Tuesday was World Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day. It falls on February 2, Groundhog Day, every year – and it has been on my radar for 8 years now since my RA diagnosis. I’m running a little behind posting about it this year – as things have been super busy for some amazing reasons I’ll share in just a bit.
While my autoimmune journey started with Celiac Disease in 2012, my body truly began running riot a few months later when the RA came along.
I feel like most of my readers are familiar with RA, but to be sure, I’ll quickly say it is not the same as regular degenerative arthritis. It is an autoimmune condition where the immune system is attacking the joints – and it can – and frequently does – attack other body systems as well.
As I do every year, I will say that more research funding is desperately needed for this – and all other autoimmune diseases as well. The incidence of them is growing rapidly and they are the cause of so much devastation.
As with all autoimmune diseases, patients tend to have more than one and I have developed several over the years – but my RA has consistently caused pain and debility. I had to stop working as a nurse in 2017 as a result of my RA.
Of course, that was devastating and I wasn’t sure what I would be able to do with myself – especially as other comorbidities came along including my CRPS that has seen me even unable to walk at times.
But God is a good good Father – and He had a new story to write for me in midst of all of this.
As I’ve been sharing, I’ve been working on a book, a 40 day devotional for spoonies, chronically ill people like me.
For one of the devotionals, I have written about raising an Ebenezer.
If you were raised in a hymn singing church, you are probably familiar with one of my favorite hymn verses ever from Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing:
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.
In Scripture, Ebenezer means “stone of help.” It comes from 1 Samuel 7:12, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mitpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.'”
In some places, I’ve seen it defined as a stone of remembrance – as the purpose was to remember what the Lord had done. Samuel placed the Ebenezer stone after the Lord had brought the Israelites victory over the Philistines when they were in a desperate situation.
We need reminders. We need to stop and give thanks and raise an Ebenezer so we remember how good our God is to us.
So, as I’m observing Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day this year, I’m overjoyed to also be raising an Ebenezer to God’s goodness as I share that my first book, Grace, Songs, Scripture, and Spoons: A 40 Day Devotional for the Chronically Ill is complete and will be available for pre-order on Amazon on Valentine’s Day and then released on Ash Wednesday.
This is the realization of so many dreams and an answer to so many prayers that I don’t even know where to begin.
From my dreams of being a writer that I’ve had since I was a little girl coming true to God writing a new story for me in my illness, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
I pray that it is of service to my fellow spoonies – and I am just so thankful.
Here I raise my Ebenezer. . .
Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.
Grace and Blessings.