I used to be afraid.

When I was little, I had such a fear of something happening to my parents… I would wake up from dreams of them dying or disappearing… not being able to fathom how life could exist without them.

What would I do?

Where would I go?

My godmother was a Presentation Sister, so I wondered if I would go live with her at the Mother House with all of the nuns if something happened to my parents.

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[Not that I would’ve minded that option. They were obviously grooming me early anyway. :) ]

Regardless, I worried. I wondered. I let fear overtake my dreams.

Mom would sit on the bed and tell me they had no plans of ever going anywhere. She’d tell me she was healthy; she’d remind me of how strong Dad was and that if he could lift me and throw me above his head, he was certainly strong enough to conquer just about anything else that came his way. I figured that made sense.

Besides, she was my mom. I trusted her. That’s really all it took.

When I got sick in my 20s, that fear crept back in. Not of losing my parents this time, but of losing my life. I wasn’t afraid that I would die, but that I would get to a point where I wouldn’t really be living anymore.

I knew how hard it was to cope with the pain and the changes this disease was bringing into my life already, and each time I would do a little research… trying to be informed and ready for whatever lay ahead… I would read about how much more could happen to me.

The progression of Ankylosing Spondylitis is different for everyone. Not everyone becomes disabled, not everyone has all of their systems affected, not everyone becomes like I am today. But I knew it could happen because I had read the stories.

I was, once again, afraid.

But this time, so was everyone else. The look of fear that flickered across the faces of those who loved me when they would ask how bad it could get simply reflected the fear in my own. No one knew the answers. I still don’t know the answer. I only know what I’ll go through as I go through it.

And going through it has been scary. And I have been afraid.

But then one day, the thought passed through my head that if I really trusted God, if I really believed that He cared about every hair on my head, I had nothing to fear. Regardless of what would come into my life, He would make sure I was well.

I had an image in my head of me, standing on a beach with the water lapping against the shoreline. I pictured a line being drawn in the sand and I knew in that moment I could choose Him, or I could choose fear. But I couldn’t choose both…they couldn’t coexist together.

I chose Him.

I chose to believe in God just as much as I believed in my mother’s words when I was a scared little girl.

I chose to trust Him.

Recently, I’ve been asked by many people how I can do that. How can I trust someone, even if that someone is God, when I know that He could have spared me from all of this? How can I trust a God who allows hurt to happen when He has the power to take it all away?

My answer: God fixes what is broken. I trust Him to fix my broken places.

But you can’t fix what isn’t broken.

I don’t believe God did this to me to teach a lesson or to prove a point. There are many reasons I could be sick, and Him inflicting this on me isn’t one of them. But I do believe He didn’t stop it for a reason. Life breaks us sometimes. We have the free will to make decisions that will break us. Other people have the free will to take actions that will break us. Genetics can play a role in making us sick, and that can break us.

I have been through things that have broken my life. And I trust Him to never leave me there. He is the Father who will pick me up when I am fallen, broken, hurt, tired. And He is the Father who fixes me in those broken places. He fixes my spirit, my heart, my sadness, my loneliness. He brings joy and peace and refuge so I am stronger now than before I was broken.

He watched the pieces fall apart, but only so He could put me back together the right way. When life happens and I feel like things are falling apart, breaking into pieces, I just remind myself that He can’t fix what isn’t broken.

And I trust Him to make me whole in the image of His sight, not mine.

As it should be.

by Sara Frankl, Gitzen Girl

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  1. 1

    I’m having a ‘line in the sand’ moment right now. Thank you for the picture – it’s so helpful. You can be pretty sure what I choose! It is kind of obvious when you think about it that clearly:-)

  2. 2

    as soon as i saw the picture, i said “it has to be sara!!!”
    you already know how i feel about you and your strong faith. oh, how i wish this wasn’t your life. but what a thing of beauty it is. what a thing of beauty YOU are.
    love you

  3. 3

    Wow.
    Just – WOW.
    I could choose God, or I could choose fear – but they can’t coexist…. I chose God…
    Thank u, Sara….

  4. 4

    I’ve battled my own “fear”! I have to make a conscience decision EVERYDAY to choose not to live with fear!
    It can grip you and torment you in everyway!
    I love 2 Tim 1:7
    For GOD has not given me a spirit of fear…but one of power, love and SOUND MIND!
    Good to cling to when satan is lurking with fearful stuff!

  5. 5

    What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing. I get what you are saying, in a different way. My youngest daughter was born with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. I’ve had to choose between fear and God. People have wondered why I’m not crazy bitter about my girl’s situation and gives me the opportunity to share John 9:1-3: As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
    “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

  6. 6
    kaycee_d says:

    I just love your perspective. It is so inspiring to me. Thanks for always taking the time to explain to us how you came to this point and this acceptance. How you are able to always choose joy. You are amazing.

  7. 7

    Sara, I have always dreamed of your words having a broader audience and now you are here! I am so thrilled at this opportunity for you and so excited I get to read your words regularly here at (in) courage.
    I have no doubt when you took fear off the table, and chose to follow him instead, you took your first step to becoming strong at the broken place… Sending love! Thanks for the (in)couragement

  8. 8

    I’m tickled you’re going to be a regular here! (In)courage has become one of my favorite online places!
    Thanks for your example of choosing God even when it’s hard. It’s such an affirmation to me!

  9. 9
    Tamera says:

    These posts are always so inspiring and they remind me that I am not the only only one with problems! Thank you! I have God to lean on as I go through the changes that MS has brought to me.

  10. 10

    I wish you continued at peace days.
    You’ve certainly given mine a better perpective.

  11. 11

    Sara, Both of your (in)courage posts have touched me so much. When I was struggling with a late stage illness, I used to go to bed afraid that I’d never wake up. One night when I was praying I realized He had me in His arms even at my sickest. It was a huge turning point in my illness. I wish I knew of your blog back then. I’m sure it would’ve given me strength. I’m so glad to have found it now. You are truly an inspiration, and I look forward to reading more of your blog and your contributions. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us need to hear.

  12. 12

    Wow! Sara your post really touched my heart. God is an amazing God and will lift us up and carries us through so many daily trials and life tragedies. I am filled with joy for you that you chose life!!! You chose Him instead of fear. God is really using you to minister to all of us. Thank you for sharing your story and heart with all of us. You have been such a blessing to me today. God bless you, Sara!!

  13. 13

    Wow! Sara your post really touched my heart. God is an amazing God and will lift us up and carries us through so many daily trials and life tragedies. I am filled with joy for you that you chose life!!! You chose Him instead of fear. God is really using you to minister to all of us. Thank you for sharing your story and heart with all of us. You have been such a blessing to me today. God bless you, Sara!!

  14. 14

    Wow! Sara your post really touched my heart. God is an amazing God and will lift us up and carries us through so many daily trials and life tragedies. I am filled with joy for you that you chose life!!! You chose Him instead of fear. God is really using you to minister to all of us. Thank you for sharing your story and heart with all of us. You have been such a blessing to me today. God bless you, Sara!!

  15. 15

    Bringing your words and your wisdom into my own brokenness today. And into the places that don’t seem to be broken after all.
    Thank you or writing this.

  16. 16

    thank you, friend, for reminding me that my choices are simple (though not easy) — Him or fear. i choose fear so often. right now, even. but i want to choose Him. i want to choose trust.
    i’m not exactly sure how.
    maybe that sounds silly. but… shrug… i really don’t know the “how” part.
    “And I trust Him to make me whole in the image of His sight, not mine.” — i need to readjust my perspective on that one, remembering that His ways are so not my ways.
    thank you for pushing me toward Him.
    i love you.

  17. 17

    You give life the best perspective. Not only is your glass always half full (and then some), it’s a beautiful crystal goblet that reflects His light in everything you write. You are an amazing woman and I’m so proud to know you.

  18. 18

    Thank you for this post friend. I love the line “I could choose Him, or I could choose fear. But I couldn’t choose both

  19. 19
    Stephanie says:

    Thank you for sharing and encouraging me with your testimony. It speaks to me because I have 2 children with a genetic disorder. It’s been very difficult but I pray that my children will know the Lord more and cling to Him through their lives as you have. And that they will bring Him glory through the struggles as you are doing.
    God has shown me that we all have disabilities, but some are more visible (and more difficult) than others. We will all be perfect with Him for all of eternity! 2 Cor 4:16-18
    God’s love and blessings to you~ x

  20. 20
    Pamela says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for your post. I have been struggling with fear. I think I will read it again. and again. Please keep sharing.

  21. 21
    Tiffany says:

    Thank you for this post. My Father was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis 1year ago and my step mother left him. It has been a hard year because we also found out my dads sister also has it. I live in fear that I will soon get this disease because I already in my 20′s have lots of problems even before my dad was diagnosed. I want to say THANK YOU for allowing me to see things a little clearer. I choose HIM also so therefore I have to let go of the fear.