It’s always inspirational to meet someone who has such a positive, faith-filled attitude that radiates from the inside out – despite any obstacles. Kimberly Goodloe is one such woman. Though she has faced some health challenges, she continues to maintain an attitude of gratitude. Finally, I seized the opportunity to ask Kimberly to share her story to give hope and encouragement to others facing their own challenges.
Tracy: Kimberly, this journey for you began a few years ago. Can you take us back and share what happened?
Kimberly: At the time of the event, I was 42 years old (now 44 years old). It was a normal day at work; when I walked outside the classroom, I experienced a shortness of breath & elevated blood pressure. I called my doctor, a test was ordered and then it was discovered that something was wrong with my heart valve. After further testing, it was discovered that I would need a heart surgery.
So, until that point in your life, there were no symptoms or indications of any problems with your heart?
Kimberly: I was born with an abnormal heart valve. My childhood was normal because I did not develop symptoms until adulthood.
In reading your story, the first surgery took place on February 12, 2009 but another surgery took place only a few days later on February 16, 2009. Tell us what happened.
Kimberly: Complications developed after the first procedure, severe enough that I received a pacemaker four days after my first surgery. A year later, June 23, 2010, my third procedure took place – a pacemaker revision.
What were the responses of those close to you – your family and friends?
Kimberly: My family & friends expressed their concerns over how long it would take for me to recover from three surgeries, and how they could all assist during my recovery period, etc. My strong support system: loving husband, beautiful children, family, medical staff, Pastor and church family, and a host of amazing friends continue to provide support & encouraging words. I thank God for blessing me with a wonderful support system.
I believe that it’s important for people to know that when we are going through difficult times, each day is not the same. There may be days when you feel strong and full of faith, but then there are those days when you’re literally struggling to hold on. Kimberly, what about those times when there is no one else around- when it’s just you and God? What are those moments like? What are you saying to your Heavenly Father?
Kimberly: On those days when I’m not feeling 100% and no one else is around, I connect with God. I pray to God for help, guidance & strength – He ALWAYS answers my prayers. Then I pick myself up and keep pressing through my recovery period. It’s a process that I practice daily. That’s the only way I know to survive- leaning on God (not man) for everything.
I know that community involvement is very important to you and I’ve always admired your perseverance to “keep it moving” as you would say. Has this been helpful to you or has it played a role in helping you to continue pressing forward?
Kimberly: By helping others (even though I continue to face daily health challenges), I receive comfort in knowing that I did not give up in the hospital two years ago; but made a decision to embrace my assignment ( making a difference in the community).
Since the beginning of this journey, has anything changed in any way?
Kimberly: Yes, I’ve accepted my physical limitations, made adjustments and I focus on my blessings instead of my daily health challenges. Our family’s faith has elevated to a “higher” level because we know without a doubt that God is a healer.
All of us face challenges in different ways. Your challenge may not be mine and vice versa; so how important is it not to allow our challenges to turn us away from God?
Kimberly: It’s very important for us to keep our eyes “focused” on God and not the trials we face, by staying focused we gain confidence, strength & peace from God.
You’ve been a woman of great encouragement to so many throughout this season in your life. What opportunities have come forth as a result of your testimony?
Kimberly: God healed me; now I give back by sharing “ MY JOURNEY”, speaking at local health fairs & churches, writing my health blog, visiting cardiac patients & their families at the hospital – Mended Hearts Program, developing community resources for various non-profit organizations, etc.
Tracy: Kimberly, God is truly a God of “extreme makeovers”. Only He can take the less desirable conditions in our lives and use them to transform us into vessels for His Glory. Thank you for allowing others into your life, into your journey and most importantly into your heart.
Watch Kimberly’s video as Part II of this interview!
Kimberly lives in Gwinnett with her husband and two children. If you would like to read more about Kimberly’s journey, visit her blog at http://4wedobelieve.wordpress.com.
*This interview was originally posted in 2011. Photo Credit: Adriana Sans photography.