What God HAS done, not what He Hasn’t

I’m always encouraged when I look at how far I’ve come physically from my medical issues, and I’m discouraged when I look at how far I have to go. What I’m referring to is the debilitating illness I’ve faced for almost 3 years. I have Lyme disease, a Brain Injury, and something called P.O.T.S. (Postural, Orthostatic, Tachycardia, Syndrome).  All of these have worked against each other and put me into a wheelchair. I live my life in bed since I have difficulty even sitting up. All of us are facing our own trials. Yours may be different than mine. But regardless of what we’re facing, it’s important to focus on what God HAS done in our lives, instead of what He Hasn’t.

I notice that when I look at how far I’ve come and the progress I’ve made, it brings a smile to my heart. It encourages me and it makes me grateful for what God’s done, and all the prayers He HAS answered. But when I look at how far I have to go, it steals my joy and discourages me. Soon a cloud of gloom surrounds me and I fall into self pity…. Hmm I wonder which thoughts I should try to focus on?! Should I focus on the ones that make me grateful or the ones that discourage me ;)?!

I know I talk a lot about looking at things positively-looking at the glass “half full.” But the reason I always bring this up is because it is something God is continually teaching me. It is a choice I am faced with every day, every hour, every minute. We all are faced with this decision. How are we going to look at our circumstances?? Are we going to look at what God HAS done or what He Hasn’t??? It is difficult to fight our negative “poor me” thoughts. But when we look at what we HAVE instead of what we don’t it brings joy to our souls.

Paul wrote this following verse while he was in prison:

Phillipians 4:11

“For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

When I first wake up in the morning I’ve trained myself to take a few minutes and thank God that He saved my life and that He has given me another day here on earth. Each day is another “gift” to be grateful for. Doing this puts me off to a good start and brings refreshment to my soul… I even go on to thank God for the cup of coffee my mom brings me every morning… No joke, I think coffee is a heavenly gift 😉 lol..

The truth is that it is easiest for me to wake up in the morning and the first thing I notice is how bad my nerve pain throughout my back, legs, and hands is… It can set me into a gloomy mood…and then the rest of the day I’m thinking “How long is it going to take for my complete healing?? When will I not need my wheelchair anymore?? When will my vision be restored???!”

But an impatient attitude doesn’t help me, it just robs me of my peace. A grateful attitude brings peace, joy, comfort, and hope to us, and praise to God. This is the way I want to live my life. Every minute we have to make decisions on what thoughts we’re going to think and what attitude we’re going to have. Our attitude affects everything. So it’s important we try to have a grateful one.

Matthew 7:22-23

“The eye is the Lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness.”

Jesus wasn’t talking about our physical eyeballs here. He’s talking about the way we view our lives, the way we view people, the way we view trials. When we allow ourselves to look at our trials and go into self-pity, anger, and bitterness, we are seeing the world through “unhealthy eyes” and our “whole body will be full of darkness.” I think there are two different types of “darkness” we fall into.

  1. Sin and letting evil slowly come into our hearts by listening to the lies of Satan and becoming bitter and cold.

 

  1. Sadness, and despair-emotional darkness we our tormented by.

 

We have to FIGHT to see the world through God’s light. We have to desperately ask God to change our hearts and give us the grace to see what He IS doing, instead of being angry at what He’s NOT doing.

My sister got married last month to a great guy. She is so happy!! I was so excited for  her and her fiancé when they got engaged!!! My sister and I have always been very close friends and always dreamed of the day she’d find the right guy to marry!!! But soon after she got engaged, I realized that I was so sick and impaired that I couldn’t throw her a wedding shower, her bachelorette party, or help decorate for the wedding. I wouldn’t be able to be there the morning of the wedding to help her put on her wedding dress and do her make-up. I wouldn’t be able to walk down the aisle and stand up next to her as her maid-of-honor. Sadness hit me as I realized the reality. She’s done sooo much for me in my life and I wanted to be there for her.

We had to do a lot of planning to make it so I could attend the wedding. My brain injury still makes it where I can’t handle noise and light or new environments outside of my house. When I’m around one of these factors my pain goes waaaay up throughout my body, I get migraines, I start to lose my ability to speak, and I start getting disoriented where I don’t know exactly what’s going on around me. We knew I’d be lucky to make it through the reception,  but I had to have a dark quiet room to take breaks in so my brain would calm down and my pain would go down (dark and quiet are the ONLY things that help my brain injury when my brain gets “over stimulated”).

My younger brother was going to have to push me down the aisle in a wheelchair since I couldn’t walk. The problem is I could only sit up in a wheelchair for a short time before the P.O.T.S.(Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) would make me pass out. The only thing that stops me from passing out is lying down. So once I watched my beautiful sister walk down the aisle, my brother had to come pick me up out of the wheelchair and lay me down on the front aisle for the rest of the ceremony. I kept my sunglasses on for most of the day trying to block out the light and I had to lay down on a row of chairs for the reception as well.

Even taking pictures of my sister and myself together was tricky. My sister was so precious and kind. It was her wedding day but she was looking out for me and wanted to make sure we didn’t push it too much with the pictures so I’d still be able to make it to the ceremony. We got me out of the wheelchair for the pictures and I sat up next to her…. As my POTS kicked in I started falling down, and my sister just let me lean on her as our amazing photographer (Klocke Photography) worked with me and my limitations. After pictures were over, my best friend took me back to a dark quiet room. The simple pictures caused my pain to go up, my vision to blur, me to feel nauseas and dizzy, and a breathing attack. I was just hoping the breathing would calm down for the ceremony (and thank God it did).

Come the reception I was sooo out of it I couldn’t even move my arms or legs without help. We reserved a hotel room for me at the venue so I could be in the dark, and quiet to recharge. I lost the ability to speak, so I was pointing to try to communicate. We knew this would happen so we filmed my “Maid of Honor” speech ahead of time and played it at the reception. Usually at wedding receptions I’d be socializing and talking to all the people at each table, and I’d be on the dance floor until it ended. But I couldn’t do either of these things. I laid on a row of chairs on my mom’s lap and watched as much as I could before I had to be picked up and pushed back to the dark, quiet hotel room to recharge again.

During the wedding day I had two ways to look at this situation.

  1. What God had done,

Or

  1. What He hadn’t.

The truth is that God had done so much for me. For one, I could of died in the car accident 2 1/2 years ago, but I didn’t. I realized that it was a gift that I was going to be able to attend the wedding and witness my sister’s happiness from the front row—here on earth—instead of from heaven. My sister still insisted on me being the “Maid of Honor” and I was so touched and honored by this. I was lucky to have my brother Nic (whom I call “Budster” since he’s my best buddy) walk/push me down the aisle in my wheelchair and then pick me up and carry me to the front row to lay down. He is so kind and gentle with me and I was so blessed to have him take care of me.

I was also so blessed to have my best friend Joy take care of me and help me get dressed, get in and out of the wheelchair, and stay with me in the dark quiet room while everyone else was out celebrating. I had a family who loved me so much and wanted me there so badly they figured out how to work AROUND my sickness to get me to the wedding. When I think of my AMAZING family and close friends who have got me through this trial, I sometimes think I’m one of the luckiest girls in the world.

I have so much to be grateful for. I have so much God HAS given me… why should I let my eyes look at things in a dark way and let my whole body be filled with “darkness” like that scripture says.

I heard a pastor on TV once say that the Lord taught him that the things we fix our eyes on ARE the things that grow in our lives. And the things that grow in our lives eventually become who WE ARE…. WOW, that statement hit me hard. Who do I want to be?? Do I want to be bitter, depressed, and negative?? Because if my thoughts are focused on what God HASN’T done, then that is who I will become. No, I want to be a warrior for Christ. I want to be someone who loves Him with all of my heart.. with ALL of my being. In order to be that person I have to fix my eyes on what God HAS done for me.

I need to praise Him whether He’s on my timeline or not. I need to worship Him not only for what He HAS done for me, but simply for who He is. If He never does anything again for me in my entire life, He still deserves praise. Because of WHO He is. He is amazing; He is so loving, forgiving, merciful, and full of kindness. He is faithful to us even when we aren’t faithful to Him. He sees the best in us, even when we can’t see anything good in ourselves.  He deserves our worship everyday simply because—He IS God. He is the one who gave us our very existence.

After all, God, the creator of everything left heaven to come down here and be crucified so we could spend eternity with Him. If that is the ONLY good thing that ever happens to us in this life on earth, it is reason to rejoice and give thanks every day :).

I thank you all for your sweet comments, messages, and your prayers you’ve sent my way. God uses you all to encourage and inspire me. I hope that you can be encouraged and challenged to make a habit of looking at what God HAS done in your life instead of what He hasn’t. I hope that you can realize that what we fix our eyes on is what grows in our minds and hearts. And what grows becomes who we are. Who do you want to be??!

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Even When My Walls Are Shaking

IMG_4885 Ever since my car accident 2 1/2 years ago, my brain injury has severely impaired my vision…As my body continued to deteriorate I found out that  I had POTS and Lyme Disease -both of which can also impair your vision. SO I have a triple whammy.

Often I close my eyes and try to remember what my eyes saw before these setbacks. I open my eyes and remind myself that the world does not look like what I see through my vision.

Right now the door in front of me looks like it is shaking- it is vibrating and it looks like is moving to the right. The wall next to it is also shaking badly. It often looks like it is coming towards me and then it changes directions and starts moving away from me or from side to side. I look at the mirror and it is shaking, and everything the mirror is reflecting is also moving and vibrating and shaking. I look at my bed cover on top of me and I get double vision looking at it. I try real hard to focus but I often can’t control my focus.

As I write this article my eyes are closed and my computer screen is half shut-just enough for my fingers to have room to type. It is too hard for me to look at a computer screen without getting horrible headaches and blurred vision. For the last 3 days I have been placing my hand flat on the wall. I look at the wall vibrating and shaking and remember that in reality the wall is NOT shaking. Sometimes I forget because that’s all I’ve seen 24/7 for over 2 years!! I close my eyes with my hand on the wall and tell myself over and over, “The wall  is NOT shaking. The wall is NOT actually shaking”. I close my eyes and try to remember what the wall would look like if it was “not” moving because in reality it is NOT moving. I haven’t seen any object, wall, or anything in my vision be “still” for over 2 years.

I miss the stability of looking at the floor and it not looking like it is moving in weird abstract ways. I thought if I put my hand on the wall I would “feel” that the wall is still. The problem is that my hand doesn’t feel still…. it makes it feel like it is moving in an abstract direction… so that didn’t work or help me remember :-/.

I think that often in life we feel like our world has been shaken. Something goes wrong, a terrible unexpected trial hits, our dreams crash down and we feel stuck in a world that is shaken. But maybe this is only our perception of what is going on. We cannot see the future, we cannot see how this trial is going to be used, or how it will grow us, or how it will get us to where we need to be on our journey of life. So instead we think everything has fallen apart. Maybe we need to close our eyes and ask God to remind us and teach us the truth – that our world is not being shaken.

God always knew from the day we were born what our past, future, and present would look like. He knew how each day would play out. He knew when things would go wrong, and He made a plan on how HE would USE those trials to make something beautiful- if we let Him. Your present may not look like what you had planned. Your future may not look like what you had planned. But your present and future have not actually been “shaken.” They happened in the way they always were going to happen. You just didn’t know it. Your perception has been shaken.

3 years ago I was entering my senior year of college, and I had just started a career job for a great company. I was also volunteering in a Psychology lab and was getting ready to apply to graduate school. I planned on getting my PhD in Psychology in counseling . I had a huge heart for the youth around the world. Once I graduated I planned on using my degree to start “teen centers” that would help teenagers find God, find purpose in life, and would help them get a job, get scholarships etc. I wanted to inspire them and give them a chance, give them hope. But that dream came crashing down when I got in a car accident that gave me a severe brain injury.I had so many symptoms!! I ended up dropping out of school, losing my job, and moving back in with my parents.

A year later my body had reeeeaaaallly  deteriorated. I had severe pain, constant nausea, dizziness sickness, weakness etc. I started losing control of all my limbs and soon I had to be carried to the bathroom. The doctors realized something besides the brain injury was going on and they started testing for different diseases. Every test came back negative until finally I was tested for and diagnosed with Chronic Lyme disease and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).

I was on a waiting list for six months before I went into a specialized clinic for IV antibiotics and other treatment. I am no longer doing IVs.  I am at home in bed, but am still undergoing treatment. I’ve made progress but still have a long way to go. My world was “shaken” and turned upside down…. or so my perception thought. But God knew from day one, when I was born that this would happen to me.

Let me clarify that I DO NOT think God caused this to happen to me. But He knew it was going to and He had a plan on how He would use it. On how He could make my dreams come true despite my circumstances. He has also given me new dreams. I started this blog because I wanted people not just to see my trial, but to see God’s faithfulness through my trial. It’s been a year and a half and I’ve had around ten thousand hits and numerous messages and many people contacting me telling me of  their trials and how they relate. They tell me God has used this blog to help them, to inspire them, to give them hope…….. WAIT… wasn’t my dream to start “teen centers” so I could “help them, inspire them, and give them hope”????!! And now God took that desire of my heart and is making that dream come true through an unexpected way… Wow, just the thought of that blows me away and makes me see that my world has not been shaken. Maybe I have been shaken. But my world and future hasn’t…just like my vision sees the walls around me shaking, I saw my dreams being shaken.

Yes, I would rather not be in bed, unable to stand, in constant pain. I would rather be healthy, up and about and inspiring people. But maybe this plan is better. I know I’m growing a lot more spiritually being flat on my back than when I was busy up and about. And the lessons I am learning are what I am sharing with you.  I don’t have all these lessons down. But I am learning and growing and being vulnerable with you guys. I don’t know what you’re going through. I don’t know what trials and hardships you are facing. But I DO KNOW that your present and future have not been shaken even though YOU might SEE it that way. God always knew these things would happen and it didn’t shake Him or His plan for you. He has a plan on how He will use your hardships. Even if the only thing that comes from it is you getting closer to the Lord, well then that is the best thing you could gain. That relationship with God is the single most important thing in life and is the one thing we can take to heaven with us.

So I encourage you wherever you are not to lose hope or to give up because it feels and looks like your “walls are being shaken” they aren’t. They are in the palm of God’s hand, which is the most stable place for them to be. If you ever need prayer or someone to share with, feel free to message me at: rachelsradicalroad@gmail.com   I often take a long time to respond because I’m so sick it’s rare I get online and my mom has to read your messages to me. But I will try to get back to you and I will pray for you in the mean-time. God Bless!!

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My Christmas wish

IMG_1515_5860 copyI love the song “My Grown up Christmas Wish.” In the song they say that their “grown-up Christmas wish” is that there would be no war, that everyone’s hearts would be healed, and everyone would have a friend. I love and agree with those wishes… But I would also wish that everyone would know Christ, and would be filled with hope.

Though presents shouldn’t be our primary focus for Christmas, I have to admit that I got a little carried away with what I wanted for Christmas this year. Much of my hope was put in this desired gift rather than in our God, the giver. This year what I wanted couldn’t be wrapped or put under a tree. Because what I wanted was to be better physically for Christmas.
I wanted to be strong enough to be with my family Christmas morning… I wanted to be strong enough to sit up on the couch without fainting, falling over, losing my vision, or getting nauseous (all symptoms of POTS). Instead I will be carried to the living room and lay down on the coach. I’ll stay there for as long as I can handle the noise and light before I’m taken away from my family and put into a room, by myself, in the dark (this is the only thing that helps my symptoms calm down).

This may seem silly and not like a big deal. But for me, being able to stay sitting up represents a new phase of healing. For me it’s a big step. Unless I get a miracle in the next few days it looks like it will be awhile before I get to that point of my recovery.

3 months ago I was getting ready to go into intensive treatment for my Lyme disease, POTS, and brain injury. Three debilitating sicknesses I had been dealing with for 2 years. I was trying not to get my hopes up, because I had already tried so many remedies, and seen so many doctors, and the things that seemed to heal other people didn’t help me. But my hopes were up; it was possible that with treatment and time I could get to a point where I could live a semi-normal life again.

I had one wish for Christmas– that I would be able to sit up without help during Christmas morning with my family. Since treatment I have had a lot of healing with my brain. But my condition of POTS has gotten worse.

Though my wish may not seem “shallow” I realize it’s not what Christmas is about. As we get older we see that Christmas is not about the presents we get… and this Christmas isn’t about getting the present I wished for. Christmas is about what we can give to others, and reflecting on what God has already given us…. The keys to heaven. We are not doomed to a world filled with heartbreak and struggle, but we are promised an eternity of awe and wonder.
Christ came down and was born in a lowly manger, lived a life of sacrifice to teach us His ways, and then He took upon Himself death upon a cross– the punishment reserved for only the most horrible criminals. Why did He do all of this?? So we would have a way into heaven.
Romans 5:2-5
“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
In 1 Corinthians 13 it states, “the greatest of these is faith, hope, and love”. Hope is listed with faith and love. Yet, we live in a hopeless society. If we are not instantly gratified, we lose hope. But hope must be deeper than that. It has to be. The Bible talks so much about it.

We say things like “I hope I get ‘…’ for Christmas” and if we don’t get it we lose our hope. But hope is deeper than wishing for surface things. Hope isn’t “wishing”. Hope is believing that no matter what, no matter how hard or how wonderful things get, no matter how much life surprises us, that God will somehow bring something good out of it all.

Hope is knowing that God has a purpose for us here on this earth. Hope is knowing that our life on earth is only the first step of our lives. We have a whole destiny of millions of years in a perfect world, living with, and walking with God. How can we lose hope when we realize this??

So I may not get the Christmas “ present” I wished for… but God is using this as an opportunity to teach me a deeper lesson of hope. I don’t know if I’ll ever master the full understanding of hope. But I think I’m starting to get past the surface meaning of it. I’m realizing that hope should be a vital part of our daily lives.

I love the show “Once Upon a Time.” But I have to admit that I’ve had to skip many episodes when the dark magic got too intense for me. But as I’ve watched this show I’m inspired by Snow White. She is always full of hope… and the peculiar thing is that bad thing after bad thing has happened to her. Every time things start to get better or she has a victory, another trial strikes and she is fighting to stay alive. But instead of seeing it the way I just described, she believes that no matter how bad things get, they do eventually get better. Good does eventually come. She knows that no matter how bad it gets, there is hope. It won’t be in vain.

I sit there inspired by her positive attitude and wish to become more like her. After she loses everything time and time again she focuses on what she does have and she has hope that good will win.

So I hope that if things haven’t turned out the way you planned, that you also would be filled with hope when you think about the God who came down to earth, and gave everything so we could spend eternity with Him. I hope you are filled with hope when you realize that God has a destiny (that you are living right now) here on earth, and also in heaven. I wish that you would have hope to believe that no matter how bad things get, they will get better; they will not be in vain; God will somehow bring good out of it.

God works in mysterious ways. And it may be mysterious to us why God doesn’t instantly “fix” our trials… but I know that the God who sacrificed His life for us is a God we can trust. I don’t doubt Him, or His timing. And I don’t’ doubt that He will and IS bringing good out of my physical trial. I may not be able to “sit- up” this Christmas, but I will lay down and reflect upon the hope Christ gave us when He came down from heaven to a lowly manger.

I wish you a merry, Merry Christmas!!! My “grown-up Christmas wish” is that me, my family, and all of you reading this would be filled with the greatest gift of all, knowing Christ, knowing His love, and having hope in the power and purpose of His resurrection.

Merry Christmas to all of you :)!!

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Just Like a Turtle

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My friends used to say that if I was any animal it would be a “bunny”– hop hop hopping away. These days I’m being compared to a turtle! But I am learning that’s not a bad thing! Turtles are perseverant. Because they move so slowly they have to be. I think that turtles “see” more of life around them because they aren’t capable of running, or “hopping” all over the place. They actually observe what’s in front of them right now… that’s what God is trying to teach me. Step- by- step just like a turtle. I don’t need to be running from or to anything, but just be right where I am.

For those of you who don’t know me or haven’t read my previous blogs, I was in a car accident 2 years ago that resulted in a brain injury. After living in pain for 1 1/2 years, losing control of my legs and arms, and being forced to live my life in bed, I found out that I have “Lyme Disease”and “P.O.T.S.” on top of the brain injury. So now I live my life at a very slooooow pace, much like a turtle.

Recently, my amazing sister Bethany bought me a stuffed-animal turtle to remind me that even though the turtle moves slowly he is the one that “won” the race in the story of the “tortoise and the hare.” I love that turtle and keep it in my bed near me for a good laugh and a cute decoration.

I went to a specialized clinic for extensive treatment for Lyme Disease this past October. The treatment was to help lower my symptoms in hopes that one day I would be able to walk, see, and live life out of my bed.… Yet I’m here, still living in my bed, wondering how long it will be until my pain improves and I can sit, or be strong enough to stand without losing control of my legs.

I don’t know the answer to that question… but God does. There’s a reason He didn’t give us the ability to see into the future. He didn’t give us the ability to know when, why, or how things are going to turn out. I think it’s because He wanted us to be focused on what is right in front of us, right now, today!! There’s a scripture that says,

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

I always thought it was peculiar that it didn’t say “God plans our future but we decide our steps”… but now I think I’m starting to understand.

God is IN our steps. He is with you right now as you take this step today. He’s more personal than a God who sits in heaven, gives you a few “plans” for your life and then sees you once you die and get to heaven. He wants to be IN our steps. That means every day…all of the time. That’s very personal!!

He just continues to amaze me with HOW much He loves us and HOW much He wants a relationship with us, right now, where we are at… not where we are going. Once we get to “where we are going” He’ll be there with us guiding those steps.

So here I am waiting to see improvement in my body…. Waiting, waiting, waiting. When will I be able to walk normal again?? When will I be able to handle light and noise?? I have many more questions, BUT I am trying to be focused on today, on what’s right before me.

I am seeing improvement in my brain. I think faster and clearer and I can talk faster than before. My difficulty breathing is also slowly improving. But the healing is slow, and since I have sooooooo many symptoms I tend to notice all of the symptoms that haven’t improved. But I need to be focusing on what IS improving, and thank God for it.

For me focusing on what I don’t yet have doesn’t help me. But focusing on my small improvements and being thankful for where I am at does!

Each of you has your own path, your own trials you’re going through right now. Maybe you wish you could skip the now and get to “where you are going.” You want to get passed the trial and get to the place where things get better. That will come. But right now I just want to encourage you to focus on where you are.

God’s not waiting to meet you down the road, He wants to be with you today as you trust in and lean upon Him. God continues to teach me that our trials can be the most holy and intimate places with the Lord… if we let them be.

In our fast-paced “bunny rabbit” lifestyle I hope you can be encouraged that being a turtle doesn’t mean you are falling behind. It means you are really embracing the day in front of you. As you take it day-by-day you will one day wake-up and the race will be over… and you will have persevered and got to the finish line.

So embrace today, and let God grow you because you are never going to get this day back. 🙂

God bless you my fellow runners… though I guess turtles don’t really run ;).

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I made it…to 23!!!!

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Last year on my birthday I made a wish when my candles blew out… I wished that if I were to join God in heaven this next year, that He would comfort and give strength to my family and closest friends.

The biggest burden on my heart wasn’t that I was in extreme pain, it wasn’t that I was losing control of my limbs, and it wasn’t about dying…. It was about my family, what would they do if I died this next year??

I had planned every letter I wanted to write and leave behind as my last words to my family members and best friends. I wanted them to know how I adored them. And I wanted them to let go of me and move forward with their lives until we met up again in our true home-heaven.

But I never wrote those letters… God had me keep pushing, and fighting, and persevering to get through every minute of each day… It is 1 year later and I made it!!! I made it to 23!!!

Not only did I make it, but I’m finally getting treatment that is supposed to help my Lyme disease. I’ve been here 2 weeks and the treatment pushed me to my limit of maximum pain I’ve had to deal with (and I’ve had to deal with alot ;)). The doctor said I’m the sickest patient they’ve worked with doing this IV program to treat Lyme disease. I was supposed to be here 3 weeks and now it will be 4 or 5 because of how sick I’ve become.

But they are working with me and they are an amazing staff of caring people. I know God led me here to this treatment and I know He’s the one leading me through it. Many of you who read my blog have donated your money to help me get this treatment… And for that I can never say thank you enough!!! God is using you to save and change my life. How do I even convey how grateful I am.. But I am. I lay here with eyes tearing up because I am so touched by all of you. By your love, your support, your prayers, and your sacrifice, you have touched my life forever. Thank you!!

22 years old I thought I might be near the end. 23 years and I think I may be at the beginning :). I’m so glad to still be here on earth, to be alive, to be getting a glimpse of hope that I’ll dance again… But what I’ve learned this past year is whether you are at the beginning here on earth, or at the beginning in heaven, it is a beautiful thing, an amazing opportunity, a gift from God.

So for those of you here on earth I hope I can encourage you to embrace your life. And for those of you who may be approaching heaven, I hope I can give you hope that this is not the end, you’re about to approach a beautiful beginning there.

God bless!!

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

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Hope when all seems Hopeless

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You know, we hear about how important faith and love are all the time. There are multiple sermons on both these subjects. When you are “doubting” you have Christians telling you to have “faith.” When you’re angry they’ll tell you to “love.” They speak it reminding you that the bible tells us to do these things… But what about hope??

“These three remain faith, hope, and love.” Corinthians 13

Why don’t we realize we are commanded to have hope just as we are commanded to have faith and love?? It seems we’ve forgotten about these verses. Maybe when you’re down your friend will tell you to “cheer up” or “not to give up hope.” But it seems we don’t often remind each other “because the bible says so.” It seems that God treasures hope as much as faith and love… but do we?? He is even referred to as “the God of Hope.” Romans 15:13

So how do we have hope when all is hopeless?? The same way we have faith when we are doubting or how we love when hatred is trying to take over- how?? Jesus.

Where do we find our hope?? In things turning out the way we specifically want them to?? No, that’s called control. Is it in being rich, or being healed, or having power… No those are only material things, they don’t have to do with the state of our soul.

We have hope by putting it in Jesus. Salvation alone is hope. Getting to go to heaven brings hope. Maybe everything won’t turn out the way we would plan. But knowing that God loves us and will bring beauty out of our ashes, that brings hope.

I’m not saying that having hope for specific things here on earth is bad. No. I have hope that I will not only walk and run again, but that I will be healed here on earth and I will dance again. I look forward to that day. But if that day never comes I won’t lose hope, because I know I will walk, run, dance, and maybe even fly when I am “promoted” to leave this earth and join God in a perfect world, in heaven.

Though I believe I will be healed here on earth, I have faced the possibility that my dancing days may be stored up in heaven waiting for me. If that is the case I won’t lose hope because that just means God will use my sickness here on earth for a better purpose than my healing here on earth.

How can I say that?? Cause I know the God I serve, I know HOW much He loves each of us and  I know we can trust Him no matter what happens. For we know that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Somehow we sometimes think that means “He causes everything to turn out the way we wish cause He loves us” ;). It says according to “HIS purpose.” Not OUR plan for our lives, but His purpose. His purpose might be not to heal me until I get to heaven. If that’s the case, then I trust Him because He does work for the “good of those who love Him.” And that means that He can bring more “good” for me and those around me out of me being disabled the rest of my life than if I were to be healed here on earth. Good doesn’t mean “easy” it simply means “good.”

He can see past present and future, He can see our destiny, He can see what will grow us into better people. He knows what will fulfill us and how to bring us joy… He knows all these things faaar more than we do. And sometimes that means not causing things to turn out the way we wish cause He has a better plan for us than we have for ourselves.

So yes, I have hope that I will dance here on earth again, that I will gain control of my legs… but if I don’t until heaven, I will not lose hope because that means God is going to bring good out of my life in a different way than I can imagine. I know I have an incurable disease, but I know that He WILL certainly heal my body and give me the ability to dance again, whether that is on earth or in heaven, it doesn’t really matter- I will be SO grateful when it happens!!

“His ways are not our ways, and our thoughts are not His thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8 His ways are much better. So wherever you are in life and whatever you are facing, don’t lose hope. There IS hope in our Savior. There IS hope cause He will turn your ashes into beauty, and there IS hope because this life is only the beginning.

We will one day be promoted to meet our King in a perfect world called Zion, or Heaven. A world bigger than ours, full of many colors and creatures we’ve never seen. There will be many mansions, and cities, all governed by one perfect, loving God. And you have a free pass there if you choose to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That is enough to give us hope for the rest of our lives :).

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

As always if you need someone to talk to or need prayer feel free to email me personally at rachelsradicalroad@wordpress.com
I may take awhile to respond since some days I’m too weak to hold my laptop or my vision is too blurred to see. But I would love to hear from you and would be happy to pray for you if you’d like prayer for what you’re facing in your life!

Have an amazing day, or at least a day filled with more hope :)!!

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2 years since the accident….

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Rachel is approaching her 2 year anniversary of being bedridden on September 27th. This brings mixed emotions for her and she said it would encourage her if people let her know how her physical trial has been used to help them or bring something good in their lives. If it has done that for you send her a message here or at rachelsradicalroad@gmail.com

She is on new supplements to help build up her immune system before going in for 3 weeks of IV treatments in another city in October. We are prayerful this will help her quality of life. If you would like to donate to help pay her medical expenses go to: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/dance-again-/197431

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