Today I have the lovely privilege here on the blog to introduce you to an amazing lady, and such a sweet encourager and friend.
Abby Breuklander is this beautiful soul with the heart of a warrior, so apparent the first time we connected online, and I knew she needed to share her story. To encourage anyone who is having to endure past what they think they can, and to cling to God without hesitation.
Need to be inspired? Not sure you can be brave anymore? Here are Abby’s thoughts on what happens when the unexpected takes over, and you let God take control…
Me: Abby, I’m excited to have you here on the blog. God kind of brought us together online a few months ago now, and it wasn’t long before I knew you had a testimony that would inspire!
*Abby: To be completely honest, when I felt “Heavenly promptings” to share my story, I was absolutely terrified. I’ve always hated being the center of attention, no matter what the situation. I’m perfectly happy to just stay behind the scenes, as far away from the spotlight as possible. It’s so scary putting yourself out there, opening up and becoming vulnerable enough to let others see the real you. I couldn’t really believe that anyone would really care about what I’ve been through or what I might have to say. I’m just a plain-Jane, simple, easy to please girl-next-door.
But He’s been showing me that my story is not my own, it’s His too.
And possibly someone else’s that I don’t even know about yet. The Lord could be using this to give someone the help and hope that they’re looking for, or to draw someone to Himself.
How humbling is that? To know that someone else’s life could be changed for the better, whether physically or spiritually, puts everything into a different perspective!! It’s never just been about me. The pain, tears, utter brokenness, hope, healing, restoration and faith are being used for something so much bigger than myself. So after an experience that can only be described as a “Heavenly kick in the rear,” I said yes to sharing my story. The good, the bad, and the down-right ugly. But He can take all of this and turn it into something that only He can!
Me: Your journey has been one of complicated health issues and surgery. Without going into personal detail, share what the biggest challenges have been for someone who had to face on-going medical obstacles and what you discovered about your faith.
*Abby: June 21, 2004 was the day that began the downward spiral of all my health issues and the longest 11 years of my life. There have been many times this journey has been an absolute nightmare of one problem after another. One situation is resolved and then here comes a new one to deal with, each worse than the one before. This current health issue has been going on for 3 years now. You never dream that what is supposed to be a simple surgery would turn into something so awful, that what doesn’t both other people at all, nearly kills you. You never imagine that the problem would be 2 little metal clamps left inside you from surgery that are actually making you sick because you’re so allergic to them. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why no one in the medical field would believe my suspicions for why I was so ill afterwards, why there wasn’t an emergency surgery to remove them.
The days, weeks, and months that followed trying any and every solution, just for some relief from the symptoms this brought on, only to end up at another dead-end is something no one should ever have to go through.
The day I heard the words, “There’s nothing else I can do. I think you just need to go home and learn to live with this”, felt like a death sentence. What then-26 year old wants to hear that? Every awful appointment after that day only made it more of a reality. Was I actually supposed to just give up? I knew there had to be more to my life than all this right?
Thankfully I was able to find a specialist who has believed in me and a treatment therapy that has helped so much!! Now I’m no longer facing a surgery to remove the clamps since my system has accepted them! A miracle! Things are turning around for the better. I still have both good and bad days, but the good days far outnumber the bad ones!
To be completely honest I wasn’t sure I was ever going to make it this far, but the last few months have been amazing!! I actually felt like someone who is 27 instead of 100! It’s very plain to see that He’s been carrying me the last 11 years because I don’t know how else I’ve gotten here otherwise. It seems like every time things were starting to go well the rug would be yanked out from under me. Sometimes I debated about just staying on the floor, save myself a fall. But I realized that I wasn’t meant to live life on the floor. Jesus came to give abundant life, not a “hug the rug with everything in you” life.
Sure there were days I wanted to throw in the towel and just give up. Watching my life, hopes and dreams slip right through my fingers was so hard. I was so mad at Him for allowing all of this to happen, not seeing that maybe this actually was for the best after all.
Me: So how does someone process this type of continuous trial? What are the things you’re learning about yourself, and God?
*Abby: I thought I was a pretty patient person…..but apparently not. And that’s okay, because it’s a never-ending learning process. That takes so much pressure away, knowing that I don’t have to be perfect and have it all together all the time. Does that mean I don’t have to try any more? Absolutely not! It just means that I don’t need to be so hard on myself when I lose my patience since I still am human after all. That’s never going to change this side of Heaven.
Being out in the deserts of life can also be a very good thing. I’ve had dreams that have died and been replaced by ones that are so much bigger and better than anything I could ever possibly imagine. Other dreams have survived and are still very much alive. But the ones that He no longer wanted me to pursue were sent into the desert to die, so to speak.
And you know what? I have peace about walking away from those dreams. Was it easy to let them go? Not at first, but when the drive and desire for those things aren’t there anymore, then it’s time to move on.
The Father tells us to be still in Psalm 46:10, but He knew I wasn’t about to do that on my own. I don’t think I even knew the meaning of ‘be still’. There were times I was 3 weeks ahead of myself. Since I wasn’t going to slow down on my own, He slowed me down Himself. Looking back now I shouldn’t look at it as Him taking things away, He just wanted me all to Himself for a while before I was ready to move into what I’m supposed to do in life. Which I’m honestly still trying to figure out….But I’m sure that whatever He has in mind it’s going to be an adventure!
Me: What would you like us to take away from your testimony then, something we can take with us into our own situations?
*Abby: Well, I’m finally at the point where I can truly say that this hasn’t just been the worst time in my life, it’s also been the best. I’ve learned so much about God and myself that I never dreamed possible. I’ve met so many incredible people who’ve chosen to walk this road with me, many have become very dear friends.
These are blessings that I probably wouldn’t have in my life if things hadn’t happened the way they did, which I wouldn’t trade for anything! I don’t know how all the pieces fit together just yet, but maybe that’s the point….I’m not supposed to know.
All I can do is trust that since He’s already ahead, behind and right next to me, that whatever happens next, we’ll get through it together!
Friends- I hope and pray that Abby’s words find a place inside your circumstances today, and settle in there as the sign to carry on! To never give up. He has good things to infuse each leg of the journey with and will find a way to use to His glory! Never doubt that.
And to my sister-warrior, Abby- your light has been this brilliant shining brave thing that anyone who knows you knows comes from God, a diamond-faith rising up out of the dust! Thank you for being such an inspiration to myself, and others.
Proof that with God, all things are possible.
Sharing today with other lovely bloggers with hearts for Him at Jennifer Dukes Lee’s linkup #TellHisStory!!! Will you join us? Click on the hashtag above!