It’s My Story

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I’ve been growing. 

I’ve been looking back at my past and seeing how it’s changed me. Seeing why I am how I am, and how I can change myself. Not because I don’t like myself. No.

In the past year, I’ve begun to love myself. No longer hating the pain and anger that sits inside of me, no longer hating the face that was given to me, no longer mad about the body that I call mine, no longer ashamed that I’m me.

I can go back and read past blog posts, smiling at who I was then.

And I can go back five years and tell myself it wasn’t my fault. I shouldn’t feel guilty for refusing to see my grandfather four days before he died. I shouldn’t feel guilty for not hugging him the last time I saw him. I shouldn’t hurt because at his funeral I didn’t cry.

God and my grandfather know that I loved him. And I’m proud to be his granddaughter. Proud that I had a grandfather with such a story.

Instead of feeling the pain of my twelfth birthday, I can remember the beauty of the bouquet my father brought me. The moment I hugged him, soaking in his warmth and the clean smell of the hospital. He had made it, he was here to celebrate, even if it was a only for a few hours.

Instead of basking in the things I missed on that birthday, I can relive the tears that rolled down my cheeks when people from my church surprised me. Because they actually cared, because this was a good reason to let all the tears out, a time I didn’t have to be strong.

I’ve been patching up the relationships I destroyed in my desperate attempt to control my life. I’ve started releasing my fears. They aren’t all gone, and it’ll be a lifelong journey. But in the past year, I’ve been taught one thing.

I’m not in control.

I’m just in for the ride. So why hold on with a vice grip, when I can just lean back? I know that my God is only planning things that will be good for me. Sure, the good might hurt at times, it might bring tears. It might even feel like too much.

But God always gives you strength. Sometimes that’s only enough strength to lie in bed, sometimes it’s only enough strength to sob on the floor. Sometimes it’s enough strength to get up and run. And sometimes, it’s enough strength to soar.

Comparison should never be allowed to enter your mind. Because your journey, the amount of strength God sees fit to give you is uniquely yours.

God has written a unique story for each of us.

I would never wish to have someone live my past, and in order for you to be me, you would have to have that. Never compare yourself to me, to others, to the people around you. You don’t know what they’ve gone through, and it’ll only ruin your own story.

If you don’t have both eyes on the road, you’ll never know the difference between good and best. Live your story, my friends. Embrace it, love it, understand the beauty, and do your very best.

Your past might be sad, your future might be rocky, and the present might be dark, but God promises that though there are tears in the night, joy will come with the morn. ❤

~~Amie~~

We are Complicated

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I am a collapsing star.

The night sky whirls around me as I fall, creating a unique masterpiece behind me, wishing something would stop my breakneck descent. Wishing someone would understand, that underneath all the fiery gas, there’s an ice cold heart that needs some love.

I am a flickering flame.

One moment alive, one moment strong, the next vanished from sight. Oxygen is needed, but also feared. What if I grow? What if there’s nothing to fuel the fire that is my soul? Will I always warm people, and yet keep them at a distance? Is there no way to subdue my soul? Is it’s always all or nothing?

I am a dripping stalactite.

Moist, cold, dangerous. Any moment able to collapse on someone’s head, always reminding them of my presence by a ceaseless drip, an annoying patter. Hidden from the light of the sun, embracing the darkness and living with others of my kind. Yet, solitary and growing, not letting the silence bother my own song.

I am a slice of mica.

Beautiful to those who take the time to dig through the grime to find me, yet not precious to those who look towards what the world says. Thin, fragile, yet strangely resistant. Reflective, showing the world a screwed picture of itself, hoping that someday it’ll see that it’s opinions aren’t always as they should be.

I am a diving eagle.

Swooping, talons reaching. The water skimming beneath my feet, the prey firmly clamped. Food, freedom, and fresh air growing my feathers and my independence. Selecting my certain friends, but still soaring alone, there is no reason for me to be afraid. I am the the top predator.

I am the mole.

Hiding away from the real world, embracing the grime, worms, and darkness of the world in which I live. Squinting when I reach the sunshine, wondering why anyone would want to live in the harsh light. The dirt is so soft, so cool, it is everything that I am used to. And yet the sun still has a certain, burning charm.

I am the rain drop. 

Falling far and fast, landing softly on the parched earth, allowing myself to be totally soaked up. No longer my own person, no longer free to breathe, too busy trying to help heal your pain. Lost, parched in the process, too moldable, too eager to fill your empty cup.

I am the guard dog.

Sniffing out danger, protecting my people. Hating when they don’t listen to my warnings, hurting when they’re hurt. Silly people, if they just trusted my nose, we’d all be happy. My bark is silent, my bite devastating, don’t push, don’t pull. Stay away, no one will be hurt, no one will feel the strength of my jaws.

I am the whispering wind.

All my problems, too shy to tell those around me, so I’ll just move the leaves, whispering through them. Can you hear the plea between my words? The pain beneath my jokes? Are you soothed by my gentle words? How did I find the words to say to ease your pain if I have not been through the pain myself?

And yet, though I am all those things,

I am still

~~Amie~~

Does It Get Better?

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Dear little Amie,

Does it get better?

Yes and no.

Yes, the hatred you feel will stop burning in your veins. The anger that causes you to tear your hair in the closet won’t follow you any longer. The anger that constricts your voice and kills all those around you will no longer poison you.

No. The pain will still be there, just morphed and changed. It’ll still squeeze your chest and cause rants. You’ll still lie to people and tell them you’re fine when you’re dying inside.

Yes. The people that used to hurt you so much will no longer cut holes in your heart. No, you won’t get along with them. Yes, you will be breathing freely, but no. You won’t be the olympic athlete.

Yes, you won’t have to spend each morning trying to swim through your own mind. You’ll be better, you’ll be able to run, you’ll be singing and laughing again without a cough.

But no, you’ll still be up at two in the morning, wondering why you’re alive. You’ll be asking your body to just give up the fight, but unlike your mind, it’s not a quitter.

Yes, you’ll have people supporting you, pushing you back up when you fall and swear to yourself that you can’t move again. They’ll be there, and no, they won’t always know what to say.

But sometimes being there is louder than any of the words they’ll ever be able to say.

No, you’ll still wonder at times if this life is worth living. If the stars are worth seeing. You’ll wonder if the Word is worth reading, and the songs worth singing.

But yes, someone will look at you and say I love you. And you’ll realize that you’re important. Why? Doesn’t matter. To some people, you’re important. Some people need an Amie in their lives.

No, some people will still be unable to understand you. People will still say things that burn, do things that hurts, and refuse to let you through. But you will learn that they aren’t worth your time. They won’t take their words back, but you don’t need them to do that.

Yes, Amie. Overall, it’ll get better. You’ll have relapses. You’ll sit on the floor, wishing you could cry the tears that simmer underneath. You’ll be on your bed, silent because the thoughts in your mind are too loud for music. You’ll refuse to talk to people, you’ll neglect food.

But each time you’ll come out stronger. More determined not to let your mind to take control of your life. Each time, you realize that you’re a fighter. But you’re not the only one fighting.

There’s One that shines through, stronger than you. One that can fight better than you do. One that won’t let you go through with the lies that are whispered to you.

So fall apart, but don’t let the fragments shatter.

Because remember, it’ll be better.

Perhaps, it’ll get worse before it’s better. But always, in the end, it’ll get better.

Chin up, future Amie. You’ll get through.

~~Amie~~

Safety

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Hello, folks!

I was supposed to write a post yesterday. And I was supposed to write a post Monday.

*looks  at the sun and sighs* I am sitting out on the front porch, soaking in the warmth and sunshine. I’m not allowed to go any farther, due to this awesome season in world history, but at least I can get some vitamin D, and hopefully avoid sun burn.

To be very honest, this whole thing has been hard for me. I see so many amazing encouragement posts by so many different people, but most of them mean nothing. Except for the ones that say “stay safe.”

By saying stay safe, they’re not assuming your emotions, not assuming what you’re experiencing, not putting you in a box of panic stricken humans, or guessing that you’re an angsty rebel.

They’re simply asking you to protect yourself. And by protecting yourself, you’ll be protecting others.

I think something that we often forget is just that. In a way, by taking care of ourselves, we’re taking care of others. In a way, even mental unhealthiness can be spread to others. Tension, anxiety, fear, and even joy are contagious. Concern and care for others is also contagious, and I think that’s what we need to remember through this scary time.

Spread joy and love, not fear and anxiety. Fill the house with dance music, not silent tension. Your mental health will be so much better during quarantine.

Maybe after it’s all over, I’ll write a post about what my personal experience with quarantine was like. If y’all would like that. But right now, as some of you are just practicing social distancing, remember.

Stay safe.

I don’t know your mindset about this, I don’t know what you’re doing, how you’re feeling, or how this effects your schedules. But I do know this. I want all of you to stay safe, I want the death rates in the US to stay as low as possible, and I want this to strengthen and mold our characters.

So yes, I’m skipping this week’s women of history post. I don’t know if I can write another history post at the moment, I’m struggling to write anything at all.

And that’s okay.

So now I’m going to announce the giveaway winner!

The winner is . . .

Natalia!

Congratulations, Natalia! I’ll be emailing you shortly with all the details. I hope you guys all enjoyed the blog tour, and if you haven’t checked out Jana’s post, or Jo’s post, or Esmeralda’s or any of them, check out this post here, which will have the links to the different blogs.

Like I said before, stay safe. 😉

~~Amie~~

If You Listen to Lies

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I was teased by almost everyone I knew in real life. I was teased by people I should have expected to be loved and accepted by. I was twitted for my clothes, my speech, my height, my interests.

I was told I was a loser, I even had a large, huge L painted on my face. Kids younger than me would look at me and whisper loser loud enough for me to hear. Kids older than me would ask me painful questions, and when I would fumble for an answer, they would always go, “Oh, right. You’re a Woleslagle.” As if in being born into my family, I was put on a lower pedestal than them.

Friends snooped through my personal belongings, constantly critiquing my height, telling me that my accomplishments weren’t really anything in the big scheme of things because “oh you know, so-and-so is wayyyyyyy better than you.”

My hair was the wrong color, wrong texture, wrong length. I wore the wrong shoes, I said the wrong answer to their stupid questions, I would stand up to them and tell them what I thought.

Until I had enough.

There’s only so long that you can go on confronting a lie until it overwhelms you. Until you believe that you’re ugly, because every girl you know has told you so, and the boys agree, and so does the babies in the nursery. It’s just the adults that roll their eyes and ask you if you actually believe it.

Because yes, you do.

I decided that if I couldn’t be with them without being hurt, I wouldn’t be with them at all. It came to the point that I was crying myself to sleep after seeing these people. I would avoid church luncheons, hiding in the sanctuary and playing piano while everyone else played and talked.

One time they came to taunt me while I played, and I ran out the side door without looking at them, words of hatred following me. I threw myself down in the field and cried, because in that instant I knew I was a loser. I knew that my piano skills were trash, I was trash, and they were right. What place did a loser have on this earth?

It was reinforced at home. Siblings telling me I was a liar, what would people on my blog and my friends think if they knew who I was? How would I like to lose all my following? I was mean, cruel, a loser, and a liar, and no one should ever spend time with me.

They wished they could throw me in a trash can. My siblings told me to be quiet, to go away if I had a problem with what they were saying. And so I did. I spent a lot of time upstairs in my room.

My parents couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go to church. Why I didn’t want to see certain “friends.” Why I spent time in my bedroom. Why I seemed miserable. But I didn’t tell them everything. Because didn’t they already know the truth?

Their daughter was a loser, a misfit, she was stupid, ugly, too tall, a liar, and her accomplishments were failures in the big scheme of things.

I was to be quiet about something that hurt so much. I couldn’t refute the lies anymore, and in a way, the lies had become a part of me. When anyone said anything to contradict the lies, they seemed to be the ones that were lying. Everyone in my small world agreed that I was a terrible person that didn’t deserve to be here.

Thank goodness my world grew. You see, people drift in and out of your world. The ones that seemed to be the only people you knew kinda get smaller when your world gets bigger, and you meet people who look at you and see the real you. Or the you that you could be.

And you never know what real friends are until you have lots of fake ones.

At this point in my life, an adult started trying to figure me out. Not as a “little kid” or a “teenager” who had problems. But as a friend. She wanted to understand what made Amie run, what thoughts hid in her reserved body.

And it didn’t take too long for me to mention some of the things that happened, jokingly of course. Because it’s hilarious to be told you’re a loser.

“Do you believe them?” Such a straight forward question, with such a hard answer. Because the answer was yes. I did believe that I was a loser. She asked if I had told my parents about this, and yes, I had. They knew, the kids’ parents knew, everyone knew. But what were they to do?

That’s the question. What are we to do?

In my own experience, it just continued to spiral. Those lies that I was told took root deep inside, and pushed a darker thought to my mind. If I was all of these things, why was I even alive?

I wrestled with this question for three years. About six months ago, it was stronger than ever. Being left by one friend, ghosted by another, being ignored by my peers at church, and having lots of the adults at church ignore me as well, I felt as if I didn’t matter.

If I had fallen in the forest, I wouldn’t have made a sound. No one would have known, or cared. Just another hopeless girl hopelessly gone. Good thing we got rid of the weak, right?

But then, people were annoying and destroyed my plans. One random person kept nagging me, wanting to be my friend. Another friend would send me email after email to make sure I was okay. One friend asked me to her birthday party, dragging me out of my little hole. Because they wanted me.

Didn’t they know I was a loser? Didn’t they understand I had nothing to offer them? I would scar them, hurt them, they would go running from me like all the other friends in the past?

One word sentences, monosyllables. If I can scare them away before I care about them, then we’re all good. Just more people to confirm my theory that I don’t matter in this world, because I’m stupid and I suck.

But they didn’t run because of my meanness. They stayed. And they’re still here. I’m going to be in one’s wedding, and the other one literally just texted me and oh God.

The little girl who was so lonely has friends.

The one who sat in the middle of the field crying because she wasn’t wanted. The little girl who sat on the swings alone and told herself it didn’t matter. The one who used to whisper to herself that she would prove the bullies wrong.

She now has friends who say it for her. She’s going to prove those bullies wrong. 

And so this post is to thank my friends. Thank you so much, for helping me. For loving me even when I was unlovable. For being there, even when I wouldn’t talk. For talking to me, for making me laugh. For giving me virtual hugs in place of real ones. Or, in some cases, keeping your distance and giving me pats. 😂

For you reading this post, please remember that the stupid things you say to people stick. You might have been kidding when you told your friend she was too skinny or too fat, but it sticks and stays.

I’m not saying my friends are perfect. In fact, I could tell you some of their faults. XD And I’m not saying I’m perfect either. My friends could tell you all my faults, which are many. O.o I’m saying that we have a friendship, founded on our love for each other and our love of God, which keeps it strong. Even when we get upset with each other.

If you have been bullied, or are dealing with something I mentioned in this post, please contact me through the contact button. I love hearing from all of you, in the comments or in emails. So please, please, please, don’t be shy. Talk to me.

Let’s prove the bullies wrong

~~Amie~~

Dreams

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Dreams

Sitting by the window, taking in what you can see, watching the raindrops as they flee, your heart swells as you realize, dreams aren’t free.

The breath stays inside you, as you wonder what it costs to dream for eternity. What is the price as we sit here and think, chasing the dreams that beg to stay with me?

Sometimes dreams seem closer in my life than all the real things that touch my mind. Dreams seem to laugh and play, encouraging all that I find.

Dew drops turned to gold, voices of tales long told, Food neglected, friends rejected, my dreams weave me down an objected path

To all that has been overlooked in the past. People wag their heads and say, “Someday, someday, this girl will wake up and see that the sun doesn’t shine all day.”

That day has already come, some have been with me when that day had thrown all my wildest dreams back in face, daring me to smile in spite of its ways.

And so, some people say that I’m a romantic, others declare I’m a realist, while some snicker and charge me as a cynic.

Ah, can’t they see? I am simply a disappointed dreamer, straddling the brink between reality and everything I dream.

They say that the world isn’t how it seems, no one can change it to their impossible dreams. They say I’m insane, simply because I don’t want it to stay the same.

Shh, don’t rebuke a dreamer’s rights. Shh, don’t yell at a doer’s tries. Yes, the leaders have to stay tight, but that doesn’t mean you have the right

To bash down our doors and yell in our face, to share our dreams and laugh at our disgrace, to wag your head as you scream and say

“Dreamers will never be worth their weight. Artist can no longer be the ones to save the crumpling earth, those tearing apart, or those who hide their pain in their hearts.”

I tend to disagree, for you see, dreamers see beyond the veil that realism has discovered and vowed to keep there. We can see tragedies without seeming in overwhelming degrees

That broken hearts are beautiful, that people torn apart have the chance to be whole again, that those who vow to never see, are stuck like that for eternity.

Dreamers won’t push you on your knees, we’ll simple smile when we see a kindred spirit wandering around, wondering if they’re as wacky as they sound.

Listen, lost dreamer, your soul is worth keeping. Listen, lost artist, don’t give up what you’re seeing. The world might reject your wonderful work

But there’s always people like you in the world, people who will find you if you don’t hide your soul.

Bare your soul, don’t give it up. Smile, and take rejection with one look.

Because, artist, dreamer, friend, you’ll be grateful in the end, when you realize that the world doesn’t have the last say,

And without dreaming, there wouldn’t be a way

For you and I to be here today.

~~Amie~~

P.S. I thought of a fun thing to do. XD I’m renaming my website Amie Anne, and I’ll be redoing the design as well. So here’s the link to the form to sign up. I would love it if you did join the party.

Motivation for Every New Day

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*takes a long sip of coffee* 

Today I’m not exactly sure where this post will go, but I want it more hype, so hang on as I turn on my hype playlist. 😉 Okey, we’re ready to start writing. So, just fyi, taking your siblings on dates is a super fun thing to do, and I would totally advise it. It’s the only way I can justify buying coffee for myself. 😂

But today our post is about something that I struggle with. Motivation for every new day.

I’m the person that loves to have a deadline set by someone else. I have a month to do this, a week to do that, I have to have this done by tomorrow night. I thrive on doing everything last minute, my brain seems to get so many ideas right before the deadline, and I can actually crack down and work on things.

But once that’s over, what’s next?

How do you wake up every morning without a goal and find motivation to do exactly what you did the day before?

I’m not sure what it’s like once you graduate, but for me while I’m still in school, it’s really hard to get up five days out of the week, workout, practice the same songs I played the day before, and do the next lesson in each of my classes. Sometimes it feels like the only thing that changes is what people post online, and what I create in my own mind. (Especially if we’re eating the leftovers that we ate the day before.)

I’m a paradox. I love and hate change. The less I see of change, the more I hate it, and the more I crave it. Without change, I get stuck in my head, loosing sight of reality.

Let me tell you, when the thoughts in your head become more real than the world around you, you’ve got yourself a problem. So how? How do you stay grounded and create your own change?

Listen to lots of different music.

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Music creates different emotions and if you keep changing up your playlists, and the artists you listen to, I’ve found it helps pull me out of my head, and realize that not every day is the same.

I hate shuffle. I like knowing exactly what song is coming next, I like being positive about the order of everything, but I’ve found that eliminating surprise from life eliminates the force of the outside world.

Dress up.

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Wait, what? I’m a slob when it comes to my clothing. I would literally wear sweatpants or jeans with a sweatshirt/tunic and jacket all winter long. But I’ve found that being intentional occasionally pulls me out of my rut of being a slob, and gives me confidence to take the day on, even if it’s the same as the day before.

Also, I mean, why not change your outfits? If you have comfy fancy clothes (like ruffly socks. 😍) then why not dress fancy every now again?

Talk to someone.

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This is the biggest one. I hate phone calls, and sometimes I don’t like making time to video chat, but being able to talk to someone totally helps. It often gives me a new look on life, and inspires me creatively.

Even the most introverted introvert needs human interaction, and I think that’s something a lot of people forget. We need to take time in our busy schedules to talk with people, and build relationships.

If you aren’t able to do any of these things, do one thing that is so important. Pray and exercise. Those two things can change your whole outlook on a day, and help make it better. ❤

What are some of your favorite ways to change up a day? Do you have trouble with the same thing every day, or do you enjoy it?

~~Amie~~

The Earth’s Tears

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The earth joins me in my tears, as I think of all those who are so near, and yet. Tonight…today, their hearts are crying out to be saved.

The earth sighs as my breath eases, sobs calming, my tears drying. The earth sighs as she sees my need. The earth sighs as she feels and takes heed. Knowing that there are so many with the same need.

There, sitting by herself, the one who smiles as soon as your eyes meet. Yes, she’s the one the earth is waiting for. She’s the one that the earth cries for.

There, that boy, leaning against the wall, engaging in your conversation at the slightest invitation. He’s the one the earth roars over. Yes, he’s the one the thunder rolls for.

You see, these people are just like you and me, except now their pain has been overlooked, now their thoughts have been scribbled in a secret book. No one will know the tears that they cry when the middle of the night is nigh.

No one but the midnight wind. No one but the earth that they long to be in.

You go on with your busy life, never stopping to tell that girl hi. And it’s okay. The earth shall warm her in its embrace.

You never touch on topics that are dark, leaving the boy in his mind with thoughts that are stark. But that’s okay. The earth will hear his cries later today.

The wind whispers and dries their tears, when all they wish for is a human there. The tears nod and agree, life is often harder than it seems. Even the brook, which others swear is full of glee, cries in a gently harmony.

The world understands the silent sorrow of those like you and me. The cold dirt soothes our warm cheeks, the grass brushes against our sleeves. There is a need of humans in this world, but here’s the tragedy.

Nature accepts, embraces, and understands, while humans shake their heads and stand. We are different because we feel, we are different because we give in to our spiels. But it’s only so long that we will speak. You say to be silent and leave you all be?

Don’t worry, your wish will come true. The earth can only comfort us for so long, you know. Its embrace will only comfort for a time.

Human arms are what we need, human hands to pick us up. Human hearts to beat against ours, reminding us that regardless of the pain, we aren’t without a hand to hold. We aren’t without a person that will listen if told.

A person that will send flowers, to remind us the earth isn’t our only friend. We have two, and One is mightier than the earth on which we live. So lift up your chin, my doubting friend.

Sometimes we have to spend time crying to the earth in order to find that our cries were heard. Sometimes we have to spend time alone to appreciate the beauty of being told that even when the day seems grey, we have friends who are here to stay.

~~Amie~~

(Photograph from Pinterest)

Diamonds 2020: Interview w/Sara Willoughby

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I have two chronic diseases.

I’ve shared slightly on my blog about my health, and the problems that it gives me, but I’ve mostly talked about my mental health, which I’ve been realizing stems from my physical health. But today I’m going to talk quickly about my own problems with my physical health, before interviewing Sara. I deal with asthma and life-threatening allergies.

My asthma keeps me from doing a lot I want to do, because if I sing a whole song, I’m winded, and when you can’t breathe, you grow so tired. (The past few weeks, I’ve had to swallow my pride and just realize that I can only sing one song at church, instead of all five.) My allergies keep me from a lot I want to do as well. My symptoms flare if I even smell seafood, so I’m unable to go to many restaurants, and even some church functions because I just can’t be around seafood.

So when I found Sara Willoughby’s ministry, it just helped me understand more about my illness and accepting that I can serve God and others while taking care of my body.

Because going from a healthy child, to a teenager with problems that stop me from living a “normal” life has been hard. It’s been hard to accept that I do need to take care of my physical health, and to understand what taking care of myself looks like.

This weekend is the Diamond’s conference, which is an online conference for Christians with chronic diseases and illnesses. And oh my. The sessions I’ve listened to so far have been so good and encouraging.

So today I’m honored to be able to interview Sara! Thank you so much, Sara, for your ministry, for this conference, and for coming on Crazy A today. 🙂 My questions are bold, and her answers are regular text.

1. From my understanding, you were a healthy child, and at the age of fourteen you became sick and just never got better. Did you deal with depression during that time? Was it hard to trust God?
 
Yes to both. At first, I experienced the usual despair that comes from having hopes crushed again and again with each misdiagnosis. That was bad enough. But eventually, as I got sicker, I also had deep depression brought on by the brain damage my illness caused. Those were some of my darkest moments, and I felt like I was failing as a Christian.  I definitely had many a moment when I struggled to trust God. I continually asked Him “Why me? Why did you allow this? When will this end?” Honestly, that’s one reason I ended up clinging to the song “Diamonds” by Hawk Nelson. It spoke of the purpose God has in pain, and I remember one day, in particular, kneeling in the kitchen home alone at a friend’s house, scream-sob-whispering the lyrics over and over again. Chronic illness brings so many unknowns, and it is so hard to not know what you’re going to face tomorrow. But while I sometimes struggled to believe it, my comfort was that God was in control and that He loved me. 

2. When you were so extremely sick, what was one thing that kept you going?
 
 God is the one who kept me going in a thousand ways. Every time I would be on the verge of giving up or at one of my worst moments, I would get an email or text or hug or flowers would bloom on the bush outside my window, and I would be encouraged to hang on for just a little longer. My family also kept me alive by doing all the practical things for me when I could no longer take care of myself.
 
3. Your ministry and testimony is so very encouraging to so many people dealing with long-term illnesses. If you could tell fellow Christians dealing with illnesses one sentence, what would it be?
 
Aw, thanks, I’m honored God is using my story. I would tell them, “You are not alone, God’s grace is sufficient for you, and this won’t last forever.”
 
4. When it comes to sports, and outside activities, does your health limit you? How do you deal with those limitations?
 
My health does limit me. Before I got sick, I was an athlete. I lived in the Pacific Northwest and I loved to run, hike, swim, and play flag football or paintball or capture the flag with my siblings and the neighborhood kids. We had so much fun. But when I got sick I could no longer do those things. It was incredibly hard, sitting on the sidelines, watching my friends laugh and run and play. As my health has improved over the last year, I’ve had to learn to “play” again and let myself join in the fun. I still can’t play organized sports and I still can’t run, but I try to participate however I can, even if that means being creative with the rules or games. And when I can’t participate, I find another activity to enjoy that doesn’t require as much physical exertion.
 
5. A lot of people pray for healing from their illnesses, and can be discouraged when it seems that God isn’t answering, or at least, isn’t answering in the way they expected. Did you ever experience that? And if so, what are some words of encouragement for those Christians? 
 
You’re asking some super deep questions! 🙂 I did experience it. All throughout my illness people have prayed for me, laying hands on me, commanding the illness to leave my body, praying over me in tongues, anointing me with oil — but my healing didn’t come. And when I finally did start to get a little better, it happened very slowly in the most mundane way possible. When people had prayed for me in the past, I often felt a whispering in my soul that God was going to heal me. But there was no instantaneous healing. Eventually, I realized that God was using my illness and my slow healing for His glory and my good. It was not at all what I imagined, but I finally saw that He was using my story to encourage others. So if someone reading this is struggling with God not answering your prayers for healing, please be encouraged that He does have a plan in this too. It isn’t pleasant being sick, but Him not answering your prayers the way you want Him to doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong. God can use illness and your reliance on Him for His glory and to shape you into a diamond.

 

Thank you so much, Sara! And I think that is so beautiful. That God will use the pain, the forgetfulness, the pain, to give Him glory, and to shape us into a beautiful diamond. That also follows the idea that God will refine us into a brighter kind of gold.

Keep pushing forward and wait on the Lord, for as Isaiah 40:30-31 says, “Even youths shall faint and grow weary, and young men shall fall exhausted, but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

~~Amie~~