Chronic Joy’s New Volunteer Prayer Pond Coordinator
We are delighted to officially welcome Bettie Gilbert as Chronic Joy’s brand new Volunteer Prayer Coordinator!
Bettie is a beautiful soul with a huge heart for prayer who has been with us since the very beginning. (You’ll learn more of her story below.) Bettie will welcome and invite our community into prayer through Scripture, short prayers, worship songs, inspiring links, conversation starters, and engaging prayer prompts. Her love and compassionate care may also find it’s way to your mailbox (or email inbox) when you request prayer at our website.
Stop by the Chronic Joy Prayer Pond page and welcome Bettie. We know you’ll love getting to know her as much as we do! Here’s a little bit more of her story:
In Her Own Words – Bettie Gilbert
Before my diagnosis with Rheumatoid Arthritis almost 5 years ago, I had been known as the strong one, serving in so many different capacities at church, being a Mom and a Grandma, gardening, home-making and caring for neighbors. But after my diagnosis, it seemed that weakness was to become my way of life. One diagnosis after another followed: Fibromyalgia, Osteoporosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, Occipital Neuralgia.
A Voice in the Weakness
But I began to hear a voice in the weakness, One which I recognized as the voice of my dear Savior. While I felt so full of shame over the weaknesses that I bore, I heard Him whispering to me, “Come inside with Me. I am already here, and I am not offended by your pain or shame. I want to just be here with you.” In all of my years of serving and being the strong one I had spent so much of my devotional time searching out Scriptures and prayers that would help those I cared for. God always met me personally as I prayed for others. But this new place of being stopped in my tracks and resting with Jesus was a new way of living.
Into that time of resting the Lord asked me to be transparent about the struggles and the joys I would face on this journey and to share what He asked of me through a blog. I had no experience in this online world. In between my busy serving times, there were days that I had squeezed in moments of reading blogs, and had always felt so blessed. But as I began to obey God by sharing what He put on my heart, I was amazed that where I had felt so alone in the chronic illness journey I suddenly was stumbling onto the writings of others who were also walking the path of chronic illness.
Discovering Hope – What a Blessing!
And that is how I came across the launch team for Chronic Joy’s first book, Discovering Hope, by Cindee Snider Re. What a blessing that book became, as I sat with Jesus and asked Him to show me what He wanted to teach me through the Scripture reading and questions. I saw so many places in my heart where Jesus wanted to bring me His help, but I had kept my heart stubborn and shut away. How could He actually bring me a blessing through this physical weakness? Oh, but He did! He gave such intimate times of resting with Him, as I finally began to pause and open my heart just to worship and cry out to Him.
A few years later, when Chronic Joy opened the launch team for Cindee’s next book, Finding Purpose, I opened my heart again. Could He possibly give me a purpose statement here, in the middle of some of my hardest days? Again my stubborn heart resisted, but yes, He did answer my cry, and He asked me to hear His words for me. Even today, all these months later when so many days seem anything but clear, He has kept His purpose clearly echoing in my heart:
Through all of my weaknesses, He is sufficient in me, and my heart will glorify Him there.
The uncovering of my stubborn heart has not finished, as He continues to show me areas where I have wanted to be sufficient in my own strength still. Places where I have resisted leaning into the staff of my Savior. Places where I have wanted to be in the sheep pen with the strong sheep. But as I allow Him to have His way in my stubbornness, He shows me the deeper joy of being weak, of being carried on His shoulders. He never forgets one of His weak or lonely lambs. He goes after each one of us who feels forgotten by the world.
Linking Hands, Embracing Joy
So, it is from a place of my own weakness that I join with the team at Chronic Joy today. Linking hands with all of you, dear sisters and brothers, as we come together to embrace the joy of our dear Shepherd. He is sufficient for us, no matter how deeply the weaknesses may threaten. He is the reason we gather to lift our prayers. He is the reason we take joy in offering our hearts to Him. He is the ONE who longs to just be with us so that we may more fully know Him and glorify Him right here.
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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV)
Chronic Joy Contributing Writer
You can find Bettie blogging from her home in the far north suburbs of Chicago at bettiegsraseasons.com. She is walking forward with Jesus in the middle of her pain and weakness from multiple chronic illnesses. The beauty of nature, as well as her family (including nine young grandchildren), are Bettie's joys. She and her husband have been married for over 40 years and take great delight in their weekend coffee breaks together.