“In every season of our lives, we meet the edges of life we never expected. The unexpected pain of life often leaves us only with the choice of how we will endure it.”

Kara Tippetts from The Hardest Peace

“But we are not the Author of our story. We are the characters.”

Karra Tippetts from The Hardest Peace

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Dear Reader, 

I prayed for you earlier, prayed for your fear and pain, your unanswered questions. Your trembling knees as you grapple with the words, “There is no cure.” Relentless cold and howling winds have me wondering if perhaps this is the day you long to burrow under your blanket, retreating from the world. I am fighting the weariness myself.

Soon I will share how I manage in my daily life, what I have learned on this wilderness path. The things that brought accolades and praise from three different specialists I have seen in the past two weeks. You can read about one of those visits here.

The past days have found me turning over the question I am most often asked. “How are you?” I struggle to answer that question. Do you? I believe their sincerity, I don’t doubt their love and concern for me. When one leans in and ask a second time, “How are you really doing?” It is then, I feel their desire to know the honest, ugly truth.

I realize it is hard for others to grasp that a  journey of chronic illness has no end. No. End. With each day comes a new layer heaped on top of the last one. Gnarly fingers of pain dig deeper and deeper. Pushing through and smiling gets tiresome day after day, week after week, year after year.

From where they stand, they cannot see past the layers of what appears to be normal. Cannot see beyond the acting abilities I’ve come close to perfecting the past three and a half years.

So how in the unholy hard do I answer that question? How do we answer that question?

Chasing bunny trails and sweet conversation yesterday, I may have found the answer that fits best.

I am most excited to share it with you.

However, more than anything;

I picture us, wrapped in our struggles, sharing a table and coffee, joining hands. Sharing stories, bearing one another’s burdens, just as Galatians 6:2a (NLT) tells us.

“Share each other’s burdens.”

The precious friend I was speaking with yesterday once stood in the kitchen with Kara Tippets in the days before she went to be with Jesus. Glad to find Kara up and about, she asked her how she was feeling.

To which Kara promptly replied, “Don’t ask me how I’m feeling, ask me how I’m living.”

When I am asked how I am feeling or assumptions are made based on how I look, I find myself in a conundrum, certain you do not have time for the dissertation I could, and might give you. Feeling less than authentic when I answer, “Fine.”

I have decided going forward, Kara’s answer is the best.

To answer with Kara’s words, is to share my most authentic self.

I want you to know, Dear Reader, you are not alone. Whether your unholy hard is chronic illness or something else entirely, I long for us to walk through the wilderness together.

I would love to hear from you! You can do that by commenting below or contacting me here

“When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us? 

Ann Voskamp from One Thousand Gifts 

I had the opportunity to be a guest on Holly Barret’s podcast. You can catch the podcast episode here and listen to more of my story through the wilderness and living with P.O.T.S.

Read about my friend, Sue Tell’s (suetell.com) conversation with Kara Tippets here.

You can purchase Kara’s book The Hardest Peace below:

Gifts of Grace