Monday, October 17, 2016

Have you ever legitimately prayed for God to let you die?

This post is difficult for me to write and is going to be quite lengthy, so bear with me please!

Two years ago, I rode a roller coaster at Kings Island (the Beast), and from that moment on my life
changed forever. I woke up a few days after riding the coaster, to excruciating pain shooting down my lower back, buttocks and left leg, all the way down to my foot (for those of you who’ve experienced sciatic pain, you know what I’m talking about). I freaked out, tried to get out of bed, and immediately fell to the floor. I couldn’t put pressure on my left side. My foot was useless and my knee felt like it was going be crushed under my own weight.

I forced myself to get up and go to work. I truly thought I had slept wrong and that the feeling would
come back/pain would go away, once I got up and moved around. I was at work all of an hour before
leaving. I called my mom crying, asking what I should do. I called several doctors (I didn’t have a primary care doctor at the time, and it was going to take weeks to get one, since I’d be a new patient) and all of them told me to come in, in 2-5 weeks. I couldn’t wait that long. So I called a local chiropractor, who was able to work me in, in the matter of hours. I had x-rays which showed that I possibly had a slipped disc, but they thought it was just a pinched nerve. I returned the next day for an adjustment. Oh my goodness, did it do wonders! I immediately had relief from my knee down and I was able to walk normally again. But I had to give up running, dancing, snowboarding and even watching movies, anything and everything that would cause irritation to my back. 
I had chiropractic adjustments 3 days a week for about 5 months and then things just weren’t helping
I had a MRI shortly after, which showed that I had 3 lumbar discs and 2 cervical discs bulging 60%, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis. They promptly started me on decompression therapy to place the discs back in, which actually made it worse. I had back spasms constantly after that. I finally gave in to have injections into my back, to help with the inflammation/pain. The first one made things worse,
but the second one helped calm my spasms down enough for me to have the decompression therapy. It worked! The discs went back into place, for the most part. They still slipped out on occasion, but so long as I kept going to the Chiropractor, PT and massage therapist, I was surviving.

Then, for whatever reason, I began having even worse pain than before. The doctors couldn’t figure it
out! I continued with all of my therapies, but nothing seem to help. I was losing hope. The pain I was experiencing, combined with the everyday stress of school, work, my family’s situation, and the medical bills that were constantly pouring in, put me into a downward spiral for several months (11, to be exact), where I cried out to God every moment of every day, praying He would just take me home. I complained about the pain to my friends/family to the point that some of them were annoyed with me, and some flat out told me to stop. So I did. I was hurt that nobody understood or seemed to care. I became a hermit. I wanted nothing to do with anyone. Everyone made me upset. Nobody understood what I was going through. I became a bitter person and I felt sorry for myself.

I’m humiliated to admit that I was angry with God too, and that I just wanted to die. I could not understand why doctors weren’t able to fix me. I could not understand why this was happening to me. I would tell myself that there are people out there who have it much, much worse than I do. But eventually, it didn’t seem to matter. I wanted God to take me home.

I saw a therapist, who put me on anti-depressants. She told me it was okay to not understand. She told me it was okay to be upset. She told me not to give up.

The anti-depressants worked to get me out of the constant crying, but it wasn’t a permanent fix, and I knew that.

I began reading my Bible again, crying out to God for forgiveness and asking people for their prayer. And God provided for me greatly – I was in so much medical debt, I didn’t know what to do. But friends and family and sometimes strangers, started helping out, most times without me ever saying a word! My professors showed mercy on me, when it came to being late to classes, because I couldn’t sit in a car for more than 5 minutes (I legitimately stopped at every gas station to get out and walk). God was looking out for me even though I was angry with Him.

Unfortunately, 6 months later, I woke up to have severe pain in my left hand. My middle and index finger were completely numb. I was so panicked that I immediately went to the Urgent care, who then sent me to a specialist that day. Turns out, I have carpal tunnel syndrome – I honestly didn’t really know what it was until now, but goodness it’s painful!
While at the Urgent Care, I think the lady felt sorry for me, reading through all of my issues, and she prescribed me an anti-inflammatory medication. And boy, am I so thankful for her!!!

That medication has given me my life back! And this is coming from a girl who is anti-medication! I still can't go running, snowboard or play frisbee, but I can finally dance again, and I can sit and watch an entire movie without severe pain. Why none of the other doctors thought to put me on anti-inflammatory's for my arthritis before, I will never know. The combination of meloxicam and staying active/physical thereapy, I feel like a whole new person!

Shortly after getting on the medication, a lady at work came up and I will never forget her words to me. She said “Alicia, your smile and is back and I can see your joy again!” I asked her what she means and she told me that she’s been so worried about me, because I hadn’t been smiling or talking to anyone at work like I always had.   My heart sank, knowing I let satan use pain to destroy my witness. I am humbled to know that God is God, and always will be. He loves me. He will always care for me, even in my darkest hour.

So now, with all my experience with back/neck/hand pain, and being in physical therapy. I want to go to school to become a physical therapist assistant! I feel like since I can relate to people who also have chronic pain, I will be better suited in helping them overcome it.

Long time, no post!

I gave up my blog back in 2014 because I had a lot of negative responses flooding in, through private messages. I was discouraged by them to the point that I had given up blogging altogether. But, I’m back :)

Lately, I’ve felt the need to share my story of the recent changes in my life, but before I do, this post will just be a quick update leading up to this point in time.

Let’s see here, in 2014 my parents got divorced, I had my second hand surgery, I started dating someone, my grandfather passed away, I rode a roller coaster which led to me having chronic back problems (I will elaborate in my next post), my best friend got married, and I moved out.

In 2015, my roommate and I adopted two kittens, one of my brothers left home and the family, I decided once I graduate, I want to go back to become a physical therapist assistant (I’ll explain why in the next post).

Now, for the present time, 2016.
 I still work at Amazon and I’m still in school at JCTC. I will graduate Fall of 2017 with associate degrees in both commercial photography and graphic design. I began taking classes to put towards the Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) program this past summer. I started a photography internship with Amanda H Photography back in April and will hopefully have my 300hrs for school by next spring. I am still dating the same guy, and I still have the same roommate and adorable kitties :) I struggle greatly with the current presidential candidates; I can’t wait for the election to be over with already! My best friend will be giving birth to her first child (a son!) in November – I can’t wait! And two more of my dear friends got hitched just a couple weeks ago – yay! My roommate bought a house last month, so we’ve been preparing to move by the end of the year.

I think that about sums it up, as briefly as I can make it ;)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Stressed? Overwhelmed? Exhausted? Discouraged?

Have you ever felt like there's too much for you to bear? Like your life is moving at the speed of light and you can't catch up? Do feel like everyone around you seems to have their life together, while you're sitting in a world of chaos? Do you feel anxious, overwhelmed, and unsure of how to keep moving forward? Yeah, that's me.

Over the past two weeks, I've let myself worry, get discouraged over petty things, feel hurt by the words/actions of others, and let simple, dumb things overwhelm me to the point that I don't sleep. Or even worse, I've let my own words and actions not reflect my God the way they should. In turn, the lack of sleep makes things seem even worse than they truly are, and I hurt the people who love me, by my words and actions, too.

Well, thanks to my mom, I took the day off work today to sleep in and get my bearings together. She's my life-saver - seriously, she's amazing :) This morning was a massive wake up call for me - and not just in the physical way. After getting some much needed sleep and taking a deep breath, I can now see that the moment I started falling behind/letting homework pile up/letting little things bother me, is the moment I put spending time with God on the back-burner, so I could try to catch up on life. You may be thinking to yourself, "Well, that was dumb. Why'd she do that, doesn't she know better??" It's okay, I'm telling myself that, too. God should always be my top priority, I know this and I fail miserably more often than not. I've noticed every time I stop focusing on Jesus, my life seems to fall apart faster than I could put it together to begin with. However, my God is a forgiving, merciful, and loving God! And I'm beyond thankful and incredibly blessed!

Enough about that though - I'm moving forward! God taught me this morning (again) that He is greater than all our worries, fears, and troubles (1 John 4:4), He (and His love) never fails (Psalm 136, 2 Cor. 6:18), and that nothing is too difficult for Him! (Jer. 32:27). I pray that if you are struggling in the same way, you will find peace with Jesus Christ, just as I have. :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Update On Life

It's been awhile since I've blogged, so I figured it was about time to give an update on life.

It's been a long, tough road for my family this year. We learned that one of my (adopted) sisters has an attachment disorder. I won't go into too much detail, but it got bad. She was placed in a temporary home, while we searched for a new family. The perfect family. As of a few weeks ago, she lives in North Carolina with her new family, who knows more about her disorder and can hopefully help her heal - and ultimately, come to know Christ as her Father. As painful as it is for me, it's been more difficult for my mom and sisters - they were the ones home with her the most. It's heartbreaking, really. Legally, she is no longer my sister... and yet, in my heart, she is and always will be. When people ask how many siblings I have, what do I say? My natural response is, 8. But, it's really 7. I can't imagine how my parents feel - it's their daughter. They love her, I know.  I'm sure it will take a long time for all of us to heal from the pain we've endured, but really I don't regret any of it. I've learned more than I ever could have without her. I praise God for letting us be a part of her life's journey. :)

The last couple months, I've been really trying to focus on growing Spiritually. I wish I was wiser and more mature. I'm having to learn how to manage my time better. I am trying to not neglect God, myself, or my responsibilities in the process of serving others.  I tend to take, 'serving others', to the extreme, where I am just a people-pleaser.  
I started going to a small Bible study with a few friends and one of their moms, as the leader. It's been great! It's so nice to dig into the Word and dissect it, and not just read alone. Sometimes I feel like a luke-warm Christian. How disgusting is that? I need to be better. I am going to do better. !

I quit babysitting in May and got a new job working in the Amazon warehouse. I start in two days! I'm really excited. To be honest, this will be my first full time job that doesn't have to do with kids. I miss the kids a lot, but I feel like my life is moving forward now. In August I'll start school at JCTC - also another step forward! I've talked about being a cosmetologist for probably 10+ years, but I'm finally doing it! It'll be really weird being tied down, honestly. I've always had the lifestyle that let me travel on mission trips, have time with my friends, etc. But now, I'm stuck here. I guess work and school will be my mission field. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Romania: There and back again

On July 16th, 2012, at 12 o'clock, noon, I arrived at the Louisville International Airport. There, I met up with the other twenty members of our Romania team. Excited, we all began checking in our luggage and saying our goodbyes to loved ones, when we hit our first, air? block.
After five of us were already checked in, they told us our flight had been moved from 2:30 up to 12:30, which means we had actually all missed our flight out. After a couple hours of trying to figure out what to do from there, they decided to split our team up into three groups and send us different places, and then we would all meet back up in Munich and travel to Cluj, together.
So, five of us, including myself, got our tickets and went on through security to our gate to wait on our flight to Charlotte. An hour later, we heard that six others finally got a flight out, however to Philadelphia, not Charlotte. My group finally boarded our plane to Charlotte, when there was an instrument failure and we had to get off and wait again. While waiting for them to fix the plane, the other eight team members walked up and said they got a flight out at 6pm (same gate)... so finally, after hours of wondering whether we'd even fly out on the 16th, or not, all twenty of us had tickets!
We boarded our plane once again, but only to have to get off (AGAIN) because of bad weather in Charlotte. By 5:45pm, we finally got word that all thirteen of us, who were left out of our team, would all be flying to Charlotte together on the 6:05pm flight..
At 6:02pm we were all rushed onto the plane and told we had less than seven minutes to take off, or our flight would be canceled until the next day, due to regulations.

We took off with no more than thirty seconds to spare, but nevertheless, we were finally on our way to Charlotte!

All of us arrived in Charlotte safely, but because of all the issues we had getting out of Louisville, we had missed our flight to Munich.. took several hours, but eventually we got a flight to Frankfurt, Germany (instead of Munich), so we flew for eight hours - where I slept just about the whole time :-). They then got us a flight to Munich, but once we arrived there (the other seven team members were already in Romania by this time), they said they didn't have any flights going to Cluj (Romania)... so they sent us to Budapest, Hungary, instead. From there, we slept on the floor in the airport for I don't know how many hours. We were missing several peoples luggage and totes full of VBS supplies, but at least we were safe. Our bus driver who was picking us up in Cluj, drove 8+ hours, through two countries, to pick us up in Budapest. So, after 35+ hours of traveling, we then had to sit on a bus for another 8 hours.. But, after 40+ hours, altogether, we all arrived in Finate, Romania, where we finally met up with the rest of our team, who had flown out from Louisville separately, two days prior. 

We arrived at 7:30 in the morning on July 18th. We started VBS with the Romanian children at 10am that same morning... which means we were quite tired by the end of the day :) I definitely slept like a rock every single night! Was probably the first one in bed and the last one out every day ;)

We did VBS every day from 10am-noon, had lunch, and then had "field day" with the kids until 3pm. I learned how to play Volleyball, Romanian style - we played every day for several hours! I never even used to be into Volleyball, but I have to admit, I learned to like it a lot :) Some of our team went into the city to have Basketball camps and hang out with the youth.
We started a womens Bible study for the lady's in the village, which took place every evening at 8pm. It started out a very small crowd - 2 or so people - but by the end of the week we had probably about 10. One lady gave her life to Jesus even!
We went to several church services in town (Baia Mare), where the pastors on our team would preach and some of the Romanian speaking team members would sing or read a poem/scripture.

My favorite things on the trip were trying the interesting foods, that weren't really weird at all, playing volleyball with the teenagers, hanging out with the teen-translators/getting to know them, wandering the streets of the village with Cathy, Gabi and Dani (amazing people right there!), playing with and loving on the Gypsy's! And learning what it's like to be a Romanian. I always feel like I leave a piece of my heart everywhere I go. 

It made me so sad to see the Gypsy's though. The children are battered and bruised, on purpose, by their parents, just so people will feel sorry for them and give them money... which the parents promptly take and use on drugs and whatnot. It's so sad. I wish I could take all the kids home with me and give them a loving family! How can you even pretend to love your children when you abuse them to get what you want?? I just don't understand :(

We did a little site seeing: hiked up a mountain, went into the city to get souvenirs and ice cream, drove for houuuurs up a windy mountain on gravel, where I was sitting on the floor in the back of the bus - talk about motion sickness! and drove along the border of Ukraine. It was cool to see the countryside, God is such an incredible artist! :)

By the end of the trip, we all felt quite at home :) None of us wanted to leave! But sadly, we had to:

Traveling home went MUCH smoother, than the trip getting there. However, unlike the travel to Romania, I didn't sleep at all! I believe Satan is the reason we had so much trouble getting to Romania. He didn't want us to share God's love with anyone... well, he didn't stop us! It's incredible how much people can see Christ in you, just by your love for them. I hope our light shined bright while we were there, and I hope we all continue to let it shine while here in the States!
It's great to be home, however much I miss the team and all of Romania. The people will always be in my heart, no matter what :)

Praying for the Romanian and Roma people! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Let God Use You

About a month ago, on my way home from small group, I got a phone call - I didn't know the number - I answered, but they hung up. I was debating on calling the number back, but decided against it, assuming if they really wanted to talk to me they'd call again... About 5 minutes later they called again. I answered. It was an old(er) lady named Brenda. She called back only to apologize for calling the first time (she had the wrong number). She was speaking quickly but mentioned that she was trying to call her friend that is dying...and that she apologizes for calling my number and wished me a good evening.
I don't know why, but I asked what was wrong with her friend.  She explained that her friend has cancer and that she only has a few hours left to live and that she's really sad to lose her. I told her I'm deeply sorry to hear that...she started crying...hysterically...  I didn't know what else to say, so I asked if it would be okay if I prayed for her and her friend... she seemed shocked and asked how old I am... after I told her she asked if I believe there's a God. I said, "of course! don't you?". She said she didn't realize the younger generation even thought about there being a God...(wow! How sad!). She said her friend believes there's a God, but that she, herself, isn't so sure. I asked why and she said because her friend is dying from cancer, why would God let that happen?  I explained as best I could, being put on the spot and trying to drive, that "for everything there is a season", as hard as it is to accept sometimes. And that she doesn't need to worry about her friend and that she will be WITH God in heaven very soon and that I'm sure her friend wants that more than anything.  She asked if she will ever see her friend again and I told her there is one way to make sure of that... I explained that by believing Jesus is Lord and asking for forgiveness of all our sins, we will be saved by God's grace (Even when we screw up, God will always forgive us again and again). I don't even remember what else I said, but it was clearly God speaking and NOT me, because a few minutes later she said "thank you, that makes so much sense!" (and if you know me, you know I do not make sense!). she then asked if I was still willing to pray for her and her friend. I prayed aloud. Afterwards she was crying so hard I could barely understand her. She said she felt so badly that she disturbed me by accidentally calling my number, but thanked me for the talk (the funny thing is, my phone had 3% battery left, which usually won't even let me answer calls, but somehow it not only let me take the call, but I talked to her for over 30mins!?) . She then said she needed to go and call her friend so she could pray with her before it was too late..!

Well, last week, almost a month later to the exact day, she called me once again. She called to say thank you. She accepted Christ that night. She said even though her friend passed away, she feels like it's all God's plan and she can't wait to go to heaven to see her again and be with God.


I just want to say that God works in the most amazing ways!!!!  As much as I love witnessing to people, I usually feel like I'll just say the wrong thing and screw everything I should just keep quiet, right? Wrong! After the phone calls with Brenda, I realized that I didn't do anything at all anyway, God spoke through me;  I just have to be willing to open my mouth.
She has taught me a huge lesson!

(Side note: during that first call in April, I was driving in Louisville and was so into the conversation that I wasn't paying attention to which exit I got off of.... I drove 45mins in the wrong direction! haha!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


About a week ago, March 7th, I was awake basically all night! I just couldn't stop my brain from rambling on. I kept thinking about the Dominican Republic/Haiti. I went there last summer with G.O. Ministries and they have asked me to go again. I would LOVE to go! But, there's just something stopping me, I'm not sure what. My brother Andrew has decided he is going to go though, which is awesome!!! It's his first mission trip, first time over seas, first time going anywhere without friends/family. It's quite exciting! He will be such a blessing there, I just know it!
Anyway, Romania. Romania kept coming to mind throughout that night, after I kept telling myself "no" to the D.R. I wanted to go last year, but with going to the D.R in June and China in August, there just wasn't a way to go to Romania in July!   This year I had decided early on that I wasn't going to travel. I was going to stay home and work all year - save up for something "bigger and better" (long-term mission trip), but my thoughts kept wandering to this trip.
I finally got to sleep, only to wake up to an email asking me about going on a Romania trip. Talk about a sign! Craziness.  So I contacted a friend who I know goes to Romania quite often and she set me up with her church missions coordinator.

So, as of right now, I will be going on a short-term mission trip to Romania in July!!

During my time there I will be helping with VBS's, for both the Romanian and the Gypsy children, a sports camp in the city, a small Bible study, basic medical care and probably throw some photography in there too, as always -- This is right up my alley, is it not?! Gotta love kids :)

Please, please, please keep me and the team in your prayers during the trip!! Also leading up to the trip! I need to raise about $1700 by April 2nd (which is less than 3 weeks away!). The rest of the money ($500) doesn't need to be turned in until closer to July, but these next few weeks are going to be hectic trying to fundraise (esp since I don't have much time at all!!).
I am also still looking for a longer Romania trip, but God hasn't opened that door yet. :)