The swelling had begun in earnest as the tears rolled down my puffy cheeks. Another medication reaction from a medicine that was not supposed to cause reactions. Surely, God, You saw ahead of time that this would happen? … It was the launch week of our new book, after all!
Just days before the reaction, I held a miracle in my hands. A published book of the story that my husband and I had shared together on this blog last year had come together in ways we could never have guessed. And yet now, the joy was mingling with lament.
Of course, for those who have followed any of my blogging, you probably recognize the pattern. It is the way God works in our lives, isn’t it?
Last December when I announced my “retirement” from this blog, in order to be more fully present with my husband in his retirement, a proposal popped into my inbox.
My dear friends at the beautiful chronic illness ministry of Chronic-Joy offered to compile our story into a book to be published through their ministry. They asked us if we would be willing to turn our manuscript over to their editing and subsequent publishing for their bookshelf.
To say we were floored is an understatement! And to offer our book as a resource for the ministry of Chronic Joy? Of course we would donate the profits (however meagre they might be) to this beautiful ministry that has been such a blessing to our chronic illness lives.
But then the doubts began to trickle in until they became a flood: Who was I to take up the valuable time of the small group of volunteers at Chronic Joy? … And why would anyone care to hear about our many weaknesses and failures?
Somehow, through the prayers of my faithful friends, and through the deep mercy of my Father, I heard the call of His Spirit asking me to follow Him into the new that He had planned for us.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;Isaiah 43:19 NIV
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
My dear writing friends who have blogged with me over these past years reminded me of the very words that God had spoken. Anna Smit and I had shared so sweetly together on her blog through the book God gave us there. So often we had prayed together:
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 weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
It had never been about me, or my husband, or our many failures. It had always been about God, and HIS working in our lives. So, while I may lament about my weaknesses, about my struggles to keep from worrying, about my many “failed” medications, God is asking me to look up and praise Him in the storm.
For you see,
“My thoughts are not your thoughts,Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
neither are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
And out of the small places of our story, God birthed a beautiful book beyond our imaginings. Chronic Joy gave us a true labor of love. And in return, we offer our love back to them, and up to God.
His love is like that. It travels full circle and touches every heart along the way.
Are you in a place of doubt today?
I would love to invite you to travel with us on our journey to find that His strength has always been all we needed, and to find that in abiding is our rest.
Click here to read about Chronic Joy’s offering of our story. Their website is chock-full of beautiful resources to encourage you in your chronic and or mental illness. While you are there, why not pause and look around a bit. Their Prayer Pond is dear to my heart, where we can share our requests and pray for others too.
If you prefer, you may go directly to Amazon and purchase the book there also. Click here to be taken to our book’s page.
As I was preparing this post to share, I searched for the song that I quoted in Chapter 3 of our book. I felt prompted to share that song here, as I’ve listened to it so often throughout the years.
But what I found amazed me. Somehow, over the recent years when I had listened to the song, I had missed this version, with comments about its origins, and the full lyrics that I had not heard in decades. God’s timing is always just what we need.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Romans 5:3-5 NIV
As Dan Burgess quoted these Scriptures, I realized they are the words that God has been sowing and reaping in our lives through every struggle, every place of suffering, and every surrender. And it is now my prayer for you as we release this book to go wherever God takes it.
I have missed praying here with you my friends. Will you join me today?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for calling us into Your family, for joining us together in the Body of Christ, and for Your precious Son, given for us. What kind of love is this, that forgives all our sins, and washes us white as snow?
Will You lift each of my friends into Your heart of encouragement today? Will You show them the glory of Your working in every place of their suffering? And will You pour out Your hope upon them today cleansing away every bit of shame?
And we will praise You, our Lord Jesus, for the blessing of abiding in You. We worship You our God for showing us that You have always been our only hope and rest. Thank You for the gift of eternal life with You.
In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
And now, I’m so happy to let you know that we have a free copy to give away! Anyone who comments here on the blog will be entered into a random drawing. I will leave these comments open until the week of November 14th, when I will announce the winner. (So it looks like I am stepping out of “retirement” for a few more weeks. 😊)
I am linking with: Remember Me Monday