Good Night Encouragement

Today was far from perfect, never the less it was a blessing. You did your best which is all anyone can expect. Every day you are faced with many obstacles, which you gracefully overcome with determination. You might feel like you are dragging your body through the day like you are going to collapse from all the pain. Yet every day you accomplish so much.  You are doing an amazing job! You might not be where you want to be and that is okay, you will get there in time. You are doing a fantastic job where you are in life right now. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be grateful and proud of the small accomplishments.

Be compassionate to yourself tonight. Take a few moments to reflect on all your amazing accomplishments and blessings. Do something nice to recover from this long day, take some me time. You need to be nice to yourself it not only benefits you but also those around you.

You are an inspiration and a blessing to many people my friend. Your friendship is priceless and very precious. Everyone you encounter is blessed by you. Bless by your smile or your kind words. The strength you display is yet another blessing to others. Inspiring them to be strong in the trials they face. You bless many people daily.

I pray that the Lord would be with you this evening as you unwind and prepare for bed. I pray that you would fall asleep quickly, stay asleep through the night, dream sweetly, and wake up with a lot of spoons.

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Happy Birthday

I have written creatively for as long as I could hold a pencil. These are two fairly old poems written in honor of my mom for her birthday, today. I could not have asked for or dreamed of a better mother. God has truly blessed me. She has been with me for every appointment, ER trip, urgent care trip, every test, and every surgery. Sh She is a huge encouragement and the source of strength. I am blessed that she introduced me to the Lord and raise me in a church. Thank you will never be enough. Happy Birthday, Mom!

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Fancy dresses princess messes

Twirling on toes

Bubbles to blow

Picking flowers as laughter showered

 

All part of the little girl I once was

Butterfly kisses before

Bedtime prayers

Daddy’s little girl

Mama’s little helper

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Innocent

Curious mind

Carefree girl in a perfect world

 

Even though times seems to fly

The years go by and by

Simply in a blink of an eye

Memories engraved are meant to last

Of the little girl, I once was

Spreading my wings I fly

Far way and so many things

But I’ll never forget the little girl I once was

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Dainty soft pink slippers twirling high on toes few doors remained closed life an open book

Tapping rhythm to a new song always found a safe place to belong never even had to look

Feels like just yesterday somehow it just faded away

Now I lay counting laughter and teardrops

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The whole world lay in my back yard the only attack needing to be dodged was by dragons

Only things exist are what we created, only innocents of the wild imagination

Exploring wonderland unplanned adventure in all kinds of weather

Feels like just yesterday somehow it just faded away

Now I lay counting laughter and teardrops

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The world seemed against me could not yank free from the chains, oh the lies being fed to me

Unknown sadness filled my eyes had no reason but no choice I had to cry

Feels like just yesterday somehow it just faded away

Now I lay counting laughter and teardrops

 

Finally, I belong; these memories blanket my soul uncovering things that were buried in that hole

Overwhelmed with agape to the point of speechlessness anointed with blessing

Feels like just yesterday somehow it just faded away

Now I lay counting laughter and teardrops

 

Oceans away miles apart I long for the peace covered in that place the ground covered in grace

It is how I escape all the troubles of the world love falling like rain soaking everyone in its embrace

Feels like just yesterday somehow it just faded away

Now I lay counting laughter and teardrops

 

Only pictures remind of the past, memories fade with rain cause we know they never truly last

Pain consumes every inch of my being prying me away from the life that once was

Learning to dance in the storm though I pray for life to return to the norm

Feels like just yesterday somehow it just faded away

Now I lay counting laughter and teardrops

 

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“You love your parents, but as you get to know them you fall in love with them.” I believe this quote is absolutely true. As a child, our parents are heroes. As teenagers, we drift away from our parents. We are so consumed with our lives, we don’t take enough time to get to know our parents and cherish the small amount of time God lends them to us. I cherish the time I have with my parents.

2017 Encouragment

Embrace 2017 with a joyful smile and a grateful heart. Release the grip on 2016 as well as years before that. Start fresh. Hold hope in your precious heart. Countless amazing moments await you, moments consumed with deep laughter, love, and joy. Blessings beyond your wildest dream will be gently laced throughout your year. Cherish 2017. Allow it to be one of the best years every. There is plenty to learn.

Don’t attempt to plan out every second of the year.  Take things as they come, simply, one moment at a time. Don’t become consumed with perfection. Allow bitterness to be washed away from your heart. Don’t harp on the negatives.

Look for ways to bless, encourage, and love others. You are an inspiration. The small things you do to brighten another individuals day does matter more than you understand. Right where you are today, you are making a profound difference in the world.

You have what it takes to thrive this year. Allow yourself to dream again. You are going to do amazing things, my friend.

May the Lord overflow your life with joy, blessings, love, and goodness this year. May he guide your every step. May you grow closer to him daily. May you embrace every moment. I hope you are able to love life and understand how valuable you and your life is. May you fight with all you’ve got against your illness. May you hold onto hope when the world seems to be caving in around you. You will accomplish breathtaking things this year. You will make a difference. Your precious story will bring hope, comfort, and encouragement to many people.

Helping Other Despite Illness

Before stepping into my currently reality, I was able to serve others regularly. I was able to help at free dinners, do yard work, mission work, help out with a retreat, youth group, and a few other small things. I love to help. I figured I would only need to step back slightly for half a season due to my health (mainly due to getting answers and five operations in four years). However, that was not reality. My limitations weighted me down as I realized how I had been serving was no longer an option physically. The desire to be used burned with in as I pleaded with God to use me in any way. This is still something I am working through.

I adore running Chronically Hopeful, but there are days it doesn’t seem like enough (there is plenty of work, but I wanted to serve more).  Most of you know that right now I am leading with a few other women two online Bible studies. I have also joined the ministry team for my online Church.

When God lovely nudged my heart to lead Come With Me, I attempted to tell Him I was too busy. Can you guess who won that disagreement? He did hands down. One of the chapters we are reading this week is about Jesus’ presence in a storm, specifically when the disciples woke up Jesus in a panic followed by Jesus simply rebuking the storm.

We all encounter different trials in different seasons of life. Trials come so that God can discipline us, mold us, enable us to comfort others, and bring us closer to Him all while bringing glory to His name. The Bible calls us to carry one another’s burdens. Do you know of someone in a trial? Trials are demanding. Support is essential during these times.

Most people who follow Chronically Hopeful are chronically ill, so the remainder of this post is written with you in mind. How can I support someone when I am physically limited? It can be intimidating to offer help when you feel flawed. You might be turned down completely, I have been many times, but that’s okay. Offer whatever you have to God, “not enough becomes more than enough when we give it to God.”

Keep in mind the little things make a big difference. Everyone needs encouragement. The simplest notes of encouragement go a long ways. Use Facebook, e-mail, or snail mail. A short note with a Bible verse or a line or two are excellent ways to start. If you want a little more of a challenge write an entire letter and be personal.

Find an in person project that is short term and can accommodate you needs. This might be assisting in the nursey at church, being a greeter, making a meal for a family, or helping a child with homework in the neighborhood.

There is nothing like being in person, but at times illness traps us either keeping us homebound or sucking the energy (and spoons) out of us. Volunteer online. I know at first it is a strange concept. Support groups can use help with events or managing pages or responding to comments. Online Bible studies are another option.

Do you find it difficult to reach out and help others? Share your struggles. Share ways you have been successful in this.

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Rest

We live life in the fast lane; traveling full speed ahead. Over commitment boils over. We tango with multitasking racing to complete an over zealous achievement list. Our to-do list, family, friends, and much more scream for attention demanding more consistently, simpling depleting us physically, emotionally, and physically. Neglecting much we push forward running on empty. In addition, we feel like we might erupt from stress at any moment.

We need rest as desperately as we need our next breath. Not just physical rest but also emotional and spiritual. Time to reconnect in a meaningful way with our Abba (Our Heavenly Father). We need to be intentional about spending time rest in the Fathers arms. Not giving ourselves excuses about being too busy. Life goes smoother when we rest in the Father and connect with Him.

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Will you sweet friend come to our Jesus now? Don’t wait another moment. Unload all the burdens on your heart, keeping in mind that nothing is too big or too small for Him. Pour every sorrow, burden, and emotion out to Him. Sit quietly in His loving arms as He frees you from the burden and reminds you of His everlasting love. Whatever is burdening you, the Lord will walk through it with you through it won’t be easy, but He will provide for you every step.
He calls us, Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
He will give you rest and renew your soul. Pour out everything in prayer than allow Him to pour into you through His word, devotionals, other people, or simply by being in His precious presence.
Father,
We come to you emotionally spent and phsyically tired. Help us to unload our burdens to You in prayer. Renew our hearts. Fill us with Your comfort. Allow us to be yoked to you and to find our rest in you. Thank you for your love and for being our provider. Help us to grow closer to you each day. Amen

Encouragement for You

 

Blessings are all around you though at times they might be hard to see. The fact that you woke up this beautiful morning is a blessing. You are a fighter with a sparkling and breathtaking personality. If you are able to walk on your own that is truly a blessing, but if you cannot and you have a walking device that is a blessing as well. Your senses are a blessing as well as all the amazing things your body accomplishes without you taking notice. Those that you hold dear to your heart are blessings so is every moment that you spend with them.

Not only have you received a great abundance of blessings but you have blessed other without even knowing it. You have been a blessing by welcoming a new person to your group of friends or your church. You have been a blessing by reaching out to a friend who was lonely. You were a blessing simply by being present and listening while someone was having a difficult time. Your life story and the story of how you have battled you illness has inspired many. It has given people hope, strength, courage, and peace. Many more people will be inspired by your story and blessed by your compassion. You have impacted more people than you are aware of, you matter to countless people more than you know.
Reflect on all the priceless blessings in your life and encourage someone in your life.

Grieving

Six years old is my first memory of chronic pain. Over the years there were different events that unfolded reveling more symptoms and contributing to my pain. Though I was in pain I lived a normal life.

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The road to a diagnosis seemed to have no end. Most doctors dismissed my complaints. I had shared with my regular MD that I would bleed when I brushed my teeth, my hands and feet were turning colors, and that I was experiencing joint pain. The doctor ginned at me telling me I was just weird. I continued to have similar encounters with doctors. Many believed I was too young to be in pain, I just had anxiety, I was pregnant, or was trying to get out of school. The frustration did eventually give me anxiety. Getting a doctor to take me seriously was difficult.

My illness kicked things up a notch during my high school years; five surgeries, endless testing, and a desperately search for name for the monster destroying my body. My junior year of high school, I saw an awful doctor who put me on medication that I was too young for. Along with some simple side effects I began to have seizures.

I never expected my medical answers to impact my life greatly. I figured I would get an answer, maybe take a medication, monitor things, and move on with my life. Despite pain and fatigue I was an active adolescent. Many days I was up before the crack of dawn. Like most teenagers I attended high school. In addition I babysat at least five days a week, attended youth group, volunteered at a few day care centers, and volunteered through my church. I adored being busy. My summers were jam packed with adventure with my youth group hiking, swimming, cannoning, summer camp, sleep overs, and mission trips. Fall was just as busy for me with retreats and volunteering.

I didn’t realize how much I would need to adjust or how much my life would change after I got the medical answers I desperately searched for. Summer vacation was like a blank canvass anticipating a stunning work of art. I had committed to going with my church to Kentucky on a mission trip. As things unfolded and Lupus came into the light it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to go. Thick guilt and deep regret filled my heart.

My pastor attempted to ‘include’ me one Sunday before everyone departed for the trip. I was utterly embarrassed, wanting to hide under a rock. After, I slipped away to the bathroom. Locking myself in the familiar stall I sobbed uncontrollably. That is the moment the truth about chronic illness whacked me in the face. I am not going to get better. I am chronically ill. It was a difficult concept for me to wrap my mind around.

I went through months of grieving off and on. I grieved all the things I could no longer do. I grieved the time my illness robed. I grieved the events I missed out on, like prom. That period of grieving was necessary in order for me to move forward.

Grieving can be a difficult part of being diagnosed. However, it is healthy and most times necessary. It is okay to grieve all that your illness has stolen. Be patient with yourself. You need time to learn the ropes of living with a chronic illness. Grieving is only a season in your life, learn from it, it will be over soon.

How do you handle grief from your illness?

Thanksgiving

I simply adore Thanksgiving. It is by far my second favorite holiday. My family and I do not do anything over the top, however, the day is golden to me. I spend the morning watching the Macy’s day parade and making some sort of craft; usually a blanket. Then I get ready, which consumes the majority of my spoons. Our neighbors come over and we have a lovely traditional Thanksgiving dinner which is anything but quiet.

Thanksgiving Day is a magnificent day in which we gather with those we cherish to celebrate all the blessings the fill our lives. When we sit down to reflect on our blessings we noticed how much we have and often times how much we take for granted.

As a chronically ill twenty-one-year-old, my gratitude list is anything but typical. I am grateful I have a diagnosis, decent doctors, insurance, and a treatment plan. I am thankful for the online support groups that I am a part of, for my family, church family, and my mom. I am thankful beyond words that I have not been in urgent care for seven months now! Spoonie victory right there. I am thankful for being admitted in April. I am thankful for the slow progress I am making. Yes, there are countless negative attributions of my invisible fight, but I am sincerely and deeply grateful to be in this fight. First of all, I am grateful because I believe that God will use my invisible fight for his glory. Through my invisible fight, I have matured as a person and as a Christian. I have learned so much. I have meet some of the most inspiring people. I have had the honor of running Chronically Hopeful.

I hope you cherish this precious Thanksgiving day. I pray you see the blessings in your beautiful life. I hope you find joy today and comfort as you spend the day with those you love. Sending Thanksgiving Day Spoons, prayers, and hugs. Please share in the comments what you are thankful for.

Families are messy to say the least. Somehow we learn to function in the dysfunction and chaos. Whether we like it or not our families influence us in countless ways and determine various aspects of our lives. We love them and hate them. Regardless they are a part of who we are at the core.

My family is not resilient to typical family chaos. We are just as flawed, if not more than the average family. Some days I ask God what he was thinking when he paired us together, our personalities are extraordinarily unique. That when God reminds me of the beauty woven within my family.

I am thankful for my family, who have sustained me and walked with me on my journey (some didn’t have a choice). I never went through typical teen rebellion stage, but I did take my family for grant and the fact that they have always been there for me. Through my short time away at school and the decline of my health, I have learned to truly cherish those I love. Yes, they might be embarrassing at times, but no matter what they are my family; a blessing from the Lord.

The Heart of Worship

Worship is essential to our spiritual well-being. We were created to love and worship God. However, God does not need  you to worship him. He desires to be in close fellowship with you. He craves, for you to understand his love for you. Worship renews us providing us with joy, strength, peace, and much more.

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This song is a classic. Without knowing it many times our unfocused hearts, shove God out of the way; even during worship. We idolize other things or become prideful.  Our sin coved hearts begin to harden as we take steps backwards, away from the throne. How many time have we speculated how those around us are worshipping. In our minds saying, “She is showing off, that is not real worship.” Also allowing our minds to paint a captivating daydream. Consumed with our schedule, we fidget entertaining anxious thoughts.  Or we are more focused on the talent of musical ability than on the Sovereigness of God.  Music is a magnificent way to worship, but it is not the heart of worship, not the main focus.  Ironically, I am using songs to get me point across. The lyrics demonstrate truth,

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the things I’ve made it”

“The heart of worship is our heart, delighting in Jesus and expressing praise to him for the true things the Scriptures teach us about who he is and what he has accomplished for us.” God does not want us to participate in a drama production; he simply wants us to come as we are to authentically worship him. He knows our hearts. He knows every flaw and failure; every negative thing in our character and in our life. Despite this, he commands us to come as we are, as he lovingly extends his grace to us.

The majestic name of, the Lord is worthy of all honor. He lovingly crafted every corner of creation with passion. His fingerprints are evident throughout nature. “God’s glory is everywhere from the smallest microscopic form of life to the vast Milky Way, from sunset and stars to the storms and seasons.” Before God crafted the universe he construed a purpose for your life. Our righteous Lord is the source of life. Allow your heart to align with his will and worship his name.

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It is good to passionate pursue things, striving to succeed as hard work pours out. However, none of these things should become a god in our life.  In the spoonie world chasing after the Spoonie dream is easy. The dream of a perfect treatment plan, pain-free living, healing, or aspects of a healthy person’s life such as a social life. “To treasure God more than pain-free living.”  Do you treasure God more than anything in your life?

I love the words to this song though it the Spirt has showed me a lot.

“We must not worship something that’s not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the one who deserves it
Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol
Anything that I give all my love is an idol

And we can sing all we want to
We can sing all we want to
And still get it wrong
Worship is more than a song”

If we are not intentional about riding our hearts from idols we, fall into the trap of worshiping them without even noticing it. The enemy longs to disconnect us from our creator. Keeping us away from worship is included in his laundry list of ways to diminish our faith. He attempts to keep us too busy to spend time with God, “the primary purpose of Sabbath margins- of saying no when appropriate- is to diminish our devotion to all other suitors and crystallize our allegiance to God.” Spending a substantial amount of time with God on a regular basis is not only a command the Lord gave us, but it is also essential to life. Time in worship allows us to be renewed in a unique way. Enter boldly into the Lords presence’s and worship him fully.