Two weeks ago, I was blessed to celebrate another birthday — 61 to be exact! As a PF patient, you know how significant this is. I wonder if every birthday is my last. These thoughts happen for me with every holiday and anniversary, too. I normally would not let the world know it was my birthday, but this year I want to, for a purpose.
Every birthday I celebrate is very significant for me. When I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis three and a half years ago, my doctor predicted I wouldn’t make it to 59. Praise God I’m still here! I know I wouldn’t be here without His grace, mercy, and working behind the scenes to sustain my life.
Having a terminal illness brings this truth to the forefront for me. My faith tells me that every breath I take is a gift from God. I know your faith system may be different from mine, and I am not trying to force my beliefs on you. I just want to share some verses that encourage me and that may bring you encouragement, too.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
The verses talk about how our external bodies are wasting away, but we are to not lose heart. Why? Because we are being renewed day by day by our Lord. This perspective gives us a healthy way to balance gratitude for every breath we have, without losing heart from the troubles we are going through.
These troubles are what help me grow and mature, and I am renewed by God’s ever-present love, strength, and mercy. It is encouraging for me to know that even though my body is falling apart, my inner self can continue to grow and become more vibrant and healthy!
Focus on what matters
These verses encourage me to focus and give more value to things that are lasting. This includes my inner character, relationship with God and others, and the love, hope, and life that reflect God’s presence in my life.
I want to focus and give less value to those things that are temporary such as my possessions, status, outward appearance, and those things that draw me away from God.
I KNOW you are going through so much, too. Being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis is SO HARD. We have so much to deal with, which can be overwhelming and depressing.
Following are some things I do to help me stay centered and positive in the midst of such an awful diagnosis. I try to:
- Allow myself to grieve
- Be grateful for every breath and every moment
- Use these trials and devastating moments to draw me to God
- Allow Him to love me as I strive to grow emotionally, mentally, and spiritually
- Focus on what lies ahead … an eternal glory that outweighs what I am going through now
- Be kind to myself about my struggles and my need for help and support
- Take as good care of myself as possible
- Do all I can to improve the quality of my life
- Take care of business, in order to leave an impact on my loved ones after I’m gone
I hope my reflections on another birthday help you reflect on your life and help you to focus on the gift of life, the grace of God, and ways to stay as centered and positive as possible.
I’d love to hear from you
What is your response to this post? How did it affect you personally? What encourages and challenges you? What helps you stay centered and positive?
Please leave a comment below and share with those who could benefit via email or on social media. We’re in this together.
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.