What I’m Learning From My Illness


I began getting sick more easily last November.

And it seemed to take longer than usual to shake it off. By January, I had been sick two more times and still felt under the weather. An unexplained rash began taking over my body with painful itching. At first, I didn’t make any connections. Stress governed my life due to family pressures, a beloved friend losing her baby, my grandmother passing and my push to sell myself to an agent. I assumed sleep would take care of my health issues. That is, if I could get any.

During the Mt Hermon Writers Conference, I silently itched and couldn’t sleep for the pain. But, after meeting with an agent who had some great ideas for me, I put my goals in place and plowed into my writing and marketing plans. Within a couple of weeks, the rash on my fingers had turned into painful, oozing blisters. My hand was so swollen I couldn’t type. Complete exhaustion prevented me from speaking a cohesive sentence let alone putting one in a book.

It was difficult to drag myself out of bed at all.

After numerous tests, the bottom line is a depressed immune and adrenal system – the result of a variety of issues. One of which is the driven, non-resting me that ties my worth to my productivity as a person, wife, mother, educator and writer. In the furthest recesses of my heart, what I do and how I perform dictate my value. Oh, my head knows this isn’t true. Jesus loves me based on who I am, not what I do or don’t do.  A recent read of Embracing Grace by Daniel Brown, PhD,  reminded me that God’s love is unconditional and complete. But sometimes my broken places scream otherwise. Especially when my defenses are down because of external or physical stress.

Here are a few things God’s been showing me:

  1. As I admired the amazing diversity of God’s creation on a recent trip to Florida, I was struck by a whisper of God to my heart.  “Just as my creation praises me by being what I created it to be, so are you my creation and praise me by your existence. I delight in you simply because you are.” Wow! DSC_0018Really? Still wrapping my mind around that one.
  2. Rest is more spiritual than physical. Yes, I need to get enough sleep. But on my vacation, during which I basically slept or lounged all day, every day, the Lord showed me that my soul wasn’t at rest which was just as exhausting as not sleeping enough. I’m trying to grasp that I can be still because God is God and has everything under control. He says “I have everything you need. Relax. I’ve got your back.” I am finding peace by spending time each day in his presence—simply sitting and listening for his voice. I’ve read Psalm 23 about 100 times. Really.
  3. I need to listen to what God says. Not agents or bloggers or other authors (no offense to all you wonderful, wise writers out there). I was crazily trying to learn everything and do it all even as it shifted from week to week. Knowledge is helpful. God tells us to “get knowledge.” But God will lead my steps. His direction may or may not fit with the “101 Steps to Getting Published.” Therefore, I need to be selective with what I read (I do not have time or energy for all of it, even if it’s good advice), and I need to submit it to God to see if it fits with his plans for me. He’s the one who can make his good plans for me happen. I got off track. It’s easy to do.
  4. Reacting to others or circumstances rather than seeking God first sends me into emotional overload and gives the enemy a place to attack. Instead, whenever I start freaking out inside, I’ve been trying to ask God, “What do you say about that?” Sometimes it takes some sorting out the truth from the lies that swirl through my mind. Today my husband reminded me that whenever the thought I hear accuses or belittles me, it isn’t my thoughts or God’s about me. Satan hates me and wants me to hate myself. He is the one who tells me lies.

I’ve been learning  so many great things. And while I’d rather have God heal me miraculously, I believe this has been the better way. Of course, God knew that.

And now I need to get to bed 🙂

Perhaps you can relate to feeling overwhelmed or exhausted because of an urgent driven place inside. Would you be willing to share your experiences?

 


14 thoughts on “What I’m Learning From My Illness

  1. I feel like the worst roommate, I didn’t know you were in pain and not sleeping the whole time at mt. hermon 😦 you just said you didn’t sleep well…I am glad to see God’s hand in your life, healing you and comforting you, as he grows you through this trial…and it is nice to see a blog post again from you 🙂

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    1. Ahh..no worries. We were concentrating on writing! I was not sure what was going on at that point and didn’t really connect the rash thing with my illness. It felt really good to write again. I’m just thrilled I finally have some energy to think about writing again!

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  2. You aren’t the only one getting negativity poured into her heart and mind. I have been fighting them also. It seems the more progress we make toward the right goals the harder satan tries to deter us.
    The one positive thing through all this is that I am holding tighter to my Abba’s hand. That alone makes these spiritual trials worth it. 🙂
    I hope you feel better soon!

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    1. I believe you’re so right! Sometimes it’s encouraging because Satan wouldn’t pester us so much if we weren’t on the right track. And, yes, it makes us lean harder into our Lord who loves us so much. Worth it is right!! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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    1. You are so welcome! It is my pleasure and I am so happy to hear that God is doing great things for you! I will continue to pray. He is a mighty God able to do the impossible. Thank you for sharing that. It encourages me. I would love to hear more.

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  3. Hi Laura,
    Forgive me for not commenting sooner, I thought I had. Thank you for sharing your illness. Your faith in God and tenacity will win in the end. I hope you are feeling better now. Missing your posts, but only come back when you are able. I’m sure I speak for many when I say you are missed and that you are not forgotten.

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  4. Love this…. “God will lead my steps. His direction may or may not fit with the “101 Steps to Getting Published.” Therefore, I need to be selective with what I read (I do not have time or energy for all of it, even if it’s good advice), and I need to submit it to God to see if it fits with his plans for me. He’s the one who can make his good plans for me happen.” I always say God’s the best Marketer, Publisher, and Orchestrator. I choose to trust Him:) I hope this finds you feeling better. I’ve found from experience that physical healing is closely connected with healing emotionally and spiritually. Blessings. Praying Holy Spirit quickens your healing.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comments, encouragement and prayers! I am still struggling with physical issues, but God is so faithful and has healed emotional and spiritual areas already. I believe he will finish the physical healing when the timing is right. At least I’m feeling better enough to start writing again. A few hours a week is better than none 🙂

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