In my recent Q and A, Notes from a Sycamore Tree at My9.home.blog asked- Praising God even when you are in physical pain – How do you do that ?
I want to share more about being grateful while living with chronic illness and also living with depression. It starts with when I was sick and dying-but I didn’t die because I am blogging now- and a lesson I learned during that time.
I found that if I asked why me, that led to self pity. I had days that I would lay in bed depressed because I was sick and even in the months of recovery. During those days I was stuck in the whys. Why did this happen to when I was studying for the ministry? Why is my life in such a mess? why? why? The why me questions always led me down spiraling down.
I started to ask what questions like- What do you want me to do Lord? What will you do through this Lord? I found when I asked what questions, my focus was on Jesus not my circumstances.
It is a daily choice, sometimes hourly, to focus on Jesus. I still have days that I get down. I also don’t want to paint an all is rosy picture. Life is not easy when living with a chronic illness or illnesses such as in my case. I also want to be real about the fact that due to chronic illness, a symptom that could be a struggle is clinical depression.
So I want to share a list of things I am grateful for that are because of having chronic illness:
1- By sharing about chronic illness and depression/anxiety in my blog, my blog has grown a lot. I am thankful God comforts others through my blog.
2- Living with chronic illness for over 25 years has given me empathy that helps me to relate with my refugee friends who have suffered in life.
3- I am much more observant with other people. For example, because of having clinical depression, I have watched videos on youtube and read articles. Though I have not been suicidal, I learned about the semi colon tattoo.. That opened up a friendship with a young woman who has that tattoo.
4- I have been able to experience the Lord in ways I never did before I had chronic illness such as seeing him come through for me time after time.
The main thing for me is remembering this life is temporary whether we have it easy in this life or have struggles in this life, it is all temporary. There are a few things that helped me:
1- Starting my day by listening to worship music and praying
2- Confiding in people I know I can trust.
3- Being open and honest with my doctor about all symptoms.
4-Thanking God even when I don’t feel thankful because of depression. On the days I feel numb, I thank him for things anyway. I am honest when I do so. I usually say something like-God I don’t feel it right now but thank you for______..
5- Keeping my mind active by reading the bible, reading other bloggers, reading books, practicing Spanish, and even doing online crossword puzzles.
Last but not least of the reasons to praise God even though life is difficult- He is worthy of our praise. He deserves our gratitude. Everything we have is because of him. The air we breathe, the food we eat, our salvation, EVERYTHING we have is because of him.
Thank you for reading. God Bless.