Hope springs eternal, and so it must be for me with my lupus. Over the past few weeks, I struggled daily with overwhelming fatigue and bone-tired exhaustion from a long, low-grade lupus flare. Discoid lupus rashes have popped up on my scalp, fingers and expanded in size and aggravation where they already were stubbornly persisting. Mouth and nose ulcers, and lupus rashes in some very unusual places, such as the opening of my ears have emerged anew.
My job has suffered, while many days I was only able to work half-days and was struggling to fulfill work responsibilities. It has been a challenge to feel hopeful in the midst of such weariness.
However, hope is still there, deep down, flowing inside me through a place far below the surface of the flare, ever-present and encouraging. Hope.
Hope that tomorrow will be better, that increased steroids and today’s Benlysta infusion will shut down my flare, and that I will do better in my work again soon. I must persist in my hope that I will be able to better meet the needs of my family again, that I will feel like cleaning house, maybe even as soon as tomorrow. I have abiding faith and hope that God will enable me to get my eyes off of myself again to look outward instead of focusing inward so much, as I unfortunately have been doing of late.
I am convinced that hope and faith do not look down, backward or inward, but rather upward, forward, and outward.
Hope depends upon faith. Faith in someone or something bigger, stronger, wiser, more powerful than myself. There is no question now that this someone on which to direct my faith is not me. Hope comes from faith, and the ability to relinquish and invest my trust into that one I have faith in. My ultimate source of all hope is the Lord, for He alone is greater than my finite mind can comprehend — in his vast wisdom, love, mercy, power, strength and so much more.
I can trust Him, and I can trust that these things that He permits (not causes) to come into my life because of lupus, such as this month’s weariness, will not always be the way they are today.
So, I hope. I sit here at the infusion center with Benlysta flowing into my veins, and hope.
My flare will ebb, my rashes will be relieved, my strength will return, my medications will work, and I will be better tomorrow than I am today. I will choose to have faith, to trust, to have hope and look up, not down. From deep within me where God himself has graciously touched my heart, I know joy welling up and arising through my weariness.
The joy of the Lord is my strength, and my joy will be greater than the flare and weariness of today. Today I choose joy, not because of how I feel or because of fair weather, but because of the One in whom I trust for tomorrow.
All day a fierce late winter storm blew through Arizona. I traveled down the freeway to the hospital in a driving afternoon rain, with windshield wipers slapping back and forth in a sloppy rhythm. The downpour drenched my clothes in the mere 30 steps from my car to the hospital front doors. The nurse greeted me with a warm welcoming hug, but I gave a decidedly damp one in return.
Although it rains, and my joints hurt and I am tired, I still have hope and believe. Tomorrow, the sun shines!
Today, in my lupus flare, weariness and pain, I choose to rejoice. I choose hope. I choose joy.