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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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.


It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.

These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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10 Things We all should have been doing this summer

...but we didn't


Most of us can't believe that 2018 is more than halfway over, but what I can't believe is that summer is nearly over. How did I let the best months of the year go by so quickly? A least I know that I am not alone when I say that I am guilty of not achieving any of the following.

1. Eating healthy

2. Working out to compliment eating healthy

3. Getting tan to look good while being fit

4. Travel to more than just my friends' houses

5. Read lots of books to keep growing my mind during the summer months

6. Take summer classes at a local college to lighten the semester's workload during the year

7. Save every single dollar

8. Spend more time outside than indoors

9. Master a healthy sleep schedule

And last, but not least

10. Binge watch an entire series to have somewhat of an excuse for not achieving any of these things

Cover Image Credit:

Brittany Clark

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