By Wendy Wallace
God's Brave Women - Wendy's Story
There I was lying in a hospital bed in critical condition. The first thing I remember thinking was, ``Lord, how am I going to do this? How can I ever live a normal life like this?”
You would think I would've been petrified, but I felt peace. I was no longer in danger and I was safe in the arms of Jesus. My favorite verses came to mind and the Lord reminded me that by trusting Him, we would get through things together.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB)
Three weeks earlier, I was having what I thought were flu symptoms. I spent two days in bed getting weaker and weaker and simply waiting for “this to pass.” Eventually, I agreed to let my husband take me to the hospital.
Everything between rushing into the emergency room, and my prayer to the Lord is missing from my memory. There is approximately a three-week gap. During those 3 weeks, I was in a medically-induced coma.
I take that back.
The one thing I do remember is a strange doctor and my husband waking me up from my coma, to let me know that they would need to amputate both of my hands and both of my feet in order to save my life. I was a wife and mom with a loving husband and three teenagers who needed me. What could I say? I said “do it.”
How does a relatively healthy 40-something wife and mom go from doing everyday activities with her family to receiving quadruple amputations?
It's called necrotizing fasciitis, which is a flesh-eating bacteria. It has the same symptoms as the flu. However, the results are far more deadly. At the time of my diagnosis, the doctor told my family I had less than a 1% chance of survival.
"How does a relatively healthy 40-something wife and mom go from doing everyday activities with her family to receiving quadruple amputations? It's called necrotizing fasciitis, which is a flesh-eating bacteria... At the time of my diagnosis, the doctor told my family I had less than a 1% chance of survival."
My husband Mike had led me to the Lord 20 years earlier when we were dating. We raised our children in a Missionary Baptist Church, and we taught them all about Jesus, His love and His saving grace. We also taught them about faith and prayer.
Mike and the kids were diligent in their prayers for me. Our family, church and friends, as well as strangers all across the country, who heard my story, started praying. They never lost faith!
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
We know the power of God. We know He answers prayers and those prayers did not stop until those doctors who had previously guaranteed that my life was over, were proven wrong.
I will celebrate 10 years as a quadruple amputee this April. Bravery has become part of my life in ways I never could have imagined. My battle scars are a constant reminder that through Christ I can get through anything.
"Bravery has become part of my life in ways I never could have imagined. My battle scars are a constant reminder that through Christ I can get through anything."
Notice that I used the term “celebrate”. Many times when devastating events happen in our lives, we seek answers from the Lord. We ask questions like, "What have I done to deserve this?” “Why did this happen to me?” Although the answer didn't come right away, it did come.
7 years after starting life over as a quad amputee, I started my Christian inspiration blog, One Exceptional Life. Often hearing how inspirational I was, my calling came as a cheerleader to those who had their own personal battles.
I now teach others how a beautiful life really can exist after tragedy. How often do we see huge pity parties when minor challenges pop up in certain people's lives?
My goal with One Exceptional Life was to help women to get over those pity parties and overcome their challenges by using the same tools that I used in my bravery arsenal to overcome mine.
My most important tools for moving on after amputations have been faith and prayer, and counting my blessings every single day. Additionally, reaching out to help others by showing kindness. Most of all, keeping a smile on my face every single day and giving God all the glory truly matters. Life truly has become a celebration.
I have found God's calling for me. Through my blog I am able to witness for Jesus Christ.
Jesus gave me strength, hope and courage so that I could recover and be the wife and mom my family needed me to be. Therefore, it's my job to tell others that Jesus is not only their Savior, but their hope and strength as well.
"Therefore, it's my job to tell others that Jesus is not only their Savior, but their hope and strength as well."
Today, our kids have moved out and we are now empty nesters. Although I have my limitations, we have a great system that enables me to be home living independently, while my husband works. The ability to help other people overcome the challenges in their lives has done so much for my emotional healing as well.
What most people would consider to be a devastating loss, has resulted in far more blessings than you can imagine. I'm not a victim, an invalid or someone to pity. I'm a survivor and a warrior who looks for the silver lining in every dark cloud.
"I'm not a victim, an invalid or someone to pity. I'm a survivor and a warrior who looks for the silver lining in every dark cloud."
One of my favorite quotes is by A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh.
"You are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem,
smarter than you think,
and loved more than you'll ever know."
Since my illness, my faith has grown in leaps and bounds. I have seen firsthand the power of God and the power of prayer. I am so thankful to be a child of the King! He offers comfort in every situation.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 ESV)
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means you are full of His strength and power. I would love to connect with you more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my lovely email tribe.
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Wendy Wallace is a wife, mom, Christian Inspiration blogger and author. She is also a quadruple amputee. You can find her at One Exceptional Life, where she blogs about overcoming challenges through faith, gratitude, kindness and positivity. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Choose Faith Over Fear today!