After nine years of living with chronic illness and pain, I have realized the need for acceptance. Acceptance of my limitations, acceptance of a life I never expected, acceptance of the loss of some of my dreams, and eventually, acceptance of the pain itself. After 9 years of trying to rid myself of it, I am beginning to realize and accept that this illness and pain might not go away, and that is okay. It is okay that God’s primary purpose in my life may not include healing.
To help me on this journey, God recently showed me the newly published book called, Choose Joy by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver.
Sara had ankylosing spondolytis, an autoimmune disorder that resulted in degeneration of her spine and daily, intense pain. The medications required to manage the pain caused other numerous health issues. After almost 2 decades of living with this condition, Sara passed away in 2009.
In the last few years of her life, Sara was confined to her home and became a regular blogger. Her beautiful philosophies of life and illness were preserved and her story retold in the book, Choose Joy, by her friend, Mary Carver.
Sara’s decision to choose gratitude and faith in God despite intense pain, breathing difficulties, and complete confinement to her home, enabled her to have peace and joy in spite of it all. Her perspective is reflected well in her belief that God was using her illness for His glory even if she couldn’t see it at the time.
“I know that if God didn’t have a purpose for my illness, He would have taken it away from me by now….I’m okay with not knowing why this is happening to me because I know He knows why. It’s not about me; it’s about what He can do with me. My job is simply to pay attention [in the rainstorms] and enjoy the rainbows.” –Sara Frankl, Choose Joy
Sara found this inner strength and joy as she chose to focus on the promises of God and the blessings in her life. Pain tries to convince us that we have no blessings, but that is simply not true. It is up to us to recognize that the blessings are there and then to focus on them instead of the difficulty. Sara knew this was true, and each day she made a purposeful choice to live with gratitude.
“I choose the joy. When something is going badly and I’m dwelling on it, I think instead of something for which I am grateful…. It’s just as simple as that. You just have to decide today, and again tomorrow. And before you know it, you’ll have an attitude of joy.” -Sara Frankl, Choose Joy
The same can be true for me and you, too. This isn’t the life you planned, but this is the life you have been given. As you accept it and focus your eyes on Jesus, you also will experience joy. Perhaps the most beautiful promise on which we can focus is that someday, we won’t even remember the suffering we endured in this life. The Bible says, that if we believe in Jesus and accept His gift of salvation, we will be with Him in heaven after we die, where there will be no more pain, and no more death. Only joy. Pure joy.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne [of God in heaven] saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” (Revelation 21:3-4, NIV, parenthetical additions added by the author for clarification)
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Hi! My Name is Laurie, and I am a wife, mom, nurse, and patient living with fibromyalgia. I understand first-hand what life is like with chronic pain and illness. My passion is to help provide others with the spiritual encouragement and resources that I so desperately needed when I was first diagnosed. Please join us on the blog and Facebook page for regular encouragement and hope. Welcome!