normal: living beyond our limitations


What does it mean to be ‘normal’? Is there such a thing? I guess it depends on your personal definition, doesn’t it? Because the world will always try to compartmentalise, squash us into boxes and confine us in its own straitjackets, if we let it.

The good news is God created each and every one of us unique. And we answer to Him alone, defined only by what His word says about us and who we are in Christ. That thought comforts me as I aim to live well with M.E and chronic illness.

You and I don’t have to fit within the world’s narrow (and frequently judgemental) parameters. We are special to God, understood completely by Him, if no-one else. God wants us to grow into the best version of ourselves we can be by His grace, to know we are His cherished Beloved.

I miss some of the activities I used to do before illness made being housebound a normality for me, especially spending summer days at the beach. Here in Norfolk we are blessed to have a few within driving distance.

However, they are often hard to access by foot (or wheelchair) once you’ve parked, with their steep inclines, long, winding pathways and uneven, pebbly stones to traverse, never mind distance from car to beach.

It’s been an outing I’ve had to forego for years because the car journey alone would exhaust me. Though I still travel there fondly in my memories, as in the poem below…

Normal for Norfolk

The sea tosses back and forth with wild, hyperactive
froth churning up thick rivers of mud, reflecting the sanded
character of a Norfolk beach, whose waters are latte-brown
with a side shot of espresso hiccupped out now and then

There’s a roar that steals away our words, deafening
as it drowns out all sound apart from its own
and we wonder anew at the way waves crash so
violently, yet dissipate into delicate filigrees

A surging wind stings our cheeks with saline drops
which wake us up, catch away our breath, bring tears
to stinging eyes and a gasp of surprise at its velocity
making unsteady, giddy skittles out of you and me


How do you view your life in terms of being ‘normal’ or otherwise?

What helps you to retain a positive outlook?

I’d love to hear in the comments below. 😊

PS: I’ve been writing about  the calming effects of the sea over on my Facebook page. You can find it here and read the #dailyhaiku #novembernugget posts being shared. May the soul snippets of poetry bless you, friend. ❤

9 thoughts on “normal: living beyond our limitations

    • Michael, I agree with how our definitions of normal can shift on a daily basis. Your world has been rocked by events beyond your control over the last few weeks. It’s not surprising if you feel adrift after experiencing the myriad challenges you’ve had to deal with. I hope and pray that God’s rest and peace will provide the soul solace, stability and security you need in the days ahead. You’re in my thoughts and prayers, dear friend. ❤

  1. Thank you for this, Dear Joy. I often find myself saying that the way I feel is “my version of normal” or that “I feel pretty good today…for me”, which I know would not seem good at all to a healthier person. But there is peace in appreciating my version of normal and my experience of good. It is what I have to work with; and I don’t meant this in a defeated way, but in that God, as an Exceptional Artist, can create great Beauty and Blessing with the material of my limitations and quirks. 🙂

    • Dear Cheryl Anne, I smiled wryly on reading your opening words because that’s exactly the kind of thing I have said myself. Our “version of normal” is entirely relatable to someone who struggles similarly but may be met with puzzled looks by those blessed with better health! It’s good to hear how you are finding peace in appreciating your natural state. You’re so right to name it as “what I have to work with”, which acknowledges just how powerfully God works in and through our weaknesses, creating something of beauty out of our brokenness, limitations and quirks. And I firmly believe those things also help shape our character as we look to the Lord to develop the fruit we need for the life we have to live. I’m so blessed to see you here, my friend, and grateful for your own hard-wrought insights. Thank you. Blessings and love to you! xo 😊💜

  2. Dear Joy,
    I found myself just basking in the words framed by your beautiful image of the sea. You captured so well the feelings there, even though it’s been so long since you were there yourself! What a beautiful way to let the Lord stir in you, as He brings the memories bubbling to the surface to share with all of us. And you indeed have found a way to live beyond your own limitations in so doing. I confess that some days this chronic illness lifestyle still feels like I need to say “my NEW normal,” with an emphasis on NEW as if the change is what is to emphasized. But your words have brought the thought to me that perhaps it’s time to let go of that emphasis, in order to find more of God’s peace and beauty here. Thank you so much for sharing your heart again, my friend! God never fails to bless me when I visit your page. Love & Hugs! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, it gives me great joy, hope and encouragement to hear how these words have impacted you. Though I so often feel I fail to rise above my circumstances, it is heartening to know it might appear differently to others. In some ways the adjustment to chronic health challenges can seem new each day, because they vary in how we are and what added complication might present itself. Life is rarely static and new symptoms/conditions come in to rattle us all over again. Our days and our journeys will differ but the one constant factor is how God gives grace for whatever we need to face. Your heart seeks strongly after beauty in the everyday and God meets you with peace in that place of rest, stillness and surrender. New or longstanding as our illness state might be, we always have God’s constant Love, His glorious Hope, Mercy, Wisdom and Grace to help support and strengthen us each day. Blessings, love and hugs to you, sweet friend! xoxo 💜

    • It’s such a beautiful description and accurate representation of the creative process God exercised in knitting us together, isn’t it? Thank you, Tara! I appreciate the reminder, my friend. xo 💜

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