Sustaining Hope on the PF Journey

Sustaining Hope on the PF Journey

Just breathe, passionate help for the PF journey
I’m not big on hope, even though I have a sign that says “hope” on my porch year-round.

Are you thinking “Wait! How can she say that? I want to be encouraged here!”

I’m not big on attaching hope to:
–  Outcomes I can’t control
–  People I can’t influence or change
–  Situations in the world that are too big for me
–  Planning that things will change, be different, get better, or not be the way that they actually are

I am big on attachiwww.kimfredrickson.comng my hope to God, and to His plan for my life. It’s okay that I won’t fully understand everything until Heaven.

I learned a lot about this from my very good friend, Joany. She and I were friends for almost 30 years, until she passed away from breast cancer three years ago. She fought this disease in every way she could, and often talked about having hope. I often would think “How can she be so hopeful when the cancer is spreading and she is getting worse?”

I asked her about this once, and she said she hoped that the chemo and radiation would help, but her real hope was in God. Her hope was that what she was going through would cause her to grow into a deeper and more mature person. She wanted to focus on things that really mattered to her with the time she had left — her friends and family. She hoped she would draw closer to God because of her illness, and that God would use what she was going through to draw others, and her family closer to Him and to one another. She knew she had no control over what others did, but she did have control over what she did.

I was stunned by her faith and perspective. What she shared made so much sense to me, and has helped me so much as I’ve gone through breast cancer myself, as well as pulmonary fibrosis, which developed from chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer.

I’m not placing my hope and well-being in getting a lung transplant in time. My hope is in Him, and His purposes for my life. I want to continue to grow and mature, and help others the best I can, for as long as I can.

There is a peace in me that passes understanding, because my job is simple…

I try to take care of myself, draw close to Him, love those in my life well, and leave the outcome to Him.

Now, in case you think I’m super-human, I’m not. I go through days of sadness, distress and discouragement just like anyone else. So far, I’m able to come back to my Hope in Him, after I process these normal emotions.

I feel released from worrying, planning, maneuvering, and obsessing about things over which I have no control changing. My hope and confidence are in Him, who created this whole world, and my very life. I know He will not forsake me, even when His answers and my future turn out different than I’d like.

Here are some verses that encourage me:

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deut 31:6

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.” Psalm 57:1

“Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” Psalm42:5

“Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You;
Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8

I recorded these verses, and a message for you – click below to listen

I know that you may struggle to keep hoping, too, or have lost hope…

It’s not bad if you have, because you can get it back. We are all going through a very difficult illness, and dealing with life turning out very differently than we thought. I know we face the same challenges to trust God, take care of ourselves, and keep going.

Please be kind and compassionate with yourself right now. That is something you can control. Sending you blessings, hope, and love.

I would love to hear from you…

What was your reaction when you read, “I’m not big on hope?” When is it most difficult to hope? How do you sustain your hope, especially when it is hard to keep going?

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

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8 comments

  1. Carla Smith says:

    This has just described me to a T!
    I have put all my faith and hope in HIM. I stand on His word.
    There are days though when fear, doubt and depression come in. I keep reminding myself that God is for me and there is nothing that can be against.
    I see myself running, singing and working again. I have that vision from God and I am not letting it go. I don’t know when, but you will see me praising God soon. I praise Him now for the victory.

    • Carla, thank you so much for your comment. We share so much in the comfort and assurances we have from God and His Word. Keep reminding yourself of His love and care for you…and hang onto that promise from Him! So delighted to hear from you, Kim

  2. Bill Kracke says:

    Kim – thanks so much for your post. It is refreshing to hear from others who have placed their lives in God’s hands Since my diagnosis of IPF I have taken a somewhat radical view on this disease; it is not a death sentence, our death sentence was given to us at birth, we just have a clearer idea of what will probably cause our death, and the future that God has promised us is closer to us. Although a miraculous healing would be marvelous I do not wait for it to happen. Instead I participate in clinical trials to help others in the future deal with this disease, also with the hope that God may act through the minds and hands of those developing new treatments to heal me or at least stabilize me. But more importantly I have gotten closer to realizing what I can still do – I have taken leadership of a very active outreach program of my church that focuses on the words found in Matthew 25. Through contributions we help shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, care for the needy and help those in distress. We coordinate volunteer work at local soup kitchens, assemble meals for the needy, and run a community garden to provide vegetables for the local soup kitchen. Although this disease has slowed me down and keeps me from doing some of the things I loved to do, I now have a new “lease on life” that doesn’t require any extra oxygen and gives me the satisfaction that I am trying to make something good of this diagnosis.

    • Hi Bill, thank you so much for sharing with all of us. Placing the life we’ve been given in God’s hands brings peace, and I’m so glad we share this way of finding comfort and direction in Him. I love your perspective, and am so encouraged with how purposeful and meaningful you are in living your life. What a beautiful example of making something good out of your diagnosis. You put a smile on my face today, and are an inspiration to many!

  3. Jennifer Stevens says:

    Greetings from England and a fellow IPF sufferer, diagnosed 14 months ago.

    What a joy it was to read your article on ‘Hope’. My life is in Gods hands and after the initial shock of the diagnosis have tried to just rest in His abiding love and promises.

    I love your honesty and willingness to share your faith. It is a tonic to my soul.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Hello Jennifer…so lovely to hear from you all the way from England! I’m so glad you shared your Hope in Christ and the peace and rest you are finding in His hands. Such a blessing to hear from you. I’m blessed by your encouragement. We’re in this together!

  4. Hi Kim, I was diagnosed in 2010. I am on o2 at night, but during the day it takes me 5 minutes to get my heart rate from 100+ back to 80. I have been to a cardiologist and EKG. He said my main concern is IPF. Thank you for your posts. God is GREAT. My depression comes from not being physically able to do the activities I did. Most of the time I can adjust to the changes in my lifestyle than sometimes I Cry. I feel sorry for my husband because I’m not doing my part. He does everything for me now.

    • Gloria…I totally understand. I have a lot of those feelings too. I let myself cry and grieve as things hit me…then I feel better…until something hits me again. I think this us healthy and normal. You are right God Is GREAT and is sustaining us. Blessings and prayers to you and your hubby.

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