It seems like a lifetime ago that Cindee and I began the journey of starting a chronic illness ministry. We are grateful for the warm welcome we received from our church. We were surprised by the pastor’s words indicating that our church would be a place where we could incubate a ministry, but that this ministry was meant to go beyond those walls, that it was bigger than just one church. Since those days in February, God has opened doors and provided for Chronic Joy Ministry in ways we didn’t even know we needed.
In February, we thought we were launching a September Bible study at our church, but from the beginning God had different plans. A few weeks later, Basics Ministry welcomed and embraced the vision of Chronic Joy. We were recently surprised and grateful to discover our logo, bio, and video on their website.
Life has taken some strange twists and turns since February. On March 31, a large tumor was discovered in my Dad’s brain. I flew to Missouri the next day and spent the next three weeks there. My Dad’s surgery took place on April 7, the same day Cindee filed for our IRS non-profit status. We are incredibly grateful for the tremendous help we’ve had with all the legal details to-date.
Exactly two weeks later, Chronic Joy Ministry, Inc. received our IRS letter of determination and became a full 501(c)3 non-profit. My Dad’s surgery was successful and my parents are now back in Wisconsin, where my Dad continues his cancer treatment.
As for the ministry, we now have a Board of nine Directors who will meet in June for a social gathering to be followed by our first official Board meeting in July. We’ve released a 9-minute video, launched a website, created an informational flyer, and have a growing social media presence. We’ve taped a two-part radio series on the impact of chronic illness on marriage that aired in seven large markets around the country in early May, and we’ll be interviewed for a podcast in June. We’ve completed the first draft of our first Bible study book, which is currently being reviewed by a team of 25 editors, Bible Study leaders, writers, authors, pastors, and those with chronic illness from across the country. We’re hoping to publish and release the book this summer. Work on the second book in the series has just begun.
We had no idea five months ago that any of this was possible, but God did, and today, we stand immensely grateful and deeply humbled that he chose us – two ordinary women, two broken women, two women with intimate knowledge of chronic illness – to launch this ministry. But isn’t that just how God works?
Pamela Piquette , President and Co-Founder of Chronic Joy Ministry, Inc., 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.