Blessed, Living with R.A.

(12/26/2013) While I am a morning person, up before 4 AM is not part of my plan for the day after Christmas. Nonetheless, here I sit and this post beckons me. I tried to read, but I was just not connecting to this book I’ve been looking forward to reading and instead my mind kept floating back to this, so here goes…

Rheumatoid Arthritis sometimes means…

  • extreme pain, at whatever hour (like 3:45 AM after a full day of Christmas with a two year old).
  • giving up activities you love, like soccer for example.
  • a tired you’ve never felt before.
  • high risk pregnancy and HUGE flare up afterwards.
  • breastfeeding is cut very short or not possible at all, in the midst of social pressure that says you are harming your baby if you do not.
  • The Spoon Theory. After just over 10 years, I’m still not good at anticipating my spoon needs (but I am getting better, perhaps).
  • standing up in the morning only to fall down, unable to walk suddenly.
  • hitting the wall” and “dropping the ball“.
  • having your mom do your hair for you and drive you to class when you are twenty years old and even washing your hair is a great challenge.
  • being overestimated, underestimated, and downright frustrated.
  • busted milk ALL over your mom’s kitchen – yep, there’s a story.
  • a life of uncertainties like you never imagined.

But sometimes it also means…

  • compassion further than I’ve had before.
  • a deep understanding and empathy for others young or old, going through difficult times physically.
  • counting my blessings as they are many as uncertainties mount.
  • a change of heart for the hurting, because I truly never hurt before this.

And always it means… I’m blessed by the dependance on God it requires.

I have RA and Lupus. It doesn’t define me. I won’t let it. I am more than some chronic illness. What I will do, though, is let it be used in ANY way my dear Lord chooses. I don’t want it taken from me if He has plans for it in me. He has used it as a tool for change in me. I am not quite the same. When He is ready He will take it from me, or take me home.

As a mother, wife, and daughter, I am loved dearly. The thought of leaving them isn’t a pleasant thought in the least, but I am trusting God to be sovereign, El Elyon, with provisions, Yahweh Jireh, with His perfect will that includes taking care of them if he carries me home before old age. Our pastor preached a series of sermons on fear. One Sunday during that series was fear for your children. It included fear of leaving them behind. After the sermon…

I see that I was a bit afraid, and it was quite OBTUSE of me,
LIKE GOD WOULD NOT CARE FOR MY LOVED ONES IF I’M NOT THERE.

God will care for them. He will care for you. He cares for me. He made me quite optimistic for a reason. This thorn in my flesh would be much more difficult if He did not give me optimism. I’m not saying that it hasn’t been difficult and won’t be difficult after this moment. What I am saying is that no matter the battles you face physical or not. You can lean on Him. Let Him show you the good. When I was first battling my health problems, I was in college away from home and weary. I finally owned up to the discouragement and hate, typing it all out on my computer. I was left with a list of half truths (and complete untruths where I was having a pity party. I was down – it happens to even the most optimistic of us). I looked at the list, determined to make this useful, and for each negative I wrote a statement of thanks. I think that we must, in times of difficulty, look at what we can be thankful for, and for what certainties we do have in Christ.

I have that very sophomoric example of this, and I might just share it with you.

All persons mentioned by name have been blacked out for their privacy. I hold them quite dear and hope that, if they can tell I'm speaking of them, they are merciful and remember this is very old.

All persons mentioned by name have been blacked out for their privacy. I hold them quite dear and hope that, if they can tell I’m speaking of them, they are merciful and remember this is very old.

Loves2003part1 Loves2003part2

I did love school, both at JSU and before that my dear Auburn, and the “families” I gained there. And while I will always miss soccer, I look back on it with fondness. I’m am blessed to have those experiences and memories.

Like I said, it is EXTREMELY sophomoric (I cringe a tad reading this), but it illustrates how we can see God’s blessings and hand during difficult times if we look past the negatives.

As I had my husband read over this before posting, he noticed the part where I mentioned not having a boyfriend on whose shoulder to cry. I should include that after writing this, God brought me from a point of wanting a guy in my life, to being satisfied in Him. It was not until then that He placed, my now husband, Ryan, seriously  in my life (we had known each other much longer)!

It is God on whom I ultimately rely, and is the one who has provided those loved ones who care for me so much, so often, so dearly, and probably quite sacrificially.

More than my poor example, speak the Gospel in your life, constantly refocusing on Him.

I am blessed to live a life with chronic illness, because God is using it in known and unknown ways. I know He is with me and we can face anything.

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