In case you missed it, I announced Friday that I’d be starting a short series of guest posts this month. I want you to meet some of the bloggers whose posts I regularly share.
Today’s post is by Catherine from Choosing Joy Daily. I was introduced to her by my sister-in-law, who thought we might be “kindred spirits.” And, well, we’re pretty close to that! Catherine lives with some difficult health problems that greatly affect her everyday life. But she maintains a sweet testimony of gratefulness throughout it all, and is such an encouragement and an example to me! And I’m thrilled that she agreed to share with you today. Show her some love for me, will you?
I wept as Ryan helped me back to bed after he found me unconscious in the bathroom one Sunday morning. Our dog alerted him by whimpering beside me. Alarmed as he aroused me, Ryan made sure I was breathing and not seriously injured. It was a horrible experience for a husband to go through. Unfortunately, it was a familiar occurrence.
It was September 2009. After a long journey of doctors and tests, we had the month before finally received answers regarding my constant dizziness and feeling as though I would pass out.
I was grateful to know that there were two conditions battling each other in my body.
I was grateful that they were not life-threatening.
I was grateful to have answers after a year of searching.
I was grateful that there was a possibility of feeling better when I reached my 50’s-60’s.
That day, however, gratefulness was not my priority. As I continued weeping on the bed, after another painful fall, I began thinking of all I had lost. Feelings I did not realize I had came to surface as I mourned all I was going through.
I felt angry with the person who shared the stomach virus that caused my health problems.
I felt guilty when people had to help me do things.
I felt useless with my limitations.
I felt sad as my precious family worried about me each moment.
I felt confused that God would allow me to live my life in pain.
I felt frustration when someone told me I should have been healed by then.
I felt myself slipping into a self-pity mode. I cried out to God, asking Him what He was doing. I told Him how I felt. I told Him what I wanted Him to do. Finally, a sense of sweet surrender came as I realized that He was good and knew what was best for me.
I had a decision to make. I could hold on to old dreams and hopes and be bitter about my life, or I could let go of my plans and reach forward with joy and faith to grasp what God, in His wisdom, had for me. I heard about something called The Joy Challenge, a 40-day challenge of finding joy in each day, and decided to do it. I wrote a piece each day about how I was choosing joy and shared it on Facebook and the blog. It was a journey on which many friends accompanied me, and I was blessed to have them hold me accountable.
My life has never been the same. I could not stop at 40 days—it became my lifestyle. From that day on, I decided to focus on each day’s blessings. Instead of taking little things for granted, like walking with a cane, I was thankful to be able to walk at all. Instead of being upset that I was sometimes completely bedridden, I was thankful that to have a cozy bed to rest in.
Instead of crying and begging for God to heal me, I began thanking God for giving me more reasons to rest in His strength. To this day, it is an honor to be chosen as a vessel for God to use. I praise Him for these disabilities and that the healing He has chosen for me, to this point, is in my soul.
Yes, there are difficult days. Yes, sometimes it is hard to choose joy. But, if God can use me in my weakness and total dependence on His strength to draw others to Him, then I am honored and blessed to be entrusted with the trials. In her book Miracle for Jen, Linda Barrick writes:
“This changed my whole mind-set from begging God and feeling helpless, to praising God and focusing on His power and His promises. In the crucible of our testing, we move from theory to reality as we begin to experience God’s power. I was blessed to learn what I believe is a divine thought:
Don’t become obsessed with healing. Get lost in the wonder of God.“
God is healing me. It may not be in the way I would choose, but He is healing my soul every day. I praise Him for His goodness and thank Him for His perfect plan. I want to be lost in His wonder each day.
Three years ago, I made the choice that changed my heart. Wow . . . what a journey it has been and continues to be! I am grateful for the wonderful challenge of choosing joy daily.
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3
Catherine Vaughn is wife to Ryan, follower of Christ, and fighter of Autonomic Disorders. A transplanted Texan now living in Central Virginia, Catherine loves sparkles, laughter, family, friends, and finding ways to bless others. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter! And be sure to visit her blog, Choosing Joy Daily.