Last year was a tough one for many of us, but looking back I realised that I have learned many important lessons which make me stronger and better equipped for the year ahead.
So although 2018 was a year of very high highs and very low lows, there were many lessons scattered among both the trials and the triumphs. This is the way life goes - it is never linear and it's always changing - but we can always look back and learn something from what we have been through.
Through the course of each year we will grow wiser, we will heal old wounds, we will get up and try again, but each time we will also be a little stronger.
Geared towards teens suffering with chronic illness, this book aims to answer some of those tough questions believers often find themselves asking when things seem to be falling apart. This is Sarah Willoughby's debut work, and I think she has done a great job of highlighting God's heart and love for us even in the midst of suffering.
In this interview series we highlight various chronic illnesses and the amazing warriors who deal with them daily. My aim is to raise awareness as well as celebrate the many ways in which our fellow warriors overcome the limits illness and disability has placed on them.
Today I have the privilege of sharing Jodie's "A Day In My Life" interview here on Chronically Hopeful. Jodie has fought hard for years to get a diagnosis - a battle that many chronic illness warriors know all too well. She has a lovely blog where she writes about her health, her goals and victories on her road to recovery.
Have you ever been out in town and seen somebody who looks perfectly healthy get out of a car they had just parked in the spot for disabled people or seen somebody on a mobility scooter park outside and walk into the shop? If you are anything like I was before I fell ill, you might think these people are faking and milking the system for benefits and attention, but you'd be wrong, just like I was!
This week is Invisible Disabilities Week. An annual awareness campaign where patients and activists share their knowledge and experience of life with invisible illness and disability. In 2015 I became severely ill with an invisible chronic illness. Before that, I was very judgemental about others when it came to illness and disability.
I believed that if people ate healthy, did exercise and avoided cigarettes, drugs and alcohol that they'd not get sick and that wheelchairs were for people who couldn't walk - the real issue was that I was simply ignorant of the realities of chronic illness and invisible disabilities. I just didn't know any better.
Chronic illness has completely turned my life and the lives of my whole family upside down, restricting me to my house and often my bed for years, but if you ever saw me outside, you'd think I was still completely healthy because my condition doesn't cause any physical deformities and cannot be detected visually. I have an invisible disability.
I came across this fantastic list of guidelines for how to live successfully with ME and just had to share it. So here they are, the 11 Rules For Having ME Successfully:
* Do not consider having M.E. unless you have a downstairs toilet.
* In order to have M.E. successfully you should acquire a cleaner, gardener, cook and a general handyman. If this is impossible, you should find a rich, devoted, non-talkative partner with few outside interests.