Hey! This is Laura and I am so excited to have our first student contributor on the blog today! I met Anna Blair in 2012 and have had the honor of watching her grow into a beautiful, Christian young lady. As a Christian, a wife and a mother, I love to hear about how the Lord is moving through the younger generation. I hope you are blessed today by Anna Blair's faith journey.
I am 14 years old and have attended church all my life. I was baptized when I was 12. As long as I can remember, I have loved Jesus, but for many of my 14 years, I never had a very good answer to the question, “How do I know God is real?” In my heart, I have always known that God is real, and I could give the “Sunday School answers” like “The Bible tells us God is the beginning and the end and created everything so He is real.” I could recite my favorite Bible verses…but I never really knew how to tell people from my life experiences that I know that God is real. My life had always been filled with the assurance that God is real in my life and that He showers me each day with His blessings.
Now, however, I have a story to tell about how God showed his realness to me time and time again! I am a dancer. I have been dancing since I was three. I love all types of dance – jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, lyrical, pom, kick and musical theater. While dancing is a major part of my life, the practice is rigorous. Four, sometimes five afternoons a week, are consumed with dance practice.
My story began two years ago on a regular night at dance. When I was stretching, my coach saw that something was out of line. She noticed that my right rib cage was elevated above my left one. My coach mentioned it to my dad that something might be wrong with my back. Because my dad is a Physical Therapist, when I told him what my coach had said during a routine practice, he, too, could tell that something was definitely wrong. So, the next morning I went to my doctor and had an x-ray. When I saw the image, my heart dropped. My spine was shaped like an “S.”
The x-ray was sent to another doctor for further reading, but the diagnosis was clear. I had a severe case of scoliosis. How was I going to continue to do the things that made me happy with a curved spine?
I soon found out that this was a journey that would change me forever.
As I sat in the waiting room of the orthopedic clinic, I was unsure and nervous about what was to come. My parents and I listened to our options from the doctor and concluded that bracing was the best option. A few weeks later, I was fitted with the brace that I would wear for a year. My curve seemed to decrease with the help of my brace, but it would not completely correct it. When I would take a break from wearing my brace (even though the breaks were short), my curve would increase again. Despite a long, hard year of wearing this uncomfortable, restricting brace, it was not a sufficient tool for handling my scoliosis.
Even though having a corrective surgery was my biggest fear, it was the best option for correcting my scoliosis and getting rid of my pain. My surgery was scheduled for the summer of 2017. In the meantime, I was told to have fun and not worry about this big event. However, waiting was the hardest part. I had many “what if’s” running through my mind. What if I am not able to dance again? What if I can never walk again? My nerves were comforted by surrounding myself with people who loved and supported me.
When people told me that they were praying for me, I was reassured that I am never alone and that God will take care of me always. During the days leading up to my surgery, I felt the love and prayers of so many people. Knowing that others were sharing my struggle calmed and comforted me. When I went into my surgery, I was so calm and ready for the new chapter ahead of me.
After my six-hour surgery, I felt the prayers being poured on me. In addition to the presence of my family, many of my friends came to visit me at the hospital. I am very thankful for all of those friendships and what each friend means to me. Those friends supported me and stayed with me through this whole journey and I am so blessed.
Along with the support of my friends and family, I had so many great doctors and nurses that helped me through surgery and recuperation. For me, they were the hands and feet of Jesus. They took a personal interest in me, and I have formed many good relationships with them.
As I think back on the last two years, I see the “realness” of God through the prayers and actions of so many people including the coach who first noticed the misalignment of my spine, the pediatrician who confirmed it, the orthopedic surgeon who proposed options, the family and friends who prayed for me and encouraged me, and God, who comforted me in my pain and gave me hope that I would be able to continue dancing. All of these people who ministered to me during this time gave me assurance that God is real and is present in my life and continues to lead me.
Anna Blair Jackson
Anna Blair is finishing her 8th grade year and writing has become a gifting she has discovered! She has written two poems. One that placed first in Tennessee and went on to win first place in the United States. The other placed first in Tennessee and the Southwest region. She is also an editor for her school's yearbook and has written articles for her local newspaper.