Invisible Illnesses I have: Ankylosis Spondylitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis
Despite my illnesses though I have overcome many issues. One that has surprised even me? I'm currently a 2nd degree Black belt.
I started martial arts in my late 30's and found it to be something I loved. I worked hard, instructed as a lower belt and moved up in rank. The only modification I had to have at the tiee was I couldn't spar b/c of the impact on my body. I was a 1st gup red belt and only 6 or so months from testing for black belt, when Abba told me to quit martial arts. I balked, I pleaded, I protested, I debated, He never changed his mind. I knew I needed to follow His leading so I quit. For many years, I prayed He'd open the door for me to get back in and finally after no response, I quit praying about it.
In the meantime, my husband got encephalitis from shingles (the chicken pox virus) and was left with his own invisible illness (Acquired Brain Injury and post encephalitis syndrome. He also has diabetes and neuralgia. I became a caregiver, his job was taken, we lost pretty much everything, and life totally changed. I'll spar you all the details.
Martial arts was no longer a dream--plus how was I suppose to train with so much pain, so much inflammation? I'd pretty much lost my faith--hanging on only by a thread due to my husbands, my parents and a few others constant prayers.
Abba then opened the door for me to begin karate again at a Christian dojo. I was hesitant but excited. Nine years had passed and I'd forgotten so much. I had to make some modifications--wall push ups, small jump kicks (avoiding some jump kicks all together) no contact sparring, etc --but I was willing to give it my best.
As it turns out, this dojo, nor the instructor what or who Abba intended. I was in so much pain, discouraged, and considering quitting after only 4 or 5 months. My husband went to talk to the man who started these schools (Christ Centered Martial Arts) and asked if I could give his school a try before I quit altogether. He agreed. Longer story shorter, I started at the main school in the middle of July, by September my Sensei was talking Black belt test and by November I was training hard for the test. In Feb. (one year after I started back), I got my black belt (though the process of being a black belt continues).
The other school failed and I continued training at the main school. Abba eventually opened the door for us to start a school near where I originally took when I started back and near to where I live) I am now the main instructor there, have my 2nd degree and totally love it even through the difficulties and pain.
Abba used CCMA (Christ Centered Martial Arts) to draw me back to Him, to increase my faith and my strength (mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically). My family has been invaluable in their support and help...and continue to be so.
Martial Arts has taught me I have invisible illnesses--they don't have me. Some days the invisible illnesses win the sparring match and some days I do. Regardless, I continue to kick AS and RA in the rear one day (and sometimes one minute) at a time.
A friend of mine wrote a note to me right before I took my 1st degree black belt. It still resonates with me:
"Remember, each kick is building your testimony to Him who gives you strength. Each punch says with Him, all things are possible." (C. Norris)