“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (New Living Translation)
Staring at the phone while nervously twirling her hair, she knew she had to make the call. She had made this call how many times before? When would their patience and grace wear out? Sigh. Maybe it will go straight to voicemail. “Hello, this is Boss Man/Lady.” Groan…
“Hi boss. I won’t be able to come in to work today or work from home. My fatigue and headache are really bad, and my joints are swollen, especially my hands and fingers so I can’t type on a keyboard [or sort mail, or wait on tables, or _________ (fill in the blank)]. I’ll call you tomorrow morning if I can’t come in.” There’s a slight hesitation on the other end of the phone and then, “Okay, please rest and take care of yourself.”
A friend calls, “Hey, would you like to have lunch and check out some shops next Saturday?” Your heart jumps at doing this, but so many questions rumble around your brain. What if I don’t feel good that day? What if my anxiety gets the best of me and I’m a mess? What if I get tired and need to rest while we’re walking around, or worse yet, have to leave because I’m so exhausted? What if my stomach gets upset after lunch and I have to search out bathrooms instead of great shops the rest of the day? So you give your typical answer, “I need to check some things out. Can I get back to you & let you know?”
After weeks, months, or years of this, you can begin to think thoughts such as “What good am I? I have little control over my body, have missed so many days of work/school, need help making meals and getting my kids where they need to be, and can’t definitely commit to time with friends and family. Even when I can, I do it through pain, fatigue, blistering headaches, brain fog, or _________ (fill in the blank). I’m never going to be enough for anyone!”
However, you ARE enough! God cares much more about you and who you are than what you do. He loves you unconditionally with a love that’s hard to fathom.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)
You will disappoint others when your illness prevents you from committing to work or social engagements, but God will embrace you and love you through your disappointments. “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:18-19 (NIV)
When friends don’t call or text as often or you receive less invitations to do things, God invites you into His loving arms. Just share your loneliness, tears, and sadness with Him by having a conversation with Him in prayer just as you would a friend. “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 36:7 (NIV)
The Bible verse first listed in this post states that you are God’s masterpiece. He created you, knows your thoughts and heart, and has a plan for you. There are situations only you have experienced with your chronic illness that He can and will use to comfort and challenge others. Your illness is building perseverance, compassion, character, and hope. “And we boast in the HOPE of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. And HOPE does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2b-5 (NIV)
Christian singer Lauren Daigle says it well in her song, “You Say”:
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing.
You say I am strong when I think I am weak.
You say I am held when I am falling short.
When I don’t belong, you say I am Yours.
Do you have times when you felt you weren’t enough? How has God shown you that you are enough and are loved unconditionally?
This is Jackie living with #hopethrough chronic illness and I welcome your comments!