Today, Tuesday 8th February, marks exactly 20 years since I became ill with M.E., a landmark which I had hoped would never come to pass! I became ill at the age of 18 which means that for virtually all of my adult life I have had M.E. - a rather sobering thought! To be honest, it is hard to think that my illness has lasted that long as, overall, the time has passed pretty quickly, even if some of the individual days do go by slowly.
Of those 20 years, for the first eight or so I had moderate M.E.; since then I have had severe M.E., something that I would not wish on anyone. I wrote about my experiences looking back over the years last April in an article called "One Thousand Weeks" (see http://www.oneagleswings.me.uk/onethousandweeks.pdf), so I won't repeat here what I said then. Since writing that not a great deal has changed. I did pick up a little health-wise back in October / November of last year - but unfortunately, following an allergic reaction just a few days before Christmas, I lost that improvement.
M.E. is such a frustrating illness - not just due to coping with being seriously ill, but also because of the lack of support and understanding from the medical profession in this country. How grateful I am for a caring family - my parents who look after me, as well as Tim and Lois, my brother and sister-in-law, who keep in touch very regularly.
Most importantly, I know that as a Christian I have a wonderful Saviour in the Lord Jesus Christ. However difficult things are, my life is in God's hands and nothing that happens is outside of His control. Even during those times when everything is getting worse and going downhill, the Bible reminds me that, whatever happens, "the eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33 v 27).
Two further Bible references spring to mind -
Ebenezer: thus far has the Lord helped us (see 1 Samuel 7 v 12)
Jehovah Jireh: the Lord will provide (referred to in Genesis 22 v 14)
After my grandmother died in March 2007, at the grand old age of 94, we found the following in her purse -
El Shaddai - The All-Sufficient One
Sufficient blood to cleanse my sin,
Sufficient peace amid earth's din.
Sufficient mercy found in Him,
Sufficient faith when sight is dim,
Sufficient sunshine in His smile,
Sufficient grace for every trial,
Sufficient strength for every day,
Sufficient light to guide the way.
(C I Southgate)