Creating a Comforting Environment When Chronically Ill

Each person defines their comforting environment in different ways. Our newest devotional writer, Jackie, shares some of her favorites.

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. (Proverbs 15:30)

Sjogren’s disease has been a part of my life for over 20 years. Last week I had one of my flare-ups with extremely debilitating fatigue. It was an effort to walk into the kitchen, much less to walk to the mailbox. I felt like a limp dishrag.

Most disappointing was that I missed a fun lunch with my neighbors. I felt sorry for myself thinking this is one more thing I have to cancel. I wondered if others would understand. I especially hate the anxiety I have when I cancel events. I feel like a child having to explain to a doubting teacher that she missed the class due to illness.

There is no way I can control the fatigue. What I do have control over is creating for myself a comforting environment. I put on a pot of coffee and rest in my comfortable recliner, wrapped up in my oh-so-soft comforter. Then, depending on the season, I turn on my gas log fireplace or light a flameless candle. I love flowers and have them throughout my home. A bunch of bright yellow alstromeria are inexpensive and last for 2 weeks.

I’m too tired and my brain is too fuzzy to read, but I often have prerecorded shows on TV to watch or go to Netflix and enjoy a good movie. I also find that my attitude is better if I put on some lipstick, brush my hair, lather myself in sweet-smelling lotion and casually dress. In other words, I try to be gentle with myself.

One practice that I have which definitely helps my attitude is to be aware of special gifts God puts in my path during the day: my husband bringing me a cup of coffee, a caring phone call from a friend, my dog, Missy, sitting beside me all day—that is really special.

My greatest joy is sensing God’s presence. He is my Beloved and I am His precious child. In spite of the flare-ups, I can flourish in His presence. Of course, there are days that God seems far away when I feel so rotten. Then I have to intentionally turn my eyes on Him. I take comfort in His arms and remember what Corrie Ten Boon said, “I will nestle and not wrestle.”

PrayerL Oh my beloved Lord, You are the source of exquisite joy. Help me to create an environment on bad days that encourages me to maintain a good attitude and to enjoy your comforting presence. Amen.

About the Author:
Jackie Smith lives in Knoxville, TN near the beautiful Smoky Mountains. She has Sjogren’s disease and migraine headaches. Jackie had a bilateral mastectomy over 25 years ago. A few years ago she had her colon removed, necessitating a permanent ileostomy. She has her master’s degree in Child and Family Services. While she has never been able to work using her degree, she has great joy using it with her husband, 5 children and 13 grandchildren. Jackie loves sharing with others through her writing about the magnificent love of God.

How can you make changes in your environment in order to maximize your comfort and to be aware of God’s presence on bad days?

We have a whole bunch of things that we’ve discovered that are comforting when you are ill that are here on our Pin Board. You don’t need a Pinterst account to browse!

As you get cozy, take a moment to just worship the Lord. Put aside the prayer requests, the plans, the pleas and just sit with Him. This song, “Cry In My Heart” by Starfield, asks God to carry one through the difficulties, to be there no matter what. We don’t have anything if we don’t have Jesus. Sing it to Him. -Lisa