“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29 v 11 ( New International Version)
I love this verse from the Bible. I can’t think of a better verse to read and muse on as we approach the start of a new year.
Many people expect Christians to have little worries or concerns. We have faith, we have hope, we pray and we believe in a loving God. How could we possibly enter a new year with uncertainties? Do we not trust God enough? Do we have doubts? What are we afraid of?
Like everyone else, Christians have hopes and dreams, fears, disappointments, good times and bad. That’s just life. The key is keeping our eyes fixed on God and holding on to His promises. Then we can enter the New Year with hope and anticipation of what lies ahead, knowing we are not alone. Knowing that, even when things aren’t going well, there will be a way through the uncertainties.
When the Unexpected Happens
I was diagnosed with a rare bone disease in 2014. I already had serious autoimmune health issues but I was able to live with those with some limitations. The bone disease was a whole different story. My left femur broke in two spontaneously, followed a year later by my right femur fracturing. Then my feet and other bones soon joined in. No cure, no treatment, a progressive rare disease that doesn’t even have its own name.
I wasn’t expecting that to happen. Apart from severe pain in my left thigh, three weeks prior to the break, I had no real warning.
Would I have liked to know? The more I ponder that question the more strongly I feel my answer is, “No. I’m so glad I hadn’t a clue”.
If I had known what was to eventuate in 2014, I wouldn’t have lived my life to the fullest. I would have been waiting for that moment, planning for an event that was just going to have to take care of itself anyway. God knew it was going to happen and He knew every single detail of the moment my leg snapped. He knew what I would need, who I would need and where I needed to be when it happened.
Seeing God in the Midst of the Unexpected
I was surrounded by evidence on that day God had gone before and prepared a plan for me, a plan to give me hope and a future. My Aunt had just arrived in Australia from the UK for a holiday. She had recently retired as a Registered Nurse and she knew just what to do in the moment of crisis. My Cousin had also joined her on the holiday. As a strong young guy, he was able to help my husband move furniture so the paramedics could get to me upstairs. I was at home when the leg snapped and to me, that was the biggest miracle of all. We had, just 6 hours prior, been at the International Airport picking up my Aunt and Cousin. How relieved I was it didn’t happen there!
I really didn’t know what was to come from this event in terms of my life’s purpose. I was pretty much in and out of the hospital for the next two years having major surgeries and complications. All I could do was focus on surviving and trusting God would go before me every step of the way. Those two years are a bit of a blur but I do remember the amazing peace I felt at every turn. It was a peace that passed all understanding and I know God blessed me with it to sustain me.
At the end of 2016 as the New Year was approaching, I had a sense of losing purpose in my life due to my health. I was enjoying blogging but I couldn’t see anything ahead in 2017 apart from pain, more surgery, pain, repeat.
Following Where God Leads
Three weeks later, I felt God was encouraging me to start an online support forum for people with chronic complex and rare diseases. It was concerning me many people had such complex diseases that didn’t fit neatly into a particular box many online support forums needed ticking. I had an overwhelming sense chronically ill people needed a broader outlet, where they could share as much or as little as they liked, about their health and how it was impacting their daily lives.
So, I stepped out in faith and I started a Facebook private forum on the 14th January 2017. I called it Medical Musings with Friends as an add-on to my blog. I really didn’t have a clue how I was going to reach out and find people with a genuine need to join the group.
A week later, “The Mighty” published my first article. I nearly didn’t submit the article because I felt I would probably be wasting my time. I felt my writing wasn’t good enough. The first submission never arrived as they had a system failure. I received an email from the Editor, three weeks later, saying all articles submitted during certain dates must be resubmitted. That delay actually turned out to be another gift.
I again thought there was little point in submitting and I was about to delete the email when I suddenly felt, “oh just do it…you’ve got nothing to lose”. So I quickly decided to add to the article submission the link to my online support forum and resubmitted.
To my surprise the article was published the next day, and resulted in over 1400 likes, countless people reading it and finding the forum.
Trusting God With Your New Year
God’s timing was perfect. God’s timing is always perfect.
Knowing God, loving God and serving God, doesn’t mean life will be without trials and tribulations. Quite often there are continuous twists and turns and battles along the way, especially when we seek to follow the path God is calling us to walk. You only have to read Bible stories to know trials and tribulations often sprung up left right and centre, especially when people were trying to journey down the right road.
2018 to 2022 continued to be years of full of moments of delight and despair, including the passing of my precious Dad in 2021 and a horrible five week stint in hospital unable to sit, stand or walk, followed by “hospital at home for another three months”.
A major delight was having my first book published this year. “My Medical Musings, A Story of Love, Laughter, Faith and Hope, Living With A Rare Disease “, is a dream come true.
Delights and despair moments are just a part of life. I know 2023 will also hold a mix of both experiences. I already have a diagnosis of Lymphoma hanging over my head, to be confirmed early January.
Knowing, loving, and serving God, doesn’t mean life will be without trials and tribulations….
If you are feeling concerned about the year ahead, step out in faith. You don’t need to worry about the intricate details. You just need to be in step with God’s plans and purpose for your life. You’ll know when you’re on the right path as you will feel a sense of peace. If you are not sure about God’s design for your life, a simple prayer, a conversation, asking God to show you how to find purpose despite your chronic illness, is all you need to do. If you have faith, you will soon find your way.
There’s a very fitting quote from Martin Luther King;
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step”
I pray every day of this New Year will be full of hope, anticipation and peace every step of the way, no matter the twists and turns.
Happy New Year!
This blog post is based on my third article written for Blogs by Christian Women. It is an honour to be a contributor.
Medical Musings with Friends
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and 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 and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
My book “My Medical Musings”, is published by Imaginewe Publishers and available now to purchase as a paperback or e-book.
Here are the links to online retailers if you would like to purchase the book:
If you would like an audible version of my blog, please check out my Podcast, Medical Musings With Sam
I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I’m a member of the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network the Grace Girls Facebook Group and the Showered In Grace Group
One thought on “A New Year Promise…Hope In The Midst of Delight and Despair”
I think it take a great deal to trust God. It takes even more when we have a chronic illness. My biblical hero is John the Baptist. He lived in the wilderness trusting God, and if the bible is to be believed, he had insider knowledge about what was to come. I often wonder if I could have been John the Baptist. What if I had prior knowledge? I think I might run off to the wilderness as well.
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