When I was first diagnosed with several chronic conditions, I felt lost and alone. It felt like nobody in my life understood what I was going through.
I had a lot of well-meaning friends, but at the end of the day they just didn’t have the background to understand the magnitude of what I was experiencing.
So, to feel a little less alone, I turned to online support groups.
On Facebook, there are hundreds of groups for those suffering from chronic illnesses. I joined the groups and started reading about others’ experiences. Members of these groups got me. They could relate to what I was going through. While our symptoms may have been different, our experiences often looked similar. We each were facing some level of debilitation. Chronic illness was changing our lives.
After a while, though, being part of Facebook support groups began to grow draining. I’d see posts pop up in my newsfeed when I was just trying to think about other things. Sometimes, the discussions would bring down my mood. What, at first, was a place of support seemed to turn into a place that drug me down.
I thought about leaving all of the groups. I thought about not talking about illness anymore and just avoiding the subject altogether. But, still, I felt this sense of calling from God to connect with others who are suffering to help bring a little hope. It didn’t make sense for me to completely leave the groups when I desired to help encourage others. It was also good for me to keep learning about what others do for treatment so I can make educated decisions when talking with my doctor.
It’s Thanksgiving morning.
I’m sitting alone in my apartment.
I’m propped up in bed with a heating pad on my back and my Bible and journal sitting to my left. Multiple blankets cover the lower half of my body and my laptop sits atop them as I type.
I wasn’t planning to write on the blog today. I opened my journal to begin pouring out some thoughts, but after some prayer and scripture reading I felt like I needed to get this into a blog post. So, here I am. Raw and real.
Being Thanksgiving and all, I know that I should be reflecting on what I’m thankful for right now. So, I’m thinking through some things – a lot of things.
I truly am thankful for the way God has worked in my life. He has provided during some of my weakest times.
I know God is good. I really do. But, at the same time I often find my mind dwelling on all that’s wrong in my life right now. I’m grieving the loss of how I thought my life would look.
A couple nights ago, I was taking care of my 9-year-old brother, Markus, while my parents were out of town for the evening. I haven’t written a whole lot about my family on this blog in the past, but they are truly very special to me. One of the best parts about living back in my hometown again is getting to spend time with my brother. His faithfulness and love challenges me.
After a full day of being patient while I ran errands, I told him I’d reward him (and me!) with ice cream. I decided to stop in our local Hy-Vee grocery store to pick some up. After gathering the ice cream and checking out, we passed the floral section as we were leaving. I didn’t think much of it as I always pass by without thought. Markus, however, had more intentional ideas.
“I’d like to get flowers for Mom sometime,” he said.
“Oh yeah?” I replied.
“Yeah,” Markus said.
His comment about getting flowers for our mom made me a little emotional. My mom has been extremely busy and a little overwhelmed lately and I knew she would love the gesture. What a thoughtful brother I have! Read more