I spend my time writing about how to balance faith and difficult times. I have both mental illnesses and chronic illnesses, but I’m learning to thrive anyway.
I’ve never been good friends with normal, but I’m well-acquainted with disappointment and pain. I guess that’s why Redefining Normal is part of the code here, because it’s been part of my journey.
I’m still learning how to hold tight to the great and good God who never abandons us, even when it seems He is silent. The silent days are really hard, I’m not gonna lie. But it’s worth it, because there’s nowhere else for me to turn to find hope and wholeness.
As a child, I knew what it was to live in fear, because I grew up in a physically and psychologically abusive household. I once won an award in school for writing a mostly autobiographical story called Reign of Terror. One of the judges asked if I was seeing a counselor.
I also know firsthand the confusion and pain of a life interrupted by illnesses. My daughter is autistic and epileptic, and I have a host of mental and chronic illnesses too. The “most exciting” illness is drop attacks, where my body just goes limp without warning. So far, the dozens of doctors I’ve seen haven’t been able to figure out what to make of these drop attacks, but I’m hopeful for a meaningful diagnosis someday.
I also know how to fight and win the battles I face. There are a bunch of keys I’ve learned along the way, but probably the most important one is to never go it alone. I’ve found a tribe of people who are with me, no matter what. They lend me strength when I NEED it, and I do the same for them. Together, we are conquering fear and leaning hard into faith.
What I Believe
I BELIEVE I don’t know it all. Feel free to remind me of this fact.
I BELIEVE every person should be treated with dignity, whether or not I agree with him or her. Each person is uniquely created in the image of God, and this extends beyond anyone aligning with my political views, theology, or favorite pizza.
I BELIEVE the God of the Bible is good, every day, all the time, no matter what. I embrace the tension of a loving God who cares deeply for me, even while I live in the midst of a clearly busted world.
I BELIEVE God heals, but our world is broken. This means some are healed instantly (sometimes), some find healing through surgery (sometimes), medication controls our medical conditions (sometimes), and sometimes the pain stays through the end our lives. I also know in the deepest part of my soul that we will have no pain in heaven.
I BELIEVE no single condition can describe or define any person. My daughter is autistic and epileptic, but she is also SO MUCH MORE. Anyone who cannot see that, does not see my daughter. And so it is with all of us.
I BELIEVE that prayer and Scripture can be valuable tools in our battles against mental and chronic conditions, but equally valuable tools are medication, counseling, community, and transparency. It’s “all hands on deck”, so let’s get everything working in the same direction to find improvement in every manner possible.
I BELIEVE the church should be on the forefront of establishing inventive, practical, and powerful ways to include the chronically ill in all aspects of a community. Much more than wheelchair ramps, the church is where the fibromyalgia sufferer can find a place, the epileptic can lead a small group, the MS sufferer is loved unconditionally.
YOU might BELIEVE differently than me. You’re welcome here. In fact, we need you to add to the discussion!