Hello. It’s Me.

I feel like such a mess. I want to do my best to put it into words, because when this feeling passes, I forget how bad it is in the moments I have to endure it.

What is wrong with me? Why am I such a disaster? Why are all of my efforts to heal not helping me? Am I crazy? Is this in my head? What am I not seeing?

I feel upset and extremely emotionally imbalanced. I want to cry, but the tears won’t come; I want to scream, but I won’t let myself lose control like that; I feel like falling onto the floor and squirming like an idiot until someone comes and tells me it’s really going to be okay. My body feels irritated, itchy, and swollen. I’m in pain. My joints hurt a lot. My hair fell out a TON today. I feel like this is too much. I feel like I’m drowning.

Everything is darkened. Nothing is sweet, there is no feeling of joy; my happiness feels bankrupt.

I am utterly and completely composed on the outside; you’d never know I’m struggling to keep going, holding back tears at every turn and through every forced smile.

My doctor wants me to get my home tested for mold; I spoke to the mold inspector and it will be $1500. More money. I’ve ruined our finances. It’s my fault.

I don’t believe God wants me to be sick and depressed. Why would the maker of everything beautiful and good want me, His child, to be so unbearably uncomfortable and distraught with emotional strain daily? I love Him. People who are sick have a tendency to say it’s all a part of God’s plan, but what if it’s not? What if I’m just trapped in my own cycle of illness, unable to experience all the good that He has planned for my life?

I’m not feeling inspired to write anything encouraging today. I’m struggling today. My face is red and full of cystic blemishes that hurt so badly. My emotions are freaking out of control, though all inside. I am feverishly looking for more resources and insight online: acupuncture, qi balancing, energy work, anything.

I’m at a point of desperation. I reach those sometimes, where I feel like I’ll read any book, listen to any lecture, buy any tool or herb that promises to help, and eat any food that will relieve my symptoms.

I watched a video today of a man who was recently paralyzed, and I asked myself why I feel so jacked up if I’m a million times more physically strong than that man. Why? Why the hell can’t I figure this out?

It’s SO challenging for me to be in the position that I’m in, because I am an incredibly rational and intelligent person. I know deep down that this is not some made up condition that I’m drowning in. I know damn well that something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is. I know, rationally, that I’m not as bad as I feel, and that there are millions of people who would beg to trade places with me. I know, logically, that I really am a lot better than I feel and that I should be able to just snap out of this mood. I ask my body what it is and what it needs, and I try to listen as best as I can, but I just feel so confused at this point. I feel imbalanced.

Last week I found a Tibetan doctor who lives in an underground cave. People travel to from around the world. He cures people of diseases and ailments and bad energies, and I considered what it would cost and the logistics of going to see this man. I mean, I literally went through the logical process of putting myself on a plane and standing outside of his cave waiting to hear if my daily lottery number was called. How long could I afford to do that? Where would I eat clean food and where would I sleep while in Tibet? What if he can really cure me? It’s nuts.

It’s so hard explaining my circumstances to people, because I genuinely feel like people don’t take me seriously. I also feel like I shouldn’t discuss how I feel with people, because it dampens the mood drastically. Like at work. The doctor will ask me how I’m doing, I’ll tell him, and he’ll tell me he’s sorry in an awkward, uncomfortable way. He tells me to “keep doing what I’m doing” and that “I’m already better.” He doesn’t want to hear my story when it involves genuine sadness and unfiltered emotion. Nobody does. Everyone, family included, wants to hear that I’m doing great and feeling better than ever. So sometimes I say that I am. It normally goes something like this: “How are you?” “I’m good! Coming along, you know!” How can anyone genuinely come close to understanding what I’m going through when I’m walking around with make-up and perfume on, I look put together, I smile the right way and say the right things, and I blend in like any “normal” person would. I say I’m struggling immensely and I ask for prayer, but I see and hear some of the remarks that people say and, naturally, they’re confused. How can I be falling apart when I’m so put together?

Yesterday I told my husband that sometimes I dream about taking all of our money and moving to a different country and starting over by myself (not that I ever would). I’d change my name and become someone new. I’d go blonde. I’m desperate for healing and recovery from whatever the hell problem I have that no one can figure out. What if it’s all my fault? What if I’ve done this to myself?

I’m so tired of searching and trying. I don’t see the end in sight, and it’s incredibly discouraging and disheartening.

I love the show The Blacklist. It’s so unbelievably cathartic. The suspense is tangible and it makes me feel so alive and there. I mean, that show is legitimately the best show I’ve ever seen. The action is unreal. Red, the main character, is a boss. The stories these writers come up with are so.freaking.cool. I love the escapism that show allows me. It’s a thrill ride and a half, and I love that for that hour I get to forget about my circumstances. We just watched the season 3 finale and waiting for the next season (and the spinoff series!) is going to be tough.

I go to the park, but I don’t experience the pleasure of being there. I could be amidst hundreds of people, and I’d feel painfully isolated and detached. I could be sitting on mounds of billions of dollars, and I’d feel empty (Well, maybe. I’ve never actually sat on a billion dollars, so if you think that will help and you have that amount of money laying around, reach out fo sho.). The hardest part is that none of it is within my control. Do you know how depressing it is to feel perpetually stuck and sad and have no power over changing it? I have joy in Christ and in His work on the cross, and I have joy in the expectation and hope of heaven. But my earthly joy is so unpredictable that it hurts. What am I doing wrong? What am I not understanding?

This happens all the time; I’ll feel okay, and then I crash. I am doing fine, and then I’ll be doing terribly.

“If it were simply emotional and psychological, there wouldn’t be physical correlations,” I tell myself. Like the acne and the digestive distress, the fatigue and brain fog, the muscle tightness and tingling, the joint pain, the severe breast tenderness and bodily pain. And if it is “all in my head” my labs wouldn’t be out of range in so many areas. I remind myself of this when I start to think this is all some bad dream that I’m stuck in where I’ve inadvertently constructed this illness. And if I have, fine. I have peace, because I’m not here by malicious intent or contrived handiwork. I struggle with comprehending and analyzing how to undo what’s done though.

Mercury poisoning, mold illness, Lyme disease, bacterial overgrowth, fungal infection, you name it, I’ve been told it’s a possibility. And yet, after every supplement I’ve taken and every herb I’ve tried; after countless therapy and counseling sessions; after cocooning myself at home for a year and a half; after mud-packing, detoxing, IV nutrition, a ridiculously strict diet, meditation, prayer, mindfulness, chiropractic work, etc. I’m still unwell.

Sometimes it’s too much. Most of the time it’s too much. I just get so overwhelmed at my pathetic circumstances. Gosh, my poor husband would be better off without me. He’d be free from his chains if I just poofed away. My poor mother would be free from worrying about her perpetually sick and disenchanted daughter whom she’s coached and helped endlessly throughout life. Everyone would just be in such better balance. What the hell do I even contribute to life? Those are the lies the enemy whispers amidst my distress. I know those are lies, and I know I’m worth fighting for. I know I’m strong and I know I contribute what I can. I know I’m doing my best.

I have vivid dreams when I sleep. They’re so fun. I meet my favorite YouTube stars, go on crazy fun adventures, meet all kinds of interesting people, and the best part is that I REALLY feel like I’m there. In fact, I’m kind of convinced that I actually travel to a different dimension. I live out some of my best dreams, like going to New York and meeting some crazy amazing people and tasting incredible food (the kind with canola oil and gluten). I can smell the air at the top of the mountains and feel the excitement coursing through my veins.

These are the thoughts that run rampant as I sit here with tears in my eyes. I don’t know what else to do or try. I’m sorry. I know this is terrible, but I just feel so sad in the depths of my spirit.

Maybe I need to reach out to my biological father who disowned me before I was born. Maybe he’s got answers. Maybe all I need is a father.

I don’t want kids. I’ll ruin them.

One day it’ll be better. It has to be, right?

I’m so sorry if I did anything wrong to deserve this. I honestly am so deeply sorry if I messed up along the way and caused myself these problems.

I pray for someone strong and capable of helping me to come alongside me and infuse me with their positive, uplifting, healing energy; I want to know where I’ve gone wrong and how I can fix it. I feel like I’m trapped in a murky black hole.

Where do I go from here? There’s only so much money. Do I try Chinese medicine? Do I spend the money on nutritional balancing? Do I pursue the mold illness route? Do I stop trying? Is this my life? Will I ever be better?

I just want to be who God wants me to be, and this doesn’t feel like what God would want for me. Why would this be something that a loving and kind God desires for His child? This feels like perpetual punishment.

I mean, look back at a few days ago when I wrote about laughter. Compare that with today. These yin and yang emotions that come and go are so imbalanced and have no rhyme or reason. One day I’m crazy happy and the next day I’m thinking about how pathetic and sad I am. Today I woke up feeling like a mess, and then I got to work and had to force myself to be silly and make myself laugh by doing my best, silent Miranda Sings impersonation at my computer (Google her…she’s everything). Then I felt like I wanted to cry again. Fderiefdjlejfdjfdfdksfjdjfdkl! How is this something God wants for me? Why would He want that for me?

Miranda Sings

Ohhh Yess Helllooo.

I called two Chinese medicine doctors today. I think that’s worth considering. But what if it’s not? What if it’s just like everything else that has a placebo effect and then withers away, leaving me out of more money and still sick.

Maybe it is mold. What if I’m that close and just don’t know it yet.

I had a phone consultation with a highly respected doctor last year, and he spoke to some spirits or something (no, I didn’t call him knowing he would contact spirits) and gathered that I had a fungal infection in my nasal cavity and a systemic imbalance, but that my symptoms make me feel a lot sicker than I actually am. Maybe I need to go see that doctor. After testing through my current doctor, I found out that I do, in fact, have a fungal infection in the depths of my nasal cavity, like this other doctor told me over the phone before testing, and we’ve found that my body is very imbalanced. But why? And why can’t I get better?

Is it something I’m eating? Is it mold? Is it some strange virus I picked up overseas? Do I have a digestive imbalance so potent that it’s making me live a rollercoaster of emotions? Is it as simple as hormones? What supplements are helping? Why did I feel so great two months ago? Why do my breasts feel like they’re getting ready to feed a brood of five children around the clock? Why can’t I tolerate most foods? What should I be eating? Why is my hair falling out? If it’s all stress, how do I fix it? If it’s psychosomatic, how the hell did I get so messed up and how do we fix it?

Breathe. If I could do anything and go anywhere right now, I’d choose Turks and Caicos with my husband. I’d be laying on the warm beach, feeling the sun on my face and hearing the waves crash. I wish I were back there.

Maybe I need to be more like our dog trainer. I seriously love that dude. He doesn’t give a you know what. He is as chill as they come. He’s got ratty dreadlocks, smells like essential oils, talks low and slow, doesn’t get flustered in a room full of yappy dogs, wears handmade bracelets, laughs a quirky laugh, has a ridiculously calm demeanor, and straight up is livin dat stress free lyfe. He’s one of the nicest people you’ll meet. Dogs love him, and that says a ton. I asked him what his secret is. Can you guess it? Haha. I’ll give you a hint: his dog’s name is Cush.

If you’re reading this and you know of anyone who you think can help me, please let me know in the comments below, or by contacting me. I want to be better so, so badly. I just don’t know what’s wrong.

I also desperately need a vacation, so if you own a time share somewhere warm and tropical, holla at cho girl.

With Love,

Kenya

IPhone 045

 

P.S. I’m fine even though I’m struggling. I realize that many of you who know me and see me often are probably really shocked reading this because I don’t ever show this part of me. That’s why I’m writing it down. It can’t stay bottled up. I haven’t forgotten that I’m extremely blessed and fortunate. I know that I am abundantly loved and valued by the One who made me in His image and by the loved ones He’s surrounded me with. My soul is healthy. I just want to let that be known. This whole writing thing is extremely therapeutic. In this last hour and half, I’ve cried, laughed, grunted, and smiled. I be cray, but I’m getting by. Don’t worry, be happy.

Kindness

“Yeah, but you’re not the one with the Ph.D.”

“People prioritize what’s important to them; you never make time for your family; you need to get your priorities straight.”

“Your toe looks like a creature started nibbling at it and just continued to gnaw until there was nothing left [chomp, chomp, chomp].”

“You look like Kenny G with that big, ugly hair.”

“Don’t wear a bikini. You look terrible in a bikini. Look at that chub just spilling over.”

“You’re such a nerd. Nobody even likes you. You’re a loser.”


Mean words. People often speak without thought; words spill out of foolish, untamed mouths, oftentimes sparking raging fires in the hearts of the offended. The above-mentioned quotes have all stayed with me throughout my life. Insignificant as they seem, those are the phrases that come to mind when I think about the times I’ve been genuinely hurt by the words that have come out of a person’s mouth. Many of those words were, shockingly, spoken by family members.

We remember, don’t we? We can play it off like we couldn’t care less, but we’re so deeply affected by words when they’re laced with arsenic and hate. In the quiet of the night, we can hear the words being repeated, our hearts growing all the more dim and our emotions cascading with fury and sadness. It’s not even the words sometimes, but rather, the intention and meaning with which the words were spoken.

“How could they say that? That’s not even true. That really stung; my feelings are bruised. Why would someone say something so mean?”

We’ve all been there. That’s why kindness and validation are of paramount importance. Don’t you let a mean, disrespectful, indignant word come out of your mouth without realizing that you’ve ruined someone’s joy and negatively impacted their life.

I recently met a man who is walking a dark desert of severe back pain and neuropathy in his genital area. He’s very upset with God and he’s extremely displeased with his circumstances. Been there. He says he feels like there’s no hope. Unfiltered and raw were the emotions oozing from his spirit as he spoke to me. In that moment, I very much considered the importance of kindness and gentleness in this man’s life. I thought about how he doesn’t know Christ as his savior (I asked him) and my thoughts meandered to a place where I came to realize that, given his brass and infuriated energy, he was likely not coming across as “dope” or “chill” these days to anyone who crossed his path. No, he was modeling a hot n’ huffy attitude due to his circumstances.

I decided to encourage him. I started speaking life to him, telling him about how strong and great he still is and how wonderful and mighty God is. He perked up and listened. I told him all about my yucky, and started whispering tidbits of my story: the pain, the sadness, the desire for healing, the constant struggle to find normalcy. He stopped complaining and said, “Yeah, I guess it’s not that bad. I know it could be worse.” I paused him right there and told him that it’s okay to feel depressed and upset about the circumstances and trials God walks us through. I told Him about how God isn’t dull or unable to intervene. God’s walking him through this journey because He wants to grow and change him, I explained. He teared up. He’s ex-military, so that’s a really big deal. He apologized for his emotions, and I told him to cut it out. Expressing sorrow is healthy. I lifted him up, and I told him to keep going and persevering:  “In the dark moments, think about how much good is available; think about how every breath is precious; every vibrant color is visible and stunning to the eyes; every smell is perceived, and every touch is felt.” His shoulders stopped slouching, and he walked a little taller.

He strolled into our office a grouch, with the façade of a bully. I could’ve stuck it to him with a nasty attitude, feeling entitled to my opinion and owning the false notion that I’m somehow important enough to voice my disgust or let out a rude aside. Is that you? Do you feel entitled to constantly voice your opinion, warranted or not? If so, I dare you to stare your ugly pride in the face and cut that crap out. It’s sin, and it damages people.

As he was wiping his eyes and his heart was softening, he confessed that he was thinking about committing suicide. He told me how much sorrow he’s in, and how he can’t live with the idea that he used to be a hero facing missions requiring the utmost bravery and strength, and how now he can’t even enjoy his desk job or physical intimacy without pain.

Imagine if I would’ve said something crass and belittling to this hurting man hiding behind a wall of anger. Any insensitive words could’ve set him off and triggered the action to end his life.

Friend, wake up. Life is beyond precious, and people’s emotions—no matter how rough and rigid on the outside—are delicately woven together. Be kind and embracing ALWAYS. You genuinely never know if you could change someone’s life with a simple kind word.

To my cousin who’s always been unashamedly boorish and insulting to me: I love you. You’re strong and worthy. Whatever your struggles, whatever your pain, God has not forgotten about you. I see you, and I acknowledge you and so does He. Do not eat your pain, my friend. God can be your sustenance and your portion. I know you’ve always found me an easy target because of my proclivity towards wearing my heart on my sleeve, but I know deep down you’re just as sensitive as I am, which is why I’ve never once insulted you back. Have respect, be kind, and stop picking on me for your own sake.

Today, the topic of kindness was on my heart. Yesterday, someone said something a bit insulting to me, and it jolted me and hit me like a brick. That person’s words immediately made me think about how important it is to have a loving, tame tongue.

“How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness” (James 3:5b-6).

A gentle word can travel long distances and reach the depths of even the most hardened of hearts. Something as simple as noticing the cashier’s cute nail polish color, or saying a kind word to your waiter can transform an individual’s outlook. Similarly, something rude and cold can ruin a person’s day, or even worse, be the catalyst that causes a downward spiral of unnecessary evil and darkness. Don’t be the cause for someone’s tears. Always encourage, always elevate, and always love.

I love people. I absolutely love listening to people’s stories and partaking in the human experience. We all have a story. Every single person has an inborn desire for validation. Whether from a boss, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor, we all seek to be counted as important. In fact, we all want to feel indispensable in a way. Having a sense that we matter so much that life would simply just not be the same without us is something that, whether voiced or not, is a desire we all live with. Knowing that, take time to listen to people’s stories and meet them where they are.

In my life, I’ve befriended many people who could easily be considered dismissible by any account: an exterminator, a landscaper, immigrant workers doing odd jobs, the chain smoker at the local drugstore, nail salon ladies, housekeepers, etc. I’ve found that those people are the nicest, because they’re already in humble positions. They’re not looking to impress or flaunt any false perceptions of themselves, and they’d never say anything to get themselves in hot water. They’re hardworking, profusely grateful, and always willing to help.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth” (James 3:13-14).

Let’s be kind and embracing, always remembering that our words have power and the ability to uplift a soul, or dampen it and cause a person to sin and stumble. ALWAYS be kind. Be intentional; strive to be the person that makes someone’s day. And always remember that it’s the little things. It’s always the little things. It doesn’t take a lot to spark joy in a person’s heart. Be the rainbow amidst the storm. Validation goes a long way, and it absolutely has the power to heal an aching spirit.

With Love,

Kenya

Laughter

One of the best things in life is to laugh. I think back to my best memories and they always include belly-aching, tear-jerking laughter; the kind of laughter that has no rhyme or reason, but just is. I’m feeling a bit pensive today, but with an air of goofiness.

I love to laugh. For me, it really is the best form of earthly medicine outside of the deep comfort found in the pages of the Bible. My two best friends from high school were out-of-this-world funny. I think that’s why I fell in love with their hearts so much; they always had something funny to say and saw the joy in everything. I’m literally laughing just thinking of those two knuckleheads. What a blessing they were!

If you can make me laugh, you’ve enchanted my day in such a beautiful way, that there are no words for it. I’ve always taken life very seriously. I was a straight-A student who graduated at the top of my classes both in my baccalaureate and graduate programs. I studied extremely long hours and have lost so much sleep over the years because of wanting to make sure I do things the “right” way. For the past several years, I haven’t stopped to laugh too much. I’ve been very sad, stressed, and sick. It’s actually ironic (and non-coincidental) that as I’ve been tracking my health journey on paper, I’ve noticed that I have “good” months and “bad” months. I always stop to evaluate why some months were better than others, and as ridiculous as it may seem, my smoothest months are those filled with genuine friendship, laughter, and play. I’ve read study after study proving that social engagement is a large determining factor in healing, especially for chronically ill patients. It’s no surprise to me that when I am engaged with friends, enjoying activities, and laughing, I feel better. While being stuck in a cycle of unpredictable symptoms and flare ups makes it extremely hard to constantly stay bubbly and capable of mixing in with friends, I know that having those outlets is of vital importance for me. Without much thought, after having a couple of relatively symptom-free weeks, I joined a salsa dance team back in January 2016, and while it only lasted one week due to my body’s inability to keep up with the rehearsal schedule and physical demands, I LOVED being part of something outside of illness. I mean, I was pretty sloppy and felt pretty flakey when I had to quit the team after just two rehearsals, but I was “out there” doing things my heart just aches to do and it felt so incredible. I definitely try not to think about having to quit and what that means in the big picture, but rather focus on the fact that for that one week, I was dancing and I was laughing. I just LOVE to laugh.

I’m beyond blessed to have a good laugh at least once per day. I work for the most incredibly wonderful doctor, and he doesn’t realize it all the time, but he’s hilarious. The best part is that I think he thrives on my quirkiness. I’m unashamed of how dorky I am, and it makes it easy to get him out of his professional shell. He’s a blessing from God. Sometimes, I impersonate some of our more melodramatic patients, and we both just lose it. We also get a kick out of insurance companies. One time, I was on the phone trying to get in touch with an insurance representative, and I kept saying “representative” when the voice recording would ask me what I needed. I said “representative” at least three dozen times to no avail, and then unknowingly started saying “help….help.” I didn’t realize the doctor was listening, but out of nowhere I heard this insane snorting sound. I put the phone down, looked around, and then quietly asked, “Is that you?” All he could get out was more laughter and the word “help.” Haha! I’m blessed for his friendship. Like, really blessed.

There’s one gal I’m getting to know who happens to be a patient at our office, and she kinda gets me. The quirkiness, awkward jokes, random sense of humor—she’s the same way! We don’t even have to say anything and laughter erupts. I think she could be an answer to prayer. I’ve been asking God for a really funny, silly, lighthearted friend to laugh until I pee my pants with. The kind of friend where all it takes is one glance and you’re done. I want my cheeks and belly to ache from the amount of laughter, and yet I also want to be able to bear my heart and soul. We’ll see what God has in store with this new, blossoming friendship.

Being awkward comes so naturally to me. I find everything so interesting and conversation worthy. If you have a booger on your nose, I’ll tell you and not think much of it. If you can’t poop, I’ll tell you what you can do and discuss the size, consistency, and color of your stool with you. Authenticity means so much to me. When individuals are their true, unfiltered, raw selves with me, it brings me more joy than I can say. Show me your messiness and I’ll love you all the more for it, because I’m unapologetically gawky and I really love that about myself.

Today was a great day. I was nearly symptom free all day, praise God! I don’t know what the magic sauce is, but I’ll take a day like this without question. It’s probably the GAPS intro diet I’ve been on for four consecutive days. I LOVE being able to experience the connection between the gut-brain axis. Essentially, when we feel upset, irritated, angry, sad, and so on, it’s only because our digestion is upset in some way. Conversely, when we’re happy and singing songs, it’s because our digestive system is at rest and filled with probiotics and nutrients it needs to keep your immune system strong and healthy. On days like today, the sun shines a little brighter, the wind caresses my skin, I find the joy in every little thing, and I just want to laugh. It’s such an incredible feeling that I wish I could bottle it up and drink some whenever I have days of deep sadness.

I praise God for times of laughter. It’s so fun to chuckle genuinely. It’s even more fun to cackle like a rooster, have your face turn pink, feel the air leave your belly, and roll onto your side because you just really “can’t even” with joy.

I was thinking of laughter today because my soul was laughing all day. I was just giddy with excitement for life. This day and everyday is a gift from God.

“Every Good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

Friend, I pray that if you’re struggling with times of distress and dismay, that you would think back to the days and times where you were filled with laughter. Those times are from God. Praise Him for them and pray for more opportunities to enjoy moments like those. For today, find a t.v. show that makes you giggle; put on your favorite song and dance like a goober; do your best Donald Trump impersonation (I guarantee it’ll bring forth YUUUUGE amounts of laughter); make a waggish, funny face in the mirror and say something serious at the same time (you won’t be able to). Above all, thank God for your life. Thank Him that you get one more day on earth to see His glory, interact with His creation, and be a blessing to those around you. You are so richly loved by the maker of the stars and heavens. He knows every creature swimming the depths of the ocean, and even more, He knows the yearnings and longings of your heart. Cry out to Jesus today, and thank Him for your life.

I’m so thankful for each day. Today, I’m especially thankful for laughter. I love to laugh, and I know you do too.

 

With Love,

Kenya

 

p.s. haha!

Flourish

*Disclaimer: this post is LONG. I’ve written it mainly as a release and form of putting my thoughts somewhere. I want to be able to read about my journey, but my hand would physically be unable to write all of this with pen on paper, so I’m putting it here and hoping that those who read it will pray and praise God with me. It includes a detailed update of how I’m feeling physically and emotionally, what my body is currently doing, and what my symptoms are like right now; lots of details, lots of earnest words and heartfelt prayers. It’s filled with less-than-chirpy realities, but I don’t consider this post to be sad. I am in Christ, so I have joy. Please read at your own discretion.*


I’m not sure what it is about mornings, but I really struggle to get through my daily a.m. routine without falling apart and sobbing like a baby; not because I feel sorry for myself–I ask God to help me fight that temptation daily–but because every morning I’m faced with the daunting realty of my incessant struggles, and my freshly body hurts and is imbalanced and just wants to cry, and it’s so much out of my control sometimes.

April and May of 2016 have been really difficult (praise God that February and March were great!). My body is swollen and feels extremely painful all the time, around the clock. It’s like I have tiny, invisible bruises all over my body. I hurt. I also struggle with pain and bloating after eating, even after being on the strongest herbal antimicrobial protocol for 120 days straight. I feel puffy and I’m in pain. My joints hurt a lot. I can’t really open a bottle without severe pain, and my knees and fingers throb. My muscles feel like they’re electrocuted or something; I get a very uncomfortable tingling sensation in my arms, legs, chest, and fingers, and it just feels like my muscles are charged with some sort of lightning-bolt electricity. I’m tired and weak, and I have brain fog (though it’s gotten a lot better, so I’m deeply praising God for that). I’m struggling to make it through my days again without needing to constantly sit or lie down (praise God for the job He’s provided for me, where I can get through my days and work sitting down). I want to be able to exercise, because I know movement is so important, but my body flares up and gets caught in a flu-like cycle whenever I exert myself just a little beyond my day-to-day: I get a fever, chills, sore throat, headaches, shakiness and tingling in my extremities, brain fog, worsened joint pain, and immense fatigue. My hair continues to fall out in clumps. When I start to feel pathetic and worthless (lies from Satan) as I brush through my hair and feel the clumps in my hands, I remind myself that it’s all vanity, and that one day, I’ll have Goldilocks-like hair in heaven. I have a continuous post-nasal drip that has me hacking mucus up all day and leaves my chest feeling congested. I also have a ton of acne all over my face and back, which continues to boggle the mind of my doctor. The bumps and deep and cyst-like, and they hurt and itch all at the same time. There’s certainly something bacterial to be said about the acne, because they’re filled with thick, discolored fluid. Hey, remember that you chose to read this. Haha!

My bowels continue to struggle. I take three capsules of Motilpro, three heaping teaspoons of Natural Calm magnesium powder, five different probiotics, I am back to juicing, and am currently on a GAPS intro diet, and yet, still not much action. I perform a coffee enema daily, which I am ABUNDANTLY thankful to God for, because those are immensely helpful and soothing. I’m thankful for those magical little friends in the morning. The problem I’m noticing lately, however, is that I get very jumpy and jittery after administering and releasing the enema. This is likely caused by the caffeine in the enema, but that’s not a great sign because it means that my digestive lining is “leaky,” thereby allowing the coffee to enter into my bloodstream. I’ve worked incessantly to patch up my “leaky gut” for the past three consecutive years, but I’m not quite sure why we can’t seem to get it right.

In the midst of my struggles, I have nights like last night where I do think back to the days before I was very sick and struggling, and ask myself what happened. Where did I go wrong? What did I not do right? I mean, I understand that I made a choice to get married at eighteen and put myself through college with no money. I realize that I struggled with stress and anxiety during college (…which was also very much out of my control, whether people believe me or not. It wasn’t the kind of anxiety that the Bible talks about, in which a person stresses out about tomorrow and frets without trusting God. It was a genuine, I’m-going-crazy-what-in-the-world-kind-of-sick-feeling-is-this sensation. The jumpiness, paranoia, night terrors, overactive imagination, etc. strongly dissipated when I changed my diet and went 100% allergen free, so I know it was a direct result of the gut-brain axis being way off.). I realize that I lost sight of the majesty of God and started self-worshipping during a terrible bout with an eating disorder (which again, was part of that terrible psychological imbalance that was directly correlated with my out-of-control bowel situation). I realize all of these things, and I know that the chronic stress that I have endured as a result of my own actions is what has caused a severe imbalance in my body. The problem continues to be that my body is still stressed.  It’s struggling, and so are my emotions, and naturally that causes me stress, whether I am able to perceive it or not. I cling to my Bible, so don’t get me wrong there, but when the body is working hard like this around the clock, it naturally affects the adrenal glands, which are responsible for releasing cortisol (the stress hormone). It’s all messy, and I can’t seem to figure out how to stop the cycle. Is this all my fault? If so, how do I fix it? Where do I go from here?

My doctor has tested me for numerous things, and we have learned a lot: We have found that I had (not sure if it’s gone) a severe case of SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) which we attempted to eradicate with strong antimicrobials for several months; that I have an antibiotic-resistant staph infection circulating throughout my body; that I have a fungal overgrowth in the depths of my nasal cavity; that I have multiple markers showing that I have Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS); that my hormones and cortisol levels are imbalanced; but that through it all, I am strong, resilient, and continuing to fight boldly by the grace of God.

Next steps involve getting my home checked for mold (a very expensive procedure) and treating me with a pharmaceutical designed to bind neurotoxins (I’m a little nervous about this because it will be the first big pharma medication that I take, and I’m not sure what my liver is going to think about it). This is one of the steps of treating CIRS. My doctor thinks we should explore the possibility that the myriad of seemingly unrelated symptoms could be very likely caused by mold illness (which is very probable considering my husband and I lived in a terribly moldy apartment for the first six years of our marriage). All of my markers show that mold could be what’s causing me to feel terribly ill. So, that’s where we’re at.

Have I mentioned that I have the MOST AMAZING HUSBAND IN THE WORLD? He is the biggest, most tremendous, most priceless blessing in my life. He has lovingly stood by me throughout all of this. He is the hardest working man I know. I pray so deeply that God will abundantly bless him with countless treasures in heaven. He is a man who loves me like Christ loves his bride; he sacrificially serves me daily by helping me be able to live the life I do. He makes my bone broths, he cooks for me, he cares for our dog, he makes sure we have enough money to pay for my treatments, he works twelve-hour-days at work, he always makes sure I have the right food to eat (and if I don’t, he goes above and beyond and out of his way to make sure I do), he prays with me, he comforts me, he gives me rubs when I’m in serious pain, he helps me prepare my coffee enemas when I’m in a rush, he checks in on me when I’m having an extra difficult day, and on and on. And the most incredible part about it is that literally, he never grumbles about it. He’s had it just as rough as I have, only in a different way, but yet, you would never know it because he never has a negative word to say. He is literally the most patient, loving, caring man I have ever met in my life. I am blessed to call him my husband. Thank you Lord for the blessing of my husband.

Today, I’m planning on reaching out to a local acupuncturist to see about starting some treatment. I’m praying that can help with the pain, systemic inflammation, and cystic acne. It would be amazing if it helped my bowels, too. We’ll see how that goes. I’m also so, so, so thankful for my incredible lymphatic masseuse, who helps drain my lymph system on a bi-monthly basis. Getting drained dramatically reduces the pain, and helps me get through my days a lot easier. I’m blessed to work for a wonderful doctor, who treats me using chiropractic care on a regular basis and makes me laugh at his silly dancing. I’m beyond thankful for the blessing he is in my life; truly, I have no words to express my gratitude towards him.

I am blessed beyond measure. In my challenges, God continues to lovingly provide everything I need and more. He is my source and my strength, and without Him I am reduced to a floundering piece of blubber. I praise God daily for the blessings around me. God is a mighty, loving, wonderful God. My trials are challenging, but God is powerful and is walking with me. I imagine myself holding my heavenly Father’s hand, taking comfort in His sweet, tender promises:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

I take great joy and peace in knowing Christ as my risen savior. He is my source and my portion forever! I can earnestly and thankfully say that my cup overflows with His love and goodness.

Because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, I can flourish.

My prayer is that God will use me to help others. I want to be useful to God and help others who are in similar circumstances, or who are hurting and feeling like there is no hope. My friend, there is great hope. Jesus Christ will wipe away every tear you’ve ever cried. He cares for you so deeply and so richly that He bore the sins of the world on his shoulders as He carried His cross, bloody and splintered, all the way up to Calvary to then be nailed to it for your sake. He loves you with a relentless, deep love, and that love is available to you right now. All we need to do recognize ourselves as the sinners that we are (we’re born with sin and we bottom line can’t help but be far removed from the holiness and purity of God because of it), repent and turn away from the life we once held onto (God will judge us if we don’t), and pray that Christ would be our savior, leading us each day and growing us to be more like Him.

This has been a long post, filled with so many thoughts. My bottom line is that I want to serve God and be useful for Him while I am on earth, even amidst my struggles. Whenever I feel pathetic and start to believe the lie that my life should be something different, I have to constantly remind myself that when I gave my soul to Christ, I became His. Whatever He wants, whatever He wills, wherever He leads me, that’s where I go and that’s what I do. I have been bought with the precious price of His blood, and I can’t fuss and whine over the fact that I don’t get to do the things I want to do. I just don’t have that option. I’ve struggled with that, because I don’t know how I can be used for Him when I feel like a wart, but God has used many a warts to fulfill His purpose.

So, with that being said, I pray, Lord that you will use me and the trial you have me walking to ultimately grow me closer to you, oh LORD, and to be the salt and light in this world, God. Help me, God, to know you more and seek you first. Lord, help ease my pain and my struggle, if it is your will. I know you are with me. Thank you, LORD, for you love and for your mighty hand in my life. Be ever near to me, God, and help me feel your presence always. I ask you, God, to give me the right words to speak to those who are hurting and in need, and I pray that you will soften and prepare the hearts and minds of the people with whom you place me in contact with. Be my strength, God, and help me walk firmly in you. Catch my tears when the fall, God, and use the pain of today to grow me more in love with you. Mold me into the woman you want me to be, God, and hold me tenderly as I continue to walk this journey you have me on. Thank you, God, for Jesus. Thank you Jesus, for your sacrifice. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the work you’re doing in my soul. Thank you God, for your might and strength and glory. Reveal yourself all the more to me as the day grows closer that I will stand in your presence. Please LORD, create in me a clean heart. I love you, LORD. Help me daily to walk as you would have me walk. Thank you, LORD, for the comfort you bring me in your promises and in your embrace. One day, God, I pray that you physically hold me and never let me go. Oh, to feel your embrace, God! I praise you, Father, for who you are. Your will be done in my life and on this earth, oh God! I am yours, LORD. Work me into who you want me to be, God. I praise for today. I praise you for this breath. I praise for you for everything, LORD, as I know it is all a gift from you. In the powerful, pure, holy name of mighty Jesus Christ I pray. AMEN!

With Love,

Kenya

Healthy

Holiness, holiness
Is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness
Is what you want for me
So…
Take my life and form it
Take my mind; transform it
Take my will and conform it
To yours, to yours, oh Lord

 

What is health? As God is walking me through a lengthy trial of perpetual pain and illness, I would be lying if I said that I don’t think about being fully restored and healthy on a daily basis. In fact, I often find myself crying in genuine, heartfelt distress because of the aching of both my body and soul. I pray to the Lord daily, telling Him that I know he knows what’s going on and that I trust He has not forgotten about me or removed His hand from me. I know He is holding me hand through this. Whatever is causing me to feel so ill also causes significant flares in my emotions, making it so that sometimes, without notice or motive, tears sit in my eyes like tiny, passenger-laden airplanes ready in waiting on the runway. Any little signal from the control tower and, bam! it’s take off, baby. So, yeah, I wonder what the ideal picture of health looks like. I daily ponder if I’m ever going to be physically well, if I will get to have kids and take them to Disneyland, if I will feel the pure joy that comes from eating the last, soggy bite of a vanilla ice cream cone again. Will I ever get to visit places like Thailand and Switzerland? Will I have grandchildren? Such thoughts regularly lead me to faraway trains of thought. I understand the importance of staying in the moment and remaining present in the here and now, but in the depths of my trials, I wonder about things that I see all around me and am unable to experience. My tangential musings on health usually go something like this:

Take any “normal” (what’s normal, anyway?) person and examine the notion of health. Said person may not have anything wrong with him or her physically, per se, but what if they’re distraught with anxiety, or coping with a drunkard of a spouse, or wrapped up in a viscous cycle of self-worship. Even worse, what if they don’t know the saving power and truth of Jesus Christ (John 3:16)?

All too often, we walk around with what I’ve coined  a “church lady” (i.e. smile-and-don’t-let-anyone-know-you’re-struggling) facade painted on really thick, because who wants to be surrounded by Debbie Downers all the time and hear “well, I’m a mess and barely making it through today” as a response to a simple “how are you,” amiright? I wonder what would happen if we all let our human show every time we’re asked how we are. Maybe we’d find out that, indeed, we’re all a little sick.

If health spans more than just the physical, and transcends into the metaphysical, specifically the spiritual, then true health, according to the Bible, is measured by the condition of a person’s soul. Matthew 16:26 asks us what good it is for us to gain the world and forfeit our soul. Ultimately, life could be as relaxed, comfortable, and without trouble as possible here on earth, but if Christ is not guiding the spirit of a person, their soul is destined for destruction–utter illness and sour decay. This is the truth. Hell is real, and being cast into outer darkness and into a permanent separation from God and from every good thing is far worse than any earthly pain and sorrow. So then why do I, knowing the truth of the gospel, still hurt and still beg God to heal me?

Therein lies the rub: the flesh wants an easy physical path, and the moment we taste anything outside of ease, panic and a sense of unfairness rapidly become the driving forces behind our thoughts. My prayer is that if you’re anything like me, struggling with your physical well being, praying for healing and getting a “no” or “not yet” from God, that you would ultimately remember that Jesus is the fount of every blessing and the source of every good and perfect thing. Know that those good and perfect things, however, are not found in this earth. Our reward and rest is yet to come in heaven. Take joy and have peace in knowing that, so long as your genuine faith and trust are in Christ, this isn’t as good as it gets.For now, in your struggles, take joy in your favorite song. Dance in your car and laugh at your own silliness. Make light of today, remembering that life is a mist that is here today and gone tomorrow. Be joyful always, even when you’re at your most depressed.

Even if you’re wailing in pain or have to endure terribly uncomfortable moments (or days, or years), please let your soul be healthy. Let your spirit rejoice and be glad in trusting that God doesn’t make mistakes. He will consistently use ALL things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). Yes, even chronic pain and illness.

My point is simply that health is relative. Someone once said that the difference between a weed and a flower is merely judgment. Sure, you can get scientific and prove the saying wrong, but the crux of my thought is that we can never truly know what God is up to. Who are we to say that our difficulties are weeds, and our neighbors apparent blessings are flowers? Blessed are those who know Christ and have a hope of perfect unity with God one day. Life is undoubtedly hard (very hard for many), but God is always close, waiting for us to trust Him with childlike faith. He longs to hear us cry, “Abba, Father!” Trust God. Whether you are sick, tired, sad, upset, confused, troubled, stuck, or riding a wave of good times and joy, always trust God. You are right where God needs you to be. Walk in faith and stay in prayer.

When we are on our knees, praising God for Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, begging to know God more, and seeking His will and glory above our own, THAT is when we are most healthy.

 

With Love,

Kenya


Never Underestimate God

Maybe you’re like me, feeling like you wish you could fully live. There’s a constant nagging at my heart that attempts to pull me into a swampy wallowing of self-pity and of bemoaning my lot. I’ve been walking a journey of being chronically, mysteriously ill for what feels like forever, and the hardest part is seeing everyone seemingly go on with their “normal” or “perfect” lives while I’m stuck in sickness, wishing I were better and wondering what I’m doing wrong. Am I really energetically “drawing this in,” as many new-age thinkers seem to believe? Do I subconsciously have a deep desire to remain ill, as if for some self-seeking purpose? Am I crazy? Why can’t I feel healthy?

Alas, I  can’t stay there lest I shrivel up into a fetal-positioned ball and think myself into a dark depression. No, in the most emotionally-charged, you’re-still-sick-and-struggling-look-how-much-money-you-owe-lenders moments throughout my day, I must cling to the promises found in God’s word. I wish people would speak life into me like this regularly, but no one seems to have the words. Since the encouragement is not “out there,” I’ve learned I must sing it loudly and lovingly to myself. I’ve learned to never underestimate God.

Maybe you need some encouragement in your walk through illness or your seemingly insurmountable, heart-crushing trials today. I know I do.


Dearest Friend,

My heart and prayers are with you during this arduous time in your life. I am lifting you up mightily to the Lord, asking that He would be your strength and source of ever-present comfort during your ongoing battle with chronic illness. I am praying for God to guide the minds and hands of the doctors whose care you are under, and that if it be His will, you be completely healed as quickly as possible. I know you are in pain, dealing with relentless fatigue, brain fog, digestive distress, and unrelenting emotional strain. May God be your fortress and refuge during these painful days of distress (Ps.59:16).

My sweet brother or sister in Christ, take great joy and comfort in knowing and trusting that God will not fail. With great trials, come great promises of comfort. Deuteronomy 33:27 declares that the eternal God is our dwelling place; in your darkest moments, meditate on the glorious picture of God’s shining countenance (Rev.1:16). What peace we have in our LORD, who strengthens and carries us when we are at our most feeble. Friend, I earnestly pray that God will give you the power to trust in Him at all times (Ps. 62:8), seeking peace in God’s word and casting your burdens on him through prayer. Jesus Christ is intimately acquainted with your pain, your tears, and your struggle. Hold onto the hope of healing, whether on earth or in heaven. God promises us that those who wait on Him will have their strength renewed and will mount up with wings like eagles, running and not growing weary (Is. 40:31).

We can’t understand our trials, or comprehend why God walks us through moments of deep pain, but we can wholly trust that our deepest afflictions will only lead us closer to God as we trust Him and take great joy as we, like Paul, “consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). Stay strong and steadfast (and cry if you need to– God is ready, waiting to catch every tear), and take heart in knowing that you are loved so very deeply by the One who created the universe and holds you in His perfect will.

With love,

Kenya

Never Underestimate God