Grieving and Giving Chronic Illness to God Who Cares

I don’t write about it much, but I’ll admit I do get so weary sometimes of chronic illness… Shortness of breath, persistent coughing, tight and sore bronchial airways, aching in my bones, draining energy, brain fog, and recurrent bronchial infections that flare up my sarcoidosis, a multi-system inflammatory disease primarily affecting the lungs.

Through all losses, we need to go through a grieving process, don’t we? Even when we have health limitations. Sure, it helps to look at others we feel have it so much worse, but I’m learning that only leads us to dismiss or minimize our health issues. Then we start to do more what others expect of us than to care for ourselves. We end up draining ourselves.

We need to allow ourselves to believe we have a problem so we can do what will help, not hinder, our well-being. We need to work through any feelings, like anger or depression, that detriment our health. To mourn the things our hearts long to do, but our bodies don’t agree to. To grieve over the pain of others not understanding us. It’s okay not to feel okay.

God invites us to unburden any and every hurt in our hearts, even when we feel upset at Him for not healing us like we want. He desires for us to allow His grace-filled arms to hold us up, His compassion to console us, and His unconditional love to release the pressure we put on ourselves.

No matter what we suffer from, Jesus empathizes with us and cries with us. He has experienced every kind of suffering imaginable, so He understands. Because He suffered for us, we don’t have to be alone in our suffering.

It can be so hard though, right? It’s a process that recycles over and over again. But God is not going to abandon us, even when it feels like it. His character is the very essence of love and faithfulness. His mercies are new every morning.

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!”
Lamentations 3:22-23

I have not posted this to gain any pity. I’m just trying to be real. It’s something I really need work on. I usually have this automatic answer when most people ask me how I am – “I’m fine! How are you?” I try to be strong in front of others, and I end up paying for it. I’m not meaning we should wallow in a puddle of self-pity and expect everyone to sit there with us. We can be honest about how we feel but still, through God’s grace, seek the beauty all around us.

I know there are many who compare their suffering with others’ and feel their suffering isn’t worth mentioning and think they should just be thankful for what they have more than others, myself included. I write this with a prayer that even one reader will feel less alone and will realize Jesus deeply cares and understands. He doesn’t measure one suffering to be worse than another. He waits with open arms and ears to hear each of us pour out every pain of our hearts, minds, and bodies.

“Praise You In This Storm”
by Casting Crowns

 May God give you strength and hope for each day!

26 thoughts on “Grieving and Giving Chronic Illness to God Who Cares

  1. Thank you, Trudy, for the courage to share from your heart. We all suffer with pain from time to time in our lives be it physical, mental, or spiritual. Jesus cares and Jesus loves us in the midst of it all. May you feel His grace and mercy today, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Martha. We certainly can never live without His grace and mercy, right? There is no suffering too hard that Jesus doesn’t understand. May His love and compassion fill our hearts and spill out to others!

      Like

  2. Oh Trudy, hugs! Watching our daughter suffer through asthma attacks exacerbated by illness these past two weeks, my heart goes out to you. May God continue to lead you to His feet to pour out your heart, so that He may encourage and lift you up.

    Your post has encouraged me too. Grief from leaving my church two months ago is catching up with me now. Although I did it in obedience and I know that leaving has protected my heart and soul, it still hurts. I was so encouraged by Philippians 3 this morning, by the words “Christ Jesus has made me His own”. Tears were streaming. Tears that needed releasing. I may be rejected and hurt by people, but God’s love is holding me strong. May that encourage you too, each day as you strain forward to what lies ahead, taking the time to cast and pour so you move forward confidently in His arms (words I pray for myself too). Sending you love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Anna, I’m so sorry your daughter deals with asthma. That is so hard when a person can’t catch their breath, and a momma’s heart breaks to see her child suffering so. May God hold you both up in His grace. I’m so glad this post has encouraged you. I’m so sorry you have been rejected and hurt by people. I know how much that can hurt. Especially when it’s from a community of “Christians.” A lot of loss and betrayal involved. Yes! Christ Jesus has made you His own! Thank you for that reminder. That’s the most important thing and that’s how we survive, right? May we daily remember we are His and He’s got us no matter what happens!

      Like

      1. Thanks for your sweet reply, Trudy. Thankfully we now have the meds she needs to get better. It has already helped so much.

        I’m learning a lot about forgiveness, but also being reminded how I too am a blessed recipient of God’s grace again and again. As I have poured out my heart to God, He has transformed my grief for myself into grief for those who have hurt me. He has helped me to see with His eyes. But I am so glad He removed me from teaching that was impacting me adversely, even when God asked me to speak out against it. Yeast is so dangerous. Now, I pray for the church as God leads me to, knowing that He is still at the Head and that He will grow the seeds He asked me to sow. It is definitely not easy, but has and is teaching me so much. And it has been amazing how my Bible reading has been so God-timed to encourage me that I have done the right thing, again and again (you begin to doubt when it falls on deaf ears). I’m so thankful for my first church filling me with a love for the Word too- what a gift that has proven to be.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. THANK YOU, GOD! I’m glad your daughter is doing better, and God is blessing you with more of His grace. No, it’s definitely not easy to follow Christ. Seeing through His eyes gives us a totally different perspective, doesn’t it? I love how God sends us those timely verses. 🙂

          Like

  3. Dear Trudy,
    Oh I loved that graphic from Ann Voskamp! In fact I used it for my phone’s wallpaper during some of the hard times with my own diagnosis of chronic illness. Like you I am finding that sometimes Lament and Grieving are required, before we can move on to find the beauty in His next season for us. And, just when I think that I’ve lamented enough, He seems to uncover another area that I’ve been covering up. I am so thankful that He does acknowledge the loss that we feel! Thank you so much dear sister, for all that you bear and share with us here. Your words are so precious to me! Love and Gentle Hugs! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really identify with your sentiments here, Bettie. I know you understand in a deep way. I have found out as well that just when we think we’ve lamented enough, He uncovers yet another area we have been covering up. He is so gracious to help us work through and acknowledge the loss we feel. I used to tell myself I had no right to grieve. What happened is that I became stuck, and my life became a vicious circle. I couldn’t move on to find the beauty. As Ann writes, it’s part of God’s plan to change us. Love and Gentle Hugs back! May we keep grieving so we can more quickly move on to find the beauty!

      Like

  4. Thanks for sharing honestly, Trudy! It must be hard to struggle with chronic illness and not be able to do all that you want to do. You share great wisdom here. I relate to the temptation to be strong for others and say that I’m fine however I’m feeling, but I agree, we can be honest about how we feel without it being self-pity. It’s important that we have people we can be real with and also that we can be honest with God. Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your compassion, Lesley. Love and hugs to you, too! Your point about it being important to have people we can be real with causes me to reflect also on how careful we have to be sometimes. If we share with people we know don’t understand, we can just be hurt more. I, too, am so grateful we can always be honest with God. We never have to be hesitant or afraid that He won’t understand us, do we? May we keep pouring out all our hurts to the ONE who loves us and cares about us more than anyone on earth can!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aww Trudy. I’m sorry. I can only imagine how difficult some of your days are. I appreciate your honesty here. And your wisdom. I love what you shared here:

    “We can be honest about how we feel but still, through God’s grace, seek the beauty all around us.”

    It’s a moment-by-moment choice to keep eyes fixed on God in the midst of pain and sickness. You are a beautiful example of pointing others to Him with your words and pictures and songs shared here.

    Sending you a virtual bear hug, sweet friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for caring, Jeanne. A virtual bear hug back to you! Yes, “a moment-by-moment choice to keep eyes fixed on God.” Not always easy when negative things blind us, but God gives His sufficient grace. He is so infinitely patient with us, isn’t He? May we keep encouraging each other to look to our only HOPE and HELP!

      Like

  6. Trudy-you blessed us all by being so open to sharing how you feel as well as how hard it is. It is easy to forget that grief comes as a result from any kind of loss. We need to allow ourself time to process and heal.

    Ann Voskamp’s quote is spot on. When we let ourselves be who we really are and not just say we are fine, we become who God created us to be. Thank you for being you and encouraging us to remember we are never alone and God loves to carry our burdens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your words that you were blessed mean so much, Mary. So many times I wanted to deleted this post, but God kept pressing it on my heart. I always fear being self-centered rather than God-centered. Yes, we need to grieve any loss. I am learning more that it’s such an important step to better cherish God’s beauty. May we rest in our Faithful God who loves to carry our burdens and will never abandon us!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s our vulnerability and sharing our trials, suffering that connect us. When we hide behind fine, we aren’t allowing the fullness of ourselves which is where love and connection exists. I know I have a hard time being vulnerable, open about my suffering as can think, ‘someone is much more worse off than me..what right do I have?” But yes! There is no measurement in suffering! Blessed words you have shared here again Trudy. Thank you for your openness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love what you express here, Lynn. Yes, sharing our suffering does bring better connection. God has used this blogging community to teach me so much. That “What right do I have?” often haunts me, too. I know you struggle with some things. Know that they are important to me, and especially to God! May we bear one another’s burdens with love and compassion!

      Like

  8. Hi Trudy,
    Thank you so much for sharing your concerns and needs since it helps me to pray more specifically for you. It is hard to keep pressing on when pain and failing strength overtake us but just as you pointed out, God carries us and fills our lives with his strength, even in the difficulties. You are a beacon here, Trudy, pointing us to him! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement and prayers, Valerie. It’s amazing how “God carries us,” isn’t it? But I admit there have been many times when, like the Emmaus travelers, my heart was blinded to His presence. That’s when we have to remember how faithful His character is, right? I loved your post today. It encouraged me so much. May we keep doing seemingly small, insignificant things with great love!

      Like

  9. It’s always good to be honest about our struggles, though it takes Godly wisdom and discernment to know just where, when and who to confide these things to. Toughing it out and pretending we are fine will only harm us in the long run. You never veer into self-pity in any way, Trudy. What comes across so strongly in all of your posts is your earnest desire to help others, especially those who are wounded and hurting in any way. We come away feeling understood, cared about and uplifted after reading your words and listening to the songs you share, whatever the subject matter might be. Thank you for speaking about your trials and helping others to feel less alone with their own. It’s a beautiful grace gift you have, my friend. xoxo ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your continued encouragement, Joy. I’m so grateful you come away feeling understood and cared about. I know it’s our earnest desires to comfort others with the same comfort God gives us. xoxo back to you! Even when our bodies grow weak, may we grow ever stronger in our spirits, upheld by the knowledge of Jesus and His never-abandoning love for us!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh Trudy … I’m so sorry that you have to experience this ongoing struggle. I think I understand the grieving process that comes along with health losses like this. Hard is hard, no matter what it looks like, but sarcoidosis sounds especially awful. Thank you for sharing so openly about this … it makes me appreciate even more the encouragement you consistently offer to me and so many others. Hugs and blessings to you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your loving compassion, Lois. I’m certain you have gone through this grieving process many times, even now with your mom having Alzheimers. I have a friend whose mom got it already at a younger age. I remember her once saying it was almost like losing her. Hugs and blessings to you, too! May God help us to grieve our losses and give us further healing in our hearts!

      Like

  11. I appreciate your words, and how you want to ‘keep it real’. There is nothing more grinding than chronic pain, it pushes you down and even if it lets up for a while, you know it will be back. That STINKS. I think it is only human to have to take a break from it all and admit that sometimes it gets the best of you.

    This way of life has really brought you some wonderful gifts though. You are unbelievably compassionate to people who struggle, and always have an open ear and heart for the wounded and struggling. You are so much like the Lord in that respect. Who knows better how it feels to be hurt than you, who hurt sometimes too.
    God bless your ministry here on your blog Trudy, and keep you in his peace and healing love. You are needed by many.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tears are raining down in my heart because of your kind words of caring and encouragement, Ceil. Thank you so much for your love and prayers. I know you have your share of “owies,” too. May God also bless you and keep you in His peace and healing love!

      Like

  12. Dear Trudy, I am so so sorry that you have to bear a chronic illness and all that it brings. Thank you for being honest and sharing your heart. I have a chronic illness but it is milder than yours i am thinking. I often feel bad talking about it as i know it could be so much worse, but it does affect my life a lot. I can relate to the loss feeling some too as I know how much being sick and the inconsistency of it all changes your life. Hugs and more hugs. So thankful for the way you share all that God has taught you and brought you through. Thankful for your lovely heart and the way you care so genuinely for others. Praying you feel better and that the Lord refreshes you tonight! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kindness and prayers, Susie. Please don’t minimize your suffering, my friend. Remember God never compares or measures. He is so affected by each of our difficulties that it’s as if we are the only one. It’s taking me a long time to realize that, and I’m still learning. I’m so sorry your life is so affected by it and many other losses. Yes, chronic illness really changes our lives, and it’s so hard to find our new “normal,” isn’t it? I find I am getting commitment-shy as I’m so afraid of disappointing others if I end up sick or am having a bad day. Compounded with other losses, like the loss of your little one, makes it even harder to bear. Hugs and more hugs to you, too! May God hold us in His loving arms and give us daily strength and peace!

      Like

Your voice matters! Please feel free to share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s