Hope

Even if we don’t see it right away, there is always hope. Imagine all of the people in the world, right this minute, that are looking for a tiny glimmer of hope to get them through the next few minutes, the next hour, or the coming days.

When we lose hope, I have found it’s all too often because we have reached the point of helplessness. When we just don’t know what to do anymore. I have been there many times in my life. I have felt broken, my life has looked like a mess all too often but I have learned a valuable lesson through those times. My life and the situations in my life are never completely hopeless, unless I allow it to be.

Being sick often brings me to the point of helplessness and sometimes I even start to lose hope. However, I have learned that I am in control of how far I go with it because I am in control of my emotions. I may not be able to help my illness, or fix it my situation at times, but I can control my mind. I can control my emotions. I can stop the moment I feel all hope is gone and look again. It’s in these times I will find hope that I missed in the moment.

I have learned that hope doesn’t have to appear huge either.

We all want that big bright shiny light of hope and the answer to fix it all but what if the hope that we are searching for is being overlooked because we aren’t looking hard enough. What if it’s just that tiny speck of hope that gets us through to the next day? Lastly, what if that tiny speck of hope is meant to make us stronger?

A tiny glimmer is enough for me because even if I am feeling helpless, I know where my help comes from and that my friend is Jesus. With him by my side, there is always hope.

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Ephesians 2: 10
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
This life was never meant to be mere survival, although that is the mode most people seem to be in. You were created with a plan, a purpose (Jeremiah 29: 11). You were fashioned in His likeness, fearfully and wonderfully made, God never makes mistakes. The beauty about your life is, you were created with a specific plan that God has prepared just for you to do. It wasn’t designed for the Pastor, or the lady in the seat in front of you at church, that seems to be involved in everything, no this one is just for you, no one else. for your life. Your mission in life is His mission He made just for you. Today, discover that mission, that work, that perfect plan that God has for you to do. God knows what you are capable of even if you are not sure what you are capable of doing, He knows you better than you know yourself. Go for it!.
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Trusting isn’t easy.

Proverbs 3:5-6  says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Sometimes trusting can be one of the most complicated things to do in life. Depending on your background you may find it a little easier than others but for most, I find there is always some sort of hesitation. Trusting requires not knowing all the answers. At times you may find yourself placing your faith in someone or something that you have no control of the outcome, and no guarentee.

I have lived and came through a difficult life, and trusting has been extremely difficult for me. Not just with people, but with God. Over the years as I have grown a little more, each time that I face another illness, or another trial, God proves that the more I learn to trust in him, the more I can count on him. I have learned that God is really all the guarentee that I have. Afterall, he is the maker and finisher of all things. Including me and my outcome. One of my favorite quotes says this, “Faith is not believing that God can, it is knowing that God will.” Ben Stein.

I love God with all of my heart and soul. Even if today is not written out before me, and nothing makes sense to me, I know that I don’t have be frightened because God has already promised that he’s got this for me.

 

 

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Monday morning pick me up…A recipe to get through today.

Psalms 19: 7
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.

What do you need this morning to get started? I think you need the infallible word of God. It is not only perfect but according to King David, it will revive the soul. Caffeine may wake you up but only God can revive you and sustain you for the entire day. Psalms 34: 8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

Today, get a good taste of the goodness of God, it will change your life.

 

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Do you really know me?

I have a lot of people that know who I am but they do not really know me. Just because they have heard my story, or went to church with me, just because they have acknowledged me in someway does not mean they really know me. It takes a great effort to get to know who I am. It takes a relationship of trust, communication, questions and answers, studying of what makes me who I am. It’s the same with God. You can’t just talk to God on Sunday for a few minutes and say you know him. It takes an understanding of his likes and dislikes. It takes a relationship of trust and intentional love on our part. God doesn’t expect perfection, he expects effort. He expects relationship.

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Monday morning pick me up. ( It’s Monday)

Philippians 4: 13 (ERV)

“Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do.”
When people in the work force ask me how I am doing, I have the bad habit some days of saying, “It’s Monday,” which implies Monday’s are bad days. I understand Monday’s seem to be hectic at times but that gives me no reason to put a label on Monday as a bad day. Today is a new day, Monday’s is like every other day, I get out of it what I put in it. So this morning I choose to be an overcomer in Christ Jesus, I can do whatever I have to do today because Christ is the one who strengthens me. It’s not by my might, nor by my power but by God’s Spirit I can and will overcome today (Zechariah 4: 6). I do not put my trust in myself, I put my trust in Jesus Christ, He gives me the strength to overcome. If someone asks me today, “how is your day going?” I will answer, “It’s a great day because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
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Have you ever just had a bad day that you wanted to get away from? You know what I am talking about, those moments when you feel overwhelmed and you can’t see a way out of a dark cave even if someone gave you a flashlight. Life isn’t always easy, and life isn’t always fair. I have had some bad days where I just want to check out for a while since I have been ill but that’s not an option for me and it is definitely not a solution. In fact, that was part of the old me, I ran a lot. You don’t even have to be sick to have a bad day.  Bad days can create feelings of helplessness at times, for anyone, but especially if you are ill.  It can leave you with feelings of brokenness. Before you know it, your head is in a fog of worry and anxiety and you are feeling hopeless. I have been in this very place so many times in my life, from my abusive childhood right into my adult years with chronic pain and illnesses.

I have learned some things though. There are going to be some dark days. But, it’s up to me how I am going to handle it. When I am faced with a dark day, I am not going to run WITH my dark days, I am going take my dark days, straight to Jesus! I have learned that running only does one thing, it delays everything and gives Satan time to take hold of you. I have learned you have to face the dark days to solve them and you can not go at it alone. If you are ill, and you choose to worry about the what if’s, it’s still going to be there, in fact it might even be a little worse and you have wasted a precious moments of your life on things that you can not change.
Get this though, there is real power in positive thinking and the mind is an amazing tool that God gave us. If you have stinking thinking… stop it. It doesn’t help you and it doesn’t help your neighbor!!  Your mind has a lot of control over how you feel. It’s not a cure-all but if you fill your mind and your spirit up with positive thoughts and positive vibes you can control how your body reacts and feels. And you can control how others respond to you!! Try it the next time you are with a bunch of grumpy people and you are not feeling overly well. Be nice on purpose, see what you get in return. Here’s the other side of that coin, if you allow yourself to think negatively and roll around in that, Satan will grab hold of you and bring you down right along with him and he will make you hurt and you will pay, I promise you that. If you’re thinking life isn’t fair today and you are in a dark place, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars, run to Jesus because he has the answers!

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Romans 12: 21
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

This passage from Paul requires action on our part! No longer can we be complacent, no longer can we say, “I just don’t want to get involved.” If we are soldiers of the cross then we need to act like we are soldiers of the cross. Not passive, no apprehensive but confident bold, strong. God told Joshua when he was to take over for Moses as leader, to be strong and very courageous (Joshua 1:7). So, you are the leader of your own surroundings, so I say, “Be strong and very courageous and over come evil with Good in your home, at your work, with your leisure time.” Let the Evil one know you are in the house and he needs to vacate. Today, be bold, overcome evil with good.

 

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I was thinking…

Today I was thinking about the relationship between autoimmune illnesses, chronic pain and bad childhoods.
 
I grew up in an abusive home. I spent five years in a foster home that was not a good home. I may not have suffered sexual abuse there but it was definitely physically and mentally abusive. After five years, my siblings and I went back to our birth mother only to endure hunger, homelessness, abandonment and for my closest sister and I to be sexually abused.
What I have been wondering is how many people have a chronic illness and have had a bad childhood, abuse, abandonment, feelings of worthlessness, facing unknown days? Even now, I fight off those same feelings that I had as a child. To make matters worse, now I also face debilitating pain and chronic illness that bring up some of the same feelings.
I have to wonder how many others besides me have had a rough start in life only to find themselves with a rough adult life of chronic illness? I would like for others to weigh in and give their opinions and experiences about having a bad childhood and now chronic illnesses. Are they related somehow? Please tell me your stories.
I will be sharing my personal testimony in the coming weeks but I would like to know who else can relate.
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I am an overcomer, no pity please.

 

I am going to be honest, I don’t like receiving pity when people find out that I am sick but I do want to be understood and heard. I need to be loved and supported. I have struggled with this and so many others have too. I believe that even if you don’t have a chronic illness everyone can agree that pity is not endearing.  I guess the question is how do I gracefully allow others know when I am hurting but still receive the support and love that I need without receiving pity in return. Often times, I get asked how I am doing and even though I may feel bad I will say I am fine. I think people do ask this question in passing and it’s OK not to go into the gory details of how bad I feel. However one of things I do, is I try to listen to others because no matter how bad I feel if I can help someone else it helps my spirit and ultimately it gets my mind off of my own pain.

However, I have realized the people closest too me really want to know how I am doing and by saying that I am fine when asked is actually doing me a disservice. With anything, there is a fine line between letting others in on your illness and not wanting to receive a pity party. What I really want is to gain understanding and support without the pity.  How can I possibly, receive love and support if everyone always thinks I am always fine? How can anyone be in my corner praying for me when they don’t know how I feel? I don’t know about anybody else, but I never want to receive pity. I need support, love, and understanding. I want the people in my life that I really care about to know about my illness and my limitations but at the same time I do not want to be felt sorry for. I have realized what I can do is educate the people in my life, because sometimes the only reason people don’t understand is because we don’t tell anyone. Others do not have to be in my body to give me love and support. Even though I am sick and there are times when I have to push through just to get out of bed, I still want to be seen as strong because I am. I still want to be dependable, because although I have limitations, I am dependable. My illness may have changed my circumstances but I refuse to allow it to change who I am.  I don’t feel sorry for myself and that is the biggest mindset that has gotten me through so much. I have accepted the changes that have come into my life over the last three years.  If the relationships that I have, truly love and care about me then I will not receive pity. I will receive love, acceptance and understanding no matter how I feel and those are the relationships that I want to have on my journey of life.

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Monday morning pick me up. (No whining!)

Philippians 2: 14-16
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.”

I have a sign on my refrigerator at home that says, “No Whining.” I’m convinced that people in the world are wanting to hear something different, something refreshing, something other than the same old thing, than they hear every day, whining and complaining. I’m convinced that people want to see someone positive, upbeat, cheerful and friendly. Don’t we hear enough whining and complaining on the news and from the people in the world who have no hope? If you call yourself a child of God, then be a child of God, live as a child of God, act like a child of God, reflect God. But for the Lord’s sake, Don’t whine and complain!

 

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Monday morning pick me up. (You are the light.)

 

Matthew 4:16
“The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

Just as when Jesus walked on this Earth, He brought light to the world. For the first time thousands of people witnessed a refreshing new view of who God was and what life was all about.
Today, you are that light. Today you have the audacious responsibility to shed light on what we believe. No longer allow people to sit in darkness, turn on the light. If they would rather live in darkness, so be it but you have the responsibility to let the light shine so people will know the truth. You are the light where you are.

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It’s not always easy to make changes.

Life is always changing and it is not always easy to make those changes. My fourteen year old daughter is graduating from the eighth grade this year. She is having a tough time in this last week of school, realizing that she will be leaving her middle school friends behind and going to the High School of her choice that will not be with her current friends. My daughter was accepted into a program at a high school in another city that will prepare her for her chosen career as a Veterinarian while in high-school. God opened up the door for her and we were so thankful for that but the opportunity is hard for her, she will have make some sacrifices of not going on to high school with her friends in order to prepare herself for her future. I know that the transition is bittersweet for her and at the moment it is not easy to feel torn between staying with her friends and what is going to be the best decision for her future.
I know that she will not regret this decision and it is best for her to keep moving forward but moving forward is how she will grow and achieve her goals. 

My daughter’s situation reminds me of my own walk with God,sometimes the changes in my life have been painful but in the end I have grown so much. Changes can be scary, even for adults we like to stay where we are comfortable and familiar. I have fought change many times in my walk with God, but I must say that if I knew then what I know now, then perhaps I would not have fought so hard to hold on to the same old life that I thought was dear to me. Walking with God change are inevitable, but God will bless abundantly if I keep moving forward. God promises to never leave or forsake us. The best choice I can make is not always the easiest choice but choosing to move forward and trust God is the best way for me to grow.

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Never let Go.

 

I have walked through some of the darkest years of my life alone, so I thought.  I have have been broken from the illness that won’t let up, my mind has been confused, my inner-self frozen and I have been in denial of what was happening to me mentally, physically, and spiritually. I have felt so lonely, that I just want to give up.  I have thought more times that I want to admit, that I can’t just make it through another day. However, no matter where I have been in this journey, God has always sent help my way.
It may have been an encouraging word from a nurse, or something I read, or sending someone my way to bring a word of grace, but he has always provided what I needed.

I have learned this, I look for God even in the smallest of things. He is always doing something. I know the closer that I walk with God, the more Satan will try to detour me. He certainly doesn’t want me to rise above my problems and he doesn’t want me to get close to my Heavenly Father. What Satan doesn’t realize is the very tool that he thought would make me turn on God has brought me even closer. The sickness and the hardships of my life has has forced me to put my complete dependency on God instead of myself or someone else. I know that David wrote in Psalms 23,” Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.”

 

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Notoriously Forgetful

In a normal day, my family can tell you that I am notorious for forgetting where I left my keys last. It’s almost a daily event. I tell myself to put them on the hook by the front door but it never fails. I run inside and put them down somewhere other than the right place. Being a mother of two, a fourteen-year old girl and a ten-year-old boy, also adds to the confusion. I hurry them along and it never fails, I have them out of the door, the dogs have settled in and accepted they are being left at home and I can’t find my keys.

I realize that many people have this problem as we age and as life just moves so fast. It would be easy to take that on as my excuse but I realize that the forgetfulness is a real problem.

As my Lupus progresses it doesn’t get any easier. For two weeks in a row I have forgotten early day for my son at school. The school calls and thankfully they are quite understanding but it is really embarrassing and hard to explain to my son why Mommy forgot to get him on time. This isn’t the first time that I have forgotten the day of the week.

I am having increasing trouble remembering simple things but I try not to be obvious about it to others because I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. So, I laugh it off but inside I am screaming at myself and feeling so stupid.

I must remember that this is not me, this is my disease and it’s not my fault. I can overcome this by writing out notes the night before and setting alarms to remind myself. I wonder though how many others are having the same problems with their memory and what are some of things that you guys do to overcome?

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Dare to be different.

Sometimes life gives us a bad deal and at times we ask why? It’s natural to want to put the blame on something or someone and it’s easy to ask why God allowed those things to happen. Undesirable things just happen sometimes, and we get handed a bad deal. This is a fallen world that we live in. It’s not God’s fault. This isn’t heaven! Things just happen and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason. However, God can use the terrible things that happen to us and turn them into something good, for his purpose. God can teach others through our bad experiences. God can use us to lead someone to him when we are at our weakest.

This week, has been a week of emotional ups and downs. I received some sad news, it has been recommended that I start Methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug because of the fluid around my heart and my history of pleurites that comes and goes. If that was not enough, it has been discovered that I have the beginning stages of Lupus Nephritis which simply means it’s affecting my kidneys. I am not going to sugar coat this situation, this news is not what I wanted to hear and I am worried about it. I am a strong person, I have been through a lot in my life and I have overcome but when confronted with the reality of this yesterday while I was telling my sister, the tears came. She said, exactly what I was thinking that I would not say out loud,” why does all the bad things happen to you?” After much thought on that during the day, I still don’t have a perfect answer for that but I do know that through this time in my life I could not face this mess without God. I know that he has a purpose and a plan.
Even though, these things scary things are happening to me, God is working in my life and in my body. After many months of stomach pain, I am starting to feel human again. I can eat some solid foods without the excruciating pain that I have come accustomed to having. After 3 longs weeks of the worst Lupus flare in my chest, heart flutters, and dizziness, that is starting to settle down. I am still tired but I thank God for every bit of healing that I receive. Although, I have not received complete healing that I want, God is still working in my life. I know that God has a plan for me through this, and instead of being afraid I am going to dare to be different. I am going to rejoice in the fact that I am his daughter, and be thankful for everyday that I wake up. I am going to be thankful for the life that he has given me and I will praise his name no matter what I face. We all have a choice when faced with adversity, we can let the moment overcome us and be miserable or we can overcome the situation and find peace. I am choosing to trust that God has my best interest at heart always and he will not leave me or forsake me. I am going to believe that God will use this situation for his good and his purpose.
I was asked this week, if God gave me a choice to live this life, if I knew what I knew now, would I still agree to live this life? My answer might surprise many, but it is a resounding yes. If I can touch just one person for Jesus Christ through my personal testimony of faith, even though the things I have seen and gone through seem awfully scary and unfair, it is worth it. Although this disease seems like a rotten deal, God has also blessed me in so many ways and it outweighs the bad. He has given me a loving family, loving spiritual parents, 3 crazy puppies that love me no matter what, he has always provided a way for me when there seemed to be no way. He has given me hope, peace and love. I plan on daring to be different, when one might expect me to worry and be afraid, I will not fear. I will not be afraid because God is on my side.

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Overlooked blessings.

The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.”

― Joseph B. Wirthlin 

Today as I read this quote I was reminded of the things I often take for granted. The things that are always there. People that are always in my life.
One of the reasons I love the ocean and the mountains is I don’t get to see it all the time but when I do I love to take in the awesomeness of God’s handy work. I love to think about how beautiful it is and I love to go visit and take it all in. Today as I thought about the blessings in my life, the smaller ones that get over looked, it multiplied into an abundance of blessings. I think I will step back and look at my blessings as if I were seeing them for the very time.

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God is always moving.

Before I was even diagnosed with Lupus, I struggled with worry and anxiety. I tried my best to handle it on my own but I couldn’t seem to let go of the what if’s. When I got diagnosed with Lupus, I had no idea how to handle it. It hit me right to the core. Whenever uncertain things happened to me, it would send me straight into anxiety and panic mode. In my head, I would take bad news and go for a run with it. It would become so overwhelming that at times my anxiety was out of control. My anxiety would build up until it was too much for me to process and the slightest things would send me into tears.

Since I have had Lupus, I have had a lot of bad news come my way for the last 3 years, but I have had to learn new ways to handle things. Sometimes it is really scary and hard to not think about what might or might not happen but I have had to learn to control my anxiety level. As we all know, stress only heightens the pain in someone with Lupus, and other illnesses. I had to learn that not only was it bad for my health but it was bad for spirit and not good for my family either.

My health is a main concern of mine, it is a consistent issue that I deal with everyday of my life. I can’t run from it, I have no choice but to face it head on. I have learned not to worry myself over the things that I have no control over.  If I were to sit and worry about what may or may not happen it would drive me insane.  I wouldn’t be able to function and I would only get more ill.

Instead, whenever I am faced with bad news, I stop and process the situation, then I pray about it because God is my refuge and strength when I need it most.  I don’t go through the what ifs, instead I go through, what God can do through me?

God is always working in my life, always doing something new, even in the middle of chaos and confusion.  I find peace and hope in the fact that I know even when I am facing my biggest battles that God is in control. I have learned to look beyond what the eye can see because God is always moving.

 

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Monday morning pick- me- up. ( Defining moments.)

Proverbs 24:16

” The Godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overflow the wicked.”

One of your defining moments happens when people see something bad happen to you. That’s not a pretty thought but none-the-less, it’s true. You are not defined by what you do necessarily, but you are defined by how high you rise after you have fallen. When people see you at your worst, they want to know what are you going to do next, they want to know what makes you tick, they want to know what you are made of.

Go ahead, show the world what you are made of today, show them who you really are!

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“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”

My Pastor, my spiritual father, sent this devotion to me this morning as he sends one to everyone in our church plus a few more every morning. Today I wanted to share his words of wisdom and share my own thoughts on it at the end. I hope you enjoy, and that this will be recieved as encouragement and wisdom. Please feel free to comment or like.

Philippians 4: 11b-13

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Being content is not being passive but it is about being comfortable with who God made you as a person. We can all look at ourselves and think, “I could have done better,” and allow that to motivate us to be a better person, that is a great motivation to action idea. To be comfortable with who God made us, is not an excuse to do nothing, it is saying, “I have been created for a reason, even in the situation that I was born,” God has a plan. It is never too late to fulfill God’s plan for our life. God does not make mistakes and we were not a mistake in any way, God has a reason for our existence, it is up to us to find that reason and do the best we can for Him. Being content is a spiritual state of mind. That state of mind looks beyond the natural into the supernatural and says, “despite what I think about myself in the flesh, God has a reason for who I am and where I am, I will do what He has called me to do.”

This was a major turning point in my life when a very wise man taught me this. We all have a purpose, and a plan no matter who you are or where you came from. No matter your circumstances that you may be in, whether you are ill, you need answers, in pain, are fearful, confused, feeling hopeless, feeling like you don’t belong, whatever the case may be, God does not make mistakes! However, knowing that is only the first step, there is another part to that, it’s learning to accept that I have a specific purpose and God has a very special plan designed specifcally me. It took me a long time to accept that and realize that I really can do all things through Christ who stengthens me even if it’s out of my “comfort zone.”  Doing this blog is out of my comfort zone, but God has a purpose for this. This is part of his plan. Being sick with Lupus isn’t easy, but God has a plan for that too. I can not begin to tell you that had I not had that very wise man take the time to teach me that God has a plan just for me, fighting this giant of an many illnesses would be impossible. But it’s not impossible, God makes all things possible and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Over time, I have learned that if you never accept that God specifically chose you and has a specific purpose and plan for you, then you will always stay right where you are and that is not his plan….God intends for us to grow and to overcome and even if I am ill with Lupus, I can do all things, not just some things, “ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Today, look at yourself in the mirror and say, ” I can (and will) do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

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Praise you in the Storm.

 

“If you spend your time waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.”

Morris West

Yesterday was a bitter-sweet day. I went to the cardiologist for my test results and I received answers from testing at the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville FL. I didn’t get the news I wanted, I expected a beautifully wrapped box with a big red bow on it with a cure for all my ailments. I wanted a fix, I wanted an answer.I have lupus, and I know that there are no definite answers for that. Lupus has devastated my body,with fatigue, musculoskeletal inflammation, arthritis, joint pain, burning, pins and needles, my digestive system, weekly INR checks, iron infusions, my heart and lastly my brain.  I have been having arrhythmias, where my heart flutters all the while in the middle of a lupus flare in my chest. It feels like my heart is doing somersaults and it is an unsettling and an uncomfortable feeling. I fainted last week when my heart fluttered as I was loading the dishwasher. After going to the cardiologist, the next day, I wore a heart monitor for 48 hours. It revealed some things. My blood pressure drops low when I stand for a period. I am at risk for fainting after a brief period of consistent standing. I have some conductivity problems that keep my heart from staying in rhythm. My brain just doesn’t communicate with my heart to stay in rhythm. It’s called neurocardiogenic syncope and it’s common with Lupus patients.

Although, I didn’t get the shiny box with a bow and a cure inside, I still consider it a blessing from God. Yes, I have Lupus and yes, it’s affecting me neurologically and my heart but it’s not going to kill me. My heart is strong. I have good blood flow. The neurological problems make me slur my words when I get tired and when my heart flutters. I am going to feel that awful flutter of my heart and be uncomfortable. However, I am going to adjust a few things and I will be ok.  I must listen to my body and not push through even though that is against my nature, pushing through will only make matters worse. This is how it is, it’s Lupus, the invisible mysterious disease.

The test that I had on my stomach should have shown narrowing, it did on the last test months ago, but it didn’t this time, I absolutely believe God had a hand in that. My digestive system is not functioning normally and it takes a long time for my system to digest anything I eat. I must be on a special diet to keep everything working and it consists of mostly liquids. I cannot eat anything that I want, and I will still have to take medicine to make my digestive system work because I am sure my digestive system went on vacation for a while. I am just very thankful that I don’t have to have any surgeries, every surgery that I have had has caused many new issues each time.

Even though this wasn’t exactly the shiny box with a bow and a cure inside, even though it wasn’t how I pictured how I wanted it to be delivered, God gave me answers according to what I needed. God is still working miracles, and although I cannot say that I am healed completely, God is making this bearable. I am going to praise his name and thank him for never leaving me or forsaking me. 

 

 

 

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Listen, and stand in the gap.

 

Life can sometimes hit us hard with situations, it can knock the breath right out of us. It can deliver bad news when you least expect it and can leave you with no words to express your hurt. I have been thinking about this for a while now and the way that we respond to others that are hurting. It’s funny even my dogs know when I don’t feel good, and suddenly the house will get still with silence and I will find myself surrounded by some of the best and most expert comforters. They say nothing. They are just with me.

 

 I have categorized myself as a fixer, when I see someone that is hurting I want to fix it. I want to listen and offer my encouragement, and I have always thought that as a pretty nice quality about myself.  Last week, I had a unique perspective though and I learned something through my husband. Sometimes the best thing you can do is say nothing at all. Sometimes the one thing that a hurting person needs is stillness, but also know that there is someone there ready to fight the battle when it’s time.  We had to go to the Mayo clinic again, just to get some tests that the doctor ordered for my ongoing stomach complications. It was quite disappointing when I found out that David would have to take an entire day off just to drive me to get my blood drawn and have an MRI and then we would leave Jacksonville without even seeing a doctor. David didn’t hesitate though. We dropped our son off at school and we were on the road. We got there early, they got my blood in less time than it took to park. My MRI wasn’t scheduled until 12:30, it was a fasting test, so we had time to waste. We decided that we would drive over to the beach. David knows that is my place of serenity, he hates the sand, but he put me first that day and let me go out to the water and just be. He never said a word.

 

When I was first diagnosed with Lupus and I was in the middle of a monumental overload meltdown when my spiritual father said to me, “I am standing in the gap for you.” Let me explain what that means, I was devastated and heart broken and vulnerable. The enemy, Satan, knows my every weakness. When I found out I had Lupus it hit me like a ton of bricks, and it crushed me. I was sad and disappointed. Satan could have beaten me with this devastating thing happening to me but my spiritual father stood in the gap for me. That meant in my moments of weakness he was lifting me in prayer. To this day, 3 years later, I know that when I am facing my giants he is standing in the gap for me. That’s all I needed, I didn’t need the I’m sorry’s, or the pity, I was already sorry and didn’t have the words to explain anything I was feeling. I just needed someone to stand in the gap and listen.

 

Sometimes, I think we think we must jump in and say the right thing way too fast when we come across someone that is facing something difficult but sometimes there are just no words to be said. Sometimes the best thing to do for someone is to just listen and say nothing at all. Stand in the gap. People can mean well and say a whole lot of somethings or a whole lot of nothings…. when sometimes there are just no words.   

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Finding peace.

 I remember shortly after finding out that I had Lupus the initial shock and fear. It’s funny how one day you can be fine, then the next day your entire world can come crashing down around you. I lay in a hospital bed with a DVT, as the nurses and doctors that I worked so closely with every day, came in, now I am their patient. So many questions, at times it was overwhelming. One nurse even told me I was blessed to be alive. This was just the beginning of a long journey ahead.

  I struggled with fear of not being able to control my situations back then, just to name a few of my many struggles from a complicated past but of course, I thought I had overcome.  After all I was a strong “girl.”

 When I found out I was ill, with an illness that had no cure, that I would be taking blood thinners for the rest of my life, I was faced with the same fear of no control, that I thought I had worked so hard to overcome. I was suddenly at the mercy of doctors, colleagues at the time and God. My fears were all brought back so fast my head was spinning. My entire world got picked up and someone shook it up then put it back down where I was left with the mess to clean up.  I spent a lot of time asking God why did he allow this to happen to me, and I would ask what I had done to deserve this. I spent a lot of time trying to take on my own problem and figure out why and nothing I ever did gave me peace until I realized it was never my problem to fix all.

I know I can not control some things that happen to me, I am not sure I even want to. I memorized this verse early on, “My grace is sufficient for you, for in your weakness I am made strong.” 

 When I am facing fear and wondering why God has allowed certain things to happen, I have to remember that God loves me more than anybody can ever love me. He loves me unconditionally and not only that, he does what is best for me at all times. When I face scary things, God is my strength and he is all I will ever need. Why did God allow this illness to happen to me, I do not know but I do know that sometimes he will allow things to change up a bit just to bring me closer to him. I do know that my Father does not give to me based on my ability to handle any given situation, however, my Father gives to me based on my ability through his strength to overcome challenges that I may face. It’s so easy to get caught up with fear and worry when you are faced with unsurable things but it’s nothing he and I can’t handle together. Sometimes it feels as if I am blindfolded being led through a dark valley trusting in someone I can’t see but I can always sense my father’s presence and that’s enough for me. It takes practice, it takes faith and a relationship with my Father. Sometimes things just happen, and sometimes things happen to touch someone else.

Here’s my last thought, when things get scary,  I try to think it through, I filter my fears through God’s love, not the tangled up pieces of my heart wondering why me because simply put, “His grace is sufficient for me, for in my weakness he is made strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9.

 

 

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