UPDATE + He’s All In!! {Trial Truths}

If there was anything I could say to those who feel lost, broken, or whose hearts feel like they might burst from all the stuff coming at them..,

it would be a simple yet significant reminder of our Risen LORD and the peace that comes from knowing and having a relationship with our Lord Jesus.

While I have endured things in my life, I know the one key difference maker in my life – has a name. His name is Jesus Christ. I have endured difficult things. Some of which I have kept hidden in the depth of my soul. But my Savior and my God knows those deep things. I don’t have to speak of them, in order for Him to see those things.

Eternal Gifts –

He is the One who makes circumstances feel and turn out differently. I can walk through the fiery road of chronic illness, and yet Christ gives me absolute peace and joy in the midst of these almost unbearable things. He offers His peace and presence to us – in the midst of what we are going through. We just have to keep holding on!

Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in me [Jesus Christ]. . . I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:1, 27, TLB).”

A question I have the privilege of asking is – “Do you have peace about the circumstances of your lives?” We need to dig our heels in, and seek the Lord’s peace and presence in our circumstances. This is an important question, because the Lord promises us His peace and presence. When we seek Him and surrender, the Lord makes Himself available and will speak through the silence or harsh season.

By inviting Jesus into our situations, we are actually ushering in His incomparable peace that begins to heal our shattered hearts.

The Lord meets us in our difficult situations and cloudy days – and presents good, eternal gifts to us. 

He just knows exactly how to meet us where we are. In the midst of our brokenness.

Where Our Savior Meet Us –

Instead of staying away, that’s the place where He meets us the most. As Scripture says, He came for the lost (see Luke 19:10). He came for those whose hearts are breaking. He has come for us!

The Lord is our loving eternal Father who wants to carry us through the good and bad. He wants to absolutely love us through it, and remain faithful!

If you hear nothing else, hear this. The Lord, our great God, is all in and ready to dive into life with us!

Don’t forget to purchase your eight week study journal! Our Titus and 1-2 Timothy study BEGINS on January 15th. All proceeds go toward helping this ministry.

Also: Find out what Gracefully Overcoming is up to – on Facebook! Several good things going on: Our women’s small group is studying Mark before our new study begins, while the Facebook page is diving into a chronological reading plan!

In Christ,

Signature

 

Advertisements

IIWK15: I Fight for Support

Yesterday, I spoke on a very important topic – understanding invisible illness. Essentially, that sums up what Invisible Illness week is all about – raising awareness to help others (doctors and loved ones, alike) understand the struggles of those who face invisible illnesses.

It is important for us to understand others’ pain, and be there for them. It isn’t enough to simply understand their suffering. We need to put that knowledge, that understanding, into action. This is where support comes in.

You may not consider what you have to offer as adequate. I understand that as an outsider to others’ suffering. I also want to encourage you “as an insider” to step up and find ways to support your loved ones – anyway. Because they need you! Your actions aren’t a waste. They desperately need you – to continue fighting and being encouraged!

The Bible talks about faith without works is dead (see James 2:14-26). Useless. Likewise, our understanding of our loved ones’ suffering is useless if we do nothing to support them.

Part Two – Support

These are very practical ways to be involved. In these suggestions, In addition to offering prayer and spiritual support, I am choosing to include: checking on our friends, sending them a card, or a gift.

Pray for Them

Begin making it a daily commitment to pray for your friend and their struggles. Begin asking them for specific ways you can pray for them. Then as part of your prayer support, check with them every week to see how they are doing – and what else they need prayer for. If they are a Christian (and you are), pray about if God would have you visit them in their home for a small Bible study (one-on-one).

Use Technology

Technology makes it ridiculously easy to get connected with people. Most of us, have a phone (meaning texting or phone calls) or a social media/email account. Use these things to be there for your friends. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Go directly to them.

The Fears –

Maybe, you fear they will complain for the bulk of the conversation. You are only providing an opportunity to show them you are there for them in a tangible way! Don’t over-think it. If you know they are on social media, and often, just consider using it to check on them. Show them you are there for them.

The Joys –

They will appreciate their relationship with you, when they see you care. Use their love language, to show them support. They will feel loved. They will feel comforted. They will feel supported in the most amazing ways.

What to Say?

I always wonder about this one too. What am I supposed to say? The initiation to gain entrance into their world counts. You are showing them that you care. In yesterday’s post, I address what kind of questions we can ask sufferers. A few more suggestions include: asking them how they are doing, if they have read or watched anything good lately, and just begin a conversation. Asking questions are your friend. Don’t assume. Just let God lead you. Asking questions is a great conversation starter.

Support – Giving Gifts

First, there is sending a card in the mail. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. It’s just a method of letting them know you care and brightening their day. Here’s an example of what you could say…  “Hey __________________, I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you. I wanted to let you know that though I don’t say it often, I deeply care for you. I don’t know what to say sometimes, but I am here.” Something like that. My example might be more personal, than you would write (I am always socially awkward anyway, so might as well say what I feel, right?).

Second, give them a gift. With invisible illness, it can be hard to know what to get someone. I have some ideas to share. Tangible ways to show them you care.

  • A lamp. I am thinking practically. Maybe, they don’t have access to an overhead light in their bedroom. A lamp would help them to move around in their bedroom, when perhaps their vision isn’t the best, and without falling on their face.
  • A blanket. Think about it. People with invisible illness(es) face times of resting. More time than you would ever dream of. Gifting something like a blanket is something would bring a smile to their face – not just for a moment, but many moments.
  • A gift card. This is itself is a blessing, but you can take it a step further – to be more involved in their gift. Handpicking something declares “I love you. I care for you. I am here for you.” Maybe if they take supplements for their condition, offer to buy them their next month’s supply. Many gift ideas for this one. Here’s one in particular- Perhaps, offering to take them on a mini shopping spree. You could give them a gift card, and then offer to buy them lunch (or skip lunch) and go straight for their favorite store.

    If you are tight money-wise, consider making them a gift or performing a service for them (clean house, run errands, take their crazy kids for an afternoon, make them dinner if their food restrictions aren’t crazy long, etc). This speaks volumes, too!

Invisible Illness: Depression and Emotional Support

One thing I have noticed is, the way depression creeps in – when one battles a (or multiple) chronic invisible illness(es). Depression creeps in. The invisible illness may not mean you have an arm cast on your right arm, but its effects become evident. When the one you love faces an invisible illness, you begin to notice its effects.

For me, the really-bad-health-days are where I most notice that I am changing. I have defined it as, “wasting away” in a shear depression state. The things I used to care about and love, begin to dwindle.

The Changes We Face

It is a part of the invisible illness.

It is a part of the F-I-G-H-T!

The changes in mentality are one of the fights we face, when we come face-to-face with invisible illnesses. It is as much part of the struggle as the invisible illness(es) themselves.

Realization of this is the first step.

When we take notice that the one we love (or we ourselves) change as part of invisible illness, we can work on becoming what our loved ones need. It may be a shoulder to cry on, keeping in contact with them (and reassuring them that we care), and finding ways to minister to them.

For those reading this, who face a chronic invisible illness, our first step in receive the care we need – is speaking up. Let the world in, on your struggle. It may be texting a friend to let them know, “I am not doing alright right now.”

Reaching Out for Support

Finding the support we need is more important than our pride.

The hard part about speaking up about how I am doing, is the wondering about rejection. Will my plea for help be heard? Will I have to gather the strength to speak up louder?

Keep crying out, and being there for one another.

We are not alone in our affliction.

We have help.

If you don’t have support, feel free to email me (gracefully.overcoming@gmail.com).

Stay strong, by just keep letting your cry be known. Also, listening to the cries of those around you.

My Definition of True Emotional Support

I have looked to this Scripture before.

One of my favorite Bible passages on gathering the necessary strength from a God-seeking-community is found in Exodus 17. May God use this to reach you to do two things: (A) Ask for help (B) Be ready to offer help, even when they haven’t gotten up the courage to ask.

“As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage.Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset (vv. 11-12, NLT, emphasis mine).”