Chronic Illness Flares During The Holidays- Brianna Barrette
“The pain I’m feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming”
Holidays can be a joyful time, but they can also be painful. Sometimes it's both at the same
time. Living with a chronic illness means we never know how our bodies, minds, and hearts will
be at any given moment. I’ve struggled writing this devotion because I try to hide my chronic
illness. Not that I’m ashamed of it or anything like that, but I only allow my inner circle to see it.
Some days are brutal and other days aren’t as bad.
For years I’ve written Romans 8:18 on my bathroom mirror. It’s been washed and rewritten so
many times that it's permanently on there. I’m sure you are wondering how this relates to the
holidays. It's a reminder that all of us are in this together, the pain and the hurt; we understand.
Holidays can easily cause different illnesses to flare. I know that for me, excess stress and
overdoing it leads to the inevitable flare. Today as I was praying I found a new way of looking at
a flare and it's great for the holidays!
Feel the presence of God.
Start each day off with a prayer of thanksgiving for your illness. Tell
God how you feel and don’t be afraid to be honest. I know some days I try to gloss over the fact
that it's a bad day, but guess what? God already knows. He is all-knowing and He knows I’m
having a hard day. He’s just waiting on me to be honest and tell him how I’m feeling. Prepare
your heart for Him as the holidays approach, however you choose to do so. That could be
attending a holiday concert, doing an Advent or Christmas devotional book, or just reading the
Christmas story. Allow yourself to feel what is in your heart and listen to what God’s laying on
Listen for God. Listen to your body. Listen to those around you and to strangers you meet.
You never know what you may learn if you listen more than you speak. Sometimes we forget
that we have to not only talk to God but we also need to listen for Him. As we listen to our
bodies and to God we may have to do some adjusting.
Adjust accordingly. If you feel God telling you to spend more time in prayer or less time with
someone or something, adjust. Adjust your overbooked calendar when your body is screaming
from going so much. If it’s more your attitude that needs adjustment, seek God and He will help
you adjust it.
Rest can come in many forms for different people. I love to sit in front of our Christmas tree with
the lights off in the living room, with just the lights shining from the tree. In those moments I love
to read my Bible or just simply sit there in thanksgiving. Thanking God for the people in my life
as well as the things I was able to do that day and even thanking Him for the things I wasn’t able
to do. Sometimes we aren’t able to do things because God is protecting us from something. If
you need physical rest, earlier bedtimes, or naps then do what you need to do in order to take
care of yourself.
Enjoy the moment. Be where your feet are. There is a picture on my phone that my husband
finds weird. It's a picture of my feet from our last beach vacation. Not my feet and the ocean -
just a picture of my feet standing in the sand. It’s a reminder to me to be where my feet are, not
a million miles away working on a to-do list, having a conversation in my head, or preparing my
next rebuttal. Take advantage of the moment, enjoy what you are doing, and appreciate being
with the people you are with. If that means switching things around or celebrating things on
different days to give you adequate time to recover between events, do it.
God is always with us and He gives us grace for this journey through chronic illness. He will
never leave us or forsake us. He’s with us in the pain, He understands the pain. He provides
us with provisions and encouragement along the way. This holiday season make sure that you
Feel, Listen, Adjust, Rest and Enjoy so you don’t end up in a flare!
Lord thank you for giving us the greatest gift, your Son. As we prepare our hearts this
Christmas season and book our calendars, may all that we do be for you and your glory.
Father, you are the Great Physician and I pray that you would place your healing hands on the
one reading this today. May you heal their hurts and bless them, Papa. Thank you, Lord. In
Jesus’ name. Amen.
I know that we are all at different points in our journey and in our walk with Christ. I’d like to join
you where you are and pray with you. Please jump over to www.Briannagrams.com and share
with me how I can pray for you. You can also find me on Instagram @sunriseoceanwave
Brianna is a Jesus-loving Carolina girl. She has a passion for writing and taking pictures. Sunrise is her favorite time of day. She and her husband have a teenage son.