It's Testimony Tuesday! Today's testimony is such a sweet reminder that God is faithful to heal in every way. I met Kendall through this blogging world a few months ago. She is such a sweet girl & I know that God is doing great things through her! If you struggle with letting go of control and everything this world has to offer, I know you will be encouraged by her story.
"Hello sweet friends!
I am so excited to be posting on Hot Tea and the Empty Seat. Let me just say Katie is one of the sweetest people I have connected with through blogging.
First I have to start off with a little background information. I was born with major heart problems as a baby, which resulted in numerous surgeries, including open-heart surgery twice, which left me with complete heart block and pacemaker dependent for the rest of my life. I grew up in a Catholic home; I was baptized when I was an infant, went through reconciliation and communion as a 7 year old and attended mass every Sunday like a good catholic should. But beyond that I didn’t give my faith, much less my relationship with God another thought. I know that I have always prayed every night (because I still say the same prayer in some ways) but I still couldn’t say that I thought about God. I really just thought about myself.
Fast-forward a few years and I am in high school. By this point I was going through confirmation, but once again, beyond what was "mandatory" I had no additional interest in my faith. At the time I was captain of my cheerleading team, had a long-term boyfriend, and had several close friends. I pretty much had it all worked out on my terms. But of course, The Lord had a different plan (doesn’t He always) for me to follow so that I could know Him.
Junior year in high school my world completely changed. Within a matter of a week, everything in my life change. My boyfriend and I (who I was convinced I was going to marry) broke up. Because of this break up, I lost nearly all of my friends. I found out that I was going to need pacemaker replacement surgery. Needless to say, I was devastated. I was so frustrated with God, with my parents, with everything and I couldn’t handle it all and I spiraled into a deep depression.
I can remember praying for everything to go okay with the surgery, praying for my boyfriend and I to get back together, praying for my life to go back to the way it was, but I was only concerned about me and getting what I wanted and not God and what I needed.
Instead of looking toward God in the rough patches in high school, I began to turn away from Him and continued this into college. My freshman year of college I was like any other college student at first. I made the most wonderful friends in my dorm, I missed my parents greatly, and I partied. As the school year continued to progress, I began to feel empty. Even though I was surrounded by an awesome group of friends, I found myself feeling unfulfilled at the end of each day.
In January my freshman year, was when God really started to work on my heart. I was
looking at creeping on someone on Instagram and saw that they were reading the "Jesus Calling" devotional. I had heard of it before and had thought about buying it but then always forgot. That day I went to Target and bought the book. From that day forward, I began the devotional, which lead to me listening to worship music, which lead me to go to daily Mass, which lead me to the beginning stages of my new relationship with God.
March of my freshman year I went home for spring break and had my bi-annual doctor’s appointment for my pacemaker. Once again, I had another life-changing moment. I was told that I had heart failure, which is exactly what it sounds like: my heart was failing. I was immediately put on several medicines and had to drop out of the rest of my spring semester. Thankfully, and by no coincidence, my relationship with God had already been jump started tremendously from where it had been in the past.
That was one of the hardest times I’ve ever endured in my life. Even though I have always had serious medical conditions throughout my life, I was born with them and didn’t know anything different. Now something new and foreign had come into my life and it affected me like nothing had before. That spring was the first time that I truly felt God working in my life. He always is but when you’re not connected with Him, you don’t feel it that way. Everything was out of my control and in His and I needed Him to get through it all.
After the surgeries were done and over with, I was closer to God than I had ever been before, but I began to resort back to my old ways. As summer ended and it was time for school again, I thought less about God and more about school, sororities, and parties. I was attending a new college that semester and rushed in hopes of making friends. The process of rush was devastating in itself. It was stressful, primarily superficial, and didn’t give me any fulfillment. Later that semester I ended up reconnecting with a girl I had rushed with and she told me all about a Christian sorority that she was in and I was interested in joining (once again it was no coincidence, I would never have met her had I not rushed…God is great).
Spring semester of 2014, I joined Phi Lamb and my life forever changed. My mom invited me to come to a parish mission where a Priest was speaking every night for a week. If I’m being completely honest with myself, I didn’t want to go but I reluctantly went. There are really no words to describe what that week meant for me. It absolutely completely and utterly changed my entire outlook on life. It wasn’t just one of those "camp highs", it was an all-life high.
Moving forward from the mission, my life was so different. Every single day I woke up thinking about God. Every time I was presented with a challenge, I turned toward Him and I began to question many things in my life. I can absolutely tell you that since I developed a personal relationship with God my life has been so hard. Let me rephrase that. I have been happier than I ever have before. I now have so much joy and peace in my heart than I ever thought was possible, but it is hard. It is hard because every single day I struggle with my faith. It is hard because I am surrounded by worldly things that I so desperately want, but know they won’t fulfill me. I continue to fail and sin and sin again. But the difference is now I know my worth and understand that I can get through anything with God."
Visit Kendall's blog: Simply, Kendall Rose