Over the next week I will be sharing a short series of blog posts written by our good friend Liz. She has just finished an excellent series on gratitude that she has given me permission to share here. Liz and her husband, Eric (What a fantastic name!), are dear friends of ours in part because we share many of the same interests, but also because Kim and Liz both suffer from autoimmune diseases. Liz has lupus and Raynaud’s and because of their experience in dealing with Liz’s illnesses they understand when Kim is struggling with her RAD or when we make yet another doctor’s appointment for a new symptom. Their caring and compassion for our family has drawn us extremely close and we truly treasure their friendship, listening ears, and tears when we have needed them. Everyone should also know that at this point Liz is very embarrassed to be having this much attention pointed in her direction.
Before you read the post there is one more thing I must draw attention to concerning Liz and Eric. They are in the process of adopting a baby! This is significant because everyone who reads this post can help them without it costing you a dime. Simply click on their Amazon link before you start to purchase something and Amazon will donate a portion of everything you buy towards Liz and Eric’s baby account. How cool is that!?!?
Lastly, thanks to Liz for a fantastic series that shows in humble transparency how God has worked in her life to show her gratitude and how to be thankful (Yes, thankful!) for lupus.
In this series of posts, I’ll share what God has been teaching me about gratitude in recent months. Please know that I share these thoughts, not as someone who has this topic all figured out, but from a heart that fails daily in this area. God is showing me some amazing truths from His Word about gratitude, but I’m really still trying to wrap my head around it all.Somewhere along the way growing up, I came to understand the concept of finding things to be thankful for despite my circumstances. I was taught that no matter what we’re going through, we always have something for which to be grateful. And not dwelling on the hard things, but instead focusing on the positive things, can help one remain upbeat and optimistic in the midst of trials.The first few years after my lupus diagnosis were really very tough. I had muscle pain and joint stiffness that didn’t seem to ease up no matter what I did or didn’t do. The fatigue that made it hard to get out of bed in the morning made it even harder to get through the entire work day, let alone do anything after work but sleep. During this time, I tried my best to stay positive. I really had a “suck it up and deal with it” kind of attitude. I don’t like this, but it is what it is, so there’s no use belly-aching about it. We made the needed adjustments to our life to deal with my illness and did our best to remain positive. It’s no accident that God gave me the husband that he did. If you know Eric at all, you know he’s not one that gets discouraged very easily. It’s rare to see him without a smile on his face, and his positivity was and is a great source of strength for me.
In the last year, a lot of the symptoms that I had early on have returned. Though not as severe as they were then, I’ve had to make several adjustments to my schedule over the last few months to accommodate these symptoms. I’m spending many more evenings on the couch resting than I would like to due to fatigue, and I’m once again having to say no to things I want to do in order to save energy for the things I have to do. I cannot say enough how thankful I am for my husband. He constantly, and I mean constantly, picks up my slack around the house without complaint, and he continuously reminds me that our good God is in control. His upbeat attitude really is a great reminder to me of everything that I have to be grateful for.We both know that no matter how much lupus negatively affects our lives, things could always be worse. When I start thinking about some of the current struggles those close to us are facing, it doesn’t take long for me to remember that I really have it good. The things I face on a daily basis don’t even compare to what some dear friends are walking through – things I can’t begin to understand. Though I’m definitely prone to throwing the occasional pity party for myself, it usually doesn’t last very long once I make the decision to switch my focus to all of the positive things in my life.
And there are so many positive things in my life! I have a husband who still says I’m his favorite. I have an incredibly supportive family. I have an amazing circle of friends that love on us in so many encouraging ways. We have more than enough financially and all of our basic needs are more than met. I truly do have much to be thankful for despite this illness.He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. – Epictetus