Women in the Valley

Women in the Valley: Hannah’s Story

Thank you, Hannah, for sharing your story with us!

Tell us about yourself!

I grew up in Pennsylvania, but now I live in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I am a medical missionary (nurse) working with Little Fish Ministries which is a children’s home for abandoned and orphaned children. 

I love to read, spend time with  friends, crochet and most arts and crafts. 

I have had health problems off and on since the age of 16. It started with an autoimmune disease and chronic migraines. I also now have POTS, asthma, vocal cord dysfunction, and migraines. I grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ when I was 5 years old and had the privilege of growing up in church and Christian school.

What has God taught you in your valley of chronic illness?

I need to keep my eyes and my heart focused on Him. He is sufficient to carry me through. When I take my eyes off of Christ, I begin to get overwhelmed with the many health struggles. 

I remember sitting in a park meditating on God’s Word after a couple of months of severe/chronic abdominal pain and some heart issues and asking God why I was having to face such difficulties. After time with Him, He revealed to me in His Word in Matthew 26:39:  

“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.‘”

This was a reminder that it is not about what I want but what God wants in my life. I had to come to the realization that God’s will is best and that may not mean I am cured of my illness.

What Scriptures have spoken to you in your times of need?

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

II Corinthians 12:9-10

“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘Therefore I hope in Him!’
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:22-26

What is the best part of your chronic illness?

It has humbled me and made me realize that I must fully rely on God. For a couple of years before I knew how to control my POTS, I was unable to make my own meals and even had to make sure someone was around when I took a shower in case I passed out. When at this point, I had to come to an understanding that no matter what I needed to rely on God. 

How would you encourage other women with chronic illness?

Remember that there is nothing that we face that the Lord has not already faced or been through a greater challenge. We can go to Him in times of difficulty and He can comfort us and lead and guide us. When you want to quit, seek the Lord. He has shown me so much comfort and peace through His Word. I love reading through Psalms and being encouraged. 

Can you relate to Hannah’s story? What part of her testimony most encouraged you? Any words you would like to leave for her in the comments?

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