What does it look like to be well when life is hard, when you’re on a journey you never imagined you’d be on?
In November of last year my strong, capable, and healthy husband suddenly became ill and was admitted to hospital. Eventually he would be diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer). We were told that the only treatment he qualified for was palliative chemotherapy.
At that time, being “well” when my mind was racing and my heart was aching meant slowly repeating “Jesus… Jesus… Jesus… Jesus…” over and over again. It meant crying and praying in an empty hospital chapel while my husband had his perc drain inserted, or went for another scan. It meant clinging to Jesus with everything I had.
Now, months later after many ups and downs, re-admissions, infections, COVID, and some response to chemo, wellness is ever changing and it is WORK. It means a different thing on any given day.
It may mean journalling, meditating to an app, going for a walk or most often listening to worship music. It means being kind to yourself and having grace for yourself. It means accepting help and even asking for it. It is trusting that God will help you to get through one day at a time. It takes intention, it takes choosing to be hopeful and to believe that God is good.
A verse my mother gave me early on was Romans 15:13.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
I posted this verse in my pantry and on my bathroom mirror and in February had “ hope” tattooed on my inner wrist. I did not always feel like it, but when I would notice the verse or see hope on my wrist, I would pray that verse.
I have no idea how many hundreds of times I have recited Romans 15:13, but I do know that He has heard me and He has been answering that prayer. I do know that though the medical world believes the prognosis looks one way, I have hope and faith in a God who is able to do anything.
Many times I’ve heard people say faith is for those people who “need” it, insinuating those who are weak. I don’t want to do this on my own, and I don’t think I’d get out of bed in the morning without the hope I have in God.
Let me be clear here. That does not mean that I think God is going to wave a magic wand and make this all go away, though I wish He would and I do think He is able. I believe that whatever path my life takes He is for me, He cares for me and I am not alone. So for me, being well means inviting God into this journey with me.