Today I wanted to share a little segment of my story of living with a chronic illness. I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic body fatigue, and Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome. Last year I had two big operations which removed even more health issues that I had, but it didn’t resolve everything. So I wanted to share how when life hits and throws you some curveballs, God can use those situations and turn them for good. That He can shift your focus onto old dormant/new dreams, desires and his good plans for you. For me that’s writing!
Flo had asked me how I felt about my body image as part of her loving herself sessions. My answer was this, although like most people I have my body conscious occasional days like lots of us do for sure. But my first thought was actually, I hate not feeling fit, healthy and active like I used to feel. Not feeling quite like me! I think of the many, many years of being in constant debilitating pain, I always had held on to this feeling that, “I'll get back to feeling like me.” However the years past, different diagnosis came and went, some got resolved and then there was this, that just hung around like an unwelcome guest.
One of the hardest things I’ve had to come to terms with, whilst trying to process this through the years as healthily as I could. Was not just the physical pain and symptoms you get with fibromyalgia, but it's the things I couldn't do anymore, things I was missing out on, or my family were missing out on, it was the fact that it can come in many forms and to different degrees. This thing, this big invisible on the outside thing, just came and swept me from under my feet and made changes to my life.
The way that I’ve handled this particular curveball so far ( and believe me it’s had its up and downs ) is that I had to make a choice to adapt. To be real with the reality of where I was at with the chronic illness, to do all I could do on any given day knowing some are going to be better than others. To continue to pray and walk this journey through with God knowing He can and does heal. But sometimes we just don’t know when it will happen. That is the mystery of God. But hey, I’m not God and He is. So I have to trust in the fact that He is sovereign ( in control ) over it all. He is good, and His timing is perfect. Often it’s the mental battle that’s harder, not just the physical.
I chose rather than let it rob me completely, to look at all the great stuff to be thankful for. I have chosen to NOT focus on all the pain and loss, (obviously sometimes I can’t help but focus on it, because let’s face it, it’s causing me pain ) but rather where God has been constantly faithful. To focus on gratitude. Gratitude is so powerful and a great and helpful remedy. To also continue to hold on to hope.
About a decade ago, God stirred a passion in my heart to become a writer. A writer of books, songwriting, blog writing. My initial response to that first thought was to disregard it. To push it aside thinking it was just too big of a pipe dream and also weird, because this was the first time I had ever thought about it, so thought it was just a crazy thought.It completely threw me, excited me and terrified me. At this time, there were two parts of my mind that were in competition with themselves one half of my brain would be working overtime to make me doubt and have fear. Things like you’re not a writer, you’re not academic enough, you aren’t qualified or trained to do it, what would you even write about and bring to the table, you’re not good enough. What would others think? I could go on but I’m guessing you catch the drift. Have you ever had thoughts like this? Then there was the other side that suddenly really excited me and really loved the idea of being a writer.
Over this last decade I’ve been on a journey overcoming some of these fears, which ultimately often boiled down to using my voice and the fear of man. Some of these fears I’ve been able to conquer, and step into freedom by the goodness of God. Some I have to keep batting away, reminding myself of the truth of who I am and whose I am. I am a child of God. I am accepted, valued, loved, bold, brave. I have a voice because He gave me a voice. He created me and called me to step into the good plans He has for me. I love that it’s based on the truth of what He did for me on the cross so that I could live in relationship with Him, out of anxiety and fear but rather to live in freedom!!
What I love the most is that God is the one that can turn bad, harmful situations into good. He makes all things good. He can use your weakness and turn it into a strength. He can turn and use the unqualified to become the qualified through and with him. I love how He loves to partner with us, to use the gifting’s He has given us to thrive ourselves and help others thrive. I just love how He loves!!
It has taken me quite a while to get to this point though and believe me I’m still working on it. Some fears can be easier to bat away and conquer quickly, others can be a process. But something I do believe is that if you stay static and never deal with them, they will stick around and will continue to rob you of your life. BUT if you choose to deal with them, even if you have to deal with that same fear a few times to really get free from it. Then do just that, keep chipping away at it, because you don’t have to stay stuck, you can move forward and you can live in freedom.
I’m now at a place where even though it scares me, to break some of my fears means I have to crack on with what is on my heart to do and that is to write! To write children’s books, songs, blogs. To write on identity topics and talk about celebrating each other because there is enough good stuff for everyone!
God has all the resources and He has enough for everyone. He never runs out! I believe that just because other people might be doing something that you want to do, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Your thing will be unique because you are unique. Don’t let comparison rob you. Comparison is the thief of joy. I like the fact that through the ongoing journey of learning to love my body with where its at, has brought me to a greater revelation of what it means for God to be my strength, and in more ways than just the physical.