Through my conversations with Angela Dugi, author of What I Learned Lying Down: Hope for the Chronically Ill, I saw that God did indeed meet her needs during her times of devastation. She struggles with chronic fatigue, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and asthma, and yet God has provided for her in miraculous ways. God has used her illnesses to teach her five life lessons:
First, we must gain an eternal perspective
“God used my weekly trips to the cancer center to teach me that, and much more.” Because she is chronically ill, she could empathize with others who were hurting. She knows firsthand (after fourteen years) how encouraging words helped her to survive when she thought she could not make it another day. She wants to make sure others have the Hope in Christ she experiences.
Second, we need to learn to appreciate the little things
Like rain! As with many who suffer with Lupus, Angie is UV Light Sensitive and cannot be out in the sun longer than a few minutes otherwise she faces life-threatening consequences. She was saddened that she could no longer be outside during daylight hours. But, she soon began to appreciate the rainy days as those days she was free to be outside!
Since my life is at a standstill, I appreciate the little things.
Thirdly, we need to discover that it really is okay to be still
One thing about being ill is that you don’t always have a choice of whether you want to rest and be still or not. Angie has had her share of guilt over not being able to do all she planned to do. It was (and continues to be) at those times when God reminds her of Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are wary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (NIV)
The Psalms remind us to be still (cease striving) and know that He is God. Angie states that when God asks us to be still, it’s because “He has set you aside for a very special purpose and assignment.”
“One of the treasures I have found is in hearing His quiet voice because
of the many hours I spent lying down.” -Angela Dugi
Fourthly, we need to believe that we can be fruitful in affliction
His power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12) Angie reminds us that, “Jesus doesn’t waste our sorrows or pain. You are of much value to the Lord and He can use you even if you are in bed reading this flat on your back.” We can share the love of Christ in the midst of our pain, finding joy and purpose.
Lastly, we need to rejoice in God’s goodness as he creatively ministers to us
In her book, Angie talks about the many different ways God has encouraged her: from seeing her favorite bird to having neighbors pop in to help. One of the biggest ways God strengthens her is through Scripture. “These scriptures are God breathed words that the Holy Spirit uses to strengthen me so I can make it through another day.”
“I take it [God’s Holy Word] like medicine.” -Angela Dugi
Angie is so transparent in how God has used her health struggles to help mold her character and deepen her faith. She is a great example of letting God work in her life. For more on Angie or to get a copy of her book, go to www.be-encouragedonline.com
Bridget Gazlay is a freelance writer and artist (and is also chronically ill). She resides in West Michigan. www.pfccreations.com . ** Watch for more articles in coming weeks from Bridget as she shares the highlights of what she has learned through her conversations with Angela!