Describe chronic illness in just five words.

Sometime ago we asked the Chronic Joy Community to describe chronic illness in just five words. Some of my first thoughts were: pain, loneliness, loss, grief, character, compassion and the list went on and on. One day, though, God gave me a picture through a different set of lenses.

My five words to describe chronic illness – a thousand tiny paper cuts – is not very joyful sounding.

Being the mom to one who wants to live life to the fullest, one who tries to meet the expectations of culture and of self, yet one who also seems to be assaulted by paper cuts at every avenue, is no easy task.

So when job loss, job seeking, health issues and medical appointments collide, the pain of these paper cuts is very real.

I’m not making light of any of the hurts. It’s just that unless there is a genuine catastrophe everything has to be taken in stride.

This week there were one too many paper cuts.

Back-to-back doctor’s appointments brought a new diagnosis and the worsening of an existing one. Neither have a cure. Possible treatments were handed out to my child, who is not really a child, but one far too young to have to deal with so much.

So I wept and cried out to God, “Not my child.”

He spoke softly, “But I gave my child.”

“Yes,” my intellectual self says, “but you knew that three days later he would rise victorious, and I don’t know what will happen.”

Suddenly, in that place, I felt, I sensed, I somehow knew that I don’t need to know.

Through the tears, I can pray. I can breathe. I can plod. I can trust.

What if, even with a thousand tiny paper cuts, I can find joy?

Share your five words and join in the conversation.

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Pamela Piquette

Pamela Piquette

Executive Director and Co-Founder of Chronic Joy®

Pamela is a leader and a visionary following God's call to inspire those affected by chronic illness to discover hope, find purpose, embrace worth and encounter joy. She believes that every precious life affected by chronic illness is both vital and purposed.

Pamela is the mom of three married children, grandma of two sweet granddaughters and one baby grandson, and a wife of more than 30 years. She is diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos, chronic migraines and a host of other chronic conditions.

Pamela enjoys hot tea, reading -- almost always more than one book at a time -- and walking her teddy bear dog, Cocoa.

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