I grew up as a missionary kid and always dreamed of being a missionary. In spite of health problems that began in high school, I was able to graduate from Southeastern Bible College in 2002.
After college I spent two wonderful years as a missionary in Mexico with New Tribes Mission (now called Ethnos360). I thought my life was “on track.”
Then in 2004 my health completely collapsed. I became bedridden, allergic to literally everything, with chronic fatigue and pain, etc. Over the next several years, I consulted over 40 doctors in eight states. None could help me, and most of them actually made me worse. In 2008 I finally got a diagnosis of Environmental Illness. But there wasn’t much hope offered for recovery.
During those years I experienced all the stages of dealing with chronic illness: denial, frustration, anger, fear, resignation, despair. I never expected so much suffering would happen to me.
Yet through all the painful months, God was faithfully providing for me, teaching me, and working some drastic changes inside me. I learned so much about God’s grace – His kindness I could never deserve – expressed to me in so many ways! Even when my own faith failed, I heard God whisper to my heart “My grace will never fail.”
In 2009 God gave me strength to write Grace In Time Of Need: Encouragement For Those Who Are Suffering. This devotional was a special gift for me as I watched God bring something good out of all my pain.
Also in 2009, God finally led me to some answers for my health. I began to use several different treatment methods including lymphatic massage, reflexology and CBT treatments. Gradually I felt my body beginning to heal.
Praise God that over a period of years, He brought healing and restored my health! I call it my “7 year miracle.” =) It’s such a gift to be able to live a “normal” life again…to spend time with family, attend church, travel, etc. I’m excited about where God will lead me from here.
The years of illness and recovery were a very difficult and challenging journey for me, but I am truly thankful for the difficult path God took me on. Through the physical and spiritual brokenness I experienced, God poured out His grace to make me into a new person, more alive and free and in love with Him than ever before! I rejoice now in every opportunity to reach out to others who are suffering and share with them the hope of God’s unfailing grace.
I am jest now checking out your blog. So much l want to tell you. We miss you and love you. And thank you for your friendship
Joanna K. Harris says
Great to hear from you! So glad you could look at the blog. Prayed for you guys today! Life has been crazy, but God is good! I know you can say the same. 🙂 Love to you both!
Larry Wernert says
Hello. Awesome you were walking in the Lord before IE set or MCS embarked. My Grand pal had MCS and I inherited from him genetically lacking detox enzymes so like you I slowly became allergic to everything after Liberty University studies in Ministry and loving Jesus since 15. My kids and my sister’s kids have this also. My church suggest I look at your site.
Similarly, I had a recovery from 2006-2009 treatments, Sauna’s and EDTA IV detoxification treatments. I am a slow MCS reactor so can go shopping and eat out at certain restaurants , so appear normal. I still have to trip plan to balance my day but praise to Lord to the n degree can go to church services and can worship corporately, praise Jesus which is the best part of the week!! I am still allergic to everything but reactions are calmed down a lot praise to Lord. I know of MCS support groups and been involved in building healthy homes and know of safe low VOC products etc. Great you have gotten better, may Jesus continue to bless you in all you do.
Joanna K. Harris says
Thank you Larry!
That’s great you’re able to do more now. I pray you’ll continue to improve and be a blessing to even more people. You might find some helpful info on my blog – supereigirl.blogspot.com I use it to share what I’m learning about health.
Which church do you go to? Yes, it’s such a blessing to be able to worship with other believers again! =)
God is good! May He continue to fill your heart with His joy.
Helen Kratzer says
I finally read your story after years of wondering just what happened to your health.
You are indeed a real inspiration.
Joanna K. Harris says
Thank you Helen! And thanks for posting about our children’s devotional on your Facebook page! =) I pray the Lord is continuing to encourage and strengthen you with His love and grace daily.