By Krista Hewlett
God's Brave Women - Krista's Story
The year 2013 was filled with difficulty for many reasons. August brought the worst. I rarely share this story, but I am learning many women feel alone in a similar journey.
Physical and emotional desperation set in as I experienced a sudden onset of chronic pain no one could diagnose. I laid in the hospital bed for days where even the morphine pump seemed useless to help, while my hubby camped out anxiously on the blue, hard cushioned sofa next to me—day after day, night after night.
Rheumatoid Arthritis caused my cartilage to glow on MRIs, and inflammation markers revealed some of the highest levels the specialists had ever seen.
The pain kept worsening the first few days while hospitalized, to the point that no one could touch me, and my body lay limp, no longer responding to the pain. I simply lay there looking into my husband's eyes as tears trickled down my face.
This independent, vibrant, and adventurous soul went from walking 5-miles every day to being bedridden and unable to walk without assistance for months.
"This independent, vibrant, and adventurous soul went from walking 5-miles every day to being bedridden and unable to walk without assistance for months."
Yet, God continued to reveal His extravagant love.
My husband and son cared for me more than I knew anyone could. Our son’s friend we invited to live with us during that season was like medicine, adding much-needed laughter and great conversation. Family near and far helped how they could, while our church family lovingly served us daily.
Still, despair had a way of creeping in.
Even with all the care and attentiveness, I felt alone. What surprised me the most was the presence of fear for something I was feeling for the first time in my life—I learned what it meant to feel useless.
I mourned the things I could no longer do. My hands wouldn't do what my brain asked them to do. Blood would quickly pool in my feet when I would sit up and place them on the floor. My knees felt numb and unresponsive, and I often required assistance to change position in what became 'my spot' on the sofa.
I was angry with myself that I could not overcome. I was doing everything right—eating well, moving my body, praying, studying the Bible, paying my tithes. I was strong and healthy, and people needed me!
More than that, I felt a sense of shame. I know that some people believe sickness reflects disobedience or sin, but I began to realize this illness was not a result of anyone’s wrongs. I wonder, is it ever?
In my desperation, I threw question after question at God. They were no surprise to Him, and I imagine in many ways, He invited them. He understands that we will doubt and evaluate our circumstances because He knows what we feel in our humanness.
"I threw question after question at God. They were no surprise to Him, and I imagine in many ways, He invited them. He understands that we will doubt and evaluate our circumstances because He knows what we feel in our humanness."
There is so much more to this story, but what I will say is that I learned a great deal from this illness that I would not have otherwise, and God revealed things to me in unexpected ways. I am thankful I was paying attention.
There had been a time I prayed for the Lord to break my heart for what breaks His. Maybe you have too. Sometimes we have no idea what we should do—but He knows. He waits for us to ask while preparing us all the while.
Was He preparing me in this sickness?
When God first called me to minister with women, I had no idea why He would ask ME. God, you know me, and you know my past. But I said yes. At every step, I said yes.
But now what? Does ministry halt? Was I supposed to stop?
That August, I was reminded of Hagar's story in Genesis 16:7–14 and Genesis 21:8–21. God reminded me that He sees me, and He sees my husband and son. He assured me there was no place too desolate where we could not find Him.
Because He is enough.
"I was reminded of Hagar's story in Genesis... He assured me there was no place too desolate where we could not find Him. Because He is enough."
Even in isolation, weakness, helplessness—God is there. He is always there. He sees us, and when we open our eyes to see Him too, we gain the courage to press on.
"He sees us, and when we open our eyes to see Him too, we gain the courage to press on."
So, what did I do?
I cried out to God.
"At the very moment I called out to you, you answered me! You strengthened me deep within my soul and breathed fresh courage into me” (Psalm 138:3 TPT).
He became a more personal savior to me. I realized that the God of King David is my God too:
He answers us when we call out to Him.
He is the only One who can penetrate the deepest roots of our soul.
His breath is the very source of our strength and courage.
"He became a more personal savior to me. I realized that the God of King David is my God too. He answers us when we call out to Him. He is the only One who can penetrate the deepest roots of our soul. His breath is the very source of our strength and courage."
So, I prayed more fervently.
I studied His Word more deeply.
I worshiped more freely.
I even welcomed people to visit, even though they would see me in my helpless state . . . and a house tended by three gentlemen.
What did God do?
He built me up.
He provided opportunities to serve others in the most creative ways—the type of loving that creates forever bonds.
After six months my doctors figured out the right enough treatment to control the disease from deforming my body in years to come.
I slowly gained strength and found peace in knowing that my life would no longer be the same—until healing comes on this side of eternity or the other.
Can I tell you that the road was well and clear from then until now? No. But I continue to learn and press forward in my limitations.
I grew even more in love with God's Word.
I valued prayer and worship like never before.
I learned what it means to lean into His strength.
I learned to keep my eyes always on Him.
I developed a compassion for the struggling soul as my heart softened, and a new side of graciousness grew within me—breaking my heart for what breaks His. God answered my prayer.
"I developed a compassion for the struggling soul as my heart softened, and a new side of graciousness grew within me—breaking my heart for what breaks His."
Sweet one, don’t do it alone. No matter where you are, please know He is there. No matter your struggle, He sees you. The Lord of all that was, is, and is to come takes great delight in YOU!
And He waits, longing for you to invite Him into the pain.
Will you allow him to take the hurt, anger, shame, resentment and flood it with Himself?
When your “you are enough” seems impossible to grasp, will you allow Him to be your "enough"?"
"When your “you are enough” seems impossible to grasp, will you allow Him to be your "enough"?"
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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Krista Hewlett is the Founder of Our Story Magazine, a print and digital magazine for Christian women offering hope and inspiration for seasons of life and grace. Krista is known as a writer, speaker, creator, and friend who desires to see the gifts and voices of women amplified for kingdom purposes. She believes that women serving women is key to moving forward in our relationships, families, communities and that loving and serving one another begins with truly seeing each other. When not writing, researching, or fostering one-to-one relationships, you will find her studying the weather, the movement of critters big and small, or gazing into the night sky trying to identify the stars and planets by name. Krista loves being ‘Nan’ to her baby boy’s baby boy and sailing with her husband. She often says she is more a thinker and studier than a writer, and studying the Bible is her absolute favorite.