In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
For a joint Valentine’s-6th anniversary-we need a break(!) vacation, Michael and I took a trip to a cabin resort outside of Austin. Every detail was carefully planned to ensure its best possible success. With his illness, so many variables can sabotage our efforts, so we tried to include a wide margin of error in time and energy to avoid any possible pitfalls. It was likely the only trip we’ll take this year.
Do you ever wonder how your life might be different had you made different choices? I do.
Before I became so ill, I completed an undergraduate degree, two Master’s degrees, and a rare internship over the course of 11 years. What am I doing with all of that now? Not much.
My family scrapes by financially and has for years now due to my poor health. Chronic illness attacks your finances on two fronts: one, it adds extra-heavy medical expenses to your budget; two, it robs your ability to work and gain an income.
Each year our family chooses a motivational song to be our theme for the year. It becomes our optimistic anthem. It is a battle cry of faith and trust in God’s presence, power, and blessing for the new year — whatever it holds.
Here is our song for 2016, “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave. We pray it encourages you!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
“Have you stopped and considered that the real purpose of your struggles, at a given moment, might be the heart of compassion that God is building within you? Smooth sailing doesn’t develop such a thing, you know. Trials develop our humility, and humility opens our eyes to the needs of others. If we look to do His service during tough times, we will come out better rather than bitter.”
– David Jeremiah, Living With Confidence in A Chaotic World
One of my greatest ongoing concerns is how my chronic illness will affect my children. My mind often goes to the negative things that illness brings instead of the good that it can work in a soul.
The last 24 hours have been a reminder of the latter.
One of my greatest fears is that my children won’t know how much I love them. Frequent debilitation from chronic illness and pain render me inactive at some of their most active times. In many ways I feel sidelined from their lives.
I can’t tell you how many times my kids have wanted to play but I’ve been unable. I hear them laughing, playing, and getting in trouble in the other room and I long to be involved in it. (Okay, maybe not every time.)
I dreamed for a long time of being a fantastic father. I’ve read books, listened to teaching, and sought counsel from wise parents long before I was even married. I’ve wanted to model loving masculine leadership. But what happens when physical limitations prevent you from parenting like everyone else?
Well, you improvise.
As the holidays are approaching, what do you picture for yourself? A Thanksgiving full of food, family, and fun? A Norman Rockwell good old-fashioned Christmas? Cheery voices of loved ones, dancing flames in the fireplace, and late-night laughter? Or perhaps this time of year is difficult for you, a reminder that life is not as picture-perfect as the White Christmas you always dreamed.
I must admit, Michael’s chronic illness makes special occasions quite unpredictable from year to year. The holidays really are like a box of chocolates—“you never know what you’re gonna get.”
One November, Michael was advised to adopt a stringent diet in an effort to get his health back. Our jaws dropped as the list of do’s and don’ts were handed to us—and it was one week before Thanksgiving. Desperate to make some sort of progress in his health recovery, Michael started the diet immediately and spent most of Thanksgiving in bed because it made him feel so awful.
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.