Recently I posted this on Instagram. For some people they know all my story so this may come as a surprise that I am not that open with every little thing going on with me. For most people they have no idea the amount of doctors, diagnosis, procedures I have gone through. So here is my small attempt to share in hopes that God can use the story he has given for His glory alone:
10 years ago I was open about every part of my life, it was ingrained in me to share it so that I could help others. As I grew older I learned it was easier to process my new diagnosis with just my family. I lost friends and gained closer ones. I saw how some people didn’t understand so I just kept it to myself. I did not want attention, to burden others and I also wanted to live a “normal life”.
I am still terrified people will see this and still not understand or think I can’t run a business because of my chronic illnesses. However, I have for 6 years and it has not effected it. In fact I started this business because God put on my heart to do so, and because it was/is the one thing I’m so passionate about that it distracts me from the pain.
I was always the child in the hospital. I was always using my sick days in high school and like a million more. I did not ever skip school, goof off or become rebellious. Main reason is because of Jesus, but the other one is because my body was fighting from a young age. I could not even think of wasting any precious time or putting bad stuff into my body, because it was already fighting hard doing all the right things. Our bodies are gifts gotta treat them like that.
Here’s what I’m here to say. Every winter I go through many procedures, usually a surgery, new diagnosis and doctors apt every day to maintain my body. I call it my maintenance season. Some years I have more to up keep than others.This past year I have been through more. (In time I’ll share them I am just praying about the best way to do so) I have a team of over 20 doctors, I see 2 doctors a week year around, take pills daily, do physical therapy, exercise, try to eat right and pray a lot. I am shaking as I write this. I am an open book one on one but on here it’s scary. I feel like Jesus is calling me to be more open, to help others more. After years of saying Jesus let me wait more, I’m doing it. Know if you are going through health battles I’m here to walk with you, pray with you and listen. For me I have always felt like I am in two worlds: health world Jana and mom, friend, business owner etc. Today two worlds collide.
After posting this on Instagram I was praying, worshipping and just sitting in silence (nap time haha). I read a article on Joy today that really resonated with me. My word for all of last year was joy. I would write it on the shower wall each shower I took. I would pray everyday to have it and to spread it to others. In the article by storied I read today:
“What I am going to say is that joy is fruit of the Spirit that most equips us to survive this difficult and often painful existence.
Joy is like armour. It’s like bulletproofing for the soul. When the Spirit fortifies our lives with it we become almost impossible to take out, even if we do still get a little banged up and bloodied.” – Storied issue 20
The Joy of the Lord is our strength. When people ask me how I get through it all I will say Jesus. Truly He provides joy, peace and contentness in seasons of trials of many kinds. He also brings people into my life that show me I am not alone and He is looking out for me.
I remember so many times where this has happened. A couple years ago I had a surgery and my friend who is an amazing nurse had her mom check me in so I could feel encouraged. Then she came to bring me flowers before the surgery in the pre op room. Then my nurse for the actual surgery was a friend from high school youth group I had not seen in a decade.
A year ago I had a spinal tap done and then it leaked causing the most pain of my life in my head/back. I was unable to move or eat or walk. I was admitted back in the hospital for a blood patch and the needle lets just say was much bigger than the first time. No one was allowed in the room so the nurse taught me how to breathe through it, held my hand and never looked away from me. Right before this procedure I was hospitalized for a virus that crashed my system hard. Eli was by my side the whole time. He made joke after joke. He made sure I smiled despite the scary tests they had to run on me. We prayed a lot and laughed a lot. We choose no matter what was going on around us to tap into joy. Man, this is hard to do especially in 2020/2021 but learning each day to do this has been the most character building season for me.
In all of those moments joy won and to be honest joy always wins. Joy is Gods gift to us all. He wants us to see, feel and experience joy.