Impact #2

My last impact entry was about 2 months ago. A lot has happened in that time. Health scare, which was relieved by a less serious health problem. Good news! (Bad news is: POTS is the reason for worsening symptoms. All before Spring.)

Feeling – Lately, I have felt a myraid of things. Home Sick. Loneliness. Frustration. (Dis)Contentment. Peace. Joy. Laughter. Mmmm, variety of emotions. Good, Bad, and in between. POTS has been rough, but I am still here. So, that is good news. I am not hooked up to a hospital bed with monitors. I am finding joy in unlikely places of chronic illness.

While all days aren’t joy-infused, I have the hope of my Savior Jesus Christ to remind me who I am. . . in spite of illness. Looking forward to Heaven, but trying to make the most of my time on earth to do something worthwhile.

Studying – Since my last impact, I have nearly finished studying 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Last week, I began the book of James. I am really enjoying it. One of today’s verse hit home for me, and is found at the end of this blog post. I have been reading and studying using The Living Bible found on Bible Gateway, which is a paraphrase like the Message. I am absolutely loving it! It is soo nice to have the privilege to open up the Bible in a new translation, using different wording, but having the same meaning. The Word of God is coming alive!

Reading – I am not quite sure that I am reading anything right now, since I have gotten out of the habit of reading actual books. Desiring God and reading the Bible in chronological order (that things happened) is what I am reading. Our church is reading the Bible together in a specific schedule. We have gone through Job, Genesis, Exodus, and are in Leviticus. Even with the audio Bible, my reading track record isn’t perfection but who says it has to be?

Listening To –

Celebrating – Many things.

  • Jesus is the top celebration. He loves me, and stays with me no matter what!
  • Doctors who care about their patients.
  • Good music that speaks God’s truths
  • Seeing how God can revive my broken spirit.

Loving – the gift of streaming biblical teachings, for anyone to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the biblical truths we need to know.

Praying – for my health, family, and a new blog series idea.

Holding Onto – Jesus! I am holding onto Jesus. Jesus is the One who is holding me, through all of life’s storms.

But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God… (Ps. 56:3-4)

Other Scriptures – James 1:9 (found below)

A Christian who doesn’t amount to much in this world should be glad, for he is great in the Lord’s sight (James 1:9).

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).”

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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Allowing Gratitude to be Present

Life has a way of becoming increasingly interesting these days. With Summer over and now we are almost in Winter, I am still waiting/looking for the better days – as far as my health is concerned. I have my days that are marked by their difference, in comparison to where I was last year. This year is looking quite different. The bad days make it different, but there is good present as well. It just takes a while and serious focus, to note the good.

Gratitude is what allows us to turn our moments of sorrow into times of dancing and joy – even in the midst of suffering.

The good, being – seeing how God’s work continues on. I am looking to work on my blog over the coming weeks/months, as I feel able to. We are getting ready to kick off our new study. It will begin in January, so I am working toward fixing what will be the journal (which will be available for purchase on Amazon) for the particular study. It will be a bit less demanding, to help me to stay caught up on it (but very similar to what we have been doing). But, I am really looking forward to it. It will be such a wonderful time of digging into God’s Word together – as a community of believers. More to come on the study soon.

The bad – well, that is hitting kind of close to home. You don’t expect family members to be in a place, where their doctor suspects they have your number 1 health enemy. In fact, you hope they won’t ever be in that position. Then, it happens. Loved ones become sick with the same illness that plagues us. It’s hard to look at it any other way, than joking. It’s not really the kind of things to joke around about, but it helps the soul to not feel the sorrow over the difficulties you know – that your loved ones will face.

Yet, you remember that all you can do is keep them in prayer, be there for them, speak encouragement over them, and deliberately look for the good in your life. Find the really good things you can rejoice over!

Finding the Good

With chronic illness, you take the bad with the good. Is there honestly good found in chronic illness? I think so. I think, it can produce good. But, it isn’t going to be automatically on our minds – before the bad is. You have to be deliberate in seeking out the good.

We have to be deliberate in seeking out the things we can be grateful for!

The R E A L L Y  Good Stuff

(1) While my health may fail me on any given day, my God still reigns. Even on the most difficult days, God is still God, faithful, strong enough, and ever loving!

See Ps. 73:26

(2) We can be there, comfort, and remind others they aren’t alone in their struggles. Also, we can be a voice that fights for our family members. God has used my health journey, to help those around me who develop similar symptoms and I can offer help of some sort.

See 2 Cor. 1:3-4; Phil. 4:4

(3) God has chosen to go before me. He has fixed our broken relationship, by the way of the cross and His Resurrection. He understands my weaknesses, and helps me – so I can come boldly to Him!

See Heb. 4:14-16

Summer Struggle {& Lessons From Philemon}

Friends, I have been studying Philemon this past week. One of my biggest summer struggles is – wrapped up in how my physical affliction affects my love relationship with Jesus Christ.

He still loves me.

I just get wrapped up in the defeat of my life, during those moments where I am roughed up.

The Brokenness

During these moments, I feel broken on many levels. It starts with the physical affliction (Dysautonomia and ‘friends’), but it does not end there. It continues on to affect the emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual aspects of who I am.

It is in these moments, where I am severely tested and tempted. It is in these moments, where I am at my rawest place – where I see who I could potentially become… if I don’t take care of myself physically and spiritually.

Spiritual Care

A week ago, I decided I wanted to do something about the direction I was headed. I know the summer struggles a bit too well. I wrestle not feeling well. I wrestle not getting into the Word of God. I wrestle in my prayer life, moreso than usual. I wrestle in being unloving to others I care for.

Scripture Writing Plan

So, I set up a Scripture Writing Reading Plan over on my Instagram/FB (for the blog) account. I divided up the month of May, where I can study the book of Philemon and Jude.

Social Media

Why use Instagram/FB? IG, in particular, offers me a way to be accountable. Not only am I posting each day’s assigned reading, I am also posting my journal entry for that given day. Most days, I don’t even get to it – until later in the day.

But, it keeps me accountable.

It helps me to see others thinking about joining in.

(Meaning: I am not studying all on my own. But, others are joining in.)

It helps me to feel as though a community is joining me in my current Bible study (even if I am mostly doing it alone).

It creates a space, where I can carve out Jesus time – and – be reminded of that day’s assigned reading.

It is also a way of allowing Him to use that time for me personally, and to meet others in their sore spot too.

And, He will use it for His glory!

Current Book: Philemon

But, I am thankful that I am able to stay consistent and learn from this group of men. They each faced struggle and heartache. I wasn’t thinking of that, when I considered studying this book.

I actually only chose it, because it was short. I have secretly adored this book, but haven’t given myself the time and attention to study it like I have hoped.

Until now, that is.

The Message

In the book of Philemon, Paul and Timothy wrote to their dear brother – Philemon. Paul is writing from prison, to Philemon whose slave ran away.

But as Onesimus (the slave) ran away, he ends up meeting Paul (possibly put in prison for his crime of becoming a runaway slave) and coming to know our Lord Jesus Christ!

Sometimes, our circumstances make us desire to run away.

It doesn’t mean Philemon was a horrible man… Or, unjust. All we know is Onesimus wanted to run away – and – so he did.

The Raw Truth

Can I be raw for a second? I want to run away. Friends, I want to run away badly. You may be in a similar circumstance, where running away sounds very appealing right now. I don’t know what you are facing, but I do know God is more than enough to meet us right in the middle of our hardship and great needs.

Our hearts are not too much for our Lord Jesus to bear. In fact, He wants us to come boldly to His throne. He wants us to welcome Him into our midst, so He can be our great Provider and Lover of our souls.

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most (Heb. 4:16).”

Jesus loves us. He wants to meet us in the middle of our hardships with great grace that will cover over every single thing we are facing right now.