An Unexpected Diagnosis, Broken Dreams and God’s Faithfulness
Do you doubt God’s faithfulness because your vision for life been disrupted unexpectedly? Have your dreams put on hold or even lost? Maybe God has another plan…a plan greater than you could imagine. A plan for hope and healing…one that will not only impact your life but the lives of many others.
Let’s Start at the Beginning
As a young Christian woman just out of high school Stephanie knew she enjoyed helping people. Having a tender-heart she enjoyed actives like holding hands with the elderly in her youth and taking care of the elderly in her first job as a caregiver. Becoming a registered nurse was the natural career choice for her.
During her college years, Stephanie met her husband-to-be. They both shared a love for staying physically fit and eating healthy. That’s why her husband’s change in health and eventually his shocking diagnose would come as such a surprise.
What Went Terribly Wrong?
Prior to getting married, Stephanie’s husband had headaches and dizziness that got worse when he bent down or moved his neck. Three months into into their marriage the symptoms got worse and the dizziness eventually caused him to fall to the ground. In addition, she noticed personality changes…her husband was more irritable and emotionally aggressive. Not like him at all. He went from doctor to doctor…to a chiropractor and eventually a year later ended up in sports medicine. During an MRI of his neck, the sports medicine doctor found a tumor in the base of his brain. It was a cyst-type tumor about the size of an apricot. Non-cancerous but because it was pressing on the area of his brain that controlled vital signs…surgery was scheduled right away.
Stephanie was at work when she got the news that her husband had a brain tumor. Being in the nursing profession she knew how devastating this news was. Not many people recover from a brain tumor. In shock and overwhelmed with fear, she left work in tears. Fear of the future took residence in her heart.
During her husband surgery Stephanie felt lonely. The years leading up to this moment were mostly spent at work. By this time they had their first baby girl, but because Stephanie worked nights she hardly saw her. And during the long, dreaded 6 hour surgery… waiting to hear from the doctor about how her husband was…she was alone. All she could do was pray and prayed a lot she did.
The surgery was a success. The brain tumor was removed. However, the surgery was bloody and her husband suffered a minor stroke. Also, blood had leaked into his spinal fluid which would result in nerve damage and pain that lasted over 4 years!
Stephanie’s Real Battle Began
Watching her husband recover was difficult. He had to learn to walk and how to use his hands again because the minor stroke had left them numb. But most heart breaking was the intense level of pain he suffered. Every type of modern medicine was tried…from Dilaudid to morphine to chemotherapy drugs but nothing worked. He spent most days laying flat on the floor wondering if the pain would ever go away. Stephanie felt helpless and couldn’t understand God’s plan…where was God’s faithfulness?
Broken Dreams, Doubts About the Future…Where is God’s Faithfulness?
For as long as Stephanie could remember she wanted to be a mom. She dreamed of having several children and staying home to raise them. With her husbands condition this seemed less and less possible. One of the medications he was taking carried a high risk of having birth defects as long as he took them. Crying night after night she questioned…”Why did I marry this man?” The dreadful thought of working the rest of her life without anymore children was painful…how could God let this happen?
Despite Her Pain She Brought Hope to Her Husband
Though she questioned God and couldn’t understand why this was happening…she loved her husband. Due to Stephanie’s empathetic nature she could feel her husbands pain…knowing he had suicidal thoughts as a result of all the pharmaceutical drugs and chronic pain that he was told he would have for the rest of his life felt unbearable. She knew she was his hope and hope became her mantra. At every opportunity she would tell him to have hope. Stephanie dug deeper into prayer but realized they needed more. So she gathered a community of people to pray for them.
“Youv’e got to have hope because God gives us a lot to hope for. Even if there is a lot of suffering…there won’t be any in Heaven.”
They Turned to Alternative Medicine
With no progress being made, Stephanie and her husband began to research alternative medicine. Subscribing to deep tissue massage, acupuncture, detoxification, and a Paleo-like diet they began to see improvements. Not a quick fix but after a few years the chronic pain was gone! He made a miraculous recovery!
Carrer in Question
After seeing what her husband had gone through and his recovery she had a difficult time being a registered nurse. Stephanie had new found knowledge that could help the patients she worked with. However, in the medical practice she wasn’t allowed to discuss anything except modern medicine. A burden was placed on her heart…what did this mean for her future?
When God Calls…Get Prepared!
Stephanie studied and researched alternative medicine. She learned everything she could and she was fascinated by it. A new passion was growing in her heart. At the same time a new baby was growing inside her too! What was God doing? Are her dreams of more children and being a stay at home mom a possibility? Was God’s faithfulness there all along?
Life was Still Out of Order But Change was Coming
Eight months after her second child was born, life was but a blur. Still working, pumping her breast milk and missing her baby….barely going from day to day. She wanted to quit her job. But fear of losing her income had gripped her. However, in her heart she could hear God calling her to a new life and new work…a mission to help others. God’s faithfulness was coming full circle.
In her heart she heard God saying he had bigger plans of her that included joy but she would need to let go of her fear.
Stephanie’s husband’s health was doing great and his new business was taking off. After deciding to give notice at work, hope and excitement returned. Deep in her heart she long to experience motherhood and focus on teaching people about alternative medicine…not as a replacement to modern medicine but in conjunction with it.
Taking the biggest leap of faith, she left her successful job as a registered nurse. Plunging into motherhood and starting her own Essential Oils business to start, and most recently launching her blog Aroma Mama. Eight years after her husband diagnosis…God’s faithfulness came full circle. He carried her through the years of doubt and fear and now…well He restored her, her husband and added more children to their family!
God gave her a new passion for helping people by addressing the entire person…not separating medicine from alternatives like natural remedies and a healthy lifestyle. She has a vision for changing the way people view medicine and for treating the entire person not parcelling it out. God has purposed her to be a healer for the whole person.
During Her Darkest Moments
Stephanie found courage and hope in God and these two songs by Brit Nicole: Set the World on Fire and Walk on Water (one of favorites!). She listened to them over and over again gaining strength to face the day ahead. It has been a long journey. One she never expected or planned for…one she wouldn’t have chosen but with God’s faithfulness Stephanie is thankful for her new found passion and growing, healthy family!
Advice for the Suffering
A strong “Why” will get you though. Know what that is and don’t forget it. It will carry you in the most challenging moments. Instead of looking at the entire situation…chose the moment. Triumph over the moment. To learn more about your why and Why Statements click here .
We all experience pain – holding onto a thread of hope. It was so difficult. My advice is to take it moment by moment by asking God to get you through that moment.
Today Stephanie and her husband celebrate 15 years of marriage and 3 children ages 14, 6 and 3. Stephanie is an inspiration and it is an honor to share her story with all of my Chickening-In friends. As we pursue our best God-given life, let us reflect on the courage and faith of Stephanie and God’s faithfulness to propel us out of the depths of doubt and into great heights of faith. For more stories about brave women visit: Women Inspiring Women.
To learn more about Stephanie please visit: Aroma Mama.