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When We Receive an Unwanted Diagnosis: Finding Courage in the Presence of the Lord

By Kari Minter

Brave Women Series - Kari's Story


January 2021 will be a month I will never forget. After months of struggling with pain and doctors being unsure of the cause or the solution, I found myself in an MRI silently singing “It is Well” over and over again in order to escape the fear bubbling up in my soul.


As the scan finished and the nurse came in to pull me out of the machine, I started analyzing everything. She’s being overly nice, did she see something? She said the doctor will call me soon and to be available this afternoon, that sounds serious. My thoughts were on overdrive as I strove to make sense of this crazy situation I suddenly found myself in.


Up until this moment in time, I’ve always prided myself on my health. I work out. I eat fairly clean. I’m strong and independent, not really in need of much help in life. But now, no matter how clean I ate or what workout I did, my body seemed to be failing me. There was no solution or understanding as to why. But suddenly, I found myself in a situation where neither my intelligence nor my grit could help.


 

"No matter how clean I ate or what workout I did, my body seemed to be failing me. There was no solution or understanding as to why. But suddenly, I found myself in a situation where neither my intelligence nor my grit could help."

 

I remember the phone call that came that evening like it was yesterday. My doctor simply said, “Kari, can you grab some paper and sit down. I need you to write things down.” It was at that moment that I felt my life shift.


“Radiology is reading your scan as appearing to be MS so we need to get you into a neurologist to continue testing.”


He went on to say several other large words that I diligently wrote down but now could not remember if you paid me to recollect them. My husband walked in the door shortly after I hung up and assured me we weren’t going to worry until we had something definite to worry about. This was on Monday.


Tuesday, the dentist discovered the cells in my gums were destroying themselves, and I needed oral surgery. On Wednesday, blood work came back saying my immune system was no longer working properly, and I was now immune compromised. Friday, I had a 2-hour surgery on my gums with the hope that the surgery would stop the destruction and give me at least five more years before needing to go to implants. And to top it off, I had a herniated disk that was causing immense pain.

In one week, my body completely shut down, and there was nothing I could do about it.


But the worst thing is the fear that tried to attack on all sides. The fear that says you’re going to die before you see your kids graduate. The fear that says the rest of your life is going to consist of this mediocre existence. The fear that convinces you how worthless you are and burdensome to all around you because you can no longer contribute.

And inside, I struggled with that fear.


 

"The worst thing is the fear that tried to attack on all sides... The fear that convinces you how worthless you are and burdensome to all around you because you can no longer contribute. And inside, I struggled with that fear."

 

I prayed, I read books, I begged for contentment. I did all the “Christian” things you’re supposed to do and yet God felt silent. I couldn’t feel his presence or hear his voice. I read my Bible out of habit just begging him to speak through it. But it was the year of silence.

Then January of 2022 arrived, and I found myself sick, in more pain than I’ve ever been in my life, and all by myself on a bathroom floor in a hotel room. It was at this moment the Lord spoke and reminded me His presence was with me. There wasn’t an audible voice, but I just knew I was being asked if His presence was enough for me. Did I believe I could face whatever life brought me because the Lord was with me?


Even if I lived the rest of my life in pain and confined to the house, was the presence of the Lord enough?

 

"Did I believe I could face whatever life brought me because the Lord was with me? Even if I lived the rest of my life in pain and confined to the house, was the presence of the Lord enough?"

 

Laying on the bathroom floor, I began to reflect on the goodness of God. Where over the past year He had felt silent, I could now see His hand holding me up and protecting me. And suddenly I knew I had to say aloud, “yes, Lord. Your presence is enough. I believe your presence will see me through whatever life you have decided to give me.”

Up until that moment, I had attempted to put on a brave face and muster up the courage to face my life circumstances, and it had been exhausting. At that moment, I suddenly realized when God says, “be strong and courageous” it’s not a call for me to put on my big girl pants and push forward. Rather, it’s a reminder that God is with me so I have nothing to fear.


 

"When God says, “be strong and courageous” it’s not a call for me to put on my big girl pants and push forward. Rather, it’s a reminder that God is with me so I have nothing to fear."

 

Being strong and courageous is a call to trust the Lord deeper and accept whatever the day may bring. Life may be hard, but I can trust the Lord is with me and will guide me forward.


 

"Being strong and courageous is a call to trust the Lord deeper and accept whatever the day may bring. Life may be hard, but I can trust the Lord is with me and will guide me forward."

 

In that moment, the presence of the Lord became my strength. And it will continue to be so, no matter what comes.


 

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 He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect 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 empowered email tribe.


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About Kari


Kari Minter is the creator of Kariminter.com where she writes and creates resources to help women cultivate a deeper walk with God. Kari loves writing Bible studies and teaching women to study and fall in love with God’s Word. Her passion for God’s Word and her love for teaching has allowed her to write several Bible studies for the local church and teach at women’s conferences and events around the country.


In addition, Kari loves to spend her time with her three kids (ages 13-17) and her husband, the lead pastor of Keystone Church of Ankeny. She also works for the Baptist Convention of Iowa as a Church Planters’ Spousal Advocate and recently earned her Masters in Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Connect with Kari on her website Kariminter.com, as well as Instagram, Facebook or Email.