(By Kayla Dalrymple)
I was asked to share with you about my journey these past five years and how God used a health trial to bless my life in ways I never expected.
I am going to start with this clip of my journey in 2015: I was a wife and a mom of two young children (two-and-a-half-year-old Selena and five-month-old Andrew). I was physically healthy but was struggling with some postpartum depression. The last few months of my pregnancy had been very difficult with five weeks in the hospital on bed rest due to complications. Once Andrew was born, I had a hard time developing a routine and having enough energy to get through the day. In May 2015, I was in a car accident with my children. At the time, with the adrenalin rushing, I was so concerned and focused on my children, I did not realize that I had hit my head. It caused a brain injury which made my arms become numb. I thought it would go away, but it didn’t. I really struggled to understand why God had allowed this to happen in my life. It was challenging to perform simple tasks such as washing dishes (without breaking them), pulling the tabs on my baby's diapers, doing any fine motor activities such as holding a pen and writing. After many doctor appointments and tests, it was concluded that there was nothing the doctors could do to help me. I was told I was just going to have to live with it, it was going to be my new normal.
I did not want to share my diagnosis with anyone besides my immediate family. I thought if it was not talked about it might somehow just go away....I wish that was the case. I was so worried about what people would think of me, how people would treat me, and I just didn't want to admit that it was my reality. Dealing with chronic conditions, illness, or disease is so overwhelming, especially when it is silent or not visible to a stranger or person that doesn’t know you well. It was soon time for me to return to work but I had been a dental hygienist. Now, with my numb arms and not being able to do fine motor skills, this was not going to work. I extended my maternity leave into a sick leave with hopes that my arms would soon regain feeling. I tried to be as outgoing as possible and sought to accomplish as many things as I could. I focused on making memories with my children and enjoying the many little blessings they brought to my life. One thing I did not want was for people to feel bad and pity me.
Very soon, having only one income started significantly impacting our life. The financial struggle was so unbearable it caused much tension in our marriage. I am so blessed that my husband knew that it was not my fault I couldn't return to work and that my self-esteem wasn't strong enough to go find a different job at this time. We hit an ultimate low and decided that putting our house up for sale would be in our best interest. As soon as we put our cherished home on the market, things started to go wrong. Our washing machine broke, our dishwasher broke, our snowblower broke, and the water testing came back with problems. Every time we had a showing on our house my heart ached, I prayed they would not like our home; even though I know we could not afford to keep it, I did not want anyone else to have it either. The thought of having someone else live in our home was so overwhelming and we didn't know where we would go.
Within a few weeks, we accepted an offer on our house. They did have some conditions that they needed to work through first, so I was hopeful that it wouldn't work out. And after their house inspection, they wanted us to split fifty percent of the cost of a new roof and new windows as a new agreement. We could not afford to sell our house for that much less than what we had listed it, therefore we turn down the sale.
God was really reaching to me at the time through songs. Daily, as I would struggle to accomplish tasks, I would turn on the music and try to find joy in the lyrics. I constantly played our Christian radio station, Life 100.3. A couple of my favorite songs were by Lauren Daigle. The lyrics from her song "Trust In You” resonated with me. I listened to it so much that my children would pull me into the living room when it came on. I was praying for God to move mountains in my life, but I wanted it to happen overnight, so it took time for me to learn to trust that God was in control and was doing what was ultimately best for me.
I was spending a lot of time in God's Word and in prayer and I kept getting a feeling that I wasn't fighting hard enough to find a job that I would be able to manage. I was told by so many people that I was wonderful with kids and should consider starting a home daycare. I knew the life of home daycare very well as I grew up with my mom doing home daycare since I was a toddler and she still does it today. I realized this would be great because I would be working for myself, at my own pace, and that the children would be energizing. So I decided that I should give it a go and in December of 2016, I opened Little Blessings Daycare.
By opening my daycare, I was able to provide financially for our family and we were able to take our home off the market. I started to regain some of my self-confidence and really started to feel like I was making a difference and contributing successfully to our family.
Fast forward to December 2019. Now my Little Blessings Daycare has been running for three years and I am fully convinced that the children I have had the opportunity to care for, the families I have been able to help, have truly been amazing little blessings to me. Although being a daycare provider was never one of my dream jobs, I am so grateful I have had this opportunity. I am 100% convinced that it would not have happened had I been able to return to work as a dental hygienist. Because of the Little Blessings, I got to be with my own children for most of their milestones and had the pleasure of being with them before they headed to kindergarten. This has been God's plan for me.
On December 19, 2019, I was honored by the District of Muskoka with a Community Service Recognition Award, for my daycare, for being an outstanding community contributor.
I want to remind everyone reading this....when you are in the midst of a storm it is often so overwhelming that you can lose focus as well as the ability to remember God is in control. If you are in the midst of a storm right now, remember you are not alone, you are loved, and your friends and family need you to endure. No storm is without blessings from God.