I know this sounds shallow. I really can’t believe that I am admitting this to you but I am battling some grief over finding out our last family member who has had no prior diagnoses has been diagnosed with a rare disorder.
I don’t know why this matters so much to me or why I’m taking it so hard. Perhaps my perspective is skewed. Maybe I have put hope in this one person who didn’t have the struggles that the rest of us had. I don’t know why that gave me hope. It just did.
Now I’m going through the grief of it again. Her life is forever changed. This rare condition can go into periods of remission but will never truly go away. It’s also one of those conditions that I had previously been diagnosed with but did not realize that it was a lifelong condition. If I knew that when I was diagnosed, my life would have moved along much more smoothly I think but it is hard to tell because I also was infected with Lyme disease which was not diagnosed until seven years after I contracted it. My body is weak. Care taking is hard. However, I could list pages of things that have gone wrong with my body, surgeries, pain, headaches, and the like.
My other daughter is on the autism spectrum. People say it is mild. However, it doesn’t make life any easier for her, just different. My husband has realized he is also in this same place—on the spectrum—like my daughter. As an adult, we are now learning how to properly communicate with this in mind. My son had special birth circumstances which we will not know clearly how it affects him until adulthood. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and has impulse control issues. He was adopted, which also brings certain unique challenges.
When most of these issues are not predictable, it complicates life. We have each been given a thorn in the flesh. Each unique and difficult.
In the book, Better Than Eden by Nancy Guthrie she states, “the Greek word used for thorn refers to a stake—a sharp wooden shaft used to impale someone. So whatever this thorn was, Paul felt impaled, pinned down, by it. He recounts his repeated pleading with God to take it away. Clearly, whatever it was, it brought unrelenting agony.”Yet, God has a perfect plan with those thorns. If we are believers and find ourselves in Christ, the goal is that we are conformed into His image. And He bore the cross, humiliation, beatings, while wearing a crown of thorns to make things right so that we will be saved. Can I not endure a thorn when my Savior endured a cross? My thorn is a piece of that cross, it is a sharing in His suffering, conforming to His image, sanctifying thorn.
This is not something we can do on our own. We must rely on the strength that He gives us by the grace of the Holy Spirit at work with in us. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, He will conform us from one degree of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Jesus sees and knows our pain. He endured it before us. And He did it without sin. Let us run to Him as our Savior, Help, Redeemer, Strength and Hope.
It would be amazing to me if I could say before the end of my life what Paul said, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
In this new present diagnosis, I am finding myself holding on to God more instead of the hope of “normalcy.” It was an idol and now that it is gone, I can say I am stronger in Christ. His power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me and He will empower me to be the best caretaker I can; even though sometimes I need to be the one cared for. He will provide. He always does. He will never leave or forsake us. In Him we can trust.
Angela Parsley is a certified biblical counselor who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with her husband, Tony, and their three children. They are members of Concord Baptist Church. Angela writes and reviews books at her blog, Refresh My Soul. You can follow her on Twitter.