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Wednesday Writings

Women in the Valley: Carol’s Story

Thank you, Carol, for sharing your story with us!

Tell us about yourself!

Hi. I’m Carol and I’m married to a wonderfully patient man named Jim. As of May, 2022, we will have been married for 50 years and in July I turn 70! Time flies, but God has been gracious. Upon retirement we moved from Oregon, after 26 years, to Northern CA and we’re enjoying being in the same town with our daughter and her family. Two of our five grandkids are here and we are enjoying our time with them especially.

I am a creative person and enjoy sewing, crafts, reading and getting together with close friends. My most adventurous endeavor has been to create my own business and sell my hand-sewn articles at nearby craft fairs and sales. After three years of designing and creating, I had to stop due to arthritis in my thumbs, but God blessed me through those shows, and they were some of my most enjoyable times.

I am dealing with an autoimmune disorder that showed up as psoriasis in 2017. My immune system signals to my body that I need new skin every few days and it makes my legs scaly and itchy. I am under a dermatologist’s care and dealing with this condition with an injected biologic and creams, but now as it ‘flares’ I am having to consider laser treatment. The risk with taking these meds is that they may be suppressing my immune system in ways that put me in danger of serious infections and other illnesses.

What has God taught you in your valley of chronic illness?

He has taught me to ask others for help–that I’m not alone in this. He has taught me patience, with myself and others, when it concerns my condition. He has helped me to be more self-aware and vocal. I have become my own best advocate and am no longer shy about speaking up or asking tough questions. He’s still teaching me to be more sympathetic with people who may have hidden ‘afflictions,’ like my own.

What Scriptures have spoken to you in your times of need?

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 46:10, “..be STILL, and KNOW that I am God.”

And through Romans 8:37-39 I have learned that I am more than a conqueror and that NOTHING can separate me from His Love.

What is the best part of your chronic illness?

It has broadened and expanded my view of My God–He is limitless and so much bigger than I ever gave Him credit for! It has given me a heart of thankfulness–for the smart people who discover cures for diseases, doctors, nurses and caregivers. It has given me more empathy for people who suffer with hidden ‘afflictions’ like mine.

How would you encourage other women with chronic illness?

  • Keep on praying!
  • Do not retreat into yourself–look for ways to express yourself and do things that make you happy.
  • Find good friends who can sympathize rather than criticize.

What resources have helped you?

  • Prayer–just getting to my knees as quickly as possible.
  • Using friends and family as ‘prayer warriors.’
  • Using the internet to do research and become very familiar with information surrounding my condition.
  • Listening to contemporary Christian music.
  • Remembering and singing many old hymns.

Can you relate to Carol’s story? What part of her testimony most encouraged you? Any words you would like to leave for her in the comments?

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