who supported and mentored me, and they prayed, but still the doctors didn’t know what the problem was.
We went to the hospital the next town over, and after a battery of blood tests, and a terrifying spinal-tap, they determined I had Guillain-Barre Syndrome. It even sounds bad. Basically, I ended up in bed for six weeks, paralyzed from head to toe. They didn’t have the treatments back then that they do today, so basically I was given steroids and told to rest. Yeah, what else am I going to do?
Well, I prayed. And I rested. And I prayed some more.
Fast forward to January, and I went back to college with a walking stick and lots of physical therapy appointments. But within the year, I was back to normal, and to God be the Glory, because doctors really didn’t know what the outcome would be. I remember comments like – “You may not walk normal again.” And, “You may not be able to carry or deliver children.”
Well, I walk fine, and eight years later, I conceived and carried the first of two children full term both with natural deliveries. That was 15 years ago!
I’ve thought about these events lately and feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for the God who made me, who saved me, who healed me, and has allowed me the opportunity to raise two beautiful children and work every day to advance His Kingdom in a variety of ways.
What’s your story?
Linking with Jen @ the Soli Deo Gloria Party
Linking with Jen @ the Soli Deo Gloria Party