Wednesday, January 22, 2020

When Hope Is Scarce

I am pleased to welcome Bethany Rose to Cranberry Tea Time today. Bethany is a fellow Minnesotan, blogger, and spoonie. She has a lovely letter today for those of you who also live with chronic illnesses. In case you aren't familiar with the term "spoonie," those who are in the chronic illness community often refer to each other as "spoonies." It is a name that comes from Christine Miserandino's helpful story called, "The Spoon Theory."

Bethany will be speaking at the Diamonds 2020 conference this weekend. If you have a chronic illness, you will want to check this out! It is online, and it is free! Details can be found at the end of the post.

Dear spoonie,

Does your pain overwhelm you? Do the days seem endless? Do you wonder if you will ever find a way out? Is hope scarce?


What a strange word, especially for those of us who wonder if the pain will ever ease.

A sweet girl told me the other day that during the worst days of her illness friends and acquaintances would frequently tell her, “I’m so sorry-I hope you feel better soon.”

The problem with telling us to “feel better soon” is that we both know it’s insincere. It often feels as if those who say this that don’t really care whether we feel better soon or not. That hurts. And as chronic illness warriors, we become finely attuned to the meaning behind common phrases like these.

With chronic illness, healing isn’t certain, and it probably won’t happen in the near future. It feels so empty when we hear, “I hope you feel better soon.”


It’s so easy to lose hope when your day-to-day existence is filled with pain or exhaustion.

And it’s not just healing that we lose hope in. It’s also easy to lose hope in the goodness of God, and start to believe that life is just a series of tragedies.

Dear one, what can you do when you lose hope?

Throughout my illness, I have lost hope many times. And I have learned something which transformed the way I think about hopelessness.

When we are in a dark place, the solution is not to notice the darkness, to calculate how many more hours we must exist until dawn sprinkles sunshine on our faces again. Instead, when we are surrounded by darkness, we look up. For the night sky is peppered with stars.

I remember a dear friend messaging me, asking me, “When will this feeling end?”

I told her, “It will take time, but you will come out.

Take it one breath at a time.

Pause, and look at the night sky. It is vast, and it is wild, and it is not joyful. It has seen a thousand wrongs in the same moment as it saw a thousand rights. Look out your window. That ancient sky? Somewhere behind it is a Maker who will one day rip the sky apart to come and right every wrong.

You’re not alone.”

No matter what your illness is, God has not abandoned you. He will one day right the wrongs of this broken world. And if you simply look around, look up, into the sky, you will find small reminders of His enduring love.

Yet you wonder-how can I? My symptoms prevent me. Yes friend, sometimes our symptoms make finding reminders of God’s love harder. But that which is harder won is the more precious.

Perhaps you are a spoonie with light sensitivity. You can’t watch the sunrise, but you can close your eyes and go out into a garden or park. Inhale the scents. It’s winter now where I live in Minnesota, cold, frozen, lonely. You may think that winter doesn’t have a scent, but your nose will change your mind. Breathe deeply. What do you smell?

The first thing I notice in the winter air is the crispness. Then I smell underneath it the everlasting scent of the earth, quiet and strong, despite being stuck in winter’s icy clasp. I smell the earth, and I remember that God will bring spring again.

Dear spoonie, if we only hope for healing, we miss all the beauty God has given to us to relieve the bitter cold of winter. Yet if we choose to look up, we can find the little blessings which make a hard season of life bearable.

For we do not only hope for the relieving of our pain. Our primary source of hope is God.

“We put our hope in the Lord.
    He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
    for our hope is in you alone.”
Psalm 33:20-22

He will not disappoint us. He may not take away our pain, but He will help us to bear it. And when we begin to doubt that He really is here with us, if we only look around, we will see a thousand evidences that His love for us is still as strong as it was the day Jesus bore both our sins and our sorrows on the Cross.

And though our pain seems to last forever, soon, it will pass away.

So dear spoonie, when we begin to lose hope let us look to God. Let us be in awe of Him. Let us find the little blessings He gives us each day. But most of all, let us cling fast to the knowledge that He is guarding us. He is keeping us. He is with us!

Dear spoonie, when hope is scarce, look up.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.” 1 Peter 1:3-6

Bethany’s name means “bright city on a hill.” This is her mission in life, to illuminate the beautiful things and shine God’s light where there was darkness. Bethany leads The Wilting Rose Project, a ministry of encouragement and truth for young women who feel their struggles make them worthless. She writes fairytales heavily inspired by her love of the forest, where she spends many of her mornings soaking in the uniquely Minnesotan beauty. Her blog includes more personal documentation of her battle the last few years with Lyme disease and Toxic Mold illness and her journey of healing.

What is Diamonds 2020? Diamonds 2020 is a free online conference for chronically ill Christians.

When is Diamonds 2020? January 23rd-25th, 2020

Who is speaking at Diamonds 2020? 16 awesome chronically ill warriors.

What does Diamonds 2020 cost? Nothing!

Where is Diamonds 2020? You can register for free at this link.

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