27 Things I’m Grateful For (and a Litany for the Suffering)

Yesterday, I was in agony as a horrible migraine followed me from the night before throughout the day. After I was unable to keep any painkillers down, I was filled with that all-too-familiar sense of fear and dread: what if I feel like this for days? What if the migraine never goes away? How will I work? How will I show up for my daughter or help my husband?

Worst of all, I could hear the two of them busy preparing little surprises for my birthday tomorrow. They were more excited for the day than I was, and I could feel dread bubbling up inside me. “What if I’m too sick tomorrow to enjoy it and I let them down?” My husband would understand, of course, but being sick often with a little one who has more hopes and expectations with every passing day is a heavy cross.

In was in the midst of that moment that I stopped and wrote a little “Litany for the Chronically Ill”, full of the thoughts I know I struggle with and needed help wrangling in before they overpowered me. I have added that below, but it is preceded by a gratitude list for today!

I woke up today very grateful to have no migraine and a little more energy. We made it to Mass and I have been showered with love all day. The last few years have been dark and difficult, but I am beyond grateful to enter this new year full of a hope that will not disappoint.

And so, I celebrate today’s joys and the good things in my life, while continuing to offer up the hard times and pray for greater strength.

Thank you for reading, and May God be Praised!

A Birthday Gratitude List

27 things I’m grateful for as I begin a new year of life:

1. Being born and raised a Catholic
2. Being born and raised by the ocean
3. Parents who always make sure I know I am loved, cherished, and make them proud
4. A husband who thinks birthdays ARE a big deal and has spoiled me accordingly
5. A daughter who helped decorate the house for my birthday and reminded her dad to get candles for my cake
6. A headache-free day after a horrible migraine
7. Epsom salt baths
8. A house that finally feels like home
9. Some conditions healing
10. A reliable car in the driveway, covered in stickers that remind us of places we love
11. How many friends and family members remembered my birthday today, especially when I am horrible about remembering dates myself
12. Siblings who pray for each other and still like goofing off and staying connected
13. A husband who loves cooking
14. A daughter who loves the ocean as much as I do
15. Over a year of God sending just the right amount of work and clients to keep us supported after He called me to go into business for myself
16. Bobby finding career paths that excite and fulfill him
17. Poetry that reflects the good, true, and beautiful
18. God sending the people I needed over the last year to guide me back into the light
19. More hope and joy than I’ve had in a long time
20. A date on the calendar next month for our house to be blessed and enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
21. A daughter who finally sleeps through the night
22. A routine that puts God first and makes us all feel connected and nourished
23. A husband who makes sure we go to Confession every week
24. A house filled with toys and signs of a busy little soul
25. Watching my parents be amazing grandparents
26. A husband who loves my family, and parents who adopted my husband as their son from the very beginning and continue to love him more every year
27. A life so full of blessings, my cup is always overflowing

God makes all things new. And the healing and restoring He began in Easter, under the surface, is shining now.

Praise be to God for this life He has given me and the people He gave me to share it with. May my soul proclaim His greatness evermore.

AMDG!

A Litany for the Chronically Ill, in times of pain or desperation

A Litany for the Chronically Ill:

-Be near me, Jesus-
When painful hours stretch into days,
When responsibilities fall behind,
When fear threatens to overpower all other emotions,
When I miss out on time with the ones I love,
When I feel alone in my pain, or my pain isolates me,
When I miss the life I thought I would have,
When I am tempted to give up hope,

-Comfort me, Jesus-
When I don’t understand what my body is doing,
When medicine, supplements, and painkillers don’t work,
When I am exhausted,
When I am in agony,
When I cannot sleep,
When everything hurts,
When food is scary or confusing,
When new symptoms emerge,
When doctors don’t understand,
When “normal” life feels far away,

-Guide me, Jesus-
When my sickness seems to keep me from carrying out my vocation,
When I am confused about the best next steps,
When everything is so expensive,
When I feel like I’m running out of options,
When I don’t like the options before me,
When no one seems to understand,
When illness threatens the other areas of my life: work, relationships, hobbies,

-Have mercy on us, Lord-
When my pain hurts those around me too,
When doctors push answers that are not aligned with the Faith,
When good and holy dreams are paused because of sickness,
When we lose our way in the pain,
When we want to stop trying,
When the world only looks for quick fixes and band-aids,
When we stop believing you have made us for more than this,
When we start to believe you can’t love us in this broken state,

Oh Jesus, our pain is given purpose when we unite it to yours. But it can be so hard to think when the pain overwhelms us. Please be near to us, so that we don’t lose sight of you. Please surround us with loving and wise people who can comfort and guide us. And please give us the grace to unite our suffering to yours, that it might serve the Church rather than draw us into ourselves.

We love you, we trust in you, and we believe you have made us to be whole and well. Help our unbelief, and show us the way.

In your name, blessed Lord, we pray,

Amen. ❤️

IG Recap: August 24th and 23rd

Published by Abigail C. R. Gripshover

Abigail C. R. Gripshover is a Catholic writer and speaker, passionate about the power of God’s love. She has been a voice for the Church online for over 10 years, encouraging her fellow Catholics to embrace the teachings of the Faith in every area of life. In the summer of 2022, she started a new journey of radical healing through radical trust in God. She is feeling called to share her story of chronic illness and God’s healing grace. She holds a B.A. in English Lit from Christendom College and works from home as a freelance copywriter and digital strategist. She and her husband, Bobby, also offer product photography services and love working with Catholic companies. You can connect with Abigail on LinkedIn to learn more about these services and find her business email address.

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