In today’s guest post Sarah shares some of her recent experiences as she celebrates Advent and prepares for Christmas.

Its December 3 as I write this. The world is celebrating International Day of person with Disabilities. Ironic, I feel, as I have the fewest spoons I’ve ever had. (What Is Spoon Theory: Meaning, History, Significance (

In May this year, I began having some unusual experiences and this has evolved to the knowledge that I have an autoimmune disorder impacting the way my digestive system functions. For most of November, eating was a huge challenge. Now in December, my eating is back to normal, but the pain and exhaustion are just as turbulent.

Last week I made it to church but was unable to stand at all during worship. This week I could engage in a single song. Yet it still mattered to me that I made it at all. In a post-covid world, simply watching a service on television has become a replacement for so many (not to discount those who actually can’t get there on a regular basis). We have become far too complacent in a world where many give their lives to attend services.

I’m unbearably tired, yet even more frustrated. Despite struggling with my personal health the majority of my life for various reasons, I’ve never had as few spoons as I do now. Not when I was a teen and had constant silent migraines which lasted days on end. Not when I had a concussion and physical symptoms from a car accident.

The world of chronic un-wellness is infuriating. All of us experience days of more or less functioning based on various factors, but in a typically healthy person, a lack of energy can be accounted for by a temporary illness or a poor night of sleep. In chronic conditions, it isn’t so clear. I slept well last night, didn’t overexert myself over the last couple days, and I have no symptoms of cold or flu, yet I still struggle.

In an experience of typical health, you take time to account for lack of energy and work around the lull accordingly. In chronic conditions, you never know how long a lull will last. Things will continue to pile up if you wait for wellness, yet you barely have the strength to be awake.

Despite all this, I am joyful. I’m going into the Christmas season knowing I may not have the energy to go sledding or light touring with my nephews; I may have to limit my rounds to people I care about. Yet, I know God is here with me. Christmas is about God incarnate, so despite what I may or may not get to do this year, I marvel that HE came for me.

My brain is foggy but I know for sure He cares. He is also using this opportunity to teach me. Despite my current state, I don’t give up easy. This is good because there’s been many times giving up would have been easy. My persistence typically means that I like to be self-sufficient. Through illness, God is teaching me to rely on Him with everything, from whether I can work tomorrow, to how goals will be met, to my boundaries with friends and family, to how I deal with my frustration.

Welcome to Emmanuel! God is with us, now and forever.

A manger sits in front of a cross draped in white fabric at the front of a church. There are Christmas trees at the sides and soft lighting.

Photo by Steve Hruza on Unsplash

Sarah has long brown hair and glasses and is smiling as she paddles a kayak in a lake.

Sarah is a Direct Support Professional at Karis Disability Services in the Muskoka Region, where she began in November 2020. She has a MSW (University of Windsor) as well as a Bachelors degree in Disability studies (University of Windsor) and a college diploma as an Educational Assistant (St. Clair College). Sarah loves to create opportunities and to break down barriers.