Living with multiple illnesses and disabilities means that you attend a lot more medical appointments than the average person. In fact, even if I were in a position where I could work, I would struggle to find time because my week has a lot of maintenance appointments. These are the medical appointments one attends so that the body and mind is maintained at a certain level of functionality. Without these appointments, the functionality will start to decline. Although, I hate spending my week going from one appointment to the next, I know that it is important for me to do, as without these appointments I would be in a far worse situation.
Occasionally though, just like everyone, I need a holiday from this relentless merry-go-round of appointments. Although, it comes at a risk to be away from medical practitioners for a long period of time, I decided to go away with my parents overseas for a month. Within a few days I saw the benefits of having weekly maintenance appointments, but none the less I was determined to have a months holiday from all things medical, and did not proceed in finding a practitioner overseas who may have helped reduce some of the pain I was in. I wanted a holiday. I wanted to be as normal as I possibly could whilst I was on holiday. Although, this is hard because illness and disability comes on holiday with you, therefore sometimes you need to accept reality, admit defeat, and go into a wheelchair to minimise how much one walks through busy areas like airports and at the large tourist attractions.
Whilst I was away I was thankful that I am in a position where I can attend weekly maintenance appointments, and really could see the benefit of these appointments. I came home and attended my first appointment the following day. By the end of the first week back home I was starting to begrudge the need of going to appointments, and come the middle of the second week I was entirely over medical appointments, and heading into the life just sucks because nothing goes right stage! I had an amazing four weeks away, where everything went to plan. We were blessed in every which way possible, but then I came home and the bad news started to come. Reality hit again like a sharp strong blow, and with it my attitude changed.
When I was away I had the attitude that God is sovereign and that He has ordained every day of my holiday. It meant that I trusted that God would give me the energy that I needed to attend the sights that He wanted me to see. If I needed to stay back to rest, and miss out on seeing a sight, then that was okay because I was seeing what God wanted to show me from His amazing creation. This attitude meant that I really enjoyed what I was seeing, and very thankful for the energy that God was giving me to keep going, despite my body sometimes being in unbearable pain. When I got home, I forgot!
I forgot that God was still sovereign over my days. I forgot that He knew about the bad news before I did, and already had a way forward. I forgot that He has called me to a life that revolves around attending medical appointments most days. I forgot that He provides for my needs. I forgot that He knows what is best. I forgot that He will take care of me. I even thought to myself that the month that I was away must be what it’s like to be loved by God and to be in His favour, but at soon as I’m back home, I seem to move out of God’s favour. But that’s simply not true, because God does not promise that everything will go smoothly or we will only find favour with Him when things are going well. My experiences in life are not dependent on whether He loves me or I have favour with God, because the truth is that God’s love for me never changes through the good and bad. He never promised that life would simply be smooth sailing; in fact Jesus says the complete opposite (John 16:33). The truth is that God is always with me through the good and the bad, whether I remember this or not.
I also forgot why God tells us to regularly be a part of a community of believers (Hebrews 10: 24-25). I forgot that we are to help one another by pointing out the way God is actively at work in our lives both past and present. I forgot that I had already received similar bad news on other occasions and that each time God had provided what I needed. It took other people around me to point this out, because I had forgotten that I did not need to fear the unknown because God is in control. It may not be the plan that I would have chosen for myself, but this is His plan for me. The Bible tells me that His way is perfect (Psalm 18:30) and that God’s grace is sufficient to help me get through each day (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Although I seem to suffer from spiritual amnesia, and forget all the things God has done for me as I battle the hardships of life, God will always find a way to remind me of who He is and His love for me.