I’ve never really liked New Years resolutions.  I’m pretty hard on myself throughout the year when it comes to knowing what I have to do and the changes I have to make, and I keep pretty good track of my progress with every passing month.  This year, though, things are a little different.  This year, as I see the countless posts, pics, and recaps of 2013, I’m resolved to think differently, act differently, and live differently in 2014.  Because 2013 was just too hard.

Health issues.

When my daughter was 6 months old, she stopped eating like she used to.  For months, we couldn’t figure out what on earth was going on. We switched things around, and did everything we thought would help, but she quickly stopped gaining weight and fell into the “failure to thrive” category on the growth chart.  For most of 2012 and 2013, we went to countless doctors appointments, sometimes driving to the children’s hospital 2 or 3 times a week, to get our daughter the best care.  We talked to countless specialists, nutritionists and therapists.  Our daughter had blood drawn so many times, she became terrified of even walking into a doctor’s office.  Eventually, she was diagnosed with a feeding disorder, and we began the slow road to reverting the horrible side effects malnourishment forced on her little body.  She was tired, lethargic, and just plain sad.  {Thank God, we’ve slowly gotten my daughter back on the right track over the past year (switching to a gluten free diet has been a huge help).  She is now happy and full of energy, and growing like a 3 yr old should!}

More health issues.

Things with me, though, continued to plummet in 2013. Being the type A, need to be in control mom that I am, I blamed myself for my daughter’s condition.  What was I doing wrong?  What was I missing?  My father (the best pediatrician I know) and I would stay up late into the night researching possible reasons, conditions, treatments, anything to get her to eat.  I’d try to sleep, only to see her small malnourished body sleeping next to me, and cycles of insomnia would kick in.  I started getting less than an hour of sleep per night for months at a time.

In addition to the insomnia, I started developing chronic fatigue, sore throats, and migraines, and I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance.  I felt sick all the time.  I’d wake up every morning, knowing the day would be rough.  Then, I developed an unidentified neurological condition, which nearly crippled me every day.  On any given day, I was unable to hold things, carry things, tie things, or open things.  I couldn’t carry my daughters for more than a few seconds at a time without losing my arm strength for the rest of the day.  The pain shooting down my arms and hands was absolutely mind-numbing.  I couldn’t move, let alone think of anything else but the pain.  Which is great when you’ve got two full-time homeschooled toddlers to take care of, right??

And that’s when the tremor started.  I developed a tremor in my right hand that had us all about to lose it.  It would start with a few little twinges, and then develop into a full out arm tremor.  There were countless times when I’d wait for my family to eat during our weekly Sabbath lunch so my mom could feed me while my daughters were in another room.  Yes, I lost the ability to feed myself.  I’m not being pathetic, or exaggerating.  I literally couldn’t use my hands to move the fork from my plate to my mouth.

The worst part of all this?  We couldn’t find a single answer from any of the doctors we saw.  I went to 9 different specialists in 2013, had 3 back-to-back MRIs, and went to almost 30 medical appointments throughout the year.  No one had an answer for me.  They scared us with talk of MS, brain tumors, Parkinson’s, and a ton of other medical diagnoses, but they all agreed they’d never seen a case like mine.  Following the last appointment with a specialist who prescribed some nasty medication or other, I told my husband I was through searching for answers, and very close to having a break down.

Break point.

The months and months of constant stress, fatigue, guilt, sleeplessness and excruciating pain had left me spent.  Completely and utterly spent.  I tried so hard to keep everything inside, to deal with things on my own, to pray my heart out at night, but maintain my normal self during the day.  I had no idea how this was messing up my system until I broke down.  One day in December, when I couldn’t take it anymore, when I had spent days crying for no reason, not eating, not really feeling, I stood in my kitchen, and thought to myself: I can’t do this.  I couldn’t move, or think, or barely breathe.  I just stood there, knowing I was so sick inside, I couldn’t function.

And that’s when I heard it, a memory of one of my favorite verses: “I am with you always, even unto the end of time.”  And that’s when it hit me:  I was trying too hard to handle things on my own, to pray to God, but not hand over control to God.  I was trying to find the solution, not asking God for blessings during the storm.  And that’s the moment I decided to change direction.

 In 2014, God willing, things will be different.  I’m taking control of my health, and life.  In addition to my years of clean eating (I’ve been a whole foods vegetarian since I was 15) and clean living (no smoking, no drinking, and plenty of fresh air and exercise), I’ve spent the past year researching how I can help my body get back in check, and, starting January 1, I pray, things will be different.  I’m not saying I won’t have dark moments, or the pain will miraculously go away at the stroke of midnight, but I’m resolved to lay it all in the Hands of the Great Physician, and I am confident He’ll lead me where I need to go to find healing.  If I need to be broken 10 more times in 2014, so be it.  As long as I’m still praising…


I wasn’t going to share my recap of the past year at first because I know my story isn’t unique, nor is it the worst out there by any means.  But I still have a story of hope to tell.  I don’t know where you are in your health, in your life, in your faith.  All I know is it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter if you’re sad and lonely, or the happiest person on earth, we all need hope.  Hope that this day, this month, this year will be better than the one before.  Hope that we have Someone who’s got our back, wherever we are in life.  Hope that, although we’re broken, our Redeemer lives.

Never once during my bleakest, darkest, hardest moment over the past year did I ever question God.  Not once did I doubt in His love for me, or think that He wasn’t there, suffering right alongside of me.  Wherever you are, whatever is going on, God has you in His arms.  And He’s never letting go.

Happy New Year.

new year 2013

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1 Comment

  • Robin 10 years ago Reply

    Thank you so much Jackie for sharing your year in review. I am reminded that, yes, we do serve an awesome God that never ever leaves our side. He loves us with an everlasting love. I will continue to pray for you and your family as you embark on a new chapter in your journey.

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