Chronic Illness: Finding My Way Back
It’s amazing how many times I seem to sit down with a blank page in front of me and nothing comes. As I write this I am sitting at a coffee shop with a cup of tea just trying to remember who I am and who God made me to be apart from chronic illness. I feel like an outsider looking in. I know I have gifts and passions somewhere in me, they just seem to have been suppressed. This has become a normal situation lately and the reason behind my absence. If I’m being completely honest, the last 2 years of my life have left me in a state of shock and with a tendency toward a daily battle with depression. I’ve had a hard time believing in myself and a hard time knowing my value as a child of God.
I have had to fight bitterness that tries to rise up and consume my every thought and decision. I have been very very distant with people, with social media, with my blog and my music. And the reason is this… it’s too painful. It’s painful watching people’s lives go on. It’s painful seeing colleagues of yours from years ago thriving, meanwhile you are in a gruesome road of recovery and healing. It’s painful to dream and get hopeful and excited about something, only to have the rug ripped out from under you….again.
I am battling a state of being I never understood before. Healing and my health has become my existence. And I hate that. Every decision I have made over the last several years is dictated by my symptoms and hospital stays. Every conversation I have is about how my body is doing, how my latest doctor appointment went, what supplements I’m taking and how to keep me functioning at the best capacity I can.
I’ve taken this health nightmare into every thread of my life, including my role as a mom to my miracle baby. Whether I can take care of him and enjoy him depends on a day to day symptom check. That’s a suffocating feeling as a mother.
These last years have been a tragic and at the same time a beautiful disaster. I have learned and grown. I have changed. I have a beautiful boy now. And my heart has completely changed and been molded to be more like Jesus in a lot of ways. But chronic illness does something to you. Anyone out there who has had a seemingly unending struggle with their health will understand this.
Chronic illness is a sneaky and deceitful spirit that if you don’t fight against it, can consume you and become your identity.
That is my biggest hurdle at this point in my journey and surgery recovery. Identity.
I have a hard time even after having my colon removed and getting my disease at a more manageable place, making plans or dreaming at all.
To be honest, I’m scared to dream again. I used to dream with such reckless abandon, with everything in me. I believed in the goodness of God, of people, of my dreams and of seeing massive change in individual lives and the world at large. I was known as driven and ambitious and passionate. And I know that girl is still there, I just have to find her again.
So I am putting one foot in front of the other, day after day. Some days are challenging and I seem to fail over and over again and other days I get a glimpse of the passionate, vibrant version of my true self. The real me. The me God made me to be.
Over these next weeks or months or however long it takes, this is my declaration:
I am ready to fight again.
I am ready to find my way back to vitality, passion, purpose, dreams and the world changing way I used to think and believe.
Chronic illness is currently still an active part of my life. BUT I had a life saving series of surgeries this year that have literally given me my life back in so many ways. I no longer spend weeks on end in and out of the hospital. I no longer have to have a caretaker around 24/7. I can walk in independence and freedom. I just have to realize that and let it sink in. It’s a weird psychology that takes place when you battle with severe illness for years and years and I have seen its effects first hand.
So with the leading of the Holy Spirit and a whole lot of support and prayer I am embarking again. I am embarking on living this beautiful life God has gifted me with. I am embarking on a journey of creating, and singing and writing and going wherever God leads me.
No matter the temptation that has come again and again over these last couple of years, I will not give up. I may fail. I may mess up. I will still have bad days and insecurities and identity hiccups, but with God ALL things are possible and I am holding to his promises for my life.
He WILL fulfill his purpose for me (Psalm 138:8) and He WILL fulfill His purpose for you.
He is bigger and greater than any bad couple of years or health struggle, or financial crisis or relationship set back or depression or anxiety or any of the hidden battles we all deal with on a daily basis. Greater is HE that is in me than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4). God has a good plan for my life. But there is another side… The Devil also has a plan for my life. A plan to use hardships and suffering to destroy me, my calling, my dreams, my family and my life.
Since im being honest, the devil has tried and tried and he has gained some ground in trying to destroy me as painful as that is to admit. But no more. Like Peter says in Matthew 16:23, “Get behind me Satan”.
I wanted to be as transparent as possible with this post for those of you who feel like you are alone. This is the reality of my current journey. But I find rest and peace in knowing that we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:31)
I’m an imperfect person with God’s perfect loving hand on my life, now THAT is power. And no demon in hell or circumstance of this world can separate me from his love or throw a wrench in his plan.
I will fight on. I will walk in the victory that is mine in Christ Jesus. And sharing my journey is the first step. No matter my insecurities or fears, I will do what I was gifted and made to do: create.
As I share my journey and create even through my brokenness, I believe God will show up. Clarity will come. Freedom will manifest and the passion in my soul will reignite.
Welcome to my journey.
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