When I started university as a Student Child Nurse in 2010 I had the next few years sorted in my head. I knew my plan, reach for a 2:1, graduate, become a Child Nurse, hopefully get a job at The Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, meet a man if possible and get married. Fairly standard in modern day culture. In my head, I never stopped trusting God for all these things. Through things going bad or good, I knew he was on my side and I didn’t need to worry about the future. It was when my plans got ripped apart that I realised, maybe I thought I was trusting God with my life but really I had my plans and wasn’t reliant on God for them.
In 2013 I started to become ill and it took health professionals six months to diagnose me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (often known as M.E.) is a complex condition, affecting nearly all of the body’s systems. The patient experiences flu-like draining fatigue, unlike regular tiredness, not relieved by sleep or rest. It also involves a long list of other symptoms such as; mild to severe muscle pains, depression, difficulties with mental processing, dizziness, nausea, headaches, sore throats, drastically reduced mobility, light & noise sensitivity and heart palpitations. At its worst it can restrict daily activities such as showering and dressing. It often requires a huge adjustment to life in order to cope, e.g. not being able to work. There is no cure or drug treatment for Chronic Fatigue but it can be known to gradually improve with graded exercise therapy. For someone working as a Student Nurse, on a hospital ward, looking after others whilst feeling like I (melodramatically) was dying myself was awful. Looking back I don’t know how I managed to keep going for another year doing this, my only logical answer is God kept me going. I got to two months before the end of my degree before reaching the decision that I could not physically or mentally carry on anymore. I could barely do a simple drug calculation! I felt like my world was crashing down around me. Everything thing I had planned was in tatters, what on earth was I going to do now? This was when I realised I had never really been trusting God with my life. This was a whole new level of trusting God, when you have no idea what’s going to happen next but realise he will provide. And he did. I received a degree in Paediatric Healthcare (just not the nursing registration) because I had done nearly the entire nursing course. This was something that had never happened before in the university, a student not completing their degree yet still being awarded a different degree, there was no way this had been my doing but God’s! An answer to our prayers.
Facing a complete life transformation has not been an easy journey, especially coming to terms with new limitations I never had before. I have hit what felt like rock bottom and I am gradually working my way back up (I feel like a koala, clinging desperately onto God as he helps me back up!). Moving home so my parents could care for me was a positive and a negative. I was moving away from all the friendships I had back in Guildford. I just didn’t have the energy or concentration to drive that far to spend time with them, and the same with meeting new people and concentrating on conversation. People would think I was uninterested in them because I was too exhausted to process what they were talking about. I became so shut off from the social side of my life that it affected me mentally. I felt frustrated and isolated. It’s taken time to be able to handle these feelings on a day to day basis and yes, sometimes they do still get on top of me, but moving through this difficult time would never have been possible for me without trusting God – the new level of trusting God I mentioned. Sometimes I do have moments where I’m suddenly terrified about what is going to happen next, but then I remember all God has done for me in the face of having no idea what was ahead of me. I now rely on him for money, for my health, for my marriage and for my future. Something I didn’t realise I wasn’t really doing before. He is my hope when I feel I have none. God provides, we just need to trust that he does, even if not in a way we expect.