In the article, "Story: A Journey Through Chronic Illness," Mary Yerkes describes the debilitating diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her life was changed forever as the progressive fatigue caused even normal daily activities to be a challenge. Eventually, the symptoms worsened to the point where she was no longer able to maintain her normal schedule.
As she became more isolated from friends, discouragement set in. She describes a lack of understanding regarding God's plan for her life until the words in Jeremiah 29:11 became alive to her. " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future' "(NIV).
Inspired by God's word, Mary found a purpose by doing something she loved. She enrolled in a writing class and began not only writing articles but also began public speaking where she offers encouragement and hope to people struggling with pain caused by a chronic illness.
One of Mary's articles is titled, "Living With Chronic Pain and Illness," where Mary discusses the grief that is experienced when facing a life-changing illness. She also points out that choices need to be made: to become bitter or find a new purpose for your life.
Mary's life didn't follow her plan; God had a different plan, and He gave her a Special Assignment, where she can truly be an encouragement to others who find themselves in similar circumstances.