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How Crohn's Disease Helped Me Grow in My Faith

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Growing up as a pastor’s daughter, my life has revolved around going to church. Getting there early and staying late, helping with every church dinner and never missing a week of Sunday school. I went to youth group and I was in a Christian club at school, but that didn’t mean I accepted Christ. From an early age, my relationship with Christ was weak. I found myself just going through the motions of living a Christian lifestyle. Looking back, I can say with certainty it is thanks to my Crohn’s disease diagnosis that my faith grew and I committed my life to Christ.

When I was sitting in my hospital bed on June 18, 2014, I wasn’t too concerned following my invasive testing. I was used to doctors coming back with no answers at this point and was expecting the same result. When I finally came back to after my anesthesia wore off, my parents told me what the doctor told them… I had Crohn’s disease. I could see the fear in my mom’s face. We have family and friends with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), my family has seen the struggles associated with the disease. I was relieved I finally had a diagnosis after months of pain (looking back, maybe even years), but at the same time, I was terrified of the unknown that lay ahead. I’m a quiet person, I keep things to myself, so after my parents told me, I put in my headphones and that was it. I put Spotify on shuffle and the first song to come on was “When Life Gets Broken” by Sandi Patty:

“’Cause when life gets broken, when you’re in despair, He’ll carry your burden when it’s too much to bear. It’s down in the valley where He’ll give you strength, And there is nothing you have lost that He can’t replace. He’ll help you start all over again When life gets broken.”

My life was broken at that moment. I went from being a happy, normal high school freshman to feeling completely alone.

Recently I’ve gone back and read some journal entries from around the time I first got sick. I was lonely, depressed and wanting help. It’s heartbreaking reading those entries, but what’s even more heartbreaking is that my faith wasn’t strong. I was going through the motions, but in reading those painful words, I wasn’t seeking Christ for help. I was alone and I wasn’t accepting that I couldn’t do it on my own. My pride got in the way. I’ve always been seen as a strong girl who was determined and could rise up against any struggle. Because of this mentality I had, I believed I could do it on my own.

“In his pride, the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” – Psalm 10:4

I was wrong though, I needed God. I needed the One who would make all things new. The One who is there in times of trial and the One who paves the way for the weary. When I fully accepted that I needed Christ, a sense of peace became a constant in my life.

I know today that every battle I come across, God is with me every step of the way because I am not capable of facing these challenges alone. It took for me to be at my lowest of lows to accept Christ and the life he gave me. Although these past few years have been difficult, I would not have it any other way. I am the daughter of a King, redeemed, loved, transformed and forgiven. I thank God for saving me. I thank Him for loving me so much, that even when He knew I’d turn against him, He gave His son to die for me.

This disease has made me stronger in so many ways. I’m physically, emotionally and spiritually stronger than ever before. I love the life Christ has given me. He has blessed me in so many ways. He has given me gifts and talents I use every day. And… He has given me a weakness so that I can tell a story and can help others.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

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Thinkstock photo via marydan15.

Originally published: July 28, 2017
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