Welcome to our guest blogger, Michele Williams.
“Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!”
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 last on is how I’ve felt over the past 28 years living with chronic illness. Most illnesses when you least expect it, bringing many unwanted and unexpected surprises.
There are a few surprises that have pleasantly surprised me and my family. 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. Then it finally caught up with me.
10 years ago, life as I knew it came to a complete halt. My body shouted, “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!”
At that moment, 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 made in my life and 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)
I remember several years ago my family was gathered together, and we were describing each other using one word. When it came to me, my 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–but the best surprise of all is that I’ve 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)
Question: What surprise(s) has chronic illness brought to your life or a family member’s life? Please share it with us in the comment box below?
Michele Williams lives in a beautiful Pennsylvania mountain community with her husband of 38 years. They have a beautiful grown daughter, caring son-in-law, awesome teenage grandson and three furry children who bring them joy.
Through the years, Michele and Jim have lived and ministered in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, and Arizona. God has uniquely gifted her to be used in all aspects of the church ministry, including being a Pastor’s wife, and beyond. Child Evangelism, Regional Women’s Ministry Leadership, Nursing Home Ministry, Homeless Ministry, Wellness Ministry, Motivational Speaker, Christian Counselor and Freelance Writer. She’s also been a Kindergarten teacher; bookkeeper; and office administrator for various businesses.
Michele’s experienced various challenges in her life: an abusive father; parents divorced twice; miscarriages; hysterectomy in her 20’s; wayward child; family members with various chronic health and mental illness; death of their fathers, step-father and her mother-in-law; care of her aging mother; foreclosure; financial problems; just to name a few.
Since 1985 Michele live with multiple chronic illnesses: Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Peripheral Neuropathy, Interstitial cystitis, IBD, chemical sensitivities, Asthma, Sleep Apnea, and treated for SLE Lupus (among other illnesses).
Even though Michele’s illnesses have been debilitating, she says, “The Lord continues to be a faithful Friend, showing me that I am still an exceptionally useful vessel worthy of His use. Through all the pain, trials and sufferings there have been many more blessings.”
Please visit Michele’s encouraging and informative blog, “Beelieve You Can,” where she inspires her readers to claim and quote daily Psalm 18:29: “In Your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall” (NLT).
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org