I have a few thoughts rolling around in my head…
I was pretty sick as a kid. It started young, about 6 weeks early. Literally, I was a preemie.
Walking pneumonia was one of my illnesses of choice.
Eh, that’s really neither here nor there.
The big issue that affected my teen years was Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I was diagnosed at 15 but there were symptoms much younger. It stunk. I was never cool in the first place and I was even less cool while using a cane in high school.
Did I mention it stunk? The rounds of testing. The endless steroid doses. Back then prednisone was the only treatment. That stunk too.
And it followed me to college. It was a little easier there. Those kids were much better about it. But it still stunk. Starting the first meds for MS and all the nasty side effects. Feeling like I had the flu every other day. Giving myself injections every other day. I still have those scars 23 years later.
And amidst it all, seeing a lot of dreams go slipping through my fingers. I had been called as a missionary as a 13-year-old. How would that ever happen now? I had dreams of marriage and a family. Who would marry me now? How could I have kids when I was too sick to take care of them? It was so hard.
But there was just enough grace for each day.
My high school experience did not look like I wanted it to…
My college experience didn’t always look like I wanted it to…
But God was faithful.
He brought me through each. On the path He had for me.
The MS followed me out of college and into the workforce.
I fought hard against the MS. Fifteen hospital stays in 3 years, 2 over a month long and involved me using a walker, wheelchair, and cane until I finally learned to walk again.
And somewhere in this craziness, God brought a man that loved me. And a doctor who specialized in MS…and in giving people their lives back. He ended the constant hospitalizations and introduced a treatment plan that was hard, but effective. I was so sick during that time, but there were shoots of hope again. Between this doctor and this guy crazy enough to walk with me through the ups and downs, God gave me the confidence to continue into marriage.
And then children.
Twelve years of remission. Healing from the MS.
He has even redeemed my call to missions.
Life is not exactly easy or perfect, but I can tell you with confidence, that God was there through every step, or non-step, of the journey. His hand was there through the sleepless nights of pain and vertigo. He sat with me through the side effects of the medications that were meant to help me. He worked through each of those doctors that looked at me, even those who had the worst bedside manner EVER.
Chronic illness is not easy and it is even harder when you are young. It is hard to see your friends doing what you can’t. It is hard to feel old when you just want to hang out with friends. It is hard to be surrounded by waiting rooms full of people so much older than you…and to be afraid of your future.
It is hard.
But you don’t face it alone. Rely on those God has put in your life. Lean hard.
And all those promises from God? They are true. They are yes and amen, no matter how bleak the hospital room. No matter how clueless the doctors may be. They are yes and amen.
I can not promise that your journey with chronic illness will lead to healing, but I do know that EVERY promise God gives you, He is faithful to fulfill. In His time and in His way.
I know it because I have lived it.