He’s Making Diamonds by Sara Willoughby, published 2018 by S.G. Willoughby.
He’s Making Diamonds is a non-fiction book written by a chronically ill teen for chronically ill teens, about wrestling with life and faith through chronic illness. People with chronic illness often feel alone and even lost, unsure of where to turn and what to do. In this encouraging book, Sara reminds us that we’re not alone, that God hasn’t forgotten us, that there is hope, and most of all, that God is making diamonds out of us.
When she was fourteen, Sara became sick – very sick – and she didn’t get better. After nine months of pain and other symptoms, she was finally diagnosed with Toxic Mold Poisoning. In an effort to avoid mold, her family left their home in Washington State, and after travelling around for a while, they eventually settled in the desert of Arizona. While there, they discovered that Sara was also heavily affected by Lyme Disease and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). She was very seriously sick. Eventually her family found a doctor (the 7th one!) who could help, and now at eighteen, she is on the road to healing. Sara has seen God do amazing things in her life and in other people’s lives through her illness, and she has a heart to share her experiences and the things God has been teaching her to help others navigate faith through chronic illness.
As chronically ill young people, it can be incredibly difficult to make sense of our life and our faith. With a diagnosis, life becomes a lot more difficult, messy, and complicated. What if you had someone who has walked that path before you and grown stronger in her faith and walk with God, who is willing to share with you some of the treasures she has found in the darkness of chronic illness? My friend Sara Willoughby has given us a gift. Birthed from her own experience, and through bringing God her questions and wrestling with them, she gives us a starting place to be able to go to God and wrestle with Him about these things ourselves. She goes to God’s Word for answers (she shares a lot of Scripture verses), and doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff. And because she herself is a young person, she writes in a way that young people are able to connect with. It also is a little bit of a guide book, and has the potential to give the newly diagnosed teen an idea of what to expect in this deep valley. This, I believe, is one of it’s greatest value points. Not only would it be tremendously helpful guidebook for the newly diagnosed teen, but it would also help family and friends understand what living with chronic illness is like and some of the challenges that their loved one may face.
Not only does Sara share parts of her own story, but she addresses questions like, “Why does God allow suffering?” and “Where is God in sickness?” She also writes about topics such as, our identity in Christ, depression & anxiety, relationships in chronic illness (especially with family), holding on to hope, prayer, fighting lies with truth, and resting in the storm. Most of all , she reminds us that God is using our suffering for good, to make beautiful diamonds out of us.
Though my chronic illness journey is different to Sara’s, though I read this after I had been sick for several years, and though many of the things God is teaching me are different to what He’s teaching her, I was still able to glean some insight and encouragement from it. It would be even better however, if it included more about our relationship with Jesus and how to wrestle with and deepen that through our valleys, and how sitting at His feet and knowing Him is foundational for walking through and coming out of hard times. The book is pretty well under-girded with Scripture though. I struggled a bit with her writing style, but that may have been because I am older- out of my teens now. 😛 All in all, He’s Making Diamonds is an incredibly valuable resource for anyone needing faith based guidance and encouragement through chronic illness.
Quotes from He’s Making Diamonds
“There is one thing I have that can never be taken away, and that is where my identity does rest: God. God’s love for me won’t change, and my identity in Him shouldn’t change. I am a daughter of the King, and nothing can take that away from me.” pg 16
“There are hopes that do put us to shame… but I think that’s because they aren’t real hopes at all. Hope isn’t wishful thinking. It isn’t luck. It isn’t naive. It isn’t wimpy. Hope recognizes the pain and suffering all around us, but it trusts in God’s love, promise, and incomparable power.” pg 91
“Unfortunately, when you have a chronic illness, you can’t take time off from it. Everyone else can, but not you. It is your constant, unwanted companion. The end of your rope is a hard place to be… I often find, however, that those are the places where I seem to find God the most. Sometimes when things are hard, He seems distant. But other times, He scoops us up and carries us when we fall. When we reach the point where we desire a vacation but can’t have one – when we reach the end of our rope – all we have to do is cast ourselves on Jesus.” pg 104
“Yet again, God did not create us to fight trials alone. Prayer is one very crucial way to have help. Asking people to pray is letting them help as well as asking God for help all at the same time. Prayer is one of the most valuable weapons we have in this fight with chronic illness… we don’t want to miss using it!” pg 123
“I think that learning my own weakness is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned through my sickness. First, because it teaches me humility, and second, because it allows God to work more clearly and powerfully in my life! In our weakness, God’s power is made perfect.” pg 148
Wait… Don’t go yet!!!
Not only has Sara written this wonderful book, she and a team of chronically ill warriors have put together a FREE annual online conference for chronically ill Christians. Seventeen authors, bloggers, and ministry leaders who battle chronic illness themselves are joining us to offer hope and insight as we navigate a specific challenging aspect of living with chronic illness – relationships.
Diamonds 2020 occurs the last weekend of January – from Thursday 23 through Saturday 25 (American time). You can join live for as much as you are able, and if you miss anything you will still be able to view the recorded version. The conference can be viewed from anywhere, so even if you are bed-ridden, as I was for Diamonds 2019, you can still join in!! Click here to register for free.
Diamonds 2020 Info
What is Diamonds 2020? Diamonds 2020 is a free online conference for chronically ill Christians.
When is Diamonds 2020? January 23rd-25th, 2020
Who is speaking at Diamonds 2020? 17 awesome chronically ill warriors.
What does Diamonds 2020 cost? Nothing!
Where is Diamonds 2020? You can register for free at this link.
Register Soon! Don’t miss out! 😀