My chronic illness journey began in early childhood. Doctors would tell my parents I was allergic to my own system. This was how doctors viewed what they now call autoimmune diseases. As an adult, I’ve been diagnosed with other chronic illnesses, including fibromyalgia and a seizure condition. Last year I had a small stroke that triggered mild dystonia, a movement disorder.
The dailiness of illness is difficult. To be honest, on some days the pain, fatigue, and limitations are overwhelming. But, even in the darkest moments, God is a constant presence in my life. He is the source of my comfort, strength, and hope. Every day He proves the truth of one of my favorite verses:
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
Books & More Books
Books and words have been a focus of my life since, at age five, I stood on tiptoe, and using my first library card, checked out Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey at the Ocean Beach Public Library in San Diego. When I wasn’t reading, I scribbled little stories. My first published piece was a character sketch of a six-year-old published in the San Diego County high school literary magazine.
I taught elementary school followed by my career as a children’s librarian in a public library. As a matchmaker for books and young readers, I had the best job ever. But busy with the priorities of life, I stowed my dream of writing until I hoped to have more time.
My Writing Dream
Then, several years ago, due to a severe allergic reaction to a medication, I was bedridden for almost a year. My cognitive abilities were impaired. I returned to work only to find I’d lost the ability to write a simple memo. My dream of writing crumbled.
Slowly, my cognitive abilities, including writing, improved. God is the God of second chances. He gave my writing gift back to me, and I have a responsibility to use it for Him. To comfort and encourage others with the comfort He provides (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
The diaries I’d kept as a child and teen evolved into the journals in which I recorded my devotional time with the Lord as an adult. In the photo, I’m holding the journal whose entries sparked the idea for The God of All Comfort.
More About Judy
One of my greatest joys is to mentor younger women through W2Connect, my church’s women’s ministries’ mentoring program. To walk alongside these women and encourage them in their spiritual growth. Some of them have experienced their own health challenges.
Eight years ago, God blessed me with the gift of becoming an honorary grandmother, a God-story in itself. Today I treasure time spent with my three honorary granddaughters. Of course, sharing children’s books with them is high on my list of our favorite activities.
When able, I enjoy taking short walks in the beautiful Pacific Northwest—even in the rain. Other favorite activities include reading, collecting vintage children’s books, jigsaw puzzles (yes, rediscovered during the pandemic), eating Mexican food (yum!), and cheering on the Seattle Mariners.
I love to connect with others! Community is so important for those of us with illness. Please sign up for my newsletter, “Strength for the Journey,” (click here) or contact me.
Judy Gann is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Management