Not only did rheumatoid arthritis affect me mentally and physically, but it also changed the way I saw myself. I went from seeing myself as an outgoing, productive, positive-thinking young woman to feeling like a vulnerable, hopeless, powerless burden to everyone. “Why am I still existing?” I puzzled.
I even prayed that God would take me home, not just for my own sake, but also for my family’s. A body in pain that couldn’t move was surely better suited for the painlessness and eternal bliss of Heaven than for being a mother that couldn’t do what other mothers could.
I couldn’t bear the emotional burden I placed on my girls. They had to sit and watch as their mother’s body deteriorated before their eyes. They also had to help their mother with the necessities many of us take for granted: food, water, and clothing.
And then, I considered the fact that I had looked to other members of my family for help, and I didn’t find it there. I thought to myself, “If I can’t even get help from my own family, what would happen to the girls if I disappeared?”
That thought was what gave me the will to go on. These girls needed a mother. That was my reason for existing. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me.
There was a Bible verse I had memorized a long time ago, yet only seemed to come alive at that time. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). After I started acknowledging that my help came from God, my attitude changed. I no longer felt like a vulnerable, hopeless, powerless burden to everyone. If God wanted me to be there for my girls, I was going to be there.
No matter how my body looked, I was determined to believe God’s promises and to receive his abundant joy, the joy that comes from within. Whether or not my body moved was irrelevant. The joy was still there.
God put us in this situation for a reason: so we could rise above it. This is how God taught me to live fearlessly. There’s a difference between being alive and living. Are you investing time in the people you care about? Are you living each moment to the fullest? Are you pursuing those experiences that will allow you to better yourself and others?
Remind yourself: if “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” my only option is to live life fearlessly.