Thank you, Alyssa, for sharing your story with us!
Tell us about yourself!
I live in Wisconsin. When I have the energy, I love getting outside. I really enjoy camping, hiking, and rock climbing. Most of these hobbies have been put on hold while I have been healing, so I now find joy in cooking and baking.
I currently work as a Diabetes Education nurse. I have Lyme disease, Lyme disease coinfections (Bartonella, Babesia), and Type 1 Diabetes.
My health problems originally began in high school, eight years ago. Although I still face the difficulties of these conditions every day, I am incredibly grateful for the healing that has taken place recently and the strength that I do have.
What has God taught you in your valley of chronic illness?
I never had one big “Aha” moment in my valley of chronic illness. Rather, I have been taught many smaller lessons over the years. Ultimately these illnesses have strengthened my relationship with God and have formed me into the person I am today.
One lesson that God taught me is that He cares about the little things. I remember numerous occasions while at my worst where small things happened that reminded me that God and those people around me loved me. It may be something as simple as the change in the weather, noticing a blooming flower, or a friend sending an encouraging note. Some of the hardest days that I dealt with while sick stemmed from the isolation that chronic illness brings, but God continually reminded me through small things that He cares about me and my problems.
Another lesson that was reinforced while dealing with my valley was that God had a plan for my life. This truth brought so much comfort while dealing with the hard days. It was a truth that I had heard for years, but it became MY truth when dealing with doubts about the future. There were many days when I needed to be reminded that my God loved me, and He had a plan for the struggles I was dealing with. I may never fully understand His plan this side of Heaven, but I find great contentment knowing that His plan is perfect, and my illness is a part of that plan.
What Scripture has spoken to you in your times of need?
I have found different verses during different points in my valley.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”II Corinthians 12:9
This was a verse I found early on in my illness. It reminds me that ultimately my illness can bring God glory and my illness is a part of His plan.
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”Isaiah 40:31
This verse I found during nursing school. God can provide us the strength we need to get through whatever lies ahead. He may not provide that strength or that healing, but ultimately, He is powerful enough.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”Philippians 4:13
This is a verse I am reminded of on almost a weekly basis. I still have days where my illnesses bring fatigue and pain–those are the days that I need to look for my strength in Christ. Not only does this verse remind me that God gives the strength when we need it, but it also reminds me that ultimately, we can do nothing without His strength.
What is the best part of your chronic illness?
The best part of my chronic illness is that it has formed me into the woman I am today. The valley that I am continuing to walk through gives me great empathy for others in pain. Ultimately, my illness has led me to the career I am in today. Becoming a nurse never crossed my mind before my illness.
How would you encourage other women with chronic illness?
God has a plan for your valley. Our God loves us and always has a best intention in mind. We may not see the reason why God is leading us through our valleys this side of Heaven, but God has purpose for them.
Also, it’s okay to have emotions. It’s okay to be disappointed that you’re going through a valley. Bring that disappointment and emotion before God. Acknowledge the disappointment, but then remember that God loves you and will only do what is best for you.
What resources have helped you?
- Hope When It Hurts by Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton
- good, uplifting Christian music