The words dropped like a glass vase shattering across the floor. All I could hear was the deafening tick-tock of the clock and the distant voices down the hallway.
It had been a long, grueling, five months, and I was depleted of decisions and emotion. Every day I prayed for wisdom, clarity, and answers. Initial tests and scans had been held to discuss my unprecedented fatigue, my inability to lose weight, my constant aching legs, and my foggy brain.
I had been through eight iron infusions, countless procedures, and traveled to a nearby city to meet with specialists in rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and blood disorders.
“You have Celiac Disease.”
“Celiac?” I quietly whispered back to the doctor. I let the words sink in. “Ok, what can I do to fix this?”
“Nothing”, he said with a tone of sadness. “It is irreversible. You are off wheat and gluten forever. I will set up an appointment for you to see the nutritionist.”
The doctor continued as if it was a routine sinus infection and handed me pamphlet after pamphlet about an inherited autoimmune disease I didn’t even know existed.
I was now a statistic.
I sat numb and the screaming in my head drowned out the inability to process what was being said.
No magic medicine? No remission? No “let’s check back in three months?”
In the days and weeks after my diagnosis, I struggled with accepting the reality of the news. I had convinced myself for six months that “this” could be fixed. That there wasn’t anything wrong that would drastically change my life.
After all, I was still able to go to work each day, be a joyful wife, take care of my young children, serve in the church, and have dreams for the future. I felt that whatever my body was battling couldn’t be that bad.
As the reality of the situation slowly crept into my everyday life, I cried. A lot. I asked God a million questions, and I struggled with understanding why in the world He would let this happen to me.
Didn’t I serve Him faithfully? Wasn’t I loyal to my family? Where were the blessings and the promise of peace?
Slowly my answer came in surrender to the beauty of what God created me to be. Surrender to believing that this time, in this situation, I could still glorify God and trust His goodness in my life.
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…” (Psalm 23:6, NIV)
With each passing day, I slowly let His word infuse me like a delicious cup of tea. I allowed His music to bring whispers to my beating heart, friends breathe words of life over me, and my body to heal.
I asked Him what lessons I was going to learn through this and wondered with whom I would one day share my story.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble…” (I Corinthians 1:3,4 NIV)
Surrendering to His love, grace, and mercy is the true acceptance of all He made me to be. It is showing others that I believe I am uniquely created for a special place in this giant glorious tapestry He is weaving throughout all of history.
Despite the knots and the sticky messes, we may find ourselves in, He is still creating a beautiful piece of art. We were born with His imprint stamped upon our souls. When we remember this and follow His lead in our lives, we are doing the very thing He meant for us to do.
Throughout Scripture, women have always had a place in this masterful design. The names of Esther, Hannah, Sarah, and Ruth are often highlighted in the pages of Scripture and lessons in Sunday school. But just as important to our faith story and our understanding of God are the lesser-known names.
The women unnamed who were ever-present, ever-working, ever-listening, and serving.
The women who were part of those that prepared Jesus’ body for burial. The women among the 500 witnesses after his resurrection. The women who fed, clothed, and faithfully prayed for their apostolic husbands in the furtherance of the sacred gospel.
All had a place in the story. All created with beauty and courage and, though not publicly named, known intimately by the Lord Jesus. Then and now.
We tend to idolize women who have a platform. Those that seem to be created with incredible gifts and success. But even in this, there are women unnamed behind the scenes doing the quiet reverent work they were made for.
The virtual assistant who schedules countless meetings and fields emails. The house cleaner who keeps the home of a congressman in order. The saleswoman who faithfully brings home enough money to feed and clothe her children every month. The exhausted mom who is raising her kids to love God and serve others day in and day out.
Each unique, each created with love, each with a story that makes them special.
God calls to “…guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you….” (2 Timothy 1:14) You, dear reader, have a gift. Just like a crystal vase, let this gifting sparkle, shimmer, and spill out with all the radiance of Him.
Use your story, be it good or bad, wherever and in whatever way you can to bring Him glory.
You were made for this.
Laura Sumpter is a native of the Pacific Northwest. She has been a teacher for over 20 years and she loves teaching children and women of all ages how to practically apply Scripture. She counts her husband and three children as the greatest blessings of her life. When she is not writing or teaching you can find her at the beach, in her garden, decorating her home, or playing with her family. Laura lives each day believing that God is faithful, no matter the circumstance. She desires to express the deep and satisfying hope that only Jesus can bring. You can find the lessons God is teaching her at her blog or on Instagram.