Monday, February 20, 2012

balance between doing too much or nothing at all

Everything in me wanted to stay in my PJs and just stay home.  The only reason I went ahead and left was because we had friends expecting us to join them at church, and I knew that getting out with my Husband is rare so we better take the opportunity.

I had only slept about 5 hours the night before so I was feeling exhausted and just generally not in a great mood.  We got to the church and met our friends.  And within the next hour I realized that I had made the right choice.  The service and being with our friends was just what I needed to pull my head out of the sand and be rejuvenated.   After church our friends took us out to eat dinner and it was wonderful just to spend time with people we love so much but don't get to see very often.  It was just where I needed to be last night.  But I almost missed it.

One hard thing about living every day with physical limitations or pain is that we have to choose what activities we will do and it's easy to choose wrong.  I've learned the hard way that sometimes pushing myself to go somewhere or do something can backfire and take days to recover from.  When I was younger I used to go with our church youth group to Creation Festival which was a long weekend of Christian concerts, camping and HOT temperatures.  I enjoyed being with friends (and the fact that my now Husband was there didn't hurt), but I always ended up getting heat exhaustion and even passing out from extreme pain after walking uphill in the heat.  That probably wasn't somewhere I needed to be and my stubbornness only made matters worse for me and everyone who ended up worried when I got so sick.

Each of us has to learn the balance between things we should push ourselves to do, and things that would be unwise for us to pursue because of our pain or circumstances.  Wisdom definitely takes time and trial and error (I've had PLENTY of trial and error over the years!) and lots of balance.   It is far too easy to swing too far in one direction: Never doing anything for fear that we will regret it and end up sicker, or trying to do everything in stubborn pride and hurting ourselves and those around us in the process.  If you are reading this and deal with physical limitations, chronic pain or illness - please do take the time to work on learning balance as you seek to live a good joy-filled life. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Perfect Nap

ALL I wanted to do from the moment I woke up this morning was to take a nap.  
It was a rainy day perfect for being cozy on the couch and after a more than busy week I was tired.  Actually, I'm tired most of the time, but I manage pretty well to get things done and I work fast as well as pacing myself to make my time efficient and keep my body from having too much more pain.  It's a balance that those of us with chronic pain need to learn.  We can't always change what is going on with our health, but what we can do is learn to live well with whatever circumstances we face.   Back to my day:  I got right in and started working on chores that needed doing, errands to run etc.  What got me through was many little prayers all through my day, and also the thought that a good nap was waiting for me in the afternoon.  However, nap time came and went with no nap - finally after 5 I was able to lay down for a few moments but that as well was interrupted.  My best plans to get everything done early so that I could take a nice long nap had back-fired leaving me even more tired.   I realized again that even my most well laid plans might fall through - so if my entire motivation for getting through the day was in that plan (and my wonderful nap!) I would be a mess right now.  But since I had made a conscious decision to depend on God and asked Him this morning for strength for this day, even though I was disappointed (and had a few moments of panic) when my nap disappeared - I was able to go on.  So many times God gives strength that I don't have in myself and it is such a blessing!   I know that with the body I have it is important to plan for times of rest (and this is part of good stewardship of my body and time) - but I also know that even when those plans fall through I'll make it with the strength God only can give.

I'm still hoping for an amazing nap tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Andrew Peterson - The Silence Of God

Wow - this is beautiful - take some time to listen today!

Valentine's Day

Happy late Valentine's Day everyone!

Sometimes we just need to let go of expectations - and Valentine's Day is full of them.  Because of everything going on in our lives I wasn't able to go out and get a cool plant for my sweet Husband yesterday - and although I planned to make a delicious dinner it ended up being done late and rushed - but I just had to go with what was possible and make the most of it.  I could have done a lot more but by late afternoon I realized that my body needed a nap and I knew I wouldn't be much fun if I didn't take care of myself.  My Joshua was amazing and wrote me a wonderful poem that made me cry - maybe partially because I had planned to write a poem for him but I had to settle for little notes in his lunch and on his computer and around the house.  He also got me a bunch of bedding plants that are so pretty and I love them.   Even though I was disappointed that I couldn't do more to show my love to this sweet Man of mine, it helped me remember that we can't be too tied to the expectations of those around us or circumstances.  I don't need Valentine's Day to remember to find creative ways to show my love to my Husband and those around me - even though it is a fun holiday. 

Well, I think that I'm rambling but maybe you get the point.  Sometimes we have to just get through and not let the burdens get us down.  It's so important when dealing with chronic pain or being a mother or work load ... to take the opportunities we can to show love in fun ways and seize the moment!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Don't Give Up!!

I know that everyone feels like life is too hard at times and it can be tempting to just throw in the towel and give up: on work, on choosing joy in suffering, in relational struggles ... I would guarantee that if you are reading this you have been tempted to give up at some point, or maybe you are being tempted to give up right now.  I needed this reminder today and God turned my eyes to this beautiful blog post.  It was exactly the word I needed to hear at this moment.  I hope it encourages you too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Desperate Days Sermons Series

Hello Friends!

Sometimes when you are suffering you just want to know you are not alone.  Our church has been doing a series exploring the story of Job who endured extreme suffering on many levels (health, financial, depression, loss of loved ones ...).  You can listen to sermons at the following link - please do take the time to do this!  I think you will find challenge and encouragement!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

babies, babies everywhere!

In the last 30 hours 2 sweet baby girls have been born to friends of mine.  Every time I look on facebook I see pictures of newborn babies or ultrasound pictures, or see another pregnancy announcement.  I am SO genuinely happy for every one of these families who are welcoming children into their homes.   But last night as my Husband wrapped His strong arms around me (after I could hardly pull myself away from looking at the beauty of another newborn baby) I told Him I just want to not feel like I can't breath because the desire to have a baby is so strong.  It feels like knowing I will never carry a baby inside me, never see what my Husband and my biological children would look like, never hold that brand new baby that I gave birth to ... it just feels like I'm in a nightmare that I can't wake up from.

 Shouldn't it feel better by now?  It's been 7 years now since I knew I would not be able to have a baby. 

No physical pain comes close to this kind of loss.  I've only felt it with 3 circumstances in my life: 1. when someone I love deeply choose to turn their back on God (by far the worst pain I have ever felt) 2. when I thought I wouldn't spend my life with my Farmer Boy, and 3. when I knew having a biological child would never happen for us. 

I want SO badly to not have these feelings about not having children.  I feel selfish for hurting for this reason when others are hurting far worse all around me.  I want to rejoice in the birth of my friend's babies without feeling any sting of what I will never have.  I'm definitely not perfect, and I know that on some level grief over the losses of life that are part of living in a fallen world is good.  I realize that every pang of longing for what we don't have (health, children, loved ones that have gone to heaven before us ...) can be used by God to remind us that this world isn't all there is and it isn't our REAL home.  I want to allow the pain in my life to always turn my eyes to eternity and to the Lord who has given me more than I deserve here on earth and into forever with Him. 

Such kissable cheeks!!  (nephew)

Don't get me wrong: I DO rejoice in the beauty of God's creation in the babies He has given to those around me (and I am so grateful for them sharing their babies with me - I can't get enough of precious babies!!) .. I just want to not feel anything other than that rejoicing.  I want to always remember that when I am rejoicing over God's blessings in my life that someone else might be hurting or longing for what I have been given.  I think the best way to help when the pain is too much to bear is to list out the blessings God has given to me, and just rejoice in what He has given to those around me without giving way to bitterness that He hasn't given me the same blessings.  It's a process of learning and I want to always be open to learning every day to be more thankful.  I know that I am being brutally honest here about how it feels for me walking through this road as a "babyless mother" (because I feel like I was made to be a mama).  I want those who are going through this to know that you aren't alone, and to not give up growing and never ignore the beauty God can bring out of the ashes of your broken dreams. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Live Dead

(quick update: the family member who was in surgery the last time I wrote is home and doing well!)

It has not been an easy week.  My sweet Husband is now out of work (although already has some odd jobs landscaping lined up - he is such a diligent worker and takes his responsibility to provide very seriously!), and it has just been difficult on many levels with a lot of things going on in our lives.  I'm switching medications and this has caused additional pain and that is just one issue I am dealing with on the health front - mixed with everything else going on it has felt like this week would never end.  I have wondered on a daily basis how I will get through the day on many levels - and I have found the answer only in the grace of my God.   I have been amazed (I know I shouldn't be shocked at His faithfulness by now) moment by moment that I'm given strength that I know I didn't have in myself.  He is sustaining me and showing me such beauty and joy even in the midst of a trying time in our lives.

We started a new book together called: "The Live Dead Journal: 30 days of prayer for unreached people, 30 days of challenge"  - it's a book his college is recommending and it is very good - with a daily devotion and challenge to give into the Word of God more than ever before.  The whole idea behind the book is the verse in John that says: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone." - John 12:24.  Here are some quotes from the book that I thought were inspiring and it has been a daily reminder that this life on earth isn't about my comfort but about God's glory and serving the people He puts in my life with His love.

"Prayer should never be understood primarily in terms of power but rather as relating to God who is the source of all power." - Dr. Gailyn Van Rheenen

"Often, we think sacrifice is Abraham, willing to give up his only son.  That is love.  But I've found that I relate more to Isaac. Isaac has to willingly lie on the alter and trust his father.  Isaac was the sacrifice.  As am I." - Charles Porter (missionary to Tanzania)

"I had utterly abandoned myself to Him.  Could any choice be as wonderful as His will? Could any place be safer than the center of His will?  Did not he assure me by His very presence that His thoughts toward us are good, and not evil?  Death to my own plans and desires was almost deliriously delightful.  Everything was laid at His nail-scarred feet, life or death, health or illness, appreciation by others or misunderstanding, success or failure as measured by human standards.  Only He Himself mattered." - V Raymond Edman

Be inspired today to love 150% for Jesus.  No matter what kind of day you are having He is worthy of your all.  And in the midst of it you will find His strength is sufficient for all your needs.