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Infirmity Gave me a Reason to Believe

by Princess AnnaSurvivor, Brain CancerMarch 11, 2022View more posts from Princess Anna

Adopting a life of spirituality to gain internal strength, resilience, faith, and optimism allows one to conquer the external yet strenuous trials and tribulations that life may present. At the age of 13, on my bed of affliction, my life changed forever. God grabbed my hand, and I chose to walk with him from thenceforth.

Growing up in a household from a background of over three generations of spiritual leaders, choosing a lifestyle of faith and spirituality at an early age seemed to be tedious and constraining. I experienced my first epileptic seizure at age six, which continued weekly for four years. They were triggered by various moods. Even the tormenting counters of bullying triggered emotions that led to my convulsions. My mom, unconditionally by my side, never ceased to ensure that I was seen by neurologists, and with patience she endured with me during hour-long EKG appointments. In addition, she instilled faith within me through biblical healing scriptures, prayer, and she encouraged me to watch Christian ministry broadcasts. The seven-year-old me delighted in praying for a miracle that would stop me from experiencing the sudden, torturous, and involuntary episodes of shaking. To help achieve this, I relied upon the prayers of family and church members. Most significantly, I called upon a televised ministry prayer line to continuously testify about the breaks I received, going several weeks or months without having a seizure. For a while, I learned faith, but once my seizures ended at the age of ten, the psychological and physical symptoms of my illness, an undetected brain tumor, arose.

On June 10, 2015, I was 13 and pain hugged my body with death approaching. Before conquering brain surgery, I looked my neurosurgeon in the eye and said, “You do what you can do, and my God will do the rest.” These words activated faith, tenacity, and resilience within my soul. As a result, I was able to conquer 28 days of proton radiation sessions to the brain, while living in a medical home for families of children facing chronic medical illnesses (Ronald McDonald House). Moreover, faith helped me to acquire the determination to start high school three days after completing treatment, graduate summa cum laude (with a visual impairment caused by the brain tumor and a new learning challenge), and obtain good success thus far in my college endeavors.

Overcoming my journey is not without worthy attributes. In high school, my incorporation of faith and spirituality began, and it helped me to stand out by being a light amongst my peers. As I read the bible, my thoughts and actions improved. Spirituality taught me to be bold. I learned to pray for my professors, teachers, doctors, and peers. Moreover, I was privileged to lead a bible club and inspire my peers to live distinctly to fulfill purpose. This also taught me that in leading others spiritually, standards would be held high, which requires me to hold myself accountable through conducting myself in a non-condemnable and just manner.

Today, as a junior in college with a permanent visual impairment, living with the long-term effects of treatment and a brain tumor, faith aids me in the maintenance of a sound mind, pure heart, the gift of forgiveness, optimism, and diligence. This ultimately allows my perspective to shift focus from the physical yet temporal components of life to the source of mental strength and wisdom — spirituality. Faith and spirituality are gifts without age restrictions, and they cannot be purchased. They are acquired through discipline, willingness to live differently, a refusal to compromise to rebuke and doubt, and courageousness.

* * * 

The following verses have been pivotal in helping me establish my spiritual journey. My experience at the Ronald McDonald House was sentimental, memorable, and painful. As I built connections with other young patients and their families, I questioned if I would go to heaven as my friends did. My healing scriptures assured me that my healing would take place physically and mentally, whether it happened on earth or in heaven. After treatment, I learned to advocate and communicate for myself (especially in school) with a new disability. Moreover, I was often misunderstood, ostracized, or cast out. However, the scriptures assured me that God would always be with me and carry me in the palm of his hands. I now have the strength to move beyond the approval of people and focus on positivity and my walk with the Lord. Lastly, during my senior year of high school, after a relapse scare that God turned around, I was assured that I would not leave the earth until God had finished his work within me. The manifestation of the power of the Word of God within my life has given me a reason to continuously live and serve the Lord. 

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.” —‭‭ Jeremiah‬ ‭17:14‬ ‭

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” — ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” — 1 John‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” — ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:18‬

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” — ‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭

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