Ministry

When Chronic Illness Waylays Your Plans (…But Not God’s)

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I have a confession: I haven’t been feeling so great lately. It’s why I haven’t been posting. I’ve been struggling with chronic issues related to PCOS, and while my issues aren’t nearly as bad as what some chronic illness sufferers face, it’s been bad enough. Bad enough to leave me feeling stretched too thin and exhausted. Bad enough to have to break promises and say no to things I’d rather say yes to and withdraw from the world a bit in order to clear some things off my plate and create the room my mind and body need to rest.

It’s been disappointing, I won’t lie. I’m used to feeling invigorated this time of year. I was so looking forward to the fall season, and I had so many things I wanted to do. Things I wanted to make, places I wanted to go, things I wanted to read, to watch, stories I wanted to write, people I wanted to hang out with . . . it’s a long list. But then the fatigue set in, and the brain fog, and this time around I’ve also got some chronic pain, which is new and not very encouraging, and suddenly my list, along with about 95% of my enthusiasm for anything on it, went out the window.

It’s tempting to become depressed when this happens. I certainly have in the past. I’d feel sorry for myself, and turn to junk food to give me momentary comfort, and give into the urge to curl up and veg instead of working out, both of which would just exacerbate things, and I’d be in a deep funk of discouragement and doubt.

This time is different. This time, I’m doing my best to keep taking good care of myself. Part of that is taking time every morning to steep myself in God’s word, and to just be still and know that God is, and He loves me, and He’s helping me through this, and that this, too, shall pass.

And He keeps sending me the message again and again–through my Bible readings, through daily devotionals, through conversations with my husband, through random Facebook posts–that that’s exactly what He wants from me right now. It’s meant to be a season of rest, and of waiting. It’s not a vacation (though goodness knows I could use one)–He’s still giving me work to do.

One of those tasks is writing a new novel (I’m nominally doing NaNoWriMo, though I’m moving at my own pace and am nowhere near the official word count). And there’s my freelance gig as a regular contributor to Care.com, and my editing and book formatting work. For a while those were getting overwhelming, but I prayed and asked God to set my pace, and now work is coming in at a steady, manageable pace instead of piling on all at once. Although I admit that part of that was my own fault–after a long dry spell I was fearful of another one so I was snatching up all the work I could get instead of trusting in God’s continued provision–something I had to confess.

And God’s been doing something that I can’t really talk about yet, but gears are in motion and this appears to be the beginning days of a new season of our lives. There’s a post in there about surrendering completely to His plan and just waiting to see how He’ll cause it to unfold. Heck, there might even be a whole book in there. But that’s down the road a ways. That’s one of the lessons I keep learning–not to look too far ahead. To just trust Him to reveal the next step, and then the next, one step at a time. One day at a time.

At any rate, that’s what’s been going on with me lately, and why I’ve been so silent. I’ve actually been a little better about sending out my bi-weekly newsletter, so if you’d like to stay in touch when I’m not up to blogging regularly, you can sign up for that here.

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