Chronic Illness

Sanctifying Afflictions of 2017

2017 is already out to be an interesting, possibly intriguing, year. . .

A few weeks ago, I met my new primary care doctor. He ran the standard tests, when meeting a new patient. All was well. When they drew the blood, I was more worried about appointment I was going to end up running late for. Rather than the needle, blood, and impending results. During the test of waiting for the blood work to come back, anxiety plagued my heart. Remember, this is a normal set of blood work needed. Anxiety came, and came, and then the words: “There is something concerning on your blood test. We need to do more tests… specific tests to see what is wrong“. Went for one of the specific tests, and just got the online results about a week ago. Notice the sound of silence, other than crickets. The anxiety plaguing my heart, was apparently warranted. Something was indeed wrong.

When You Pray

I am blessed with Jesus loving friends, who take the time to pray for me. They pray fervently with their holy and sanctified hands raised toward our Maker in Heaven – as they call upon Jesus’ name. The peace I have had this past week, since finding out those dreaded results, has been a miracle in and of itself. There has been much more peace than I could expect any one of my friendly companions to have – if they were in my shoes.

This peace is the kind we are taught about in Philippians. “Peace that surpasses all understanding.” And, it is ours when we come to Jesus – our Risen King!

The Future

Even though I am waiting to see what my future entails, I am at peace about whatever may happen. . . Well, I was at peace. Until tonight. I had told a few people the specifics. Not many. Then tonight, I let out the secret in plan terms: “I started seeing a new primary, and we found something going on – which could potentially be very serious.” I have no problem asking for prayer in these prayer meetings. I have gone to them off-and-on for a really long time. It was not the asking, but the sharing. I can share difficult prayer requests for others, about things. But for me, clammy heart and a bit more than squirming.

The Faith Act

In those moments of preparing to make this announcement, I wandered and honestly tried to get out of it. But, I knew it was Holy Spirit led. I had to “let the cat out of the bag”. I had to share this prayer need, regardless of its difficulty. While I dreaded it, I shared. Then my anxious heart, really began to do summersaults. Telling my church family this piece of news, made it all real. My reality is real, and that is a scary thing.

Sharing this news is ridiculously scary and brought the reality to life for me. It reminded me that this prayer need is actually mandatory and it is me and Jesus facing this battle – even though I share with others. This valley of mine is: real. scary. Inescapable.

The Process

Scary. Real. Heart-wrenching, as the tears begin welling up – because this reality is real and might not disappear (I am not lacking faith, but aware of the various avenues God uses to lead His people).

Somehow, this endeavor is sanctifying. I have been thinking about that word, lately. Sanctifying. God consecrates His people, and makes us His own. We need to begin thinking about how God is going to sanctify us, even through trials (or plagues).

When God sanctifies us, as His beloved children, it is proof of His love and our relationship.

Until next time,

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Chronic Illness, The Overcomer Life

Sunday Confession

I really do love church. The people, ermm not always (just sum it up to::: highly sensitive introvert, who lacks the ability to pour out emotional energy to be there for people when she can barely be there for herself). The music, yes. The nursery where I service, absolutely.

… But, sometimes, I struggle with my “want to”.

As someone with POTS, it can be utterly terrifying to go anywhere. And church is no different. It can be difficult to go and know if I will be able to stay. Lately, my symptoms have been worsening and I have the lowest attention span. There are often a bombardment of thoughts accompanying the questions – “Am I well enough to go to church? Or, how bad is it?”

Most people have to find their “want to,” in order to exercise. Me too, but my life has many areas where I have to find my desire to riskily make decisions.

The risk is what it comes down to. This morning, I had to weigh the risk. Was the pinnacle of symptoms worth the few minutes I would spend at church – especially knowing I was not in any kind of mood to jollily go socializing and encourage the world (my personality… if you see me at church, you know this one) before Sunday school?

You know, I believe it was worth the decision and symptoms (in the grand scheme of eternity, anyway). Contrary to the struggle to find my “want to,” I actually do want to go to the church and be with God’s people. This is simply (and it is not simple) just part of the process that it takes – in order to get me from my house to the church. There are internal talks, prayers, and questions going on, while I make the decision. I may feel “a little” uneasy in my decision, but at least I made the decision.

The hardest part of it all is – making the decision, and coping with the aftermath wondering if I somehow made the wrong one. I hate it when we have to leave early, because POTS is trying to kill me. Today was definitely one of those days. But, the highlight of my church day today was – sitting in the nursery, underneath our speaker that allows me to hear our musicians practice singing before service, and working on the Bible Reading Challenge. I loved just being there.

I hate the fear and questions I have to face, but I love the blessings I get to pick up along the way – that I would have missed otherwise. That’s what make the decisions hard. I don’t want to miss anything. It’s there that I need to remember that I am…

  • loved by God – whether I go to church biweekly, weekly, monthly, etc. He knows I am plugging into my relationship with Him.
  • called His own. I am even called His daughter, because of Jesus Christ!
  • still me, I am still me, despite illness.

Until next time,

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“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing (Zeph. 3:17).”

Introversion/Highly Sensitive, The Overcomer Life

New Year’s “Hang Over”

Tonight is New Year’s Eve. I made a plan last week to go out to a little party thing. Today, I tossed and turned about going. The habit of living fearlessly is something we can all pursue. I do, for the most part, try and keep on the fearless mask. However this whole “fearless” act I have going on, well I was not that for a good part of today.

I am one of those people whose personality traits include: introversion and being highly sensitive (otherwise known as HSP).

Obviously, it sounds easier to stay home at this point. Right? I mean, I could have used pouring rain as an excuse. I have loads of excuses, besides the valid one of “people freak me out” (a whole new level of honesty, I know). I really do love people, friends, family, random strangers I connect with, as long as I have room in my human interaction cup.

I literally have nothing to offer anyone if my human interaction cup is full

Excuses Versus . . .

I had a moment of realization tonight. I do things like attend social gatherings, when part of me struggles with it, because I want to honor God with my entire life. If it wasn’t for God, I would not push past the fears or moments of struggling to face the world when my spirit is hung over (detailed explanation below). It’s pretty simple for me. They say you need a “why,” for goals and such.

Here is my why: I don’t want to miss out on opportunities to bless God, because I was too afraid. So, I wrestle between being fearful versus fearless. On one side, I have introversion where human interaction can literally suffocate my spirit. And on another, I have the hindrance of being a highly sensitive person where too much stimulation causes me to run away and never return if given the option.

I want Jesus, my King, to be lifted high in my life. And I know, God can do miraculous things – even when I am scared out of my mind.

… Jesus is why I can step out of my comfort zone and face peopling, even when my spirit screams “I am done for the week. I need silence!”

The Hang Over

With peopling and being overstimulated (noise, lighting, people, reacting more deeply, etc), I face something I call a “hang over”. It is simply from overwhelming my spirit. My spirit becomes intensely weighed down, that it is hard to interact with anyone in a meaningful conversation or watch a favorite show without adding to it. My spirit is just scattered, beyond overwhelmed, and struggling to just get through it. My spirit, in some ways, becomes paralyzed. Everything becomes difficult. That is the best way to describe it to a non-introvert.

… And, the answer is “recharging”. I have to take a “time out,” and allow myself to recover. I have to allow myself the time and space to process and recover from the past few days or weeks of human interaction and a heavy load of stimuli.

Jesus Christ, my Beloved Savior, is the One who walks me through this process of welcoming the new year and process through the past few days or weeks.

 

Truth in Trials

God Cares {Truth in Trials}

Each of us face a diverse set of circumstances.

There are times, where we can feel like we are all alone.

There are days, when we aren’t sure how much strength we have left.

There are even honest days, where we feel disappointment and misplace the true reason for our hope.

We may all have days where we find ourselves in these very places, but there is a key truth we need to grasp. God is deeply concerned for each of us.

The Often Forgotten Truth

In the lives that each of us lead, it is so easy to miss this truth. It is easy to forget or misplace this spiritual truth, especially so when it seems like there is a lack of concern for our well-being.

Even when we find ourselves there, God profoundly cares for you and me. And, He never stops caring for us either!

Scripture reminds us that God is compassionate and caring for us. Throughout the Gospels, we are given a specific picture of how God acts on that concern.

Before the Gospels even really get started, we are taught about the depth of God’s compassion and concern for us in John 1:14 where God decided to dwell with humanity by coming to earth.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son (Jesus Christ), who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Remembering God’s Concern

Even when it seems like we are walking through our ever-present storm alone, let us remember that God is deeply concerned for us. We are not stranded on our own, but He loves us and His heart aches for us. He longs to be with us, and help us with whatever it is we are going through.

I am not talking about some low level or humanistic concern that has limits, but the world-turning-and-going-to-the-cross (and God powered) kind of concern. This is what God has for us. This intense longing and concern about whatever it is we are going through.

This is what God feels for each of us, and He is beckoning us to come to Him and allow Him to be our shoulder to cry on. He wants to help us carry our burdens, even when we feel like it is us against the world.

The Scriptures

I want to share a few Scriptures today, that highlight this truth.

Exodus 3:7-8a
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them…”

Matthew 9:35-36
 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Also, consider the truths we find in Psalms 91 and Psalm 23. He wonderfully cares for us, enabling our place of safety to be found in Him. God is concerned, and promises to be our resting place. Even, inviting those of us who are weary to find rest in Him (as we are taught in Matthew 11:28-30).

I ran across two articles that help us to continue digesting this special, spiritual truth. He Cares and A God Who Cares seem like both may be helpful reads to us, as we learn that God honestly does care for us.

Not only does He care for us, it is not limited to a short amount of time. God cares infinitely more for us, than we could ever imagine. God is on our side, and His heart aches for us. We can continue running to Him, especially as we face troublesome days. All because He cares for you and me. His concern for us is of great depth and unmeasurable. That is how much God cares for us.

Until next time,

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Chronic Illness, Five Minute Friday, The Overcomer Life

FMF – Joy

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300Welcome to this week’s edition of Five Minute Friday! This week’s theme is “joy”. FMF is a weekly online gathering of writers where we write for five unedited minutes. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, please visit Kate’s blog for more details…

After two decent health days, I am back to any motion of standing trying to bring me down like a deck of cards (which apparently means I rather skip dinner than stand again…). It’s been weeks of feeling like this. Nonstop almost, or so it seems. I could scream. I could verbally share my frustrations with the world, or even manipulate my facebook account into sending out word weapons in effort to share my true thoughts on the subject (of standing).

… But, it will not bring me joy.

Joy isn’t a feeling.

It has to be a heart felt response to – yes- our lives, but more than that. Joy is something God is capable of giving us – even when we feel like we are in a place that is quite rough.

Joy is deliberate.

It is found in my mindset, and where those thoughts wander.

It is found in what I choose to do with my time, mind, and energy level – while I sit in captivity and do anything but stand.

. . .

I started writing out the Word of God. As a chronically ill person, I have quantities of time available. But, that’s not my identity. My identity is wrapped up in my Savior, not these moments where I sit on my bed wondering what to do with myself for the rest of the day… God is where the joy is found.

I have been trying to write out the Word of God, in these moments. It’s a new habit I am forming. It allows me to get to know my Abba Father on a much more intimate level. This is where the joy is found.

While standing is not anything joyful, God is present in the storm. God is the One strengthening my body as I rise, and giving my heart the courage to stand.

God is the One giving me courage and joy, in midst of heartache.

While our trials don’t last forever (imagine that!), my God does. Scripture is clear. God endures forever. It is found in Scripture many many times. Just as God endures forever, so does every single one of His attributes – including joy. This is what He gives, He lovingly offers to those who have believed in His Son Jesus Christ and been called into His beautiful family!

During today’s Scripture writing, I came across this verse in 1 Corinthians 1:9.

“God is faithful! God has chosen you to share life with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord!”

I absolutely love this verse. Jesus is my forever companion, and that is where my joy is found!

Jesus is my full-time Companion who walks with me during the storm, and brings with Him joy to be available to me.

I really enjoyed Andrew’s guest post on Five Minute Friday. Be sure to check out his post.

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