Lessons From Being Sick


Disclaimer: There are people who live with far worse physical issues and chronic conditions, even life-threatening illnesses. I do not pretend to have even tasted their difficulties or heartache. I’ve lived a pretty average life of health (unless you count giving birth twelve times, but that doesn’t count as being sick). “Extended illness” for me has meant nine weeks (and counting), which is neither long nor especially short for the average healthy person.

It started with a flu-type virus that morphed into a sinus infection. I’ll spare you the details, but please don’t ask “have you tried….?” because chances are I have, both natural and otherwise. The point is not to ask for sympathy or search for a cure (because we’re making progress with a specialist), I just want to share what I’ve been learning through the experience.

The lessons I’m learning from being sick:

1) My household can pretty much run without me. Grocery shopping, meal preparation, cleaning, laundry and errands have been accomplished with me as a consultant rather than a doer. This is both reassuring and disconcerting.

2) I wasn’t delegating enough household tasks. My kids will probably rue the day I got sick because they’ve been discovered.

3) To quote Count Rugen from The Princess Bride: “After all, if you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.”

4) I’m grateful that most of my work is online. Working from a laptop in a recliner is a good thing.

5) I am extremely grateful for the homeschool life that allows me to teach my second grader from the same recliner.

6) Sleeping in a recliner is actually pretty comfortable.

7) My velour leopard print neck pillow is my friend.

8) A long illness holds a special temptation to turn inward and think about and talk about symptoms, pains, and treatments too much.

9) Taking time out of a busy life to check on someone who is sick means a lot to them.

10) My husband is a rare treasure. I always knew that, but I’ve been deeply reminded of this truth. His love and care for me has, in some strange way, taught me to love myself better.


Honestly, it’s been hard to be on the receiving end for weeks. Being asked “Can I get you anything?” is humbling and heartwarming, but I’m ready to be the one asking.

This, too, shall pass—I’m pretty sure. In the meantime, I want to live graciously, gratefully and hopefully.

What lessons is life teaching you right now? Please share.


  1. Kathy Wheeler says:

    I learned at our District Tour that you are sick. I heard Henry telling Dr. Terry Rowland about it. I want you to know that I started praying for you in a special way on that day. I am continuing to join Jesus in intercession for you. You are His, and He LIVES to intercede for you! I am confident that He is going to bring about your healing.
    I remember a time when I was raising my two kids and I became so sick that I had to sit in a chair and teach them to cook for the family. They are both wonderful cooks today! I agree with ALL your lessons. God will use this for good, although it is awful to experience any kind of prolonged sickness.
    The Spirit has been speaking to me about how I pastor our church–trying to do everything with the highest of standards and feeling responsible to meet the needs of everybody. He keeps telling me to learn to “work smarter and not harder.” I am having to ask Him to help me learn what that means. I am a work horse, and at times I feel like I am going to kill myself with work unless I do things differently. Maybe you can pray for me that I will learn this important lesson. We have to “be there” for one another :).
    Anyway, the Lord has given me a special love for you and I am lifting you to the throne of grace and expecting great things to come!

    With His love always,
    Kathy Wheeler

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Sweet Kathy, thank you so much for your prayers. I will definitely be praying for you–for wisdom and creativity about “boundaries,” self-care and gracious ministry from a place of health and energy. You are special to me, girl. Love to you and your family.

  2. I pray that you will sense the Lord’s presence on that recliner, and that this time would be a special time. At time that he has chosen to hide you under the shadow of his wings, giving you His rest. May your soul find the deeper rest that he has for you there.

    For Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made complete in your weakness.”

    Praying healing and strength over your body. Praying that the energizing, healing presence of God will heal, empower, and encourage you today! Amen. Thank you so much for sharing and allowing us to join you in your struggle.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Alecia, what beautiful reminders that have fed my soul today. I feel the power and life-giving energy of your prayer! Thank you.

  3. You are beautiful and especially real with a little fur rubbed off… Living with a chronic illness has really taught me how to pace myself and occasionally ‘displease’ some who don’t understand. But when we’re pleasing the Lord that’s all that really matters. Bless you dear heart and I pray for a full and amazing recovery for you.

  4. Pat Schaeffer says:

    God is teaching me that even, though, I have chronic pain, I can still serve Jesus in ways that aren’t big but touch the lives of others who are hurting. I can learn to slow down & take care of my body as God wants me to and encourage others to do that, too. Self care is respecting the body God gave me that can serve him and help my husband and help the rest of my family-a daughter, son in law and 5 grandchildren, through much needed prayer and love and encouragement. Life isn’t just about me but reaching out to help others. Charlotte, it’s been such a blessing to get to know you and I thank you for all you put into this website! Philippians 4:13. Pat S.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Pat, lovely thoughts. Thank you for encouraging me today! Blessings to you and your family.

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