Growing up, I always found flowers to be beautiful. Those who know me well, understand my love for flowers, and especially roses. During my childhood, I always looked for flowers in a garden, or at a park. Even my notebooks were filled with drawings of them. As I would look at a rose, I always noticed the beautiful and soft petals, and remembered how beautiful God's creation is.
Now, I look deeper and see the thorns that surround the stem of every rose. Is the rose still as beautiful? This is exactly how God created this beautiful flower to be. These thorns, or prickles as they are referred to, protect the rose from danger. I would say that even with the sharpness of thorns, the rose is still beautiful.
Isn't this how life is?
Maybe you were like me, growing up with a family and memories filled with joy. Maybe you and I were similar and had a young and innocent heart that loved Jesus. A heart that felt full when dancing, and the joy of being around loved ones. There may have been laughter that could fill a room because of stories shared by parents and friends.
This may have been something you experienced in what seems like a long time ago. And then when you least expect it, you endure years of suffering. The pain may seem endless. When in reality it is only temporary. For God's love, grace, and mercy is constant. Even in moments of pain, and continued change, He always stays the same. His love never changes.
My Journey of Pain and Suffering
I wanted to begin this blog by sharing some of my story and journey with chronic pain that has continued the last few years. Let me start with what my life looked like before the diagnosis.
I was seventeen, in my senior year of high school, dancing, and teaching ballet. From a young age, I dreamed of teaching ballet and sharing my love of worship and expression through the art of dance. I wanted to inspire other young girls to dance for His glory. I knew in my heart this was part of God's plan for my life.
During the first few months, I was living in what I considered to be everything I wanted. I was doing well academically, taking several dance classes, and teaching. In those first few months, I didn't realize that the suffering I would endure was going to come in a more shattering form. The suffering of chronic pain.
In only a few short months before graduating high school, I received a devastating diagnosis. Finding out that I had Charcot Marie Tooth Disease (CMT), was not expected, and came as a shock for everyone who knew me. The only signs that showed up before were my fatigue, and nerve pain in my feet. For those who don't know, CMT is a disease that affects the peripheral nerves and causes weakness to the muscles. It's rare and only around 1 in 2,500 have it. Also, it's progressive, which means that it will continue to get worse over time.
Now, three years have gone by since the diagnosis. The pain has progressed and caused weakness in my hands, feet, legs, and arms. I'm also suffering emotionally with depression and anxiety. But, even through it all, God is still using me. He has blessed me with the ability to still dance, and teach, along with furthering my education in college. Although my life looks different than expected, this pain is not the end of my testimony.
How is my journey beautiful?
I'm working on finding beauty through the simplest things. I love to be creative whether that's drawing, creating dances, or writing. Although I have to limit myself, because of fatigue, I still try to find just enough energy to do one of my passions. Also when I am spending time in God's word or having a conversation with a friend, this is a beautiful part of my life.
Even in the simplest moments of my day, I notice aspects of God's beautiful creation. I love listening to the birds singing in my backyard. The beautiful singing is calming to me. When I feel as if my life is filled with suffering and pain, I look to the beautiful sunsets as a reminder that tomorrow will be a new day.
In this blog, I hope to continue writing more on what God speaks to my heart. I'm blessed that even with this pain, I can write and hopefully inspire others. Thank you for taking the time to read part of my story, and journey with this pain, and how God is still using me.
In each post, I want to end with a question to encourage you to comment below. Or maybe you would like to answer this through writing in a journal or sharing with a friend.
Question: How are you finding beauty today even in the pain?