"A couple weeks ago, another specialist, one of many I have seen, started looking through my list of symptoms. He got through the first page and to the second. He read all the things I’ve given up. He read the other specialists written up diagnoses. Then he looked up to me. He said, “You know what amazes me about people like you? It’s amazing that you can still smile”.
And I smiled. My heart screamed out in my head, “but you don’t understand!!! It’s OKAY!! THIS IS ALL OKAY!!!! GOD IS FAITHFUL!!!!!!! His strength is enough! My weakness is complete in Him!”
But, I honestly don’t remember what I said back to him. I just remember being carried away in my mind dwelling on how beautiful the love of Jesus Christ is. He gets me through every single day. I couldn’t do it without Him.
God has given me a journey I wouldn’t have chosen for myself but I wouldn’t trade for the world. The road of no answers and intense pain has fueled my faith like no other. Josh asked if I would share my story and I accepted. Something that many people would consider a tragedy has been beautiful. If you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn’t notice anything different. I have both arms and both legs. I have an elbow brace on my right arm but otherwise; you wouldn’t know anything was wrong with me. I don’t have cancer. I’m not dying. Sometimes people call me on the phone when I’m walking in a store and ask me how rehab therapy is going… people look over and give me weird looks. Or I’ll run into somebody and they’ll ask “how’s therapy going??” or “how’s your treaments? PLEASE call me if you need anything!” Sometimes I’ll be at a restaurant and I’ll drop my fork. I feel bad for the poor waiter who keeps bringing me new silverware. If I stand up to fast, I’ll fall over. I have random bruises that show up if I hit something wrong.
But, God’s strength is flawless.
See it seems like yesterday when I was that like five year old girl with red hair and freckles holding a tiny brown instrument. The crowd clapped and the journey of her life began. Every day, she practiced. As she grew older, she was far beyond most others her age. She played with quartets, for crowds, and won state championship titles. She played for nursing homes. She fiddled at her local county fair. She played for dinner guests and Christmas parties. She loved to play. Her eyes lit up. She started looking into big music schools and began working on audition pieces in order to make it in. She wasn’t sure if going professional was God’s Plan but she was open to it. She loved to play. She began to teach students of her own. Goals were getting accomplished and the future looked bright for this promising musician.
Then, in 2009, just over two weeks before the state finals competition, she had an accident. It was just a retreat in a little town in the Rockies of Colorado and a large amusement park type swing. Thinking it was just a strained shoulder, she came back full swing in practice. The pain started severely. It took everything she had to get through her state finals performance. She lost. Lost the champion title. However, the pain in her shoulder took over her thoughts. She couldn't move without shooting pains. The first of countless specialists seen. The first of xrays. The pain got worse. She was in an arm sling most of the time. The pain surpassed a previous broken arm. God seemed silent. She couldn't put it into words. She started feeling sick to her stomach because of pain levels. She made the difficult decision to quit the violin. Having hope, she visited other therapists trying to find a quick answer. Weeks turned into months as she continued to live with pain. She was checked twice for a torn rotator cuff. She began to physical therapy to gain back motion lost in her shoulder.
Promising answers and strength regained showed hope! She picked back up the violin and slowly slid back into intense practice sessions. She made the cut for state finals again. The pain started to totally diminish. However, little things started to happen. She started continually dropping her fork. She couldn't hold her violin bow for long periods of time. Her right hand grew considerably weaker and one day, she dropped a galloon of milk. She dropped dishes. She dropped notebooks and pens. Anything she picked up with her right hand, she dropped. The pain came back worse then ever seconded with hand failure. She fought through the summer trying to ignore it but the pain grew. The battles she had to overcome. She knew it'd only be God to get through her state finals performance. She stood on that stage with a heart full of joy. She knew it would be her last time performing. She poured every last bit of strength she had into that performance for the glory of God. She wasn't nervous. She loved to play. Three-quarters through, her arm began to give out but God helped her finish. He helped her finish the performance of a lifetime, winning the state championship title. With a duet including her sister's flute, they were also named five-time champions for the state of Colorado. She came home thankful and so overwhelmed how God got her through. The pain began to get worse and worse until she could barely do things such as brushing her teeth and shampooing her hair. Her balance began to fade, major pressure headaches came every day, and her right side became weaker and weaker. She went to a doctor and they ordered a neck MRI. Finding nothing in the neck MRI, they ordered a brain MRI. The symptoms were pointing towards the possibility of a brain tumor. After eleven days of waiting for results, it came back normal. The relief and joy swept over the entire family! Looking more into the issue, she went to specialist after specialist. She became weaker and weaker. Pain took up her strength. She spent many days in the house on the sofa reading her Bible trying to get through it.
Finally, it hit. She would never be able to go professional. She had to completely quit. She had to drop out of one of the biggest youth orchestras in the state. More then that, growing up as a ranch kid all her life, she put her horses up for sale. She saved her best horse for last but he had to go too. Shattered dreams.
By God’s blessings and incredible plan, this is my story. It wouldn’t be one I would have chosen for myself at the beginning. But, I see how God has used all of it to spread the gospel. It’s beyond humbling. I am so overwhelmed by the love of Jesus Christ. Everything in my life is for His Glory. No matter what, He remains. The journey of the injury of my arm has been incredible. There have been mountains and valleys but somehow, there has been more joy then I can put into words. Sometimes faith doesn’t have answers that we seem to think are best but God is faithful. The things that we believe in without Him just lie. There is nothing as beautiful as His Love.
I lost count of the times I asked God “why”. I’m the oldest of four kids. We’re really close and watching them struggle with my injury hurt most of all. Finding one crying in a room for me. Finding another leaving a note on my bed after a treatment saying “I wish I could take this for you”. Watching my mom start crying when she said she just wanted me to be able to go to college. They’ve stood by me every step of the way. I have been blessed so much. I have the best family in the entire world.
My immune system has become so run down that if I am near someone who has a cold or any sort of virus, I’ll come down with it. It’s getting a ton better and God is using doctors and a ton of vitamins to help with that. But, it’s hard. It truly is.
I am standing here today because Jesus is alive. His Love is incredible. I can’t even describe it or put into words. I never really understood how God is your complete strength before this… but I get that now." End Part 2
We will hear the continuation of her story in Part 3.