The photographer at my graduation today asked me after conducting what seemed like my own personal photo shoot, "So, how long did it take you to complete this degree program?"
That really got me to thinking about this journey that I've been on for 19 years. I graduated from Girls' High (Philadelphia, PA) in 1996 (240 Class - Stand up!! 😆)
I immediately entered Penn State and stayed enrolled for 3 years. Little did I know that a not-so-well-known disease called Crohn's would come in and literally rock my world! But I never gave up.
Even though countless bouts of sickness...in and out of hospitals...steroids, experimental drugs, massive weight loss (98 lbs at my lowest), everything I ate making a quick "exodus" someway somehow (y'all get it), depression, major suicidal thoughts, hair loss, having to wear a PICC line, a LOT of needles, being malnourished because my colon literally gave up on me, and ultimately winding up with an ileostomy...these things...THESE things TRIED to take me out of here. (..and they almost succeeded countless times.) But...I never gave up.
Plenty of sleepless nights, papers, tests, feelings of inadequacy, second guessing this whole school thing....but I never gave up. (The classmates and faculty at Lancaster Bible College wouldn't let me anyway...)
8 years as a building inspector have been sooo fulfilling. But I know that in addition to that, there's something new and different on the horizon. Going through these terrible things made me gain a better appreciation for life but behind my smile lies the truth of the massive hell my life was for 15 years. Now, my mission is to uplift others, be a soldier for justice, give a voice to those who don't have one...and these things I will do until my last breath. I give God the glory for giving me a new beginning. I'm happy. I'm healthy....and I choose to win.