Monthly Archives: April 2015

Always to the Left

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Well, in doing some mental calculations, carrying the one, then dividing by the year, and subtracting no symptoms, I come to the realization that I’ve been dealing with this illness for over 6 years. (I never was very good at math.) This is very discouraging to me because waaaay back in the beginning of my “diagnosis”—it is a “diagnosis” because a diagnosis usually has a cure, a treatment plan, and clear cut symptoms to rule out and pinpoint, but Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has nothing of the sort. I’ve always rejected that “diagnosis” and will forever put it in quotes to denote that I wholeheartedly disagree. Ok, , so way back when the doctor said this to me, he said it usually worked itself out in 5 years. At the time, I thought, “5 years? Who has that kinda time and patience?” As it turns out, I do.

It’s been over 6. I’ve seen everyone. Been everywhere. Had every test, including the one where they put a needle into muscle, then send electrical current through both to test conduction of nerves. I must say that was one of my least favorite. I’m not sure what my favorite is…that’ll be another article possibly. The doctor told my husband and I to stop trying to have kids after we obviously took a little longer to come to the conclusion to even have children. We decided our Bible said we didn’t have to. I’m so glad we stood in faith on God’s plan, not man’s. We have not one, but two amazing blessings thanks to Him!

I always hesitate to write about symptoms, but it is my hope and prayer that this will help someone. I’m a firm believer in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) but I also know what I deal with day in and day out. I’ve been healed since the beginning, but I’m certainly waiting (not-so-patiently) on the manifestation of that healing I guess. His thoughts are higher than mine…His ways are higher than mine…His thoughts are higher than mine…

So, here we go: symptoms I deal with on a daily basis, as this will be helpful to someone when I find my cure…

Dizziness, the kind where you try to blink to make it go away, but only makes your head spin more

Lightheadedness, a zoning out feeling making my head feel like it’s going to float off my body

Migraines, especially after I go to the work God has blessed me with

Falling to the left, always to the left (I appear to be the only one in the human race that finds this significant.)

Muscle weakness, an overwhelming feeling of unstrength in every muscle fiber

Utter fatigue, as in I can’t make my arms move anymore at times

Pain, in joints, but no particular one and in muscles, sharp, shooting, aching, dull, always a not-so-fun toss up of where it will be that day/hour

Susceptibility to other illnesses, a cold can take me down

Complete contentment at times with not breathing. This one may scare some, but it’s true. My body simply doesn’t have the energy to inspire at times. I stop, as though to give my body a break.

At one point, I had to call my husband, barely able to dial the phone to let him know that as I was driving to work, I pulled over because my body stopped. This happened at the very beginning of this journey when I dropped a pen while writing a report and couldn’t pick it up. The ambulance came and had to extract me from the vehicle, fully awake, just couldn’t make my body move. At least I’m different…*sigh.

I refuse to stop. I refuse to give up on this. After all, what choice do I have? I’ve seen specialists, taken up to 40+supplements a day, been on different prescribed medications, but in the end and through it all, I just need more Jesus. I don’t want to be the sick girl and I won’t be. I am the girl that Jesus healed because of her faith. I’m not sure what the plan is or how it will come about, but I know there’s coming a day on this earth, that I don’t have to deal with this. I know so many people have it so much worse than I do and for those I pray today because I have an idea of what it feels like, at the very least, to not have your day/life go as planned…

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Days That Don’t Add Up

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“God has numbered the days of your rule and they don’t add up.” This was the first translation of the first word, mene. That was the word written by the disembodied hand on King Belshazzar’s palace wall, at a party that I’d bet was talked about in social circles for some time. The second word, teqel, was translated as, “You have been weighed on the scales and you don’t weigh much.” Ouch. (Usually, it seems it would be a good thing to be told that, but obviously not by the Creator Himself and we’re surely not talking about how many mashed taters he ate at the shindig.) The last word, peres, translated, means, “Your kingdom has been divided up and handed over to the Medes and Persians.” So, on the same day, this “live-for-the-day” King was told he wouldn’t live long, he wasn’t worth much to God, and someone else would be given his territory. That’s a bad day. I got aggravated because I couldn’t find my socks and deemed it a bad start to a day, but I think it’s more than a slight contrast. King Belshazzar died the same night he thanked Daniel for the translation, who was promoted to 3rd in charge of the whole kingdom, wearing a new pretty purple robe and gold necklaces. (Daniel 5)

I couldn’t help but wonder how Daniel felt at this point when he heard the king had been killed. Was he saddened? Did he give a shrug, like, “Told ya so”? As a man of God, called upon to translate some pretty heavy stuff, deemed worthy of this task by His Creator, I’m sure his heart was heavy. Should he have said that? Of course he should’ve. That’s what God told him to say. Could he have prevented his death? Surely not, God knows what He’s doing right? Why didn’t He go about it a different way? Is this what I’m called to do? Questions, questions, and more questions. Analyzing the past, current, and the future situation. Trying to figure out the why’s and how’s and what-the-heck’s? is exhausting and stressful.

I feel as though many people think believers are very hard-core, not only not sharing Jesus’ love, but have a “told-ya-so” attitude and shoulder-shrugging apathy these days. “Well, we told them that would happen, didn’t we? They deserved that, right?” That stings a little bit even to type to be honest. Unfortunately, some believers act this way. It’s not that they don’t believe in Jesus or His amazing works, but I think they 1) haven’t grown in God the way they should 2) haven’t had a fresh word from Him in a long time 3) haven’t had the love of God shared with them lately, as odd as that may sound. As believers in Christ, we are called to grow by reading our Bibles (1 Peter 2:2). Some may not understand it (I didn’t for longer than I care to admit), but the Bible is a “living word.” No other book can claim that. It is God-breathed, so it hits where it needs to hit, depending on the situation, and it hugs when it needs to as well. You can experience this by talking to God and asking that He give you a revelation. He speaks through His Word and there are quite a few who haven’t heard His true voice in a long, long while. (There are also those who ignore it, but that’s another article.) Also, I think in order to grow as a believer, you also have to be surrounded by role models and those who exemplify the love of God through their works and deeds. (Turns out this is not how you get to heaven, but it makes life a lot better along the way.) See James 2:18-20. We are to edify each other, building each other up, because let’s face it, this life can get a wee bit discouraging. God knows this or He wouldn’t have mentioned discouragement as many times as He did…I tried to look this up, but my internet stopped working. I’m not discouraged, however.

Happy Life Now

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“MAHHH—AHM!!! My shovel won’t work!” I turn to see my daughter’s red face scrunched in a pout, as she struggles to wedge the tool, between some clods of dirt. The shovel albeit was a good foot and a half taller than she is. She had the right idea, but it surely wasn’t anywhere close to getting my plant in the ground. We had about ten plants (thanks to a generous friend) that had to get into soil that day or they would wither in the sun, wasting my beautiful gift! Now before you decide I insisted on child labor, this is not the case and anyone with a 3-year-old knows the true meaning of the old hymn, You are Never Alone.” This day was no different in that I had both kids, alternately riding tricycles, caring for sick doll babies, and helping mom.

Her exclamation got me to thinking how we have the right tools; God gave them to each of us. We each have a gift that “outweighs” the other blessings we have. And by that I mean, I may be able to sing, but that’s not my true calling. I may be able to dance, but I’m not going to audition for any shows anytime soon. Each of these tools are to be used for God’s glory. But there’s always one…the one that you dream of doing any chance you get or the one that you hope to do for a living or after you retire. If you turn that into what gives God praise, don’t ya know you’re set? You can throw away all those “Get the Happy Life You Want Now” books and really start living!

Step 1 of Sara’s Self-Help Blog Edition: We have to know our goal. Proverbs 16:3 says we are to “commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Huh? Is it really that simple? I believe it is. Commit that area to Him by asking Him to take control of your schedule. Ultimately, it is His schedule, after all, and His ideas are way better than ours.

Secondly, let’s figure out the gift or tool in our lives…what we’re really good at and what we’d cry about if we didn’t get to do it anymore. This can be anything from cooking to reading to writing to crocheting to walking dogs.

Then we follow the wise words of another Proverb (4:25) that tells us to “keep our eyes fixed straight ahead. Don’t look to the left and don’t look to the right.” (The Bible makes this sound so easy, eh? I type this with a hungry 3-year-old and an almost 2-year-old rubbing his eyes, tapping my arm, and trying out different variations and intonations of the word, “mom.”) We have to do our best to stay focused not only on the task at hand, but also on God’s big picture. God says in Isaiah 43:19 that He’s doing a new thing. I thank God for new things! There are so many days I wake up feeling like I need a change. Our God is in the business of changing things for the better. Each time we feel like we’ve forgotten how to use the gift God gave to us or why, we simply look to Him for help. We pray and ask for just what Isaiah 43:19 promises, a new thing. I’m not going to pretend I know what that would be in your case, especially if your gift is dog-walking, God bless you. He’s the One with the answers, we don’t have to have ‘em all. Sometimes God doesn’t want to hear what we know, He wants to hear that we know that He knows.

Finally, go for it! Make it yours by doing what you love, what He’s gifted you to do, and listen to Him for inspiration! Stay focused and enjoy this life that God blessed you with. There are many who didn’t get the chance to live out their gift like they wanted to, so don’t waste yours!

CFS/ME-Not Me

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Let me start out by saying, Bluh. It’s been a rough ol’ week. I have had quite a few symptoms come back on me and not to give anyone credit that doesn’t deserve it, but it seems he’s winning. (I know Who wins in the end. It’s the getting there that concerns me today.)

Myalgic encephalomyelitis is the new and improved name (or addition to the name) for chronic fatigue syndrome I hear. I wouldn’t know that except for the fact that I had to do some research as I’ll be trying the Paleo diet to improve my, uh, condition. I hate that it’s back to a condition, but it seems to be. I have muscle pains, headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, and extreme fatigue that renders my arms and legs useless at times. When this all began, I was at work, writing some paperwork, and I watched as the pen fell out of my hand and I was unable to pick it  up. This was right before I “passed out,” I didn’t lose consciousness, but I had what looked like petit seizures.
Here lately, I have been looking into blood sugar and hypoglycemia influences. If I take a few glucose tablets, which I bought for myself (I’m my own guinea pig) then my symptoms almost all but disappear and I am suddenly functioning like a human being again. I know nothing about blood sugar, but I do know that hypoglycemia can be caused by adrenal fatigue, which is what my symptoms look like, as the thyroid medication I was on never helped with my symptoms and made me “feel like a brand new woman” like the nurse promised. I’m on this journey and it is my prayer that I will know more within the next few weeks. It’s my goal to help someone out there with all of this, not to simply whine about symptoms.

Jell-O & Juice

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I can transform from SuperMom, making cartoon-shaped pancakes, into one I truly do not want to be like in any way whatsoever within a 3 minute time span. Why doesn’t it work vice versa? I never realized the roller coaster ride of being a mom would occur not only every day, but multiple times throughout that day. The top-o-the-peak, “Oh my goodness! What beautiful children we have been blessed with!” swooping down to the valley of, “I am going to put you outside, yes, without supervision, and leave you there. I am trying to stop myself from doing just that.”

Mommy needs prayer time. Instead of saying over and over to myself, “I’m gonna lose it…I’m gonna lose it…I’m really gonna lose it” and picturing myself on the 10 o’clock news, I choose prayer. This is not an easy task. There are so many times I catch myself not wanting help. How crazy is that? I know I need help. I even know the One Who can give the most and best help you could ever find. I shake my head as I still battle the “I can to this my way’s.” The cool thing is: God understands. He made me. (I’m sure He made you too, so I hope this is helpful.) He walks me through this process with unbelievable mercy.

This whole “dying-to-the-flesh” thing gets clearer to me everyday. I don’t think that’s something you get when you’re skipping off to Jell-O and juice at Vacation Bible School. In 1 Corinthians 15:31, Paul says, “I die daily.” As it turns out, this is a different process than feeling like you’re dying daily. There are days in this journey of motherhood I pray for Jesus to descend. It’s hard. But I have to remember there is wisdom to be gained (James 1:5) and prayers that are answered if we only take the time to ask (1 John 3:22). I’m gonna try my best today to change the audio playing over and over in my head in those not-so-SuperMom moments…like walking into the bathroom to find ½ a roll of shredded toilet paper scattered about and a close-to-full package of Pull-Ups in poopy toilet water…I did not pray in this moment for those of  you wondering. I screamed (remember when we said we wouldn’t be that mom?), I threw the nearest object (which my daughter saw=more momguilt), and I sat on the edge of the tub (that thing really needs to be scrubbed) and cried (mess-up-your-mascara-and-don’t-care-cryin’). I’m just trying to keep it real. No amount of Martha Stewart’s peanut butter and jelly bars can make this situation a good one. Prayer. Next time=prayer.

Facts & Feelings

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“Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength: we will sing and praise your might.” I don’t feel very strong today. Pastor has been doing a series called “I am because He is _________.” As believers, we get to be God’s kids. Just like you tell your children how great they are if/when they fail, God lovingly instills in our spirit how cool we are. He will explain to us us what and who we are if we let Him. Some may look at that as a negative, puffing up their chests and raising their chin a little higher, stating, “No one’s gonna tell me nothin’.I don’t need anything from anyone.” I know this due to the fact that the rebellious spirit exhibited here was mine a few years back. Iget to call people out because I’ve been there. See how that works? (Same with smokers, I can look someone in the eye and tell them all kinds of things because I’m an ex-smoker. It gives me some kind of pass…one that isn’t considered self-righteousness. I love free passes!)

I didn’t want anyone telling me anything, not even God Himself and He tends to know what He’s talking about. I had this ugly, “I’ll do it all by myself” -attitude and thought I didn’t need anyone’s help. I wound up in a place where I not only needed help, I needed the Almighty Himself’s help. No one else could get me out of the pit of addiction, depression, and apathy I found myself in. Not only did I feel weak, I didn’t feel like a child of the Most High God. There are facts and there are feelings. Many live in the feelings realm and never leave it. I’m not sure I would have if it weren’t for God and some folks who faithfully prayed.

FACT: We are made in His image (Genesis 1:27) and the image in the mirror is to be a reflection of Him. FEELING: This seems utterly overwhelming to me most days. In fact, I’ve never woke up, even on a good day, and thought, “God, aren’t you just so proud of me? I am exactly like You!” I’m not sure I’d want to hang out with anyone who thought that either.

It’s a process. We are His process. (“He’s still workin’ onnn me…”) How many processes don’t take time? Oodles and oodles of time. I want to be strong. I want to be meek. I want to be loving. I want to be compassionate to the man in the car driving 17 miles per hour in front of me on a day when I’m running late. (I’m always running late, so the odds of this happening on a day when I am are pretty good.) We don’t need to compare ourselves to God like we would instinctively to someone we admire or consider a role model. He is us. We are Him. Everything and more that Jesus did while He was here on earth, we can do. (John 14:12) When’s the last time you did something like Jesus did? I was happy I got the dishes done yesterday, but I don’t remember performing any other miracles. God is strong and able to do all things with power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) Believe big and that more is possible today. Don’t go on feelings and the thoughts you’ve heard in your head all your life. That tired audio is probably far from the truth. Accept this as fact:  know that our Creator does not lie. He never has and He never will. His Word is true and we are ________ because He is.

Scars Are Cool

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Many individuals have told me not to get my hopes up over the years, whether it be finding a car for the price I want or catching a sale item or a friend seemingly dying of cancer. That ugly c-word. That word holds so much power over people. The instant it is spoken, hope fades. A piece of that person’s belief system is undeniably affected because of that particular diagnosis. It’s as if when we hear the report of the doctor, we turn into fair-weather Christians, thinking this is the one thing that God can’t do. (“Oh! We’ve found it! God can handle everything but this!”) James 4:8 calls us “double-minded” with that kind of thinking. Eek! We are to cleanse our hands, and purify our hearts as we draw near to Him because He will draw near to us, even in that instance when we don’t think we can. Even when we look at our situation and don’t see it for what it is. John 11:4 shows where Jesus said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is to promote the glory of God, in order that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Whaaaat? God knows what He’s doin’? Matthew 9:35 speaks of Jesus going into all the towns and villages healing every disease and sickness, meaning, He cured people of everything from acne, brokenness, and didn’t shudder and cower in a corner when the “c-word” came next.

I don’t know what our hope is; maybe that we’ll go through this life with no wounds and no scars. Scars are cool. They show that not only have we been through stuff, but also that God’s doin’ stuff and He brought us through. There is nothing we can’t handle. Get your hopes back up. Don’t let them lay around beneath your feet. No matter what the report says, believe the report of the Almighty God that crafted you with His own brilliant hands.