The holidays were approaching, yet another specialty medication wasn’t panning out in the way we had hoped, and I found myself in a full-blown Rheumatoid Arthritis flare, longing for any kind of relief from the pain. I called my Rheumatologist to report on my condition and his instructions were, “Lay low and be patient. We have to wait three months before your insurance will accept another change.” Reluctantly, I agreed to restart my pain meds, even though prednisone plays havoc with my emotions, as it was the only relief available for the moment.
God, where are you? And why are none of my usual coping methods acceptable any longer?
I used to be really good at “walking it off” when my mind filled with darkness, and the satisfaction of a job well done could lift my eyes away from my problems, giving me a jolt of hope that maybe my problems weren’t so all-consuming after all.
But now? There was no walking or chore or service that my body would allow. Caring for my basic needs took every available ounce of strength.
The low point came when I looked at the calendar. Thanksgiving was only a few weeks away. We love when our adult children and their families gather at our home. We cook and eat our way through a day of feasting and fun, but this year something had to give, there was no hope I could prepare for that kind of gathering.
So we all agreed to meet at our favorite restaurant and eat our Thanksgiving Dinner gathered around a public table, squeezed into booths and tables shoved together. The laughter flowed, the kids were too loud, and Grandpa’s “Dad-Jokes” made us all roll our eyes. No one was disappointed.
Except for me. I still had not allowed my heart to find the change that God offered me.
As Thanksgiving wound down, my daughters-in-law and daughter approached me with a suggestion and I tried to be gracious. “Let us prepare everything for you when we gather at home this Christmas. It’ll be our gift to you.”
I wish I could say I smiled and laughed and received their gift with joy. Instead, I cried. At least I was honest when I asked them to pray for me. “This is such a hard thing for me to surrender.”
It took the words of a dear friend to shake my heart out of its dry-as-a-desert-place. “You had better receive their gift to you. After all, they’re giving the kindness you taught them through their years of growing up.”
Did I follow her advice or sit in the corner and sulk, because I couldn’t make all the cookies and decorate all the rooms and craft all the gifts the way I was used to? Well, I had moments of contemplating that, but thankfully I heard a more precious Word from my Lord that caused me to change my perspective.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, Coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
Even if our movements change and our tasks shift, the GIVING of our FATHER is always a constant. He has more to give us than just another way of coping. He is to be depended upon and will bless our days – painful or whole – with GIFTS of His choosing, always with GOOD in mind.
BETTIE GILBERT lives in a small town in Southeast Wisconsin with her husband of 38 years. She blogs at raseasons.blogspot.com, seeking to be transparent on the journey God has her traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Osteoporosis.
Radical hope. Compassionate change. Equipping those affected by chronic physical and mental illness through community and education rooted in Jesus Christ.