I have a friend...

that I have been thinking of lately.

Whenever I'm sick for more than a few days in a row, there's one person that always comes to mind, mainly because I know she's fully aware of what it's like to feel crummy day in and day out. She's one of my (and Hannah and Maggie's) very very good friends, Marissa.

Marissa and I have known each other since junior high and took art classes together in high school. We were friends but didn't really hang out much outside of school. All that changed in college. After I transferred to ISU, Marissa and I got to know each other really well. She was at a hard place in her life and we bonded over similar experiences and looooong conversations. She's my friend that's a good listener, good advice-giver and great encourager. I can always count on her for prayer and she's ALWAYS there when I need her. She's the complete package and I couldn't miss her more now that she lives all the way in Texas. 

As you can see, I love her very much and it pains me to see the trials she has had to face over the past few years. While I know she would say God has blessed her immensely (she has a wonderful husband, a job she loves, a beautiful place to call home etc.) she has been in constant pain for the past, I don't know, two years? After a loooong time with no answers, the doctors have finally said they believe she has Fibromyalgia.

Most women who develop this disorder are in there 40's or 50's, not their 20's. It can be a very debilitating problem that can really disrupt your everyday life. For Marissa, she rarely has a day where something doesn't hurt or ache. When she's not at work, she spends a lot of her time in bed trying to rest and sleep.

It's hard to see a wonderful friend at such a prime point in her life suffer from so much. We've had many conversations on the phone and though I always have hope God will heal her, it just doesn't seem fair. Her and Nick should still be living out the Honeymoon phase of their marriage but instead, their nights and days are far from the smell of the ocean and the sway of palm trees. There are days when it's better and they are able to venture out together and days Marissa just stays in bed. 

I have been thinking about her a lot lately as I have been feeling so sick with the pregnancy. For Jared and I, when I'm not on the up and up, it throws our world into chaos. But no matter how hard each day is for us, I know this will end soon. For Marissa and Nick, there is no "for sure" date when Marissa's life will be pain-free. I try to be there to give her a pep-talk or two when she's feeling down, but more often than not, she holds her head high and believes in a God that has a plan for her life, with or without Fibro.

This is not a blind belief, as we've both seen God do miracles in our own lives and know He can do it again. We both know He has Marissa and her future in the palm of His hand.

I know the symptoms of this disorder are exhausting and I am thankful Marissa has such a hardworking and loving husband. Nick willingly takes care of Marissa and doesn't complain. I know he is her rock and his love is a huge blessing from God in this time. They go perfectly together, and just like the vows say, he has proven he will stand by her in sickness and health.

I guess I'm writing this because it's on my heart and I wanted her to know I was thinking about her today. I was trying to imagine what life would be like in her shoes and just a fraction of that understanding was enough to make me tear up. I'm sharing this because I know she appreciates our love and support in the hard times. When you live in pain constantly, it's really easy to get down, and encouraging friends can make a huge difference.

You can read more about her and Nick at her blog: http://nicholasandmarissa.blogspot.com/. Make sure to tell her you're thinking about her.

I love you, M, and though God has brought us through a lot of similar circumstances, this is one I don't know personally. I wish I could understand better, I wish I could take it away from you. But for now, I will walk hand in hand with you until you are pain free, no matter when that day comes. As you have said, God will bring good out of this and I believe that with all my heart as well.


  1. Great post, Rachel. What a blessing you young ladies are to each other as you go through life's trials. Marissa, I know you'll be reading this. You and Nick are in my prayers.

  2. rach, you are such a great friend to marissa. this post is proof. you have an amazing heart and are a constant encourager. i know marissa is so thankful to be your friend, as we all are! love you!

  3. Hi Rachel. That's really hard to read that your friend has fibro. It's nice to know what's wrong, but not when it's a diagnosis means constant pain. Sue T. has had fibro for years and may have some helpful tips for Marissa if you want to talk to her. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  4. Very sweet post, Rach. We love you, Marissa!!