Last year, right about this time, I was diagnosed with Lupus, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes fatigue, joint pain, rashes, and a host of other symptoms. It hasn’t been easy making the adjustments to living with a chronic illness. I get tired far easier than I previously did, and the active part of my day usually wraps up at least an hour before dinner rather than an hour or two after. Somedays I’m in a lot of pain and exercising is slow and frustrating at times. I don’t like limitations and there’s been a lot of internal struggling to wrap my mind around the fact that I’m going to have Lupus brain fog a lot, that it’s going to be harder for me to focus, and that I’m having to move at a slower pace.
I’ve been frustrated with God for all my health struggles, which go far beyond the Lupus. Frustrated that it feels like I’m drowning in them, and frustrated that there are very unwanted side effects to the medication I need to take—weight gain being the worst for me. I’m struggling to adapt to not being able to jump at the trampoline gym like I used to with the grandbabies or walk through the zoo with my family without often getting quite fatigued. Have I mentioned I don’t deal with limitations well?
However, God has really been working in my heart over the last few months, reminding me gently to focus not on what I cannot do, but on what I can. I’m blessed to have an active day until 5pm. I’m blessed the Lupus isn’t affecting my organs, as it does many people. I’m blessed with a family that loves and supports me beyond measure. As Thanksgiving approaches, He’s reminded me to be grateful. Grateful for a husband who always has my back, who lets me cry on his shoulder when I’m having a down day, and who pushes me—albeit it kindly—to test those limits. He encourages me to keep going and to do the things I enjoy, even if it’s not for as long as I want. We still hike, we watch the grandbabies while my eldest daughter works on her graduate degree two nights a week, and we enjoy traveling. Our favorite thing to do.
I’m blessed to have a job that allows me to work from home. A job that gives me a flexible schedule, and the ability to do something I adore, and believe God has hardwired into me, for a living.
I’m blessed with two beautiful daughters who I get to see a lot, two grandbabies I get to play with often, and a sweet, kind son-in-law who is such a good daddy to his boys.
I’m blessed with good friends, great editors, a publishing house I adore, an agent I love, and so much more.
Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude for all our God has blessed us with and for the freedom we enjoy in this country. It’s a time to come together as a family and to think and focus on our blessings. But that gratitude should reach far beyond one day. Our gratitude for God sending His only Son to die for us on the cross out of His great abundance of love for us and for our salvation should reign in my heart, our hearts daily.
Every day I spend time in God’s Word, in a personal Bible study and in prayer with my Father. I believe it’s during this time of being still in His presence that He is able to continually transform our minds. I need that. I need to daily be renewed and strengthen by God.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
His strength is made perfect in my weakness. That’s hard to hear and yet a blessing. It’s difficult because it means we often face infirmities and feel weak. At least, I know I do. I wish I didn’t have either infirmities or weakness, but God is teaching me it’s in my weakness that His strength is made perfect in it. His grace is sufficient for me. For someone who likes to be on the go, be in control and be strong, it’s a humbling lesson, but one I needed to learn so I could rely on my Savior. He bids all to give Him our burdens and take on His light yoke. He also promises we’ll find rest for our souls in Him. Learning to be still and to rest in Him is something I have never fully understood until now. And, I definitely haven’t learned it fully. Daily I’m learning to lay my burdens at the foot of the cross and rest in His grace, strength and power.
I pray this Thanksgiving that you will spend time at Jesus’ feet, to rest in the stillness so you can hear God’s voice over all the clamor of the world, all the noise of our busyness. I pray for God to transform your mind, and your way of thinking to focus not on what is lacking, but rather on all that He so graciously provides.
Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as “a name to look for in romantic suspense,” Dani Pettrey has sold more than 400,000 copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent of romance” (USA Today). Dani loves chatting with readers. You can visit her at www.danipettrey.com