Like a pebble cast into a pond, our thoughts can ripple around our minds, spiralling out of control. Positive ones are welcome to spread themselves and be retained, of course.

But the negative? If they persist, then they need rooting out before they act like a cancer in our minds and a canker in our souls which sinks them heavy as stone.

I have a brain that overthinks everything and veers toward the negative without any apparent help from me. The good news is that we can actually retrain our minds as we allow God’s Word to help reprogramme our thoughts toward the positive.

We don’t have to accept every random, passing thought as gospel truth. Much of it is ripple-effect dross we never got round to tossing out. We hold onto a great deal that is damaging, and rarely realise it unless we get a wake-up call, like I did recently.

ripple - woman thinking - ripple-effect thoughts quote (C) joylenton

My wake-up call is this: I’ve looked at my ailing health as an inconvenient truth and a hindrance to be ignored as much as possible, not a state to fully accept, adjust to or welcome even as an act of faith. Perhaps you are thinking: “Welcome sickness? You must be mad!”

That’s a perfectly normal reaction especially when a deadly pandemic is doing the rounds. What I’m talking about here though is having chronic illness, both physical and mental, which more people might be prone to suffer from as a legacy of the coronavirus.

Experience teaches us that our attitude to our living reality informs how well we might act and live. How can I deny decades of living with chronic illness without also denying the truth about myself?

It’s been a huge part of my life for 30 years, and so has the way I’ve been strengthened and sustained by God’s grace. My faith has been the ballast keeping me stable and sane.

I’ve discovered that if we fail to see our wounds, our hurts, our pain and problems as openings for God’s mercy and grace, we can fail to appreciate just how amazingly He can transform them into a potential mission field and gifts for others.

ripple - open hands with bright lights - If we fail to see our wounds quote (C) joylenton

Although I don’t often write about having chronic illness, I cannot miss how much it impacts absolutely everything. The reactive ripples it spreads are clearly evident and the disruption hard to ignore.

On the positive side, our circumstances can become testimony talks, and our weaknesses can be transformed into potential avenues of healing for others. It might start small but can soon ripple out, as God allows.

As we share honestly about these things, we help someone else to see they are not as alone with their hurts and pain as they might feel. And there is great strength to be found in praying for each other as well.

So I cannot pretend my chronic illness doesn’t exist or impact each day I live. My frequent absences here over the years (and infrequency of blog posts) are testament enough to the way having M.E etc makes me flag.

ripple - woman in silhouette - Our circumstances can become quote(C) joylenton

Perhaps I should write more about having health issues here. With an emphasis on embracing hope in the hard as I reveal God’s hand at work. What do you think? Would that be helpful for you? Who knows, it might create a ripple of hope in someone who is struggling similarly.

May you know, my friend, that you are still very much seen by God. He notes all your struggles and pain and carries the weak in His arms when they cannot support themselves. We can lean on God’s strength in our storms. We can trust and hope in Him even if our circumstances don’t change or improve.

ripple - ripple prayer about chronic illness (C) joylenton