Sometimes I write because I have something meaningful to say. And sometimes I write because it’s the best way to stop myself from crying and feeling so overwhelmed. The truth is Chronic Fatigue has been getting the better of me this week, it feels like it’s winning and succeeding at breaking my spirit. Some days it’s so hard to know how to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and how to navigate the right path through the maze that my life has become.
I wish I could make the world understand that Chronic Fatigue is about so much more than being tired.
It’s about trying and failing again and again, day after day, until you’re not even sure what the point was. It’s targets missed and goals falling by the wayside, and feeling like all you do is let people down. It’s about trying to tell yourself it’s going to be okay, when the truth is you’ve stopped believing it. You keep going when all you want to do is curl up in ball and hide. It’s watching your body break down and feeling so powerless to stop it. It’s throwing every ounce of energy into your work, until there’s nothing left for you, and it’s still not enough. Your best will never be good enough any more. It’s horrible mood swings and tears that seem to flow like rivers. Your body aches and feels too heavy to lift but somehow you have to walk across the room. It’s being told you need to be more positive and manage it better, when you are desperate for a hug and some empathy. It’s wondering what you ever did wrong to deserve to feel so rubbish, because surely it must be your fault. It’s walking on a knife edge, knowing your feet are being cut to ribbons, but keeping going anyway. It’s uncertainty and anxiety, isolation and loneliness, fear and heartache.
I am not going to sit here and pretend to know what God’s purpose is in this. Suffering is always messy and riddled with self-doubt. It isn’t served to you in a box tied with a bow, and an instruction manual. This may not make sense this side of heaven.
This is not the time for eloquent truths or beautiful platitudes. It is not the day to cover the pain with a smile and pretend that I am okay, when I’m clearly not.
But there is room for truth as raw and real as the tears: God has not left me. I know God’s goodness is not dependent on my circumstances. He is still my loving father, even on the days I cannot hear him or feel his touch. And as difficult as it can be to believe, he is still in absolute control of my life and that control even stretches to my illness. Chronic Fatigue could not have entered my life without his permission. I know God could take this away in an instant, but for as long as he doesn’t I can trust that he has a plan for this. I will continue to trust my God, who I know to be faithful and true. I am not a traveller lost in the dark. I am walking with my hand held by the one who put the stars in the sky. I can rest in the knowledge that I am neither forgotten or abandoned.
It is times like this, when your heart is splitting in two, that you will find what God has put within you. This last decade has been my training ground, with each battle He has cultivated within me a strength that runs through me like steel. I will not be defeated now. We will fight this new battle together, as we have always done.
One day I will write of answered prayer, of victories won and ground retaken. But today I am giving you the honest offering of one tired mind, in the hope that it may give you the courage to share your own truths with one another. Whatever path you’re walking, we need each other. Putting one foot in front of the other, taking each day at a time, we can do this.