“Mommy, are you okay?”

I had just fallen down the stairs of our home, which spiraled me down into a dark world extending way beyond the bottom step, landing me a two-year full-time job in bed.

When my baby girls were born, my doctor diagnosed me with “post-partum elation”! Jubilant were our days, but after my fall, life changed for me, Mark, and our little five and two-year-old girls. I could not understand why God gave us two daughters and then not allow me to help raise them. In addition to being a daddy, Mark now had to take on mommy stuff too. A lot of mommy stuff!

From 2000-2002, I was bedridden from back and fibromyalgia pain. If that wasn’t painful enough, I developed a nerve pain disorder called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Most people that develop CRPS never heal from it – it is, shall we say, complex, and unbearably painful. When you have that much pain, you don’t eat because pain equals no appetite. I had lost so much weight, doctors feared for my life. I was severely malnourished. I was also addicted to painkillers. When you stare death in the face, you need counseling, and my counselor was by my bedside weekly.

Christina taught me about self-healing through imagery, deep breathing, meditation, prayer, reframing, safe places, nutrition, amino acids, and writing. I once wrote a letter to my feet, asking them to cooperate with my other body parts so we could walk again. For four months, Christina tried to talk me into getting a wheelchair and a stair glide so that I could participate in life outside of my bedroom prison cell. My stubborn pride kept me contained. “I’ll be better soon; I don’t need those things,” was my sincere excuse. But after I kept not getting better, I realized I had to learn to live as a disabled person, so I bought both.

If you’ve never owned a stair glide, you should get one if you want to have the coolest house on the block. Neighborhood kids came over frequently for a ride. It’s not like it was The Wild Chipmunk roller-coaster like I used to ride as a kid at Lakeside Amusement Park, but nevertheless, it was a ride! I also learned, my other ride, the wheelchair, gave me bonus points with the kids. Then, when we put up a bed in our living room, oh my goodness, we could have made a few bucks had we charged an entrance fee for those little monkeys jumpin’ on the bed!

With Halloween approaching, Christina flatly stated, “You have a choice, either you stay home by yourself, or you go trick-or-treating in the wheelchair with your family.”  But I didn’t want my adult neighbors to see me in this condition. I was only 35. No one else I knew had to do life from a wheelchair. I realized then that I was still imprisoned, and although my prison cell expanded to the size of our home, I didn’t feel free to be me, outside. I was utterly embarrassed, but my embarrassment was keeping me from getting well…so I chose to trick-or-treat.

There were stares — lots of them. And people say stupid stuff. But I was participating. I endured the pain of Mark pushing the wheelchair down the sidewalk and over the cracks of the pavement. I felt every painful bump, but it was worth the smiles I saw on Mark’s and the girl’s faces.

My family didn’t care about the wheelchair – they cared about me – that I was with them.

For the next two years, I lived from that wheelchair, participating in family life. The kids loved to push me and ride in my lap. Then, hello! I was introduced to pool therapy, where I regained my strength and learned how to walk all over again! Christina, also a nutritionist, helped me get off all my meds safely through amino acid therapy.

During my recovery, I studied nutrition and earned my master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition. It took six years, but in 2008, after earning my degree, I opened a nutrition counseling business. I was my first client, and eventually, my CRPS disappeared! My fibromyalgia did too! I had no pain. I basked in being involved in my girl’s lives and going to every single game, event, school function – everything! I loved working again and helping my clients to live healthier lives and heal from their ailments. I learned that nutrition counseling is as much about counseling as it is about nutrition.

Ten years later, July 2018, a foot injury sent me back to non-walking status. It’s freaky and frustrating how many things in my life I have to do twice (usually computer stuff). It should have been a simple sprained ankle that healed, but the overcompensated foot is still struggling to bear weight. Things began the same way this second time around, thinking this will get better next week. I’m at week #69. I haven’t hesitated using my wheelchair, and this Halloween, you may even spot me on the streets in my neighborhood riding my little red motorized scooter, “Mario Cart.” I should probably get a helmet! And borrow some kids!

One thing I know about me is that when I’m hurting, I seek God more. I need a power bigger than myself to cope. I always do, but when I’m able-bodied, I often forget. I know there are blessings beyond the pain, but they are challenging to see while blinded during the trial. Blessings flowed from my initial trial – my family became closer because we realized life is not guaranteed another day. I saw God provide for our needs in multiple ways – neighbors stepping into our world to help, and our church family helping to take care of our girls, provide a gazillion meals, clean our house, and build a ramp.

God is once again providing for our needs, but honestly, I have struggled in my faith through this trial. I have questioned God, “why this again?” I love walking. I love hiking. I love fishing. I love gardening. But these things must wait. My heart is going through a surgery, of sorts. Right now, I am learning to “be” more than “do.” And that’s a great blessing through this trial. Until I’m able to walk again (hopefully!), I will keep trying to be the qualities I desire to “be.”

To be still, trusting. To be content, thankful. To be patient, trusting his timing. To be loving, a nonjudgmental peacemaker. To be courageous, facing many fears. To be vulnerable, honest, and real, no masks. To be compassionate, extending understanding to those who are suffering. To be me, not defined by physical abilities. The chiseling is good. I am being stripped of the things where I once found security. My pain is somehow helped through writing. I am finding my voice in this place to speak honestly about my struggles, as well as about the deep truths and paradoxes of God. I am broken, but my superpower is the Holy Spirit living in me. This is my healing journey, and I Am Not Alone!

I Am Not Alone

by Kari Jobe

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You

Lord, You fight my every battle
Oh, and I will not fear

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own
You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You’re my strength
You’re my defender
You’re my refuge in the storm
Through these trials
You’ve always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

I am not alone (no)
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Austin Davis / Ben Davis / Dustin Sauder / Grant Pittman / Kari Jobe / Marty Sampson / Mia Fieldes

I Am Not Alone lyrics © Music Services, Inc

8 Comments

  1. I’m at my standing desk at work and had a moment to myself between clients so I started to read your post. Once again Darci your vulnerability and humor has brought me to tears for so many reasons. I am so grateful for your willingness to be real. I wish I lived in your neighborhood so we could encourage one another in person 🙂 Keep writing!!

      1. Hi Joanna! Thank you for trying to comment. You may be experiencing the delay between when a comment is made and then posted. Or maybe my spam blocker is a little too aggressive! Either way, thank you for trying to comment!

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