Hello and welcome!
I hope Fruitful Today will be a valuable resource in your life, equipping you and encouraging you in your own journey through illness and/or grief.
Below, you can get to know me better by reading about my:
- Faith story
- Chronic illness story
- Grief story
1. Faith story
My faith has wavered at times, but God has been faithful. I’m truly grateful for his enduring patience and unending love.
In What’s God’s Plan for my Life? I talk about the ways in which my understanding of the gospel has grown since I committed my life to Jesus as a teenager.
In Kristy’s Church Story you can learn about my current involvement with church.
I’ve gained so much over the years from mature Christians who open up their lives — even the vulnerable, not-so-perfect parts — with the aim of extending God’s comfort to me.
Through my writing I aim to do the same. My motto is “I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me” (2 Cor 12:9).
2. Chronic illness story
I was living an active and busy life up until 2012, working part-time and caring for our toddler the rest of the time.
My husband and I were diligently saving up for a bigger home, as our second baby was on the way and we’d soon outgrow our small two-bedroom apartment. (Spoiler alert: we’re still living there!)
We never found out the name of the nasty virus that landed me in hospital a week before Christmas, when my pregnant belly was the size of a basketball. The most likely culprit was viral meningitis.
Two weeks later, our second child was born. She was healthy. I, on the other hand, was far from well.
Since that eventful month, I’ve been dealing with a chronic neuroimmune illness that severely affects my physical and cognitive stamina. My doctors still haven’t pinpointed what’s triggering my ongoing symptoms.
What we do know is that (1) pathology tests have consistently indicated abnormal immune activity, and (2) I’ve tested positive for Orthostatic Intolerance, a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. My blood pressure doesn’t regulate properly, which makes sitting and standing inordinately exhausting.
The rest remains a mystery. So I’m one of the millions worldwide who have been lumped with the unsatisfying “diagnosis of exclusion”, chronic fatigue syndrome.
My Letter to ME/CFS, published on The Mighty website in 2015, shows how chronic fatigue syndrome affected not only my life but also that of my family, in the early days when my symptoms were severe. (It was also the very first piece I ever published online.)
Not knowing what’s wrong is hard. Waiting on pathology test results is hard. Seeing new doctors is tiring and nerve-wracking. Hoping that we’ll find the answer, then dealing with disappointment can be heartbreaking.
3. Grief story
I’ve been fortunate enough never to have experienced the death of a family member, apart from grandparents. But I have lived through periods of loss that profoundly affected me, contributing to an eventual diagnosis of PTSD.
I bear emotional scars from living through a confusing family breakdown: my parents, who’d worked in Christian ministry for many years, divorced when I was a teenager.
Over the following decade, I helplessly watched as loved ones became trapped in destructive cycles of drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence.
In my twenties, I fell deeply in love with a man who lived overseas (we met in my home town during his professional internship). We tried to make it work, but after a number of years we said our last goodbye when the logistical pressures became insurmountable.
This break-up took me years to recover from, as it felt like I had lost everyone I’d ever loved. I was estranged from most of my family at the time and the loneliness was almost unbearable.
In my early thirties, not long before developing ME/CFS, I was made redundant from a job that I loved. That was a surprisingly huge blow to my confidence, and it compounded the grief that I soon experienced over my health challenges.
Without a job, I felt unhinged. Without my health, I couldn’t find a new job. I felt utterly worthless and useless in those early years, as I grieved the double loss of my career and my freedom of mobility.
Home used to be a place where I ate and slept; the rest of the time I was out doing stuff. Now, home was where I spend the majority of my time. The four walls of my home felt like a prison cell at times.
If you’re a parent or grandparent who is struggling to come to terms with your reduced capacity, For the Sick Mummy Who Feels Guilty could be an encouraging read. It was the second piece I ever wrote, when I was mostly housebound, and it was published on The Mighty website in 2016.
Soon afterwards, I began this blog.
3. Blog story
I love Jesus’ words in John chapter 15: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” This verse was the inspiration behind the name Fruitful Today.
The Bible teaches that we’re living in a broken world; a world where things are not as they were intended to be. Yet we’re not without hope because God is at work within the messiness of our less-than-ideal lives. He is the gardener of our souls.
Jesus has promised that if we recognise our need for him and remain in him we will be fruitful. The Fruitful series explores this life-changing teaching in depth.
Something I aim to highlight in my writing is that not every season is fruitful. We have seasons of grief, where we feel completely bare and empty. The emblematic image of bare branches above, and elsewhere on my site, encapsulates that rawness for me.
But I also want to remind you (and myself) of the hope we have in Jesus. Under the care of an attentive gardener, even the barest branches can be pruned and made fruitful again.
If my story has resonated with you, wonderful! I’d be happy to mentor you through the toughest, bleakest seasons of your life. That’s what my devotional series, blog posts and free resources are here for.
May your trust in our great God be strengthened as you read Fruitful Today.