Marianne’s story: In November 2017, I contracted the flu, which set off an autoimmune response in my body. Even after I recovered from the flu, I was tired and achy all the time. The sporadic nerve pain symptoms I had experienced since childhood were now constant and exponentially worse. I sought help from my natural doctor. After months of trying to pinpoint what was going on, she concluded the clues pointed to Lyme disease. I realized I had likely contracted it as a child some thirty years before.
Thus began the process of trying to treat my Lyme disease in the spring of 2018. Lyme disease is so pernicious it invades every cell in the body, and, as those cells are being treated, they release toxins. For eight months of treatment, I felt wrung out, desperately exhausted, and depleted. I cared for my four children as best as I could and lay on the couch or in bed as often as life allowed me to. I cried out to God for healing. Just a few years before, God had miraculously healed my back. I asked God for His healing touch again. But I continued feeling terrible.
In November, my long-time friend Jen suggested an alternative doctor specialist her husband had found helpful. She told me this doctor also worked with Lyme disease patients. I looked at his website and thought, “Hmm, maybe I should check this doctor out sometime.” And then I went back to feeling awful and forgot all about it.
However, a week or so later, Jen and her husband were visiting this doctor when she called me. “Marianne!” she said urgently. “I’m at that doctor’s office I told you about. But the doctor is moving. They’re only taking a few more appointments. Can I schedule one for you while I’m here?” I said yes.
A couple of weeks later, I went into that appointment with a clear sense that God was orchestrating these events for me. I sat at the doctor’s desk, learning how the specialist started all treatments with an extensive detox. She instructed me to discontinue the Lyme treatment I was using, remove all kinds of foods from my diet, and add in other foods.
I jumped into the detox with gusto. I followed all the doctor’s instructions to a T, and initially, I did feel better. I soon concluded that temporary feeling of improvement was because I had stopped the previous intense Lyme treatment that felt like slow poisoning. I continued the process of detox for all of December and part of January.
At the end of January, my husband and I had a startling discovery: we were expecting a baby! We certainly didn’t plan for one, especially during my terrible health struggles. But we were excited — God was entrusting us with another precious life!
Right on the heels of joy came fear. Just a few years earlier, I had miscarried a baby at nine weeks. We had later learned it was quite likely because Lyme disease causes high rates of miscarriage. I became terrified of having another miscarriage.
The day we discovered the baby news was also the day of the women’s retreat at our church. In the opening section, as we sang praises, I laid my burden of fear down before our loving heavenly Father. I prayed silently, “God, you know all of this. You know this baby. You know my fear. You know how I need to lay down this little life into your hands, trusting you with him or her.” And as I prayed, the tears poured down my cheeks, and I was able to start releasing the burden of fear.
“God, You have been so good to our family and to me,” I prayed. “You have been so faithful. And I trust you. You give and take away. And you get to decide what is best for me, for this baby, for our family. Your will be done.” And with that, God removed the terrible anxiety as well as the burden of feeling solely responsible for our baby’s wellbeing.
As the days progressed, I returned to my first doctor, who happens to be a Christian. Out of earshot of our other children, I whispered to her that I was expecting a baby. And she said urgently, “And you discontinued the treatment that I had given you?”
“Yes,” I reassured her.
“I’m so glad … so glad … it wouldn’t have… it wouldn’t …”
She couldn’t even bring herself to say that it would have made it impossible for our baby to survive if I had still been taking her earlier prescribed treatment. But I knew what she meant. And we both silently teared up, praising God for His sovereign protection.
My health struggles haven’t been perfectly resolved. But that little miracle baby, that little surprise, is our Mandi-Joy, born in September of 2019. God carried her through a safe gestation and delivery, even in my Lyme-wracked body. Even in my fragility, God brought forth life, one that He foreknew, one that He made a way for.