Writing this blog, I hope to bring hope to people going through difficult trials in their life. Before I can do that, I need to tell you about why and how this blog came to be.
I grew up as a typical kid, in a nice suburban neighborhood. I have two parents who love me, and although they divorced when I was in eighth grade, it was a very civil divorce, as they took great care to never fight around my two sisters and me, remain in the same school district, and to have an equal distribution of time with us each week and on Holidays.
Senior year of high school began as the best year it could be; I had a fantastic job at my Church, I had my license, I was starting my 4-h dog training year in the highest obedience and confirmation classes with my Brittany, and I didn’t dislike any of my teachers. I was also a teen leader in my youth group, and I was already accepted to the College of my dreams, Franciscan University of Steubenville. Life couldn’t have been any better!
This all changed on November 4th (2017). I woke up that morning and went to work, where I had an especially good day. Later I went out shopping with my dad for a mask for a masquerade ball he was attending that night, and then to Wegmans for groceries. towards the end of the visit to Wegmans, my hip and lower back began to hurt, but I assumed had just pulled a muscle and moved on. As the day went on, babysat one of my now, little step-brothers, but the pain in my hip just grew worse. I took Advil and went to bed. I awoke the next morning, and it was incredibly painful to walk.
As months passed we went from doctor to doctor, and I became worse and worse. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me, the pain spread, and I developed new symptoms. Test after test came back normal, and I was passed from specialist to specialist. I was eventually diagnosed with a functional neurologic disorder.
I lost everything: my ability to drive, my job, my ability to show my dogs, and more recently, I had to take the semester off from college in order to focus on my health, and to be near to my health care providers. In school, both kids and teachers made fun of me, teachers trying to cheer my up calling me speedy or other defeating nicknames, and kids making fun of me or saying I was faking it. I went from going for jogs with my dogs, to walking with a cane and often using a wheelchair. It also slowly began to become more difficult to play violin, as the pain spread from my lower back and right hip, down my leg, to my other hip, down that leg, up my back and into my arms, neck, and head. My legs became unsteady and often give out, causing me to collapse. I also developed tremors in my trunk, and later in my belly and eyes.
In the beginning, I became very depressed. I lost so much, and I had so little left. Things did begin to get better as I acclimated to my new life and changing needs. I developed a stronger faith (as I had much more time for Church), and gained the most wonderful new group of friends at Church. The one thing I didn’t lose was my youth group, and this was a great place for me to be able to go to feel accepted and not pitied.
My friends surprised my at my senior concerto recital where I was a soloist (also my last concert without arm and shoulder pain) with ten bouquets of flowers! I was able to walk across the stage at gradation, despite it taking a significant amount of time. One of my best friends and I planned a prom, Catholic prom, which was a huge success, and will be continued in the coming years. The dance floor was never empty, and every single attendee had a great time! My youth group helped accommodate me so that I could be included in things I never dreamed possible, including going to Georgia and zip-lining! My friends even helped me to have the best 18th birthday and graduation party a girl could dream of!
Through this entire ordeal, I haven’t lost hope, and I know that I’m going to get better. In the mean time, I have a semester off, with lots of free time when I’m not working on my two college classes. My friends encouraged me to write a blog about my life and my faith. I took this to prayer for a month, and the idea just kept nagging at me, so I’ve decided to follow through. I’m not a great writer, and I don’t especially love writing, but I feel like God is calling me to share my story, and the things I find and experience in my faith. I hope my blog can be a source of hope and inspiration for everyone who reads this.
Even in the most dire of situations, God never leaves us, and he takes all of our struggles and uses them for the conversion and sanctification of souls. This week I want to encourage you to look for God’s hand in the little things in your life, and remember that only God can see the big picture. He does not wish evil and suffering upon us, but when we are going through a difficult time he takes us into his arms and carries us through our struggles. He brutally suffered and died upon a Cross out of love for us, and after three days he conquered evil and came back to bring us the good news of our salvation. He knows every aching of your heart and longs to just hear your voice. Cry out to him, and he will always respond, even if, and most often, in a way you aren’t expecting.
I would also like to ask that you could all pray for me, as I will also be praying for you! Blessings and love!
Morgan serves on the Core Team for SGYM3 as an example of faith to the high schoolers. She loves her family and her dogs! You can follow her blog at alivetothefull.com.