By Cassidy Poe
God's Brave Women - Cassidy's Story
Falling. The mental image instantly brings a knot to my stomach and a lump to my throat. According to Oxford Languages, falling is defined as, “moving from a higher to a lower level, typically rapidly and without control.” I don’t know about you, but it’s the “rapidly and without control” part that gets to me.
Falling behind. Falling down. Falling in love. Falling back. Falling apart. Rapidly and without control. For most of those, I would gladly say a big ole, “no, thank you” and go on my way. But that would mean I had control, and I was about to learn that falling was indeed very much out of my control.
"I was about to learn that falling was indeed very much out of my control. I was 14 when I began falling; literally..."
I was 14 when I began falling; literally.
What we initially thought was a weird side effect of dehydration from cheerleading practice in the Florida sun quickly became something that never went away.
I was at home with my family one evening when the all too familiar feeling had come and taken center stage once again - the feeling of what I imagine cement being poured into your entire body would feel like. It was a gradual weight that became heavier and heavier until my knees suddenly hit the cold tile floors and I could no longer use my arms or legs, open my eyes, or speak. This had become my new normal.
Exhausted from years of episodes and desperate for answers, my dad scooped me up off of the floor, placed me in the car, and drove me to the nearest Emergency Room…again.
I remember being wheeled into the ER in a transport chair and once in triage, they needed to get my weight. I told them I could not stand, but they thought I would be able to so they helped me become upright. Thinking I would be fine, they let go and I was immediately on the ground again.
After over an hour and finally being taken back to a small room, the ER doctor wanted to see me walk to see if I had improved. Tired and weary, I attempted to stand again only for my legs to buckle underneath me and become reacquainted with the floor. Rapidly and without control.
For the next week, I stayed in the seizure ward of the hospital seeing many different specialists, having many different tests, recounting my story over and over. I think at some point, I was more cords, electrodes, and machines than person. And my condition was not improving.
On one of the final days for my seizure testing, my doctor really wanted to try and get a reading of me whenever I was in an episode. They explained to me what they were going to do and I knew what that meant - they needed me to stand. They needed me to fall.
Every part of my then 16-year-old self was exhausted. My body, my mind, my spirit, my resolve. As I waited for the doctor to come in, I pulled out a piece of paper from my journal and a pen. I began writing every single verse down about God’s strength that would fit.
I folded it into the smallest little square and clutched it in my hand. With tears in my eyes, I knew that now I was ready to brave the fall. I closed my eyes as nurses flanked my sides and fell once again into the unknown.
"I pulled out a piece of paper from my journal and a pen. I began writing every single verse down about God’s strength that would fit. I folded it into the smallest little square and clutched it in my hand. With tears in my eyes, I knew that now I was ready to brave the fall."
I wish I could say that I left the hospital that week of being unable to walk with answers. I wish I could tell you I got a diagnosis then or that I grew out of it like most doctor’s seemed to think I would.
But little did I know, it would take over 11 years of falling rapidly and without control - 11 years of tears, shattered dreams, redirections, scraped knees, tests, specialists, becoming a wheel chair user and quickly declining before we knew definitively what was happening in my body. Eventually, I was diagnosed with POTS, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a rare neuromuscular disorder called Hypokalemic Period Paralysis, and other co-occuring disorders.
During my search for answers, I have often thought back to that day in the hospital room whenever I clutched those Scriptures knowing the fall was coming. There have been so many moments outside of my control; so many moments where all I could do was cling to Jesus because everything else was falling apart around me.
"There have been so many moments outside of my control; so many moments where all I could do was cling to Jesus because everything else was falling apart around me."
There were (and still are) so many moments where I felt discouraged, hopeless, broken, and afraid - anything but brave. But Jesus. One of my favorite Scriptures says,
“He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of the many waters…they confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:16,18-19, ESV).
Perhaps you are there looking out over the edge, knowing the fall is coming. Maybe life has you actively falling or maybe you are desperately trying to recover all the pieces of your heart in the aftermath.
I want you to remember that you are not alone. I want you to remember that you and I are secure in His love, in His will, and in His sovereignty even when our circumstances cause us deep pain. God is still pulling us out of deep waters, He is still our support, and He is still in the business of rescuing us and redeeming our suffering.
"God is still pulling us out of deep waters, He is still our support, and He is still in the business of rescuing us and redeeming our suffering."
When falling has taken over our lives, perhaps that bravest thing we will ever do is choosing to trust that our “rapid and without control” will always actually be “on time and God-controlled”.
"When falling has taken over our lives, perhaps that bravest thing we will ever do is choosing to trust that our “rapid and without control” will always actually be “on time and "God-controlled”."
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...
You are Brave!
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After over a decade of chronic illness, it is Cassidy’s mission to help others who are going through difficult seasons to find and put their ultimate hope in Jesus. Cassidy Poe is the host of the She Chose Hope podcast, co-author of the devotional Worship in the Wilderness, and runs an online ministry where she works to equip women with resources to deepen their faith. She also uses her platform to share other women’s stories of how God showed up in the middle of their hardest and most difficult circumstances. Her website is a place for women to come, be encouraged, and find community.