Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Life doesn't always work out the way we expect.
Things can suddenly change, sometimes for better sometimes for worse. Here, Sara Webster, a doctor at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, shares her own story with us.
I was born in Bangor, North Wales and in my early childhood lived in different parts of England, moving with my Dad’s job. When I was seven we moved back to Wales and I then enjoyed a very happy, rural childhood living with my parents and my younger sister in a small village called Caeathro, just outside Caernarfon.
I had severe asthma as a child and was in and out of hospital, which gave me the desire to become a doctor so I could help others like the hospital staff had so often helped me. I was offered a place at Medical School in Liverpool, but during my second term I was taken ill with meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia. I became very ill very quickly and was soon in intensive care on a life support machine with multi-organ failure. The septicaemia had also caused the circulation to my feet to stop, so 10 days into my illness, as a last resort, the doctors took the very difficult decision to amputate both my legs below the knees. I was in a coma for 6 weeks then woke to the news that I had lost my legs and life would never be the same again.
Although it was a time of fear and uncertainty about the future, I knew deep within my heart that I had been kept alive for a reason and that gave me the courage and peace I needed to accept what had happened to me and want to live my life again.
As I look back now, I can see how God was working through it all, because as a 14-year-old I had put my trust in Jesus to be my Saviour. I had been living far from God, but by dying on the cross Jesus took the punishment I deserved and gave me forgiveness and the promise that He would never leave me nor forsake me. In my darkest hours when the doctors couldn’t give my parents any hope for my survival, He was there; when the odds were stacked against me, He knew differently; when it seemed a totally hopeless situation, He was at work and I knew I had to trust His plan and purpose for my life. Nothing is ever wasted with God, He can use the worst things that happen in our lives to bring us nearer to Him and teach us precious lessons.
I have now been an amputee for over 30 years. It has not been easy, but God has been faithful and helped me face the challenges of each day. God enabled me to complete my medical training and I now work at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. In 1991, I married David and we have two grown up children, Elin and Iwan.
I have learnt to count my blessings; I make the most of what I can do and enjoy, rather than focusing on the negatives and what I have lost.
I am not angry with God; how can I be? Being a Christian does not make us immune from these things, but having God as our rock and refuge when the storms of life hit can make all the difference.
I am an ordinary girl, who prayed a simple prayer at the age of 14 and found an extraordinary Saviour, who has kept His promise and has never left me and will continue to be my help and strength through this life and into the next.
First published in Ask Magazine August 2018