Enjoy this devotional from FlourishWriters student Jennifer Thayer Knight
“But Lord, you remain the same forever! Your throne continues from generation to generation” (Lamentation 5:19 NLT).
Drip, drip, I watched each drip as the fluid came down from the IV bag and flowed into my arm. Deep under the covers of my bed, I wondered how my life had gotten to this point. I felt everything slipping away. I had previously filled my days with running marathons, hiking the mountains of Montana, kayaking, and paddleboarding with my family. Now I could do none of this.
Without understanding what was happening, my body had rapidly deteriorated. I mentally broke the day I tried to stand up in the front row of church and could not. There was a complete disconnect between my head and my legs. No matter what I did, I could not stand. I had to be lifted from my chair, placed in a wheelchair, and taken out to my car. I sat there and wept, humiliated that my body had failed me.
After I received the diagnosis of Lyme Disease, I became a pro at pity parties. This particular fall morning, I lay in bed, watching the silent dripping, and had the pity party of all pity parties.
Before experiencing chronic illness for myself, I never understood the grief that coincided with it. You lose yourself. Things I loved to do, like running and reading, I didn’t know if I would ever do again. This day, I knew grief on a whole new level. The ability to do most anything disappeared in a matter of months.
As I poured my heart out to God, between the sobs, I asked, “Why has everything changed? I can’t walk without assistance, I cannot breathe normally, I hurt! How is this beneficial to You, God? How can I serve you like this? Again, why has everything changed?”
In an instant, I heard His still, small voice clearly say, “But I have not changed.”
Sweeter words could not have been more true. Even though my life turned upside down, the truth of who He is remains the same. I hurt, but He was still the Healer. My world felt like chaos, but His voice still calms the storms. I grieved, but I knew He was the one that would lift me out of the mud and the mire and set my feet on solid ground (Psalm 40:2).
I had gotten so caught up in my suffering that I had not seen the truth in these words. Jesus has been my everything. When things got hard, I would ask Jesus to show me where He was. Each time, I could visualize Him next to me. He might be hugging me, holding my hand, or sometimes I could see my pain in His eyes. The peace and comfort I experienced in this form of prayer was beautiful.
I wish I could say I had a complete heart change, and I had a miraculous healing right then. I did not, but I learned to lean more and more on Jesus for strength and to be okay with where He had me.
Then I hit another weak moment, and I said to God, “I just want to be who I was, I am a shell of who I was six months ago.” Again, in His peaceful voice He said, “But that is not who I want you to be.” The grieving continued, but it got better.
I write not to invite you to my pity parties but to invite you to my new place of healing. My journey of healing took three long, hard years. This is short compared to many Lyme patients. Throughout this journey, God never let me go. He caught my tears in the palms of His hands and drew me closer to Himself.
God turned what I saw as strength, and all the ways I thought I should serve Him, and He cleaned the slate and gave me total reliance on Him to start something new. He took the ashes of my brokenness and created something new and beautiful.
With joy, I can say I am not who I once was. I am a restored vessel, ready to serve in any way that He guides me. He has laid new ambitions and desires on my heart and opened new doors to honor Him. Days do come when I miss the old way, but nothing brings more excitement than walking in step with the Great I Am.
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory” (Isaiah 61:3 NLT).
Jennifer Thayer Knight, is a Texan living in Montana. After only four days, she agreed to marry her husband, Sam. Five months later, they tied the knot. Two decades later, they have served four churches in three states, and have three young adult children.
Her experiences with God inspired the book she is writing and her blog, JenniferThayerKnight.com. Jen’s goal for writing is to share her experiences with the hope of drawing others into a deeper, experiential relationship with Christ.
When not writing, Jen loves knitting, reading, and spending time with her family, her dogs and her horse.