top of page

When We Aren't Getting the Healing We Want: Brave Hope in Brokenness

By Jenny Harmon

Brave Women Series - Jenny's Story


I have always been a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of girl. No matter what challenges life threw at me, I always managed to muster the grit to overcome them. I love the satisfaction of working hard at something and achieving a goal that, at first, seemed impossible.


So when I received the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) twenty years ago, I faced it head-on with this kind of “can-do” attitude. Through a lot of research and a ton of discipline I learned to push back my symptoms through nutritional strategies, supplements, and exercise. This served me well for many years, but over time the reality of my broken body has slowly chipped away my illusion of control.


For so long, overcoming MS meant not giving up when treatment after treatment failed to work. It meant refusing to give in to despair, discouragement, or depression. It meant adapting to each new limitation with a buoyant attitude that refused to let my illness become my identity. I would adjust to each new challenge without skipping a beat. I was determined to live as normal of a life as possible in spite of my constant decline in health and function.


I’m not saying that these things are necessarily wrong. By all means, we should all be good stewards of our bodies, stay positive, and do everything possible to optimize our health. However, as I examined my heart, I realized that my tenacious determination to keep moving forward was actually a resistance to accept what God was allowing in my life. I wanted the victory story. I wanted a healthy, functioning body and I was willing to do just about anything to get it. No one blamed me for wanting this, so no one held me accountable when this consuming desire gave birth to sin in my heart.


Having an able body became an idol for me. My life did not feel worth living without it.


 

"I wanted the victory story... No one blamed me for wanting this, so no one held me accountable when this consuming desire gave birth to sin in my heart. Having an able body became an idol for me. My life did not feel worth living without it."

 

Having an able body became an idol for me. My life did not feel worth living without it.


What many thought was a resilient, faith-filled response to adversity was actually a type of spiritual defiance. I was fighting for the life I wanted rather than accepting the life God has given me. In His sovereignty He has allowed my sickness and my decline.


 

"What many thought was a resilient, faith-filled response to adversity was actually a type of spiritual defiance. I was fighting for the life I wanted rather than accepting the life God has given me."

 

As R.C. Sproul famously put it, “There are no maverick molecules in the universe.” My circumstances are not a cosmic oversight that slipped under God’s radar undetected. What has felt like unanswered prayer has been His answer all along. It’s just not the answer I was wanting.


When I prayed for God to be glorified in my life, I presumed He would be most glorified through my healing, but oftentimes God is most glorified through our suffering. It is through my current decline that God is forging a deeper faith than I could ever possess had He chosen to heal me. It’s a kind of faith that trusts even if. Even if He never heals me this side of eternity, He is still sovereign, He is still good, and His will for my life is perfect.


 

"When I prayed for God to be glorified in my life, I presumed He would be most glorified through my healing, but oftentimes God is most glorified through our suffering. It is through my current decline that God is forging a deeper faith than I could ever possess had He chosen to heal me.

 

Rather than wrestling with God for the outcome I would prefer, I am learning to rest in my weakness and accept the outcome God has ordained for me. As I accept the brokenness of my body, I get to experience the power of God in ways I never imagined possible. When the Apostle Paul pleaded with the Lord three times to remove his suffering, the Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) God is making His power perfect in my weakness. Rather than clinging to the hope of physical healing, I am experiencing joy in spite of my illness. I have shifted from setting my hope on the things of this world to finding my deepest satisfaction in Christ.


 

"Rather than clinging to the hope of physical healing, I am experiencing joy in spite of my illness. I have shifted from setting my hope on the things of this world to finding my deepest satisfaction in Christ."

 

As the Lord is slowly, gently stripping away all the worldly pursuits I used to enjoy, I am learning to savor my salvation above all other earthly treasures. The healing I most need, the Lord has abundantly provided for me in the gospel. While I was dead in my sins, Christ died for me and made me alive with Him. By His grace I have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:1-10) God has rescued me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to the kingdom of His beloved Son in Whom I have found redemption, the forgiveness of my sins. (Colossians 1:13-14) This is the hope I now cling to.


 

"As the Lord is slowly, gently stripping away all the worldly pursuits I used to enjoy, I am learning to savor my salvation above all other earthly treasures. The healing I most need, the Lord has abundantly provided for me in the gospel."

 

When I wake up to face another day of pain and disability I no longer pull myself up by my bootstraps. Instead, before I get out of bed, I entrust myself to God. Instead of resisting and fighting against the struggle, I am learning to accept it and trust that God is using it to produce something far richer in my life than ease ever could. Being brave in my brokenness means shifting my perspective. It means letting go of the world’s definitions of success, beauty, or happiness and embracing the unseen promises of eternity.


 

"Being brave in my brokenness means shifting my perspective. It means letting go of the world’s definitions of success, beauty, or happiness and embracing the unseen promises of eternity."

 

By faith I have to courageously choose each moment of each day to live according to an entirely different standard. I cannot measure myself or my life according to what the world says is good or beautiful. I have to fix my eyes on Jesus and saturate my mind with the truths of His everlasting Word and live in the already-not-yet tension that I have died and my life is now hidden with Christ in God.


As I set my mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth, I gladly embrace my difficult circumstances (Colossians 3:1-3). Instead of allowing my physical limitations to snuff out my joy of living, I press through the pain in my body, through the loss of my mobility, and through the humble reality of life in a wheelchair and discover a new place of freedom.


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


AS A BONUS… Subscribers will also be the first to receive news regarding the book I am writing with Moody Publishers! SIGN UP for more info on my book’s release and availability.


 

About Jenny


Jenny Harmon is a blogger, children’s book author, and a passionate student of God's Word. She serves as a women’s bible study leader, biblical counselor, and is a co-host of "Helping Your Friend" soul care podcast at her church. Jenny has suffered with chronic illness for over twenty years and loves to share all God has taught her about trusting God’s goodness and sovereignty in the midst of difficult circumstances. She lives with her husband of 28 years in Northern California. They have three adult children, two grandchildren, and a faithful yellow lab named Shelby.

Connect with Jenny on her website oilforyourlamp.org or on Instagram and Facebook.


1 comentário


Cleo A. Lampos
Cleo A. Lampos
02 de mai. de 2023

You are challenging my thoughts about how God works. Thank you.

Curtir
bottom of page