Anchored in Love: My Healing Journey

By: Christina Hutson

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Image Courtesy of Christina Hutson

Image Courtesy of Christina Hutson

I’ve heard it said that life is a love story. I didn’t know what that meant, but I think now I do.   

I found out when I entered the storm. It made me fall deeper in love with the Creator, with the world, and with the gift of existence. Brokenness has a way of making you more keenly aware of the beauty of this sacred life, doesn’t it?

So here’s my story of broken pieces, how Love has put them back together, and what still remains fragmented….

My freshman year of college I became ill. Doctors ran tests and treated me for pestilence that I’d previously acquired on a trip overseas. We figured that would be the end of it, but in the years that followed I continued to experience a variety of gut imbalances…we’d conquer one and another would pop up like some strange game of whack-a-mole. I became a student of my body and lifestyle, micromanaging to the point of avoiding all immediate symptoms, trying to keep the balance beam from tipping. Life was relatively normal and I got married, graduated college, moved across the country, and worked a job I loved.  

Then, years later, the crash came. I’d managed for so long, but in the fall of 2016, my weary body started firing symptoms like sirens.  

I reluctantly put myself back into the hands of a doctor, and after running another panel of tests, she found the mysterious bacteria that had been oppressing my body for almost a decade. We were shocked and relieved, and I immediately entered into the necessary but brutal treatment.  

Image Courtesy of Christina Hutson

Image Courtesy of Christina Hutson

Love carried me through those months. The love of my husband who wrapped me in blankets every day just to get me into fresh air. The love of my friends who met me where I was at — in my bed. The love of my family who helped care for me. And mostly, the love of my Creator, who planted a peace in my heart not even the tears could wash away.  

Treatment finally ended and I figured it would be all uphill from there, but it was actually just a new beginning. We’d set fire to an already desolate field, and in a lot of ways, the worst was yet to come.

The healing path proved to be ten times more painful than coasting in the dysfunction ever was. On a physiological level, a devastated gut micro-biome impacts nearly every system of the body — hormone production, nutrient absorption, organ function, everything. The trillions of bacteria and cells residing in the gut make it impossible to have a complete roadmap for healing, even with the guidance of incredible physicians.

Image Courtesy of Christina Hutson

Image Courtesy of Christina Hutson

So I had to count on the waves, the symptoms, the pain, to tell me and the doctors what to address next. I’d experience a symptom, research, test, treat, heal, and then move onto the next broken space. Some but not all of the symptoms I navigated through included nutrient malabsorption, gastroparesis, low white blood cells, crippling gas pains, ulcers, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, spinal misalignment, gastritis, intestinal nerve damage, visceral hyperalgesia, low immune function, a hiatal hernia, brain fog, amenorrhea, imbalances in acidity, and the inevitable anxiety and emotional toll of chronic illness and mystery.

Pain was my roadmap, but Love was the anchor that kept hope alive. If I could tell you one thing that has been most critical to my healing, it was (and still is) a daily practice of returning to Love, envisioning my body thriving, and allowing my inner-child to grieve, guide, and delight. It’s been my most faithful guide to healing amidst what’s felt like chronic dysfunction.

“During the hardest seasons, I’d envision myself strong and trekking through forest, and when we went to Hawaii in January, I got to do that, and Stephen snapped this photo. So it’s my reminder of how far my body has come… it’s my warrior photo.” (Image Courtesy of Christina Hutson)

“During the hardest seasons, I’d envision myself strong and trekking through forest, and when we went to Hawaii in January, I got to do that, and Stephen snapped this photo. So it’s my reminder of how far my body has come… it’s my warrior photo.” (Image Courtesy of Christina Hutson)

So here we are. Risen so far above the waves, and yet still in them.  

Many of the symptoms I mentioned above have healed over time, but I’m not at the end looking back yet. I’m writing from the middle, still experiencing some really hard symptoms due to dysfunction of my autonomic nervous system. Doctors call this part of my diagnosis a chronic illness, but I believe in chronic healing. So whether or not I ever fully reach the other side, or I spend a lifetime in the healing space, I’m so grateful for all my body has endured and overcome, and I have a peace in knowing without a doubt it’s possible to live a really whole life even with broken pieces. For me, and for you.

This journey has instilled in me a deep kinship to the sacred path of relentlessly seeking after greater wholeness. It’s my joy and privilege to now work as a certified Integrative Health Coach, offering guidance, tools, and education for women who desire to step more fully into their own healing. By supporting the body and soul towards greater wholeness in every season — through nutrition, environment, emotional and mental health, education, and lifestyle, we get to partake more fully in the life we were created for.

I’ve heard it said that life is a love story. I didn’t know what that meant, but I think now I do.   

I found out when I entered the storm.

So sister, may you seek relentlessly after greater wholeness in your body, mind, and heart. May you hunker down in the inevitable storms, and rise victoriously over a thousand waves. And through every season, may you be guided by Love and transformed by light.

To connect with Christina or find resources for your own healing journey, learn about the services she offers as an Integrative Nutrition Coach on her website, or email her at christina@christinagracehutson.com. She’d love to get in touch with you!