Some of you may remember Gomer Pyle, the simple-minded gas station attendant on The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. back in the 1960’s. He was often awestruck by the simplest of things, resulting in the exclamation of his catchphrases, “Shazam!”, “Gaaw-aawl-ly” and “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!”
The later catch phrase is how I have felt over the past 25 years living with chronic illness. Most illnesses come at a person when they least expect it bringing many unwanted and unexpected surprises.
There are a few surprises that have pleasantly surprised my family and I. For years I had been a person who was always busy ‘doing’. I worked full-time outside the home, involved in various ministries, wife, mother, and homemaker. I took care of everyone but me, and it finally caught up with me over the years.
Six years ago, my life as I knew it came to a complete halt! It was as though my body said, “You didn’t take the numerous hints I gave you over the years, so I quit!” Between the pain, multiple infections, brain fog, fatigue and depression etc., I was at a complete stand still in all aspects of my life. Even a simple conversation was difficult. Praying and reading my bible became a chore. Through sheer desperation, I cried out to God, “I give up! I no longer have the strength to live.” The still small voice of the Lord whispered; “Now I finally have your attention! It’s not in your strength, but Mine!”
I relinquished my will – and yielded to God’s will for my life. I chose to live each day to its fullest – to live simply, love deeply, and laugh often. If this means all I do today is sit and listen as my daughter shares her day with me, then that is God’s will for my life today. I am making a conscious effort not to let things get to me. If it doesn’t get done today, there is always tomorrow or the next day.
“Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT)
What a difference this has made in my life as well as in the life of my family. Imagine their surprise as I became content with my life and in return became a happier person to be around.
"But now that you've found you don't have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!” Romans 6:22 (The Message Bible)
The other week as my family was together, we were describing each other using one word. When it came to me, my 14 year old grandson said, “Funny”, my son-in-law said, “Crazy”, my sweet daughter said, “Loving”, and my very supportive husband – just smiled and laughed!
Chronic illness has brought many surprises to my life and my family’s; but the best surprise of all is that I have become a joyful, mellow, playful, thankful, giving, loving, wife, mother, grandmother and most of all faithful child of our merciful God!
It’s not how many times we go to church, how many ministries we are involved in, or how busy we are for God…. Whether we have a chronic illness or not - the answer to a blessed, joyful, Christian life is the following:
“Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God. “ 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT)
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11 (NKJV)
What surprises has chronic illness brought to your life or a family member’s life that you would like to share with us?
What Is Chronic Illness?
One in two Americans currently suffer from a form of chronic disease. Learn what it is, and what you can do if you or a loved one is suffering from a chronic illness.
Read more: "What Is Chronic Illness? A Definition and Explanation of Chronic Disease" - http://chronicillness.suite101.com/article.cfm/what_is_chronic_illness#ixzz0B5NvgBQW