Log in (admin only)

Tell Me Your Story—God Is Enough

DSC_3703_2Dear Readers,

Guest writer Denise Nash contributed an excellent interview this month. Debbie and Robert Glibowski lost all three of their children to a rare genetic disease. Since college, Debbie had experienced chronic pain and fatigue, and in the years surrounding the death of Tim, their oldest child, her condition progressively worsened. Constant pain, sleeplessness, mental fog and overwhelming fatigue enveloped her.

The depth of sorrow compounded with Debbie’s chronic debilitating illness is more than most people can imagine living with. Doctors couldn’t identify a definite cause for her very real symptoms, but settled for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. After years of suffering, she and her husband moved away from friends and family to a dryer, warmer climate, hoping for a turnaround in Debbie’s health. Around the time of their relocation she contracted a virus that left her far weaker than ever, and she became mostly bedridden, barely able to walk without assistance, unable to accomplish even basic household tasks.

Eventually she was found to have Lyme disease as well as Epstein-Barr virus. Though her resistance to illnesses and her endurance remains low, she is finally seeing an upward trend in health.

Through the decades, the Glibowski’s have stayed faithful to God.

Do you have a dramatic or unique story that would encourage others in their walk with the Lord? Send an email to Ruth with subject line “query” and include a paragraph summarizing your story to ruthywood@gmail.com.

Q: Would you give a brief synopsis of the chronic illness you’ve lived with through much of your adult life?

In 1992 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Each year the pain and fatigue worsened. I was convinced it was something else, but getting a doctor to look beyond the original diagnosis was nearly impossible. In 2004, I became virtually bedridden and remained so for about a year and a half. I almost died during that time. Eventually I was able to sit for an hour, then increase my activity a little more over the next months.

During that time I went to several doctors. Only two of them took me and my condition seriously. Some attributed it to depression. I had to go out of state to find a doctor who discovered what was wrong. In 2005, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, and I’d probably had it all along, worsening without treatment.

I began a long course of therapy. I am still not well and continue to suffer a lot of fatigue. But I rejoice that I no longer have constant nausea, strange sensations in my body or horrible anxiety and panic. The all-over body pain is lessened, and I sleep fairly well most of the time.

In the past, all my senses were heightened so that I always had to wear sunglasses and couldn’t stand to be touched. Loud noises were very hard on me. Some smells would make me panic. These were very strange symptoms most doctors aren’t trained to deal with.

Q: Have you always seen God as faithful?

Early on, when my first two children died, I saw God as Sovereign. I didn’t understand how loving and compassionate He is. Later, as I came to know Him as One Who loves me and is good, I found Him very faithful! He didn’t take away my problems, but He was always there when others failed me. I learned to pour out my heart to Him, and I never got a “busy signal” when I called. Instead He gave me much comfort. I found He was enough.

God is faithful and never changes in how He feels about us. His love is undeserved; there is nothing we can do to make Him love us more or less. He loves us because that is Who He is: Love. His grace is immeasurable, and His wisdom beyond our comprehension. He sees the big picture and accomplishes a purpose in us and through us, while we only see our pain.

I began to understand how Paul could say our troubles are “light and momentary” (2 Cor. 4:16-18) because, compared to eternity and to what Christ did for us, they are as Paul described.

Q: How do you respond to the question, “How are you?”?

That is a difficult question. People want to hear, “Fine, and you?”, but I was not fine. Pain, sleep, mental state, my spiritual well-being, there were so many options. For a while, I decided to be truthful about my condition. It didn’t take long to find most people didn’t want to know. So if the grocery clerk, for example, asked, I would answer “okay.” If they were a friend, I didn’t want to take up the entire conversation telling them how I was, so would say something like, “I’m having a hard time, but how are you doing?” If they were a true friend, they’d bring it back to my situation. It’s taken a long time to figure that out.

Q: Can you see spiritual growth through the years of trials you’ve endured and continue to live with?

There were times I thought I couldn’t go on. Losing all three of my children left me feeling hopeless and with no purpose to my life. Then Job 42:2 came to mind, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” (NIV) I know God has a plan for me as long as I have breath. When it says in Romans 8:28 that God will work out all things for our good, that “good” is defined in the next verse where it says He is conforming us to the image of Christ. I can look back and see growth in my life and that of my husband’s. We are not the same people we were, and we are so thankful for that!

I spent seven years mostly in bed and isolated, but have come out of it with more confidence than I ever had. Only God can perform a miracle like that. I drew near to Him and He is my life, truly.
I currently lead a women’s Bible study. I wouldn’t have been able to do so in the past. I grew up fearful, extremely shy, and I let people take advantage of me. Now the fear is mostly gone, replaced by confidence. Even though I’m imprisoned in this poorly-functioning body, my spirit is more free than it’s ever been. I’m more at peace and actually have joy now instead of misery.

I’m also very empathetic to the elderly and infirm. I’ve gained a huge heart of compassion, and feel deeply for those who’ve lost a loved one. Someone said God does not use a man greatly until a man is deeply broken. (Jer. 31:28, 2 Cor. 12:7-10; 1 Pet.1:6.7) I’ve been broken, torn down and had everything stripped away. Now God is in the process of building me up, binding my wounds, restoring to me what’s more important than things or even health. He gives me peace and joy and the confidence that He is always with me, no matter what. I no longer doubt His great and unconditional love for me. Isn’t that our deepest desire?

I read somewhere that more miraculous than healing is the believer who goes through long-term suffering and endures it with joy and a determined hold on God and His promises, turning that suffering into glory.

Q: Do you find others have grown as a result of your illness?

To our amazement, we often hear people say they’ve grown in their faith or been challenged to draw closer to God from watching our lives, since we’ve held onto Him through all this and not lost our faith. We wonder how that can be, as we’re just trying to survive; we’re not doing any great spiritual things. We’ve held onto God because there is no other option except bitterness or insanity or taking one’s own life. We have thought often of Peter’s words when Jesus asked the twelve disciples if they also wanted to go away. “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Peter asked. “You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God” (Jn. 6:66-70).

We have seen and proved that God is enough.