Hey Guys! So I've been busting my rear end to get this speech done so I could give it at my church. It's finally done and I read it this last SUNDAY. So, here it is in all it's glory. Jason is the pastor at our church.
Hello. My name is Kelda. Jason gave me this chance to share with you my journey back to Jesus.
I used to be an athlete. I swam, and rode horseback. Then during high school I was thrown off a horse and hurt my shoulder.
It just never healed, in fact the pain continued to grow.
I was diagnosed with RSD, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, also called CRPS. It is a neurological condition that affects the whole body. It causes ever-increasing nerve damage, so that as nerves die from sending constant pain signals, other nerves are recruited, and they continue to send pain signals to the brain, long after the original injury heals.
For years I lived with extreme pain, a pain rated higher than childbirth, higher than cancer.
After many years, many medical procedures, my body somehow re-set itself, and the pain faded. I went to college. I walked miles every day. I worked in retail to earn enough to live out my dream to move to New York City, to see what life was like in a place very different from Humboldt.
The doctors didn’t tell me that I was just in remission, not cured. I had another injury, small, insignificant. It started in my toe, then spread until both legs were affected.
The pain was so bad it invaded my dreams. I couldn’t sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time, before pain nightmares woke me screaming. RSD was back, worse than before.
For the past 8 years, I’ve been living with it. Even though the pain in my legs has abated somewhat, the RSD has spread to my abdomen and back. Even the simple act of taking a shower is so hard. The water hits me like acid burning through my skin.
Partly because of medications, partly because I was unable to move, I gained huge amounts of weight. Because of the constant sleep deprivation, and pain meds, I became unable to think clearly. I taught myself to read when I was 3 years old. Now I can barely read half a page at a time.
My mind, my body, my heart all failed me.
I barely existed for most of the next 8 years. I so angry at everything, so angry at God. How could he love me and let me lose so much - my dreams, my plans, my body? How could he let me suffer such terrible pain, minute after minute, hour after hour, year after year?
I remember days when I was so bitter about my loss that I tore things up that reminded me of my life before. I destroyed pictures of myself at swim meets, ribbons, old day planners filled with all the things I was able to do before.
I tried to trust God, but every medical procedure failed. The pain never stopped. My family prayed for me, I prayed for me. Nothing happened but more days of pain, more nights of screaming.
I went to a Christian healing session, and was prayed for.
I wasn’t able to get out of my wheelchair, cured.
They told me that God was giving me a gift and if I wasn’t healed it was because I refused to open it. I didn’t have enough faith. Why did I cling to my pain?
Then they told me they didn’t want me to come back to be prayed for again because I was affecting others’ faith with my lack of healing. They couldn’t afford to have me pollute the atmosphere.
For a long time I was an unhappy angry person who felt that God didn’t love me and I was all alone in this world.
I was not a pleasant person to be around.
Then I met Jason. Jason took an interest in me just as I was: an angry, bitter, sad woman who wasn’t feeling too Christian.
It was because of Jason I made my way back to Christ.
And even though my body kept falling apart on me my soul was coming back together.
Through our talks and his patient ways I slowly felt the call back to God.
I could see how God was coming through Jason, showing me that even though I was where I was he still loved me.
I think for me it is has always been hard connecting with God because I can’t see him in physical form.
For years, my parents have told me how much they loved me, and how much God loved me, and how he was going to get me through this if I just trusted him.
I couldn’t hear them as anything more than just words, just noise.
I knew I wasn’t acceptable, not in society, not in church, not anywhere. I was ugly. I was stupid. I was slow. I didn’t fit. I fought the temptation to kill myself.
Then Jason started coming to visit me, and God shined through him and spoke to me in a way I could hear him. He accepted me. God loved me, even me,
even overweight, sickly, loser me.
Finally, I came to know that even though I wasn’t healed physically, even though I may never be healed, I would be taken care of through it all.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt as close to God as I do now, not in all my years as a Christian.
Leaning on God’s strength has helped me through things I thought were impossible and his grace has shown through the darkness.
God’s strength and light have carried me. I don’t know how I did it without him, all those dark years.
Now I know that he was with me. He was with me through every second of pain, every lonely moment.
Even when I ignored him, even when I did nothing but scream at him, even when I couldn’t feel his presence at all, he never left me.
I often get asked: Well how do you even get out of bed in the morning? I used to say: Just one day at a time. Don’t look at the big picture - it too overwhelming.
Now I say: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Christ has pulled me through so many rough situations. Sometimes I just say it in my head over and over again. The strength behind these words keeps me going. I can do ALL things through Christ. And through Christ I will continue to live.
Next spring, I’m heading back to school, to become a medical social worker. It may not be easy, but I know that he will be with me every step of the way.
I heard in a movie once: you have so many extraordinary gifts it’s no wonder you don’t live an ordinary life. So maybe that’s what this is, me just living with the extraordinary gift of God’s grace.