Kiri's story

‘In 2018 I was diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis, a form of joint inflammation that affects the spine. It’s a chronic, degenerative condition. In some ways it was a relief to have a diagnosis. I’d been in on-off pain for years. But, other things fell into place, like mental fog and fatigue. It was also heart-breaking, because it is incurable and tends to be progressive, although there are drugs that hold it at bay. 

‘On the days when I struggle, it can be difficult to remember my PIN or a meeting. Psalm 23 is so well-known that it’s one of the things that I can remember, and recite back. A while back I started reading different translations of it, and found The Message version and it was revelatory. Different things jumped out at me. 

‘This version also talks about God reviving “my drooping head”. That’s so meaningful for me because standing straight is something I now struggle with. So, that’s really poignant. 

‘Psalm 23 is a safe retreat. The hope held in it helps me to know that I’m going to get through this situation. I keep going back to this psalm. I read it at least once a week. Psalm 23 makes me feel taken care of.

‘I’m still coming to terms with my diagnosis. Immediately after it, I felt very low. But I’m managing that a lot better now. I’m much more atuned to my symptoms. But I’m still working through my thoughts about disability and what that means. I’ve lost my confidence. I used to love dancing, and now I don’t. I don’t like photos of myself, because I can see that I’m not fully straight. 

‘Psalm 23 meets me where I am and helps me to deal with the present. It gives me a sense of the wraparound love of God and his nurturing and that’s comforting.’

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