I don’t know about you, but at its best, I can find summer throws any routine out the window and I’ve found that especially tough looking after a three-year-old. I will admit I am looking forward to getting back to September and back into a routine.
Something I try to do in my blog is to be really open and honest with what’s going on in my life, to encourage others who are going through similar things. As those of you who have read my previous blogs you would know that for five years I battled with M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) which was years of exhaustion and chronic pain. It left me unable to do very much and I struggled with anxiety and feeling low and being alone a lot. I wrote the song ‘Just as you are’ on my first album which talked about my journey through this time about learning that God loved me just as I was, even when I couldn’t do much. I am truly grateful for God teaching me during this time that he loves me not because of what I do but because of who I am. God amazingly healed me and I had several years of being well and pain free. I was delighted to finally feel that I could live life to the full: feeling well enough to get my fitness back, play tennis and just enjoy being well.
So you can imagine how gutted I was when in the last year or so I started to realise that something else wasn’t quite right. It started slowly, with increasing pain and fatigue. I had to stop playing tennis, then running and eventually it got so bad I even struggled to go walking with my son in his buggy. The pain became constant and unbearable and it turned out that I had another chronic condition. Although there was an obvious relief that it is was nothing life threatening, for those of you who have suffered with a chronic illness will know, to find out that you have got another condition that isn’t curable and the only ways to manage it include surgery and medication is really hard. I ended up on very strong painkillers which left me feeling pretty out of it, and feeling utterly useless as a mum. A lot of days I lay on the sofa with cartoons on for my son as I couldn’t do much more. When walking this path of illness again I had a lot of questions for God, and was continually asking what is going on. Why? Why me!
After it had seemed to be a season of health and joy everything was suddenly in doubt. Every time I prayed and sought God and questioned, I was given the Bible verse ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ The irony wasn’t lost on me that the first song on my latest album was called ‘Be still’.
It reminded me that there are different seasons and that I needed not to focus on what I could do but just to rest in God’s love, knowing that I was loved. Even though I have come so far in many ways, I can still fall into the trap of getting super busy and just doing. This time challenged my reliance on God and prompted me to trust Him even though I couldn’t see what was ahead.
I was incredibly nervous and anxious before my surgery to alleviate the condition but I had to keep reminding myself that I was safe in God’s arms and that he would carry me through. I can definitely say my faith makes a massive difference and gives me the strength to keep going. When I fix my eyes on God, I find peace that takes the stress and worries away, joy that keeps me going through the pain, and strength to keep me going when I feel to weak in my own strength.
It has been a difficult few months but I am so grateful that God has blessed me with amazing friends and family who have been a massive help and support. I am also grateful for the timing to fall in the summer giving me a chance to recover before term time and grateful for the surgeons, and grateful that I am finally feeling better than I have in months. I am grateful for a God who heals and I walk in the faith and trust that just as he did when I had in M.E. he will restore me completely. I walk in the knowledge that he loves me and has amazing plans to prosper and not to harm me.
I just want to encourage you no matter what you are going through, there is a God who loves you so much and who can give you the strength, joy and peace that you need.