In Which We Must Switch to Bloglovin

Hey all!

See that little "followers" widget on the sidebar? Unfortunately, it won't be there for much longer. Its formal name is Google Friend Connect, and it's being retired by Google on July 1st, which means you won't be able to use it to get updates from me anymore. In order to keep up with Spill the Beans posts, would you do me a favor and follow this blog on Bloglovin? Bloglovin is a great alternative to Google Friend Connect and when I signed up yesterday it was virtually painless. (No pun intended!) If you'd rather, you can also subscribe by email in the sidebar as well, or use another blog reader platform of your choice.

I look forward to continuing this blog and having you alongside me on the way!


Susanna Karth Spills the Beans

All of my earliest memories involve doctors’ offices. I have missed more Christmas Eve services than I have attended due to my apparent inability to recover from the common cold. I have a disease that even most doctors have never heard of. I am a full-time college student. When I was ten, my life ambition was to be a ballerina. Now, I just want to be able to live independently. My name is Susanna Karth and I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. And a lot of other things too.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) is a hereditary, genetic, neurological disorder that causes sensory and motor function loss. Basically, my genetic code has a flaw in it that allows blockage to build up in my nerves (yes, directly in my nerves, I had no idea that could happen). The result is a disconnect between my brain and my muscles because my nerves can’t pass on signals. There are multiple ways that CMT can be inherited, and some types are worse than others, but all of them are incurable.

In addition to CMT, I also have anemia, scoliosis, pectus carinatum, and costochondritis. Having only one of those diseases can be problematic; having all of them at once is dreadful. Fatigue is a symptom of both anemia and CMT. Chronic pain is a symptom of scoliosis, CMT, and costochondritis. Physical deformities are a symptom of scoliosis, pectus carinatum, and CMT.

Just in case you don’t know: scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. Sometimes adolescents will wear a brace to prevent the curve from getting worse. They diagnosed mine too late.

Pectus carinatum is a deformity of the chest that occurs when the sternum bone sticks out. Most doctors think it doesn’t causes any problems. They’re wrong. One of the possible side effects is costochondritis, which is inflammation of the cartilage around the breast bone. It has no known triggers, but is exasperated by the sternum rubbing where it’s not supposed to and physical activity.

I have always known that I’m not completely healthy. I could never run as far or as fast as the other kids. I fell down the staircases (a lot). I walked into chairs and open cabinet doors (a lot). Whenever I got an upper-respiratory infection I would be sick for weeks (or months). No one ever could figure out why though. I was clumsy, needed to build up my endurance, take more vitamin C, etc. Of course there was nothing really wrong with me. It’s always obvious when kids are seriously sick, right? Sure.

I trip a lot when I’m walking, and it’s not usually a little trip either. Most of the time when people see me trip they reach out to grab me in case my face wants to meet the floor. Kind of scary, that. To help prevent trips and falls, I wear AFOs (ankle foot orthotics), just call them leg braces if that’s easier. Mine are a bright purple, because if I have to have ’em I might as well rock ’em.

To prevent my fatigue from getting too excessive, I also ride a powered scooter around campus. It’s awesome, except when the hallways are too narrow or the elevators take too long or people don’t actually take the time to observe their surroundings and stand right in front of the handicap button for the door and don’t hear me when I ask them very politely to move.

Sometimes people ask me if I’m okay because I look like I’m in pain. No, duh. Really?

Sometimes people ask me when I get the braces off as though it’s a cast or something. Um, when these are worn out and I need a new pair.

I used to be really good at ballet. Now I can’t even point my toes properly.

The other day I got asked why I used a powered scooter if I wasn’t a cripple. I just stared at the guy and waited for him to actually look at my legs. It took him about thirty seconds to observe the bright, purple, very noticeable leg braces.

That’s probably enough depressing stuff for one day. If you’re like me, some days you hate even thinking about all that medical stuff that’s going on in your life because it hurts enough to make a saint swear and it’s all just too much. Other days you want everyone to know all about it so they can maybe understand, and even if they don’t understand they can at least try to somehow support you. And then there are the days when you are just mucking along because you have a chronic disease and that’s just the way life is. No big deal, except when it is.

Just remember: you can do this.

No, really, you can.

You may need extra down time every day to have enough energy to function. You may not get out much because it’s usually not worth the effort. Your social life may consist of doctor’s visits and the Internet, and that’s okay. You may be functioning just fine and all you need is an extra little boost every day. Either way, you’re still living your life and you’re still pushing through.

Sometimes it all becomes too much (usually on those days that I got only five hours of sleep instead of my desperately needed nine) and I just curl up in bed and cry. And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that hopeless feeling that you will always have this disease unless by some miracle those research studies find a cure in your lifetime. Just remember that you can get through this. You can live your life without letting that chronic illness define you.

CMT is a part of who I am, because I would not be me without CMT. But I do not let it control my life.

A lot of people have prayed that I would be miraculously cured of my various conditions. I’ve gotten to the point where I never ask people to pray for healing, only for strength to get through the day. What many of them do not realize is having strength to get through the day without having a complete meltdown is a miracle in and of itself. Besides, what is the greater testimony: being cured of a disease that no one knows about or continuing to live my life without giving up on God?

And finally, because I am a nerd:

“Never give up. Never surrender.”

“Just keep swimming.”

“Keep moving forward.”

“We are between the paws of the true Aslan.”


Be More :: A Guest Post by Keaghan

I lost 20 pounds this year.

Most people would be glad to type that, rejoicing in reaching some New Years’ goal.

I never intended to lose 20 pounds. I didn’t need to lose 20 pounds. I didn’t need to lose any weight.

Especially not in the space of three months.

Especially not because there were days when my stomach was so nauseated that the thought of eating was unbearable.

Especially not because there were days when all I wanted to do was sleep until it all felt better.

Especially not because there were days I was so tired and weary that I had no focus or energy.

To look at me, you’d never know I was sick.

People assume that I look young and healthy, so I must be.

But the illness that edges my days, that keeps me on a six-hour schedule for my medication, that prompts me to carry fast-acting anti-nausea pills in my pocket, that causes me to bring water with me everywhere I go in case I have to take something, that keeps protein bars in my purse because if I get too hungry I’ll be nauseated, that limits my diet, is an invisible one.

My name is Keaghan. I’m 18, a college freshman…

And I have IBS.

My story is a shorter one. About a year ago, I started having symptoms that seemed like acid reflux. They transitioned and became an unsettled stomach. After trying several acid reflux medications, my doctor sent me to have a scope done of my esophagus and stomach, including the placement of a temporary PH probe in my esophagus. The test found nothing—and the probe caused me to have esophageal spasms every time I swallowed (imagine your entire throat cramping up suddenly) for almost a week.

After that, we moved to IBS medication. Unfortunately, they only seemed to make the issue worse. I had two different tests done to check for gallbladder problems. As a last resort, my doctor tried a new IBS medication and told me to go gluten-free.

At this point, I was desperate. The issue had dragged out for three months and I was so tired. I agreed to try it, and immediately called on my gluten-free friends to help me with the massive learning curve.

Little did I know just how much the GF diet would mean. No bread, no pasta, of course. But certain dressings and chips? No cream-of-anything soups? No seasoning blends? Gluten was in everything, it seemed.

I am pleased to say, that after nine months of eating gluten-free, I feel so much better and am able to live a normal life once more—something I had almost lost the ability to do.

So what do I have to say to my fellow teens who suffer from chronic disease?

I know how you feel. It seems so trite, but I know how much it helps to hear someone say that. I know how it feels to open your eyes in the morning, uncertain of whether your body will betray you that day. To want to just roll over and let life pass by, because getting up and admitting defeat again is just too much to handle.

You aren’t alone.

It’s so easy to slip into depression with chronic illness. IBS especially. It’s invisible and private, and there are no external symptoms. You know you feel terrible, but unless you tell them, no one else does.

Don’t be afraid to open up. Yes, it’s tough and awkward and weird, but trust me. It’s so much easier to bear when others are on your side. And it’s so much easier for them to be on your side when they know your struggle.

Just. Keep. Going. It may not get easier, but you’ll find a way to cope.

Find things that keep the joy in your life. Whether it’s music, writing, books, sports, friends. Whatever you can still do that will keep a smile in your heart, do it. Even on the rough days—sometimes the best way to ignore how bad you feel is to get up and do something else.

Find a safe place with safe people where you can let the mask slip. You can’t always be strong. You can’t always pretend that it’s all okay and you feel fine. Find that one friend—or two, or three—that will be there for you through thick and thin. Open up. Tell them how bad you feel. Let them ask questions. Let them care for you. Let them pray for you, offer you comfort, and accept the kindness. I know it’s easy to want to just cut yourself off from the world, but that won’t help. It will only make you lonelier and more miserable.

People often assume that these invisible illnesses are easy to deal with. I have never been hospitalized for my condition, I am completely capable of living a normal life. My only external clues are the medication I carry. It seems easy to dismiss it as not important, it seems easy to say it’s not a big deal.

But it is.

I don’t know what your burden is, I don’t know what struggle you carry.

But I know mine.

And I know how hard it is to carry some days.

So I can imagine what yours is like. I can imagine how lonely and difficult it is.

But you know what?

There are moments of light.

There are those quiet moments of happiness that still appear, even in the darkest times.

And if you keep going…it will get brighter.

Don’t give up. I’ve walked the road and I’m walking it still.

Chin up. Don’t let the illness no one else sees define who you are and what you can do.

Be more than a diagnosis, a label, a restriction.

Be all that God created you to be.

Be amazing.


Keaghan is a writer, a freshman at Patrick Henry College, a sister, daughter, friend, and Daughter of the King. She writes (far less often than she would like) at Whisper Above the Thunder (www.whisperabovethethunder.blogspot.com). She's been termed a hopeless romantic and a nerd…she proudly claims both titles. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with friends, cooking, listening to good music, watching Sherlock and Doctor Who, and drinking the occasional latte.


My Own Personal Rollercoaster :: A Timeline

So! I know it’s been a little while since I last updated. And last I posted, my circumstances were pretty dire.

Since then, I’d describe my life pretty much as a roller coaster, with plenty of ups and downs to make it interesting. Here’s the official breakdown:

  1. I started itching. August 22nd, 2011.
  2. I had an allergic reaction to a medication, which made my situation much worse. November 11th.
  3. The allergic reaction died down (but my hands felt like they took forever to heal). 
  4. Annoyingly enough, the itching didn’t go away (though it may have diminished, I can’t remember). 
  5. A few hellish weeks ensue. These were some of the worst moments of my life because of all the uncontrollable itching and burning.
  6. Throughout all of this, we thought I had a yeast overgrowth. 
  7. Since I wasn’t improving, we decided to do a test. Early December.
  8. Surprise! It isn’t a yeast overgrowth. I also discover that I have low progesterone and possibly high cortisol. December 12th.
  9. My chiropractor puts me on a supplement to help my liver. Around Christmastime.
  10. The itching stops for about a week. A MIRACLE, I TELL YOU!
  11. I accidentally run out of the supplement and the itching starts back up again. 
  12. I get back on the supplement, but still itch. Sometime in January.
  13. My hands get extremely red and chapped. Mid-January.
  14. I go see my chiropractor, who notices my hands and thinks I’m having an allergic reaction. (Yes, again.) January 21st.
  15. I am given allergy drops. We suspect that the perpetrator is corn.
  16. Therefore, I go off corn. 
  17. I am still itching. It’s gone down, but still is there.
And that, my friends, is where we are right now. There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said. I’m hanging in there, but it’s hard.

A couple of weeks ago, I looked up substitutes for corn... and let me tell you... it’s in everything. I’ve discovered that I will have to go off many of the things I eat now, such as my chicken and wild rice soup. And my protein shakes, which I use to keep my blood sugar from crashing. And xylitol, which I use as a sugar substitute since I have high insulin levels. We’re torn on whether to go off some, all, or none of these things, so that’s still in flux at the moment. My diet is already so limited because of jaw pain and my dislike for certain foods, so this has been a pretty hard blow.

So, I’m not going to pretend it’s not hard, because it is, and I’m not happy with any of this at all. I’m hoping that someday, somehow, all of this will get better. Please keep me in your prayers, and if you guys have any corn allergies, I’d love any suggestions you have to offer!


Hank Green :: Living with a Chronic Disease

I’ve recently been made aware of the vlogging duo that is Hank and John Green. (You may know John Green from his book The Fault in Our Stars, which I hope to read very soon.) They talk about a variety of subjects, and seem to really understand teenagers. Plus, they’re hilarious. Overall, they’re pretty awesome.

But what I didn’t know was that Hank actually has a chronic disease—ulcerative colitis. I was browsing the Green brothers’ channel one day and was honestly really surprised to see this video. I was instantly intrigued. I watched the whole thing, and I so appreciate how real and transparent he was. Every point he made resonated with me and made me wish the whole world could hear this video. I’d have to say that it’s one of the most accurate summaries of the aspects of living with a chronic illness that I’ve ever seen.

So whether you’re struggling to understand what it’s like for someone you know who has a chronic illness, or you have one yourself and just would like a little validation, I’d highly recommend watching this video. Even if you don’t struggle with ulcerative colitis specifically, I’d still recommend watching it since I think he makes points that all of us can relate to. It’s something that I think everyone very much needs to hear.


Meet Kayla

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brethren whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and is anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

—Philippians 4:6-8 (NASB)

My name is Kayla Woodhouse. I am a Christian, a David Phelps “Phan”, a swimmer, an author, an artist, a music freak, and more.

Sounds normal, huh? Well, think again! (I personally think that no one is normal… and that normal is “so overrated”…) :)

Before I tell you anything more about myself, though, I’d like to explain that I am a firm believer in God. And I also believe with everything in me that God “knows the plans [He] has for [us], plans to prosper [us] and not to harm [us], plans to give [us] hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

I have experienced this in miraculous ways… Because I have been in situations all my life that needed miracles.

I also believe that Jeremiah 29:11 applies to all of us. God didn’t say that this road would be easy… He said that He knows the plans He has for us and that He causes all things to work for our good (Romans 8:28).

I truly believe that I would not have the relationship I have with God if my life hadn’t been the way it is. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. :)

Let me tell you a little of my story…

I have a very rare condition called HSAN—Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy. In fact, it’s so rare that I was the first person we knew of (alive) that had HSAN. Thank God, though, we have since met more people who have this condition (there are now ~30 confirmed cases in the world and there are a few other disorders that are similar, such as CIPA).

It’s kind of complicated to explain, so I’ll tell you what my condition is in “human terms” (as opposed to “doctor terms”). :)

I’m missing fibers in my nerves throughout my nervous system, and thus certain information doesn’t get to my brain…

I can’t sweat, and my body doesn’t know when I’m getting too hot. And (because of REALLY complicated medical conditions—which I have tried and failed to understand) I can’t get too hot. Overheating could kill me, or in “the small run” give me serious brain damage.

So, for example, fevers above 99-100 degrees could be deadly for me. Especially because the nervous system doesn’t signal my brain that it is too hot and cannot cool itself down (also vice-versa, when I get really cold it’s hard for my body to warm back up). Our house stays between 62 and 65 degrees, but my room stays at a steady 58 degrees. I cannot be outside for more than a couple minutes if the temperature is above 68 degrees, unless the sun is behind clouds, then it’s a little easier for me to be outside (although, if it is anywhere around 68 degrees, then I can’t be very active).

I also can’t feel pain unless it’s twenty to thirty times what your “average” person would feel.
WAIT! Don’t get the wrong idea… most people think that it would be awesome not to feel pain. But, I hate to be Johnny Rain Cloud...

Picture this… You’re in the kitchen and you lean back, putting your hand behind you in a casual manner. Ten seconds later everyone is screaming at you that the stovetop is on. You suddenly realize that you had put your hand onto a hot burner without even knowing it.

Okay, imagine this… You are playing with your friends and you fall down. Twenty minutes later you feel kind of light headed and your ankle keeps rolling to the side in an aggravating manner. Someone notices, tells you to sit down, pulls up your pant leg and gasps. You look down and see purple, blue and green flesh.

Also, think of a time when you finally do feel pain. The pain would have to be twenty to thirty times what someone else would feel. And… you’re not used to feeling pain. So it’s totally new. And annoying.

So, in conclusion, while not being able to feel pain may sound good at some times, it’s not a “good thing” so-to-speak.

God created pain for a reason, even if you don’t like it at times.

Now, yes, I have felt pain before.

When I was nine, I started having aggressive migraines. My parents and the doctors couldn’t figure it out—here was the girl who had never complained of feeling pain—then I started having migraines so bad that I would curl up on the couch and not speak or eat? Weird, huh? And the other scary part was that I had a fever for nine weeks. As General Custer in Night at the Museum says, “Yeah. Not good. Not good at all.”

We lived up in Alaska at that time, because of the cool climate.  But the doctors couldn’t figure it out, and told my family that we needed to move back to the Lower 48. We moved to Colorado—where we currently live—and I had thirteen MRIs.

The doctor’s discovered that I had another rare condition called a Chiari malformation of the brain.
Basically, my brain had grown too big for my skull (which is kinda funny because I have the biggest head in my family) and began to squish down onto my spinal cord. I developed a cyst on my spinal cord that filled with fluid, and it was throwing my whole body out of whack. I couldn’t sit in a chair without falling off, I couldn’t walk through a door without knocking into it, I fell all the way down flights of stairs over and over and over again.

My migraines came and went, and I’ll admit it was a very hard time. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t sit down into a chair without falling onto the floor. Even though we knew that I had the Chiari, my neurosurgeon didn’t want to perform the surgery until I was older, because they wanted to see what would happen as I grew.

Because I have such a rare disorder, insurance companies won’t take me or my family (because my disorder’s first word is “Hereditary”), so we were in a very tight spot.

Little did we know, God had a gigantic blessing in store for us.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition had gotten thousands of nominations for our family from all over the US from churches and people my mom had spoken to.

A crew from EM:HE (Extreme Makeover) came to interview us, and we had loads of fun together. But that night, something was wrong with my head. I didn’t have a migraine, but the back of my head hurt like I hadn’t felt before.

My mom called the doctor, and he said that they needed to do surgery immediately.

They scheduled the operation, and three weeks later on September 26 (my half birthday) of 2006, I had brain surgery. When the operation was complete, the doctor came out and told my parents that he had no idea how tight it was inside my head.

And he was surprised that I hadn’t been paralyzed.

Basically what the doctor performed in the operation was this: he took out the bottom, back portion of my skull and the top two vertebrae to try and make room for my brain.

He said that it would take several years to a lifetime for my brain to get back into the place it is supposed to be and the cyst (syrinx) might not ever go away.

But we serve an awesome God. And, I do mean AWEsome. What the doctors said was impossible, God said was possible.

Six months later, the day after my tenth birthday, I had my post-op MRI. The doctor brought my mom and me into his office and pointed at a screen. He said, “Look.”

We looked.

My brain had completely moved back to where it was supposed to be. And the syrinx? Completely gone.

Is that awesome or what?

I could now run and jump (which, obviously, had been a privilege that was taken away after the surgery) and I have no more problems caused by the Chiari.

Well, as you can probably imagine after a half-a-million dollar brain surgery, we had an overload of medical bills, and my parents had to sell our house and we moved into a rental house.

A little while later our parents were again contacted by EM:HE, and they said that they would like to see us again. (Little did we know that they had been following our story still, even though we thought that it was all over.) Several months later, they told us we were finalists. Wow. But it could never happen to us, right?

Did I mention that we serve an awesome God?

On September 30, 2007, a year and four days after I had brain surgery, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition showed up and we heard Ty yelling through the megaphone, “Good morning, Woodhouse Family!” A week later, we had a home. A safe home.

God blessed us so immensely, and we hadn’t “done” anything. Except pray. And pray. And pray. And pray… through the good times and through the hard times.

Now, we have a house with a massive air conditioner that keeps our house steadily at 62 degrees. A house with a movie theatre, a bowling alley, and an ice cream parlor. It was founded on love and it was built on love. Now it’s filled with love.

We are eternally thankful to everyone who helped with our house, and even more thankful to our God who brought everything about.

But hey, don’t think the story ends there! :) God never stops blessing us… never. Even trials are blessings.

Because I have to stay inside practically 24/7, I have a lot of hobbies. My brother and I are homeschooled, I paint, I sketch, I play the piano and sing, I knit and sew and cross-stitch. I am a swimmer, an avid reader, and the “coolest” David Phelps fan (the title thus given to me by other DP “Phans”) out there. LOL :)

I am also a writer. And—get ready for another surprise blessing—I am now the youngest published full-length novelist by a royalty paying publisher. Meaning that I am the youngest author to have written a full-length book that was published by a paying publisher.

I got published when I was twelve, because of a “God’s-hand-was-in-control-every-second-even-when-I-wasn’t-looking” situation. In short, Momma had published a book about our story called Welcome Home; Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy and thus she had a lot of author/writer/editor/publisher friends. And one friend in particular told Momma that she would help me with my writing.

I showed her my writing, she started crying… and she said that I should be published—now. I was twelve years old.

Within six months, Momma and I had signed contracts and written No Safe Haven, my first book. It released in February of 2010. Then a little over a year later Race Against Time, the second book in our series, came out.

Would I have ever started writing if I hadn’t been “confined” indoors? No, I don’t think so.
Would I have ever wanted to be an elite swimmer? I don’t think so. Swimming started out as a therapy for me, now it’s the sport I love. Many people have predicted that I will be in the Olympics one day. Maybe I will… we’ll just see what God does next. :)

It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been just the opposite. I’ve battled with medical conditions, deadly situations, depression, and a devil who “prowls around like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8) on a daily basis.

But, I have my awesome, all-powerful God who counsels me, who guides me, who protects me, who teaches me, who loves me, who died for me.

I have my magnificent and wonderful beyond wonderful family. I have a house with air conditioning. I have a six-month old Yorkshire Terrier service dog who already alerts me when I’m getting too hot.
I am blessed. And ya know what? You are too.

You may not be able to see it right now, but hey. We don’t always know when God sends a blessing our way. In fact, most of the time we don’t know until after the fact.

You may struggle with depression, rejection, doubt… and/or a million other things. But please re-read the verse at the beginning of this article (Phillipians 4:6-8).

First off, God tells—not suggests—us to come to Him in prayer. To, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” He assures us that His peace is there. That He “will never fail [us] nor forsake [us]” (Joshua 1:5).

God also tells us to “Dwell on these things”…
What things? Whatever is true… whatever is honorable… whatever is right… whatever is pure… whatever is lovely… whatever is of good repute… anything excellent and anything praiseworthy…
What is true? God. His Word. And… those are about the only things we can know every time—without fail—that are true. :)

So…Is depression true? No. Depression is a hole that we put ourselves in when we “feel” like we can’t go on. (Trust me, I know, I still battle with this.)

Are feelings true? No. Feelings can let us down. Besides, do we always know if what we are “feeling” is from the Lord or the deceiver? When we get stuck in depression, we have a bad habit of giving up because we can’t “hear” or “feel” God… But we’re not supposed to be focused on whether or not we’re hearing or feeling God. We’re supposed to trust Him.

What is honorable? Well, praise is honorable. :) After all, God is praiseworthy. You may not be able to see Him putting into action blessings in your life right now. But then, if we saw and knew everything that God did… where would the lessons be? How would we learn?

How would we learn to trust? To lean on God?

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Who do we trust? God.

How do we trust Him? With all of our hearts. It’s not a matter of, “how do I feel that I am trusting Him?” or “how do I trust Him?” God tells us to trust Him with “all of [our] hearts”. So, surrender.
What do we do to trust Him? We, again, surrender. We “lean not on [our] own understandings” but “acknowledge Him in all [our] ways.” Just because we don’t feel Him working in our lives or we don’t feel Him next to us and leading us doesn’t mean that He’s not there. When we can’t see past our doubts, the only thing we can do is think on the truth—i.e. God’s Word. God’s character. Did He abandon Moses? Did He abandon Esther? Did He abandon David? No, He didn’t. If God is/was so perfectly in control in those situations, what makes you think that He’s not going to help you? Here’s a thought: we don’t have to know everything. God is God. Let Him rule your life and trust in the Lord—with all your heart. Then acknowledge Him in all our ways. In other words: Pray.

What will God do? He will “make our paths straight.” Notice that it doesn’t say “right now.” :) God is God. And we are not.

So, even if the road seems never-ending… even if you feel like giving up… even if you can’t “feel” God next to you… even if you don’t have any friends or family to turn to… even if your life seems so bleak and dreary…

Just remember: God loved you so much that He sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ to die for your—and my—sins. You may not have realized this, but Jesus was a teenager once too. He was an adult that was rejected. He was an outcast. He went through trials and temptations. But He didn’t sin.

And He also didn’t give up. Why? I personally think that it was because of us. Because of His love for us.

Here’s another thought… Jesus died for us… why? So that we could live for and with Him. So that we could share His light. So that we could learn lessons, and then help others who are going through similar situations. So that we could dwell on the truth. So that we could trust in Him… no matter what.
He didn’t give up on the cross…

What makes you think that He’s going to give up on you?

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatever is true…
Dwell on these things.

In God’s blessings and love,
Kayla R. Woodhouse

Fifteen-year-old Kayla Woodhouse is the youngest author to have a full-length novel published by a royalty paying publisher. Her zest for writing comes not only from her natural ability, but also from her love of the written word as witnessed by her voracious reading appetite. One of only a few dozen cases in the world, Kayla was born with HSAN, Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy, an extremely rare nerve disorder. Unable to sweat, or feel pain, she’s also been through brain surgery. But even through a life of extreme hardships, her ever-present smile encourages others to pursue their dreams, no matter the obstacles. In addition to being homeschooled and writing with her mom, she’s an amazing swimmer, and spends up to thirty hours a week in training. She has appeared on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Montel Williams Show, Mystery ER, and numerous other national programs as well as hundreds of national radio interviews. She’s been on the cover of Clubhouse Magazine, Homecoming Magazine, and featured in Susie Magazine. Her suspense novels—No Safe Haven and Race Against Time—written with her mother, Kimberley, received Christian Retailing’s top pick and both received 4 stars from Romantic Times Reviews. You can find Kayla at http://kimandkaylawoodhouse.com and http://facebook.com/KaylaWoodhouse.



I never wanted to be the weak one.

And yet here I am.

Everything has come to a head today. I am fatigued. So, so tired. I'm barely sleeping because I'm itching and anxious. The itching and anxiety are directly connected it seems; when I have anxiety, my skin feels like it's burning from the inside out. And unfortunately, that's pretty much been all the time.

People say all the time, "you're so brave. you're so strong. you're so positive."

Honestly, I don't feel that way.

I have yelled at my mom this week more times than I'd care to count. I've cried and cried and cried and cried. I've yelled at God, I've been so angry. I've punched my mattress a few times because I literally do not know how to handle this.

I'm not as positive and great at this as everyone thinks I am. I'm really not.

I'm kind of having a breakdown today. It's been two months of a living hell and I want it to stop.

But it won't stop.

I feel abandoned by God, like He isn't listening. I feel lonely. I feel anxious. I feel fearful and panicked and oh, so tangled up inside.

I feel weak.

So this is me admitting it to the world, to myself, and to God. And this is me asking for help, from God, and whoever is out there who can give me little glimmers of hope to hold onto. Because I know my story's not over yet... but it sure as heck feels like it is.

And I need something--no, I need Someone--to help me carry on.

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