Karie came into my life almost a decade ago and as soon as she moved in with us, even as a perfect stranger, I knew she was going to be someone I'd love to know. As single twenty something's and roommates, Karie and our roommate, Karen had so many great days and nights hanging out, being silly and laughing til it hurt, and growing in our faith journeys together. Sometimes people come into your life so unexpectedly, but so perfectly timed that you know it was just meant to be. That's how it was with Karie.
This past summer, I was so fortunate to have Karie make the trek from Columbia, SC to Charleston for my baby shower and was thrilled to see her husband and two sweet boys as well. When they left Charleston to move to Columbia a few years back, Karie hadn't yet had their youngest son, Weston, so it was awesome to see her as a mom of two. And a great mom she was. Her youngest son ate with a passion for food that was unprecedented and was something I could totally get behind. With marinara sauce ALL over his cute face, Karie just laughed and shrugged it off. There was no concern for whether it'd get on his clothes or if he was making a mess. She rolled with it and whether or not she knew anyone was paying attention, I made a mental note over my Mellow Mushroom pizza to be a little more like Karie and a little less the OCD person that I can be if I'm not careful. If my son eats with the passion of a full contact sport, well then that's something to celebrate and encourage!
This past July, Karie's world changed dramatically and unexpectedly. On July 3rd, their eldest son, Walker suffered from a seizure that was completely out of the blue. And then a second one happened. And a third. And now sometimes 1-2 every day. The impact of the seizures have changed the way Walker can move around, communicate and even eat. You don't have to have a medical degree to know that can be a game changer and nothing short of terrifying. Over the last seven months, Karie and her husband, Andy, have been in and out of different hospitals trying to get to the bottom of what is causing such devastating seizures. Although I do not want to put words into their mouths, I can only imagine that their hearts are consumed with fear, uncertainty, and a million questions that just don't seem to have easy answers.
The reason that I share Karie's story with you today is not to focus on the seizures themselves, but how she has handled them. She is a warrior momma. And she is an inspiration.
As your world changes, you have two choices. You can either curl up in a ball and refuse to change with it or you can pick yourself and power through the best way that you can. Karie embodies the latter. I know this journey is BEYOND scary and frustrating and heartbreaking, but what I also know is that I've become in awe of my friend's faith and stamina. Her eyes are on the Lord even when it probably feels like the walls are closing in around them. She reads and studies and champions for Walker when he's not getting the care he needs. She's constantly moving forward when some of us would probably still be standing there on July 3rd with our head in our hands. She's strong. She's a champion. She's a fighter. She's a believer. She's a beautiful mom and she's my friend. I hope I'm half the warrior momma that she is.
I had the opportunity to see them last week on my trip to Charleston and it felt so good to finally be able to hug her after following their journey from a 1,000 miles away. I told myself I would not cry as I walked in to the restaurant where I'd see them. I wanted to be strong for her, and for the most part I was. I did slip and a few tears crept out, but that's okay. Hopefully she knew that those tears were simply because my heart hurts for what they've been through, and that she knows that when she hurts, we all hurt with her regardless of distance and time. We've got her back both in life and in prayer.
Keep fighting, Karie. And keep fighting, Walker. You're going to get there, I just know it. And you have hundreds of prayer warriors behind you cheering you on. #WalkerStrong
To read more about Walker's journey, you can check out my previous Walker post http://saltwaterandsnowstorms.blogspot.com/2014/07/walking-with-walker.html
If you'd like to follow Walker's journey and join them in praying for his strength and healing, please visit his Caring Bridge at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/walkerphillips/journal/view/id/54c0ea9bca16b47f3818b1d2
This family is beautiful (and hilarious), both inside and out.
Nash meeting Karie, Weston and Walker. Love this girl.