I’ve lived with chronic illness for several years. There have been ups and downs throughout this time, with periods of relative health and times where I had a hard time managing daily tasks. Thankfully, right now, I feel fairly healthy and manage my symptoms very well. Many people might look at chronic illness as purely negative. However, my chronic illness has taught me so many important lessons, lessons for which I am utterly grateful. These are some of the things I’ve learned through living life with chronic illness:
1. The blessing of receiving care
As a mother, I spend much of my time caring for others. However, there were times during my worst days where I became the one in need of care. It was such a gift to learn how to move slower and learn to receive care from those I love. Opening myself up to others caring for me allowed me to receive their love in a deeper way. Learning to receive care is a blessing learned through my illness, by giving me new lessons in love.
2. Finding joy through any pain
Often it is through sorrow that we find the greatest joy. It is through enduring and overcoming hardship, that we are offered moments of deep joy. By living with pain and health problems, I learned to appreciate joy in the small things—a beautiful sunset, the smile on my child’s face, a cup of tea made for me by my husband. These small moments become so much more joyful when coping through difficulties. Finding this joy through pain was another blessing I discovered.
3. Finding connection with others who are also struggling
We all have something hard to deal with. We all experience difficulty and struggle at times. By living with chronic illness, I found such a blessing in connecting with others. I learned to connect with others through a shared experience of hard times. If you are someone living with chronic know that you are not alone and I encourage you to find ways to find connection despite your difficulty.
4. Knowing I can do hard things
Living life with chronic illness certainly gave me the lesson of knowing my inner resilience. I realized that I had the inner strength to begin each day anew and with positivity. I also learned that the best way to face hard things is by taking them one moment at a time.
5. Calling on God for strength
Through living with chronic illness, I recognize that God might not always cure an illness—mysteries we do not have the answers for—but God will be there with you through it. When we face difficulties, we have the opportunity to call on God for closeness. I encourage you to pray for strength, peace, comfort and to see joy during difficult times. As we call on God to be near us, we are given a great gift of presence and connection.
Although living with a chronic illness can be such a burden, there are also many blessings in disguise. The key is in making the intention and setting aside the time to discover these blessings. If you are someone living with chronic illness, know you are not alone. Connect with others and connect with God through your struggles, and the blessings will unfold.