single person in a yellow jacket on a path in the misty woods

Is It Weird to Be Healed and Then Receive a New Diagnosis?

I am a human being who has been miraculously healed by God (here’s our documentary), and then a few years later developed crippling mental health problems and debilitating chronic illness. 

“Is it weird to be healed and then to get sick?”

“Have you tried praying for healing like you did before?”

“Why do you think He healed you only to let you get sick with something new?”

These are the questions many people ask (or want to but are too polite) and they are quite valid. I’ve asked them myself. It has been a journey of heartache, of bargaining, and of denial, but also paired with mystery, trust, and hope. My God, the God of the Bible, is still good, and still trustworthy no matter what I face, but that doesn’t make me any less human nor does it make the suffering any less real.

The Healing

I was there. I saw with my own eyes the healing power of God. I witnessed my hobbled mother begin dancing. I watched the power of God release my sister from her suffering. I felt in my own body the relief from allergies and associated anxiety. The healing was real, and the healing was lasting. It took hold in every part of our lives. Three celiacs began eating (and to this day, continue to eat) wheat. My mother came alive as the fatigue and pain no longer demanded time in bed. My sister was able to freely enjoy independence and adventure, no longer held back by the symptoms that would seize her any time of day. I launched into the culinary world, in childlike wonder, exploring the textures of bread and tomatoes and cheeses and desserts. I remember the look on his face when I told a fellow class member in college that I had never eaten a donut before….and then took a monster bite. Instead of anaphylaxis, I experienced radical joy and freedom. I remember eating sour cream and suddenly announcing it as my new favorite food. I remember watching my mom ride a bike, which was something I had never seen her do because of the intense joint pain she dealt with while I was growing up. Words cannot express the nitty-gritty reality that was – we were HEALED. 

The impact of being healed was unfathomable. It was foundational. It was the start of a new season of my life where I realized that the God of the Bible was real, He was loving, and He was personal. I realized the stories in the Bible were actually true. Truly true. Really true. They were accounts of a real God, doing real things in history. And it was a catalyst for my faith that sent me on a journey towards voraciously consuming scripture, and choosing daily prayer on my knees, and it sparked evangelism unlike anything I would have expected.

In the years after the healing, I studied abroad, graduated college, got a job, and lived a good life. I knew who I was–a daughter of the living God. Holy, chosen, and set apart. I was created for good works. I was delighted in by the creator of the universe. And no matter what came, I knew that He would sustain me, and that all things would work together for my good and His glory. He was mine, and I was His. 

And then life fell apart. Go figure.

The Storm

It started with a life-or-death experience that shook me pretty good. Mentally, I was fully convinced that God had protected me, but the physical and emotional aftermath was uncontrollable. Over the course of the next year, I fought tooth and nail to preserve my passion, joy, and enthusiasm for life that had come so easily before. But the reality was that I was drowning in PTSD, Depression, and Panic Disorder, and things were only getting worse. 

It was a hard season of denial, confusion, and hesitance. I knew my God was a healing God. I knew that it is the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but that it is Jesus who came so that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). I renounced fear. I wrote pages of words affirming my identity in Christ and banishing the physical and emotional symptoms I was experiencing. I would pray out loud, rebuking the enemy and the symptoms I was having. I would count the days and proudly declare I was panic-attack-free, only to have another episode. I just needed one more epiphany. One more verse that would finally ‘set me free’. I listened to podcasts. I sought out prayer for healing from multiple believers who prayed with conviction. I did everything I could possibly think of.

And I was still thoroughly tormented. 

Four months into struggling with guilt and shame, I came to the realization that it was not sinful to experience emotional pain. I realized that Jesus felt dread when He was facing the cross. I realized He wept when his friend Lazarus died. He experienced negative emotions, and it was not sinful. I was exhausted from the denial that I was living with PTSD. I was exhausted from the fancy footwork of masking my anxiety and depression. 

I thought that it was faith to deny what was happening. Instead, I realized that by trying to control it, I was letting it control me. And I decided that I was going to own up to my diagnoses so that they would stop owning me. And *spoiler alert*, I eventually I came to realize just how much more faith it takes to suffer well.

I started going to counseling, I began attending a local Celebrate Recovery group, and I was finally willing to hear out those who had things to say about mental health. It was heartbreaking and humiliating. I felt like I was betraying my own beliefs. “But God is my healer!” “He is sufficient.” I felt shame and guilt for succumbing to using terminology such as ‘anxiety’, ‘panic attack’, or ‘depression.’ And yet it was through these very labels that I found hope and community. It was the moment I started feeling seen, known, understood, and loved anyways. The word ‘trauma’ used to make me cringe. “But the Lord is our refuge!”, or “Do not be anxious about anything!” And yet, as I lowered my guard, I realized the trauma of my life had not left me unharmed, and that I was deeply in need of restoration. And it was looking around at the table of God-fearing women pouring out their hearts and their stories in the old church basement that I realized, again, that it is not sinful to experience suffering or acknowledge the need for healing. In that basement, week after week, I would read aloud that I was powerless to control my life, that it is God alone who can save me, that I acknowledge and repent of my shortcomings, and ultimately, that I was pursuing God and that His presence and power would come restore, sanctify, heal, and produce abundant life within me. It was anti-denial. It was, “I am broken and in need of help.” It was a far cry from the posturing and careful phrasing I used to use that hid my struggle and minimized the impact of the suffering. 

It finally dawned on me that I was in need of a savior. For the first time in my life, I realized that I was truly hopeless without the salvation Christ offers.  

After more than a decade as a passionate Christian, I told someone, “I think I just got saved.”

And while there was intense and beautiful progress made, I was still struggling. 

Within a year, I was having problems with my heart, and after two emergency room visits and tests of many kinds, I was shown to meet the diagnostic criteria for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS. Yet another blow. 

POTS quickly engulfed my life. I was not capable of eating three meals a day, or doing laundry, or running errands. I was incapable of standing at my sink to do dishes, taking a walk with a friend, or, in all honesty, even getting dressed in the morning. Being seated or standing was brutal. It would cause my heart to race, my chest to get hot, and my head to spin. I quit my job, spent time at home to let my parents care for me, and picked up blogging as a way to feel human again. 

But the question remains. I was healed once. Will I be healed again?

The Case For Unconditional Faith

In the Bible, there is the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were Jews under the rule of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. The king set up an idol made of gold and required that all bow down and worship it. The cost for disobedience was being thrown into a ridiculously fiery furnace. Because the three men knew it was wrong in the sight of God to bow to any idol, they refused, which upset the king. Their response was this, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” In the end, they are thrown into the furnace but miraculously survived by God’s protection. Not only did they survive, but once they emerged from the flames their clothes didn’t even smell like smoke. The king was astonished, and exclaimed, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants!”

The key takeaway for me is that despite life-or-death circumstances, their response was: 

  1. Our God CAN deliver us
  2. Our God WILL deliver us
  3. And even if He doesn’t, we will STILL be obedient and trust him

Their obedience was not guaranteed to be met with miraculous intervention. But they chose it anyways, knowing that the reward for faithfulness to the Living God was far greater than anything they could obtain by living through compromise. 

As I look at my own situation and respond to people asking, “Why would God let that happen?” or “If He did it once why doesn’t He do it again?” I remember that I am not alone. History is saturated with people who risked their lives for the sake of believing that what the Bible says is true. Some are healed, some die. Some are set free, some are taken captive. But what do they all have in common? At the coming of Christ, they WILL be healed. They WILL be set free. Be it today, tomorrow, or at the coming of Christ, I WILL be healed. Of everything. 

My God CAN heal me, my God WILL heal me, and even if He doesn’t, I will STILL be obedient and trust Him. 

Another account in the New Testament is also relevant here – it’s freshly after Jesus preaches an off-putting sermon. It was bathed in harsh spiritual realities and a bit of sass, and by the end, many of his followers gave up and went home. Jesus turned to his disciples and asked if they were going to leave too. Peter replies, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

I am not perfect. I am not Jesus. There are times when I wonder if walking away would be easier.

But again, I am not alone. Even with a fist full of anger and a heart full of sadness, I am unable to ‘unsee’ His presence and salvation in my life. With the same mouth that now eats tomatoes, garlic, and chocolate, I say, “Lord, to whom shall I go?” 

Would anything satisfy me more than the Lord? Even when crap is falling from the sky, I know I have a God who loves me. Social media, food, drugs, alcohol, and busyness are helpful for a second and destructive for a lifetime. This moment–and this decision–will impact eternity. 

Feeling sucky doesn’t make Truth any less true. Truth is objectively true.

The reality of following Jesus is not soft. The gospel of Christ in its entirety is NOT the phrase, “God loves you”. It is a true statement, but it is not the Good News. The gospel of Christ is that even though we are utterly hopeless on our own, we now have hope because of the sacrifice of Jesus that reconciles us to God. The Good News is that we have been made holy in the eyes of God, and that we can now have a personal relationship with Him that will last for eternity. And though trials and persecution are promised to us in the Bible, it also says in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” Our God does not forget our suffering. He is not blind to it. He is aware of my situation, invested in the outcome, and faithful regardless. I believe in God. I am experiencing suffering. And I do not understand why I was healed once but so far, not again. 

That said, Would you join me? Would you join me in holding onto hope in the midst of having questions? Would you join me in building a life on the rock of Christ that can withstand the beatings of this world? Would you join me in choosing to be rooted in scripture, supported in the community, and strengthened in prayer so that we can withstand the lies and doubts that come our way?

Being a Christian is not for the faint of heart. I hope that by sharing a bit of my story, you are encouraged, challenged, and walk away having both increased faith and increased tolerance for mystery. I hope that you leave here and that the next time you face a crossroads of faith you choose to say, “My God can save me, my God will save me, and even if He doesn’t, I will be obedient and trust Him.”

 

  • I am so excited to report that after graduating from the 3-week Pain/Symptom Rehabilitation Center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and continuing the program at home, I am nearly 100% recovered!...

  • The Valsalva maneuver is EASILY the most fascinating thing I’ve gotten to do in this entire medical adventure. On the surface, it’s a fairly quick and easy part of autonomic testing, but underneath, it’s one of the coolest and most complicated mechanisms of the human body that I’ve encountered. ...

  • With postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (or POTS), life is already a bit of a balancing act to keep all systems running smoothly, so as I prepared for surgery this fall, I was a bit nervous about how my body might handle it. The combination of drugs, the general physical trauma to the body, the emotional burden of being a bit nervous, and the recovery process were all things on my mind. Overall, the experience had its challenges, and there are some things I’d like to share with other potsies prepping to have surgery....

Tags:
Kaley
kaleywied@gmail.com
11 Comments
  • Pixie Christensen
    Posted at 23:04h, 06 February Reply

    Kaley, thank you for your honesty and for sharing you ongoing journey. So many questions we have for the Lord about suffering in its many forms. But here you are, with the courage to lay it all out there and challenge those of us who read your words. You are a beautiful witness to faithfulness and trust in the Lord. I am praying for you, and just so very proud of you for being so bold. May the Lord Jesus reveal Himself to you in more real ways than you ever imagined!
    With prayers,
    Pixie Christensen

    • Kaley
      Posted at 20:58h, 08 February Reply

      Thank you so much for the encouragement! Life can be a tough journey and certainly, the gut instinct is to tuck away the doubts and avoid the questions. But the reality is, life is messy and I don’t get to choose the timing or the circumstances of life’s plot twists, only how I respond. Sharing an article like this not only clarifies the matter in my own heart and mind, but I pray it inspires others to come to a similar conclusion. Again, thank you for your kind words, I am encouraged and excited to see how God continues to work through the mess.

  • Jane DePelecyn
    Posted at 07:45h, 07 February Reply

    You have amazing faith in God! Your struggle with your health is something that must be terrible to accept, but you seem to be able to put it in God’s hands. I will keep you my prayers.

    • Kaley
      Posted at 20:49h, 08 February Reply

      I appreciate your prayers! Learning to surrender burdens is certainly much easier said than done, but it is a practice worth committing to. There is no better place to put our hurts and heartache than in the hands of God. Thank you for the comment!

  • Lisa Ruben
    Posted at 08:07h, 07 February Reply

    I Pray The Lord Heals You Soon!

    • Kaley
      Posted at 20:40h, 08 February Reply

      Thank you!

  • Sherri Lukes
    Posted at 12:05h, 07 February Reply

    Praying with you and for you sweet Kaley. Mental illness has affected our family in profound ways and yes, it is excruciating. And no. I don’t find it easy to “count it all joy” but we know that God is still good,vthe blood of Jesus covers us and praise God we will one day be perfectly healed. I hold on to that assurance. Love your sweet family.

    • Kaley
      Posted at 20:39h, 08 February Reply

      Indeed, counting it joy when we meet trials is tough. I’m learning it ebbs and flows, and it’s usually the hardest when a new trial presents itself. Praise God for the community and the encouragement of others who have experienced hardship too and are able to comfort others in the same way they have been comforted. I’ve been blessed with wonderful people to walk alongside me in this journey, and hope I can do the same for others. Thank you for your comment!

  • Pingback:Panic Attacks - How Can I Help? - Kaley Faith
    Posted at 17:11h, 11 March Reply

    […] all my cares on Him” (1 Peter 5:7). Instead, I’m in the thick of, holding onto hope despite the tension. I believe that the Lord invites us to come to Him, that he is our refuge and strength. I recently […]

  • Pingback:Life and Worship in the Midst of Apathy - Kaley Faith
    Posted at 13:27h, 06 August Reply

    […] in the midst of the increasing struggle, I wrestled (and continue to wrestle) with God’s will to heal and what that meant for my life, my faith, and my circumstances. But I also struggled greatly with […]

  • Pingback:Phyllo - My Service Dog Prospect - Kaley Faith
    Posted at 09:57h, 08 September Reply

    […] I get totally healed in a day and then don’t need a service dog after all (an uncommon, but genuine thought/concern)? For each worst-case scenario, he helped me problem-solve practical solutions that immediately […]

Post A Comment