What encouragement can you offer someone walking through chronic illness?
Joshua must have been weak and afraid. Throughout the first chapter of Joshua he is reminded over and over to be strong and courageous. Without the sustaining presence of God, I too am weak and afraid. Afraid to step. Afraid not to step. Afraid I’ve over-stepped. How did Joshua continue to march?
Often I just want to sit in the between and hold my breath and wonder about what’s next.
Between flares, between normal and the next new normal, between medical appointments, between foods I can eat and then can’t, between leaning on God and avoiding God, between finding how and where to fit in and how and when to step away. Perhaps, like the Israelites who were between enslavement in Egypt and the hope of the Promised Land, we too march. One step at a time. At times feeling surrounded by enemies, but always covered and cared for by God.
Acceptance of my daughter’s illness and mine seemed to just happen. Yes, there were tears and frustration, but often our marching orders were it is what it is. Perhaps resignation is more accurate than acceptance. But on we marched through doctors and diagnoses, medications and therapists with no cures and no clear treatment.
So on we marched.
My young adult daughter and I share many similar health challenges. We take turns encouraging one another by listening and then suggesting, “It is what it is,” often saying, “suck it up and move on.” It’s an odd relationship and we find ourselves enmeshed in the strange and the between.
Perhaps the reality is that life in the between can be a frightening place. If God told Joshua four times in one chapter to be strong and courageous, Joshua must have been afraid. Sometimes, so am I. Living with chronic illness challenges me to not look too far ahead, because I have a tendency to worry about future things, when all I need to do is experience and march and plod through the now.
At Chronic Joy Ministry you are welcome, accepted and loved, and you have a voice. Living in the between we can encourage one another to be strong and courageous. We can be honest that sometimes we are terrified or discouraged. We can march, plod or just breathe together. Ultimately, we can hold tight to the promise of God that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Pamela Piquette is the mom of three adult children, grandma of a sweet baby granddaughter, and wife of almost 30 years. She has Ehlers-Danlos, chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, and dysautonomia.