Why Her?

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Comparison is the heartbeat of feeling like one does not measure up. It is a timeless issue.  Additionally, it is a struggle most encounter at an extremely young age. This struggle plagues women in a unique way. We compare ourselves to the woman who “has it all together” or to the media. Regardless of how hard we try we just do not measure up. At times, we allow ourselves to ask, why does she have God’s favor and I don’t?

The enemy desires to separate us from Christ and embed doubt into our minds.  Comparison is one of the battles in the war fought for a woman’s heart. This struggle is found in women in all walks of life, but today I want to focus a little on the woman battling chronic illness.

Having a “broken” or “malfunctioning” body causes one to feel inadequate. When you are drained from the pain, symptoms, emotional break downs, changes in your physical appearance, dealing with insurance, and doctors it is easy to into a comparison trap. It may be tempting at times to run away from God. One might become angry with Him question what she did to deserve this.

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We look at the healthy woman. It must be nice to get out of bed in the morning rested. It must be nice living pain free. It must be nice to have a job and be independent. It must be nice to go out on a whim without planning according to your symptoms and not be stuck in bed for a week after. It must be nice eating whatever you want when you want to. It must be nice brushing your hair without chunks falling out. It must be nice…

Perhaps, at times you have envied other women with chronic illness. The woman who has a prestige medical team, a husband who supports her, friends who check in, or has made substantial progress. Other times, maybe you envy your old healthy self.

Because of chronic illness your dreams have been shattered. You lost the woman you were before this illness plagued your body. It has altered every relationship in your life.

Why does she get to live the life you always dreamed? Why are you trapped in your own body? How do you move forward in a way that honors God?

You were made to bring honor and glory to Christ. You were created, precious friend to live an abundant life. You were crafted for thanksgiving not for comparison.

It is possible to overcome comparison one moment at a time through the strength of Christ. Being rooted in Christ is vital to survive life with a chronic illness. Drinking in His presence while resting in His arms. Allowing His Word to consume you until you overflow is essential.

Let’s leave comparison in the past and begin living in a way that honors God. I want to invite you to join in a Bible study about overcoming comparison. We will dig into God’s Word in inspiring ways as we study Rachael and Leah. Click here for additional information. Online Bible study is an essential tool if you are chronically ill.

“In her new book, Why Her?, Nicki Koziarz uncovers six truths we need to hear when trying to measure up leaves you falling behind. Because truth, like always, will set us free. And free women don’t have to measure up to anybody. Not even her.

In this 6-week study of Why Her?, we will use Nicki’s powerful message to help you:

  • Conquer what comparison can do to your self-esteem by applying six powerful truths to your everyday life.
  • Start thriving in your own skin again as you battle the ever-present “must be nice” syndrome.
  • Apply what the Bible says about comparison to your own situation as we learn from two important women in Scripture.” Proverbs 31 Ministries

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A note from Nicki:

“Yes, #WhyHerBook is a book on how to battle comparison with Truth. And we all need Truth. But there’s so much we can learn from the story of Rachel & Leah.

Maybe you’ve studied the story of Rachel & Leah before but perhaps not like this. One of the things I’m most looking forward to with the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies is to study Genesis 29-35 in depth through the teaching series.

You’ll meet Jacob, Laban, Rachel & Leah in a new way. You’ll learn about how Jacob wrestled with God and how that led to the resting place with God.

We’ll discover how to discern if something someone says about God in the Bible is true or not. And what to do when comparison tries to compromise the wellness of your soul.

 

I hope you’re signed up for the totally free Online Study beginning April 9th!”

 

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1 John

 

1 John is an incredibly rich book of the Bible that is overlooked many times. God uses His faithful vessel, John to teach His children many lessons. John emphasizes fellowship with Christ, various aspects of sin, and living in the fullness of God’s unconditional love. At the heart of the letter, Christ aims to bring you into relationship with Him or enable you to grow in your relationship with Him.

“What we are telling you now is the very message we heard from Him: God is pure light, undimmed by darkness of any kind.” 1 John 1:5

“If we walk step by step in the light, where the Father is, then we are ultimately connected to each other through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son. His blood purifies us from all our sins.” 1 John 1:7

” But if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done.” 1 John 1:9

Anointed By The Father

“You have been given an anointing, a special touch from the Holy One. You know the truth…Let the good news, the story you have heard from the beginning of your journey, live in and take hold of you. If that happens and you focus on the good news, then you will always remain in a relationship with the Son and the Father.” 1 John 2:20 & 24 The Voice Translation

There are many days that I feel damaged. Furthermore, I feel like I don’t measure up. I hear the lies on repeat like a broken record not good enough, unworthy, and unlovable. Life is chaos. I start my day well meaning and focusing on God, but somewhere along the way I get side tracked. Before I know it, I am consumed with anxiety and overwhelmed to the point of tears. In those moments God can feel so far away. How do you handle moments like these?

You were compassionately and thoughtfully created by your Holy Father. He anointed You for a calling unlike anyone else’s on the earth. He has confidence in you to complete the calling on your life with His help. He anointed You, sweet sister setting you apart as His daughter. Jesus traded heaven for earth to suffer an incomprehensible death so that you could be with Him for eternity.

He called You good the day He created You. In Him you are righteous, sanctified, and holy. You have received a special touch, a kiss from heaven, from the Holy One. He sees the beauty He placed in your heart. Beloved. The apple of God’s eye. Forgiven, He has made every wrong right. Masterpiece. Priceless.

You know the truth, moreover, you know the good news. Allow it to continue to grow in your life. Let the roots be strengthened and be made new. This will be evident to all. Life in Christ isn’t easy, as you know, but it is worth it. He will equip you for the journey providing for you in each moment.

Guard your heart against the enemy and His lies. Be intentional in strengthening Your relationship with Christ. Never forget where your identity lies.

Abba, Daddy,

I feel inadequate to serve You. Unworthy and unequipped. I can see the lovely gifts You have graciously given others, but I struggle to see my own. You know I am damaged from living in a fallen world. I feel like my flaws are listed on my forehead at times. I desire to keep You first in everything I do yet I quickly lose focus.

My heart’s desire is to serve You though I feel as though I have nothing good to give. I surrender my little gift knowing it is more than enough in Your mighty hands. Equip me to serve You in amazing ways. My confidence is purely in You. I know You are faithful. You are the source of all I need.

Help me to take time to pause. To breath in the chaos and simplicity of everyday moments. Enable me to give the people in my life the very best. Help me to invest in others. Allow me to bring them closer to You. Allow me to freely give as I have freely received from You. Help me to love when it is inconvenient for me. Mold my heart to reflect the beauty of Yours.

I cherish Your living and holy Word. It is more valuable than money or earthly pleasures. Sweeter than the finest cuisine. Help me walk in the way you commanded. I desire to be obedient. Please give me a deeper understanding of Your word. Let me desire Your Word more day by day.

All Honor, Glory, and Praise belong to You now and forevermore.

Amen.

Treatment

What doctor can treat migraines? A few different ones can, but it depends on each individual and their experience. In some cases a primary care doctor treats them. Moreover, a neurologist or pain management may be reccommened.

Mayo Clinic offers some helpful tips to prepare for a doctors appointment:

  • Write down symptoms you’re experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to your migraines.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you’re taking. It’s particularly important to list all medications, as well as the dosages you have used to treat your headaches.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Treating migraines is a complex task. Many factors must be considered when considering a treatment plan.  There are a wide variety of options ranging from avoiding triggers, to medications, to lifestyle changes. The best outcomes usually come from constructing a well-balanced treatment plan and sticking to it.

Medications

There are two additional groups of medications pain-relieving and preventives. Over the counter medications are used first. These include Motion, Tylenol, or Excedrin.

Ergotamines according to WebMD, “narrow (constrict) blood vessels in the brain. It is not clear how they work to stop a migraine. ”

Triptans, assist people within two hours if a person takes it at the first sign of a migraine.

Anti-nausea medications such as Zofran to prevent vomiting and ease nausea.

Opioid medications are carefully used to treat migraines. For example, Codeine, Hydrocodone, often combined with acetaminophen in Lortab and Vicodin, Meperdine,  Oxycodone with acetaminophen in Percocet, Dilaudid, Butorphanol Tartrate (very addictive), Hydromorphone, under the brand name Actiq and Tramadol – Ultram. Mirgaine.com reports, narcotics work to relieve pain by preventing the release of the neurotransmitter Substance P in the nerves. This helps reduce the way migraine sufferers perceive pain in the brain. It is also sedating and cuts down how emotionally upset the migraine sufferer feels as a result of the pain.

Glucocorticoids prednisone or dexamethasone usually used in an emergency room or for a migraine that is out of control.

Medications for migraine prevention include Cardiovascular drugs, Antidepressants, Anti-seizure drugs and  Onabotulinumtoxin A (Botox).

Clinical trials are another option which may be for relievers or preventive medications. Almost all need a doctors approval.

Natural Remedies 

Natural remedies are usually best when paired with western medicine. Gluten-free diets are helpful in some cases.  Depending on the person tea such as Pu-erh, Green, or Black tea. Furthermore, caffeine can either help immensly or make it worse. Some people find relief with peppermint and lavender Essential Oil.

 

Chiropractic care, acupuncture, biofeedback, massage therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and reflexology are additional avenues of natural treatment. A few vitamins that may be helpful include magnesium, riboflavin, feverfew, coenzyme Q10, and melatonin.

Some individuals find ice packs helpful during a migraine while others find relief with heat.

Lifestyle Changes

As with any chronic illness lifestyle changes are essential to preventing and treating migraines. It is vital to eat a balanced diet without skipping meals, to remain hydrated, get adequate sleep, excerise, and manage stress. Additionally, it is important to keep track of migraines to have the best treatment plan possible.

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Dorthy’s Migraine Story

I was a rather normal twenty-year-old young woman and becoming a mother in six months when I was in a high-speed rollover accident. Needless to say, I had whiplash. In addition, I struggled with a headache for a month.

 

About, seventeen years later I had mild rear-end collision on the freeway. However, I did not feel any different after this minor encounter. One month later another rear end hit-and-run collision occurred. That is when I encountered the worse head pain which radiated down into my neck accompanied by spasms in my neck. The pain was unending. A few weeks with the head pain turned into a month which swayed into six months.

 

2010 marks the beginning of my journey with chronic pain.  Shortly after, in 2010, I lost my 15-year employment as an RN. I diligently worked in a hospital, specifically, as Telemetry Surgical oncology renal failure inpatient unit. I worked as a charge and floor nurse.

 

After trying various treatments, in 2014 it felt like the headaches were controlled. I attempted to as home health RN but could not keep up with the flow so was let go while in the middle of an assignment. The triggered a chain of events; losing my rental home and nearly went bankrupt. If that wasn’t enough I began a difficult martial separation. Due to my separation, I lost the support of my church family because they were in disbelief. Furthermore, my health declined a bit more than I went in for a major abdominal surgery. The connection I once had with coworkers disengaged before my eyes.  My support system was shattered along with my social life.

 

The debilitating pain was out of control. I struggled with keeping up with daily activities.  Even though I desperately desired to work it was no longer attainable. I had no income for two years. Finally, social security grated me finical assistance for intractable migraines without aura and without status migrainous.

 

Today I am entering into the end of a divorce. In addition, I am still striving to improve financial stability and trying to create a new social support system.

How I cope? I didn’t at the beginning. I was depressed but denied it as I had my personal stigmas against having such a diagnosis. I did not want to be seen as weak. Losing my job in 2012 was a big blow to me as I loved working in the hospital. I had dreams and aspirations and those were ripped from me.

I lost spousal support. I was exhausted. I became suicidal. For the first time in my life I reach out and asked for help from counseling services but did not find supportive care. The depression continued to worsen. I fought it through denial.

Than 2014 when I lost my second job and lost my housing I encountered an ultimate low. I reached out again and this time I found good services. Began to come to terms that I had depression.

In 2016-2017, I was quite depressive. Counseling alone wasn’t working. My pain levels were out of control specifically the pain in my head. I was exhausted. We tried a new antidepressant. I was on triple antidepressant medication management and became worse. My blood felt like it was on fire and I became filled with feelings of anger.

I Reached out to my doctor. Very quickly I was mandated to go to the ER and was admitted into a psychiatric recovery inpatient unit for 2 weeks. It was the best treatment done for me. I learned that behavior & pain are separate. I can’t control my pain, but I can control my behavior through the power of choice. I have the power to choose to be happy or not despite pain. No longer does sadness rule me. So how do I cope? Choice, God, Prayer, Rest, Grocery delivery, Online shopping, Communication of symptoms so friends & family know, no longer a people pleaser. It’s okay to say no to an event and not let people’s reactions be personalized.

My motto

Keep keeping on chin up shoulders back now March forth with a smile

Letting God’s Love Enter Christmas Eve

 

Christmas Eve is the last Sunday of Advent this year, which is the love candle. No candle is more fitting for this day. Advent and Christmas have their roots in the love of God. Furthermore, Christ calls us to receive this love and give it away to those we encounter.

 

Christmas Eve is the high of anticipation of the Christ child yet shares the magic of Christmas day in a special way. An opportunity to cherish Christ, furthermore, to spend quality time with Him. Out of love God gave His Son, Jesus, who is love. Our hearts overflow with praises simply for the Miracle God chose to give us, His beloved Son.

 

Our lives are messy and we are damaged at best. God looks past it all calling you His child, His beloved. His desire this Christmas Eve is for you, sweet friend, to offer up all that you are, your flaws and brokenness, and rest in Him. There is nothing you need to do. He longs for you to rejoice in the gifts He has given you. For you to receive His love.

 

Let go of the need for perfection. Release the stress of making this the best Christmas ever. Let go of unrealistic expectations. Invite Jesus to be in the center of all you do today and tomorrow. Pause. Rejoice. Express your gratitude in each moment. Cherish the time with the people around you. Savor the simple moments.

 

Lord Jesus,

 

Messiah. Counselor. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. The government rests upon Your shoulders. Immanuel. Our healer, provider, safe place, peace, and source of life.  Righteous and victorious. You, fully God became fully human for our sake taking the sins of the world on Your shoulders and demonstrating love beyond comprehension. We rejoice in Your birth, in Your love, all You have given us through the cross, and that You will come again.

 

Silence our minds this Christmas Eve. Let us be aware of Your presence today and tomorrow. Allow us to receive Your present of Salvation and love. Let us live in Your love. Open our hearts to Your presence and love. Enable us to breathe Your praises moment to moment and to hear You whisper in simple moments. All honor, glory, and praise belong to You, Lord Jesus, now and forever.

 

Amen

 

 

Christmas Cookies

Baking is an enjoyable part of the Holiday season. I have been extremely spoiled, every season there is something homemade my mom makes for us from applesauce to pies to cookies to candy. I always enjoyed assisting her in baking, especially during the Christmas season. It has been difficult for me to bake on my own because of POTS and a lack of energy. I am going to share some cookie recipes with you. Some are spoonie friendly, others just taste good and are worth sharing.

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Low Spoon Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup of peanut butter

1 egg

1 cup of white sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Combine ingredients. Bake for about eight minutes

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Philly Cream Cheese Cookies

I simply love these cookies. They are different than the norm but festive and delicious.

Ingredients:

1 (8 ounce) package of Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup of softened butter

1 cup of powdered sugar

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon mint extract

Combine ingredients. Allow dough to chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325. Bake 10-12 minutes. Makes about three dozen cookies.

Shortbread:

More of a classic type cookie. I love simple cookie recipes. They can allow those with chronic illness who are sensitive to take part in the cookies. I am not gluten-free but have a lot of abdominal issues and this cookie always sits well.

Preheat oven: 350

1 cup of butter

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup of cornstarch

Being on your feet for too long is draining. I recommend sitting while making cookies. Using an electric mixer can help conserve energy as well. Take breaks in between, if needed. Rember there is nothing wrong with getting help baking or having someone bake for you 🙂

My family and I love this Gingerbread Cookie Recipe by Trisha Yearwood.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring
  • Nonstick cooking spray, for the baking sheets and rolling pin

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the cookies: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the shortening and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, vinegar, and egg and beat on high speed to blend thoroughly.

Sift together the ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and 4 cups of the flour in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed shortening and sugar and mix to make a firm, manageable dough, adding more flour if needed. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

Then the super fun part! Cut cookies into tons of fun Christmas shapes using cookie cutters. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes.

What are your spoonie baking tips? What is your favorite Christmas Cookie recipe?