It is Well with Me: Peace in My Suffering

by Brie Barrier Wetherbee

I don’t talk about this much.

It’s too hard. But God calls me to share it now and then. This is one of those times.

I know, because I heard Him challenge me, deep in my heart.

“Brie, it’s time. Again. Will you choose to say ‘It is well’? Are you going to trust me?”

My husband, Brad, and I led worship for our church yesterday. I LOVE singing with Brad. That’s partly how I knew he was the man God had for me. In fact, after our second date, I left the country for a few weeks. Brad made me a CD of himself singing hymns and worship songs. I listened to it every night. (Note to guys courting a woman, serenading her every night—even thru a good, old CD—is a BRILLIANT idea.

And I married the man. Best decision of my life.

But I digress.

Yesterday morning, I woke up to the sound of Brad practicing one of the songs for the service, an unusual arrangement of “It Is Well with My Soul.”


Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Twenty years ago, I remember laying in a hospital bed with a serious case of pneumonia. Every breath hurt. In fact, everything hurt…and I was terrified. I dare you to find anything more frightening than fighting for a breath that won’t come.

But then, I heard my doctor and my parents speaking in low tones just outside my door. “You better prepare yourselves…she may not make it through the night.” Add terror to terror, why don’t you?!?

Honestly, I don’t remember much after that. I know that I did wake up the next morning, and the next. It took weeks for me to recover. Then then next bout of pneumonia hit. Hello, hospital!


Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you

            Through it all, through it all, it is well…

            Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you

            And it is well…with me.


Fast forward a couple of years. After six bouts of pneumonia, multiple cases of bronchitis, flu, and everything else under the sun, my doctors finally decided to test my immune system and find out why I couldn’t fight off infection.

I waited and waited for the results.

The verdict? CVID, Common Variable Immunodeficiency, a genetic disorder that means my body does not synthesize immunoproteins. In simple terms, no immune system.

As every wise patient does, I immediately began to scour the internet.

There are only about 6,000 CVID patients in the U.S. You know the ribbons that represent fighting for a cure? Mine is a purple zebra. PURPLE ZEBRA. Could we be more rare or have uglier tee-shirts?

Most CVID patients are diagnosed as kids; very few make it to adulthood if they aren’t. Apparently, I’m one of the fortunate.

CVID patients tend to die from one of three causes: respiratory infection, lymphoma, or leukemia. Life expectancy is significantly decreased. No one will say by how much. I actually think I’m ok with that. Maybe.

Thank God; there is a viable treatment called IGG. Basically, I spend sixteen hours every other Thursday hooked up to an IV, receiving an immune system in a bottle. The side effects stink. Huge migraine. Inflamed joints. Nausea and vomiting. The list goes on.

I’ll be tethered to IGG for the rest of my life. At a cost of about $15,000 per treatment. Insurance companies hate me. But again, God has provided and I’ve cobbled together coverage over the years. Still, no subject throws me into a panic like health insurance.

As Brad would say, “Good Night, Nurse!” I think that’s Texan for “Good grief!” but with a lot more feeling.


Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea


Have you ever been mad at God?

I remember comedian Mark Lowry asking that question during a concert. Mark said, “Well, if you’ve ever been mad at God, you might as well tell him. Because he already knows.”

Truer words. Truer words.

I was mad. REALLY mad. Mind you, I haven’t shared much of my background. I was shot in a drive-by shooting at school when I was 13. I watched my dad strap on bulletproof vests to preach on Sundays, because of threats against my family. I survived an incredibly abusive first marriage. The list goes on, but I think you get the idea.

So now we have it. I will most likely die early. And I will hurt every day until I do.

I wrestled with my anger for months. And I felt guilty about being angry. And that made me even more angry…

Until one day when I just gave up. I’d had enough.


So let go, my soul, and trust in Him,

The waves and wind still know His name.

Let go, my soul and trust in Him,

The waves and wind still know His name.


I remember laying on the bed in the guest room at my parents’ house. Sometimes Mom practices on the piano downstairs, and it reminds me so much of being a little girl, laying on my belly under the piano while she taught lessons.

That day, she started to play, “It Is Well with My Soul,” a hymn I’ve always loved. Right then, plain as day, God spoke directly to my heart. I’ll never forget it.

He said, “Choose.”

“Choose?” I thought “What do you mean ‘Choose’? Choose not to be angry? Choose not to be scared about all this? Choose what?”

Mom sang, “Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.”

“It’s your choice,” I heard Him again, deep in my spirit. “Will you choose to say ‘It is well?” Or will you choose to stay angry and become bitter? It’s your choice. But if you choose to trust Me, ALL WILL BE WELL.”


Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you

            Through it all, through it all, it is well…

            Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you

            And it is well…with me.


In that moment, I made my choice.

No matter what comes, no matter how scary the future looks, no matter how much pain I’m in, no matter how many surgeries I undergo, no matter how many times they stick me with needles, no matter how badly the migraines hurt, no matter how often I have to fight to breathe…no matter what.

I choose to say, “It is well…with me.”





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