I'd like to say "straight up" that in no way is this post written for pity's sake, self-promotion or any such thing. I'm just stating facts and praying it will be an encouragement to someone else who may be walking down the same pathway.
If you have lived with a chronic illness for any length of time, then you are fully aware of the baggage you drag around. Some days the briefcase is a bit heavier and other days the suitcase seems to weigh a little bit less!
is way more
the daily symptoms
Suitcase of Guilt
I personally feel much guilt that I can no longer work. Now that Brian and I are empty-nesters, there should be no reason I can't contribute financially to our marriage and especially towards our retirement.
But it's impossible
The sting of guilt knowing that I cannot have a scrumptious dinner simmering in the oven as the mouth-watering aroma hits Brian as soon as he walks in from a hard day at work.
Brian has NEVER once made me feel guilty about either of these things or ANYTHING related to my illness.
But the guilt, regret and disappointment still nag at me BIG time!
Satchel of Self-Worth
Since chronic illness steals so much from your life, there's this overwhelming need to prove your worth. I find myself repeating to Brian quite often all the small accomplishments which I achieved in a day. It's important to know I made a difference. Every one wants to be needed and contribute in some way no matter how small it may be!
Duffel Bag of Disappointment
Getting my clothes and jewelry all ready on Saturday evening in great anticipation of attending church in the morning, just to awaken to my head spinning and barely being able to walk.
Making plans to have a friend over for lunch or a couple over for an evening of fellowship and having to call and cancel at the last minute because I need to lay down or I'm just not "up to it".
My friends understand and they don't question me whatsoever, but it's still a huge disappointment because I was truly looking forward to having some fellowship!
Some would say,
"Well, Barb, just push through and go to church or have your friends over because in the long run it will make you feel better."
My response would be,
"I DO push through much of the time when I show up at church and have friends over, but some days it just doesn't work that way!"
Briefcase of Confusion
The chronic illness which I deal with is rare and extremely complicated, which needless to say, makes it quite hard to explain to others. The symptoms can vary from day-to-day, some of them are rather odd and none of my symptoms are noticeable!
My illness is an invisible illness.
All of my symptoms are within my body, totally hidden from everyone. In fact people tell me how good I look, which I greatly appreciate, but then it puts me in a rather awkward position because I feel as if I need to justify that I really am sick and I really do feel bad!
be very deceiving
I was once told,
"But you look so good, I just can't believe you feel as bad as you say!"
I took a deep breath, smiled BIG and thanked them for the very nice complement, but deep inside I was weeping and crumbling into a million pieces. Desperately wanting people to truly understand how difficult it is living with this horrible illness.
Handbag of Loneliness
When the chronic illness has you confined within the four walls of your home ninety percent of the time, loneliness is bound to become a form of baggage. Some days it's not too difficult to handle. However, there are days when the quietness and stillness get the better of me.
Guess I should have warned you ahead of time how brutally honest and straight from my heart this was going to be!
If I were to stop this post right here, it would be a rather sad and depressing ending.
So you may be asking,
"Well, Barb, what's the answer to ridding oneself of all this baggage?"
"I'm still working on the answer! But I can share a few suggestions!"
- Instead of placing my expectations upon others and expecting them to understand all about my illness and looking to them for their approval, I need to ALWAYS be focusing upon the Lord and setting my expectations upon HIM!
"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him."
- Giving thanks for a husband who is more than willing to cook dinner for me, who prays, not only for me, but with me, takes me on truck dates, comes home from work on days when I really need him, who loves me unconditionally.
"And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh."
- Even when my phone is silent for days on end and I feel the crushing weight of loneliness, I can find solace in the FACT that I KNOW I can ALWAYS talk to the Lord! He's never too busy or preoccupied!
"Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice."
- When I feel completely misunderstood by my illness. Even being told by my own doctors that I'm an anomaly. I can rest assured the Lord completely understands!
"Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."
- When I'm stuck in the pit of the mulligrubs feeling like I have no purpose, I can quote ALOUD this verse and be reminded of the worth which I have in the eyes of my Saviour!
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."
I Peter 2:9
- Pray ALOUD, read God's Word ALOUD, sing praise songs ALOUD even when it's the last thing I feel like doing! Especially when it's the last thing I feel like doing! Why? Because the Lord LOVES it, the devil HATES it, and it will surely lessen the baggage I'm dragging around!
"Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake."
I have prayed much over this post.
I prayed for all those who deal with a chronic illness and all those going through trials. Those who know the burden of dragging around baggage. Please know that the struggles are real. Yes, even as a Christian, the battles are REAL.
We hurt. We cry. We have bouts of depression. We question at times. Yes, even as believers!
BUT (I LOVE that word!) praise the Lord, as a child of God, we have a Saviour Who "gets it"!
when no one else
has a clue!
No, He may choose NOT to take the illness or trial away in this lifetime, but He DOES promise to be WITH us through it ALL!
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May God Bless You,