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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

WHAT’S SO IMPORTANT ABOUT FAITH WHEN WE LIVE WITH ILLNESS AND PAIN?

As I’ve lived with serious illnesses for many years, people often ask me what helps keep me positive and determined to make the most of life. I always answer: Faith.

Keeping faith foremost is not always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes, pain is so overwhelming that it clouds even the most basic thoughts. Sometimes, impatience over waiting for test results or treatments to begin working puts an edge on my usual calm. When starkly tangible, immediate manifestations of my ilnnesses stare back at me in the mirror (I am bald due to alopecia totalis), the less-tangible (tho no less present) presence of  faith can be diminished – a little.

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And then, of course, there is the the “bad day,” which can really wreck havoc with calm.

Yet, through it all, faith for me is my go-to for coping with challenges, setbacks, rejection, and the periodic addition of a new ailment. I can truly say that God has never let me down, or given me more than what I can handle (tho I might not have realized it in the middle of a crisis). The Lord has always given me comfort. And, by keeping close to faith and the Lord in prayer and quiet, I can shore up my calm and strengthen for those times when trouble comes calling.

I know that some people do not feel this way at all. I understand that the problem of faith juxtaposed with illness and pain can be overwhelming. And, I udnerstand that some people become very angry with God when their lives are suddenly turned upside down.

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Perhaps I, too would be extremely angry and overwhelmed if I believed that the pain, the ordeal of sickness, was the only thin in my life that was “real.”  Thankfully, I have faith.

Faith is the courage that leads us onward when we would most like to just sit and give up. It is the expression of the depthy of love we nurture within – for ourselves and others. It is the way in which we move about our lives with meaning, purpose, and encouragement. It reminds us that, today might be very, very difficult, but there is joy, even in the suffering, and light beyond the darkness.

When placed alongside health challenges, faith becomes a sturdy support for us when we are most alone. Praying during that long test in the hospital , reading Scripture while waiting in the doctor’s office, listening to an uplifting hymn just after a terrible diagnosis – these and other things are an outpouring from our personal faith and also things we share with our fellow brothers and sisters of faith.

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Committing to faith, standing on the words “I believe,” help reinforce the decision we have made to walk, not only with the health we have (or don’t have), but also with the resilient, beautiful spirit that God has given us. Each of us.

From an early age, I learned to rely on my faith to give me that extra push to persevere, believe in God’s love, and try to have wisdom to know God’s way. I have personally experienced so many graces where God has worked, even in the most difficult of times.  I do not expect a cure for all of my illnesses. That is for God to decide. But I do know that, the closer I strive to walk with the Lord, the more I will be healed, that is, brought closer to Him.

Sometimes, the way seems something we cannot navigate by ourselves. Faith carries us onward, and we’re able to see, again and again, how God’s love never, ever leaves us.

Blessings for your day,

Maureen

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