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Last Friday the pain I’d been enduring for many months suddenly grew unbearable. I canceled my nanny jobs for this week and prayed that a week in bed would calm down the Crohn’s flare I’d been fighting for nearly two years now.

By Wednesday night, however, I was screaming in pain and my husband rushed me to the Emergency Room. With my husband on speaker phone (he wasn’t allowed in the ER with me), the doctors quickly performed a procedure (which involved slicing into me with a scalpel without any sedation) as a temporary fix to lesson my pain and then eventually sent me home with instructions to consult with a surgeon for more extensive help.

I made the call today and scheduled my appointment for next week. After I hung up the phone I lay in bed and sobbed at the reality of just how sick I’ve become since my small wedding ceremony two months ago. More than anything in the world I wanted to be out of pain and have the strength to climb out of my bed.

A few hours later when my husband came home from work he immediately came upstairs and crawled into bed beside me, scooped me up in his arms, and grieved along with me.

Our wedding playlist was on in the background when the song “Without You” by King and Country began to play. Though we’d listened to it hundreds of time before, it had never seemed more applicable as it was in that moment. In an impulse, I pushed the pain aside, rose up and took my husbands hand, and we began to dance. As he gently led me around the room we sobbed heavily into each other’s shoulders.

We are in a season of grief right now. Grieving our present pain, grieving the dreams lost, and grieving the pain yet to come. But even in the mist of grief, we found a way to cling on to hope.

With tears still lingering in our eyes as we continued to dance, we began to imagine the formal wedding ceremony we have planned for this fall (the one that was originally planned for this past Spring but was postponed due to COVID-19).

We dreamed of me finally getting to put on my wedding dress and then of us getting our pictures taken on top of a mountain ridge. We decided that this time around we will walk down the aisle together, instead of me walking alone. We smiled as we imagined saying our vows to each other for the second time — and we cried harder at the realization that by then we will have tested those vows though the deepest valleys and they will be even more sacred to us.

It was then I noticed that dreaming of our future together suddenly made the present pain more bearable. In the mist of our darkest grief, we had found some hope. While grieving our present pain, we choose to look toward the future, and it gave us a reason to fight.

We don’t know what the next few weeks will bring. More pain, no doubt. More sorrow. More tears. We are yearning for healing and we yearn for a day without pain. But for now, in the middle of this intense flare, we at least have each other.

So for now we will dance a little, laugh a little, and hope a little more. And that is enough. ?

~Em

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About the Author

Emily Elizabeth Anderson is a Christian blogger and rising activist for people who have experienced abuse within a Christian environment.

After growing up in a fundamentalist cult for 23 years and experiencing childhood domestic violence, Emily began her journey to recovery in 2015 and eventually found Jesus to be her ultimate healer. She soon turned her passion for writing into a blog and her story has since been featured on several media outlets including NPR.

She married her best friend, Joshua, in 2020 and together they are passionate about educating on the realities of trauma survival and recovery, as well as supporting survivors they meet through their online community.

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