May 16, 2014
As a senior in high school, actively involved in sports and on her way to becoming valedictorian of her class, Deborah Davis became debilitated with a sickness known as Lyme disease. Daily she fights to honor the Lord in her trials and circumstances, while her family does their best to pay the enormous medical bills. Deborah is currently 19 years old living with incredible faith, residing with her family in Florida. Read her story below and check out the link to help support the Davis family medical expenses in this time of need! Reach Records will match every dollar contributed up to $5000. CLICK HERE to Donate.
Tell us a little bit about the path to where you are today.
One summer when I was 13 my life drastically changed in more ways than one. Not only was it the summer that I really heard The Gospel for the first time and repented and believed in Christ for salvation, but it was also the summer that I went on a camping trip with my family and through the bite of an infected tick got Lyme disease. I had no idea what was happening at the time, but from then on, I started feeling sick with flulike symptoms, constant headaches (that evolved into migraines), joint pain, chronic fatigue, and gastrointestinal issues.
Throughout the years, my symptoms kept getting worse and my doctors continued to be perplexed as to why I felt the way I did. In high school, I played varsity soccer and cross country for my school, excelled greatly in my studies, and was actively involved in ministries at my church. At the beginning of my Senior year of high school, my health took a huge turn for the worst. I started becoming more and more debilitated by my symptoms, which included mysterious organ pains, cognitive decline similar to Alzheimer’s, confusion, and numbness in my hands and feet (a current list of my symptoms covers almost two full pages). Even though I had a plethora of medical testing done, doctors still couldn’t figure out what in the world was going on inside my body. I eventually had to quit cross-country, and I was unable to try out for soccer.
By the end of January, I was experiencing so much around-the-clock joint pain that I was limping around school, my muscles ached so much it would hurt just to have my family members hug me. My migraines became constant and I started becoming extremely sensitive to light and sound, and my fatigue was so overwhelming it was all I could do to stay awake enough to participate in daily activities. In February of 2013, I finally became bedridden and have been that way ever since. It was also February when we finally found this specialist who eventually diagnosed me with chronic, late-stage neurologic Lyme disease and needed aggressive IV antibiotic treatment. Unfortunately because of how controversial this disease is in the medical community, we’ve had more than our fair share of problems with doctors and insurance coverage. Since I’ve been diagnosed, I have been hospitalized four times, once in the ICU, have had multiple ER trips, have seen well-over 80 doctors (that’s when I decided to stop counting), and have been wheelchair bound for over a year. It’s taken us this long, but we finally found a Lyme literate doctor willing to take me on as a patient and I’m just now (after losing all my teenage years to this disease) getting the treatment I need. Unfortunately, insurance has refused to cover all the costs for my treatment course, leaving us having to pay around $3K-5K out of pocket each month.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me now is most definitely a far cry from what it used to be a year and a half ago. Because of the relentless pain I feel all throughout my body and the crippling amount of fatigue, some days it’s just enough to wake up and survive. Other days it’s to wake up, survive, and go to another doctor appointment. On good days I even get into some physical therapy. But that’s just on the surface. Typical days for me are really a constant battle to trust in The Lord and His provision, and not become bitter. It is all too easy for me to let myself wallow in self pity and demand God to explain exactly why He is letting this happen to me. It’s amazing how easy it is to let my guard down and lose sight of what is true (like the Father’s precious promises, His attributes, His love and faithfulness to me) and give into my emotions.
How do you keep good perspective in the midst of difficult circumstances?
Keeping a good perspective when everything seems to be falling apart has been truly difficult. Only the Lord can really understand how hard it’s been for me. There have been many times when I’ve strayed in my thoughts or doubted God and His plans for me. The one and only thing that keeps my perspective on track is the Lord and how He demonstrates His deep, deep love for me! He constantly pursues me in such a real way at times when my joy is in Him, as well as the times that I am prone to wander.
One practical means that I use the help keep a good perspective is reading through my grandmother’s old hymnal. Most of those hymns have such a clear perspective and vision of The Lord. They were written by real believers who also went through difficult trials. It’s such a great tool!
What risks or hard decisions have you had to make to live unashamed?
I think the most difficult decision has been to claim the grace The Lord daily gives me as my own and to believe that it is truly sufficient for me. It is also very difficult to keep my emotions about my circumstances from clouding how I view God. Something I learned a few months ago is that I can’t let my view of God be shaped by how I see my circumstances. I have to put my trust in who He really says He is.
What does the unashamed life look like in your context and life?
For me, the unashamed life is daily taking up my cross and following Christ. It’s daily casting all my burdens upon The Lord. It’s daily believing that not only has Jesus provided me with salvation through His blood, but also promises to provide for ALL my needs. It’s daily believing that He will keep every one of the promises He makes to me. It’s acknowledging the fact that my life is not my own, it belongs to The Lord. He’s the one who ultimately has the authority and power to do whatever he wants with my life, not me. And that’s not a bad thing at all! I can rest fully in knowing that my life is held secure in my Savior’s nail-pierced hands. Through it all, The Lord has graciously taught me that “whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever lays down his life for my sake will save it.
How have you worked through success? Failure?
Both by clinging to the promises The Lord has for me in the Scriptures. I fight to cling to my Rock in the dark hour when I have a doctor who doesn’t believe in the legitimacy of my case, or we’ve been denied certain medication again. And in the times when doctors have been exceedingly helpful, and we’ve been blessed with another month of treatment I give thanks for such great blessings! One instance I have to fight tooth and nail for joy in The Lord, and the other I sing for joy in Him and praise him for His faithfulness to me.
Have you had any mentors along the way?
My mom is my “caregiver” since I’m not able to do many things for myself. But beyond caring for me physically, this woman has also cared for my spiritual needs. We’ve grown so much closer through this trial and I am so thankful for her constant encouragement.
Then there’s my friend, Amanda. We used to play soccer together until she became very sick and debilitated from Lyme disease. We both were infected with it at different times and had no idea we had had it for years. She’s a dear sweet sister, and we are able to encourage one another in ways even our closest friends and family can’t because we are both enduring similar sufferings of this same illness. The Lord has greatly blessed me through her friendship.
I can also say that I’ve been mentored and encouraged in this season by my former youth pastor and present college ministries pastor.
Do you have any favorite books?
I have always loved reading. Unfortunately because of how the Lyme has affected my cognitive abilities, it is quite difficult for me to read. But I still love books and even though I struggle, I still love to read. Some of my favorites are A Steadfast Heart, by Elyse Fitzpatrick; the Love Comes Softly Series, by Janette Oke; The Attributes of God, by A.W. Pink, and basically anything written by John Piper, C.S.Lewis, and Spurgeon.
What verses or passages in Scripture have sustained or encouraged you?
Definitely Lamentations 3:21-24, Psalm 55:22, Isaiah 43:2, Romans 5:3-5, Romans 8:18, 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, Psalm 56:8, and all of Psalm 61-62!
Can you offer some encouragement to other unashamed believers out there?
Jesus tells us in Scripture that the Christian life isn’t going to be easy. God has never promised that he would take away all of our problems and sufferings in this life, for perfection doesn’t come until we enter Heaven. BUT He has promised that he will sustain us through all of our life storms (Psalm 55:22) and give us the grace we need to weather them out (2 Cor 9:8). While we don’t have all the answers as to why God would allow this or that to happen to his children, we can rest assured knowing that The Lord’s got it under control! He knows what He is doing. Who are we to question Him, our own Creator who gives us breathe and life? Even while situations seem dark, we can know that our lives are in the hand of a good and gracious God who is full of lovingkindness and faithfulness, who’s mercies are new every morning! You know, my only real regrets in all of this are the times that I wavered in trusting in the Lord to provide for me and my family. There were times when I felt so distant to God, as if he wasn’t even there to hear my prayers. But even though I thought that way then, looking back I know that those were the times when he was closest! The Lord has almost miraculously proved to my stubborn self time and time again that He will sustain me and that He will provide for me and my family! If only I would’ve trusted Him sooner it would’ve saved so much heartache and I would’ve had more of a peace going through these situations. So I guess my advice would be to trust in the Lord with all your heart! He knows what’s best, and He has promised that he will work all situations out to our good if we love Him. If you’re going through a trial, dear brother or sister, I pray that you would remember the kind of God we serve! Memorize His promises He reveals in Scripture and always be preaching the gospel to yourself. Rest in Him. He will be your closest and dearest friend through all of this! Also, community! Community! Community! Gather people around you to support you and pray with you and share your burdens. Seek out encouragement and help, if needed, through godly counselors.