Growing up, I was a tomboy, an athlete, a strong girl with seemingly endless energy. And then I grew up and had kids. At first, I thought the exhaustion was normal. All moms are tired, right? But then I started having other symptoms. My hair was falling out, my stomach was distended, I was in pain all the time. Something was wrong.
It took over a year and a half for doctors to finally give me a diagnosis, and then one day there it was: Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the intestine when you consume gluten. I was grateful to have a name for it, and happy to have something that could be treated with diet. All I had to do was avoid gluten and everything would be fine, or so they said.
But I wasn't fine. Over the past eight years, my health has been a rollercoaster, and I have had more weak days than strong ones, more pain than relief.
At times I have tried to appear stronger than I feel, to fight through the pain, to pull myself up by my bootstraps and carry on. Other times I have cried out to God in frustration and asked, "WHY?" as I hid in bed and felt sorry for myself.
In 2016 at The Increase Conference, Trip Lee spoke about living with chronic pain and I knew God had me in that room for a reason. He reminded me that God's power is made perfect in weakness, and if I was strong all the time, I probably wouldn't be seeking God.
My weakness is God's platform if I will let it be used for His glory. Even if I don't know how He will use this part of my life, I can give it to God and He will use it.
Already I can see the doors this disease has opened for me and the people it has brought into my life that I never would have met otherwise. People who are hearing the name of Jesus because we have celiac disease in common.
Even if that is the only thing that comes out of this, it is worth it. On the good days, I will praise God for my health, and on the bad days, I will lean into Jesus all the more.