There are times in life when the going gets so hard that we think no one else understands our struggle. It’s a very lonely place to be.
I often don’t have the strength to get myself ready for the day, cook my food, talk with my wife, play with my kids, read my Bible, check email, attend church or an important family get-together. Despair and hopelessness often seize me, isolating me even further from the life I so long to live. I crave reassurance that I am not alone during these times.
While I was a pastor in a small country church in East Texas, I was encouraged by a scripture shared with me by a member of the congregation.
I’ve gotta tell you, this past weekend was one for the books. What we were anticipating to be a couple of days of relaxation and quality family time turned into crisis mode.
As you may well know, life with chronic illness is full of these moments. It’s really nothing out of the ordinary. We’ll work to troubleshoot why Michael is particularly debilitated at this time, things will hopefully settle down again, and all will be back to the “normal” of his everyday struggle.
The ups and downs of these long-term trials can weigh heavily on a marriage. Can I get an amen? I could share all kinds of stories of how chronic illness has dampened holiday memories, caused unnecessary friction, and blocked many life goals during our years together. And if you are living in a similar situation, I’ll bet you can too.
Michael’s health began to deteriorate almost the second we returned from our honeymoon. We had no idea what was down the pike when he carried me across the threshold of our new apartment. We were still living on love and floating on clouds of bliss.
But only three months after our wedding, Michael became so debilitated by multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue, weak spells, and insomnia that we were forced to move in with my parents. Something in apartment #1206 was making him sick.
Have you ever been in the tornado of a very difficult time and then been shocked by a life-giving grace from God right in the middle of it? I encountered an unforgettable grace this past weekend.
My son, Lincoln, wanted to play in the backyard together. He asked, “Daddy, do you want to go in the backyard to play?”
My immediate internal response, Yes! But I don’t know…I’m not feeling well.
Each year we choose a “Song of the Year.” Something that makes us want to rock-out and sing at the top of our lungs with hope that God is for us. A song that inspires us to keep going through chronic illness and pain.
2015’s song is “It’s Not Over Yet!” by For King & Country.
This rockin’ tune has made us dance around the house doing chores. It’s made our 1999 Mazda Protege look like it had some serious hydrolic lifts. We’ve smiled through quiet tears and while singing along, hands raised and longing for God to bring an end to illness and difficulties, yearning for Him to make all things new.
My grandfather used to say to me with a smile and thumbs up, “We’ve read the end of the Book, and we know who wins!” In the hope and spirit of that truth, we share our song of the year with you. Enjoy!
May I introduce you to the two friends who have so faithfully followed us through the struggles of chronic illness?
They have been with us through thick and thin.
Beloved Reader, meet our close companions: Disappointment and Change O. Plans.
Oh, I see you are already well-acquainted…
I don’t know about you, but my five-year relationship with our mutual “friends” is one I’d like to end!
Are you familiar with the famous breakup line? “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Well trust me, Mr. Disappointment and Miss Change O. Plans. It’s definitely you.
Life throws a wild assortment of discouragement our way. Pain and chronic illness only amplify these hope-stealers and can inject some crazy concoctions of deep sadness into our hearts and minds. But there is hope still!
In the battle against illness, you need a strong arsenal of encouragement.
Here are 5 strategies to lay hold of encouragement that I’ve found helpful.
When your spouse begins struggling with chronic illness, it’s inevitable that you will need to take on additional responsibilities. No matter how much you love them and want to be a help, the struggle to keep up with life and help the family carry on can add quite a weight.
by Kevin Casper
If we’re not careful as caregivers, we can become resentful, short-tempered, and suffer from burn-out. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Chronic illness and pain can leech laughter from our lives. Anyone with chronic illness and pain needs to laugh –a lot. I know I do. It’s hard to laugh though when pain and disappointment try to silence it. Every person should laugh because it is healthy. Every person can laugh because hilarious things abound. You must laugh if you’re going to be healthier and experience life at its fullest.
Wedding Day No-Peek Kiss
My grandpa used to tell me smiling from his recliner “Laughter doeth good like a medicine, and I like to take my medicine every day!” Take his medicine he did! He would cackle out-loud multiple times an hour watching The Three Stooges and Andy Griffith re-runs. His laughter prevailed despite his battle with two strokes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. It always gave him a boost, and it will also encourage and empower you.