Pour Out Your Heart

It is never ending. The symptoms. The pain. The frustration, anxiety, and tears. The fatigue. The new diagnosis. Life dramatically changes when you learn you have a chronic illness. Things become devastating when you keep adding to that list.

It is bittersweet. One is thankful to know what is going on and that there is a logical explanation to the maddest within their body. Yet on the other hand, one may question, how can so many things be wrong with my body.

It becomes more challenging when no one offers a full treatment plan. A few medications may help, some, yet it is not nearly enough. The pain becomes so intense one questions if they are dying. More frustrating when someone cannot function and sees no way out. There is no independence. Living at your own risk.

Yes, positive thinking is an asset and it is fundamental. In contrast, shutting off all “negative” emotions will do no good. Sometimes we need to allow our selves to get frustrated, upset, admit it is too much, admit we are scared, anxious, or feeling hopeless in the moment.

For a very long time, I handled my chronic illnesses emotionally “too well” to some. I wasn’t scared or anxious or depressed. My doctor at the time felt I should be unstable and offered me anxiety or depression medications which I refused. I knew it was God’s grace which I would embrace until the season ended.

Now, three years later, I am more emotional and grieving my losses from chronic illness more. Not clinically depressed or anxious, just emotional more than I would like. It is a challenge for me, like many others, to allow myself to feel hopeless, anxious, or scared. I feel the need to be super woman. To handle everything perfectly according to an unrealistic worldly perspective. Feeling like I never measure up.

No where in the Bible does it say that a saved individual will handle every problem with no struggles or negative emotions and of course it doesn’t say we will handle it perfectly. Take a look at the Psalms to see how David shared his raw emotions with Christ. Christ meets us in the struggles. “For the Eternal will be a shelter for those who know misery,
 a refuge during troubling times. Those who know Your name will rely on You, for You, O Eternal One, have not abandoned those who search for You” Psalm 9:9-10. He holds us during the unbearable pain. He wants us to pour our hearts out to Him and to share the intense emotions. He encourages us to be transparent. He is okay with us saying that we feel it’s unfair, we are frustrated, angry, or scared.

Christ meets us where we are in the middle of the mess, the emotions, and pain. Psalms 34: 4- 5 says, “God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.  Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him”(MSG). He holds us in His arms when life is too much to deal with. Endlessly He pours out grace in the tragedies. He wants us to trust Him in the difficulties. Gently, He will guide us and provide moment by moment.

Lord,

I lift Your name on high. Thank You for knowing me better than I know myself. For allowing me to be completely honest with You. You understand my sorrow, anxiety, and pain. You understand my thoughts and emotions better than I do. Help me to invite You into my pain and to pour my heart out to You without holding anything back. May I never hide anything from You. You are my refuge. I trust in You. Provide all I need. Help me to live life abundantly. Let each moment of my life bring honor, glory, and praise to Your name.

Amen

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Bittersweet Birthday

I had overheard people saying that old age caused pain. So, by the time I had chronic pain, about nine years old I thought it was I just a part of the aging process. At the same time, I wondered how everyone else was coping so well with the pain and mine was taking over. I felt extremely guilty for missing an excessive amount of school. It took some time for me to understand that children should not be in intense pain or pain all the time. Those people were indeed referring to elderly people. Who knew?

From a fairly young age, I associated growing up with having more pain. I am thankful to be alive. Especially in light of a handful of times, it was questionable if I would make it. Even so, my birthday is a little difficult emotionally.

It’s not just the physical pain. I tend to feel more isolated around my birthday. This is the time I notice that indeed I am not a typical young adult. The time I need to grieve the things I can no longer do. Time to grieve all I am missing out on.

The social clock is ticking obnoxiously. I can just hear people saying, “She is nearly twenty-three years old. She should be out on her own, not living at home.” It is difficult for me to view my accomplishments. My brain finds it natural to highlight the struggles during certain seasons. Society, as we know, has too many unneeded options. I have learned to allow comments to roll off my back, but sometimes it has a way of getting under my skin.

Furthermore, I have found that the older I have become, my memory has faded. The brain fog is thick. I was devastated when this began to happen. Heartbroken as the memories of my furry friend slipped out of my grip.

It is okay to struggle with holidays or your birthday as someone with a chronic illness. It is okay to have fears. It is okay to not be okay. As long as you do not give up. Even when you don’t feel like it, hold onto hope. Crawl forward, even if you are slower than a snail, you are still making progress.

Even though it is emotional, there is a part of me that looks forward to my birthday. I am deeply blessed to have people in my life who support me and love me. I am thankful for days of simple joy and laughter. The Lord has allowed me to thrive in the midst of great adversity.

“For You shaped me, inside and outYou knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful, I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You. As I took shape in secret, carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb.You see all things; You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb; Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;
You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it. Your thoughts and plans are treasures to me, O God! I cherish each and every one of them! How grand in scope! How many in number!” Psalm 139:13-17 The Voice Translation 

Emotions & More

Emotions can very well be our best friend or our worst enemy or somewhere in between. They change rapidly many times without warning. Adding any medication provides them with an excuse to run wild within. This is downright difficult to cope with. Not only do our emotions run wild but some medications change how we physically appear which can be just another reason we beat ourselves up. We are many times our worse critics. Over analyzing and negatively speaking to our selves. God did not create us to be hated. He is love, he crafted you through and by his love. By his love and grace you were saved. He does not want you in toxic, abusive, or negative relationships. Like wise he does not want you to be consumed by shame and negative self talk.

So much has changed for me sense becoming ill. One physical trait that sticks out like a neon sigh is my lovely moon face. I hated it in the beginning, I was extremely self concuss. Now I am by no means saying that I love it now however I have learned to accept it. More recently I have encountered abdominal swelling which makes me look six months pregnant. The swelling is daunting. Every time I get ready to leave the house the gruesome thought meanders into my mind, what if a some asks if I am pregnant or just asks how far along I am. The things complete strangers come up and say can be mortifying. I struggle with surrendering this completely to the Lord; leaving it in his hands. I give it to God, then go right back to worrying. Letting go and letting God completely be in control of anything is a struggle. As humans we crave control. We try to make sure everything is in place and unfolds according to our plans. We also worry. No matter what physical or emotional changes we encounter God still loves us, we were created in his image. He understands the changes we are facing and he understands our frustration.

Everything here on Earth is temporary, even the side effects from our medication. Coping with physical changes is a challenge, however you are not alone on this journey. Frequently, we feel isolated. We digest the lies that no one understands, no one cares, we are worthless, and unlovable. It is worth repeating, God is with you on this tragically demanding journey of life with a chronic illness. He never leaves you side, not even for a brief moment. He wants you to depend on Him every moment of every day. To depend on him when you have an abundance of spoons, joy, and laughter. To depend on him when you cannot go a step further consumed with debilitating pain and weakness; as you endure medical procedures.

Being wrapped up in life, you might neglect to acknowledge that there are other Spoonies out there. We understand your frustrations, symptoms, struggles, and your journey. Our understanding is incomplete only in the sense that our story varies from yours. We try to provide the most understand, support, and encouragement to one another.

There are countless things to attempt to cope with while chronically ill, it becomes overwhelming quickly. You my friend are doing an amazing job. You have achieved more then you ever expected. You are a warrior. Though the road might be long it is filled with beauty and blessings. All these things will soon pass and only remain as a mere memory. Medications and chronic illness might alter aspects of you, but you are still you. You are stunning inside and out, a true work of art with a breath taking purpose.

She is the Clay

Tears have made her face moist

She’s longing to hear your voice

Seeking guidance to make a choice

She’s waiting day after day

Knows you are the potter and she is the clay

Things will fall into place in your time

Not alone in this climb

You’ll get her out of this bind

Let her know you’re near

There’s nothing to fear

Make her path clear

proverbs3_5-6

Fear of the Future

Children dream about  the future with anticipation. Instinctively they push their way through childhood, all too quickly. As adults we obsessively plan wishfully dreaming about a bright tomorrow, and we prepare pushing forward. The future. A blank slate. Endless possibilities.

For many spoonies the future is associated with fear. The luxury of dreaming of the future (in an aspect) has evaporated. Fear flows through every thought associated with the future. Mainly because our health is so unpredictable. When I first became ill I struggled a lot with my emotions. I tend to be more of a type A personality. I tend to be an overachiever, expecting too much from myself. Even growing up I worried excessively. Insecurity feed my worried mind. I have learned to focus on the present, today has enough of its own worries and problems. At times I avoid thinking of the future. There have been times that my anxieties associated with the future dictated my life making me extremely emotional and disrupting my sleep. Questions like how am I going to survive if I have a terrible flare and I’m living alone? How will I keep up with everything living on a college campus? Will I be able to work full time? Can I really have a normal life? If your around my age, I am sure similar questions have flooded your mind. I am sharing this to let you know that your not alone. Fear of the future with an illness, in my option, is completely normal. We battle a lot daily and it is difficult to balance it all. It is hard to attempt to plan a normal life.

This fall I will be going away to school. I am excited about this new chapter in my life but like most people I am nervous as well. Most times our fears are irrational and never occur. I worry about my academics, the translation to campus, my health, making friends, and balancing everything. I attempt to avoid obsessing over it. Fear is normal. I have every reason to be worried, but worrying isn’t going to help me.Stress negatively impacts chronic illness. Anxiety isn’t always in our control.  I know determination will assist me in the transition. I am fearful but God is in control. I know this is the next step for me.

Psalm 29:11

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11

Allowing the words of this verse sink into my weary soul, I acknowledge Gods goodness. The Lord provides for me daily. Frequently, I get wrapped up in tasks that need to be accomplished and the businesses of life that I neglect to acknowledge all God has provided for me. God does more then provide for me physically (clothing, food, shelter, ect…) he also provides for me emotionally, as this verse points out strength and peace.

Strength and peace. These two things are something I am constantly in need of, being chronically ill. Most days, especially sense leaving the hospital, I feel as though strength has deserted me. Any movement devours what little strength I had. Physically, I feel burdened with weakness. Moment by moment I rely on the Lord for strength. Faithfully, he provides just enough every moment.

Anxiety is as plentiful as the grains of sand on the shore when an individual battles an illness. It is easy to become consumed with fear, stress, and to become overwhelmed. The what if’s invade the mind. Letting go and letting God – whole heartily trusting him- is easier said then done. To everyone’s suspirse, I am being blessed with a season of low anxiety. Logically the fact that my anxiety is almost non exisitant does not add up, but that is okay, I am grateful for the break. I have face many seasons in my life with more anxiety then I knew what to do with. A constant battle.

The Lord faithfully provides strength and peace to his children and it blesses us beyond our understanding. The Lord is the souce of all we need. He will continue to pour blessings into your life.

Father,

I praise you for your faithfulness and for every blessing in our lives. My heart overflows with gratitude for those who have taken the time to read this. You are the source of all we need. I ask that you would provide us with the strength and peace that we need to get through today. Thank you Lord.

Amen

Gonna Break

How much more can I take?

Before this weak body breaks

I know I am strong

But now it is getting harder to move along

Harder now to hide the pain

To force the smile, slap on the mask

Starting to fall faster and faster… here comes the rain

Energy wasted on a smiple pointless task

Don’t bother asking how I am

Surely I will lie, don’t need the sympathy

What they don’t know won’t hurt them

I’ll be fine on my own