Tuesday, 27 March 2012

I will yet praise Him...even if He never heals me

The thyroid gland is in the shape of a butterfly. Red signifies poisonous in the animal kingdom.

You know how butterflies are beautiful? And we delight in them as they flutter by? Well there is one butterfly that I have grown to despise. The one that lives in my throat. My thyroid gland. When I think about my thyroid, I visualise a black sick looking butterfly, struggling to thrive. 

When my eldest child was a baby and sleeping through the night, I noticed that I was still extremely tired, even with uninterrupted sleep. I went to the doctor and after a blood test, she discovered that my thyroid was under active. Not only that, the thyroid was being attacked by a auto-immune disorder called Hashimoto's Disease. After taking a synthetic thyroid hormone, I started to feel a little better, but not a lot. I was still extremely tired. I had to get all my main activities done before noon, because in the afternoon I would be fatigued. A full day of activities still knocks me around and takes me days to recover from.

I have written in detail about my journey towards healing before. I have taken a holistic approach to my healing. I understand that the body, soul and spirit are intertwined. You can't just work on physical symptoms, without addressing the soul realm or the spirit. 

Having started following Jesus 19 years ago, I have heard how Jesus heals. Testimonies of miraculous healings are common in the denomination that I attend. Having never seen the inside of a doctor's office much prior to becoming pregnant, I was always pretty healthy. So when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease 8 years ago, I knew that I just had to have faith and pray to God and He would heal me. I believed with all my heart that He would heal me. And when He did, I would tell everyone what He had done for me. 

Like a good little Believer, I wrote healing scriptures down and said them daily. I thanked the Lord for my healing that had already happened. I watched the words that I spoke, only speaking positive words about my health. Any chance I could get for someone to lay hands on me to heal my body I would take it. My faith was so strong, that I believed that He would miraculously heal me. I read books, listened to messages on 'healing'. I had even met someone with Hashimoto's Disease who Jesus had healed. 

A few years ago, I even convinced myself that I was healed. I was feeling better and thought, 'It's happened! God's healed me!' I discontinued using my medication and went for a blood test, expecting it to show that I was healed. The blood test showed that my thyroid was still not working properly, and because I went off my medication, I felt worse than ever and it took time for my thyroid to recover. 

Every time I took a new supplement, saw a new naturopath, changed my diet, addressed issues in my soul, I would think, "This is it. This is the thing that will heal my Hashiomoto's Disease." And then when it didn't make much difference, I would find myself discouraged. 

I have asked God, 'Why am I not healed when I have so much faith?' I have asked Him, 'Have you forgotten about me?' I have agonised over these questions and I have come up with this answer:

Why, my soul, are you downcast? 

   Why so disturbed within me? 

Put your hope in God, 

   for I will yet praise him, 
   my Savior and my God. {Psalm 42:5}
Despite whether or not He heals me this side of Eternity or the next, I will yet praise Him. He is God. I will never understand His ways, or His thoughts. I may never see the big picture for my life like He does. I may never understand why He hasn't healed me. But this I know, I will never stop praising Him. I still believe that He can heal me if it is His will, but whether He does or not will not stop me from trusting Him.

I, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, will declare:
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”{Daniel 3:17-18}
I had a setback last week when a new supplement a new doctor had put me on sent my thyroid into overload. It happen to coincide with me returning from Colour Conference 2012. So I had put my lack of energy down to recovering from a few days with a full schedule. On the fourth day after I returned, I fell into a deep depression. Having experienced deep depression before, I knew this wasn't your usual down in the dumps kind of depression. It would take more than controlling my thoughts to pull me out of this. When it continued for 2 more days, I started googling and found that the particular supplement I was on was good for normal thyroid support, but dangerous for Hashimoto's Disease sufferers.  I stopped the supplement, and after another day of depression, the darkness lifted. The depression was physically induced by my thyroid being overloaded.

After yet another disappointment of a new supplement making me worse instead of better, and feeling discouraged once again, I realised that I was putting my life on hold. I was putting all my happiness into, 'One day when I am healed...' 

After a lengthy discussion with my husband, we have decided to live our lives the best we can with this chronic illness. No longer will we hold out for the 'One day when I am healed....' scenario. We have to work out how to function as a family with my illness - facing the fact that I may never be healed this side of Eternity.We learn to live within my limitations. My husband has always just said to me, "You can only do what you can do." and has never put any undue pressure on me. And for that I am grateful. But I put pressure on myself to try to function normally, when in reality, my body cannot cope.

That doesn't mean we give up. I will still take my medication, still watch my diet, still watch my thoughts, still take my supplements, still find rest in Him. I am seeing a new doctor who has changed my prescription for synthetic thyroid hormone to see if it will make a difference. It just means that I won't get my hopes up, only to be discouraged if the medicine or supplement doesn't work. It means that I don't push myself to exhaustion, only to pay for it for days to follow. It means I listen to my body and rest when necessary. It means saying, 'no' to things if it means my body (and by default, my family) will pay for it later. This is not using my illness as a crutch. It is using wisdom. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
{James 1:2-4,12}

These are all the medicines and supplements I take daily in order to function.

Yesterday my eldest son said to me, "It's my fault isn't it? It's my fault you have Hashimoto's." My heart dropped and I realised that my son was carrying a burden that wasn't his to carry. He thought that it was his birth that caused my thyroid to fail. After I assured him that it wasn't his fault, and explained my illness was not caused by him, we discussed the possibility that I may not ever get healed. He cried. My beautiful boy, who wanted so much to have a mother who was 'normal', cried. I cried too, thinking how much Hashimoto's Disease has robbed my husband and sons of the wife and mother they deserve.

When I was at Colour Conference 2012, there was a powerful moment when the speaker asked us what we needed to lay at Jesus' feet. I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me and in my mind's eye, I saw myself, picking up that sickly, black butterfly, failing to thrive and lay it at the Master's Feet. I willed Him to pick it up, to touch it and make the colour come back to the butterfly and to see that butterfly fly around, full of health. But instead, He looked at me with His kind eyes, picked up the weak, black butterfly carefully, and the vision ended. I knew that I had to leave it with Him. I knew in that moment that I had to trust in Him with all my heart, and not lean on my own understanding.

Still taking lessons from the King,


  1. Oh Jo that last paragraph gave me goosebumps (my indicator of a God moment. What an awesome place to come to. To be content in ALL circumstances. xxx

    1. It is an awesome place to be Weza. I feel so liberated and am now looking forward to my future with a smile. I am embracing this scripture:

      She is clothed with strength and dignity,
      and she laughs without fear of the future. Prov 31:25

      That moment at Colour was so special. It was a defining moment in my life. xo

  2. Just beautiful Jo. You are doing what is best for you, your husband and your boys. Not for anyone else, but for you and yours. God has individual and set plans for each and every one of us. One may suffer, the other may not, but only He knows why that is. I'm thanking God now that you do have your 19 years of faith behind you to boost you when your human form and the world lets you down. I love you SFAM. Keep doing exactly what you're doing. xoxo

  3. This post is beautiful, so graceful and gentle and my heart goes out to you. I've been there (with my own chronic illness) and I send you lots of love, hugs and prayers!

  4. I applaud you. You are amazing to be living with and triumphing through something that makes others give up. Let me say this though. Your illness was not a surprise to God. It was not a mistake that you and your family have this in your lives. He is working it all together for good. Because of this illness He is allowing special qualities to come into your sons lives which would not be produced otherwise. He is producing strength through your weakness. He is creating beauty with your ashes. He is happy when you allow Him to carry you because His glory can shine. Hashimoto's is a thread of beauty that God is weaving to make your life even more amazing. Thanking Him for our weaknesses is hard and humbling, but sometimes necessary.

    1. Oh Larissa, yes! You are so right. God was not surprised by my illness. I agree, He is using it all for good- for me, my husband and my boys. You are so wise my friend xo

    2. Gotta say this. All glory to God. I couldn't possibly be that wise. :o)

  5. Ahh yes, Jo, I know that place where you live. And I agree with you in all that you've said. Such beauty is sound in your spirit Jo that the though your wings may be weak and darkened, your light still shines forth. And you will be healed one day, we just don't know when. And in the meantime I want you to know you are beautiful, and just like Sam, God is using you to turn the world's of those around you upside down. Praise God for people like you who live in the Kingdom's power and grace. HUGS

    1. Oh Nicole, I know that you know too well the place where I live. And you live in that place well. You are so inspiring. HUGS right back xo

  6. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's a couple of months ago and have been commenced on medication. I also have severe anaemia, so I am constantly exhausted. It's not a nice place to be - as you know. Lately God has really been speaking to me through Matthew 11:28. Some days my energy and strength are so depleted and I wonder how I'll get through the afternoon/evening. (I don't want my kids to remember a mum who is always tired!) But it is only when I give it all over to God that I know that complete rest that comes from Him. While we may never know healing this side of eternity, we know that God carries our burdens and uses our situations for His glory.xx (The butterfly vision is just so beautiful).

    1. Oh Deb! Sucks doesn't it? I found a great website on the weekend with a great video series called http://hopeforhashimotos.com/ they have a great video series on it. It helped me understand our condition better. In particular, this is where I learned that taking iodide/iodine supplement is like throwing fuel on the fire (so to speak) on our thyroid gland.

      I love Matt 11:28 and esp love The Message:

      ~"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." ~Matthew 11:28-30

      Hence the tag line on my blog....

      Hope the medication starts to make a difference soon. Much love xoxo

    2. Oh, my... thank you SO much for including that verse. I NEEDED to read that.

  7. Hugs Jo

    Thank you for sharing. Your words have encouraged me to take my life off hold and find His vision for my heart ...

    1. Hugs for you Chareen! Yes, that was an 'aha' moment for me that I was putting my life on hold. Go and find the vision for your heart and flourish wight amongst all the trials and messiness of your life. xo

  8. Hey Jo, wonderful post and wanted to add my own AMEN!

    just curious as to which supplement made you feel depressed? I've actually been fighting it as well. Also curious if you have ever taken iodine? I've read conflicting info on it for Hashimoto's patients.

    1. The supplement was iodide/iodine. If you have a look at the video series on hopeforhashimotos.com it explains why. That is the website where I found out!

      Thanks for your Amen Kim xo

    2. Here's the link, copy and paste this into your browser:
      He talks about iodide in this video.

  9. I was having trouble, but I finally found the info there. Thanks so much!

  10. This post... gives me hope. Not just for my thyroid and auto-immune diseases (how I so long to be healed!), but for my broken heart, too. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for the beautiful comments on my blog. So appreciated :)

    1. This warms my heart to read this. Keep trusting in Him. xo

  11. Jo, i found your blog through another I enjoy. And I usually do not click on a blog's links but this time I did. I guess it was your catchy title, I don't know for sure. But After reading a couple post's I am so very glad I did!!
    I have a scarred spinal cord and a spinal fusions. Unfortunately I had a horrible doctor who didn't do what he should, so for years I over medicated and lived a best I could. Hence the scarring.
    For years I have been putting off the next set of surgery out of fear and other logistic issues. But after reading the above article, I realized I must stop living my life for the "after my back is better". It may never be. So tonight I am going to have that convo with my mate, where we discuss the what if's. Not what if I get better but what if I dont. Either way God has blessed me with 3 perfect healthy children. A mate who support's and loves me. And enough strength to get at least through the day. To do what I need to , even if it isn't all that I want.
    Thank you for helping me realize, God isn't ignoring my request's. It isnt that I dont deserve to be healed it just isn't in His plan for now. I am now a reader, thank you again.

    1. Hi Meg,
      Nice to 'meet' you! What blog did you find me on? I'm glad you clicked on the link.
      I am so sorry to hear of the horrible condition your spinal cord is in after a incapable doctor.
      I am honoured that my words have caused you to have an 'aha' moment. Keep trusting in Him. He has not forgotten you. xo

  12. Oh wow, thankyou Jo for sending me to this post! After teaching the little grade 3s today about trust in God and leaning not on our own understanding for my once a week CRE, and after years of weary questioning God and myself about why I'm still sick, it was so encouraging to read your words.
    I am exactly the same, we too have had to stop putting life on hold in the past and live within my limits and grab onto the day-to-day joys, the simple things, no matter how 'different' we are to other families who go away on big trips and socialise more and mums who can go from the breakfast to tea time without lying down once!
    Its hard not to listen to the well meaning messages of health and healing within the pentecostal churches (Ive ben involved with a few) when we aren't the ones being healed.
    ..but yet will I praise Him...

    I love Psalm 73:26
    My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

    So glad I found you xx

    1. I love that Psalm Sandra. So glad my words were an encouragement to you.

      Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one. - C. S. Lewis


  13. We definitely need to catch up for a cuppa!! We have a LOT in common We suffer different chronic illnesses & different auto-immune diseases, but in many ways they are similar. And I too have a rock of a husband - God sent him into my life at EXACTLY the right time just as my body could take no more alone!! God knew what was in store and he sent along a man to love me, support me & to care for me. I don't know if I'll ever be healed but I won't allow the illness in my body to steal my joy!!
    I am currently journalling (with the intention to blog) about my life with chronic illness.
    Here is a link to a post I wrote last year which only skims the surface of my struggles:


    1. Yes! I love tha. We won't let our illness steal our joy. I'm off to check out your post. Thanks Liz. Cuppa soon. xo

  14. Thanks so much for sharing! Love your wisdom and insight. I was diagnosed with Hashis a few months ago after coming back from China with a miscarriage. Now we are headed to Thailand and I am still nervous about going with this still being so new. I grew up in a very "faithy/healing" centered church and it wasn't until we handed our 8 month old son to his heavenly father on Father's day in 2004 that we understood that healing is always a YES but not always a yes here on earth. God will get glory through a heart that trusts Him, not only through a healing. We have no control over our healing but we do have control over our heart in difficult times. I was crying the other day and kept telling the Lord "This is so overwhelming because it's with me until I die" and I felt these words come right back to me "But my presence is with you longer then "when you die" it's eternally committed to you". Pray for us if you think of us, a family of 7 heading to Asia without Hashis is a lot lol Keep sharing! We bear one another's burdens and gain strength in knowing that our sisters/brothers around the world are undergoing the same trials BUT He has overcome this world!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Jo Princess Warrior xo