Beliefnet
Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

My book, “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness” will celebrate 8 years in print this month! It’s been wonderful to see the book still find its audience: those who live with chronic pain and illness and who strive to walk with God and deepen faith all along their life journeys. And, although years have passed since I held the first copy in my hands, I still remember vividly the process that unfolded to bring the book to print. Truly, it was a very personal pilgrimage that began with my diagnosis of lupus, the upheaval that brought, and, finally, the desire to share what I’d learned in faith as a result.

Yes, it was a process of finding peace, even as illness and pain swirled around my fragile life. Peace of soul. Peace with God.

The book really did not start as a book at all. In those early days after my diagnosis, I naturally sought spiritual guidance from prayer and Scripture, as well as support from loved ones and my medical team. But, as the disease continued to flare, bringing severe brain fog, fatigue, and other symptoms, I wasn’t able to keep up. I forgot what I’d prayed about, or what I’d just read in Scripture. As I struggled, I began to jot down bible verses, thoughts, and events as a way to recall them later.

A long while passed, and one day, I read back over what I’d written. My flare was at a different phase than it had been at first, and I certainly had more experience managing lupus (or, rather, trying to manage lupus). I wondered, “Could others benefit from what I’ve written?” And I called a wise woman, a literary agent to whom I dedicated the book, and asked her the same question.

As it turned out, the agent had lost a loved one to lupus and had long wanted to find a book about it to champion. She took on “Peace in the Storm,” and navigated the literary waters for me with great determination. My book found its editor, its publisher, and its home.

Just on the eve of finalizing the publishing agreement, my agent passed away from pancreatic cancer. Just before she died, I spoke with her, and the last thing she said to me was, “You have your contract.” The musings and notes I’d compiled during my journey would now help others along theirs.

I am still  on the difficult journey of chronic illness and pain. But each day, I find peace, during quiet moments of prayer and reflection or sometimes externally, through others or occurences that speak of God’s care, love, and presence. And, too, I hear from others who share their stories and witness. This fellowship is marvelous – we’re not alone! – and it reminds me all the more that, as we find ways to more peace, we can use our experience to lend a hand to others.

Praise God for His many gifts, seen and unseen!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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