A lot has changed in my life during the past ten years, yet it hasn't been the type of changes a senior in high school hopes for or plans. I'm not married. I don't have any children or a house of my own. I'm not a successful nurse or a physical therapist. I don't have money to spare. So what's changed? In one word - me.
I didn't ask to get sick, but I'm thankful it happened. As odd as this may sound, next to Christ, lupus has been the greatest teacher I've ever had. It's taught me to never take life for granted because you never know when it will end. Lupus has taught me to cherish people and not things, because people are the ones who laugh with you when you're happy and cry with you when you're sad. Lupus has taught me to find joy in the small things: a rainbow, a flower, the sound of a child laughing. Lupus has taught me that God is in control and not me, which is why I should stop trying to be in control of every situation life throws my way. Lupus has taught me I'm beautiful just the way God made me, so there's no need to make myself into who the world tells me I ought to be. Lupus has taught me God has a plan for my life, and He'll even use the painful times in my life for good. Lupus has taught me God loves me in such an amazing, huge way that I'll never be able to fully comprehend the depth of His love. Lupus has taught me I can trust God, and He is worthy of that trust.
Reaching the ten-year marker is a great accomplishment to someone living with lupus. Fifty years ago when the disease was first discovered, the majority of people living with lupus died within ten years. The prognosis is much better these days, but it is still a disease that leaves much damage in its wake. I don't know what the next ten years will look like for me, but I'm comforted by the fact that God knows. With Him by my side, I know I can face whatever hard life lessons lupus throws my way. It may be a bumpy ride, but I know it will be good. Ten years ago, I thought having lupus was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me, but I now know I couldn't have been more wrong. My life isn't good in spite of having lupus, but because of it.
"Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or whine, Israel, saying, "God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me"? Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch His breath. And He knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don't get tired; they walk and don't lag behind." ~ Isaiah 40:27-31 (The Message)
(c) January 27, 2012