Keith, Lisa, and Lillian
Hello! Thank you Rachel for the honor of being a guest blogger! The Lord has used you in my life to encourage and challenge me to trust Him fully. I’ve been battling with a chronic illness now for 8 years and it’s such a joy to help bring awareness to invisible illnesses, like Dysautonomia, but most of all to tell others about how the Lord shows Himself faithful and true – no matter our circumstances.
8 years ago, 3 months after marrying my sweet husband, Keith, I got mononucleosis. Most people fully recover from mono but for me this wasn’t the case. After a few months of intense fatigue and weakness I began to black out while standing and noticed my heart rate was unusually fast. I often felt in a fog and disconnected from my surroundings. After laying on the floor in the grocery store a few times we decided we needed to see if something more was going on with my body. We learned shortly after that the virus had damaged my autonomic nervous system and I was diagnosed with POTS, a form of Dysautonomia.
Since my diagnosis, I’ve learned so much about living life with a chronic illness. It’s difficult and can feel isolating as many people don’t understand. I think it’s hard for people to see someone who looks completely healthy and believe that they feel terribly. I was forced to quit working, to stay home and learned to live in an entirely new way – dealing with numerous symptoms that have become part of every day. Energy now is a priceless commodity that needs to be used wisely. I often say no to things I really want to do, but can’t – like joining other mom’s on a trip to the zoo, serving my friends and family or helping lead singing at church. I no longer take the ability to stand for granted – as this is hard on my body. Activities such as taking a shower or cooking simple meals take energy and I have to prioritize and plan in order to care for myself and my family. My husband helps out a lot! He cleans our house and serves me in numerous ways and I can’t thank him enough! Life has changed and it has taken time to “come to grips” with this.
The Lord has called me to a life of physical weakness but in so doing has allowed me (us) the opportunity to trust Him in new ways. Before living with a chronic illness I knew I served a faithful God, but I have to say that He has shown Himself faithful in so many new and tangible ways. My husband and I both say that we would choose no other road (if given the opportunity) because the Lord has so tenderly and personally carried us through these years and allowed us to know Him in a more vibrant way. The road has been hard, and we have failed often by taking our eyes off of Christ and focusing on ourselves (a sure way to become discouraged!). The source of my comfort and peace is my Savoir, Jesus, who was acquainted with grief and yet persevered to the end in order to obey and ultimately bring glory to His Father. This is my prayer – that I am found faithful, to the end, bringing glory to my God!
Lisa and Lillian