Thank You, Severe Neck & Back Pain, You Brought Me Closer To God And People

Thank You, Severe Neck & Back Pain, You Brought Me Closer To God And People

Learning to be thankful for pain and resting in His promises.

Hello, world! I’m writing to share with you that this will be my last article for the Odyssey. If you’ve wondered where I’ve been, it’s been quite a story, and God has taught me a lot about life along the way. My schedule and circumstances have forced me to have to say no to some things I love, and this was one of them. In order for us to focus on our dreams sometimes we have to say no to other things, even if it’s just for a season, and that is okay! We have to realize we aren’t Superman and we can’t do everything, no matter how much we really want to.

Back in May, I had really intense chronic neck pain. I had been dealing with back pain too, but the neck pain got worse in May. My neck started to burn. It was a pain so bad that it made me cry and I thought that the pain would never go away. I went to see a spine specialist, and she said that this has to be a muscular problem. She did X-rays and MRI scans. There was no sign of a bulging disc or pinched nerve. However, she did see that my neck and spine are now straight as a stick. How did it get that way?

My plans for the summer quickly changed and I was basically forced to stay home, close to my parents to get the help I needed. I wasn’t babysitting. I wasn’t working, and it was tough. I went to physical therapy, a chiropractor and two massage therapists weekly. Each person along the way helped me, and I know God used this summer to help me lean on Him, to grow in Him, to rest in Him and to see His giant, overflowing, gargantuan heart of love for me.

My neck pain has gotten better, but I’m still dealing with lots of back pain. So with that being said, I know this story is still being written. Back at the beginning of June, I did get to go to church, and Levi Lusko spoke these words, “I know this may seem weird, but if you're going through a trial right now, consider it a blessing and an honor.” He showed us the symbol of the FedEx Logo. He said, “Does anyone see anything different about this logo? Does anything stand out?” I thought, “Ummm, no.” Then he said, “OK, take a second look at it. There is an arrow in-between the E and the X.” I saw it. I saw it loud and clear.

And then I started thinking about the people I’ve encountered throughout the way. My spine specialist, my physical therapist, the chiropractor and the two professional massage therapists. One of the massage therapists was also a personal trainer who encouraged me to work out again. Once I found out that working out helped my neck and back feel better, I was so happy. He invited me to a workout group called Unity Fitness in my hometown, and it was so much fun! We would play soccer and football, and in the middle of it all, I started to laugh again and regain joy in my heart. I even went with the Unity fitness group to feed the homeless, and when we did that, I had no pain in my neck or my back. I dove into the word of God more and more and was learning something new every day.

Though my summer didn’t go the way I had planned for it to, I know it went the way that it was supposed to – God’s way. Which is exactly what we want, isn’t it? His ways are higher than ours and his thoughts are higher than ours too. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

You see, this summer I needed to rest. I didn’t know the busy schedule this semester of student teaching would entail. I thought I could do it all, but I had to say no. Saying no is something that’s hard for me, and as I’ve talked to other friends, I’ve found out that it’s hard for a lot of people to say no too. I had to say no to babysitting jobs, college leadership team and writing for the Odyssey. It was hard, because those are all things I absolutely love being apart of.

And here I am, almost at the end of my first semester of Student Teaching, and I’m thankful. I learned in the middle of this trial that I need to be thankful for it. I didn’t know what was in store and the people that I would meet, but if I hadn’t gone through any of the physical pain, I wouldn’t have met the spine specialist, the chiropractor, the physical therapist or even the massage therapists. I wouldn’t have had the experience to meet these wonderful people without the pain. I stopped in awe and wonder, “Wow, God. I had no idea. Thank you for this pain.”

Pain launches blessings in disguise. You may not see it at first, but take a second look, you'll see the arrow. And all the while God kept telling me this summer, and He keeps telling me now, “Keep going, sweetheart, keep going. I’ve got you. Trust me.”

Cover Image Credit: Jordan Belle Brittain

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that. I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions. After everything life has put you through you have still remained soft. This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

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You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did. You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself. You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

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Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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6 Simple Steps You Can Take To Start Overcoming Your Morning Anxiety

Getting through your rough mornings the right way.


I have struggled with anxiety almost my entire life. Anxiety feels like you are drowning in a pool and no one can see that you can't swim. It takes a lot of work and self control every single day to overcome anxiety. The worst time of day for me and I think for a lot of other people is in the morning. Your mind races at night when you sleep and you wake up and feel as if a train has hit you. Here are some life hacks I use everyday to help with my anxiety.

1. Go to Sleep Early and Wake Up Early 

I know this sounds kind of lame for most of you. But, if you are a sufferer of morning anxiety, making changes to the times you get to sleep and when you wake up will be beneficial to your body's mental state.

2. Sleep with the Fan On 

According to sleeping in a cold room is helpful in areas of mood enhancement, reducing stress, and even prevents insomnia. For anxiety suffers, we all know that staying asleep at night is a process and it is often impossible to stay asleep because your mind is racing all night. Making sure your room is cold can be beneficial in lessen your morning anxiety.

3. Avoid Using Your Phone an Hour Before You Sleep

As young adults we often are drawn to checking our phones constantly. Whether it be for a snap chat or a text. How ever, taking your eyes off your phone before you go to sleep is only going to make you feel better in the morning. Getting in the right mindset and straying away from stimulating behaviors before you sleep will help with the anxiety.

4. Yoga in the Morning 

This is one that I do every single morning without fail. Doing yoga does not mean you need to attend a full blown hour class of hot yoga every morning. But, doing some small stretches when you first wake to make connections with your mind and body will give you a nice start to your morning. Thanking yourself for waking up to the day and giving yourself a little boost of motivation.

5. Upbeat Music in the Morning 

It's all about your morning playlist! Now I know some people really enjoy their silence in the morning and that is okay! Personally the first thing I do in the morning is turn on my speaker and play some really good music. I will always lean more towards upbeat music because it gets me excited for the adventures of the day.

6. Have a Green Drink instead of Coffee

All my fellow coffee lovers will not like this one… I LOVE coffee, when I say I LOVE it I mean I would drink it as a replacement for water if I could. Coffee actually is not the best thing for you. Having a green drink with spinach, pineapples, and orange juice will give you a natural energy boost and also give you some good calories first thing in the morning.


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