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Count It All Joy In The Midst of Struggles

Updated: Mar 27

Update 3/31/2023 - as a follow up to the original blog post below, I wanted to share a powerful testimony! Shortly after publishing this post, I underwent 5 iron infusions and have had follow up lab work since and can share that my iron levels have been resorted. Praise the Lord! I can definitely feel an incredible difference and have so much energy. I was pretty apprehensive about having the iron infusions done hearing of potential side effects and other individuals experiences. So happy to report that the infusions went incredibly well and I have had no adverse complications from them. The Lord has continued to use this journey for His glory as I've had numerous conversations with women experiencing iron deficiency who were also headed for infusions. I am grateful that I've been able to share my experience with them and give them hope in the midst of their hardships.

This post is a personal update. I hope to do more blogging on topics of overcoming adversity, faith and trusting in the Lord Jesus.

I think that one of the most difficult parts of having different chronic illnesses over the last 12 years is having patience to get through hard seasons and patience with myself. I am naturally a very driven person and I love to be productive and self sufficient.

The level of struggle I've had the last few weeks not just physically but mentally, I've not had since a very difficult season that took place 2016 - 2019. It's so easy to take your health and mental health for granted when things are going well. If there's one thing I would preach and should take a humble pill myself for its to be kind to myself and rest. Easier said than done being the middle of tax season and setting all of these goals for myself this year.

To be honest, I've been angry at God for having to go through something else as if the last 12 years have not been enough between hormone imbalances, cystic acne, hypothyroidism and hashimotos, mental illnesses due to trauma (all of which by the grace of God I've been able to overcome) and now unexplained iron deficiency.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV

The image that came to my mind last week when I was troubled was an arrow being pulled back on a bow and being held in firing position. I was the arrow, being pulled and stretched uncomfortably across the string and being held back not knowing when I would be released or if I'd hit my intended targets.

If there's one thing I've learned in 34 years, it's that pauses while inconvenient and unpleasant are often necessary before you can be released to what the Lord is preparing for you next and where He's leading you. Trying very hard to lean into that in this season and make progress without overdoing it and stay positive in the midst.

I'm not sure exactly what the purpose of sharing all of this is (and I am definitely not looking for people to suggest I do or try this or that medically), but perhaps it's a message to persevere in the midst of difficulty. Joy was the word I picked for 2023 and I intend to keep focused on experiencing and sharing joy in the midst of all of this.


Nicole Zaagman lives in Byron Center, Michigan with her high-school sweetheart and her many farm critters. Nicole is an accomplished, Christian entrepreneur and children's author, passionate about helping women succeed in life and business through coaching. She travels the state of Michigan visiting senior centers, children's programs and special events with her pygmy goats through the Jump for JOY Program™ and operates Parkside Farm. Nicole is a passionate AgVocate for agriculture, agritourism and farm education and encourages families to engage and support local farms in their communities.

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