Monday, July 3, 2023

A Conversation with Sara Willoughby

Today I have my friend, Sara Willoughby, joining me on the blog. Sara is a blogger, author, and conference host. We first met through the online Diamonds Conference that she hosts annually. She is a gem, and it has been such a delight to get to know her over the past few years.
I am excited to share Sara with all of you today. After you read here, you are invited to click over to Sara's blog where you will find me chatting with her!

Hello Sara! Welcome to Cranberry Tea Time! I’m so glad to have you here with us today. Please tell us a little about yourself and your chronic illness journey. And please tell us about your book too!

Hi Rachel! I’m so glad to be here. I’ve been stalking Cranberry Tea Time for years now, and it is such a valuable resource for chronic illness warriors.

For those reading — I love dark chocolate, superhero movies, and adventures! I also am recovering from Lyme disease, MCS, and Toxic Mold Poisoning. I first got sick as a teenager, and it has been a long journey for my family and I. We lost friends, material possesions, and I lost my childhood. At fifteen, I was given a month to live, and it completely changed my way of life.

As I was struggling to reconcile my faith with my suffering, I started to look for resources online. I hadn’t found Cranberry Tea Time (or all the other similar resources) yet, and so I started writing my own blog about my experiences. Eventually, people started reading it and told me, “This is crazy, but I have the same battle!”

And from there, my first book was born. It’s called He’s Making Diamonds, and it’s about faith in God in chronic illness. I wrote it out of my questions — and how God met me in the middle of them.

Sara in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Where are you living now and what are you doing these days?

I’m continuing to write — I think I’d go crazy if I didn’t! I have several books in the works for future publication, and of course, as you mentioned the Diamonds Conference takes a lot of my time and focus.

However, one of my long-time dreams has been to serve as a cross-cultural worker. That was a dream that had to die when chronic illness became part of my life. But recenly, God has made it possible for that dream to be resurrected and redeemed, and I just moved to Bosnia & Herzegovina.

What are you learning right now in your walk with the Lord?

Lately, the question that’s been reverberating in my mind is, “What if God loved us as much as He says He does?” Because, friend, if we truly believed that and lived like it, that would change everything.
Reading the Bible, I’ve been noticing anew how His love is mentioned so constantly and described and demonstrated so gigantically beyond my comprehension. And all my life, I’ve just skimmed over it. “Yeah, he loves the little children, now how can I please Him?”

What if every time God’s love is mentioned in the Bible and described as “steadfast” “enduring forever” “abounding” and “perfect” was taken seriously. What if it is really that uncomprehendably wonderful?

If God loves you and me as much as He says He does, it changes everything. It means that we can stop trying to hard. It means that shame, fear, and condemnation have absolutely no power in our lives.

It turns every good deed into an act of worship rather than trying to meet some standard.

I know you’ve heard this a million times before. I grew up in the church, I’d heard it a million times too. But lately, God has been making this real to me in a way that I never understood before. He crazy loves you. He crazy loves me.

It’s turning my life and my heart upside down.

Sara when she was sick as a teenager

What are some Bible verses, books, songs, or other resources that have been especially encouraging and helpful to you in your life with chronic illness?

After I got sick, my favorite Bible verse became 2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Sickness and suffering made me weak, but through that, I’ve gotten to see God glorified and experience His power more and more.

Some other resources . . . goodness, there are so many! I’ll share a few.

Books: Suffering Is Never For Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot and When Chronic Pain And Illness Take Everything Away: How To Mourn Our Losses by Esther Smith.

Songs: Diamonds by Hawk Nelson, Oh My Soul by Casting Crowns, and One Day by Christa Wells

What are some of the good things have you seen come from the trials and suffering in your

God has worked in so many ways in my life through my suffering. I’ve personally grown in compassion, world view, faith, hope, and boundaries. I’ve also gotten to see God use my story to encourage others and point them to Him. I’ve gotten to meet and love people I never would have otherwise. And God has opened the doors for my suffering to be a springboard to ministry.
But perhaps the most beautiful good thing I’ve seen is how suffering grew my intimacy with God. It allowed me to experience a closeness with Him that I never would have had otherwise. A closeness that came from honestly telling him everything — the good, the bad, the ugly, the angry, and the fearful. In that honesty came intimacy, and it is more beautiful than I can express.

That is beautiful. Thank you for being here today, Sara. It is wonderful to hear about what God has been teaching you over the years as you live and serve Him with chronic illness.

S. G. Willoughby is the author of He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness and the host of the Diamonds conference. She loves to write and have adventures. Sara is a TCK, a Lymie, and a dark chocolate lover. You can find her at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...