Face to Face With Bell's Palsy
About three days after my 25th birthday, I was diagnosed with a condition called Bell’s Palsy.
For those of you that may not know, Bell’s Palsy is a condition in which the muscles on one side of your face becomes weak or paralyzed. The affected side often droops and becomes stiff because it stops working. Because only one side of your face is able to function, your face becomes lopsided, and simple things that you could’ve done before like eating or blinking becomes pretty difficult.
My affected area was on the right side of my face. I couldn’t do anything on this side, nothing at all! I couldn’t close my right eye, I couldn’t move my cheek, and chewing on this side of my face was hard- who knew eating could be so tough! Overall, it was very painful and it was scary! Would I ever regain function of my face? Would my face be disfigured forever? Here I was- unmarried and 25, with a “twisted face”. Apart from this, I was prescribed multiple medications and was forced to take about 6 pills a day.
I remember feeling completely defeated at first. Day after day, I would look at myself in the mirror and say, How did I get here? Thinking back, I realize that this question wasn't really for me, it was for God. I wanted to know why He allowed all of this to happen to me without even a warning! Why now? At such a pivotal moment in my life, when I finally felt like I was content with who Christna was, and how she looked?
Why would He allow something in my life that would completely destroy the self esteem He helped me to build over the years? I couldn’t understand, but I knew that wallowing in self pity, or even being angry at God wouldn’t change anything. I knew that He wanted me to learn something as I walked through this illness, so I threw myself into Him.
During this season of life, I was always led to the same verse:
2 Corinthians 12:9:
"...’My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness’. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
Whenever I would open my Bible or my journal, these words of hope would greet me and I would always write “Christna, God’s grace will bring you through” . I believed this with everything that was in me. Because of that scripture, as the weeks passed and my symptoms worsened, I still felt hopeful. Whenever I looked in the mirror and was greeted with a lopsided grin, tears welled up in my eyes, but deep within me I knew that I would be healed. Whenever I found it difficult to eat, I kept thanking God. If I ever felt self conscious in public, I prayed silently for God to help me through it. I had faith, because I knew that if God called me to it, He would bring me through it.
Of course there were moments when I doubted, but I quickly learned to dismiss those thoughts. I persisted and held tightly to the word of God. Whenever I think back on those days, I always wonder to myself how I was able to have peace in the midst of all of it- the pain, the “ugly”, and the precariousness of not knowing if I would be completely healed. God however, always reminds me that it is because of His grace! Whatever it is that you might be going through, whether sickness, grief, a breakup, failure, etc. remember that God’s grace is enough for you, and He will carry you through. He did it for me and He will surely do it for you.
His grace is sufficient!