Have you ever had an experience—hardship, illness, broken relationship, addiction, financial loss, business loss—that didn’t have the results you hoped for?

Some might think you aren’t doing enough. Eating healthy enough. Praying enough. Working enough. Believing enough.

But what if this experience happened so that God could reveal something He wanted you to see—and that was the only way to get your attention.

There’s a story in the Bible where some people asked Jesus why a man was blind. Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).

What if experiences happen that don’t match our plan, so that the “works of God can be displayed?”

Here’s an example:

derek hospitalLast week, Derek had a setback. The pressure in his head went to an all time high, landing him back in the hospital.  Unfortunately we have seen the pressure increase slowly over the past month and have no idea why.  Because we are back in Wisconsin, I had no choice but to take him to a hospital that just didn’t know what to do for him. When I tried to describe his health history, the doctors looked at me with puzzled faces and asked me, “What’s SSCD?” That is not comforting whatsoever.

We have come so far, and yet setbacks stink. Pressure has been in his head every day since that horrific surgery 5.5 years ago when an tiny implant moved and left a wake of destruction. sarahdrliBut what if this setback is so that God can display his works? How is that Dr. John Li miraculously sat next to me on a plane? After brainstorming with me, he thinks Derek may have something called intracranial pressure, which is caused by the damage of his first surgery. It’s a stretch, but when I consulted with Dr. Yang and Dr. Gopen from UCLA, they agreed. Dr. Yang said, “Sarah, anything is possible. Derek has almost every symptom of it. Though it’s not showing up in his MRI’s, sometimes you just have to listen to the patients symptoms and go with your gut instinct.”

Since I have no real, trusted established care here yet for Derek, we will head back to California in September to investigate. We pray this is last missing link for Derek, the root of what set his wretched disease off—and so much more.

This past setback made me reflect the years gone by. There were times I knew—just knew—something was wrong with Derek. Even though few people believed us, Derek knew it in his head and I knew it in my gut that something was very off. We just didn’t realize just how powerfully the gut affects the brain—and how much the brain affects the gut.

Throughout our search, we learned the truth of the phrase, “When one door closes, another always opens.” A great example of that is Amare Global.

Through this amazing company, we learned just how much of our mental wellness and physical wellness is determined by our gut. Wow, does this concept affect the overall health of the human body! As we coped with the stress of traveling cross country to search for answers, meeting with doctors, undergoing surgeries, and living in a camper, we could easily have fallen into deep loneliness and depression. (Trust me, we had HARD times.) But by focusing on holistic remedies, we learned that a healthy gut = healthy mind.

We fell in love with the mission of this company to be the first ever to boldly pioneer the gut-brain axis, to see how treating the microbiome addresses a whole host of health problems holistically. This door opened to us in the darkest of times, and we simply walked through, pioneering once again and partnering with a dedicated team to holistically serve masses of people. Even though so many thought we were crazy, or that this would go nowhere, no one can deny what has happened.

We went from a phone, a laptop, and a camper less than a year ago, and have experienced unbelievable and unlikely business growth.

This open door exceeded our business expectations beyond our wildest dreams. In our first year, our business is four times larger than what we created in our previous business over 23 years prior.

This is an incredible blessing because it is the only source of income for our family—and we are beginning to financially thrive again instead of barely surviving.

We keep learning and experiencing over and over that success doesn’t come without setbacks. Success follows setbacks.

I know we aren’t the only ones who have had hard times. Everyone has a story. (It’s just that not everyone has a blog!) I want to speak directly to all of you who are in the middle of your own story and are looking for solutions. There might not be a quick fix. Sometimes our stories are long and drawn out, with setbacks that are chronic thorns in our life. These chronic hardships, whatever they are, result in great anxiety. Statistics don’t lie:

• About 80 MILLION Americans will experience a mental health challenge this year.
• People in the U.S. will spend about $1 TRILLION on solutions for their mental wellness challenges.
• Around the world, 350 MILLION people are affected by depression each year.
• Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children.
• In 2016, 6.1 million children were diagnosed with ADHD.

But these are just numbers. In reality, every statistic is someone struggling with something. And I will spend the rest of my life encouraging anyone to not be a statistic. Whatever health conditions you face, science is now linking them to anxiety: headaches, eating disorders, IBS, gut issues, sleep disorders, substance abuse, adult ADHD, Children ADD, ADHD, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, stress. The list goes on and on. Science is also showing us that they are linked to your second brain—your gut.

Taking on this massive health crisis requires more than a one-size-fits all approach. This is why we fell in LOVE with Amare’s holistic solutions, which offered healing and hope during the hardest times of our lives and have given us back some energy and joy. But that wasn’t all. We also used other natural remedies too.  I’m excited to share all these open doors with you in my next blogs, in hopes that they offer they offer relief, just as it has our family.

For now, I’m starting with our all-time favorite way to relax, to find peace and joy in the eye of the storm…


Our family heads to our farm where we ride ATVs, walk, raise goats, ride horses, have a bonfire, and completely unplug from all technology.

We’ve planned trips to national parks simply because nature is healing.

Maybe you can plan a trip for later, but you need help right now too! Find a state or local park and spend an afternoon taking a hike, sitting by the lake, or listening to the quiet.

Need a quick pick-me-up in a busy day? Walk outside in the grass for 10 minutes. Did you know that walking barefoot can reduce pain and inflammation, reduce your anxiety and stress, loosen tense muscles, and boost your energy levels? (This is also called “earthing” because you are grounding yourself to the Earth’s negatively charged electrons.)

For too long, my family was quiet about our struggles and carried them privately, almost as if we were ashamed. I’ve chosen to blog about ours because I am a pioneer who is looking for answers for my husband. During Derek’s recent setbacks, we have used a “holistic concoction” to reduce his headaches and pressure enough to give him a quality of life for now. Honestly, though, sometimes it’s still uncomfortable to share our vulnerable moments. But I want a complete miracle for him more than I want to be comfortable! And maybe by sharing his story, someone else will reach out with another solution. Or our solutions will help someone else.

I’m not sure what your story is, but I’d be honored to walk next to you and help you find the solutions you’re looking for. If you want reduced tension, depression, anger, fatigue, gut issues, sleep, and brain fog, let’s talk.

Maybe it’s time to close some doors in your life and step into a new, open one.

Please leave a note for me in the comments. I’m here to listen and to help.

1 thought on “Setbacks”

  1. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength Sarah & Derek! My heart goes out to both of you during the pain you are feeling and you will continue to be in my thoughts & prayers to find answers & relief, God willing. Love ya both, Dorothy


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