During the early stages of my illness people's expectations of me were still at a high level, let’s give it a scale and say a level 10 represents normal ability. Others couldn’t comprehend what was going on and I struggled to understand and convey it as well. It took months for a diagnosis to be made. Early in my illness I was lucky if I was functioning at level 4! A dramatic difference had occurred that I battled with! I was still expected to be able to function at level 10 but I was shocked and frustrated at how little my ability actually was! As my illness raged on and I tried to keep up with the demands of life, my ability evaporated! I was forced to stop working and was bed ridden! There were many days when getting out of bed was a HUGE challenge. There were days when all I could focus on was completing the very basics in life - getting up, taking the kids to school and eating! Many times I found myself in bed for days and for weeks on end! Now for someone who could previously handle extremely long, full and active days it was an absolute shock to the system (to say the least!)! I became resentful of all the things I couldn't do, all the things I was missing out on and my inability screamed inadequacy at me! The chores unable to be done mocked me! So bitterness poisoned me and permeated into my entire body until I came to that point of pure hatred for myself!
So what is bitterness? Bible study tools describes bitterness as "the feeling of misery and wretchedness, giving rise to the expression ‘bitter tears’" and it goes on to explain it as an untruth and immorality - as in the bitter thing in opposition to the sweetness of truth and the gospel.
If we search the Bible we can find many examples of God's truth about sweetness for our lives. But I think this one is so relevant: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 declares that we can thank God! For He has made us His people and leads us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. We are used to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? We do not preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us. (NLT version paraphrased).
I just couldn't see how I was a "life giving perfume" when I couldn't do much! I felt that I had no value left because I had nothing to give! But 2 Corinthians 2 declares that we can join Jesus in a parade of celebration! That it’s not about what I can do but who I am! Because of Jesus I am someone worth celebrating! How incredible and amazing is that?!
I see now that I was in a season of rest and thankfully God held me in his hands so that I was protected! I felt that so much was stripped away from my life. I see now that the things distracting me from pursuing God's perfect plan for me are gone! I have been refined by the 'fire' of affliction as described in Isaiah 48:10 (AMP): "Indeed, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested and chosen you in the furnace of affliction.”. Refining is not a pleasant experience and so much gunk comes to the surface but how incredible is the result!!!
“There is only one way of victory over the bitterness and rage that comes naturally to us--To will what God wills brings peace.” Amy Carmichael
Living with bitterness is a really yucky place to be in. I implore you to search your heart for any bitterness and speak out the promises from God.
Declare Psalm 119:103 - Lord your words are so sweet to me, sweeter than honey! Fill me with your sweetness so that I can spread it to those I encounter!
Keona Tann has lived most of her life in the beautiful Australian state - Tasmania. She has been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years. Keona and her husband consider themselves extremely blessed to be raising 2 wonderful teenagers. They have also been long time child sponsors with Compassion. Keona's working life has seen her develop over 15 years of customer service experience. Health issues have plagued her for 28 years and over the past 2 years have been severely debilitating. Seeking direction from God her passion for writing was recently reignited. Writing the following mission statement: "I desire to impact the world through the words I share. I long to enrich, empower and encourage others whilst delivering my stories with empathy and understanding." she hopes to launch her new career soon.