Several years ago I was approached by a YouTube channel called “Invisible No More TV”. They had seen some of my advocacy videos for patients, chronic pain, RSD/CRPS and “invisible disabilities/illnesses”. They asked me if I would like to be featured on their channel in a short video describing “invisible disabilities” and being “invisible no more’. I agreed and I’ve been featured on that channel ever since 2012. I later found out that this YouTube channel is a part of a much bigger organization called the “Invisible Disabilities Association”. The reason that I’m telling you this today is because this week is “Invisible Disabilities Awareness week”. I’ve always been a team player for IDA and have always supported them and they have always supported me, since we met in 2012.
First of all, let me explain that an “invisible disability”, according to the IDA website, which you can find by visiting: Invisibledisabilities.org, is “a physical, mental or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities that is invisible to the onlooker. Unfortunatley the very fact that these symptoms are invisible, can lead to misunderstandings, false perceptions and judgements.” The Invisible Disabilities organization works tirelessly throughout the year to bring awareness to illnesses, diseases and disabilities that often times seem to go unnoticed. One week during the year, the third week of October is the time to share your journey with invisible disabilities. This year, that week is October 15th through the 21st, is “Invisible Disabilities awareness week”. During this wek, we will be posing many interactive posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These are where you can share your personal stories, advocacy, favorite people, places, pets and anything else like this that you wish to share. This is YOUR week to meet new friends, post a video or share stories with others. The reason for this is that we want to show you that you are “INVISIBLE NO MORE” and just because people say “but you look good”; doesn’t mean that nothing is wrong on the inside.
This is how this week will play out: On Monday we want you to “share your story”. You can post as much or as little as you wish. You can post a photo collage with a story underneath, or you can make a *short and sweet video (about 2 minutes is best). Please note that you can post your story throughout the week, but Monday is the starting date for this activity. On Tuesday we will be sharing stories of why invisible disabilities awareness is important in your life. You can make a video or a photo collage about your life and the millions of others who live with illness and pain that goes unseen sometimes. If you have the Invisible Disabilites glow-in-dark wristband, t-shirt or lapel pin; please wear it (you can buy them at the IDA website at: www.InvisibleDisabilities.org). If you have none or some of these, you can just choose a blue hat, scarf and/or a blue shirt. Invisible Disabilities Association wants to “turn the internet blue for millions living with Invisible Disabilities. IDA is on Instagram at: http://www.Instagram.com/invisibledisabilities, on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/InvDisabilities and on Facebook at: www.Facebook.com/InvisibleDisabilities. You can use the tag #InvisibleDisabilitiesWeek.
Just to give you a little bit of background about I.D.A.; they were founded in 1996. Their mission is to “encourage, educate and connect people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe”. They believe that “together we can make a difference in our communities and around the world.”
But now I just want to tell you a little bit about my friend Sherri Connell was an actress, dancer and loved to dance and sing. When she was 27 years old she lost the ability to take care of herself. She was diagnosed with progressive Multiple Sclerosis and she was in a wheelchair paralyzed. At first friends and family were understanding and supportive. She has been able to regain some use of her legs with a lot of work and effort. She still finds it difficult to stand and walk around. But because suddenly the other people in her life could no longer “see” how the MS was disabling, they stopped being as understanding. It was not the wheelchair that kept her from her career, but the disabling fatigue, cognitive dysfunctions, horrible pain and dizziness too. She could not care for her own daily needs.
Sherri’s husband Wayne, decided to try and tell people; help to educate their friends and family about her disabilities and illness. He published a few writings from her daily journals onto a website. They thought long and hard and then decided on the name “Invisible Disabilities Association”. Sherri quickly found out that she was not the only one, because she received numerous emails from people all over the world. These people reiterated that they too, had felt alone and felt like nobody understood what they were going through because sometimes it was or is “invisible”. Then it became Wayne and Sherri’s passion to help others with disabling conditions by first believing them, and then by being compassionate, supportive and hopeful.
So then, in 1996, Wayne founded the Invisible Disabilities Association (a 501(c)3); with a mision to “Encourage, Educate and Connect People, Organizations Touched by Illness, Pain and Disability Around the Globe”! If you have any questions, you can reach out to Sherri Mitchell Connell or Wayne Connell on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can also find them through the IDA website listed above. Let’s all have a great week of spreading the awareness of Invisible Disabilities, Invisible Pain and Illnesses that go unnoticed to others at times, but never to those of us who live with it on a daily basis.
I was reading my news feed today, feeling very much alone in my pain. I have a wonderful husband who does so much and he’s my soul-mate. I have two lovely daughters and 3 granddaughters, ages 1,3 & almost 5!
We had the 2 older ones sleep over last night. So far we have only had the eldest spend the night. That was easy and awesome. I love them all the same! They are my little blessings. But now I’m in so much pain, that I read the following post with tears in my Eyes. I feel like I’m swimming against the current bcz I try so hard to be upbeat and as “good as I can be”! Today’s been really tough and I’m hard on myself ! This writing is beautiful and the writer is not only a long time friend & Facebook friend; but she’s a talented writer. I have reposted her writing here, to share with you her beautiful words. She has a blog called “A Body Of Hope”. I hope you’ll check it out! Without further hesitation, here’s Mary Mattio’s beautiful words:
~If you’re having a bad day…this is for you
You have every right to feel overwhelmed, as though no one understands, maybe you feel afraid, or even hopeless. As far as I know, everyone living with long term illness understands these feelings. I know I do.
Illness, pain, long-suffering literally deprives the brain of the chemicals and hormones needed to feel happiness and at peace. It’s not pain or illness alone that causes depression, but the high levels of stress, constantly, over a long period of time that can inhibit the production of important nerve cells. The “optimistic” neurotransmitters like, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine are no longer in balance to counter the feelings of uselnessness, loneliness, and hopelessness. What might be a passing thought, thanks to the rigors of chronic illness, becomes a spiraling pit of despair. Pain gets into your very soul, and exhausts every resource.
This month is my 13 year anniversary with chronic pain (RSD/CRPS). When I became very ill 6 yrs ago, after several more illnesses struck suddenly, I felt as though I completely disappeared. Illness and pain swallowed me up.
If anyone is reading this and is being swallowed up, then you know it’s the loneliest feeling in the world to watch everyone go on and live happy lives while you fight for your own life in the shadows. Being drowned by an invisible adversary can seem like a practical joke. Everyone is in disbelief it could be “that bad.” But truly, aren’t we all in disbelief that it’s this bad?
I want to tell you what your brain would tell you if she were allowed to work at her full potential. I want to share what your soul is crying out for that pain has blocked.
You have a purpose, you always have. Your purpose did not end when you were diagnosed. A calling is not just a job, purpose goes beyond the walls of a building. You are meant to be.
You are enough. You are just as worthy and amazing as you always have been. Even though you might feel weak, you are gaining strength of character, wisdom, and you are learning things from this battle that no one can ever take from you. Please don’t accept the lie that you’re a failure, you are not. You are in the midst of the fight of your life. We can’t allow ourselves to believe we are losing. If your daughter, son, or grandparent were suffering from the very same condition as you, what would you want to tell them?
You can do this. Though you may be exhausted and even fragile right now, you aren’t even sure how you’ll go on another day. The pain is pushing you over the edge of what you can bare…but somehow you have risen to meet every single day before this. Remember every treatment, surgery, and frustrating doctor appointment. Never forget how many miles you have walked already. You have overcome so many impossible days. Just get through this day. Tomorrow is not for today.
You are beautiful. Sometimes we lose touch with our bodies, to separate and protect ourselves. Weight gain or weight loss, hair loss or teeth changes, swelling or skin changes…. we can look in the mirror and see a complete stranger staring back. You may not look or feel as you once did, but you can still get to know this amazing, lovely, and beautiful person. You are worthy of love. (PS. it’s ok to take selfies even if you don’t look like your old pictures!) People love you for all of you. You don’t have to appear perfect, no one is.
You are still the same person. Illness has a tricky way of detaching us from the longing of our past, splitting us apart from the face in the mirror, and isolating us from our loved ones. Who we were can float away, and illness begins to take us over. You are still her! You are still on your journey. Your path, your life, your experience is no less meaningful than anyone else’s.
One last thing that I think your brain would want to remind you… Things won’t be this way forever. Chronic conditions change over time. Life changes. Our perspectives change. Yes, any day your condition could progress and worsen. Or any day, you could begin to improve or go into remission. The truth is that we hear about progression and complications 10x more (TEN TIMES MORE) than we hear about people regaining health and wellness. There is no doctor or article online that can assure you of what tomorrow will hold. As much as your body and mind yell words like “incurable, degenerative, progressive, comorbidities,” instead let HOPE be your weapon of choice.
As illness continues to speak its lies to us, we must scream back truth to ourselves so loudly that every part of us can hear!
“The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they may both lead to the same destination.”
-Marion Zimmer Bradley
A beautiful song was in my soul today! I went to church and asked if I could use the chapel! So this is “How Great Thou Art” sung by Carrie Underwood! I hope you get chills like I do!
I have heard that my tragedies, illnesses, abuse etc. are cast upon me because maybe I am not virtuous enough? I’ve even heard that maybe I am cursed because I do not have enough faith? A friend of mine had someone in a local market say that they were going to “cast away the devil in her” because she carries a cane. I have had people say that they want to “lay hands upon me and pray upon me, because I am afflicted”, they feel that their prayers will “cast out evil spirits, or evilness that has caused my afflictions”. There was another who told me that I don’t “have enough God in my life” and therefore I have “so many tragedies” and it is because I “have not forgiven my abusers in this life”…..Sometimes I feel that over zealous, “fundamentalists”, who are excited about God’s miracles, try to “play God” in peoples lives. For instance, I heard about an 18 year old girl who went to a Christian camp and was told that her younger brother need not have died from Cancer, if only the family had more faith! WHAT? You NEVER know who is going to be stricken with an affliction, an illness, disease or grief. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you say. I am a “Chemo Angel”. I get assigned a person who’s going through chemo therapy and I send them small gifts & cards of cheer. Right now I have a small, 3 year old girl, with “Langerhans cell Histiocytosis (LCH) “, a form of childhood cancer. Could anyone say that she is ill because she doesn’t have enough Faith or that she’s done something to wrong God and he is “disappointed” in her? Can you say that she has had cancer for 3 out of her 4 years of life, because her family doesn’t have enough faith? NO, that would be cruel and judgemental!
First of all, none of the statements about “illness being due to a lack of Faith”, are accurate. Look at Job and all that he went through! Job was persecuted because of his faith in God. Job was given an “affliction”, not because he was “cursed” and certainly not by his own fault. Three of Job’s friends came to comfort him at the beginning of his worst pain and loss! They were sure that Job was sick and suffering because of the sins he had committed during his life. They told him that “righteous people don’t suffer”. Job always continued to say that he had done nothing sinful or wrong. In the Bible it does not say that a lack of healing is equal to a lack of faith! God can choose not to heal the faithful, but it is not connected to a lack of faith.
It is cruel, unloving, unkind and just wrong, to say that someone has a lack of faith and is ill, or stricken with loss and tragedy in life because they don’t have enough prayer, faith or enough love of Jesus Christ. To accost anyone in such a judgemental way does not help but only makes them feel marginalized and more alone. There are many different faiths in our society. Each Religion has its own set of beliefs, rules and rituals. I’m not here to judge any of these Faiths or beliefs, but I am here to say that nobody is sick because of their belief system or lack of faith. People don’t live with chronic pain day in and day out due to any Religious affiliations or lack thereof. We don’t use a cane, a wheelchair or a walker because we do not pray enough. It does not help a person with chronic pain and illness, to approach them and say any of the words that I’ve stated above. If you choose to pray for someone, then you can do that. But don’t try to push guilt and more pain onto anyone who’s already suffering. That doesn’t help, it only hurts and makes things much worse. Please try to remember to treat others as you would wish to be treated.
Wow, I cannot believe that 2017 is upon us already! Only a few more days and I will have gone through another year with unrelenting nerve pain from systemic/full body CRPS and several other painful illnesses. I have a choice to make, this New year, this month, this week and today. I can choose to get up and start again, to make positive choices and be a “doer”. On the other hand, I can go back to bed, be negative and be a “downer”. That doesn’t mean that some days aren’t going to be “downer” days. But we truly must try our best to make the most of each day. I have decided that some of us may need help getting started with the New Year and those pesky resolutions that we seem to start and never keep.
These are the kinds of things we can all do to help ourselves and each other to have a better year than the one or one’s prior. Here is my list of resolutions for the New Year, 2017:
- First of all, when you start to think more positively, you will become a more positive person. So first, and foremost start to think more positively.
- When you feel that you are having an especially bad day, take the morning to rest and recuperate. Try to do at least one thing in the afternoon, that will make you feel that you have accomplished a minimum of one activity each day. This activity may be as simple as taking a shower. When you deal with chronic illness, taking a shower can be very draining and therefore, this is an accomplishment!
- If you are a woman and you used to wear make up, try putting on making up once in awhile. If you are a man, then try to shave once in awhile and put on some after-shave, even if you live alone. You’ll be surprised at how different and revived it’ll make you feel.
- When you wake up in the morning, make a choice for yourself that this will be a “good day”. If not a “good day”; then at least try to make it a little bit better. The more we think positively, the better we will feel. This will lower Blood pressure and negative thoughts etc.
- whether you are with a husband, a partner or living alone, try to be more respectful of the other person or people around you. Remember that they are suffering your illness(es) as well. They are missing out when you cannot go with them to places and/or events as much as you are missing out on going. Just be mindful of how your actions cause reactions in the ones that you love.
- Get up and out of bed each day. Even if it is only to do a small action, such as moving onto your favorite chair instead of lying in bed all day. If you have a pet, sit with them in a different area. Give yourself different sense of scenery. You’ll see that just getting out of bed can make you feel more positive.
- Try each day to either watch a funny movie, read a good book or if you cannot get into this kind of commitment, then find some good articles on the internet to read. These things tend to keep our minds sharp and help with a positive mind set. Don’t read only the “bad stuff” in the News; or articles about your illness(es). Try to get “lost” into a fun or funny book /movie or a drama.
- If your memory is a bit foggy due to illness(es), try making a list. You can make a list of things that you want to accomplish in this New Year if you want to think long term. If you want to look at this in a shorter time frame then make a list each day, of things that you want to accomplish during that 24 hours. Check off things as you do them.
- Try to learn at least one new skill this year. There are so many things to do and many that we can do even if we are not feeling very well. There are things to do that pass the time, which are more positive. Some examples of larger scale activities or skills might be: sewing, making jewelry, cooking, knitting, crocheting or learning a new language.
- Try new activities on a smaller daily scale, such as: the new adult coloring books, go to library or get someone to go to the library for you and sign out some magazines and read through different articles, make a scrap or memory book or organize your photos. You could even do something as small as starting a new board on Pinterest.
- Remember that “junk drawer” or closet that has been cluttered up all year long? Clean those out and organize and you’ll be surprised at how much better you will feel! A weight seems to be lifted when we start to organize or “de-clutter”! If you cannot do it yourself, ask for help! Many people do want to help us if we allow it.
- Join an organization or group that does something good for yourself and others. You could join a support group or start one for a number of different causes.
- Volunteer at your local humane society or animal shelter. You can do tasks as simple as petting cats and /or dogs. Give love to an animal and see how that makes you feel more energetic and positive.
- Volunteer to read stories to children at a day care center or at your local library. That is a “sit-down” activity that will make you feel useful and children always make us feel loved.
- If you cannot get out of the house, then try to do something online. Volunteer to be a patient leader and do positive activities online such as positive Meme’s on Facebook or tweeting positive affirmations for yourself and others.
- Make your surroundings seem new, different or better by something as big as cleaning, painting (even just a little bit each day), putting up new pictures or rearranging your furniture. Get someone to help you if you need that. On a smaller scale you can do something as simple as changing your haircut, color or paint your nails. If you are a male, you can buff up your nails, clean them and put on some clear polish to feel and be more groomed.
- Lastly, you can find several organizations that need you. There are many church’s, libraries and Senior centers that would love to have you come to visit even just for an hour once per week. If you cannot get out of the house, then try looking into being a Chemo-angel (you write letters or send small gifts weekly to persons going through chemo-therapy). You can start your own “sunshine” type of group and send letters to those who are feeling ill just like you and me. When you do something for others, it helps your own Psychological and physical health.
Above I have given you 17 “New Year’s Activities” for 2017. If you can force yourself to get up each day, get out of bed and cleanse your body and your soul; you will be one step closer to feeling more positive. If at all possible, do something each day that makes that day just a bit brighter. If each day is similar and we do all of the same mundane things, then we will get into a “rut”. Get out of your “rut” and think of someone else. You will be amazed at how good you’ll feel just by giving some of yourself to someone else’s cause. There are many excuses for not doing, going or getting out of bed. So many of us have chronic daily pain that make it difficult. I understand that because I am one of these people. But I have found that by joining organization(s) in which I have control of how much or how little I have to contribute daily; I can lower my pain if only for a few moments or hours. By giving of myself and helping others who are also in pain, I can do so many things! What I’m trying to explain is that these things pass the time. The days can become so long when we leave ourselves alone and vulnerable to our own thoughts. Keep your thoughts as upbeat as possible. You’ll be surprised at how much more energy you have when you are positive. It takes more energy to be negative and many more muscles to frown than to smile. Make someone else smile and you will be a happier person.
I don’t mean that you have to do something every single hour of every day. Of course we all need some down time. We need our naps & restful periods to regroup,recoup and revive ourselves! Have a Blessed New Year and I will be praying and hoping that you have a healthier, more positive 2017! When all else fails, put on some headphones, turn down the lights and listen to your favorite music! See you in the New Year!
It’s been a rough few months but now it’s time to get to the “present” and think about the holidays. Even though Christmas day is done it’s still a great time to think about the “true” meaning of the holidays.
We had a wonderful “pre-Christmas” family get-together this year. It was at our house last weekend before Christmas! It was a wonderful and awesome family time together. I got to have both of my daughters, their husbands and our 3 granddaughters all together under one roof! It was awesome! I got to sit out in my rocking chair, in the living room; while rocking our youngest granddaughter to sleep. She was so quiet, serene and held onto my finger. While rocking her to sleep, it was wonderful listening to the chatter throughout the house. Everyone was happy, talking and laughing. It’s times like these and occasions like this that are the foundation for building the memories we wish for ourselves and our families.
Now…I know the word “family” can hit a nerve with some people, especially during the Holiday season. But you know that you don’t have to force yourself to sit in a room filled with people who: put you down, denigrate you, degrade you, call you names, hurt you and don’t love you the way they should. YOU are worth more than this! Why people do this and complain about it, I will never understand? A “family” doesn’t have to be biological. Your family might be a group of your chosen friends.
I’ve come to the conclusion that we put too many expectations on the Christmas season. This is why so many people get more depressed, stressed and the suicide rate is even higher at this time of year.
If you have read any of this blog from the beginning, then you KNOW that I have some reasons to NOT like Christmas time and/or the holiday season. My mother died on December 22, 2002~and my grandmother died on December 30, 1986! I’ve got health issues and most of all chronic intractable pain! I have a progressive, most painful Neurological and autoimmune disease called “RSD/CRPS”. It is also known as “Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome”. Mine is systemic/full body, disseminated and severe. I have Dysautonomia/POTS/NCS and you can just *Google any of those if you wish.(If you have any questions, please message me because I can send you in the right direction if you are suffering from any of these illnesses and I may be able to help with some others too!)
My message to you this holiday season, is to try and NOT go if you don’t HAVE TO GO!~ Don’t spend time with people who don’t deserve you. Concentrate on those that are there for you all of the times, good and bad. If you must be alone, you can turn on music that is calming. You can watch Holiday movies or even drama, adventure films or comedies. If you feel like you want to get out of the house, it is OK to go to the movies by yourself. They are open on Christmas and New Years day.
Spoil yourself and sit with a comfy blanket, read a good book or play with your IPAD, laptop or your smart phone. You may choose to color with markers, crayons or chunky crayons (if your hands hurt badly) in those great new adult type of coloring books. You may choose to bake, do crafts or make a scrapbook.
The other thing is this….if you really have someone that you love and you want to be with them but you can’t possibly be there. That’s what SKYPE and /or FACETIME are for! We have friends in Scotland, Australia and Singapore and on Christmas sometimes we turn on the Face time or Skype and we open our pressies from each other IN FRONT OF EACH OTHER! Isn’t that way cool? Technology has become a life saver for many people.
If you are full of bad memories and they are clogging up your mind. Try to think of at least one or two good memories that you have?? I remember our church program one year when they had videotaped children seeing their Military parents come home for Christmas! These kids were in awe with their mouths as open as I’ve never seen before. They were genuinely excited and totally surprised to see their father or mother. They hadn’t thought they’d be seeing them and suddenly that parent walked into their classroom or someplace where they could surprise them well! The looks on their faces were precious and priceless!
I have a GOOD memory,that I want to share with you today. Much of my blog is about some of the bad things that have happened and seems to continue to happen to me throughout my life. But today, I want to share a happy memory and I hope it will help you through your holidays that sometimes can feel “empty” and /or “hopeless” when you are not celebrating as the rest of the population “appears” to be celebrating. Just remember, you have to make your own atmosphere and do what you can to stay “afloat” and not get too sad. There are some suggestions above, that I’ve given you. There are others in books and blogs and websites, you just have to go and look for the help you need.
Here is my happy memory: When I was about 12 years old, I had made friends with a “grandma” type lady down the street from us. Her name was “Mrs. Usitis” and she invited me to tag along with her to Pennsylvania from Michigan where we lived. My parents allowed me to go because I was going with her and she was taking me to visit with her grand niece who was just one year older than me.
We arrived and I stayed with the young niece and her parents and Mrs. U. stayed with her sister and brother in law. I had a wonderful time and they treated me very well. But I just didn’t know them well, yet..at the time. I had never been away from home or even really never spent the night anywhere before that. I was homesick. I missed my bed and my mom and dad.*( I don’t have a ton of bad memories as a very very young child. I have some and some that I thought were “normal” and I’ve since found out that they are not “normal” and they were downright abusive even then, when I thought my family was “normal” and that I was the “bad one”.)
My mom got my phone calls and I couldn’t sleep or eat and I felt really far away from anything I knew. She spoke to a cousin of hers in Pennsylvania and they said that the friends who I was staying with could bring me to their home. They thought if I was with “COUSINS”(even though I’d never even met them), that it might help me feel more comfortable. I still felt homesick and was crying and wanted to go home, because I didn’t know them either. They were as nice as they could be to me!
As I was walking around their house one day, eating a Popsicle, I heard the doorbell ring. She opened the door and there standing in the doorway, I saw my “DADDY”!!!(My brothers came too, but I didn’t care so much about them being there, as they drove with dad to keep him company…ha ha…). Back in those days, I felt that my dad and my oldest brother were my “protectors”. At the age of 12, in my head, I thought that I was “bad” and that everything that happened at our house was my fault. At that time, I felt that my mom was the more abusive person in the household. As you grow older and get the “help” or much needed therapy; you find that reality is not what you once thought.
I saw the door open and my dad was standing on the front porch. At the same time, I threw my Popsicle out into the abyss of “wherever?” and I ran as fast as possible and jumped up into my dads arms! OH….oh how I love that memory! He came to rescue me from nothing whatsoever that was “bad”, but just my being homesick for familiar surroundings. I had led and have really led a very sheltered life especially back then. We didn’t go on vacations, I didn’t go out to dinner with my parents or family; rarely even on special occasions. We pretty much went to school and stayed home. So you can imagine what a “culture shock” it would have been for me at that age and after never being out of my state OF Michigan. I mean…I went on my first airplane ride, with a neighbor lady, not someone I knew REALLY well.(But they were the nicest people…they even fed me when they knew I was hungry because I wasn’t allowed to eat much at home, at all.), and was going to stay maybe 10 days to 2 weeks? I cannot remember all of those details, but the best part of that story was when I threw my Popsicle wherever it went, we’ll never know!! LOL ….I ran and jumped up into my “daddy’s arms”.
Now THAT’s a good memory, huh?
I just wanted to reiterate that you don’t have to “choose” to be down, lonely ,sad etc during the holidays. I try to remember that life goes both ways. There are people who have it much better than me, and there are also those who have a much more difficult existence than I do. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice because we can get into a “rut”. When pain is all you know and you feel it day in and day out. When you hurt no matter if you’re lying down, sitting in a chair or trying to walk a bit. It’s hard to not concentrate on the bad stuff. It’s sometimes difficult to see others who are not in pain doing the things that we want to do. But Life is only 10% what happens to you and 90% is the way you look at it, or your own attitude! Try to relax, breathe and enjoy whatever moments that you can and don’t expect anything and you won’t be let down!
Happy Holiday season to everyone. Please pray for our Soldiers who will not be able to be anywhere near home for the Holidays, with their own families. They are out fighting for our country and our lives, our children and grandchildren’s future and lives too! Pray for them, for the young men and women who are fighting as I write this blog. My friend, “R”, has a son who is in Afghanistan right now. He left just a month ago or so? He is one that cannot make it home for Christmas. So let’s pray for “R” and her son, “S” and anyone else that you’d like to say a prayer for at this time and during this season of Jesus’ birth.
I have heard lately, that my tragedies, illnesses, abuse etc. are cast upon me because maybe I am not virtuous enough? Maybe I am not “Godly enough”? Possibly I am cursed or being put upon because I do not have enough faith or pray enough. A friend of mine had someone stop them at Wal-mart and tell them they were going to “cast away the devil in them” because he carries a cane. I have had people say that they want to “lay hands upon me and pray upon me, because I am afflicted”, they feel that their prayers will “cast out evil spirits, or evilness that has caused my afflictions”. There has been another who told me that I don’t “have enough God in my life” and therefore I have “so many tragedies” and it is because I “have not forgiven my abusers in this life”…..Sometimes I feel that over zealous -fundamentalist Christians, who are excited about God’s miracles, try to “be God” in peoples lives. For instance, I heard about an 18 year old girl who went to a Christian camp and was told that her younger brother need not have died from Cancer, if only the family had more or even enough faith! WHAT??? You NEVER know who is going to be stricken with an affliction, an illness, disease or grief. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you say. I am a “Chemo Angel”. I get assigned a person who’s going through chemo therapy and I send them small gifts, cards of cheer. Right now I have a small, 3 year old girl, with “Langerhans cell Histiocytosis (LCH) “, a form of childhood cancer. Could anyone say that she is ill because she doesn’t have enough Faith or that she’s done something to wrong God and he is “disappointed” in her? Can you say that she has cancer for the last 2 out of 3 years of her young life, because her family doesn’t have enough faith? NO!! That would be heretic in the very least!
First of all, none of the above statements about illness being for a lack of Faith, are true. I believe in my whole heart and soul that I am a God loving and God fearing believer of Jesus Christ. I believe in One God, the Father and the creator of Heaven and Earth.I believe in one being with the Father and through him all things were made. I believe that Jesus Christ his only son came down from Heaven and suffered, died and was buried. I believe that on the 3rd day he rose up into Heaven, with his fresh wounds in full view and he did not try to hide them. Jesus suffered more than anyone has ever suffered. He suffered and was persecuted all of his life and most of all at Cavalry. He was called a “fake” and much worse. He was abandoned, denied, and he was physically and verbally abused. He never tried to hide these facts. They are not a cause of shame for Jesus. He went up into Heaven on the 3rd day and rose from the dead, in fulfillment of the scriptures. He is seated at the right hand of the Father, God. He did not hide his wounds as he appeared to the Apostles and showed them his fresh wounds. He is seated with God the father and his wounds were not healed. Jesus had more faith than any human that ever lived. He most certainly was and is both God and Man but His suffering was not taken away because He lacked enough faith. No,actually, “the author of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:12..*****SOMETIMES it is because we HAVE FAITH that we SUFFER…LIKE JESUS DID!!!
Look at Job and all that he went through! Job was persecuted because of his faith in God. Satan told God “take away his good life and see how much faith he really has?” Job was given boils and lost his 10 children and so much more happened to him that would be just horrific for any of us to live with. Job was given an “affliction”, not because he was “cursed”. Not because he did not have “enough” of God or praying in his life. Job was given these things along with his afflictions, BECAUSE of his belief in our Lord God. Three of Job’s friends came to comfort him at the beginning of his worst pain and loss! They were silent for 7 days. Once they began to talk they ruined everything. All 3 of them in different ways hurt Job deeply and accused Job of sinning. They were sure that Job was sick and suffering because of the sins he had committed during his life. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar had believed and then told Job that “righteous people don’t suffer.“ They figured if Job was suffering (and he was suffering horribly), he must’ve committed a terrible sin, secretive sin. His friends told him to admit his sins to God and then “he will make you well and give you back your health”. Job always continued to say that he had done nothing sinful or wrong. He didn’t feel that he deserved such an attack from God but refused to shake his faith in a merciful God; because he had not sinned and he had great faith. Job and millions of other faithful believers, may come to believe that we are afflicted or ill, well within the intent, will and purpose of God. He is the Artist and we are the clay. It does not say anywhere in the Bible that a lack of healing is equal to a lack of faith!!! God can choose not to heal the faithful, but it is not connected to a lack of faith.
We need to examine our own hearts if we are stricken with illness. Anyone who has sinned, or who has not been obedient, should pray and ask God for forgiveness; whether sick or well. We should all make the changes that God asks us to make through prayer. The sick and well alike should search their hearts and also allow God into their hearts! BUT we can have a sin-free heart and soul, a super clear conscience to stand before Jesus Christ; and still be sick!!!!. It is cruel, unloving, unGodly, unkind and UNBIBLICAL to say that someone has a lack of faith and is ill, or stricken with loss and tragedy in life because they don’t have enough prayer, faith or enough love of Jesus Christ and/or God. Many people in the Bible’s stories who were sick, weren’t ill because of their own sins….NO…They were followers of Jesus Christ and they were very faithful. God, for unknown reasons, possibly many different reasons, had it in his plan that some must endure physical illness. Most of the faithful followers who were ill, were afflicted due to their great Faith and not for a “lack of Faith”. I cannot think of any person in the Bible who is a follower and believer in Jesus Christ, who suffers or suffered, and their lack of Faith was to blame. In John 11 1:14 you will see these words: “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” These do not sound like words about illness for lack of Faith! Also…think about a poor Sudanese person, ravaged with illness throughout his/her body because they are so malnourished. They had no way to get the food that their body needed to keep the illnesses away. What if they heard these words? How do you think that would make them feel? I wonder how many Christians, like me, have suffered or are suffering in despair because someone has said such cruel words of condemnation to them?
Having Faith pretty much assures us that we WILL suffer. Look at Paul in the Bible, who had great faith in Jesus Christ and he had even seen the resurrected Christ. This did not reduce his sufferings at all!! . In 2 Corinthians, it states some of the sufferings he endured, “as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger” (2 Cor 6:4-5). Paul suffered so much, “yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor 6:9-10). Here Paul had so many negative and horrible things happen to him! He suffered: beatings, imprisonment, was in riots, had hunger, sleeplessness, was beaten, felt sorrowful and he was poor! He had nothing but possessed everything due to the faith he had in his ministry, his future deliverance, and in Jesus Christ!. I believe that our sufferings keep us in prayer more often. I believe also that illness and suffering cause us to depend on God more frequently and thus it keeps us humble. Perhaps this is why God refused to heal Paul even though he prayed three times to have his “thorn in the flesh” removed. God didn’t tell Paul that he didn’t have enough faith but that God’s grace was enough for him. Paul says, “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, [kept Paul humble] I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me [kept Paul in prayer]. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. [kept Paul dependent upon God]” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me [glorifying Christ]. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong [when he is suffering, he must depend on God Who shows Himself strong]” (2 Cor 12:7-10).
If you would like to read more about this subject in the Bible, you can find some discussions in the following places:
Psalms 71:20-21 “You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.”
John 16:22 “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. (Jesus’ words)”
I found this verse the most profound for my own situation. I am going to keep this one close to my lips when the tormentors try to admonish me or even make fun of me for being ill, for having been abused and for having had many tragedies in my life thus far (I am 54 yrs old). I will tell them to go to Lamentations 3:31-32 “For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”
Today I’m taking a turn…sort of another view because I do tend to speak of everything that has happened and how much is going on and what’s bothering me. It’s only because so much has happened in my life. Even the SSDI people and my own Psychologist says that I’m the “worst childhood trauma/abuse case that they’ve seen in the past 35 years”. My Psychologist says he’s surprised that I’m not “dead or crazy”and believe me…I’m not either of those things! LOL…I’m moving on with my life. I do still speak of things that hurt or bother me, but I don’t live my daily life dwelling about it all.
I will now tell you of the good things, the positive things that I’m doing in my life. I just want to share so everyone knows and I also see, because it’s in writing; that I’m trying hard to be happy and do good in this sometimes really crazy, hard world.
I’m a “mentor” for newly diagnosed RSD/CRPS patients! I love doing this because I still have my own Mentor too! It helps alot when you are told that you have this Painful, neurological, progressive, burning, hurting disease and you know nothing about it. It can be very scary and you need someone to talk to. Someone who’s available to talk to or ask questions. I have a support group for any kind of chronic pain patient. It is on Facebook pages and it’s called “Invisible Diseases, Especially Chronic Pain & RSD/CRPS”. I have 1,450 or so people in the “Cause” phase of this group. This means the phase for Research,Awareness,Support and Education regarding Chronic Pain Illnesses. That part is on CAUSES on Facebook and it’s titled “R.A.S.E. for Chronic Pain & RSD/CRPS”…I named it “RASE” and I thought that was pretty “catchy”…LOL..
The PAGE part of the support group as titled above is full of about 800 people from all over the globe, who are in pain and are suffering from one chronic pain illness or many! We all support and help each other. Sometimes now I can even “bow out” for awhile because I just cannot do it all with my own pain issues etc. They take care of me and each other now. I don’t have to take care of everyone because we all take care of each other. I do try to look each week and answer any questions and give support and any answers that I can, to new people or long time groupies! If you or someone you know has a chronic pain illness or RSD/CRPS, please contact me and I’ll point you in the right directions.
Now, I want to write about inspiration and Christianity and God. If you want to stop reading, now is your chance to go and come back next time, for another subject. If you have different beliefs and faith’s, I don’t judge you. This is what I believe, so please don’t judge me. I’m here for you whatever your beliefs.
My youngest daughter, Amy and I went to a “Beth Moore” Simulcast seminar recently (*September 15,2012). It was about how “God has not called us to “FINE” but he’s called us to “FAITH”. I didn’t get to stay for all of the 7 points she was going to make. I had surgery just the previous Monday and was in alot of pain. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to spend time with my lovely daughter, who has recently moved out of the house and made me a full fledged “empty nester”..LOL. I had to try and go and I wanted to spend this quality time with her. We went to lunch and then went back until about 2:30 and it was finished around 4pm.
I just want to share some of the insights that I learned because this is a great forum to share and do some good.
I’m just speaking for women but it can be related by men also. This was just a “women’s conference” so I’m just going to be relating to that part today.
There are two spectrums that we can be on or someplace in the middle. There’s people that have nothing and some who seem to have everything. In other words one person might say “I’m fine” and the next might say “it’s all bad”. Usually it’s something or someplace in the middle. God doesn’t call us to “fine”…he calls us to “faith”.
When we are “needy” it makes us “weak”. If you think that you have everything you need….then you NEED to get a bigger, better life! In Phillipians God speaks of “contentment”. If you don’t ask then you don’t risk anything. We need to live a big life for Jesus, for ourselves too. I’m still trying, failing, getting back up and trying again. If you are at the full end of the spectrum, as in the person who “has everything” then you risk little. We have to risk drama or else we will “snore” away our spiritual life, our life in general.
Do you know or even realize how much “FEAR” is a crippler of life and of faith. It is never being able to realize or have a ‘miracle’ in our lives. In 2nd John:9 it says that “Fear lets the enemy take from me”. Sometimes we are afraid because of the life we’ve endured. I am one of those anxious and fearful persons. I used to be much worse than I am now; because now I have much more faith and love in my life.
I have many enemies, people who are cruel to me in my life. I’ve had one abuser after another in my life. Even today these abusers get pleasure from my pain. It stopped with my husband of 16 yrs, Craig. He’s my soul-mate and the love of my life. He and I speak passionately about things. I like that and it’s not abusive or mean or anything bad. I finally have someone who loves me for who I am and accepts me and who treats me with love and affection. In Psalm 44:5, the Bible states “through you we push back our enemies”…”through your name we trample our foes”. In Acts 18:9 it states “deal with fear today! Push back our enemy!” Beth Moore talked to us and she says as one of the points of our seminar; “Faith trusts that every call to forsake is a call to also take”. We need to forsake our fear and take our courage! When we don’t forsake our fear, we “take abundance of life”, she told us. We must want to decide today to forsake our fear and take courage instead!
Don’t accept bondage, fear, addiction, anxiety and all of those “bad” things that make us feel fearful and “bad”. NOW is the time for getting our faith back! Faith has no formula. There’s no way to “get” faith, you have to find it and have it. I’m still learning how to be faithful. It’s hard to push back the enemies, to have people in your life who want to “hurt” you and be “mean” to you, to put it simply. I’ve had honestly, more than my fair share, if you’ve read any of this blog from the beginning! I also have a private blog and if you want to read that, you need to contact me directly and I can add your name to the “allowed” list. It’s very private and deep and only about 10 people are allowed to read it right now, so far.
It takes so much faith to relieve yourself of “bitterness”. I need to forsake my bitterness in order to be faithful. It’s easy to hold onto bitterness when you’ve been abused and even when you’re still being abused when you’ve taken yourself out of the “situation”. Sometimes no matter what you do or where you go, you cannot run or hide from people who want to hurt you, especially when they are your own ‘blood’, your own biological family. Can you even imagine your own father and/or brothers turning your own daughter against you? Can you even imagine that this daughter has forsaken you? YOU..the one who was the ONLY person there for her, a contstant in her life always. Until she turned 18 and then took herself away and turns against you and spreads horrible lies and rumors. That is what has happened to me but I love her. I forgive her and I forgive them, though I cannot forget. I have to forgive in order to move on and in Psalm 119:39 it says “be kind to someone who mocks you”.
Lastly, I want to tell you something else that I got from the Beth Moore simulcast. If what we ask for doesn’t happen, it comes down to that “somethings up”. You might not understand it right now. I might not like it or understand it but God has his own reasons for NOT giving you exactly what you want sometimes. HE knows what’s best for us. If you talk to him and if you really “listen” with all of your heart and soul, you will learn to understand more fully what is his plan for your life.
I’ve been trying so hard not to be depressed, cry and have a horrible life because I miss my oldest daughter so very much. I think of her every day and I love her with all of my heart. I don’t understand why things happened or what exactly happened to make her turn against me after feeling so close to her all of the growing up years. I was a constant in her life. I was always there to support her and stick up for her and love her.
I don’t know why I got an abusive biological family who wants to continue to “hurt” me. I don’t really know anyone else who’s got so many health issues, so much physical pain and emotional pain; who’s “family” absolutely despises them/her and continues to push hurt and pain upon her/them. I just know that if God hasn’t answered my requests, then he has his own plan for my life. He knows and only he knows “why” I cannot have her in my life right now. I can only hope and pray that my trust in him continues to grow and I learn to accept what “IS”.
Faith rests its case on the resurrection of God. He rose from the dead and he died for me, for all of us. We can get rid of a “bad life” for a good life with God..or what Beth Moore called a “God life”! In Ephesians1 18-20 it speaks more about this. I will end here and leave you to your thoughts. I hope I have provoked some good thoughts in your hearts today.
Forever yours, Suzanne