I frequently get asked by folks, “How do you handle all of this?”
This, referring to serious chronic illness, child-rearing, and working full-time.
While I’m not always “handling” things the way I should, I do know THIS is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. We’re almost fourteen years into this chronic illness journey.
Today my husband candidly informed me that he was lying in bed contemplating whether cutting off his legs or smashing them with a sledgehammer would be less painful. Truth, ladies, just bein’ real.
Pain meds aren’t working. We’re in a snarled mess with our insurance. Someone keyed in his birthdate wrong in January.
Everything that has to be reauthorized, including his anti-inflammatory biologic drugs, has been on hold for the past few weeks. No cancer treatments for three weeks, either. I’m biting back sarcastic words as I write this.
It’s a full-time job just trying to get the insurance company to get its act together. Who has time for that? These are soul-trying days.
I’ve been praying. A Lord’s Day series on the Holy Spirit has been just the ticket. What I need right now is more ability to “handle things”.
Like yesterday when my daughter angrily yelled, “Honk the horn, Mom!” She had just seen a driver dangerously cut me off. I muttered something about an idiot, and then apologized.
“How can you say that, Mom?” she asked. “They were being idiots.”
Well, yes, but I need to be kind. To do this, I need a power outside of myself. I’m NOT big enough, strong enough by myself.
So this morning in my brain fog and through my tears I prayed. I asked for the Holy Spirit to be my Teacher and Guide through the preached Word today. I’m definitely reaching out to all three persons of the Holy Trinity in a new way.
Hello, sermon! Can anyone quote Phillipians 3:1 for me without looking it up?
I really had to smile when I saw the text. It was like God was pointing His finger directly at me. In intense, amazing love, of course. REJOICE!
I will be even more candid, ladies. I love this senior saint who fills the pulpit temporarily. But sometimes his sermons are as scattered and his voice as dry as breadcrumbs tossed to the birds. NOT TODAY!
He did forget to mention what I find so dear about this book of Phillipians. Paul was writing from prison. He was writing about rejoicing. He was cut off from family and friends, suffering cold and hunger, and he was talking about rejoicing!
So today. Today, I was able to come home heart full to the brim with truth to digest. Then I cooked a healthy meal for us to digest.
Thankfully, the hubby was able to limp downstairs and join us. Next, I tried to rest my body, but ended up crawling into bed next to him, taking his hand and talking to him. So much encouragement needed!
What would our compassionate Lord do? He would remind us of WHO He is. We talked. Remember when?
In spite of the load of troubles we’ve experienced, God has watched over us and provided for us. He has shown us the Light of His love in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Both of us heard the truth of God’s Word in some form as we were growing up — myself with Christian parents, him with a Christian aunt. That’s a huge mercy!
With a hugely stressful childhood and a body with serious issues NO one would ever choose, my husband’s past is not pretty. Mine has some ugly streaks, too. That’s what sin and selfishness does. Like the curse on the fairy-tale Beast, original sin haunts us all.
Our present isn’t very pretty, either. I gave you a brief snippet and left out a lot of details for sure. However, there’s grace evident in our lives. Love that covers a multitude of sins. Forgiveness. Mercy. Provisions.
Facing what we do, it would be only human to completely “lose it”.
In fact, we’ve come close at times. Dangled over the precipice of sanity. Pain pushes the envelope.
Does my life really matter? Only Jesus’s love makes it matter! Chosen of God, accepted in the Beloved, redeemed!
The evidence is there: faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
While we’re wrestling with pain and serious physical anomalies, faith keeps hope alive. The struggle builds those faith muscles.
In fact, today our conversation turned to the past. My husband admitted if he had known twenty years ago he would have to face what he is facing today, his faith might have been shipwrecked.
My mini-miracle of the day is that we spent time together rejoicing in how God’s carried us.
On a pain-filled day when my husband couldn’t go to church, that’s real. That’s the work of the Spirit. Ask, and you shall receive.
We talked about our fears for the future, too. I’m reminded of a wonderful little quote from the late Elizabeth Elliot, missionary wife of the martyrd Jim Elliot and author of many encouraging books. She had three husbands die, if I am remembering correctly. On the topic of handling grief and hard things she was carried forward by this among many truths.
“Do the next thing.”
There it is. One faith step at a time, you reach for your next duty.
Ask for strength. The same Spirit that enabled Jesus to triumph in the forty day wilderness temptation dwells in every believer.
We can even rejoice, knowing that Jesus suffered the same temptations and trials. He was faithful. Only through His Spirit can we be faithful, too. I’m ashamed to say I’ve reached for the sword of the Spirit far too little. Lesson learned, I humbly hope and pray.
How about you? Do you remember to ask for the Spirit’s help in your unique problems? Do you find ways to rejoice? Let’s ask together this week, okay?