Today is World Arthritis Day. Although we don't definitely know that the chronic pain I experience every day is from arthritis, it's close enough that this day has a personal connection for me, regardless of my eventual diagnosis.
I saw Maid in AK's Facebook post about it last night, in which she linked back to a piece she wrote last year, entitled, "Grace." It is beautiful, and so encouraging to someone like me who tries each day to live the delicate balance of chronic pain, wife and mom duties, retaining a semblance of myself beyond the label of "sick person," and continuing to wait for healing from God. Read it, whether you're someone who lives with chronic pain and needs a lift today, or someone who has a loved one that lives with pain. It will give you an idea of what thoughts and feelings they deal with on a daily basis, and hopefully give you new compassion and understanding for them. It can be a lonely, isolated life living with autoimmune disease. Love and a feeling of community are powerful and healing.
God does have a purpose for our pain. He has worked out so much good change in me since I began living with autoimmune disease. As we say at our church, I may not [yet] be who I want to be, but I'm grateful that I'm not who I used to be! He's going to continue to use my pain to transform me into just who He wants me to be for His purpose.
And through it all, I can embrace the GRACE He gives to endure, until we get to learn that purpose. Just that word, "Grace," brings peace and encouragement to mind. I'm going to walk through this day just repeating the word to myself. I need to extend Grace so much more than I do - to others, definitely, and even more so to myself. grace. Grace. GRACE. It's beautiful.