“But you’re too young to be sick!”
That’s the most common reaction I get when I try to explain my illness. Youth is a synonym for vibrant health. So what happens when a young person is attacked by long term illness?
It’s isolating and difficult. They need support but most people just don’t get it. What’s more, they’re hurting-both physically, mentally, and spiritually. And their family is struggling.
They have questions-why is this happening to me?
Teens with chronic illness need someone who’s been there before, who understands and who offers comfort.
Today we have a special treat. He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness, by S.G. Willoughby, just released. I’m privileged to know Sara and to be a part of her blog tour.
S. G. Willoughby is a seventeen-year-old girl with Lyme disease, toxic mold poisoning, and MCS. Currently, she resides in Arizona with her parents and two siblings. In her spare time she loves to write, read, and have adventures.
“Are you a teenager trying to navigate faith through chronic illness? I’m here to tell you, you are not alone.
When sickness takes over your life, it’s a never-ending battle to make it through each day. How do you cope? How do you keep fighting? Most of all though, how do you find God in the midst of the suffering?
Through my own journey of sickness, I’ve struggled with the same questions—questions we all think but are afraid to ask. My name is Sara, and I’ve been sick with Lyme disease and more since I was fourteen.
Those questions you’re afraid to ask? I’ve asked them too—as have many others.
This book addresses topics and questions such as:
- Why is there sickness?
- Where is God in sickness?
- Resting in the storm
- How to deal with the way chronic illness changes you
- Joy and despair
- Praying through chronic illness
- Relationships in the midst of chronic illness
- And more!
The journey of illness is not an easy one, but hope remains. God hasn’t left us. He hasn’t forgotten us. On the contrary, He’s making diamonds out of us.”
Doesn’t that sound so wonderful! I can’t wait for my copy of this wonderful book to arrive.
Our interview answers alone are encouraging and show Sara’s sweet spirit!
- What is the book’s goal?
The goal of He’s Making Diamonds is to let my fellow Christian chronically ill young people know that they are not alone. Not by a long shot. My goal is to encourage them in their walk with God as they navigate faith in the midst of illness and share the truth that I have learned.
- What do you hope will be the number one takeaway?
“That God is not wasting our pain but is using it to refine us to be more and more Christ-like. He hasn’t abandoned us and He loves us more than we could ever imagine… even in the pain.”
- Tell us of a moment you thought writing the book was impossible and God came through for you.
“Oh, there were so many moments! All the way up to the release day. The truth is, it was impossible! There was no logical way that it was going to be published by the date I felt God had given me. Even my doctor said it was not going to happen what with my health. But amazingly, miraculously, God came through. He worked out so many details, I’m still trying to process it all.In January, I thought ‘Oh, it would be neat to publish my book on July 23rd, but it would be a really tight fit.’ And then… I lost four of those months due to an unexpected health decline. I’m telling you, there is NO WAY this book was published in time without God’s intervention. But in my weakness and even in the midst of so many obstacles, He worked it all out perfectly.”
(Side note: I remember thinking, “There’s absolutely no way she can make that deadline,” when I heard. I even asked her if she was sure God meant her to meet this deadline! But Sara kept listening to God’s direction and obeyed, even though it was hard. Sara’s faith in action, even through she’s still struggling with her own health, was amazing to see.)
- How has having a chronic illness affected your life and your family?
“In so many ways! My family and I have had to leave the home we loved, and completely change our entire lifestyle.”
- Who is this book for?
“I wrote this book for teenagers trying to navigate faith in God in the midst of chronic or long-term illness.”(Another side note: a chronic illness is technically defined as a health issue that persists for at least three months. So even chronic back pain counts. You don’t have to have cancer, Lyme, MS, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to be blessed by this book. But if you have any of those, you need to get it!)
- What is your favorite verse about suffering and why?
“Well, I’d say 2 Corinthians 12:9, which says ‘But He said to me: “My grace is sufficient for you for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness so that Christ’s power may rest on me. . . .’ Except that this verse applies to so much more than just suffering.”
Sara is such a gem, and her book (I had the chance to read some of it as a beta reader) is truly a diamond.
You can buy He’s Making Diamonds on Amazon for only $10.99. (The price of one or two cups of coffee!)
I’d just like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book.
Don’t forget to order He’s Making Diamonds! This would make the perfect, “thinking of you” present for a young teen with a chronic or long term illness or disability. Along with some tea, of course.
Do you know anyone with a chronic illness? Let me know in the comments below!