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Hell on earth, yet the best year of my life?

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

This year was hell on earth but, at the same time it was the best year of my entire life…go figure!

Celebrating and starting this year out, by arriving home, 12 minutes into the new year from the hospital for yet another strike of a tonsillitis infection. To top that, I was carrying a lot of emotional stress from a recent change in our extended family and I was truly having a hard time fathoming the change that was beginning to take place, right before me.

Coming from 2015, which I have named in my books “The Faithless defeat year” I truly didn’t want 2016 to be a repeat of that terrible year prior. I told myself, that I would do anything to see 2016 be a better year in my life. It was January the 4th, 4 days into a brand new year. A fresh start. Learning to trust in the good, bad, and ugly…that God was always there and He is always faithful.

The months started to get going and I couldn’t believe the amount of volunteer opportunities that came my way. I was truly surprised, because I felt like I was in such a battle-some season of my life, who would want me in any place of leadership at this stage? Well, God had other plans.

I began to “pick up the pieces” of what I felt 2015 had ripped away from me and just began to sit before the Lord and ask Him “Where do you want me? Lead me Father.”

Through volunteering and pursuing God’s heart on a deeper level, I fell in love with the man of my dreams. The one I had been praying for. The one who met everything on my little list of “I hope He has…” He was placed in my life for such a time as this…and as I look back I don’t think I could have went through this past summer without him.

The first step we took hand in hand as a dating couple…even if it was just around the block, we had no clue, we had just entered into a place of war in our lives. An unknown place. A place of finding a new balance. Filled with fears, emotional highs and lows. A place of finding pure love in the culture we live in.

It was…

10 Days of just two.

10 Days of joy.

10 days of sweet contentment.

10 Days without worry.

10 Days without fear.

10 Days without anyone “looking up” to us.

10 Days of just Joshua & I getting to know each other on new levels of vulnerability.

It was on the 10th day of our happily ever after relationship, I received a phone call on our first date night out at a local coffee shop. This call would make or break our relationship. This call would mould us into the people we are today. This call would change our lives drastically forever.

The very next day early in the morning, I was hired as a Children’s Pastor at a church, 2 towns away from mine at the age of 18. I left the church that day after being officially hired, with excitement and mounds of fear. Anxious thoughts, unsettled emotions and complete unrest, swirled around me as I attempted to ‘hold it together.’

Joshua & I were no longer, just Joshua & I.

We had just stepped into something so fresh. I had no words to describe the emotions I was experiencing through that time. All I could do was chain myself to the words of hope the Lord had given me: You were created to be fearless, by the fearless one.

The Giants would come, the many never ending expectations would come, the oppressing constant pressures would come, the corrupted voices of the enemy would come, and the twisted words and labels on us would come. But we knew, they were NOT our portion. We knew we didn’t have to be enslaved. We knew what we were getting into saying “Yes” to God. We knew the possibilities, we knew the stats, we knew that this could potentially ruin and fracture the foundational moments in the beginning stages of our relationship. Yet, we said yes. The calling of ministry God had placed upon us, we then turned around and placed it at His feet. Giving Him our all.

Exactly 50 days later, I had come home one night from a late night of working, prepping for our up-coming summer camps at the church and grabbed a hand full of mixed nuts (A common thing for me…with my love for very salty snacks) …it was then that I discovered how quickly you can go from breathing normally to struggling to breathe within seconds. I had never experienced this before.

It was then, that I began yet another difficult, searching quest with the medical system, to attempt to figure out what had triggered this anaphylactic reaction so suddenly.

2 months later…in one weekend I experienced 3 more anaphylactic reactions back to back, 3 more ambulance rides and 3 rounds of Epinephrine. My allergy testing that was scheduled for this coming February 2017 but, with the severity of my situation it got bumped up immediately, to the following Thursday after that terrifying weekend fighting for my life.

I can truly say after having these anaphylactic reactions, these were some of the most petrifying moments of my entire life. Realizing that I was beginning to have a reaction all I could think about was what happened previous times.

The moments those epi pens were jabbed into my legs, tears would roll down my face, as a shock went through my entire body and simultaneously the leg that was shot went instantly numb. I couldn’t feel my leg whatsoever. My breathing patterns didn’t really change and I began to hear sirens from up the road.

Hearing my Mom’s comforting words from last time began to be spoken over me once again: “They are coming for you honey, just relax.” Onto the ambulance stretcher I went multiple times, still struggling to breath and take a deep breaths. After receiving some oxygen and breathing treatments I was well on the mend.

It’s petrifying moments like these that you are reminded to love and live to the fullest every single second of your life. The moment that life flashes before your eyes, a new sense of gratitude is restored to full capacity.

After my allergy testing appointment that following Thursday, I finally had an answer as to what had been going on in my body. The Specialist had confirmed that I have Idiopathic Anaphylaxis. This type of Anaphylaxis is caused without any recognized external triggers. Basically, my reaction episodes were not caused by something I had eaten or was exposed to, but rather by my own immune system. He is very hopeful that these were isolated events and there is a 77% chance that they will never re-occur again. He has prescribed some very clear instructions as to how to keep my immune system in check, lowering the risks of another anaphylactic reaction.

Through it all, I cling to this verse so tightly:

“…when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” —Isaiah 43:2

2016, you sucked. Although, at times you rocked.

Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2017. Thats a wrap.

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

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