“You may find that your grief and sense of loss over the world you once knew seem endless. And yet there are possibilities and potentialities within you that are more endless still. What is this unseen force that carries you forward despite yourself? Why can you not seem to choke, always and forever, your own irrational yearning, this buried but still breathing hope for more?
This ache is God’s fingerprint. The stirring to create, to love, to live, to give of yourself when there is no self left to give- this comes from the Spirit. You were created in the image of God. Before you knew anyone or did anything, everything was in you necessary to live at home in divine love. However buried that image of God is within you, that part of you that knows what it is to be perfectly loved, held, and known- it is still very much there. There is a part of you that does not need anything else, or anyone else in particular, to be alive. There is a part of you that knows this- part of you that has always known this- but has long since forgotten.”
Jonathan Martin, How to Survive a Shipwreck
My life is not the same as it was when this year started. I have been turned into something I never thought I would be- a chronically ill individual, with new problems adding up seemingly every few weeks or months. Newest to the list is possibly some sort of inflammatory arthritis due to some really bad flares I had in June, although haven’t had since. But I have a rheumatology appointment in a few weeks to get things straightened out. Hopefully it was a fluke?
Granted, I was technically chronically ill before this year. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2012 and endometriosis and adenomyosis in 2014, all of which are incurable (although a hysterectomy would technically cure the adenomyosis, but that’s a discussion for another day.) Not to mention the brain tumor that was diagnosed this year. But I was able to be “normal” until this year.
I’ve lost my health. I’ve lost a lot of what I used to be able to do. I can’t even work right now due to the effects of the brain tumor and I’m hoping I don’t get fired, which is a possibility with each passing day. A year ago, I would barely recognize the person I am now. But I’ve found that even though I’ve lost a lot of myself, I have found so much more within me. As it says above, I’ve found “The stirring to create, to love, to live, to give of yourself when there is no self left to give- this comes from the Spirit.”
I want to help people. That’s why I have this blog. It’s not to brag about myself. It’s not to draw attention to myself. It’s to draw attention to the chronic illnesses I deal with, to let other people know they’re not alone. Endometriosis is one of the most frustrating, isolating diseases out there. But there is a sisterhood of 176 million women around the world of which I am honored to be a part. A few of my posts have made big waves in the endo community, and for that I am humbled and grateful.
God has shown me love and grace and mercy when no one else would or could. He’s picked me up and carried me when I could no longer do it on my own. And finally, through turning back to Him, He gave me the courage to let go of what I was holding on to that was keeping me away from Him. I’ve been reduced to almost nothing, yet that’s exactly where I found Jesus, who delights in using nothings and nobodies for His glory. As Paul so perfectly puts it in his first letter to the Corinthians…
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
I can’t do anything except thank God for where I am, despite these thorns in my flesh. His grace is sufficient for me. I’ve let go of what I used to cling to, and through that I have found peace and freedom.
Sometimes a shipwreck is exactly what you need.