We often think of God’s plans for our life in terms of grandiose ideas. We may think the little things in our life are just not as important as the big-ticket items.
In my experience, little things do matter in the big scheme of things.
When I medically retired 4 years ago, despite being disabled, there were many things I could do then I can’t do now.
I retired early due to Rheumatoid Arthritis and a non-functioning bowel, which resulted in a permanent colostomy. At that stage I had no idea I had a rare bone disease simmering away, ready to launch an almighty attack.
My Story was going to become quite complex over the space of a very short time.
I’m actually glad I didn’t know. Sometimes I think it’s best to live in the moment with a dash of blissful ignorance about the future.
Thankfully God does know our future and I believe He always has a plan available for us at just the right moment. We simply need to be watching, waiting, believing and listening for it. We then need to be prepared to act on it.
Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Matthew 6 v 25 -34 (New International Version)
Whether sick or healthy, none of us know what the future holds on a day to day basis. While planning is a good discipline to have, learning to appreciate life’s precious moments each and every day, is possibly even more important.
Appreciating The Little Things
So let’s get back to what I could do when I first medically retired. I could:
- Still, drive a car
- Walk through a shopping center with a walking stick in one hand and my husband by my side
- Go to cafes and restaurants and sit relatively comfortably for an hour
- Attend church services at least fortnightly
- Cook a meal or bake some goodies.
- Potter in the garden
- Go to a hairdresser salon and get my hair washed, cut and blow dried. Colouring was too much as it meant being there for over an hour.
- We could go for short holidays not too far from home.
Basically, they were all the little things in life that can so often be taken for granted….until they are gone.
Adjusting to Losing Some of Life’s Little Things
Fast forward to today. These are the things I can no longer do:
- Drive. Even being a passenger in a car causes excessive pain. We just make it to my hospital visits which are a 35 to 40 min car trip.
- Walking is difficult. I can walk outside of the home using 2 crutches, or a walker but can’t walk further than 100 meters without severe pain. I need a mobility scooter for longer outings but I don’t have the energy for these because of constant broken bones that don’t heal and severe bone pain. The vibrations of the scooter aggravates the pain.
- Leisurely cafe visits are no longer possible. I can’t sit for more than 20 mins because of the pressure seats place on my broken legs and the damage to my spine from the bone disease. I use cushions but they only allow me to get through the 20 mins. Without a cushion, I couldn’t do it at all.
- I can’t go to church for all of the above reasons.
- A Hairdresser salon visit or a trip to a supermarket to quickly pick up a few things is out of the question.
- We can’t go away on holiday.
- Cooking meals or being in the kitchen for longer than the time it takes to make a cuppa, or get a small snack, isn’t possible.
So, I’ve had to adapt. It’s amazing how we can adapt and find ways to do things differently when we have to.
Finding Ways to Adapt
If life takes a turn in direction, as it does with chronic illness, it’s so important to keep doing the things that make us happy, that keep us contributing to life and give us a sense of accomplishment.
I’ve found ways to clean my home. I navigate my house holding onto furniture and I can dust. My crutch is an amazing mop. If I throw a wet flannel on the floor and place my crutch on it, I can walk around slowly, crutch in hand, washing the tiles.
I can do all our grocery, clothes and household goods shopping online. I love doing it like that and I’m not sure I’d change back if I could.
We have turned our outside patio area into our own little French Provincial cafe. When I’m not well enough to go out for coffee and cake, we simply have it in the midst of our beautiful pot plants.
My husband and I have church at home. We watch Songs of Praise and listen to a recording of the morning sermon from a wonderful preacher. We sing hymns and Christian songs. Our souls are fed.
Thankfully my husband is an amazing cook (one of God’s wonderful provisions given well in advance of my need).
God Cares Even About The Little Things
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12 v 7 (King James Version)
So that brings me to my hairdressing needs, something very important in a girl’s life, although a small issue in the big scheme of things.
I’ve had 3 beautiful mobile hairdressers over the past 2 years. The first one decided to take a permanent salon job after 6 visits. She was lovely so I was disappointed but I quickly managed to find another one in our area.
She was wonderful and worked quickly which was perfect for my situation. At the second visit, she told me she was pregnant but would be working through until a month before her baby was born. That would give me time to try to find someone else. Or so I thought. There were, however, no more mobile hairdressers in my area.
On her last visit, I told her to cut my hair very short. I thought that way I could at least park the problem for a while. We had discussed that she might return to work in 6 months so I was happy to wait and see how things worked out.
She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and let me know she wouldn’t be doing mobile hairdressing again. Completely understandable.
So, I was left with hair that hadn’t been cut for 6 months and while it was healthy enough, it was at that awkward stage where I couldn’t manage it. Not ideal when disabilities make grooming a challenge on the best of days.
I spent hours searching the Internet in the hope that a new mobile hairdresser had opened a business. There was no one else in my area offering this service so I was really at a loss as to what to do.
My husband even went to a local “Just Cuts” salon to try them out for speed, comfort and wait times. They were good and quick but there was no guarantee I wouldn’t be kept waiting when we arrived, so we had to rule that out.
I was almost ready to give up when I quietly prayed, “Lord, I don’t know what to do. I need your help”.
Within minutes of that short, heartfelt prayer, I had the thought “why not contact my original mobile hairdresser? Maybe she’s left the salon that head-hunted her and is doing mobile work again.”
I found her old website which was encouraging. So, on the wings of a prayer, I sent her an email.
Well, bless her, she rang me within an hour to say she’s not doing mobile work but a good hairdressing friend of her’s has just moved from New Zealand to Australia. Amazingly she lived close to my house.
Even more amazing, she was just starting up a mobile hairdressing business and looking for clients!!
My old hairdresser was as excited as I was. She explained to me that she never looks at the old email address that I had contacted her on but for some reason she just decided to. She saw my name and remembered me straight away so clicked on my email.
God was definitely caring about the hairs on my head that day.
She texted her friend asking her to look after me. Her friend messaged me later that day to set up an appointment for the following week.
Don’t you just love it when hope is restored in what looked like a hopeless situation?
Here We Go Again
Fast forward six months and my latest lovely hairdresser advised me that she had taken a teaching role and wouldn’t be able to continue with mobile hairdressing.
“Oh no, here we go again”, I thought.
I completely understood but I had no idea what I was going to do. I literally had exhausted my mobile hairdresser options.
What happened next was truly amazing.
Within 5 minutes of the text from my hairdresser, advising me she couldn’t continue, my phone beeped. The familiar sound indicating a new text was a welcome distraction from my disappointment. I was looking forward to a text chat with a friend of family member as I picked up my phone.
As I clicked on the text envelope I couldn’t believe what I was reading! The text was from my lovely hairdresser who had given birth to her little boy 6 months earlier. The same hairdresser who had decided not to take on mobile clients anymore. If I’m honest she was always my favourite hairdresser.
The text was short and sweet….oh so sweet to read!! She had just been thinking of me and wondered how I was. She wanted me to know that she was available to come and cut my hair again if I would like her to!!
Talk about timing. Talk about answered prayers, even before a prayer had left my lips.
I was so excited, by the magnitude of the timing of that text, I nearly forgot about my broken legs and tried to run to tell my husband. Not my finest moment but I didn’t care.
What provision. What a gift.
God definitely cares, even about the little things, of that I am sure!
Little things do matter.
A version of this article was written for Blogs by Christian Women. It is an honour to be a regular contributor.
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
I’m a member of the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network the Grace Girls Facebook Group and the Salt and Light Linkup Group
WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee
10 thoughts on “Little Things Do Matter….Especially When Living With Chronic Illness”
Oh, my sweet, sweet friend….your article made me tear up! First with sadness at the simplest things we absolutely do take for granted, but you can no longer do. But then with joy about your mobile hairdresser! I am so happy for you that it all worked out. May I also say that while I have always enjoy your posts, your writing has gone from good to phenomenal! So while God has been working on helping you with managing all those little things, he has also been growing your talent! The way you told this story had me on the edge of my seat. I love you, sweet Sam, and I hope you have a very happy, good hair day today! 🙂
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Linda, I can’t thank you enough for your beautiful comment and wonderful encouragement. It means so so much. You are such an awesome professional writer who I love and respect so your comments regarding the improvement in my own writing is so humbling. Love you my friend. ❤
Dear, dear Sam,
If I could give this 3 likes and a love, I would! The reason is, I see you more and more bringing your faith in “The One who cares for you” out into the open. We couldn’t get through one day of these trials without His perfect and loving sheparding of our lives. His presence is found in these little things of life, isn’t it so? And in these moments of perfect timing, He virtually shouts to us, “I am here, my beloved!”
You are loved!!
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Thank you so much Tish. Without God’s hand on my life I would most definitely be lost. All I do and all I am is because of His love, grace and mercy towards me.
So much to celebrate isn’t there when we walk the path He leads us on.
Lots of love xx❤
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Hi Sam, I loved reading this. I share that hair looking good can make us feel better. My hair is straight and I like it curled. It isn’t often I manage this but when I do, fa la la! I’m glad that worked out. How is your back doing? Let me know! And Happy New Year!
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Thanks Marla 💞
Back is still the same. Very little improvement post surgery unfortunately. It’s only 8 weeks though so we are holding out hope that the nerves just need time to settle. Lots of love xx
Hi Sam, I ran in here from Eileen’s blog QuietmomentswithGod… I too live with RA and for two gruelling years walking was a pain and so was doing a lot more. But by Grace, I am doing so so much better and actually no longer on meds except when I have a flare up – last big deal was last January 16 the etc. I am so glad with the way you are taking and facing it all, and especially with God’s Amazing Grace and perfect timing through it all. Your husband a perfect cook is the perfect topping on this post Amen
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Hi Marie, thanks so much for popping by. I’m so glad to hear your RA is under control. I always love a good news story. I hope your flares become a thing of the past too. It’s a nasty disease. God bless xx