“If I could just go to sleep and not wake up…I wouldn’t have to feel this pain anymore,” I said to myself. Some days the pain and the exhaustion are just too much for me.
Living with a chronic illness is not easy. There are times when I’m at the end, my energy has run out, and I just don’t want to live. However, what begins to go through my mind is all the people that love me and rely on me – my two youngest boys still at home, my older children, my grandchildren, and my husband. So I talk myself out of it and into a better place. I begin to list the positives and think of all the things I can still do. I can walk (slowly), I can still work, and I can still knit! “That’s it, atta girl, there’s more, keep going,” I tell myself.
Can you identify? Does this sound like a familiar routine? If so, you know exactly how I feel. Tired. Sore. Losing mobility, slowly but surely shriveling, my world getting smaller, fewer options – all this tends to get to me every so often. What can we do about it? How do we cope? Dragging ourselves out of the pit of despair over and over again in itself is discouraging. How do we keep going on?
Early this morning I hauled myself out of bed. I had an appointment with a physiotherapist at the pool. I knew if I just decided to go to Aquafit, I’d never get there on my own. Having an appointment, someone waiting for me at the other end, would get me there. So I pushed myself and went, got in the water with a young man who showed me how to exercise the right way in the pool. What was the reward for my hard work? Ten minutes in the hot tub and a homework assignment. Breath deeply three times every hour. Relax. Fill yourself. Feel better.
For many years I asked God to heal me from this affliction. I didn’t even know exactly what was wrong, but it was seriously affecting my life. I thought I couldn’t go on. In spite of my repeated prayers, my moaning and my groaning, it was still there. I begged God to take it away. I whined about it. When He didn’t, I argued, and said, “I have children, I need to be healed. How could I look after them and my aging mother and be sick?” I reasoned. It seemed he wasn’t listening to me. So I bargained with Him. “Hey, Lord, don’t you realize that without this disease I could accomplish so much more for your glory?”
Nothing worked. As the years went by, resigned to live with the proverbial “thorn in my flesh” and remembering the words of Paul in the Bible, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” I set about learning how to live with my condition. What happened after I accepted my situation? Well, even though I still have days when the darkness comes and I think that guy Paul was full of it, I’m able to somehow hear His voice telling me He loves me and is with me. Does God heal people today? I believe He does.
However, more often than not, He gives us strength for each new day. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness.”
Major Kathy Chiu is a writer. preacher. Salvation Army Officer. Passionate about God's Word, family...and of course knitting. Currently the Executive Director at The Salvation Army Victoria Addictions & Rehabilitation Centre. Regularly blogging over at www.kathiechiu.com
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