So there I was, happily sitting in a church pew with my Bible on my left side and my journal on my right. As the pastor kept on sharing parts of his sermon, I was listening so I get the most out of the message. As I am looking at the pastor, he said the words “The reason why you won’t get healed from type one diabetes, depression, anxiety, or any chronic illnesses is because you lack the faith that God has the ability to heal you.” I stopped writing anything, closed my journal, and sat there to make sure that I was not crazy and to make sure this actually happened. Not that long after, he repeated those same painful words in the sermon which pertain to my life.
At that time, I did not have the strength to say anything that would give the pastor an opportunity to explain himself. Funny thing is, I went back to my dorm that same day and I cried like there was no tomorrow. Asking myself the questions “Does God really love me?”, “Do I really not have the faith the ability to believe that a loving God will heal me?”, “God, why?”. I am not going to take this opportunity to explain as to why his interpretation of Scripture was not only hurtful and incorrect. However, after taking time to read and study the Bible, I am assured that God loves me and my broken pancreas. There is nothing fun about taking the time to poke my fingers and injecting different parts of my body with a needle. Needless to say, there is also nothing fun about experiencing low and high glucose levels and still choosing to leave out the door every morning with a smile on my face. I will say though, I have interpreted my experience with Type 1 Diabetes as a way of God giving me a genuine way to experience what true joy and sickness looks like. As a developing clinical social worker who is also getting credentialed to become a minister, I am grateful that my pancreas has gifted me with perspective. Of course, I can not speak on behalf of everyone who has a chronic illness. As a representative of our strong community, I will say that our invisible and or visible disabilities have given us the ability to sympathize and empathize on a genuine level with people that we give our energy to, in the name of Love (family, friends, good acquaintances).
To the pastor who spoke those false and hurtful words through a sermon, you were wrong. We do not live in a perfect and disease-free world. I am thankful that God has given me the gift of a broken pancreas to be the person who He has called me to be. Let’s say I do not become a pastor one day, I will still continue to be there for my family and friends whether they have a disability or not. For my friends who can’t stop crying when x,y,z, happens, call your friend who understands sorrow from her pancreas caused another health issue, for my other friend who is really happy about x,y,z, call your friend who has experienced true joy when her new insulin pump came in the mail! All this to say, thank you God for giving me one of your greatest blessings during my time here on earth and I pray that I never lose perspective. #typeonestrong