Today in our Take Heart series, my friend Adrienne shares about a recent diagnosis that brought unexpected spiritual and relational blessings.


cleaning caddy

I reached for my phone to check my messages. It was a reflex action– one that happens when your technology becomes a part of you. There was an email from a sweet friend. She wanted to know what my schedule was like the next day. She wanted to tell me to get out of the house for a few hours in the morning. She said that it would bless her greatly if she and another friend could come clean my house for me. I began to cry.

At first the tears were of thankfulness for her generosity. But soon that thankfulness faded into fear and self-deprecating statements stabbing my brain. I couldn’t let them come clean; they’d see my filthy shower in all its rust-stained hideousness. They’d cough from the dust that had become a staple on every shelf and hanging item. And they’d likely puke as they scrubbed my sink. I knew that they wanted to help out of their love for me and my family, but I wondered if opening up my home (and subsequently my heart) was going to hurt.

The Lord has a funny way of teaching us lessons like these. I was humbled by my sweet friend’s gesture and felt so blessed to walk home the next afternoon to clean floors, a scrubbed bathtub, and fresh-made cookie dough to bake. The self-sufficiency I’ve built up to guard myself was torn down that day.

Blessings like this have abounded in our life since I got the official diagnosis. What began as severe pain and contractions in my 34th week of pregnancy with our third child now had a name: Crohn’s Disease. Six days before my 29th birthday, I received the gift that keeps on giving: chronic inflammation of my small intestine. Laparoscopic surgery around my swollen uterus and the ever-lovely colonoscopy confirmed it.

We carried on through the rest of the year. There were more days of sickness than there were of wellness…more time spent in the bathroom than I really care to remember. But through the trials of illness, there were so many blessings to count.

I was able to be honest with friends and family about my health and my fears and worries. And, for once, I didn’t feel like a burden to them as I talked and accepted the delicious meals, snacks and desserts during hospitalizations and never-ending days of testing at the hospital. The Lord gave me the privilege of being able to nurse my son for 11 months before more serious pharmaceutical intervention was necessary. Our girls were introduced to the idea of compassion by having a Mommy that didn’t feel well most of the time…and they are sweeter and gentler for it. My husband continued to show his strength as a man of faith by being the glue that held our family together.

I understand that my Crohn’s Disease will likely be something I’ll deal with for the rest of my life. My health may ebb and flow. But for now, I’m feeling really healthy. I have energy and am able to enjoy life.

I’ve been taught a staggering amount of humility and I’ve learned that it is OK to ask for help and to accept the help that’s offered.

Being a Christian and striving to live a life in a constant walk with Jesus doesn’t guarantee us sunshine and roses. We aren’t guaranteed financial stability or good health. In fact, we are told that we will have troubles. But the good news is that Christ has overcome the world and its troubles. He rose victorious even over death. And the even greater news is that because His death covers our sins, we get to share that good news with others. Despite our trials and troubles, we can have a peace in knowing that we are loved and that there is a plan for our future, filled with hope.

{How does Adrienne’s outlook on her illness compare with similar struggles you’ve experienced? Do you tend to resist help when offered? How has illness affected your sense of humility and your understanding of your dependence on others?}

adriennebiopicAdrienne is a wife and homeschooling mom to three beautiful babies. She loves good coffee, stewarding what she’s been given and being the hands and feet of Jesus. If you catch her in the kitchen, you’ll probably see her fermenting vegetables or deciding what to do with a massive overload of eggs. Adrienne writes about this and more at A Suburban Menagerie.


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