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The Unseen

At one of my physio appointments, my physiotherapist came up with an idea for me to do some photography and then to bring in the photos for her to interpret. Months prior to my accident I was asked to be a second shooter for 3 different weddings. One of the weddings I did with a photographer and her and I had a blast working together and after that she had asked me to be her second shooter for all of her following weddings the next year. I was so excited! I love photography and I felt so honored that she liked my work enough to ask me, but, unfortunately, I never got to shoot again with her because of the car accident, which was very disappointing and hard on my heart.

I took some photos of my girls and then set up my camera settings and had my older daughter click the button for me, so that I could be in a few of them. This one photo I took for some reason and I just really loved it and felt so drawn to it but didn't really know why. When I brought in the photos to my physiotherapist, these were her words. She looked at this photo of me and said "I can see the darkness wrapping around you and you searching for the light." It really hit me, that photography could mean so much more than just a photo and memories captured. Then there was this photo that I took of these trees and she said, "It looks like they are reaching, longingly towards the heavens." These were things that my spirit was really feeling, and I couldn't articulate them in words but she could see it just by looking at my pictures. That's when photography became so much more than just photos for me, it became my therapy.

I wanted and needed to do photography as often as I could so that I didn't lose my groove and to improve and get better at it, but I struggled, like really struggled. I'd go out and shoot some photos and be completely knocked down and wiped out for at least a week or two. My body couldn't handle it but my heart needed it. In the beginning my husband didn't understand and it caused a lot of friction between us. Eventually he understood that the weight and the heaviness that my heart felt from all of the pain and suffering that I was going through, was more than I could handle and I would fall into these really big lows. When I did photography it would lift my spirit, though I suffered physically, my heart was so full and it was the medicine that I needed for it.

I had been going through this 24/7 pain and suffering and still had no solid answers as to what was causing it. Eventually, I had people from my church say that maybe I was being spiritually oppressed and that was why I was the way I was. I heard stuff like, "Maybe you have some hidden unforgiveness or maybe you have some bitterness issues that you haven't dealt with." At this point I was desperate, and thought how embarrassing that would be if all of this was from some sort of hidden sin in my life but if that's what it took for me to get better, than I was more than willing to dive in and see if there was anything in my life hindering me. I fasted, prayed, had the elders pray over me, I read this book called "A More Excellent Way to Health - Be in Good Health," which is a book that you look up sickness and ailments and see which sins are attached to them. I read scriptures over myself and prayed through things and constantly asked God if there was anything that I didn't know about that was causing these health problems and pain, but nothing big stood out. I worked through little things here and there but nothing HUGE came of it and no healing came. I then had people say things like, " Make sure you pray this prayer and make sure you are open to what God has for you." It made me feel like there was some secret hidden password that I had to unlock in order to get healed, and it made me feel like all of this pain and suffering was my fault. Still even until this day I get these things said to me, even things like "Do you even want to get healed? Are you believing hard enough?" I finally came to a place in my heart where God just wants pure honesty with us. He doesn't want these superficial, fluffed up prayers....He wants the REAL. He wants the honest truth of what we really think and feel. I started to be really raw and honest with God and honest with myself. I was angry that He hadn't healed me and frustrated because I know that He is more than able, and honestly some days I let Him have it. He already knows those really deep dark feelings and those thoughts of disbelief anyways, He just wants us to come and lay it at His feet and be honest with Him. When I came to this point, it was very freeing to not feel that I had to feel that I was cowering down and being so careful with my words and give these fake statements to people or to God. God is big enough to handle it and if you don't think He is, than what kind of God is that?

I'm not saying that there can't be anything spiritual hindering health because I absolutely believe that it's possible. I just don't believe that it's every single case and I think that people need to be very careful on how they approach the situation and need to be checking their own hearts because wrongful judgment happens.

"God won't give you more than you can handle," is another statement that people love to throw out there as a source of comfort. I'd like to touch on this false statement as well and I'm not exempt of making these false statements to people either. Until I've walked through my own personal struggles with pain and suffering, I had no idea that these were hurtful things to say. This statement, especially, is one of the worst things you can say to someone going through something hard in their life. It diminishes what that person is going through and makes them feel like what they are experiencing is no big deal and small. This false statement is scripture taken out of the context that it was intended for. We do go through a fair share of hard things that are more than we can handle but it's who we turn to, to get our strength from to keep going. If you would have told me 6 years ago that this would be my life, I would have told you that there was no way that I would be able to make it through. I can't rely on my own strength but only the strength of the Holy Spirit that lives within me. He is the only one that has made it so that I can put one foot in front of the other. I feel most often weak, tired and sometimes weary. I get friends that tell me that they see such strength in me and how resilient I am, ummmmm what? I don't feel like I am at all, but I know it's due to God and I couldn't imagine walking through this without Him. Even though I have my struggles with doubt, sometimes don't feel like He hears me and I don't understand why He doesn't just heal me right now. I can rest in knowing that He sees the whole picture from beginning to end.

Through all of this, I've gotten tired of the judgment that some people in the church give to those suffering with things unseen. I know it's not all people in the church but little sprinkles of them. Do you not think that we don't get it enough from the doctors and practitioners that we see? My appointments with the medical professionals always start off with a wave of skepticism, and until they start to get to know me and do their tests on me, they then realize that I'm not full of it. Even still, it doesn't make you feel super awesome feeling like you have to prove yourself. Do you think it makes us want to come back to church when we feel and hear judgment? It becomes exhausting wherever you go dealing with people that don't get it and then when you just want to feel like you're in a safe place, a place of acceptance and non-judgment (as it should be), you are met with it there too. You get to read people really well after going through this for awhile, so you see it in their face, body language, and the way they speak to you, or you deal with the really bold ones that make the out there comments. I wish that it was preached from the pulpit because in the Bible it strictly states to not judge and I think believers use this towards the "outside" world and not to their own people within the church. When did it become okay to act like God and judge people on things you have no clue what it's like to go through and have never walked in before? It hurts my heart so much not just for me, but for many other people that I have in my life and other people that suffer on a daily basis. It's a constant battle of the heart to understand why God is allowing this pain and sickness over our bodies. It's wearing on your faith. It's this constant battle to keep your heavy spirit afloat. You just never know what a person is personally struggling with, and throughout this time in my life, I really struggled with my faith. It only made it that much more worse having people say judgmental comments to me.

I also had people that were very close to me make statements like "Keana, I know you, you have a sensitive spirit," implying that my sensitive personality was the biggest cause of my problems and that what I was going through was probably very small but that I was blowing it out of proportion. I've had them say things like "Well, some people can handle things better and I guess, well, others just can't." I've heard numerous stories from others how they got passed notes stating that they were probably bitter and unforgiving and to deal with it, because that's what's holding them back from getting better. I've been treated and others, like me, treated poorly by the ones they love with eye rolls, silence and under cutting what the suffering person is going through. I say shame on you. I've attracted a few of these kind in my life and honestly, I am so tired of them. To have no compassion and to make harsh statements like these, to people that are going through things that you have never experienced first hand yourself, is so very cruel. These people are the ones in desperate need of professional help because if you can have no heart of compassion on things you have no clue about and make statements and harsh claims, then you've got some big heart and head problems yourself to place judgment on something that you don't understand or haven't walked through yourself. Just because it's unseen, something that you don't understand, or not your specialty, doesn't mean it's not real and things aren't going on in the body.

I think it’s important to stop and evaluate these relationships. Are they causing more harm than good? Are you striving to prove yourself and constantly trying to make yourself seen and heard? If any of these are yeses than I would say that these people aren’t worthy of a relationship with you. I know it's hard letting go of friendships and relationships but your heart will thank you, when you are free of them. Having the power to say "enough," is liberating and so very important for your own heart and spirit. It helps bring down the stress of constantly striving to prove and to please these people. It's sad but until they start to look inward and get the help that they desperately need, the abusive and negative patterns will not stop, until you put a stop to it yourself. You deserve so much more and you deserve to be seen and to be loved and to be heard.

From as far as I can remember my home always had music playing. If my mom wasn't playing music from the stereo, than it would be dad playing his acoustic guitar, writing songs and singing. I took drum lessons in grade 8 for three years and played percussion and the drum set in the high school band. I also played on the worship team at church up until I got in my accident. It has always been such a huge part of my life and playing the drums brought me to a place that sent me into deep worship and a connection with God. I haven't played since which has been another part of the grieving process for me. Throughout the years a song would come on and it was always what my heart needed in the moment, a way that God speaks to me. I am forever grateful to friends that have answered the nudge in their hearts to send me a song that God put on their hearts to share with me, they have carried me through many dark times and have uplifted my spirit. I have a section (Videos) on my website devoted to these songs and so I encourage you to take a listen. I'll be adding to this section as new songs get placed onto my heart.

Shortly after my sister's trip, vertigo decided to grace it's presence on me as well. I had to see a specialized physiotherapist to work on these issues too. Having vertigo was awful. I felt like I was constantly on a moving elevator and the floors looked like they were sideways when I walked. From the very beginning of all of this car accident stuff, my back got hit with cystic acne. I had never experienced this before and it was extremely embarrassing and a knock down on my pride. Going to regular massage and chiropractor appointments and having to have them obviously work on my back, was an added excruciating thing to deal with. Painful sores all over. I had asked my massage therapist as to why she felt these appeared and she explained that inflammation in the body can push these awful little things all over. When my massage therapist had to go out of town or was sick, I would try out someone new in her place. Before the massage would start, I would explain the sores all over and they would go into hygiene with me....ugh, so embarrassing. I had always regularly showered and tried everything to combat these things but nothing seemed to work.

The weekly check in calls were still going strong from the car insurance company. This one particular phone conversation, the nasally voiced woman on the on the other line said, "Okay Keana, let me get this straight, you had no damage to you car and let's be honest there were no broken bones and no stitches, so how come this is taking so long to figure out?" Her words hurt. "I don't understand it either, but I'm working really hard to try and get better." I replied. The way she implied and said it was really cutting and rude. She went on that they decided that they wanted me to see a Kinesiologist. I went to my regular physio appointment and told my physiotherapist that I would have to switch gears and find a Kinesioligist. She pointed at her wall and told me that she's got her degree in it and so we were good. I relayed the message back to this insurance woman but she wouldn't have it and continually repeated herself on how I had to find a Kinesiologist. The next physio appointment I told my physiotherapist about the reply back and she said "Let me speak with her and I'll set her straight." My next appointment with my physiotherapist she said, "Man, that woman is something else. I don't know how you deal with her. She did the same thing to me and repeated it over and over and wouldn't hear me. If you're okay with it, I'm going to ask some friends of mine that work with this company and ask that you get switched to someone higher up." I felt relieved and gave her my consent. We decided to try doing aqua physio, which I'm not going to lie, I hate being in a bathing suit. I didn't have the healthiest outlook on my body image and really struggled with it. I made it to the pool and started my physio. I felt so good in the water and did the exercises that my physiotherapist gave me but when I got out of the water my body got hit with hard pain and it was all way too much. I reported back to my physiotherapist and she adjusted the exercises and told me to take it slow and do a lot less, but even still, it was too much. At the same time, I was still struggling hard with my body and on top of it, my calves constantly felt tight like they were set in dried concrete or like someone was constantly gripping them. My neck rotation was doing a lot better but not much else, so I got brave and sheepishly told my physiotherapist these concerns. She looked at me and said, "But you're feeling stronger right?" I said "Umm, ya, maybe a little, but I'm still in a lot of pain." I didn't want to disappoint her or hurt her feelings and she replied with, "But you're getting stronger right?" I didn't feel like she was hearing me or really wanting to come to terms that what we were doing wasn't having a big effect on my body. We continued on with physio for another month or so. She told me that she thought I would see the light at the end of the tunnel maybe in another 6 months or so and that I knew my exercises well enough to do on my own at home, but she was there for me when I needed her. Parts of me wanted to believe this but I was very skeptical. I had no other to choice but to hope that she would be right.

*I hope you can hear my heart in this post. I know it's difficult to hear my tone and how it is said. These are tough topics to address and to talk about but I think they are a very important thing for people to understand and see.*

A really great podcast episode to listen to is an interview with the amazing, Katherine Wolf.


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