One thing I have wanted to do, is introduce guest bloggers to you all. They have wisdom and insight to share. And, I want us to be able to learn from them. I want to see how God is working out all things, even when the light in life seems dim (which is my motivation for the Tuesday link-up) .
Today, I am thankful for the opportunity to welcome Stacey Philpot to Gracefully Overcoming. She is going to share with us how we can grieve our old selves and embrace the person we are becoming through chronic illness.
Stacey Philpot’s blogging home is Chronically Whole, where she shares her heart, struggles with chronic illness, and offers hope to her readers. She is a blessing and offers much encouragement through her blog. I do hope you will take a few moments to read today’s encouragement, and connect with her. She is on a number of social media places, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Her story is below (and I relate to much of what she is saying… You just might too, read on!)
On Letting Go Of the Old You and Embracing the New
Personally, one of the hardest parts of my illness has been the loss of the “old me”. The girl who could run three miles a day, read into the late hours of the night and still have plenty of energy to pour into the people she loved the next day. Oh, how I grieved her. I missed everything from the texture of her hair to her ability to fully embrace and enjoy life.
Where’d that cool girl go?
Looking back, I now realize that part of my quest for a diagnosis was fueled by the belief if someone could locate the source of the problem then they could correct it. And then they could give me that other girl back. The girl I liked better, the one everyone else liked better. You know, the one who was infinitely more worthy of love than this girl I’d become?
If you had asked me before sickness crept in if believed love had to be earned —— by good behavior and deeds I would have told you, “Absolutely not, love is a gift, freely given, which cannot be earned.” They say adversity introduces you to yourself. It shows you what you believe. And it turns out, deep down; I believed the sick version of me wasn’t very lovable. Because you see, she couldn’t do the things she believed were earning her keep all along. She couldn’t stay in shape, or come to the rescue of those in need. Heck, she could barely stay awake half of the time. Instead of helping others, she now needed help. It was uncomfortable, and apparently, in my mind- unattractive, maybe even unlovable.
One of the greatest things I have done for myself in this journey of battling for health is to let her go– the girl I used to be- just let her go and embrace this woman I have become in spite of all of her limitations. This woman that I have become, she’s rooted in grace. She’s let go of all of that needless striving. She’s come to realize who God made her to be hasn’t changed one bit and what he called her to do hasn’t changed at all. This woman is going to do those things, regardless of how many diagnoses are pinned to her, one way or another. This woman who thought she’d been stripped of everything has come to see she’s really only been stripped of all those false identities. This woman knows if you can love her at 40 pounds overweight that’s amazing, and if you can’t – Go with God. This woman is determined not to be defined by illness or any other circumstance but instead by whom God created her to be.
Hope for the Future
If today you find yourself grieving that person you used to be and the things they could do, that’s okay. There is a season of grieving. Cry those tears. Feel those losses. But when the time comes, let them go. Find freedom in embracing the person you are today, the one who knows what it is to overcome adversity and meet others in that same place. Celebrate the wisdom and maturity, compassion and insight gained by what you’ve gone through. Maybe you’ve lost some physical function, but I guarantee you have gained some life changing emotional function to be offered to others as they walk this very same road.
If you asked me today if I wanted that girl back —- the one I used to be, my answer would be, No. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have her shape. (And she did have cute hair) But I’d rather have this woman I’ve becomes’ insight and determination. They’re worth more to me. I have chosen to let the “old me” go, and embrace the “new me.”
What about you? Will you let go of the old you and embrace the new?