Being 39 years old, with two small children, and a climbing career in a Fortune 50 company was not exactly the time I expected to receive a diagnosis that changed my life. I had everything I needed and wanted and looked like one of those all-together moms, wives, and professionals.
I tried desperately to live out those roles.
No one could tell I had just been diagnosed with a debilitating form of arthritis – psoriatic arthritis – and invisible illness. My family tried to be considerate and understanding, my bosses at work, not quite as much.
I secretly wished that I would get some kind of crooked bones, hunched over postureanything that could be visible besides the dark circles under my eyes! How sad is that thinking? No one realized what I was feeling, because I looked so darned healthy! Yes, I was living with an invisible illness.
I was angry with life, angry with friends and family, and just not a very pleasant person to be around. Life was NOT very good. As I struggled with my anger and frustration, I turned to the one source that helped me through a life struggle when I was younger – God. I started reading, looking for words of comfort, and trying to understand if at least God saw my illness.
I learned very quickly He did. Psalm 139 became my answer and my comfort. I was reminded that God was the One who knew how I felt, where my aches were, where my limitations were, and Whom I could cry out to, lament with, and shed tears with whenever I needed to. My illness was simply not invisible to Him: “Lord, you have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord. You hem me inbehind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:1-5 NIV)
It still took me awhile to come to terms that my illness would always be invisible…but, I knew during those struggles that there was One who saw my fatigue and every single ache.
I still suffer from my invisible illness, although Phil Michelson (professional golfer) has recently brought attention to all of us who suffer from Psoriatic Arthritis. Because of my deepening Christian faith and my desire to walk beside others as they seek purpose and passion led me on a journey of becoming a certified Life Purpose Coach©.
As a Christian Life Coach, I am now able to coach others who suffer from all forms of invisible illness – psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, diabetes, and many more – to seek, find, and call out to the One who sees and knows all. The sharing of my story and hearing the story of others gave birth to calling and passion of coaching others who are also living with an invisible illness.
Cindy Tannehill is a Life Purpose Coach and Leadership Coach living in Wichita, KS. She is a popular speaker at workshops and retreats throughout the U.S. She also schedules private and group coaching sessions and offers a limited number of 2-day Life Purpose facilitations throughout the year. Her psoriatic arthritis is currently in remission. www.passitonpurpose.com . firstname.lastname@example.org