” Rabi”, his disciples asked him, ” why was that man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. ” This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”John 9:2-3 (NLT)
A diagnosis of any chronic illness can be devastating whether someone was born with it or developed it later on in life. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and complicated migraines (mimic stroke symptoms, letting me know a migraine is coming), along with some other broken down body parts that cause me some mobility issues. This was five years ago.
I was angry, mostly at myself and my breaking down body parts. I had to take early retirement from my beloved Social Work. I thought I lost my purpose. Serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities was my passion, I loved my work with others. But, now it was taken away from me.
Anger, depression, isolating myself, not going out of my house were my new normal. These things can be normal human emotions for anyone who has a chronic illness, everyones different. I recognized I needed help. So then, I went for counseling at a trusted place I had worked for in the past.
It Was a long ride
So for the next three years of counseling, I had to process anger, work through depression, intentionally be around others, and intentionally on purpose, go out of my house. What a ride.
It was during counseling that I learned that when I reverted to talking about what past me could do, I was gently told that I am not that person anymore. I am a new me, and if I stay stuck in the past, I couldn’t move forward. Well, Yah BUT! Let me help my way, did not work. I realized I was grieving old me, I was grieving new me, the broken me.
It took a better part of those three years to grieve, process, and then on to acceptance. It’s okay to grieve your chronic illness whether you or your child were born with it or developed it later in life. Grieving is a natural response. And, there’s no set time period for you to grieve and in what order or how long you are grieving the stages. Denial (and maybe shock), Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance, you can find more help here at https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/. And also, it’s okay to seek help, don’t be embarrassed. Talk to friends or family, really think about your support system,friends/family/outside help/your pastor. And, there will be those who don’t understand or know what to say to you and that’s okay too.
So all the while grieving, going to counseling, processing, I was still reading the Bible daily, I was praying daily. But, I wasn’t listening to God. I was still doing the Yah But, let me help you God. I could feel the Holy Spirit tugging at me, I could feel God saying in his word draw closer to me. Until one day, and I like to say it was as if God smacked me on the head with a rolled up newspaper, and said look up child, It’s Time. So I said okay God you win, every time I try to do things by myself, I FAIL. I NEED YOU. You Take Over. And, so he did.
And, over time drawing near to him, HE gave me a new purpose. The heartfelt conviction to share him. Hence, it became His (My) blog, facebook, and now podcast. I continue to need more of him and less of me, drawing near to him each day.
Friends I leave you with this thought for comfort
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”2 Corinthians 12:9 (RSV)