I don’t often talk about the illnesses I live with but for today I am. Before I became ill, I was an active mum and minister. I enjoyed taking the boys out on walks in the woods, countryside, and fields. I loved watching them explore and we always brought home acorns, twigs, pine cones, etc. in little sandwich bags. I enjoyed working with children. I loved planning programmes and crafts and then spending time getting to know the children in our church. I taught Sunday School, Junior Soldiers, worked at summer camps, etc. I also enjoyed teaching/preaching. I am more a teacher than a preacher.
I was quite active with all these things until 2010 when my life changed. I had sinus surgery in March and then later that year I had swine flu. This was also the year I became a British citizen and went to Brengle Holiness Retreat. 2010 was a great year in many ways despite the surgery and illness.
I began to feel exhausted anytime I did something. If I did a programme at church, I had to rest for a day or two to get over just doing the one programme. Then my back began hurting all the time, little did I know then how much that would affect me now.
In 2011, we moved from Kendal to Gateshead. I still was always tired, not able to think straight and just simply had to rest a whole lot. I wasn’t diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome/M.E. until 2012 because frankly, I did not want to waste the GP’s time. I just thought I needed to get over it and move on. I was told then I should really take some time off to help myself to get better. However, I worked for an extra year until I literally could not do it anymore. I had to stop because my body was not cooperating.
I went off work on the sick in December 2013. Doing this completely changed my life. I had to learn to pace myself in everything I did. I learnt that I needed to rest more often than I liked, for example having to have a nap everyday just so I can the energy to do the simple things I do. I began to get into a routine.
Then, pain set in. I was having pain in my lower back. I was finding it harder and harder to walk. I went to the pain clinic to try to figure out what was causing my pain. I was diagnosed with facet joint syndrome- basically arthritis in the lumbar joints on the sides of the spine between the vertebrae. I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia due to the intense nerve and muscle pain throughout my body. I got to the point that in 2014 I ended up having to have a wheelchair to get around outside the house, as I was totally confined. To add to this, I have Vitamin D deficiency, asthma (18 years), psoriasis (10 years), and anxiety/depression (16 years).
There have been many emotions to deal with through all of the changes. I have gone through stages of grief of who I once was, what I used to do, and just how life has changed. I have had to learn to depend on others, which has been one of the hardest things to do. I need helping getting dressed, drying after a shower, etc. I can no longer cook, clean, or do things spontaneously. I have struggled with loneliness, frustration, anger, etc.
Yet, I have not been able to go through this alone. My Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, has been my Rock and my strength. I also have an amazing husband, Mark, who really does a fab job of looking after me and the boys. He is indeed a blessing from God and I am so glad God chose him for me.
I have found that my faith has grown stronger in the Lord in these days. I have more time to pray and to study the Word than ever before. I am grateful for the sacred moments. In the midst of the physical pain, I listen to worship music and use my creative talents to create cards and crafts. I knit prayer shawls, blankets, toys, etc. for other people. So, I keep myself busy, just in different ways.
People have challenged my faith saying that my faith isn’t strong as if it were I would be healed. I find that it’s greater faith to live through all of this with joy and hope than it does to be healed. I never would have guessed how God would use me for his glory despite of my limitations.
I enjoy praying for other people. I have seen answers to prayers, which is a blessing and a bonus. I enjoy creating things for people, it gives me delight to know someone is blessed by something I made them.
My prayer is God will use me in any way he desires all the time. I am determined to be positive and give God the glory despite of the circumstances. I have learnt to give thanks and pray in all circumstances. I desire to have a joyful spirit that is contagious for others to catch.
No matter what the future holds, God is in control. I surrender all to him. God is my everything. Jesus is Lord. The Holy Spirit lives in me. My life is secure in his hands. I am truly blessed.
I hold on to the following verses each day to get me through:
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength!He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. -Habakkuk 3:17-19
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. -Psalm 73:26
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior.He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” -Zephaniah 3:17
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. -1 Corinthians 12:9
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!” -Lamentations 3:22-24