Everyone deals with hardship, adversity, and sickness differently.
Some pity themselves; some become resentful of the world around them; and still, others embrace their difficulties as a part of the fearfully and wonderfully made creatures they are, diving head first into a daily trust walk with God as He guides their steps through pain.
That final approach is the one that chronic Lyme disease sufferer Claire Dalton has chosen to take in her life.
“My ultimate goal is to be like my Savior, Jesus Christ,” she writes. “Through my suffering, I have learned to draw near unto Him and stay faithful to what I know to be true. I love Him dearly and it is through Him, and His Atonement that I have been able to overcome my pains and sorrows. I’m not finished suffering in this lifetime. I know that. But as I continue to suffer I will rely on Christ as the source of peace, hope, and solid foundation.”
If you’re unfamiliar with Lyme disease (as I was), Claire’s list of symptoms that she shares on her blog may give you a little window of insight into her world of suffering…
I don’t even want to know what “fits of Lyme rage” are, but the list of 26 other painful side effects is enough to make me NOT want to find out firsthand.
Frankly, Claire could easily complain about the ‘living hell’ that is her life on most days, but instead of victimizing herself as “chronically ill,” she chooses to see herself as “chronically beautiful.”
On her blog by the same name, Claire writes about her journey through chronic sickness and her dreams for the future, including the man who will ultimately sign up for the ‘sick girl.’
Rather than a list of woes, this strong woman of God details all the ways in which her vices will strengthen a marriage in a way that glorifies Christ through patience and self-sacrifice.
Read Claire’s heartrending yet beautiful post below entitled “Dear Future Husband, From Your Chronically Ill Wife”:
“Dear Future Husband,
You’re probably comfortably settled in your bed right now, laying on your back with your hands tucked up behind your head. And you’re probably staring at the ceiling, contemplating work, school, and other various complications of life. You may or may not be asleep, but either way you’re probably thinking or dreaming about your future. And while your thoughts are dancing through your mind at this very moment, I’m thinking about you.
I’m fantasizing the first time we meet, our first date, our first kiss, and every memory we’ll make thereafter. I’m questioning if I’ll ever find you, or if you’re simply a distant dream. I’m lying in my cozy bed, wrapped in my comforting blankets, clutching a pillow close to me, wondering if you’re thinking of me too.
But future husband, where ever you are, and whoever you are, if you’re thinking of me, I bet you’ve never considered marrying a “sick girl.” You’ll never consider it until you meet me. And when you meet me, I hope you’ll be able to look beyond the disease and see the person that is so much more than the illness that her body houses. Just know, chronic illness or not, I intend on being the best wife you could ever ask for, and I truly hope that your intentions toward me are the same.
You should know that it won’t always be easy. I suppose an undertaking as celestial as marriage is never easy, but I truly believe that marriage is what you make of it, and what you put into it is what you’ll get out of it. I’ll put my whole heart and soul into our marriage. And through it all, God will guide us, He will never leave us. But before we dive into matrimony, there are things you’ll need to know. Marriage with a sick person is no easy task, but I promise I’ll make it worth your while, and I promise that through it all, I’ll always love you.
Here are the things I want you to know:
- You will not simply be my husband. You will be my husband, my help-meet, my caretaker, my best friend, and the love of my life. The love that I have for you will be eternal, whether I’m sick or not.
- There will be days that I’m so sick, I can hardly get out of bed. On those days, I need your love, and your compassion. Please don’t abandon me when I need you the most.
- There will be days that I will need help doing simple tasks simply because my body aches with too much pain to accomplish things by myself. I’ll need help doing simple tasks such as washing my hair, getting out of bed, and walking. I’ll need your help. And as you help me, you will learn a lot. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, a lot about me, a lot about service, and a lot about love. You will help me, and I will help you. That’s how I intend for our marriage to work. We will always help each other, no matter how large the task may seem.
- There will be days when I’m in so much pain, I’ll scream in agony. Those screams will haunt you. Those screams are something you will never un-hear, but they will strengthen you and help you to become the man that God intends for you to be.
- There will be days that you want to give up and the discouragement will be overwhelming. Never give up. I need your strength. I will be strong for you. I will always keep fighting for you. Please do the same for me.
- There will be days when you feel like God has forgotten us. I promise you, He has not. He is always there, even if we can’t feel it at the moment. He is there, and He loves us unconditionally. Never forget that. Never give up on what you know to be true. Rely on the Savior harder than you ever have before and He will lighten our burden. I know He will, without a doubt. Always remember that, and overwhelming peace and joy will enter into our lives even through our darkest times.
- Always pray. Pray personally, and pray with me. Pray for me, and I will pray for you. When you no longer have the strength to stand, kneel and pray. When you feel incredibly blessed, kneel and pray. When you don’t know what to think or feel, kneel and pray. Never stop praying, whether things are hard or not. It will strengthen us and bring us closer to God.
- Never stop feasting on God’s word. The scriptures hold the answers to our prayers. Never forget that. Study on your own. Study with me. Study with the intent to be filled with the Spirit every time you read.
- Never lose faith. There will be days when I need your faith, and days where you need mine. We’ll rely on each other. Suffering is never easy, but if we keep our faith in God, His plan for us, and His love for us, we can overcome anything and life will always have its joy and beauty.
- Life is hard, but with God anything is possible and we will be able to overcome all of our sorrows and afflictions. We’ll rely on each other, and on God for strength and nothing will ever be too difficult for us to overcome.
I love you my sweet future husband, wherever you are. One day God will cross your path with mine, and our beautiful love story will begin. I can’t wait for that day. Prepare yourself. You might be surprised to find that I’m your future wife, but I’ll always be the best I can be for you. Stay true to who you are and always have righteous desires and our paths will cross very soon. I will always strive to be the best friend, wife, and mother that I can be, even if I’m sick. I know that God has greater plans for me than this illness. I know He has greater plans for us. Together we can get through anything as long as we trust God in everything.
Your Loving Future Wife”