“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. For when I am weak, I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10b
“It’s a battle, isn’t it? You’re fighting so hard. I don’t know where you get the strength,” my friend said. “I think you’re a warrior.”
“What”? I asked.
“You’re a warrior…in a battle for a normal life,” she said.
“Hmm, I don’t feel like one,” I stated, and then pondered what she said.
Hands crippled and in pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Uncertainty of stability or consciousness because of a sudden drop in heart rate or blood pressure because of P.O.T.S. (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) or dysautonomia. Abdominal pain from Crohn’s disease. Severe pelvic pain from endometriosis dismissed as “normal” menstrual cramps by many gynecologists. Debilitating muscle aches, fatigue, and brain fog from Persistent Lyme disease.
This is the reality for those who have chronic illness. Although we feel physically or mentally weak some days, we are fighting hard to live normal lives. We truly are chronic illness warriors.
For some of us, our daily battle begins before we get out of bed, or just after as we get to our knees, and ask God for His strength for the day and to go ahead of us in our day.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
Most days, you see us only after we have prepared for battle. Taking a hot shower or bath is the only way our aching muscles can enter the battle. We take daily medications and supplements as our weapons to face the enemy. Then we scout the enemy by checking the severity of our symptoms. Our battle strategy depends on our agenda, the length of our day, and the scheduled work and activities.
FINALLY, WE STEP OUT THE DOOR…AND ENTER THE BATTLE.
“You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.” Psalm 18:39 “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” Psalm 18:32
We get up.
And don’t give up.
Because there’s really no other choice.
I’ve met a lot of people with Persistent Lyme disease with symptoms that have caused them to take a leave of absence or leave their work completely, including doctors, lawyers, executives, and teachers. For many, it took an average of 7 years before they even got a diagnosis and began treatment. They are the bravest, strongest people I know, warriors at heart.
To all my fellow chronic illness warriors…you’re here. Trying. Doing battle. Every single day. That makes you a brave warrior, and being brave is worth celebrating!
So today, share your battle cry that keeps you going, keeps you trying different treatments, and gives you #hopethroughchronicillness. Tell me something good and what you’re currently trying, even if the outcome is still unknown. And then rest your head on your pillow tonight, knowing you won one more daily battle.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
We celebrate you, warriors!
This is Jackie, living with #hopethroughchronicillness.
Let this this song from Christian singer & songwriter, Michael W. Smith, called “Surrounded”, be your battle cry. You may feel surrounded by your illness, but remember you’re always surrounded by God.