May is NF awareness month. I have what is known as NF 1. NF1 is an abbreviation for neurofibromatosis 1, a genetic disorder that occurs when there is an abnormality on chromosome 17. It is also known as Von-Recklinghausen’s Disease. There are other variations of neurofibromatosis. This link gives a brief description of each one: https://nfcenter.wustl.edu/what-is-nf//. I have battled symptoms of this disorder for most of my life. One of the greatest challenges I face is chronic pain and balance issues. My parents were a tremendous support in all of this, but they are in Heaven now. I am learning that God is enough. While reading James 1: 9-12, the Lord impressed on me to write my declaration of perseverance, as a nod to Calvin’s belief in the perseverance of the saints, which is far more than a term related to eternal salvation. It also is a means of pressing on to the glory of God in the face of pain and adversity.
My declaration begins with four declarative statements:
- I will keep going in the face of chronic pain.
- I will refuse to dwell on thoughts of bailing on life.
- I will not allow self-pity to overtake me.
- I will walk through life with the assurance that He is enough.
It continues with a statement of resolution: Resolved, I will not cave on days when chronic pain is my companion. I will not commiserate, seek sympathy or otherwise undermine what God is doing in my life. I will not seek healing, because I know that God is doing something bigger in my life, and that Heaven and wholeness await me. I will not allow self-pity to dominate my thoughts. I will not dwell on the fact that Mom and Dad are in Heaven and not by my side. As I walk through life, I will bear with the pain; I will allow the body of Christ to come alongside of me to embrace and assist me. Yet, I will not become a demanding leech. I will look to my Savior for comfort; I will dwell in His Word; I will trust; I will revel in the thought that God is enough, and that He is my constant companion. I will rest when my capacity to function mentally and physically is marred and diminished by pain. I will trust, because God knit me together in my mother’s womb. He knew that my chromosomes would go awry, and He chose to glorify Himself despite that malfunction. In the words of Thomas Kelly,
“Keep us Lord, O keep us cleaving
To Thyself and still believing
Till the hour of our receiving
Promised joys from Thee” (Praise the Savior: hymnary,org).