Highlands Blog

How Not to Lose Your Faith When Illness Strikes

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Posted in Highlands Blog under Faith, Suffering & Grief, Women

Upset woman holding her head.

Haven’t We Done This Before?

Have you ever read a story about the people of Israel and thought, “Why are they losing faith again? Didn’t they learn their lesson the last time?” Hi, I’m Israel. Have we met?

I thought I had learned the lesson of God’s grace being sufficient in my weakness during my early years of mothering, but the Lord has shown me that I need this lesson again. I have struggled with health issues off and on for many years. With so many pregnancies, it is inevitable to have fluctuating hormones and my body seems to have a particular difficulty regulating those. We’re trying lots of things to fix the problem—testing, diet changes, medicines, supplements, exercise, etc. I’m resting and reducing stress. But all these helpful things haven’t diminished the chronic fatigue and joint and muscle pain. Hurting and being tired all the time, sometimes to the point of being bed-ridden, pretty much messes up any hope I have of being productive. And I love to be productive.

Unmet Goals

I have many goals—with the children, in the home, in ministry both locally and with Highlands. I still have that book to finish, decorating projects, yard work, gardening, the exercise program, a knitting project, sewing for Maggie, field trips to take, and . . . you get the idea. All this isn’t happening because I wake up not knowing if I can get out of bed.

I can drive myself crazy trying to figure out what’s wrong, but ultimately it doesn’t do much good. My doctors are working on it and for now I need to accept that it is what it is, I’m hurting and tired.

Learning How to Deal

There’s nothing wrong with being sick. My true struggle begins with how I will deal with it. I struggle with anger, which I like to whitewash and label “frustration” because it sounds more spiritual. This emotion can be poured out toward God, my body, and my family. Another wrong response is to give up, a result of an all-or-nothing response. If I can’t do it all, then I won’t even try to do the little bit I can do. Ultimately, this is a faithless response. I can get grumpy when I’ve had a string of bad days. In my head I know that this is being discontent, but I’m good at justifying my unbiblical response.

The other day it hit me: I’ve been here before! Maybe not exactly in this circumstance, but I have been hurting and sick for a long time with a million things I need to do, good things, things that I think God wants me to do. I thought I had come to terms with limitations, but my struggle with my attitude shows me that I really haven’t. At the heart of my struggle is my desire to have things the way I want them to be. I’ve been seeking Kara’s kingdom, the place where I feel great and am limitlessly productive (which makes me feel good about myself) rather than seeking God’s Kingdom first, the one where He gets glory.

There is a difference between what I think God has called me to do and what He really has called me to do. Too often I think I’m supposed to “prove” my worth to God with my works rather than resting in my worth in God because of Christ’s work. Being tired and in pain does not stop me from trusting Him and having the fruit of the Spirit. So even though my checklist may not be complete, I can rest in the knowledge that I am fulfilling my role as God’s child in His Kingdom.

This article first appeared in the HomeWise column in Every Thought Captive magazine.

DON’T MISS the episode of HomeWise podcast: Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired where Steve and Kara Murphy invite their friends Mark and Andrea Robinette to discuss this topic. They talk about how their families have dealt with mom being sick for an extended period of time and the unique struggles they have had along the way. This episode may be an encouragement to you or a family you know who is dealing with this particular struggle.

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