Former "Duck Dynasty" star Mary Kate Robertson, wife of Willie and Korie Robertson's eldest son John Luke, has reflected on God's faithfulness amid her family's lengthy battle with Lyme disease.
In a recent blog post, Robertson said she chose to share her family's story to help those who are "battling a chronic illness" to know "you are not alone."
"[It's hard] to talk about the things that are still very real and very present...the things you are still struggling with that make your heart ache pretty deeply," the Louisiana native wrote on her blog The Little Duck Wife.
When Robertson was in fourth grade, her father was diagnosed with Lyme disease after a family trip to DisneyWorld. She said at the time her family was happy to have an explanation for her dad feeling "so sick", but "none of us really knew what we were about to be in for."
Lyme disease, she explained, is a bacterial infection from a deer tick bite that attacks your neurological systems "like your brain and your nerves."
"Everything is harder. It can just leave you kind of bed-ridden," she wrote. "You can have some good hours during the day, where everyone you know thinks you're fine, but those other 20 hours are where you pay for those few good ones. It can differ by the weeks. Good weeks and bad weeks, good days and bad days."
The 21-year-old said she, her mom and her sister were later diagnosed with the disease around the time Robertson was in middle school. Her family struggled to find a doctor or a treatment to help them but one particular treatment went wrong and left her dad "legally blind for a while."
At first, the disease didn't seem to affect her, but by her junior year of high school, she was "so tired" she could barely function.
"Those last years two years of high school I struggled with some depression but didn't owe it to Lyme," she admitted." I just didn't want to believe that Lyme was a big problem in my life."
"It just kept taking and taking and it just keeps taking and taking. It's stolen so much," she wrote.
Lyme disease has "affected every aspect of life," the reality star said. "My parents' marriage and my own marriage...I feel like I'm living in a body that won't cooperate with me...it won't do its job...The future holds a ton of uncertainty."
She revealed her father had suffered so much that she "heard my dad ask to go on to heaven countless times."
But even in the darkest times, God is good, she said.
"Lyme sucks, but God is good. We don't understand, but God has a plan. We may not have healing on earth, but God has got healing waiting for us in heaven. We feel alone and misunderstood often, but God understands it all."
In fact, Robertson said that the only thing that has gotten her through her family's struggle is their faith in God - as hard as it may be.
"It's not always easy to believe God is good in the midst of this. Sometimes it feels impossible," she admitted. "We've prayed for healing for years, and just because God hasn't answered our prayers in the way we would like for Him to, doesn't mean that He is not at work. I have to believe He has a plan."
She added, "Amongst the confusion and uncertainty I know the Lord to be constant."
Concluding her post, Robertson encouraged everyone to "be a little kinder to one another" and "consider the fact that we don't always know what others are going through."
"I hope we'll choose to speak kind and uplifting words to everyone and less words that tear down. I hope we'll even go out of our way to speak life. I hope we'll pray for one another more and love well."