Chronic Grace

Finding the Grace in a Life With Chronic Illness

I discovered the most lovely prayer, by the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, that perfectly fits my state of mind (and heart and soul) these days:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

Nor do I really know myself. And the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you, does in fact please you.

And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost, and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.


This simple yet enormously profound prayer captures all of my fears, my doubts and uncertainties, and encourages me to prayerfully hand them over to the God who loves me beyond measure, trusting fully that he will never leave me, so I do not need to suffer the sometimes overwhelming, anxiety that I often feel.

January was horrid. A migraine almost every day. A major fibromyalgia relapse. Seasonal Affective Disorder. The constant pain, day after day, exhausts me and leaves me frustrated and depressed, and also keeps me stuck in the house. The only time I left the house was to go to the dentist to deal with a difficult molar–which now needs a root canal. And my birth mother rejected my attempts to repair our estrangement, which makes me feel as though I’m ten years old and my mommy doesn’t love me anymore.

Mostly, I fret that I am drifting aimlessly, just going through the motions of living. Wasting my life. Annie Dillard says that “how we spend our days is how we live our lives” and I shudder at the idea that my life boils to one big headache.

Still, as Merton writes, the desire to please God is sufficient. That, and the knowledge that God is with me, even in the migraines and root canals and hurtful rejections of life.

And Merton is right. For now, at least, understanding that God is holding me is enough, has to be enough.

8 thoughts on “My February Prayer

  1. Adwoa Osei says:

    What a profound prayer! Thank you for sharing.

    Honoring your devotion to life and it’s mysteries 🙏🏽.

    Spirit dances in the Middle, magic happens in the Liminal space.

    First the pain, then the waiting, then the Rising.

    Spirit is always with us. Always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! And I agree that “magic happens in the Liminal space.” xo


  2. Beautiful post Barbara. I’m sorry for all of the trials that life has brought you. But so thankful that you have God on your side! He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Carolyn dear! And I agree, completely:)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. masonjarsandlightningbugs says:

    Understanding that God is holding you is absolutely enough, Barbara! It’s so frustrating to be sick and unable to do the things you want to do and feeling like life is passing you by. Though what you’re able to do may feel small or insignificant to you, remember that God doesn’t measure things like we do. He sees your whole-hearted devotion to Him and that’s what He desires. You have been facing so many heavy and difficult things—give yourself grace. Hope you feel better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make so many good points, Courtney, and I appreciate your empathy too 💕. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. masonjarsandlightningbugs says:

        Forgot to say that I loved the prayer, too! Thank you for sharing it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Happy you liked it hon!

        Liked by 1 person

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