Just Being Real

Having chronic pain sucks. Having people who don’t understand it sucks even more. There is so much information about different autoimmune diseases that can be researched for those who don’t suffer. Get educated! If a friend or a family member has something that they deal with on a regular basis, get to know the disease and the effects of it.

Why? Not for sympathy. The last thing someone dealing with these things needs is more sympathy. Compassion is needed. Understanding is needed. Support and prayer are needed. While we (who suffer) may sound like a broken record, the pain is still real. The discouragement that comes along with it is very real. Feeling like a complete failure sometimes comes with it, too. Not being able to care for your family as you wish completely hurts. Seeing your children do things that you should be doing but can’t because you know the repercussions of it will be worse than sucking up the pain and doing it yourself, sucks!

I know for myself that I don’t really want to talk about it much, but when it’s consuming your thoughts because you are trying to smile through the pain, the sighs and moans just come tumbling out. I am not sure if it is like this for all, but when I speak out, it’s because I can’t take anymore. I have tried to stuff it for so long, that it’s all I can think about. And sometimes I bring it up to a group of people so they know that I’m not just being a complete wretched person. I feel the need to explain why I may not be engaging, why I may not be my fun-loving self.

When I speak about it, I don’t necessarily want sympathy, although sometimes it is nice to hear concern, but sometimes receiving too much is a real issue. Speaking out about it is a moment of vulnerability for me. I may seem like I have a good attitude about it, but sometimes I just want to go in a corner and cry. And I do sometimes. Having chronic illnesses makes me feel like a burden to those close to me. I know that’s a lie, but that’s just the realness of it. Seeing my house become cluttered because my energy level has been zapped, can be overwhelming.

So what do you do for your loved ones who are struggling with stuff like this? You hug them. You love on them. You ask if you can help with anything. You pray for them above all else. And just listen when they do open up about it. Everyone knows that speaking out about hurts heals the heart. Telling someone with cancer to just suck it up or quickly changing the subject to avoid further conversation would not be acceptable, so why is it okay to respond that way to someone who has an “invisible” illness? No one can see my pain. If you meet me around town, you wouldn’t know what I have gone through and continue to go through.

I guess all I’m trying to get out is to be more sensitive. Even if you have heard this a million times. Do you think this person wants to keep asking for prayer or help with mundane tasks? No! But I know that God is bigger than all of this. Ultimately, I seek His love and strength overall, but He placed people in our lives for a reason. I have my good days and bad regarding the pain. I have good days and bad regarding my response to the pain. Today is not a great day and that’s okay. When I am weak, He is strong.

I don’t need responses of, “I’m sorry” and such. I’m just trying to make you aware of how your loved ones may be feeling. Just listen, hug, and pray. Don’t just shrug it off and say, “Here we go again…” because trust me, your loved one has not told you every time they have had to deal with this, only when it’s overwhelming. So imagine how much they are having to stuff on the inside to make your life easier and less complicated.

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Calgon…Take Me Away!

I don’t know about you but life has been crazy busy lately. I can’t keep up. Crazy thing is that’s exactly what the enemy wants. He wants me to be so consumed with everyday life that I don’t stop to spend time with Jesus, and I have to be honest, sometimes it works. I don’t claim to be this perfect Christian and if I have ever come off that way, I apologize. Some days all I can seem to muster is a “Hello, God. What do you have in mind today?” I do try to take time to cherish the small things, such as my kids’ sweet touches, the birds chirping, noticing the favor that I have because of Him. I’m so very thankful for what He does; I just wish I was better with my time. Got to have goals, right?

Still continuing the no gluten diet as best as I can. I do notice a difference with my stomach. If I eat gluten a few times, my stomach will hate me, so it’s not worth it. My aches and pains have been better, too. David likes to joke with me that I should put my supplements in a bowl with milk and eat it for breakfast, because of the amount that I take. I do take a lot and it does cost more money than prescriptions but to me it’s worth it. I feel that I’m finally at a healthy point.

Something that God revealed to me the other day was pretty cool. Someone shared with me that often times when we have a certain gift from God that the enemy will attack that area. For example, I have been told several times that I have the gift of healing. I know what you may be thinking, how the heck do you have that if you are always sick. But that is the point! The enemy has attacked that area of my life hoping to discourage me from praying for others to be healed, to be discouraged that I won’t receive my healing. This was a huge revelation for me because I definitely felt that way many times. I have thought to myself, “why should I pray for them if I can’t even get healed?” Now, I continue to fight; even through the sickness. Do I still get discouraged? At times, yes. Will I remain defeated? Heck no! If anything, I get angry with the enemy and use the authority that God has given me. I also have faith that He will heal! I have also learned (in my heart, not just my head) that even if I don’t get healed, HE IS STILL GOOD! His heart is to heal me and others. Why we don’t always get healed is beyond my understanding but I do know that He can use that for His purposes, which are always good. I have gained more understanding and compassion for others who suffer.

So let me head back to my hectic schedule. Can’t wait for the beach next week!

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Days 4-5 – Flying Away

This Sunday brings stormy weather. Stormy weather = movies and snack food. Am I staying strong? I’d like to say yes, but I’ve eaten some of my favorite Easter candy. Cadbury Mini Robin Eggs…delish. I have not eaten gluten, though,  and I will stay strong there.

Had an amazing and productive Saturday though. Wish that the weather would have been great today too, because my lil’ man was supposed to start t-ball today. Thanks bipolar Louisiana weather…thanks! My Saturday consisted of running some errands with the hubs and shopping for my dude’s t-ball equipment, a little bit of wedding planning for my sis-in-law and it ended in an awesome night of family baseball with Whittlebit and his little. Never a dull, boring night with him.

David BBQed some amazing burgers last night along with jalapeno poppers and asparagus wrapped in bacon. I ate my burger with romaine lettuce, cheese, grilled onions and tomatoes. Are you salivating? You should be. I again stayed strong and didn’t eat gluten. When I set my mind to something, I accomplish it. If you try to tell me I can’t, I’ll work even harder to prove you wrong. (Probably the only area where my rebellious side is a good thing.)

floodOn our way to church today and we got rejected at every angle. University was flooded and so was Evangeline Thruway. We turned around and headed home. I saw a lady on the side of the frontage road walking with groceries. We pulled around on the next exit to give her a lift, but she was gone. If we couldn’t make it to church, we were going to be the church. Thankfully, God sees all that we do and knows our heart. Keep that in mind the next time you are teetering on the line of sin and following Him. If your pastor or person of influence was with you at all times. how would you act? Would your “uncontrollable” outbursts be more controllable? Would your actions and words sound and look different? Hmmmm….something to chew on and digest today on this rainy and very windy Sunday!

Days 3-4…I stayed strong.

I said no to pizza tonight. Yes, you heard pizzathat right. I said, No! Homegroup at my house tonight and some friends brought pizza. I stayed strong and ate corn chips with salsa, yogurt and cheese. Weird combo, I know, but I said no to pizza! I’m celebrating! Celebrate with me!

For lunch today I had an amazing grilled market salad from Chick-fil-a. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must! Apples, strawberries, nuts and granola over a bed of greens and topped with sliced tender chicken. Aahhmmazing!

So I now that I’ve tooted my own horn, I thought I would share with you something I loved hearing today. A friend of mine’s 6 year old son gave all of his $9 that he earned to a girl with leukemia. Guys…that’s how God wants us to be. Come like little children, He said. With that little boy giving all that he had, he didn’t have a care in the world of how he would get fed or have a roof over his head. He relied on his parents to do that. Are we relying on God like that? Are we giving our all to those in need, being Jesus’ hands and feet, and are we trusting that God will meet our needs? How many times do we hold back because we want that certainty in our lives?

I’m not saying that we need to be foolish with our money and with what God has given us, but we need to be ready to trust Him if he places those things on our hearts. If He tells you to give someone $200, then do it. If He tells you to stop and pray for someone, do it! If He tells you to give up your night of fun for a friend who needs a shoulder to cry on, do it! Trust Him to provide what you need, because the truth is, if He told you to do it, then He will provide a way.

I just found that little boy’s generosity to be such an amazing analogy of how God wants us to be. So the question to ask ourselves, am I trusting Him enough to give my all? Am I willing to even ask what He wants me to do or are we only asking Him for what He can do for us?

Breakfast of Champions

Day 2 of beginning again and doing good. Yesterday was completely GF with a tiny bite of sugar. Literally. Which is good for me so I will take that success story and run with it. Yesterday’s menu consisted of oatmeal for breakfast, egg salad with bean chips and a Babybel cheese for lunch, and dinner was spaghetti made with GF noodles.

Today I made GF pancakes. Bisquick makes a GF mix. I have tried several recipes to make them from scratch without regular flour and they just taste nasty! If you have one that is good, please share. Until then, Bisquick it is. I had a banana this afternoon and that was it. My stomach is funky today so I’m not pushing it.

vitaminsWith my pancakes and honey this morning, I had a side of vitamins (hence the title, “Breakfast of Champions”.) My kids pick on me that I’m a horse because I’m taking horse pills. If you are curious what these are just let me know and I’ll give more details later. All my doctor said was that it’s for anti-inflammation.

I’ve stayed with a headache for the past few days because I really need to go to physical therapy. Well, last night David massaged the heck out of my face, head and neck. It was much better today, but I can feel it coming back. For those that don’t know, they found arthritis in my left jaw so there is nothing else I can do but treat the symptoms. Which a glass of wine, muscle relaxer and physical therapy seems to be the best treatment for me. Should I just start my day drinking wine? Hehehehehehehe…Fat-Amy

So Many Special Occasions

From one birthday party to the next, followed by a wedding shower or four, my diet has consisted of very unhealthy finger foods, and I might add that my will power has decreased as my waistline has increased. Discouragement and frustration is at its highest peak right now. Pain levels are increasing again as my diet gets worse and worse. Energy levels are beginning to tank. Time to regroup and start over. Things have to change and the change can only begin with me.

I’ve started this healthy eating journey one year ago and it went pretty smoothly until I got sick during the summer then the holidays rolled around. While eating Gluten-free (GF) and Sugar-free (SF) was on my to-do list, finances didn’t always agree. Let’s be honest….eating healthy is “spansive.” It came down to getting Christmas gifts vs. eating healthy. Christmas won! The motivation that I had when I first started this journey seems to be just out of my reach.

With that in mind, I’m blogging again and seeking encouragement and accountability. All of my friends around me are losing weight and eating healthy while I’m gaining their weight and chomping on Easter candy. Nothing changes if nothing changes, right? Well, I’m determined to change…again.

I do have to say that since I was put on a ton of supplements to help fight the inflammation in my body and all of the aches and pains from fibromyalgia, I have felt better and have had more energy. Now coupling that with healthy eating, I have high hopes. I may have gained some of the weight back that I originally lost, but if I lost it once, I will lose it again. And honestly, the weight thing does disappoint me but I just really want to feel better. imgres

So if you’ve made a great batch of cookies, a delicious cake, or a pound of bread, stay away from me or I will cut you! Don’t tempt me! Get behind me Satan!!!

He is Good!

When we have conferences at church, a level of expectation of God’s presence is raised. Walking away from the conference this weekend, I’m blown away! I love how I can hear something that I’ve heard before, but God reveals more of the depth behind it than before. I can only be encouraged in knowing that because He has revealed more to me is because He wants to take me to a more intimate level with Him. Oh, how my heart yearns for that! I love to sit in His presence. I fail more often that I would like in spending that quiet time with Him, but I have a new fire that has been set deep in my heart that I wish to keep ablaze.

I’ve always heard that God comes first. I’ve always heard to not give the devil more attention than is needed. Here are a few things that I picked up from John Thomas this weekend at Vineyard:

  1. We were created to please Him. He doesn’t need us, He wants us. Just as we take pleasure in our children, He takes pleasure in us. We are to spend our time giving all glory and praise to Him. Worship Him. Give your full attention to Him. Then, out of the overflow of that, we receive our strength, joy, peace, etc. I heard a song today that had new meaning for me. It spoke of how the joy of the Lord is our strength. My interpretation of that before was if we made our joy of the Lord, then we would have His strength. Now I perceive it as when we bring joy to the Lord, then the overflow of that would be our strength. How amazing! I hope I am getting my thoughts out clearly. My fingers can’t seem to keep up!
  2. The devil wants attention; the best thing for us to do is to ignore him. I’ve always entered prayer with others or for myself by coming against what the enemy was doing. Which isn’t wrong, but I probably spent way too much time focused on that then speaking life and truth over the person and for thanking God for what He was doing. We have authority through Jesus and we need to use it BOLDLY and CONFIDENTLY. I plan on doing this from now on. John also stated that we tend to blame the enemy for things gone wrong when it’s just a consequence of our disobedience to God. OUCH!

I’ve learned much more and may share later as more comes to my memory. I do hope for those reading this that it makes sense. I pray that God reveals to you exactly what you need to hear to gain your confidence and strength. In this past year, through all of the trials, I am reminded that God is still good despite all of that. Here is what I felt led to write down during worship. Enjoy and remember…HE IS GOOD!

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