Spoonful of Spoonie Encouragment

Mornings for those with a chronic illness are a struggle beyond words. Waking up and willing our bodies to function is a fight. Here is a spoonful of encouragement for spoonie warriors. Happy Monday, brave friend!

You have victoriously made it out of bed this morning. The symptoms and pain are already overwhelming, but you’ve got this. You only need to take today one minute at a time. You have all the strength you need, even though it might not seem that way. Anxiety and depression attempt to dictate your day. Take a breath. Take a break.  Get some rest. Keep fighting to make today the best day possible.

You have been chosen to walk this path. It is one filled with heartbreak, disappointment, and setbacks. Walking the path of someone who is chronically ill is a challenge to say the very least. Being sick has most likely disrupted your flawless rhythm with life. It has stopped you dead in your tracks. Your illness has tried to toss your dreams out the window.

Though this path is difficult, I assure you there is a lot of beauty to be discovered. Sure life is not what it used to be, but the song you sing is just as beautiful. There is hope, joy, love, laughter, and life to be found on this path. You will be able to recreate your wonderful dreams. You are still you, despite your illness. You are an amazing and beautiful person with a flawless story and a huge purpose.

    There will be days that you become overwhelmed and feel completely alone. Your feelings are understandable, however, I promise you, you do not walk alone on this path. There are people who care about you, people who understand how difficult the journey is, and people who want to support you.

I am proud of all you have accomplished. I know you will thrive today. This week will be lovely simply because it is the only choice. While you don’t need to be positive all the time you need to take baby steps forward. You are doing amazing. Raise your coffee (or tea) to a great week warrior!

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Palm Sunday

Shortly before Palm Sunday Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and was anointed by Mary of Bethany. These are emotionally packed events. The emotions become more intense as we know in Holy week.

Palm Sunday is a joyous day, but the joy is short-lived.  The majority of the people gathered are worshiping. Their hearts are consumed with joy, as a result, they praise God out loud. Yet, Jesus wept as He entered with sorrow because Here knew what events were about to unfold. Compassion, love, sorrow, and so much more consumed Jesus’, heart. “Only Jesus wept that day, while Jerusalem prepared to throw a party” (Liz Curtis Higgs, The Women of Easter. Page 82).

 They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their coats on the colt’s back, and then sat Jesus on it. As Jesus rode along, some people began to spread their garments on the road as a carpet. When they passed the crest of Mount Olivet and began descending toward Jerusalem, a huge crowd of disciples began to celebrate and praise God with loud shouts, glorifying God for the mighty works they had witnessed. Crowd of Disciples: The King who comes in the name of the Eternal One is blessed! Peace in heaven! Glory in the highest!

Pharisees (who were in the crowd):  Teacher, tell these people to stop making these wild claims and acting this way!Jesus: Listen—if they were silent, the very rocks would start to shout!When Jerusalem came into view, He looked intently at the city and began to weep. (Emphasis on weep mine)

Jesus:  How I wish you knew today what would bring peace! But you can’t see.  Days will come when your enemies will build up a siege ramp, and you will be surrounded and contained on every side. Your enemies will smash you into rubble and not leave one stone standing on another, and they will cut your children down too, because you did not recognize the day when God’s Anointed One visited you. Luke 19:11-44. 

It is assumed that Jesus’s “Women disciples” were present on Palm Sunday. They would be gathered here for Passover anyway. Never just glance over a passage in Scripture because you have read it many times. Always take

Never just glance over a passage in Scripture because you have read it many times. Always take the time to digest the Words asking the Lord to open the eyes of your heart. There is always something you can learn.

Jesus was busy Holy week, yet He took time out to spend with God. We should be committed to doing the same this week. Take time to read the Holy Week stories from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday in each of the Gospels. Additionally, take some extra time in prayer and at the Lords feet.

Youversion has some free Holy Week plans. Furthermore, John Piper offers some excellent FREE Holy Week Books. Your Sorrow Will Turn to Joy Morning & Evening Meditations for Holy Week. “Holy Week is not an obligation. It is an opportunity.

In the chaos of our increasingly fast-paced and hectic society, the annual coming of Holy Week each spring is a reminder to pause and ponder, to carefully mark each day, and not let this greatest of all weeks fly like every other.

It is a chance to walk with the church throughout the world and throughout time as she accompanies her Bridegroom through the eight most important days in history. And it is an opportunity to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affections for, the highest and most timeless realities in the universe.

We have assembled a team of eleven pastors and scholars to walk us through Holy Week as we walk together with our Lord. This collection of short meditations includes readings for each morning and evening from Palm Sunday to the triumph of Easter.”

Love to the Uttermost ““Love to the Uttermost: Devotional Readings for Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, ends on Easter Sunday, and aims to focus our attention on Jesus as he displays his love to the uttermost (John 13:1). ”

 

Have a blessed Holy Week, sweet friends. I am hoping to post at least once more this week.

Friday Encouragment

Happy Friday, friend! I am beaming with joy because you have made it another week. Despite the difficult moments, you have thrived. Moving forward each moment you have claimed victory. You have demonstrated grace and courage this past week.

As you pour your cup of coffee reflect on the moments of joy this past week. Remember the victories of this week. You have made progress. Your worth is not measured by your to-do list or other people’s expectations. You are cherished just because there is breath in your lungs. Treasured, simply because of the unique person you are.

Allowing yourself to rest is indeed moving forward. Your body works hard. Rest is not wasting time. Rather it is preparing you for whatever task you do next weather that is getting some water or going out to visit a friend.

Embrace this chilly and lovely day with an upbeat attitude.  Remain firm in hope. Laugh as much as possible. Enjoy the small blessings. Let thankfulness consume your precious heart. Sending spoons and hugs.

Holiday Season Encouragement

It should be the most wonderful time of year filled with cheer. Carefree. Merry and bright everything just right. Nine times out of ten that is not the reality. We put so much pressure on ourselves. Anxiety or depression (sometimes both) find their way into the holiday mix. The season becomes dreaded instead of cherished. It is tempting to push too much- to overcommit and over do it.

Try to not become consumed with all the things you want to get done. Focus on being in the moment.  Most importantly breathe. Additionally, focus on lowering stress levels. Don’t feel guilty asking for help or simply saying no. Take your time with the things you can do. Enjoy each moment. Don’t rush. You don’t need the extra stress.

Little victories and accomplishments are just as important as the big ones so remember to take note of them. Do not beat yourself up if things don’t seem to be just right or if you can’t do something you planned. You, my friend, are doing the absolute best that you can. Each day you put so much effort into various activities. You are a warrior who fights with grace. You have victory over this season and in every aspect of life. I am of you. You should be proud of all you do too.

Take a few moments each day to recharge. To simply breathe. Let’s kick depression and anxiety to the side (the best we can) and reclaim our holiday season with a joyful and thankful heart. I hope each day from here until Christmas is consumed with joy, laughter, love, and encouragement. I hope you are able to cherish the time with those you love. Sending many Christmas spoons and hugs. Though it might seem lonely, you are not truly alone, daily you are in my thoughts and prayers. My hope is that this post encourages you just a little bit.

 

Joy of Advent

All is merry and bright with absolutely no rest in sight. The to-do list has doubled, in oh so much trouble. Going through the motions as frustrated tears construct an ocean.

“I know You’re good, but this don’t feel good right now,” can you relate to that phrase this advent season? Daily adversisty sets questions into motion. Why is this happening? God where are you in this? The heartbreaks you are working through weigh you down. And yet it is time to transpose our focus to joy despite the emotions pulling the opposite direction. Regardless of the gut instinct to curl up and compose a pity party (Though at times a short one is needed). On this side of heaven there will be trouble, but that is not a stop rejoicing card. “Even if the fig tree does not blossom and there are no grapes on the vines, If the olive trees fail to give fruit and the fields produce no food, If the flocks die far from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls; Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me!” Habakkuk 3:17-18

Thankfully delighting in the Lord is not dependent on our emotions or the events unfolding in our lives. The joy of Jesus entering the world is at the heart of Christmas.  Indulging in Jesus’ presence will flood your heart with Him. He will renew your mind, direction, emotions, and spirit. Furthermore, we find true joy simple in His character- in His righteousness.

The breastplate of righteousness protects our spiritual heart, espically during the advent season. There are numerous fun things to engage in such as movies or holiday parities both laced with temptations. “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life” (Proverbs 4:23 HCSB). In order to grow closer to Christ and experience His full joy this advent season we must guard our hearts.

By the precious blood of Jesus Christ you are made righteous. Salvation is secured. We can celebrate this. “The third candle on the Advent wreath is called the Shepherds’ candle. It remembers the first in a long line of people who joyfully shared the good news of the Savior’s birth” ( George H. Vander Weit). Furthermore, we hold on to the truth that Christ will return someday soon. Our candle this week in the advent wreath is pink, which is to remind us that our wait is half over for the return of our beloved Savior.

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How can you put on the breastplate of righteous this advent?

Soverign God,

We rejoice in the birth of Your Son, Jesus Christ. In all He has freely given to us. Consume our hearts with your joy this advent season. We praise You for Your Word. Help us to put on the breast plate of righteousness daily. Equpit us. Provide all that is needed. We find joy in who You are. In Your faithfulness. In Your righteousness. In Your love. We rejoice in all the blessing You have poured into our lives and continue to do. May we remain focused on the heart of Christmas. We delight that our wait will soon be over and that we will spend eternity with You. Draw us closer to your heart this advent season.

Amen.

Advent & The Belt of Truth

The belt of truth relates to advent. Jesus, the truth put on flesh and joined the world as a delicate baby. “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” John 1:9 NIV. Through Jesus, God reveals to us His truth. In addition, His word exposes it. His truth enables us to discern right from wrong as well as almost right from right. Truth is essential to our spiritual well-being.

By putting on the belt of truth we are a reflection of Jesus. Take time from the businesses of the season to go deeper with the one who is the reason for it all. Meditate on God’s truth. Consider how God might burden your heart to be a vessel for His truth to the world. Furthermore, you sweet friend are a light to this world.

Like the belt holds together the armor, God holds together our world. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” Colossians 1:17.

God’s truth sets us free which provides peace that surpasses all understanding.  Despite, not so silent nights Christ’s peace continues to rule our hearts. This peace is not affected by the events or chaos in life. The second week of advent we reflect on the peace candle. We are reminded to slow down. To breath. Basking in His presence. Surrendering all to Him.

As you strap on the belt of truth this advent season and ponder these things in your heart rejoice in the goodness of God.  Praise Him for who He is. Rejoicing in the fact that He sent His only son.“Heavenly Choir: To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God! And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!” Luke 2:14 The Voice

My prayer for you this advent is that you would develop a more intimate relationship with Christ. That He would use the Christmas story to move your heart in a new and beautiful way. That there are many moments are consumed with deep joy and laughter. The Lord would use you as a vessel of truth to others.

Lord,

We rejoice in this stunning Christmas season. Our hearts sing praises for the precious and priceless gift of Your son. Enable us to put on Your belt of truth daily. Give us discernment. Help us to remain focused on Your truth. Thank you for holding together the universe and our individual world. For all the blessings You have graciously given us. Use us to bring honor and glory to Your name. Allow us to be a vessel in the work You are doing in others lives. Use us to bring others closer to You. Fill our hearts with your peace, love, and joy. Allow us to grow closer to you daily. Deeply bless this Christmas season in a new way. Provide all we need.

Amen

When Chronic Pain and Illness Take Everything Away: How to Mourn Our Losses

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When Chronic Pain and Illness Take Everything Away: How to Mourn Our Losses is a practical book for anyone who battles a chronic illness or chronic pain. Esther is an inspirational individual who has thrived in many aspects of life despite chronic illness, without a doubt she is a role model. Reaching out as a compassionate friend she gently teaches her readers about the grieving process and coping with chronic illness and chronic pain. She is transparent with her faith journey as well as her struggles and victories.

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Grief is an overwhelming aspect of chronic illness that threatens to take over. It breaks a person down. Those facing chronic illness and chronic pain grieve the person he or she was before the pain, their past, broken relationships, shattered dreams, and the person they had hoped to become. Chronic illness alters every element of life. At times, with the pain and additional symptoms, those with chronic illness don’t want to deal with the emotions. However, emotions are healthy and a part of life.

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Personally, the emotions tend to hit me like a ton of bricks in a delayed reaction. Grief with chronic illness was no different. I get consumed with daily life not processing what I am going through on an emotional level. Maybe you can relate. Once the emotions hit it is overwhelming. I officially got my diagnosis in my late adolescent years. I took a season to grieve all the things I missed out on like prom and mission trips I had planned out. That season I grieved the friends I lost.

I have worked through a lot of the grief but there is still some work to be done. Support is essential when working through it. This book provides a positive outlet for grief. One of my favorite things is that there are writing prompts to assist the reader in constructively working through emotions.

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Amazon description: “Chronic pain, illness, and disability take so much away. Sometimes it seems as though they take everything we have ever loved and held dear.

Our physical abilities and our jobs. Our current passions and future dreams. Our finances and our friends. Our sense of community and our ability to engage the world in ways we could before.

Chronic pain takes away our sense of self and who we always thought ourselves to be. How in the world are we supposed to deal with this fact?”

Make sure to pre-order your book here! In addition, feel free to drop by Esther’s blog: Life in Slow Motion.

A Reason Why

Maybe there is a reason

For all the storms in life

For all the tears we cry

Maybe there is a reason

For every season

Why flowers bloom

Leaves glide

Snow blankets the Earth

And the sun warms our hearts

Maybe there is a reason

I’m alive

Maybe I have a purpose

Maybe I could change a life

Have you ever thought maybe just maybe

There’s a reason why the sun rises and sets

Why people go through hard times

Why you’re alive

Maybe just maybe there is a reason why

Min Survival Guide

I apologize for disappearing for over a week, my final week of the semester was more demanding then I initially thought.  The past few days have left me weary in many ways. I am delighted to have sometime off, just in time to enjoy the beauty of the next few days.

I am excited to share a special Christmas season post, featuring a friend of mine. Together we racked our brains to give you a min Holiday Survival guide. I adore the Christmas season and every detail that consumes it. It is a time of beauty, a time to cherish, a time to be thankful, and a time to reflect. Compassion, love, and excitement fill the air. Despite my passion for the Christmas season things have drastically been altered do to my health. I have encounter many obstacles during this season.

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Hi! My name is Meena, I’m almost 18 and I also have chronic pain! I have had 6 back surgeries, I have a different back problem now called spondylolisthesis, fibromyalgia, polycystic ovary syndrome. I think that’s it. Ha. I don’t have many “hobbies” lately but I love to read and watch tv.

What’s your favorite Christmas tradition ?

Meena: My favorite Christmas tradition is watching the Christmas movies! My family and I love them.

Victoria: It is nearly impossible for me to select only one tradition that I favor over the others. Various events that I attend with my church family are dear to my heart. I adore the simple traditions with my family, such as baking cookies, decorating the Christmas tree, leaving a tray full of goodies outside for the animals Christmas eve, and decorating in general.

What’s the biggest challenge of being chronically ill during the Holidays?

Meena: The biggest challenge is having the energy to deal with all the activities. Thankfully I don’t have a big family and it’s just my parents, sister and I, so I don’t have to do too much!

Victoria: I have encountered new challenges this Holiday season due to POTS. Currently I am unable to be on my feet for more then 15 minutes at a time, which complicates basically everything. I am also having trouble singing.

How do you save spoons during the Holiday season?

Meena: I really haven’t learned how to save spoons yet. I just recently learned what it was and it’s made me think. I always push myself too much because I don’t want to disappoint anyone or make them upset.

Victoria: I am always on spoon saving mode. Anytime I am going out I prepare the night before. This includes packing my meds, any other medical stuff, getting out my outfit, make up, and deciding how I will do my hair. I try to sit while getting ready. Taking breaks while I am out is helpful as well. I try to adapt any activity I do. If I bake, I sit while preparing things.

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What does the Christmas season mean to you?

Meena:  Christmas has always been a time for joy to me. A time to celebrate with family and appreciate what you have in life. I haven’t been so positive these past few years though. Hopefully I can go back to those things.

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Victoria: Christmas is a season of giving, of reflecting, and cherishing those around you. To me the season overflows with the beauty of the gift that God so humbly  gave to us. We prepare our hearts to rejoice during this season.

What are your Christmas season survival tips?

Meena: I would definitely say try not to push yourself too much. I’m going to try that. Also, I would definitely have some pain relievers on hand for when you are in pain. Oh, and don’t forget to rest when you can!!

Victoria: Pace yourself, rest enough, and get sleep. Balance every thing. Eat right and take your meds. Prepare yourself for big events. Do not wait till the last minute for anything. Keep stress levels down. Cherish and enjoy every moment.

We want to hear from YOU! Share your holiday survival tips with us in the comments. Be sure to check out Meena’s blog: Beautyandpaindiaries.blogspot.com

Welcome December

I adore the Christmas season, it is absolutely magical. Beauty overflows all around from stunning lights to warm smiles to traditions and so much more. Christmas carols sweetly fill the air. The Christmas season brings joy as it reassures us gently that things will be okay. It helps us connect with our inner child reminding us of the wonderful Christmas memories. At the same time, it encourages us to move forward filling us with a hope like no other. It unites us with those we hold dear in our hearts. I cherish every aspect of Christmas.

Unfortunately chronic illness and the stressful demands that go with it does not take a holiday. The doctors appointments, treatment, and testing still must be done. Chronic illness tends to complicate things and get in the way of our joy during this season. It is easy to lose focus of the beauty in this season when we are consumed with emotion and pain. When the world seems to be caving in on us and everything seems to be falling apart. Chronic illness isolates us. We feel the effects more so this time of year. Finding a balance between doing things and resting becomes more difficult. For some, this season is depressing, reminding them of all they cannot do.

I hope you are able to take the time to rest and reflect this holiday season. Take to reflect about all the ways you have grown as an individual, all you have accomplished, all the blessings in your life, and everything you have overcome the past few months. You, my friend, have come so far. I am proud of you. You deserve to take time for yourself this busy season. You are an inspiration. Your story is breathtaking and laced with beauty along with encouragement it will change lives. I pray your strength is renewed. The Lord will bless you greatly this season, be open to all he has to offer for you.

I pray you would have a flare free Christmas season. I hope that despite your pain you are able to enjoy this season of blessing. Cherish every moment with those you hold dear to your heart. Hold onto the Christmas spirit. I pray that this season would bless you with little to no pain, plenty of spoons, memories, joy, and love. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

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