Originally published by www.lovingmehealthy.com on April 11, 2018 – I had the honor of writing this article as guest blogger for Janelle at Loving Me Healthy.
Prayer: Father God, I pray that each person who reads this feels your love. Please let your words speak to them through me. My arms are wide open for you to use me to touch others. To God be the glory. Amen.
This morning our praise band played Gracefully Broken by Matt Redman with Tasha Cobbs Leonard. As I listened to the song, God’s message for this post began to pour into my heart.
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6
He encourages us in every trouble, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any trouble, through the very encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. 2 Corinthinians 1: 4
I believe God calls each of us to be gracefully broken. He clearly tells us that we will go through times of trial and struggle but that He will never leave us. He calls us to freely give ourselves to Him to allow those struggles to draw us closer to Him. And I believe when we allow this to happen, He then uses us to help others.
It’s hard to think back to a time when I didn’t have some type of health struggle. For many years, I endured countless ear and sinus infections that I now link to food allergies/sensitivities. These infections were always treated with antibiotics that I believe caused my digestive issues that showed themselves specifically Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in my late teens and early twenties.
At the time, I didn’t have a diagnosis and accepted that I’d just have to deal with constipation, gas and bloating. It wasn’t until my mid-30s that IBS began to have a much larger impact on my life. I can remember days when I would have a flare and not have the energy to get out of bed. My constipation turned into wild swings of diarrhea, almost like my body’s way of purging itself of what it had been strongly hold onto for many days.
During this time, I had a successful career as a real estate agent. I had a growing business, was financially contributing to my family, beautiful family and home with a super busy social life. I was mom, real estate agent, deacon at my church, helped at my boys’ school and vice-president of our homeowners’ association board and I’m probably missing something on that list. From the outside looking in, it probably looked like I had it all together but inside I was a mess. I was stressed out, over-extended and didn’t know how to slow down and take care of myself. Somewhere in my head I thought I could do it all but I also think there was a whisper somewhere that things were getting ready to unravel.
My weight was at an all-time high, my energy levels were at an all-time low, and my digestive system was turned upside-down. I was experiencing severe abdominal pain with no relief in sight. I had been to my family doctor but he had pretty much blown off needing to address my digestive issues. He made me feel like I just needed to grin and bear it. Then I decided I needed to find someone else to help me. I landed at a doctor who practices functional medicine. I wasn’t exactly sure this was the answer but decided to give it a try.
This doctor completed a round of blood labs and saliva hormone testing. The labs revealed what I pretty much already knew. I was indeed a mess! I began to follow the doctor’s plan and slowly began to see improvement. I had to pay close attention to how I was feeling so I knew what was working and what wasn’t.
Along the way, I realized that although I was feeling better that there was a piece missing. I revisited the doctor and we went back to the drawing board and addressed my digestive issues which she had also left out of the original plan.
I became keenly aware that I needed to take responsibility for my own health. This was a shift in mindset. I had not been taught how to care for myself. And my caring, self-sacrificing personality wasn’t equipped to do this well. I felt nudges from God to begin making changes. I clearly recall His voice telling me that He intended for me to leave real estate. He told me that I wouldn’t be able to move on until I was obedient to His calling.
This was a huge leap of faith for both me and my husband as we adjusted to the idea of returning to one income. We would miss my income from real estate but both agreed that we needed to be obedient to God. I left real estate and waited for God to lead me to what He had planned next.
In the fall of 2010, I began my coursework to get my masters in holistic nutrition. I had no idea whether what I was studying was to benefit just my family or a larger audience. I recently completed my masters and continue to listen for God’s call on my life. I never expected it would take so long to get where I’m going and at times felt very stuck but now I see God was preparing me and putting me in a place where caring for myself is now second nature. My prayer is that He will continue to use me to help others who’ve experienced similar health setbacks. I strive to be an example to other women who aren’t used to caring for themselves. It is a process that we must learn but is a necessity if we are to live healthy and strong ready to serve others.
Through this transformation, I left my arms wide open in faith that He would lead me and never leave me. He has been faithful each step of the way. Our family has never gone without and He has guided us every step of the way. He has made my marriage stronger and brought our family closer to each other.
I pray that you will look at your circumstances whatever they might be and ask God what He wants for your life. He is there waiting for you to seek Him. He wants to stand by your side, carrying you when needed. He knows how he gracefully breaks us and how He wants to use us to glorify Him. He is forever faithful!