It's been two years since I faced one of the most difficult valleys I have had to walked through. For those of you who read my "Keep Me Broken" articles in either The King's Princess, The Father's Kingdom, or Virtuous Daughters magazines, you know the health issues that faced me in the year 2013. For those of you who don't, I wanted to write a post on this two year anniversary as a way to share my heart with you and give you encouragement.
It was April 9th, 2013 when my surgeon confirmed my fears and my whole year was turned upside down. He told me that there was a cyst/tumor growing in my sinus cavity around my upper left wisdom tooth, and that was the cause of my wisdom tooth being displaced up under my eye, which was revealed on a CT scan. (If you think that sounds weird, you should've seen the X-Ray!) I was devastated. But not just because of the physical journey that awaited me. It was also the spiritual journey that I was walking through.
Before this appointment I had begged God to take this away from me. To completely clear the CT scan and heal me. To remove the cyst and move my tooth back down where it was supposed to be. But when I saw the results of that scan, I felt utterly alone and forsaken. Why had God not healed me? Was He not listening to my prayers?
My surgeon told me that most people have 10 to 12% of hollow space in their sinus cavity, but I only had 1% or less because of the cyst. He performed a biopsy that day and also inserted a drain tube into my gum tissue that would work to drain the cyst and hopefully shrink it some. While the cyst was not cancerous (Praise Jesus!) it was very aggressive and acted much like a tumor, with a very high recurrence rate (1 in 3 chance). If we could get it to shrink enough, that would lower the chance of recurrence a little bit. He shocked me when he told me that I would need to keep the drain in for 6 to 8 months, and irrigate it twice daily with medicine.
6 to 8 months? Had my prayers backfired on me? It was a very painful process every day. My Mom would help me with the irrigation, and many times I would end up gagging and sobbing because I was in so much pain. I had asked God to take this from me.... And yet I was still having to face this pain every day. Then at the end of those 6 months I would face a fragile surgery that terrified me more than anything.
But guess what? I wasn't alone. Because we serve a mighty God, He sought to prove to me that I was never alone, and that He was standing right by my side, even while the storm threatened to overtake me. The scripture verses He gave to me during this time brought tears to my eyes.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 "Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weakness, so that Christ's power may abide in me."
Isaiah 43:1-2 "Now this is what the Lord says.... 'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you."
I find the truth in these verses to be so beautiful. There were many more verses, but these two stuck out to me the most, especially the first one.
My grace is sufficient for you.
How beautiful. Yes, I was begging God to take it away, and yes I was walking through one of the darkest times I'd ever faced. But even still, His grace alone was enough to carry me through. He had not left me. Not even for a moment.
And that is when I prayed three words that changed my life. I told Him, "Lord, I am done with my prayers being so focused on my comfort and how You can benefit me. Instead, keep me broken. If that is how You can be the most glorified, then keep me broken. And use it for Your glory alone."
A month later I felt God calling me to write that first magazine article that I entitled "Keep Me Broken". Was I expecting anything to come from it? Not really. But God had other plans. I began receiving letters from girls all over the country who had been impacted by my story. They shared with me their own stories and how they felt challenged to pray that same prayer. I would receive these letters and just cry. Because God had done as He'd promised. He'd taken my pain and brokenness and used them for His glory. It was not in vain.
At the end of 6 months, I prepared for my surgery on October 8th, 2013 that would remove the cyst and displaced wisdom tooth. I cried the entire three hour drive to that hospital where my surgeon is located. And I cried at the hospital. But yet I was peaceful. Because I knew God would be faithful and carry me through even my worst fears and pain. And He did.
The surgery was a success and after the painful recovery process, the worst of it was all behind me. I still have to have follow up appointments at least once a year, to look for any signs of recurrence of the cyst. But for 2 years now the Lord has healed my body and the cyst has not returned.
While the surgery and pain is behind me, I will never forget the lessons that it taught me. And through this post, I seek to encourage you with my story. I hope to encourage you to trust God no matter what life throws your way.
He will never abandon you and never forsake you. If you are going through pain, it will not be in vain. If you are feeling broken, He will use that and amaze you in ways you never would've imagined.
Just as my God was with me through all of the pain and tears, He will do the same for you. You will overcome, because He is on your side. Trust Him with your brokenness. He makes miracles from the messes, and beauty from the ashes.
Don't give up. Praise Him through your storm. It is not the end... Only the beginning.