JOY IN THE MIDST OF A STORM

Written by
Ashley
on October 1, 2019

It has been so heavy on my heart to share my personal testimony through a blog post. I am usually a very private person and not many people know me intimately so being as vulnerable as I’m about to be in this post is way out of my comfort zone.(Give me some grace please y’all!) However, I truly believe that God has put this on my heart as a way to help others. So I just want to start by letting you know that I am praying for you right now as I type this, that it would bless you in one way or another!

About a year and a half ago, our lives were abruptly turned around with a few diagnoses that were very unexpected. My family is very health-conscious and we try to make sure everything we put in and on our bodies is healthy. However, this wasn’t always the case. In high school and college, my husband and I ate way too much junk and fast food, and let’s just say that as we approached 30, it caught up to us! My husband was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis, some hormone issues, and I started having severe allergic reactions on my skin, among many other health issues that started popping up.

Well, having the research-based mind that was instilled in me throughout college and grad school, I immediately began to research..& research, & research, & more research! I even enrolled in more schooling and became a Functional Medicine Practitioner. I was determined that I was going to fix our issues! We got my husband’s symptoms under control within a month or so and even reversed his condition without medication. “WOOHOO!” I thought as I secretly patted myself on the back for a job well done. (How arrogant, right?!)

While my husband’s issues were getting better, mine were getting worse! I was doing all the “right things” accordingly to my research and schooling, but each time things seemed to be getting better, I would have a severe allergic reaction and major setback. “What is going on?! Why isn’t this better by now?! A year and half later!”

It wasn’t until my most recent skin reaction that I realized exactly what I was doing wrong. Off and on from the initial allergic reaction, I would have flare ups here and there but nothing that my natural remedies couldn’t calm down and get rid of. Well this most recent reaction did me in! I ended up in Urgent Care followed by a few different doctors and needing two steroid shots, 3 different medications by mouth and 2 topical. The swelling from the skin reaction was causing inflammation to go deep into my tissues and was getting dangerous and FAST! My eyes were almost swollen shut. I couldn’t be a wife, a mom, a healthcare provider or anything! I was seriously out of commission. I was desperate for relief and for answers. I needed to know the root cause of this. That night, I screamed and cried out to God “WHERE ARE YOU?! Do you even care what is happening right now?! Why is this happening?! I’m doing everything right according to my research…” and then BAM just like that, he stopped me and I heard His voice clear as day. “You’re exactly right my child. You’re doing everything according to YOU and by your OWN strength. You need to rely on ME and MY strength.”

Y’all, talk about that hit me like a ton of bricks! I was so busy being prideful thinking that just because of my degrees and certifications that I knew it all and could fix it all by my own strength. (Pride is an awful, awful thing y’all!) I had been trying to heal myself through my own strength instead of leaning on God. Only God knows all. I know NOTHING in comparison to Him! I need to turn to Him FIRST and ask Him for healing and for wisdom to do what needs to be done for my health issues (& for all things).

In that exact moment, a peace and joy came over me that is unexplainable. Was my skin reaction still there? Yes. Was I still in pain? Yes. But something was very, very different. My entire perspective had shifted. It was God’s battle to fight and not my own. It was so freeing and comforting to know that He is fighting this battle for me and I don’t have to try to do it in my own strength. I need only give it to Him and He will take care of the rest. He told me that I am already healed and that on the other side of this, my testimony will serve to help others! (Did y’all know that God can turn anything that the devil meant to harm us into something good?!)

I’ve been really pressing into God’s Word and learning more and understanding who He actually is and His character. He wants us to experience Heaven here on Earth y’all! He doesn’t want us to suffer and experience hardships like we do. These things happen because of the fall. So the Bible is very clear in John 16:33 that we will have many trials and sorrows here on Earth, but He tells us to take courage because despite these inevitable struggles, we are not alone! God does not abandon us to our struggles. If we remember that the ultimate battle has already been won, then we can have the peace of Christ even in the most troublesome of times! I am experiencing this peace and it is very, very real y’all!!

Whether you’re going through physical pain or trauma, emotional or mental pain, health issues, relationship issues, or any other difficult time, God wants to be there for us. We just need to simply invite Him into our hearts to be the Lord of our lives. It’s that simple. Ask Him to be your savior. Invite Him in. Let Him bear your burdens. We were never meant to carry our burdens alone.

I believe that a big reason why I was able to hear God’s voice so clearly that night is because I read and study His Word. God will always intervene on our behalf, but we have to know Him and have a relationship with Him first. We do this by reading and learning His Word in our Bibles. I can tell when I’m not spending enough alone time with God because I start to feel anxiety, depression, worry, fear, and doubt. All of these things are lies from the enemy! When I worship, pray and read my Bible, I can confidently put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and only then do I experience PEACE and JOY like no other!

This joy isn’t based on my circumstances; it is solely from the Holy Spirit!

 

I encourage you to join me in slowing down and getting quiet daily. Pray to Him, but also take time to just feel His presence and hear His voice so that you can experience this peace and joy in the midst of your struggles.

Would you pray this prayer with me?

Father, thank you so much for Your presence in my life! Please forgive me as I repent for my sin of pride and trying to overcome my struggles in my own strength. Your Word says that you resist the proud. I want to draw closer to you, not farther away. Help me to seek You FIRST in ALL circumstances and lean not on my own understanding. I know that your desire is to prosper me and not harm me. You are with me in this tough season of life, and I need only be still to feel your presence and hear Your still small voice in order to experience peace and joy in the middle of this. The battle has already been won and victory is mine because of your son Jesus! I pray that you would give me wisdom and clarity and that Your will would be done, not mine! I am so grateful for your abundant blessings! I am so undeserving, yet you continue to love me so well! Thank you so much! I ask that you continue to guide me, guard me and keep me. I love you and I praise you! In Your son Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

*Here are some songs that have been my absolute favorites to listen to during this tough season! I hope they empower you as much as they have me.*

Raise A Hallelujah
Alive
Yes I Will

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