Give thanks in ALL circumstances

“Your MRI tests came out normal. You don’t have MS.” It took me a couple of hours to process what my mom told me after she got off the phone with the doctor’s office. I started crying- not tears of relief but tears of frustration. I was so excited that the doctors would finally find out what was wrong with me cause then they would know how to help me.

I’ve been in excruciating pain throughout my whole body for over a year now. Sometimes the pain gets so bad I can’t even talk (and for anyone who knows me they know that takes a lot ;)). I need help walking cause my legs just give out and I fall down. I go numb throughout my arms and legs and find myself dropping objects more and more. My body is deteriorating and I’m losing control of it. I’m weak, exhausted, dizzy, nauseous, and my vision is still impaired. I’m tired, and I’m ready for a break.

I was in a car accident 14 months ago that started it all by causing me a severe traumatic brain injury that I am still living with. But a few months ago my doctors told me that there is something else going on  in my body besides the brain injury. My nervous system was broken; it was causing me severe pain. It was making me lose control of my arms and legs. Now the doctors had to figure out what exactly it was that was causing this neurological breakdown.

This is what led me to the MRI. MS (multiple sclerosis) is a suspicion that the doctors had to rule out before they continued testing for other neurological disorders. I’m 22 years old; I’m young for something like this to be happening. I’m supposed to be in my prime yet I’m weaker than an 80 something year old and have less control of my body. It’s not that I hoped I had MS, I just was hoping for an answer cause if there was an answer then the doctors would know how to help me. I was hoping the doctors would find something so that they could help me get out of this terrible pain for the holiday season. But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

Right now I don’t know if I’m facing something seriously fatal, if I’m facing disablement my whole life, or if I have something that is curable. I know my God can cure anything, but I also know that sometimes He doesn’t because more beauty can be brought out of the trial than through the physical healing. Sometimes more joy can come within our darkest hours than through our peaceful times.

The bible tells us that we should be joyful BECAUSE we are going through a trial..

James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds. Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

So basically James is saying that we are lacking if we do not go through trials. Why? Because they give us perseverance. What they produce within us is something so beautiful before the Lord; it’s something that is a light to others. But this only happens if we CHOOSE to let trials grow us instead of destroy us.

Can you imagine if we actually lived this verse out?? What would it look like?? When a trial hit our way we thought “Yes, everything is falling apart, I’m so joyful right now! I’m going to grow through this!”  It almost sounds funny because our human nature wants to do the opposite of that. But wow, what a testimony that would be if we reacted the way the bible tells us to.

With my situation, people keep expecting me to get angry at God, but I’m not. I’m not even tempted to be mad at God. I made a choice a long time ago that I wouldn’t get angry with God when things went wrong, but instead I would cling to Him to get me through the situation. I don’t believe He’s the one that causes bad things to happen to us. I do believe that He is the only one who can really give us the grace we need to get through them. I believe that He’s the one who is making beauty come out of my ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I know that I have a choice with how I’m going to look at my life. I can get discouraged that the doctors haven’t found out what’s going on in my body. I can get mad that it might be months, or even years before they discover my neurological disease. And when they do there may not be a cure. Thinking of the pain that I will have to endure could be depressing. And realizing that my body may deteriorate even more before it gets better, could be scary.

But I choose not to focus on or think about those things. Instead I will focus on the fact that when my pain gets worse, God’s grace on me will get stronger. When I lose control of my body, God will provide me arms and legs through the loved ones who are taking care of me. I may have lost my independence to be a part of regular life. I may be  stuck recovering in bed, but I have gained a life where I can spend all day with the Lord. God has changed my heart in ways I could of never imagined.

I have so much to be thankful for this year. Sure my life isn’t what I want or would plan, but I will not look at what I don’t have and instead will look at what I do have. I have a loving and faithful God. I feel so lucky that I know and walk with Jesus Christ when there are so many who are lost and don’t know Him. If my salvation is the only thing I have the rest of my life, then I have reason to be thankful, and I have reason to be joyful. God saved me from the pit of hell and offered me an invitation to paradise in heaven when He died on the cross.  That alone is a reason to be joyful!

Beyond that I am so thankful for my family and friends who have been SO supportive of me through this journey of mine. I can never tell you guys how much I love you and how thankful I am for your lives. You have touched me more than words can say. And for those of you who are reading my blog and are praying for me, I feel so blessed. Thank you for your prayers, they mean so much more than you know.

In the world’s eyes I have lost everything and I have nothing. But when I really take a step back and look at my life, I realize I have more than I need and I am blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope you can find the good in your life as the Lord is teaching me to focus on the good in my life.

Give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

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5 Responses to Give thanks in ALL circumstances

  1. Sandy says:

    oh what a strong woman of God you are and even so humble.
    I am always in prayer for you but you have given me so much in your writings.
    I am blessed by your writings and your strength. I love you Rachel.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about how hard your circumstances have been. I’ve given a lot of thought to maintaining trust in God even when circumstances go haywire in our lives, or when God works in ways that make no sense to us. I am almost finished writing a book about the principles that I believe are most helpful in the inner healing journey where we come to experience the goodness of knowing God even in our everyday lives. The next book I want to write (very soon, God willing) will be about making a case for still trusting God even though He is supposed to be in charge, but all kinds of ‘bad’ things still happen in this world. I want to make the case that nobody who has made the commitment to still love and trust God even in the midst of ‘bad’ circumstances has ever been put to shame for doing so, at least in the long run. I would like to mention stories like yours in such a book, in order to give other people who are suffering some good examples of why it is still good to trust God. I won’t do that without your permission, of course. Please let me know what you think.

    • rchamplin says:

      Hi Philip! Thank you for your kind comment. It sounds like God is using you to speak truth to people through your books. I would be honored if you mention my testimony in your next book. If you would like further information you can contact me at: God Bless!

  3. Shawn says:

    Yes Rachel! I believe the most important thing I’ve learned all year has been to thank God in all things. We should thank God in the “good” and the “bad”, because God is worthy and we never know how God will use our trials for our benefit.

  4. Emily says:

    You don’t have wait to see what beauty will come from these trials; people are already being impacted by you! Your perseverance, gentleness, peace and joy are so inspiring. I am thankful for YOU! Your walk with The Lord is a true testimony to what faith and trust can really look like. I’m so proud of who you are!
    I’ll definitely continue to pray for you.

    Emily Allen

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