Happy New Year! It’s officially the first day of 2019 and I thought I’d get things started up right…rather I’d like to think that God put this on my heart to write for you today. First things first, on this day, January 1, 2019, I pray for a better year than the previous one I’ve had. I pray for an abundance of blessings overflowing for me in the areas of health, wellness, finances, career / business goals, entrepreneurship, personal growth, an abundance of opportunities, travel, and finally allowing my dreams to manifest and come into fruition. I pray that what tried to kill me in 2018, shriveled up and died leaving me with a healthier 2019! I decree and declare that 2019 will be my best year in Jesus’ name, Amen. With that being said, allow me to share part of my 2018 testimony.
For starters, I know I’ve done things a bit differently than my usual posts, but I need 2019 to be completely different than any other year I’ve encountered. It had to be done this way. My typical prayer, that usually comes at the end of my posts, needed to come at the beginning in order to set the tone for the New Year and new season that I’m determined to walk into. I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but there’s been a lot I’ve been battling with health wise, as well as mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I needed the downtime to reset, refuel, clear my mind, regain my strength and gather my thoughts and words. I couldn’t write on my blog. I could barely write in my personal journal. Honestly, I felt like quitting writing altogether. That’s it! End of story. Close the book because I was done.
I was tired and completely drained. I’d spent so long being the enemy’s punching bag, and a disproportionately, unmatched opponent, that I was out of commission. Sad to admit, but I was knocked out in the eleventh round watching the referee motion me to either get up or stay down and take this defeat like a winner. Though I saw the clock ticking down, I had no more energy left in my body to get up and keep fighting. I was ready to throw in the towel, quit writing and give up on my dreams. Trust me when I tell you, 2018 really kicked my butt hard!!!
It all started at the beginning of the year. I walked into 2018 with a vision for my book, a dream goal of being a published writer, financial resources to self-publish, and a tentative plan on how to obtain it and ultimately achieve the success I was craving. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t work out as anticipated. It wasn’t for the lack of work ethic, material, funds, nor anything else. The fact of the matter is that it just wasn’t the right time.
My timeline became laughable once my health issues started to arise and my car troubles began to mount up. Writing started to feel like very strenuous work for me instead of my freedom and a tension release. From the beginning of the year towards the early summer, I was writing and trying to be a caretaker to my maternal grandmother who had undergone surgery on her foot and leg. Between taking care of her all day, and trying to push through the pain and swelling of my right hand, wrist and arm, I was losing time and ground with achieving the goal in which I had set for myself. After months of nursing her back to health, in June, I finally thought I’d be able to get myself back on track. The September 1st deadline that I had given myself to publish was quickly approaching. I desperately needed things to turn around in my favor and work according to my timeline. I thought, surely after all the hard work I’ve put into writing the book, toppled by the “good work” I did of taking care of my grandma, surely God would ensure the window of opportunity would open up for me, right?! Boy, was I wrong. By that time, the carpel tunnel and tendinitis in my hand had gotten so bad that I needed Cortisone injections to assist with the swelling and pain, as well as was ordered to wear a brace at all times. Bummer!
I thought that’d be the worst of my problems, but it wasn’t. What started out as just carpel tunnel and tendinitis, quickly turned into a catapult of attacks on my immune system, my lungs, my body, my mind and my spirit. I went from having one thing wrong to having multiple ailments that my doctors had to treat. In one foul swoop, 2018 was the first year of my life where I went from being the caregiver to being the patient.
By August, I’d been to two (2) urgent cares and three doctors (3) all treating various ailments. Needless to say, my plans of conquering my dream goal by September 1st, was slowly crashing and burning. What came next didn’t help my cause neither. What started out as a few trips to urgent care and private doctors, turned into an emergency room visit in early September which landed me an immediate week long stay in the hospital. After already battling months of painful inflammation and swelling in my right hand and wrist, I was then diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection triggering constant flare ups with my asthma and ultimately causing bronchial spasms. After going through a week of round the clock treatments in the hospital, I thought my release would be my final time stepping foot in the hospital. Again, boy, was I wrong!
I swear the devil has a way of showing out and making you look like a fool. His attacks are relentless! No sooner had I left the hospital, I drifted off into sleep while driving home on the highway. It’s the grace of God that woke me up in the knick of time, escaping death’s door and ultimate disaster by missing crashing into the stone barrier and the cars driving alongside me.
After that scare, I thought I’d turn to my inner circle of friends and family members for help, thinking they’d help me out with getting around and cooking meals and doing stuff in the house until I got better. Surely, I thought, with all the many years I’ve put into being a caregiver, and a kind, giving person, I must’ve earned the right to have that “good karma” return to me. Again, I was fooled! No one came to my immediate rescue. No one was interested in helping me, and frankly, no one cared about what I was going through. To them, once they heard it was “an upper respiratory infection and asthma“, they dropped out of the game of showing any sort of compassion nor empathy. They thought it wasn’t anything seriously wrong with me, so they showed no kindness towards me…or at least, not the kindness I was looking for and expecting to receive.
Unfortunately, a week after my initial hospital stay, I was back in the emergency room. This time, I went to a different facility because I knew there was something else going on than what the previous doctors diagnosed me with. I wasn’t getting any better through antibiotics and their prescribed treatment plan. I was getting worse. Finally, after months of urgent care and doctor’s visits, complaining about severe head pressure, lightheadedness, dizzy spells, severe fatigue, lack of energy, a floating sensation while walking as if I was levitating in air, constant cold chills and feeling like I’m freezing even in the summer, memory loss, weird severe compulsion of consuming large quantities of ice, and falling asleep while driving just to name a few [of my symptoms], I was finally diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia and abnormal uterus bleeding. Ureka! I finally had some answers, I thought. I was a bit relieved.
After receiving my diagnosis, I thought things would get better for me. I figured things should’ve started looking up for me since I had finally gotten an accurate diagnoses. Wrong again! Things got worse. My asthma continued to suffer, my head pressure continued to exist, I continued to have low oxygen levels and my red blood cells count continued to deplete. I was now in for the biggest shock and fight of my life: if things didn’t start to turn around soon, the doctors told me I was either looking at a blood transfusion or I would die.
So, back and forth, every other day of each week from September 4th to now, I have been back and forth to the hospital. I’ve seen countless doctors, went through dozens of tests and treatment plans, been poked and prodded with numerous needles, have drawn more blood than I can count on both hands, have gone through two (2) IV iron transfusions [which was very painful and caused me to have an allergic reaction and an asthma attack that required further treatment], had my first surgical procedure, a sleep study done in preparations for my second surgery, all while still working hard with the doctors to get my blood levels up, my asthma under control, my oxygen levels steady, and my body to stop losing so much blood.
To tell you the truth, the story of my life always made me feel like Job in the Bible. However, as of lately, I went from feeling like Job, to now feeling like the woman in the Bible with the bleeding problem who needed to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment in order to receive healing. So Lord, where are you now that I need you!? I need that same miracle that took place all those years ago!
Sooo, again, needless to say 2018 had not been my year! Alongside my dreams delayed, my faith tested as a response to my health crisis and the lack of empathy I got from those I loved, and the devil fighting against me every chance he got, I was also hit with another financial hardship. It seems that when it rains, it pours! Through the struggles I’ve encountered in 2018, I’m SOOOOO glad it’s finally over with! I need a fresh start! I’m ready for a new beginning and a much better year than the one I’ve previously endured.
Through it all, I’m glad my faith, as well as the prayers and encouragement of others, has helped push me through these tough times, though it wasn’t easy. There were definitely times when I cried out to God wondering why He’d allow such afflictions to hit me all at once, out of the blue and all of a sudden. I felt I had been a good and faithful Christian. I tithed faithfully every week in church. I was never stingy with anything I had. I helped others whenever I saw a need. I read my Bible every day and I prayed constantly. Surely, I thought, living a “good Christian life” following Christ’s examples should exempt me from hardships, turmoils and trials, or at least lessen the amount of attacks on my life. Again, smh, I was COMPLETELY wrong!
As you can clearly see, being a disciple of Christ, also known as a Christian, does not exempt anyone from the attacks of the enemy. If anything, it heightens them. So, why would anyone want to follow Jesus Christ then if they have to battle hardships and tough times? I hear you. The one thing I’ve learned throughout this journey of mines, is that following Christ not only gives you guidance and understanding of the attacks of the enemy, it also provides you strength, courage and peace as you go through stressful circumstances, difficulties, problems, trials or tribulations. You’ll already go through these things whether you’re “saved” or not. So, why not go through them with peace of heart and mind, a guiding spirit on your side determining your steps, a big brother in Jesus Christ reminding you that you are not alone and a loving Heavenly Father that shows you that better days are ahead of you?
To tell you the truth, when all hope feels lost, knowing that I have someone, a higher power that whispers softly to me and sends me comforting words of encouragement to press on despite the pain I’m in, is what keeps me going. When I feel life’s gotten out of control, I know that there’s someone, my Heavenly Father, who’s in control of my life and everything in it. When I feel defeated by the countless blows of the enemy, I’m glad I have a big brother, Jesus Christ, that I can cry out to for help in easing the pain and giving me strength to get back up and fight back.
Being this way doesn’t come easy. It comes through hard work every day, reading His word, praying, pressing deeper, going further into my relationship with God, being still sometimes and waiting to hear a word of encouragement, strategy or direction from Him. I know nothing, am nothing without the great I Am! My Father God is THE ONLY THING that keeps me alive and afloat. Days when I feel like this battle is too heavy a burden to bare, His word pulls me along and gives me rest and strength to keep my faith in Him. Even when I feel like God is not near, is not hearing my calls or cries, is not seeing my tears, doesn’t want to move as fast as I want Him to, and is ignoring my prayers, there’s something in my heart that keeps nudging me along to get up and keep trying.
The days when my body can’t move, when the weather outside is frightful and the room temperature still feels too cold to move, and I’m shivering under my three (3) layers of heavy blankets that I keep on my bed, He gives me rest and the strength to lift myself out of bed and to understand the gift that is present. My life may not be going the way I’d planned, but by Him giving me another day to live, I know that there’s a plan for my life and a purpose for my pain.
So today, this new year of January 1, 2019, I openly and honestly share my story of the recent couple of months and year in hopes to encourage someone out there who needs to read and see that they’re not struggling alone. I’ve been through hell in 2018, and am still on the road to recovery; however, I’m decreeing, declaring and mustering up enough faith in my body, the size of a mustard seed, that 2019 will be a better year for me! Whoever you are, wherever you are, DON’T GIVE UP HOPE! Keep the faith. Pull yourself together, believe things will work out for your good and know that if He gave you the chance to not only wake up this morning, but to read this message about what I’ve been going through, then this is the confirmation that you need to know that God has a plan for your life. He’s not finished with you yet!
I know it sounds cliche, but you have to believe that the hell you’ve been through, or are currently going through, cannot last for long. Even rainstorms eventually bring sunny days. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been battling that thing, or dealing with that issue forever, please know that God has a plan for everything. I do not know why I had to go through the ups and downs that I’ve been through, but I’m holding onto the fact that there’s a purpose in my pain and a reason for my story. I haven’t lived through what I’ve been through just to stop here and die. I must keep going to see the glory and goodness that has to come from all the heartache and pain I’ve previously encountered. I pray you do the same!
So in closing, cheers to a good year in faith and favor with you and God. May many blessings fall unto you. May God give you peace of mind, strength in your body to keep fighting, any healing that you need, the finances you require to take care of yourself and your family, new career / job opportunities, or that business idea or dream that you have come into fruition and be fulfilled. May you be supplied with everything you need to succeed this year, and may He cause this year to be better than the last. This I pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Sincerely with love,
Travel photography by IG user: @levanterman