“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God. I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise You forever for what You have done, in Your name I will hope.” (Psalm. 52.8)
Did you ever think you would have a chronic disease –or even find it hard to believe you have one? It’s certainly not how we planned our lives as young people. I’ve struggled with Sjogren’s Disease since 1993. It is an autoimmune disease in which white blood cells get misdirected and attack healthy moisture producing glands. It affects every area of my life. The dry eyes and mouth are manageable, but the severe fatigue that robs me of one to two days a week is hard to take.
I will never get used to having to call people and tell them I have to cancel our plans. It’s especially disappointing if the activity was something I really wanted to do. I wrestle with wondering if people believe me.
I belong to three groups in my church where people take turns leading the lesson. I can never lead because I don’t know if I’ll be feeling good that day. What’s hard is when someone doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to take no for an answer. I’m sure you have similar experiences.
In spite of the difficulties, we can flourish. We are not our illness. We can live above it with God’s help.
Acceptance helps us to flourish–not acceptance that causes a person to stop trying, but acceptance that this is the way things are for now. God has a plan for all of us. It is in Him that we thrive, find nourishment, and hope. All along the way, He can be found, arms outstretched, ready to lead us and to cause us to flourish.
Father, there are a lot of disappointments and pain caused by chronic disease, but You haven’t abandoned us. You want us to flourish like a well-planted olive tree. You fill us with life in spite of our infirmities. We praise You and thank You, Amen.
About the author:
Jackie Smith if from Knoxville, TN near the beautiful Smoky Mountains. She struggles with Shogren’s disease and severe migraines. She’s a breast cancer survivor of 25 years. In 2009, her colon had to be removed, necessitating an ileostomy (a bag that collects waste). Her strength and joy in the Lord often causes her to flouish regardless of her problems. She has been married for 34 years and immensely enjoys her 12 grandchildren.
As difficult as your disease is, can you rest in the knowledge that acceptance can lead to peace which results in flourishing? Our hope is in a loving God who helps us find joy in all circumstances.
Are you looking for peace? This is a song that will touch your heart, “Perfect Peace” with Laura Story. The lyrics are easy to hear and I think they will touch your heart. Praying we can each find perfect peace… -Lisa