Being an Esther

Written by Bridget Gazlay

Bridget Gazlay PictHaving fibromyalgia has taught me to see what’s really important in life.

I have been a church attendee most of my life. I knew a lot ABOUT God, but like many people, I didn’t think I needed God in my life.

When I headed off to college, I started getting involved in weekly Bible studies, prayer meetings, and conferences. God really began to show me what it meant to have a personal relationship with Him. I began to understand how much God loves me – He loves me so much that even though I am a sinner, He sent His Son to die for me. I always took that for granted before. Even though I was beginning to understand God more, I wasn’t ready to give EVERYTHING in my life to Him.

Diagnosed with fibromyalgia

Later that year I found out that I had a chronic illness called fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic fatigue, intense muscle pain, sleeping problems, stomach problems, and headaches – whatever is associated with the nerves and muscles. A person cannot die from this illness but it can be very debilitating (and is life-long).

At the time of my diagnosis, I was only 19 years old. I was totally devastated. I mean, I had my whole life ahead of me – I didn’t know what I was going to do. But I did know I wasn’t going to turn to God yet. I remember thinking, “God can’t use me; it’s hopeless. I can barely move because of the pain and I get so tired I can’t even talk – How in the world am I going to be able to serve God?”

Much of that first year was spent in self-pity and depression. Questions like, “Why did I have to get this?” and “How come I am the only one in my family to have it?” seemed to enter my mind more than I could count.

As the year went on, things just seemed to get worse and worse. I finally came to a point where I prayed to God and asked Him to take over my life because I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I told God that I would be willing to do whatever He wanted – but He was going to have to give me the strength and energy to do it. And He has. Ever since then, my life has taken on a new purpose, and a new goal.

Living with a chronic illness

Yes, I still live with a chronic illness (and daily migraines and ovarian cysts), but God gives me the energy and strength that I need to do His work. In fact, most people wouldn’t even guess that I have an illness, and that in itself is a testimony to God’s power, love and grace in my life!

Isaiah 40:31 comes to mind, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This verse is so true in my life. Not once has God NOT given me the strength to do what He asks me to do. Sure, I still have bad times where I don’t feel well and I have to rest – but I could also tell you story after story of how God has miraculously “healed” me so I could go to speaking engagements or so I could meet one on one with individuals. Serving Christ is so exciting to me because He makes the weak strong: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 9).

I used to joke about reading the book of Job because it was my life story – but now, I prefer the book of Esther. Esther – because she was a woman willing to be used by God for His glory, no matter what the cost. Having a chronic illness has taught me to see what’s really important in life. And I have learned to appreciate the opportunities God gives me to minister to others.

I used to think that God couldn’t use me and that I might as well die, because it would be better for everyone. But now I look at the life God has given me and I rejoice that I am able to be part of His plan. What a privilege it is to serve Him. I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone else – because God chose ME to serve Him in a special way!

And sure, sometimes I still struggle with seeing how God can use me. But those are the times that God always seems to be nearest to me. And as I continue to trust God He blesses me more and more. Even with the pain I struggle with, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of joy and happiness, because God loves me no matter what I do! I don’t know what I’d do without the love and peace of God in my life!

What about you? Do you need a solution to the chaos of life? Are you tired of trying to do it all yourself? Ask God to be the leverage you need in being more confident in who you are, more in tune with those you love, and more effective in your work for Him. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:

Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

12 Responses to “Being an Esther”

  • Susan says:

    Sarah,

    Thank you for sharing. I sure, will keep you in my prayers. But, I appreciate your focus on God and His Word. He can send His Word and heal you. Continue trusting God.

  • Susan says:

    Sabrina,

    What an uplifting testimony! Thank you for sharing this with us. At a young age, you are fire for God…I’ll keep you in my prayers. yes, God is using you…

  • Susan says:

    Thank you Danielle for sharing your testimony with us and I am glad to hear that, this article helped you. Danielle, isn’t it awesome to know to know that, we are God’s and His own…?

    Know that I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  • Danielle says:

    Thank you for posting this. I have been struggling with a variety of symptoms for over a year now that the doctors feels are most likely Fibromyalgia. It’s has been a difficult thing to stomach that this could be permanent. I am used to working very hard and most of my work is in ministry. Therefore, you can imagine I have been going through the same thoughts of “how am I supposed to serve with this pain?” and also feeling robbed of everything I had been working towards. I realize my life is the the Lord’s and not my own, but it has been a tough pill to swallow. I love that you relate having Fibro to Esther rather than Job. It’s so much more uplifting. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Sharon says:

    good article thank you for posting this

  • Sabrina52 says:

    Oops! I thought it wasnt posting my commemt, sorry for all the comments! I ment for just one!

  • Sabrina H says:

    I am 17and I have had fibromyalgia for 4 years, so I know how hard it is to be sick at such a young age, its been really rough for me, because ive experienced depression because of this. But I know that God had a HUGE plan for me, one that I cant even begin to imagine, he has alreaddy began to use me, I have been speaking in my youth group and I will be speaking at a camp in two weeks! And im so shy, but with the Holy Spirit anything can happen! God has given me the gift of speaking life into other people and I think that that is pretty awesome! Even though there are things that I cant do because of my fibromyalgia and other health problems, I know God has a way of making things happen according to his plan!
    I know what you mean! God chose me in a really special way too!

  • sabrina henr says:

    I have had fibromyalgia for 4 years now,but I was diagnosed in augest 2014, I am only 17 so I understand what its like to be in so much pain at such a young age. It has been really hard for me

  • Sarah B says:

    I can so see where you’re coming from! I developed fibromyalgia at the age of 13. Those first few years were absolutely brutal! So many things change at that age normally anyhow, and then this was thrust upon me, and wow was I lost. I had a period of depression where all I could think of was “Why me?” I missed a large portion of the 8th grade because I was either hurting too much to go to school, or the brain fog made it impossible for me to be at school. That was the lowest part of my life.

    Then God started to work in my life. I had always been a Christian, but now God seemed to call me more fervently than I had heard before. I became more involved in my church, and the desire to know Him more grew in leaps and bounds within me. He showed me that it is possible to live with this disease, and to enjoy life at the same time. He showed me that, through this disease, I can help others to overcome obstacles that they may be facing in their lives.

    This disease may still be a crippling one at times, but whenever it gets really bad, I turn to this one verse that has been with me this entire time. Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

    I’m in college now, and fibro still affects my life, but God is giving me the strength to carry on. He has called me to go to seminary, and to preach his word. My life experiences, including my battle with fibro, will be just one more tool that He has given me, so that I can show, as well as say, that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

    Thank you for posting about your experience with Fibro and that God is using you to minister to others. I pray that He will continue to use you in this way and that He will continue to give you strength to fight this disease.

    God bless,
    Sarah B.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Dear Sarah, sorry to hear that you suffer from fibromyalgia and harsh bouts of depression as well. I think you are an amazing woman by not allowing it to get the best of you. It is beautiful that God has given you a compassionate heart and the desire to reach out and begin a small group/ministry at your church regarding the area in which you have been suffering the most in…God is so good to use all that we go through for His glory and kingdom purposes.

    You mentioned that you have a wonderful teenage son who most likely is getting ready to venture out in new territories that God has planned for him. I do not know if you realize this or not but most likely this is the time that God is preparing you to also go forward in the new plans He has in store for you in establishing this ministry.

    I’m not sure if you are aware of “The Bible Cure Series” written by: Don Colbert, MD. He has written one called “The Bible Cure for Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia” and another one called “The Bible Cure for Depression & Anxiety”. They are nice, affordable, little books that offer a huge amount of information based upon Gods Word. Perhaps these recourses would be a wonderful way in starting up the ministry that is on your heart.

    Have you heard of these books? You can go online at Amazon.com and peek inside of them if you want to check them out.

    May God’s blessing be upon you and the new things He is going to do through you.

  • Sarah says:

    I too have fibromyalgia. I also suffer from chronic depression (over 30 years) that sometimes turns suicidal. I want so much to be able to help others with these conditions through the Word of God and the love of Christ. These are the only things keeping me alive at times, and they get me through the hard task of living out everyday under a cloud of depression. I have joys in my life, like my teenage son of whom I am so proud. He is God’s miracle in my life.

    I want to know if you know of a bible study (written) that I could use to help those with fibro in my church and community. I have some ideas for it, but I need more considered help. Thanks for your web page and the encouragement it brings. Love to you, — Sarah.

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