Foreword Reviews

Chronic Blessings

Finding Life's Greatest Joys within Your Deepest Heartache

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Chronic Blessings is an enlightening memoir about chronic illness and persistence.

An uplifting memoir about living with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, Cristy Maddox’s Chronic Blessings is an inspiring, faith-driven account full of powerful lessons.

Fitting into her perfect picture of what she wanted life to be—she wanted to serve God in some way, for one, going wherever and doing whatever she felt led to do—the thought of adopting came almost naturally to Maddox. Despite the anxiety that clouded the whole process, she and her husband, Greg, decided to open their home and hearts to a young Rwandan girl.

Maddox had already gone through the beautiful but painful process of fostering a child and could not understand why other capable people never considered adoption. Her perspective changed when she was diagnosed with POTS. Through the pain, desperation, and fear, Maddox’s faith was strengthened and her outlook changed.

The diagnosis sparked myriad thoughts and flooded Maddox with a kind of doubt that she had never felt before. Her emotional vulnerability through the early years of living with a chronic illness is captured in an emotionally deep way, with Maddox opening up about the times she doubted that God actually had a plan for her, especially during moments when she felt that she had been cast aside.

The book’s language is conversational, with bits of humor interposed throughout, alongside rhetorical questions. The humor lightens the mood and plays well against overpowering accounts of the heartbreaking impact of POTS, both on Maddox and on her family. Thought-provoking inquiries help to clarify Maddox’s point of view, as when she questions why everyone around her seems to have conversations with God while she has not had such an experience. She handles the frustrations that come with being obsessed with your own image and comes to better understandings in the process.

Maddox is a sympathetic narrator whose willingness to admit to her faults—like being quick to judge other people without knowing all the facts—makes her story even more compelling. She also relates how strangers judged her based on her outward appearance without taking the time to find out what she was struggling with.

Some medical jargon impedes the book’s clarity, but beyond it, the book progresses with care, and powerful lessons emerge about handling challenging situations. Chronic Blessings is an enlightening memoir about the despair of living with chronic illness, through which wisdom is gleaned along the way.

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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