My Story

Hi! I’m Alexa Schexnaildre, author of For the Greater Purpose Blog. I’m a NOLA (well, Metairie) Catholic working to grow closer to God and learn more about my faith in the midst of long-suffering.

In a Nutshell

I was fine my whole life until I had my wisdom teeth removed- then everything changed. I’ve now been chronically ill for over 20 years with several significant medical issues that took many years to get properly diagnosed but are still not resolved. I’ve had many surgeries with more on the way, I have a never-before documented iron issue, and I was pretty much housebound for 10 years. I look fine, but I live in a lot of pain and have significant physical limitations. I’ve endured a lot of loss, including the loss of my father who died of cancer in 2009.

My life looks nothing like I thought or hoped it would- I don’t have my health, the career I wanted, or husband and children (at least not yet), but my faith has grown to a depth that I didn’t even know was possible! I have a different view of everything now, understanding that being the woman God created me to be is not dependent on circumstances, and knowing that getting to heaven and helping others to do the same is all that really matters! God is teaching me so much about the cross and suffering, surrender, discernment, and accompaniment, and I want to share these lessons in the hopes that these messages help others as well!

Faith Background

I’m a cradle Catholic who grew up going to Mass and Catholic school. If you had asked me in high school how my faith was, I would’ve said that it was great. Ha! Once I got sick though, I realized that I was unprepared to suffer despite the faith foundation I was grateful to have received from family, weekend Mass, and Catholic school.

When my health situation didn’t resolve quickly, some people exited my life. It took many years for me to even get properly diagnosed, and it was hard for people understand my situation. Two of my friends even told me that I should just commit suicide- that this was too hard on my parents and on me. I realized that I had been unconsciously putting far too much importance on events, other people, and even ice cream- anything to look forward to basically, when what I needed to focus on was God. Absolutely everything is fleeting except for God!

I knew I had to bulk up on my faith and learn a lot more if I was going to get through this, but I had a lot of “why” questions. I was angry with God for allowing this to happen, and I felt that He loved others (who had smoother lives) more than He loved me. I struggled with the fact that I was never where I was “supposed to be” in life and never where others my age (or even those older or younger) were. I wanted to be healed and knew He could heal me, but why wasn’t that happening? Why do bad things happen to good people?

So I embarked on quite the faith journey- learning as much as I could via spiritual direction, spending time in adoration, listening to extra homilies, reading scripture, articles, and books, listening to podcasts, going to daily Mass more frequently, etc. I had so much to learn about surrender and opening my heart to Him. I had to let go of “my way” and “my ideas” to really learn how to discern and hear His voice, all the while accepting that He doesn’t always step in to prevent suffering. I had to bulldoze some of the (well-intentioned) things I had heard or had been taught about the Catholic faith that were inaccurate, and I had to bulk up on things such as the Catholic teachings about suffering. It has not been (and still isn’t) an easy road, but Jesus has been walking with me every step of the way!

In the process of seeking to learn more about my faith out of desperation to stay afloat, I got to know Jesus in a way I hadn’t even realized was possible. God has been teaching me so many lessons in the midst of this long-suffering, and these lessons have changed my world for the better. I only wish I had understood some of this earlier on, because that would have helped me so much during some very dark times. My goal with this blog is to allow God to work through me and bring good out of my still bad situation in the hopes that sharing my experiences and the lessons He is putting on my heart will help others on their journeys as well.

One of my Hawaiian Sunset Hibiscus flowers!

Fun Facts: Things I love (in addition to God, of course!)

  • Sunsets
  • Hibiscus flowers
  • Walks in the neighborhood
  • Swimming
  • Laughing with friends
  • Steak
  • Warm chocolate chip cookies!

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