Brittany Fichter doesn’t just write about neurological disorders, education, and loving life by the grace of God; she lives them. Her blog posts are as thoroughly researched as any that I’ve come across, and they have a certain authenticity woven into them that you can’t miss. Those things don’t happen by accident; they happen because she genuinely cares.
Without further ado, I am honored that Brittany wanted to write the following guest post on my blog for you today. I think you will find her story compelling, and that her message is one of hope, just like mine is every day. Enjoy!
“The Big Picture”
When I was a little girl, I wondered why I had tics. I wondered why I had so many fears. My parents told me that God loved me enough to send His Son to die for me, but if God loved me so much, I wanted to know why He wouldn’t fix me. Why had He let these struggles into my life in the first place?
It wasn’t until college that I really began my own research to learn more about Tourette Syndrome and anxiety. I was fairly skilled at researching, but as much as I tried, there was very little out there on Tourette’s, at least, very little information that was useful to the average human. With significant reading and study, I could understand most of it, but I couldn’t imagine what parents were going through who didn’t have time to read scientific articles for hours on end, parents who just wanted straightforward answers to help their children.
In fact, instead of answers, I began to find more and more questions from parents posted on discussion threads. Parents of children with Tourette’s were confused and scared; they wanted answers that went beyond the TV stereotypes. Parents wanted to know that their children had hope, that they could become productive members of society, and they, like “normal” kids, could dream.
The more questions I read online, the more I began to think, I could answer a lot of these. I think maybe I could help these people. The desire began to burn in my chest. I wanted to reach these people. I wanted desperately to take their hands and promise that there was hope, that not all was lost just because of a diagnosis.
Have you ever noticed that many of our greatest philanthropists have desires born from hardship? Jeannette Walls, author of the memoir, Glass Castle, says that after witnessing the police break up a fight between their unstable parents, her younger brother grew up to be a police officer. Wounded Warriors, an organization that works to supply soldiers with physical and mental recovery aid, was begun by a group of veterans, according to their website. Even Mother Teresa, possibly the world’s greatest caretaker of the sick and poor, was only eight when her father died and left the family in poverty, according to her website.
Those who have the greatest hearts for others are often those who have suffered their own sorrows. The more I began to think about these parents crying out for help, the more I began to realize that I would never have given them much though if I hadn’t experienced my own disorders. It would be easy to be one of those well-meaning, but unknowledgeable Christians who simply spouted off a Bible verse about God’s peace when I met someone with neurological problems. But I couldn’t be one of those people because I knew my own anxiety too well. I’d been forced to find the tranquility of God on a deeper level.
What if I’d been meant to share that depth with others? Could this be, I wondered, my calling? Life callings are difficult suckers to nail down. In college particularly, you’re surrounded by people trying to figure out what they’re supposed to do with their lives. This was a far cry from medical school or learning how to purify water, but it was a need that few were hearing. Was it possible my calling might be to simply try to answer questions? Well, Lord, I prayed, if this is what You want me to do, please show me.
As time went on, the calling became more focused, bit by bit. Just when I thought no one was interested in what I had to say, God would send me someone who needed love. Could I answer all their questions? Not always, but I could simply listen. I could offer advice based on my childhood, and I could give them some simple encouragement about their children’s futures. Although I’m not a doctor, I could at least walk beside them…because I had been there, too.
If I were now given the chance to get rid of my Tourette’s and my anxiety, I wouldn’t. Sure, life would be a lot easier without my body playing games with me, and it would be nice to sit through more meetings and church services without anxiety attacks; but when those temporary struggles are compared with the opportunity they provide me to help others, the struggles are just that…temporary. In Heaven, I will be freer than I can ever imagine. My body will function perfectly, and my worries will be none.
But in the here and now, I can do something with those differences. I can love others I wouldn’t have been able to see if I were “normal.” I can walk beside those who would otherwise be alone. I can love others because I have been loved.
When we’re young, we often question the things our parents do. I questioned God for a long time, but the older I get the more I’m beginning to see that God made me different not to make me suffer, but because He had created me for something more valuable than a life of ease. He created me with a purpose, just as He promises in the Bible.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
We all face our own monsters. For some, it’s poverty. Others have cancer, abusive relationships, or the ravages of war. No matter what our struggles are, however, when we learn to look outside of our own immediate desires, we can begin to see the big picture. I don’t yet have 20/20 vision, but I’m beginning to see that this world doesn’t revolve around me. No, I have work to do, special work God created just for me. And what greater work could I desire than that which was created for me by God?
You Can Find Brittany Here:
Some downloadable works she’s done on various disorders.
She’s active on Twitter. Also on Google+.
Sign up for her weekly newsletter here and receive a free short story from a child’s perspective about what it’s like to be diagnosed with a neurological disorder.
Thank you for reading this far, & I hope that you enjoyed the guest post. It was the first one here on Fried’s Blog. I think that it’s important to share other perspectives every once in a while.
Thank you to Brittany for taking the time to write this and share it with the readers!