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5/8/16 12:30 P

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Thanks! I'm down 110 pounds and feeling stronger than I have in years. Yes, I still get exhausted sometimes, but I'm not living in a state of chronic exhaustion right now.

Joanne

Whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.

Ndanka, ndanka terewut nga egga fi nga jem. (Wolof proverb)
Slowly slowly doesn't prevent you from arriving at your destination.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome won't stop me.


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5/8/16 11:32 A

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I read your post and was so glad that you are able to be in the field yet.


Jesus said...with God all things are possible


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9/26/15 7:41 A

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That passage has encouraged me for years as God reminds me that hiss strength is made perfect in weakness. I got CFS while serving as a missionary. I still don't know why God allowed it but I know that He did and that His way is best. Maybe He needed me to get out of the way. I'm glad He let me stay on the field and serve to whatever level I am able.

Joanne

Whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.

Ndanka, ndanka terewut nga egga fi nga jem. (Wolof proverb)
Slowly slowly doesn't prevent you from arriving at your destination.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome won't stop me.


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9/26/15 1:26 A

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Joni Erickson (Tada) alludes to many questions about healing in her book, "Joni". The Apostle Paul asked three times for healing and the response was, " my grace is sufficient for thee. 11Corinthians 12:9.Read the full verse. Paul was God's obedient Servant and he certainly didn't have an easy life!

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything of ourselves, but our competence comes from God. JanefromWooster,Ohio


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2/25/15 8:04 A

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I have resorted to sleeping aids. now I'm wondering if I did the wrong thing. Did they interfere with meds? I stopped taking them. I just had to sleep.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.


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9/7/13 11:48 A

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Wondering why God hasn’t healed you yet when everyone tells you if you pray enough He will? Karlton shares.

“‘Aeneas,’ Peter said to him, ‘Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.’ Immediately Aeneas got up.” (Acts 9:34)

As a young adult I listened to quite a number of TV preachers on a regular basis, most of them were Charismatics who taught that God heals everybody all the time if the believer only has enough faith. Back then I did not take even an aspirin for a headache. It all sounded good to me.

But years later my health began to fail, numerous issues began to arise challenging my belief that God always heals all the time. It would take me years to come to grips with those teachings and to unravel the mystery of my numerous illnesses that would not go away just by praying for them to do so.

To me the issue came down to one thing–God is Sovereign. And no matter how well we may know the Bible, no matter how much we pray and can quote scriptures, God is in control of everything, including our health.

Once a pastor asked me what I needed healing of, and I told him that I did not need healing so much as I needed a new body. Thankfully, I know where I can get one, just as all believers will one day get a new body from the Lord.

You may think you do not have enough faith, and perhaps you are blaming yourself for your illness. I would encourage you to look up, to pray and believe–that whether healed, healing, or ill–your God is still in control.

He can heal, or He can give you grace and peace in your time of affliction. And He has something much better in store for you than temporary relief from your pain and difficult circumstances of the here and now.

Prayer: Dear Lord, heal us please! But if you don’t, then send comfort from the Holy Spirit as we await our new bodies. Amen.

About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He is grateful for God’s healing, and for His comforting Spirit.

Have you blamed yourself for your illness? Have you felt that you are a failure because you have not been healed? Consider that we are temples of the Holy Spirit and God knows what is best in all circumstances.


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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8/26/13 11:59 A

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Is it possible for you to just be still, despite all the things you must accomplish? Sandra explains the benefits.

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

“That is enough! Be still, stop striving!” Can you hear the Father say that to His children? Can you hear Him speaking gently to you?

The NASB Bible version of Psalm 46:10 says, “Cease striving and know that I am God. . .”

I would imagine we would all like to stop striving, stop being so busy, learn to be still inside, wouldn’t we? I know I am so tired.

Webster’s Dictionary defines striving as this:

1. to make great effort, to try very hard
2. to struggle against something

I am showing my age here; but I think of striving as an entertainer in one of the old Ed Sullivan shows who kept running in circles trying to keep all of the plates spinning on the poles.

For me, my striving is worrying. I worry about medical bills, my kids future, my future, at times I worry about fighting the bad pain. Sometimes my concern is to just get through the day.

But folks, what do we act like if it is a good day? Istrive to catch up on all that has fallen down undone around me! There is laundry, dishes, stuff to pick up. One day when my kids were little, I counted 12 Little Golden Books, 6 Christmas ornaments, dog treats spilled on the table, my baby daughter’s brush, hair bows, match box cars, and 4 onions. This was all on my dining room table–on Valentines Day!

Cease striving. Let it go. Fall back into the arms of God.

Be still. Be still and know that He is God. Learn to live in rest. A calmness of spirit reflects the beauty of the Lord to those around us.

Stop fighting, fretting, worrying, and learn to rest in the Lord.

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Prayer: Father, I am so grateful that you are there for us when we fall. If we fall you will catch us. If we spin our wheels worrying, striving, and fretting, You can give us peace and rest. Father, I need peace. I need rest. I give you my heart and my soul. Amen.

About the Author:
Sandra (Sandy) Platt has been on the writing team for 7 years. She is a busy Minister’s wife and mother of two young adults. She has been married for 31 years, and in the Ministry for 26. She has wanted to write for as far back as she can remember. She has had Fibromyalgia for 24 years, and also has Lupus, Peripheral Neuropathy, and just in the past year has graduated to a wheelchair.

Share about a time where you were caught in a cycle of worry and striving. How did you reach a point where you asked God for help. How did you find your way to peace?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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8/26/13 11:58 A

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I am glad you enjoy these...they are very encouraging to me and I am glad that you like them too. I find them very uplifting!

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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ANNABELLE1957's Photo ANNABELLE1957 Posts: 1,357
8/20/13 11:41 A

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thank you for this post it is comforting to read and give hope for all of us suffering daily , bless all you do

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8/13/13 4:29 P

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In a disposable world it can seem like there is an absence of hope, of things built to last. But Diane shares the one thing we can have faith in that will not fail.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)

Have you noticed that things just do not seem to last as long as they used to? Perhaps it is just me but I definitely recall items lasting much longer when I was a child. I know that the washing machine my parents had lasted a good twenty years; the parts were made of metal and your dad could actually could take them apart and fix them if he was mechanically inclined.

Today nothing is made to last! Most appliances are made with plastic parts and if you try to disassemble the machine or replace parts yourself your warranty is no longer valid. I’m blessed to have a husband who is a mechanic by trade, who will do everything he can to fix whatever is broken himself, but even he has had to give in to the manufacturers of certain machines because of the type of materials they now use to build them.

So what I find encouraging is that although we live in this world–which is more and more determined to make everything disposable, replaceable, of no real value to anyone or anything–we have an all knowing Father who offers us an unconditional guarantee, of an “inheritance of hope” that will lasts an eternity!

God tells us that this gift, this precious new birth, is waiting just for us through the resurrection of His son Jesus Christ. This inheritance is not made of plastic materials that will deteriorate and fail. It is not merely paper money and is much more precious than gold (v. 7), and His promise to us is that it will be forever!

Now I know you may hear that kind of offer on those TV ads at times, but if you read the fine print I’m sure you would find a loop-hole in there for the manufacturer to cover themselves. God doesn’t have loop-holes in His word or fine print. He has only love, compassion, forgiveness, and promises that are given in truth.

Each of us have to deal with our own daily struggles. It may be illness and pain, depression, financial struggles, perhaps it is caring for a loved one; How comforting it is to know that with Jesus we have something to hold onto, a truthful guarantee, the hope we have in Him and the inheritance of a life spent walking in His presence. And that life of living water will never perish, spoil, or fade!

Prayer: Father, Thank You for the promise of an “inheritance of hope” that we can know beyond all doubt that You are there waiting for us, that You do not think of us as disposable, that we are more precious to You than anything else than we could imagine. Let us always look to You first in our daily struggles, knowing that You give us a guarantee to always be there right beside us. Amen.

About the author:
Diane Kalata lives in Florida. She has three grown children, and a wonderful husband who offers much support. She enjoys leading a women’s bible study group as well as a chronic pain and illness support group. She enjoys art and writing as well. She is a colon cancer survivor, but deals with chronic digestive illness and pain. But her greatest joy is encouraging and sharing with others all that God has done in her life and continues to do.

How does it make you feel to know that knowing God gives you that inheritance of hope? What does hope look like in your life?



"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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8/3/13 2:18 P

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We need the support of our loved ones but how can we share without starting to overwhelm them? Karlton shares.

“He would not let me catch my breath but would overwhelm me with misery.” (Job 9:18)

In the early years of my affliction, when I was completely overwhelmed at the downturn in my health, I fear I laid too much of that burden upon my wife and other family members. Sometimes we become so encompassed by affliction, we fail to understand that not only are we overwhelmed, we are overwhelming those around us as well.

I have to frequently remind myself that if my burden is too much for me to bear, it is certainly too much for others to bear. I must take my heavy burden before the Lord, ask for His help, and not try to lift more than I can carry at one time.

I heard a story once about someone standing beside God, watching as God kept laying a heavier and heavier load upon people who could barely stand beneath the burden. The person asked God, “Why do you lay even more upon their shoulders when they are already sinking beneath the load?”

God then tells the person, “It is when they can no longer lift the heavy burden that they will turn and ask Me for help.”

There is nothing wrong with taking our needs to our brothers and sisters, to our friends and family members. But what I try to do is be selective. I do not go through the alphabet of every ache and pain, every symptom of my illness, every aspect of my affliction.

I tell people what I most need. I tell them at most two or three things that are of primary importance to pray for, or help me with. I avoid the “laundry list” of my illness.

Often when I pray, I sense God wants to know the single thing that is most important to me, the one thing I am most concerned about. I believe if we tackle the worst problem, we can then move on to deal with the other issues.

And when it comes to those around us, we should share our struggles, and as scripture says, carry each other’s burdens, but let us not overwhelm those who truly want to help us by expecting them to carry each and every burden in our lives.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me with the one big issue I have today. Amen.

About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. His desire is to fight his battles wisely, one war at a time.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your difficulties? Have you ever overwhelmed others with all of your challenges?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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7/30/13 3:59 P

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When it feels like everything hits you at once, you may feel like the “rain” in life will drown you. Kerryn, who is experiencing winter in Australia, shares what God has shown her.

“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants” (Deuteronomy 32:2).

In our life, with chronic invisible illnesses, there are times where everything seems to come crashing down on us–all at once.

Currently, it’s one of those times!

It didn’t help my body, or mood, that it was raining constantly. . . and the previous day . . . and for the next few days, as we approach winter in Australia.

I had just sent a phone text to thank a friend for their help and prayers. At the end I wrote: “When it rains, it pours!”

As soon as I’d sent the text I felt that “nudge from the Lord” that I well know. It was a nudge to say that there’s something important, from Him, for me–if I want to listen.

I had been focusing on all that was challenging and pouring down, like stinging rain.

As I sat with the Lord I had a picture of myself standing in the rain, when an umbrella suddenly appeared in my hand! That was the first reminder:

He will provide for my needs and He knows what I need. God then reminded me of the many times He has intervened, in incredible ways recently, that can only be His hand.

I looked up into the umbrella, as I opened it up. That was the second reminder.

I need to look up to Him, not down at the circumstances.

It was a specific umbrella . . . long and clear, so that I could see through it to where I’m going, while being protected from the rain. There was my third reminder.

The Lord will protect me. The rain might continue, but He’ll direct me through it with some shelter. I may not see clearly through the plastic in the rain, but it will be enough to direct my steps.

It was such a simple picture, yet one that gave me great comfort and peace.

Finally, I reflected on Deuteronomy 32:2 “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.”

All of the obvious reminders came about rain being poured out to create life, growth and drinking water. Suddenly I realized how thirsty I am. Thirsty for the Living Water! My soul was longing for the Living Water and worship. It might have been pelting with rain, yet I was thirsty!

Lord, “only You can satisfy!”

Prayer: Lord, I’m tired and thirsty. Help me to come to You now, for “only You can satisfy.” Refresh me with Your Living Water. Thank You, gracious Lord. Amen.

About the Author:
Kerryn Wright lives with her family amongst the gum trees in South Australia. She was a special education teacher prior to chronic illnesses. Her husband is carer for three of their family, who have chronic illnesses and disabilities. God has always guided them through life’s challenges, often in surprising ways.

“When it rains, it pours” What has the Lord taught you during those difficult times of downpours? What pictures does the Lord give you that help bring comfort and peace?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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7/28/13 2:39 P

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We can feel alone in our suffering many times, but when we look at our memories, Bronlynn explains, we often see God’s presence and faithfulness.

“My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you” (Psalm 42:5).

Although not an art expert, I do enjoy looking at lovely photos and paintings. Sometimes the frame itself enhances the picture greatly. The backdrop can add or detract from it as well. How many of us have taken pictures only to discover that something unattractive was hiding in the background and ruining the scene? I’ve also seen pictures that were unremarkable in one frame but became quite eye-catching in another.

In her Bible study Believing God, Beth Moore said that David and Jeremiah, among others, “deliberately refocused and reframed the difficult memories in the goodness and faithfulness of God.”

As I read that, I thought of difficult times in my own life, particularly those related to my health. If I dwell on them in a negative way, I become downcast–wishing things were different, wishing I had appreciated more, struggling with the “whys” and “what ifs,” etc.

I can, however, choose to see God in the background of each memory. As I reflect back, I see how God’s strength has continually carried me through my most difficult moments. I realize how the Lord used and continues to use other people in my life to display His mercy, compassion, and even admonishment when I need it.

I remember the wisdom and direction He gave for difficult decisions, and how He brought peace through the beauty of nature and creation which I had never noticed before.

The more I look for God in the pictures of my life, the more I see His hand at work in all things. Some of my pictures are rather bleak, but set against the backdrop and frame of God and His attributes, they are given a new and brighter look. My life has not been not perfect, but it is filled with the presence of God, and that changes the entire picture.

Prayer: Lord, when I struggle with negative thoughts and discouraging memories, help me look for signs of Your presence in them, causing me to remember You in my past, see You in my present, and trust You for my future. As I do, I will be uplifted and encouraged. Amen.

About the author:
Bronlynn Spindler lives in VA and is blessed to have the support and encouragement of a wonderful husband and three grown daughters. God’s grace and strength have brought her through thyroid cancer and continue to sustain her through ongoing back pain, depression, headaches, multiple sensitivities, eye pain, and fibromyalgia. You may view her blog of devotionals at www.aplaceofsprings57.blogspot.com.

Are there any particularly painful memories or current negative situations you are facing in which you see evidence of God that you missed before? What attributes has He shown, and how can seeing them change the way you respond to problems now?

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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7/27/13 12:41 P

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We all have days when we don’t want to hear about God’s purpose in the suffering, we just want to feel better. Still, Karlton shares how our outlook impacts our life dramatically.

“The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.’” (Exodus 3:7)

It is the miserable times of my illness that are so challenging. You know what I mean, there is the normal, “everyday bad”, and then there is the truly “miserable bad.” Those miserable bad days really make me want to give the devil a black eye. It’s my hope that God can somehow use all that misery for His glory, that instead of me falling to my knees in pain and suffering, I can rise up and glorify God in the midst of my suffering.

Sometimes a bad mood trickling into my life becomes a raging torrent.

One of my favorite bands, a group named “Skillet” has a song called “Monster” that speaks of “sometimes feeling like a monster.” Our illnesses can do that to us, make us feel inhuman, drag us down into painful, miserable moods, and lead our minds down dark pathways. We seriously need help from above to redeem such times.

One of these days maybe the devil will learn his lesson. The more he hits me, the more I’m going to turn it to God’s purposes. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than punching the devil in the eye. More times than I can count the devil has whispered: You are not going to make it. But as always, he is a liar, and I’m still here praising God. And when the enemy comes to his final ending, I’ll be there praising God in my glorified body, and so will you.

But today can seem miserable, these bodies wracked with pain, moods dark and depressed, it can be a struggle getting from one day to the next. We need help from above, we need spiritual warfare to protect our hearts and minds from the arrows of the enemy, and we need the satisfaction of a counterstrike against our enemy. Often it is when we are our weakest that we are most effective as witnesses to the glory of God.

The enemy does not understand the paradox that out of weakness comes strength; sometimes the best things in life start out bitter and disappointing only to become our greatest moments and experiences. Dark days can be our greatest opportunities to witness about what God can do.

Sometimes life gets ugly and painful. And it seems the devil has a knack of showing up when you are weakest. When our Lord Jesus was weakest the devil came to tempt Him, so it should be no surprise that when we are down the enemy strikes.

I would encourage you to counterstrike, praise God in the midst of your pain, refuse to see yourself as a misshapen monster no matter how you may feel, you are a son or daughter of the Most High, so find a way to praise God, to bless God by ministering to others in the midst of your affliction when you are hit the hardest by the enemy.

The grace of God is an awesome thing. It may seem impossible for you to believe that God can use your weakness, your constant illness, and even worsening condition to somehow do good in this world. While your illness may not be a good thing, God working in and through you is always a good thing. It may just be that in the midst of your weakest times God has more room to maneuver and minister through your life.

Don’t let today pass by without praising the Lord. Give God glory for what He has already done in your life, and allow Him to take your pain and misery and make your weakness His strength. Allow Him to take your misery and turn it into a sweet time of what God’s glorious grace can do.

Prayer: Dear Lord, use our pain for Your glory, use our misery to give the devil a black eye and lift Your name high! Amen.

About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He takes great satisfaction in proving the devil wrong and lifting Christ up in the midst of affliction.

Does your affliction leave you feeling down and defeated? Have you tried to praise God in the midst of your pain?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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7/23/13 11:58 A

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Do you ever feel like you need to make a decision but are stuck in a fog? Kerryns shares where to go from here.

“At the command of the Lord the Israelites would set out, and at the command of the Lord they would camp. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they would remain in camp” (Numbers 9:18).

I don’t know about you, but for me some days just begin in a blur!

A sleepless night, sheer exhaustion, the brain fog so deep nothing is registering, illnesses playing havoc with the body, pain and nausea. And that’s before the situations of daily life strike! A new family crisis hit before I was anywhere near functioning.

It’s times like this that I simply have to retreat, to stillness and seeking God as soon as possible.

Today I was led to read Exodus 14. Moses told the Israelites not to be afraid and to be still. Understandably they were terrified, but followed Moses’ instructions for calmness and stillness. Later God gave Moses instructions to move. This led to the miraculous parting of the Red Sea and safe passage for the Israelites. It also led to deeper trust in God and in their leader Moses.

It reminded me of the dear pastor who married my husband and I. A wise old man, who is now with the Lord. He prayed for us every other day, for nearly 30 years, until he died.

One time we had a difficult decision with no clarity so my husband went to see this pastor for advice. His words have remained with us for other difficult situations. This story relates to Numbers 9:18 with the “cloud resting over the tabernacle.”

When rock climbers are climbing a mountain and encounter fog they use a bivouac, that looks like a hammock with a warm sleeping bag. It’s secured into the mountain rock and they hang safely in it until the fog clears. If they continue to climb up or decide to descend, during a fog, it can be extremely dangerous. So safety instructions for them are to rest, or sleep, in the bivouac, until the fog clears and it’s safe to move again.

Seeing the precariousness of rock climbers at El Capitan, in Yosemite in 2003, highlighted my understanding of this illustration.

We continue to rely on this simple visual illustration in times of confusion or uncertainty for decision making.

Not every situation has that luxury.

However, when it’s so foggy that it seems dangerous to move through the fog, I roll out my imaginary bivouac and rest with the Lord. I also thank God that I’m not really scaling El Capitan at Yosemite in fog!

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your Word that speaks into our daily situations. Thank You too for Your Shepherds who consistently pray and counsel from Your wisdom. Help us to be still and rest in You when all seems foggy and a blur. Then show us how, and when, to proceed wisely. Amen.

About the Author:
Kerryn Wright lives with her family amongst the gum trees in South Australia. She was a special education teacher prior to chronic illnesses. Her husband is carer for three of their family, who have chronic illnesses and disabilities. God has always guided them through life’s challenges, often in surprising ways.

How has God helped you through “foggy times”? What illustrations guide you during those decision making times? What pastors or mentors words come to you when you most need them?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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7/20/13 4:53 P

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When you are trying to find the purpose in why you suffer have you noticed God’s promises to deliver? Lisa explains.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:17-19)

Lately, looking at my Facebook wall has sent my feelings spinning. Just scanning 50 status updates can send my emotions up and down in less than 60 seconds. Ah, her daughter got married . . . Ugh, the cancer is back . . . She got a new puppy! . . . They have miscarried . . . What a fun vacation they are on (wish I was!) . . . Oh no, her grandma just passed away.

Living with chronic illness is a lot like this same roller coaster ride. Oh, my neck isn’t hurting today. I can’t believe it! . . Gosh, I nearly fell! . . . I have to have more tests, the doctor seems so worried . . . The lab reports aren’t as bad as I expected . . . Oh no, the insurance has denied the procedure I already had . . . My headache is finally easing up . . . I was denied disability assistance–again. Can you relate?

As I read these scriptures, Psalm 34:17-19, I realized that it was repetitive. First, it says, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” Okay, from this I gather the righteous have troubles, they cry out, God deliver them from the troubles. Got it. Sounds pretty good actually.

Then the scripture reminds us that God is close to those of us who feel completely crushed. I consider this the “face-plant surrender.” I define brokenhearted as when you are on your knees, head in your hands, crying out, “I have nothing left to give, God. I am empty. I feel like my heart has been ripped out.” Thank goodness God is extra close to those of us who are there!

Then the scripture continues, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” What’s the different between Psalm 34:17 and Psalm 34:19? We are reminded that a righteous person may have many troubles. Many? . . . Many? What’s with that?

Yes, in 1 Peter 4:12 we are told not to be surprised by our painful trials. In The Message version it says:

“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.”

God promises that when we suffer, He will deliver us from out troubles and trials–all of them, not just a few and not just the big ones. Our delivery from them may be on earth –or may be in heaven– but we will (eventually) be delivered from them all.

If we didn’t suffer, would would never need a deliverer. And God designed us so that we would need Him–desperately! It’s the way we are built.

Prayer: Lord, my emotions may go up and down because of good news and bad news of those I care about as well as my own state of health. Let me remember the ways You have delivered me from my troubles and trials in the past so I can just sink into Your arms when I am suffering and not waste my energies in the emotional roller coaster. Amen.

About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.

When you are suffering or seeing how others are suffering, where does your mind wander? Do you recall God’s promise to deliver or do you focus on how big the trials are?

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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7/16/13 4:25 P

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What do you do when everything is falling apart? Kerryn shares where she finds her peace.

“I am severely afflicted; give me life, O Lord, according to your word” (Psalm 119:107).

Everything is falling apart on me!

It’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s how it feels within my body and life situation recently. Suffering illnesses, we all have those really bad days that bring us to our knees, bed or recliner. Currently I’m a bit like a teddy that has stuffing falling out at the well-worn seams.

Today, as I cried out to God to put me together again, He gave me a beautiful new image. It’s one that made me smile.

When I was a little girl, my youngest brother had a teddy that he’d named, oh so creatively as, “Little Ted!” Little Ted went everywhere with him.

Little Ted even had a voice! Yes, Little Ted could be heard answering in a high pitched voice, at convenient times. Unfortunately, Little Ted had a bit of a naughty streak too, keeping my brother up at night with his constant chatter. When told to be quiet and go to sleep my brother would say, “It’s Little Ted!”

Over time Little Ted began to look quite disheveled with stuffing escaping at ever-increasing holes. Our dear Grandma saw how Little Ted needed a new skin and lovingly knitted a cute, snug, red, woolen outer to keep his innards in. Looking bright and fresh, Little Ted had a new lease on life. His skin was still worn out, but the new outer layer kept everything in tact.

The Message Bible puts Psalm 119:107 like this: “Everything’s falling apart on me, God; put me together again with Your Word.”

When I’m “falling apart” I turn to the Psalms. Without fail, God “puts me together again” with new perspectives and words of comfort and peace.

Do I always turn there first? No, like many I often flounder around wondering what to do, as I pick up the stuffing that’s escaping faster than I can manage.

Praise God that He knits that new, snug outer layer that “puts me together” as I sit still in His Word and His presence.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that You truly know how it feels to fall apart at the cross, as Your life was drained from You. Your new body in heaven is one that I also look forward to. Until then, thank You that You put me together and “give me life, O Lord, according to Your Word.” Amen.

About the Author:
Kerryn Wright lives with her family amongst the gum trees in South Australia. She was a special education teacher prior to chronic illnesses. Her husband is carer for three of their family, who have chronic illnesses and disabilities. God has always guided them through life’s challenges, often in surprising ways.

When the stuffing is falling out of you where do you turn? Is there a particular scripture that “gives you life” when you’re “falling apart”?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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7/16/13 1:25 P

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Ever wonder if anyone will recognize God in your life since you aren’t producing much fruit lately? Lisa shares. . .

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.” (Luke 6:43)

I have been in a difficult season of life lately. My struggles of illness have been put aside and I have been doing “just enough” to cope with the chronic pain, infections, and swelling of joints. But my focus has been on being the mom that my son needs.

Last week, as my Christian women writer friends attended our annual conference, I was making Monster Rocks, gluing plastic eyes onto rocks I spray painted. As my son’s friends are on vacations and going to camps, this summer we are going to therapy.

It has put a new spin on the “fruit” I produce for the Lord. Even when ill, I have always had the joy of Rest Ministries being a visible reminder of God’s purpose for my pain. Now, I just feel a bit lost. I know God is at work. I know I am where I am supposed to be. But there is a shortage of harvest.

In the past I thought people would be able to recognize me by my “fruit” as this scripture says. Oh, she wrote that book. She is the one who has that web site. She . . . Whatever! It is vain and yet, don’t we all want to feel as though God is using us? I have always assumed the more people recognized “me” the more I could point them to where I find strength–the Lord’s feet.

But right now my harvest of fruit is very small. Some days I can’t even see it. Would people still see fruit of the Lord in me now–or just a tired, complaining, helpless woman?

After reading this scripture I looked up fruit tress and dormant years online.

“Most of the classic deciduous fruit trees have been bred and selected and bred some more over the past many centuries to produce unnaturally large and abundant fruit. Consequently, most are unable to support the weight of all the fruit that they are capable of producing. This is why it is so important for them to be pruned while dormant through winter.*

Ironically, when a tree is dormant and not producing fruit, this is also the time a tree is pruned! And this describes my season–dormant–and being pruned back. But why?

Because you and I are capable of producing more fruit than we can handle!

I truly believe that illness is one of the ways God gives us the opportunity to produce fruit that can change the lives of those around us. But we also must remember He is God. Our fruit is never a sign of our own strength. God does have a purpose for our pain, but He is gradually building us up so we can be strong enough to hold that fruit He will give us,

The tree website explains, “Regardless of the extent of pruning, the ’4 Ds,’ which are “‘dead, dying, damaged and diseased’ stems, should be pruned from all deciduous fruit trees.”

I am choosing to believe I am in that dormant season when God is pruning away. In my own life He is cutting off that which is dead, dying, damaged, and diseased in my life. This may be my priorities, certain emotions, sins, attitudes, and complete faith in my own abilities. I feel like that jagged large stick in the ground that remembers being a tree. A tree who remembers offering fruit, and a canopy shade, a place where friends could gather.

But like the fruit tree, I have hope that the season of dormancy will end and my fruit will come again. Yours will too.

Prayer: God, You never commanded us to produce fruit every day, because You allow the droughts, the storms, and the harsh pruning into our life so our fruit will multiple and our strength will grow to hold it all. Remind me that You won’t cut off any valuable stems, but that You are the one pruning and not just watching the shears head in my direction. Amen.

Have you ever felt like your fruit dried up and then the pruning began? How does it feel to know that God has even greater multitudes of fruit, but He is making you stronger so you can bear it better?

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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7/13/13 8:52 P

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Jeff always said from the first time I met him (too many years ago) that Faith is believing in what you cannot see while living as if you can. emoticon You are right with faith we have so much hope. And yes the man had the faith to be there every day.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me."


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7/12/13 10:29 P

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Is faith, hope, enough for you to be healed? Perhaps, because there is no “formula.” Elizabeth explains how vital three things are for us to function each day even when we are not healed.

“’Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’” (John 5:7)

In today’s passage I see hope. This man’s chances of being the first in the pool were pretty slim, but he was there none the less. We all hold out that sliver of hope in spite of all logic, that somehow, some way, some miracle may still cure us. Even a reduction in pain and limitation would be grand. We need to have hope or we get heart sick, as Proverbs tells us.

I also see faith here. Someone, either the afflicted man or his loved ones, had enough faith to get him to that spot. He later proves his own faith when Jesus grants him healing.

Faith had been there every day before that, as well as hope. On that day, however, Jesus added one more element with His divine power–charity.

Just yesterday my son told me of a word picture story he heard in a devotional. He compared these three elements to a motor.

Hope was the fuel, the gas that keeps us pushing forward.
Faith is the nuts and bolts, the hardware of the engine that holds it together and stabilizes things.
Charity is the oil or lubricant that smooth’s the rough edges and keeps the unit running.

All necessary, but nothing will move and progress cannot be made without the oil of charity.

In today’s verse Jesus bathed the man in pure love and, voilà, movement! It worked! It wasn’t long however until man’s pietistic ignorance came into the picture with legalism and human logic. Lord have mercy on us fools! And yet Jesus adds more oil of charity by telling the man the key to true joy–sin no more.

This motor parable has sent my mind to many levels, as an individual, in my family, as a church, and as a member of the human race. I need these elements to keep my motor running properly.

By the way, did you notice that perfect health was not on the list of what we have to have to make it in life? I did. It is the broken He came for not the righteous and perfect.

Prayer: Father, You have given me all I need to live abundant life. You see past the physical and heal my heart and soul. Thank You for Your oil of charity through the shed blood of Your Son Jesus Christ. That’s enough for me! Amen.

About the author:
Elizabeth Vendley is the wife of David, and lives in North Central Michigan. They have raised seven children. Elizabeth has lived with severe Interstitial Cystitis since 1996. Her passion is glorifying the Lord by writing out the lessons He has taught her. She would love to hear from readers through the Sunroom. Elizabeth welcomes readers to see her musings and gleanings in her blog http://evendley.blogspot.com/.

What areas in your life could use the lubricating of charity? Can faith and hope ever be enough without charity? Do you believe that our spiritual lives can thrive even with broken bodies? How has the Lord proven this in your life?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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7/10/13 8:25 A

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We are like flames for Jesus as we can choose to light a candle (or hundreds!) through God’s strength, Pastor Chris shares.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. In fact, it gains company. One of my favorite parts of the Sunday Morning worship service in the churches I have shepherded has always been the lighting of the altar candles by the acolytes.

It’s not just because my children love to be the acolyte. I love the symbolism of lighting the candles on the altar and then the young person carrying the light of Christ from the altar out in to the world at the end of the service.

It’s an interesting property of flame. You could light a thousand candles and the initial flame would have lost none of its fervor. The potency of the flame is not at all affected by the lighting of other flames. In fact, the flame has in a sense multiplied, though it remains unchanged.

A flame on a wick is meant to burn but it has meaning when it multiplies. The flame will eventually burn out. But its heat will continue to be felt only if it has been transferred again and again to another candle.

My friend, if you are suffering today, if you are in pain, if you are in anguish, even when the flame of your candle is threatened by the wind of anguish, if it still burns you can still transfer the light.

It doesn’t matter if you are strong or weak, bold or meek, God has a plan and purpose for your light to shine, your flame to light the wick of others, right where you are; even if where you are is in a hospital bed, a seat of anguish, or a chair of mourning.

While your flame yet burns, there is hope and there is purpose. I especially like the way that Robert Browning said it. “All service ranks the same with God.”

You may not count the warm smile and genuinely Christ-like attitude that you share in your pain matters but God can use it. You may not believe that your prayer offered to an in-home nurse is meaningful but it could be the very means God uses to set her candle afire with the love of Christ.

Even if the flame shutters and the wax is running dry, there is yet flame in you to light another candle.

Prayer: Loving Heavenly Father. Give me the grace necessary to endure my trial and hardship as did Jesus on the Cross–with eternity in view and love for your creation in His heart in the present moment. Amen.

About the author:
Chris Surber is the Pastor at Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk, Virginia. He is a religion columnist for the Suffolk News Herald and a contributor to various Christian publications. You can his website at www.chrissurber.com

What simple way can you be a light today? Who is in your life in need of encouragement that only you can offer?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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7/4/13 2:26 P

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As I read Sarah's post on clutter and the home. Our minds and emotions do the same thing. As I think about the way our "fog" happens and the cluttered effect this has on our minds and emotions.

One thing I realized is how dehabilitating stress and grief are. I am not grieving any less. I still everynight sleep in J's Navy sweatshirt but I have taken to writing in a journal when the grief overpowers and I just "give up" I will write it out. I have discovered this "decluttering" process of the mind has opened the door to sleep instead of the typical 2 hours I am up to 5 hours a night.

Add when "external family, finances, and real life" involved we find the emotional setback as painful and dehabilitating as any physical part of the fibro.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me."


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6/29/13 4:18 P

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Can we be strong despite our weakness? Yes! Fiona shares some ways to stay strong in the Lord.

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name.” (Revelation 3:8)

We’re studying the book of Revelation in our small group and even though I’ve not been there much, I have been reading along with what they are looking at. Last week I did go and we were looking at the letters to the churches and what was being written–both to encouraging and reprimand them.

In the letter to the Church at Philadelphia, the above verse stood out. The letter was encouraging those who had stayed strong in their faith against false teaching; who were obeying Christ’s teachings and standing up with courage against those who sought to lead them astray.

It talked about them staying strong, despite having “little strength.”

Many of us could identify with the feeling of having little strength–whether only sometimes, or always. I think sometimes it’s easier for those of us who have some chronic illness and who battle each day to keep going, to understand weakness–where others who are healthy, or healthier, may take their strength for granted.

If we acknowledge that we have “little strength,” what are we doing with that and how are we “keeping (His) word and not denying (His) name”?

It seemed to me that in light of our current struggles (whatever they might be for you)–they may leave us with “little strength” but we are still able to, use our experiences to point others to God; encourage those in similar situations to keep trusting; or by example, lean harder on the one who gives us the strength to get through this.

Our health may be failing, or our strength may be little, but we can “. . . be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:2)

The letter says in verse 11: “Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” I’m looking forward to receiving my crown one day and I want to be able to wear it confidently in the knowledge that I’ve stayed strong, despite having little strength of my own.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for taking our little and making it count for much eternally, keep us strong even in our weakness, as we trust in You. Amen.

About the Author:
Fiona Burrows lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is thankful that God walks each step of her life with her, and that He is teaching her new things as she learns to live with chronic back pain. She enjoys finding time for reading, writing, and photography, and to share those things with others. You can contact her in the Sunroom, or read more of her writing on her blog there.

God understands when we have little strength physically, or emotionally, but how are you “holding on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown?

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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6/28/13 11:08 A

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The Dark Secret of The Chronically Ill: Clutter and Mess! - 2013-06-25 10:00:46-04


How do you cut the clutter and mess when you are exhausted and in chronic pain all the time? Lisa shares her experience with the clutter.

I have walked into the homes of people who live with chronic illness and the rooms are so dark. Navy blue blankets filled with dog hair, dark curtains, stacks of old magazines, broken lamps. The person will tell me how depressed she is, and I understand . . .

I know I cannot change her emotions, but I so want to change the environment. I want to do is start collecting items and running the washing machine, opening curtains and fluffing pillows. I wish I could leave her home feeling a bit more cheerful for her, then when I came.

As the new year began in 2012 I looked around my home and felt depressed. I had been decluttering for months, yet there was still: Too. Much. Stuff. I wanted a calmer environment. Peaceful. Serene. It took time and I have to constantly work to not let it build up, but at last, not every cupboard has stuff following out of it, every drawer getting stuck.

Do you love where you live?

When you are in pain and snuggling up on your couch, despite not wanting to be there, do you feel comforted by your surroundings?

I understand that many of us who live with illness do not have an abundance of money. Hands hurt or do not work well. Bodies ache and we can barely get to the grocery store, much less the craft store.

But, has your environment taken over your life?

In my home, last year, I couldn’t find anything. I used up so much energy just looking for something. I constantly had things falling out of closets or cupboards and bruising my feet for a week (tips here). My knee would barely unbend and yet I had to jump three hurdles to get to the washing machine to start laundry. It was a “danger zone.”

I remember when we had to evacuate for fires. I ran through the house filming everything in case it burned down and we needed the tape for insurance reasons. How embarrassing! I swore I would delete that tape if we never needed it. But, our video tapes are kind of disorganized so I have no ideas where it is, except “in the box” of tapes.

For years, most of my clothes lived on a pile in my room. My husband had gradually taken over our walk-in closet and I could no longer walk in it and the clothes in there were too small anyway.

Do you get the picture? It was not a pretty one.

So, for the last year and a half, I have been on a quest to get organized, to be intentional about what goes where. Some things I am still struggling with, like mail piling up, the garage being a dumping ground of the whole family, my son’s Legos that seem to multiply every night. But still, I am pressing on. I began with attempting to clean a one-foot square area per day, Monday – Friday.

I am going to share some posts here at Rest Ministries for awhile about getting organized, decluttering, crafty projects on a budget, how to use Pinterest to change your life, and how to simplify. I think it is one of the dark hidden secrets among many of those of us with chronic illness. The junk.

We aren’t hoarders–we just have no energy left over to clean, carry stuff outside, move things to the right location, etc.

Have I got it all figured out?

Hardly! But thankfully, I can see progress.

I love to create. I used to cross-stitch and do all kinds of crafts that used a lot of finger power. Now with deformed hands and four silicone joints, I cannot do those any longer. But creating is still a part of who I am–it balances me out. It gives a different part of my brain a chance to work, and something more fun to think about.

If you are not a crafty person, that is okay. You can read these posts, or hit delete. Please don’t feel obligated to start creating… but if you have put away your crafty side for awhile, buried it under the pile of “who I used to be,” maybe it is time to get it out and shake the dust off and join us for some new adventures. Why crafts? Because “getting organized” sometimes means finding a new way of doing something, a new use for an old item, a different way of arranging things, learning what motivates you to put something away rather than leave it on the counter.

And sometimes that means you have to get out a little glue, a cardboard box, or some duct tape. Don’t be scared.


Let’s tackle the mess!


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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6/25/13 3:39 P

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When you have a day where lifting your head seems impossible, remember that scripture even addresses this struggle. Fiona Burrows shares. . .

“But You are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head.” (Psalm 3:3)

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had trouble with strong pain at the base of my skull and headaches that leave me feeling nauseous. While I often have headaches, this was apparently being caused by something that had jammed in my neck and despite treatment to release it, the problem persisted for a while.

When morning came, after a night of very disturbed sleep, I didn’t want to get up and the thought of even lifting my head off the pillow, seemed more than I could do, even though lying there was painful too.

Years ago, we used to sing a lot of “Scripture In Song” worship songs and without even knowing it, we were putting chunks of Scripture into our minds as they were set to catchy tunes. I often find my mind returning to those songs, but I have to search to find where the words were actually taken from in the Bible.

As I lay there struggling with the pain, the song in my mind was “My Glory and The Lifter Of My Head”* which contained the above verse in it’s lyrics–though they are closer to the words of the King James Version: “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”

I know there are many of you who would often feel almost unable to lift your head, or maybe hold it up or steady, for any length of time; maybe even to think about getting out of bed, or your recliner, or wheelchair.

When it feels we can hardly lift our head up for another day, or maybe lift up our broken body for another day, where do we go to find the strength to do so?

We lift our faces towards God, lift our hearts towards the One who gives us the strength to keep on going for another day, the One who is the lifter up of our head.

Father, thank You for the promises in this verse. Help us to look to You for the strength to raise our broken bodies, each new day You give us. Amen.

About the Author:
Fiona Burrows lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is thankful that God walks each step of her life with her, and that He is teaching her new things as she learns to live with chronic back pain. She enjoys finding time for reading, writing, and photography, and to share those things with others. You can contact her in the Sunroom, or read more of her writing on her blog there.

* My Glory And The Lifter Of My Head, Mae McAlister ©1967, Scripture In Song Volume 1

What helps you to get going for another day, to face another day of pain or illness, even when you can barely lift your head?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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6/24/13 11:05 P

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When you have a day where lifting your head seems impossible, remember that scripture even addresses this struggle. Fiona Burrows shares. . .

“But You are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head.” (Psalm 3:3)

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had trouble with strong pain at the base of my skull and headaches that leave me feeling nauseous. While I often have headaches, this was apparently being caused by something that had jammed in my neck and despite treatment to release it, the problem persisted for a while.

When morning came, after a night of very disturbed sleep, I didn’t want to get up and the thought of even lifting my head off the pillow, seemed more than I could do, even though lying there was painful too.

Years ago, we used to sing a lot of “Scripture In Song” worship songs and without even knowing it, we were putting chunks of Scripture into our minds as they were set to catchy tunes. I often find my mind returning to those songs, but I have to search to find where the words were actually taken from in the Bible.

As I lay there struggling with the pain, the song in my mind was “My Glory and The Lifter Of My Head”* which contained the above verse in it’s lyrics–though they are closer to the words of the King James Version: “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”

I know there are many of you who would often feel almost unable to lift your head, or maybe hold it up or steady, for any length of time; maybe even to think about getting out of bed, or your recliner, or wheelchair.

When it feels we can hardly lift our head up for another day, or maybe lift up our broken body for another day, where do we go to find the strength to do so?

We lift our faces towards God, lift our hearts towards the One who gives us the strength to keep on going for another day, the One who is the lifter up of our head.

Father, thank You for the promises in this verse. Help us to look to You for the strength to raise our broken bodies, each new day You give us. Amen.

About the Author:
Fiona Burrows lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is thankful that God walks each step of her life with her, and that He is teaching her new things as she learns to live with chronic back pain. She enjoys finding time for reading, writing, and photography, and to share those things with others. You can contact her in the Sunroom, or read more of her writing on her blog there.

* My Glory And The Lifter Of My Head, Mae McAlister ©1967, Scripture In Song Volume 1

What helps you to get going for another day, to face another day of pain or illness, even when you can barely lift your head?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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6/18/13 4:40 P

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How do you choose joy when the pain won’t stop and life is getting more complicated? Lisa shares her thoughts.

“I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. (Psalm 27:6b)

My friend Pam Farrel has a motto: “Choose Joy!” Chuck Swindoll has said, “Joy is a choice. It is a matter of attitude that stems from one’s confidence in God–that He is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening, and will happen.”

But how can we choose joy when our world is falling apart? How can I be joyful when nothing is working out the way I had planned? When the pain of your illness won’t relent for a few minutes?

Most of you have heard that Rick and Kay Warren recently lost their son to suicide after a lifetime of suffering from mental illness. This is a family who was already familiar with suffering, as Christianity Today interviewed Kay a year ago and listed her challenges: she has had two different forms of cancer, a daughter-in-law with a serious brain tumor, a premature grandchild, and loved ones suffering from mental illness.

She said, “Suffering does give one an appreciation for joy. . . those who have suffered have been given the opportunity to recognize the limitations of ourselves and to know God in our darkest days.” When asked about her work as an advocate for orphans and those with HIV/AIDS, she responded, “These people are my most powerful joy-mentors. . . . these people, who have experienced tremendous suffering . . . .”

Joy is a choice. And I choose it every day. Well, most days. But it isn’t lasting. It is like the manna that God gave the Israelites, I must choose more of it over and over and over again, throughout the day.

I must try to find the joy when my son is being demanding, when in reality he is worried about something he has no control over it. I must choose joy when I stand up and my knee doesn’t–and I have a million things to do in the next two hours. I must choose joy when the doctor says, “We’ll just order 3 more tests” and that requires energy, time, and money I don’t have.

I choose joy. When you think of that statement, we want to hear it in a sweet, calm voice. Remember, choosing joy takes a warrior and it’s okay to have a bit of a deep growling voice when you say it to yourself. Because you are in battle. One of the easiest things Satan tries to steal from us each day is our joy. And he wins far too often.

“Joy is a choice” is a nice motto. But what Psalm 27:6b really tells us is that it is a sacrifice The KJV says, “Therefore will I offer in His tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.” You can choose joy, but when you do, it is a sacrifice you are making to God. When you are doing something for someone else, you are giving a sacrifice of joy for God.

Prayer: Lord, as I choose joy, choosing not to make those around me suffer for my pain, choosing joy in cooking dinner even though I will still do the dishes, choosing– let me have the joy by giving You my sacrifice of joy. Amen.

How have you given a sacrifice of joy? Do you feel you must choose joy a million times a day to stay patient in your affliction?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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6/16/13 10:43 A

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When illness seems to eat away at our identity, where can we still be who we are and celebrate it? Vicki shares.

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him, and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3)

Who is at risk of losing their identity in more ways than one? Someone with a disability can feel like they lost it figuratively. And can fear losing it literally.

Recently, I went to my optometrist appointment.

I reported, “I got new insurance since my last visit. Do you need to see my Medicare card?”

“No. We already have your Social Security number.”

I thought, How do they have my social security number? I don’t remember giving it to them!

Like others, I’m careful not to disclose my Social Security number unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s bad enough I feel my identity slipping away as my illness impacts my life. I don’t need identity theft to threaten my personal information.

Ever since my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), it seems everyone needs information regarding my identity. Social Security Administration for disability benefits, specialists for medical records, etc.

If MS doesn’t wear me out, the endless paperwork will! I’ve lost count of the numerous forms I’ve filled out. Each year I visit a specialist, I have to update my information. I’m given several pages to complete. I know I should take them seriously, but sometimes humor is in order.

I amuse myself by pretending I’m reading a restaurant menu. Let’s see. . . I’ll take five of these tests. Three of these conditions. Hold the predispositions due to family history–Don’t worry. I provide all the necessary info.

I’m hesitant to give critical information to anyone who asks. Can you blame me? There are horror stories of identities being stolen.

But I don’t have to fear losing the identity God gave me.

Has MS stolen who I am? No! Nothing can interfere with the work my Creator did, is doing, and will do. He formed me. Is conforming me to His image. And one day in heaven, He’ll transform me.

Thankfully, I’m not just a Social Security number to God. He knows my name and everything about me—my thoughts, fears, needs, hopes, and dreams. He protects who I am and what He’s invested in me. He’s shaping my life and teaching me lessons I can share with others.

Prayer: Dear Father, Thank You that You know me so well. You know my every thought before I think it. You number the hairs on my head. Thank You for sending Your Son so my name can be written in Your book of life. Help me not live in fear of having my personal information stolen. Fill me afresh with Your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 31 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her blog, she reaches out to other mothers of children with mental illness. http://mentalillnessmom2mom.net/

Did you ever feel like you were drowning in medical paperwork? What or who did God use as His life preserver to rescue you?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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6/12/13 2:21 P

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hen our side effects and conditions start to stack up, we don’t feel like it will ever end. Elizabeth shares how she finds hope in the scriptures of when it “came to pass.”

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

I counted the phrase “And it came to pass. . . ” to occur over 49 times in the King James Version of the Gospel of Luke. It is left out of many translations, but I rather like thinking on that phrase when it comes to life’s afflictions.

It came to eventually move on, pass by. It, my thorn, came. It didn’t just happen at random or evolve; it was the result of a plan. That plan is temporary and earthbound. Living with chronic pain and illness makes the ‘eventually’ part seem insurmountable. There are days when we don’t feel much comforted by the idea of relief being at the end of many years. And then we get the flu. . . or a cold, or a toothache.

The latter was my recent plight and it reminded me of a simple truth I need to relearn from time to time. I can heal, some things do go away. It is all still in the Master’s hand.

Am I a little loopy to be encouraged by abscessed teeth, and dry sockets? Probably, yet I prefer to consider it being a fool for Christ. First off, it reminds me that I can go through a malady fairly normally. Other factors pop to my mind then, as I start down the path of gratitude. I am used to living with pain and have adjusted my lifestyle.

My young neighbor with several small children to care for and farm chores would really have it worse than I do because she is not accustomed to this sort thing. Another point is that I have access to pain medication. To some folks in my church a pain pill means a Tylenol tablet–and if they are forced to take two!

So what would seem near disaster to the uninitiated is status quo for me. Sometimes, our “new normal” can be a handy thing.

And so my mind goes on to the fact, yes, face that as my tooth woes were remedied by antibiotic and extraction, so will my years of pain find eventual remedy. It will seem light, it will find resolution, and it will shrink in size. Smaller ailments are a bother, but they have a lesson to teach us.

Prayer: Father, how can it be that I am thankful for toothaches and viruses? You have turned my world upside down and strengthened me at the same time. Help me to remember the big picture that You see, not my tiny earthly view. Thank for Jesus, the ultimate remedy for my soul. Amen.

About the author:
Elizabeth Vendley is the wife of David, and lives in North Central Michigan. They have raised seven children. Elizabeth has lived with severe Interstitial Cystitis since 1996. Her passion is glorifying the Lord by writing out the lessons He has taught her. She would love to hear from readers through the Sunroom. Elizabeth welcomes readers to see her musings and gleanings in her blog http://evendley.blogspot.com/.

Did you stop to consider, the last time you got a cut or cold sore, that you can get rid of some things? While stomach flu can send some of our conditions into a dangerous tailspin, can we actually see that the virus itself goes on its way eventually? Can you find even oddball things to be grateful for in the midst of the storm?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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6/6/13 7:22 P

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t can be difficult to see the thorns in our life as a gift, but Bronlynn shares how vital they are.

“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish” (Isaiah 38:17).

A paradox is a statement or situation that seems to be contradictory but is in fact true, and Scripture is full of them.

In dying to self, we gain eternal life; in humbling ourselves before others, we will be exalted before Christ; in becoming a slave to Christ and His commands, we are free to live as we were created to live; in our weakness we see God’s powerful strength; although poor by the world’s standards, we have eternal riches.

The thorns of affliction touched many Biblical characters. How many times have we remembered Job when life seems too unbearable? Could Paul have written such words to spur us on if he had not had a thorn of his own? And the crowning thorns of affliction were placed on the head of Christ himself. Without that affliction we would be eternally lost.

Psalm 119 says God allows affliction that we might learn His decrees and see His faithfulness. James tells us that earthly trials bring eternal reward as well as perseverance and spiritual maturity now. Affliction forces us to rely completely on God and His strength, trusting Him to bring us through no matter how overwhelming our circumstances or how excruciating our pain.

It brings a depth of character that nothing else can. We may think that we would prefer less character and maturity, but God knows what joys and blessings await us as a result of them.

The thorns of a rose bush cause great pain but the roses themselves bring great beauty. God is using the thorns of affliction to show the most beautiful paradox of all–in dying, we live.

Prayer: My God, I have never thanked thee for my thorn. I have thanked thee a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorn. I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross itself as a present glory. Thou divine Love, whose human path has been perfected through suffering, teach me the glory of my cross, teach me the value of my thorn. Amen. (George Matheson).

About the author:
Bronlynn Spindler lives in VA and is blessed to have the support and encouragement of a wonderful husband and three grown daughters. God’s grace and strength have brought her through thyroid cancer and continue to sustain her through ongoing back pain, depression, headaches, multiple sensitivities, eye pain, and fibromyalgia. You may view her blog of devotionals at www.aplaceofsprings57.blogspot.com.

What are your greatest afflictions right now? Can you see what benefits God may be bringing to you?


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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6/4/13 4:47 P

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w can we question if God has our lives in His hands, and yet never worry about what would happen if we lost something as simple as gravity? Vicki shares.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory. . . ” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Do you get angry with gravity? Perhaps once you felt like saying, “Thanks a lot, gravity. Would have been nice if you momentarily ceased your pull so I wouldn’t have fallen.”

While skiing down the slopes, do you gleefully shout, “Gotta love this gravitational acceleration!”

Do you worry gravity will suddenly end? Leaving your plane stranded in the sky, with you drifting endlessly in the stratosphere?

Do you chain your car to the ground in fear gravity will fail you? That you’ll wake up to find your car floated away?

Of course not. We take gravity for granted. It’s dependable, predictable, and constant. We find it easy to trust that power, but not its Source.

Why is it that I can completely trust gravity, but have splintered faith in the Creator of that energy? The power I take for granted is held together by God. Yet, my trust in His divine power wanes and wobbles.

I trust Him just after I witness an answer to prayer. But my shaky faith returns to a teeter-totter trust when cognition cares consume me.

What if my mental processing speed continues to decrease? What if casual conversations become more and more difficult for me to understand? What will I be like five years from now if it’s so hard to think now? Will my husband get tired of dealing with a wife who’s such high maintenance?

My trust in friends is based on tangible evidence of their love and faithfulness. The more someone loves me, the more I can trust that person.

How can I have steadfast trust in an unseen God? Paul’s prayer reveals the secret: “And I pray that you . . . may have power . . . to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

His love, beyond my wildest imagination, helps me build unshakable faith. I live with MS–a reminder of His love. MS (multiple sclerosis) gives me pain. That suffering causes me to focus on MS (“My Savior”–my hope). MS helps me focus on God’s love.

Prayer: Dear Father, how I need to comprehend Your perfect love for me. Help me to stop comparing Your love to how I love others. Increase my understanding of Your great love. So I may rest in that knowledge and trust You more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 31 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her blog, she reaches out to other mothers of children with mental illness. http://mentalillnessmom2mom.net/

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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6/3/13 6:45 P

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Feel free to write a reply or any comments....in fact it would be great to discuss these. I find when I am really down..i can read one of these and feel much better. I am so glad you all are enjoying them.

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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6/3/13 12:57 P

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Sarah,
I am not sure if you want any responses to these writings, but I had to tell you thank you for sharing. The latest one really hits home!

Nancy

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6/2/13 11:38 A

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People tell us we should be keeping it simple, but where do you start when your illness is complicated? Karlton explains.

“The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” (Proverbs 19:23)

There is a principle sometimes mentioned among those involved in technology. It is called “The KISS Principle”. KISS stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” That may sound insulting, but the principle is sound. Keeping things simple in technology, avoiding adding needlessly complicated layers to operating systems, often makes better operating systems, where complicating such systems can add vulnerabilities and weaknesses and failure into such systems.

I am a firm believer in “The KISS Principle.” I think it applies in many more areas than just technology. Anyone with afflictions who needlessly adds complications into their lives needs to begin adding The KISS Principle instead.

Count the cost. There is much wisdom in the following verse: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? (Luke 14:28)

I believe that too often those with afflictions do not count the cost of their plans and promises. We should be optimistic, but also realistic.

Sometimes I have a better day or two and can lose sight of how quickly my condition changes, big changes from day to day. I can set my sights on doing things that I might get by with on my better days, but that are beyond my reach on more challenging days.

Then there are times we needlessly add difficulties and complications that take away our limited energy and abilities. Things we could easily do without, certain involvements, tasks, objects without which our lives would be easier, less complicated, simpler. We need to count the cost, and ask ourselves if we are following “The KISS Principle” or adding needless layers of complications to our lives.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to keep our lives simple and uncomplicated so that we can focus on the truly important things in life. Amen.

About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. It is his desire to follow The KISS Principle, keeping his life uncluttered, and always counting the cost.

Do you needlessly complicate your life? Do you consider the cost to your health and abilities when you make plans?



"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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5/29/13 9:24 P

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When you feel like you have dealt the best you can with all God has allowed, and then He allows even more suffering, Karlton shares where you can find the strength to keep going.

“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place. (Psalm 118:4-6)

Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

You may also feel that there have been times that tried your soul, tested your strength and ability to endure. And when we have our hopes high, too often we come crashing down to reality by a setback of our health, some new affliction arising, or just old issues reminding us just how much we hate our affliction and weakness.

Standing strong when we feel weak can seem impossible. Sometimes it feels that we are carrying the maximum load possible, and just one more setback, one more stressful event is all it will take to push us over the edge. This sort of situation is what makes me wonder how unbelievers survive affliction.

The KJV of Proverbs 18:14 says, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”

We find strength through our Lord Jesus Christ. He can take even a weak body, someone weighed down by affliction, and empower their spirit through the Holy Spirit–making them strong within, driven by power and energy from above.

We may be weak in body, but we need never be weak in spirit.

Facing our weaknesses and continuing to move forward, especially after a series of setbacks or disappointments have made us even weaker, is high on the list of challenges for those who live with illnesses. Picking ourselves back up when feeling so weak can seem impossible, yet with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

It is only through God’s strength that we not only survive, but can thrive within our weaknesses.

Today you may find yourself locked into a weak body subject to its ailments and weaknesses, but if you have put your faith in the Lord, you can look beyond bodily ailments and rely upon the mind, heart, Spirit of the living God to carry you through your challenges in spite of your afflictions.

We may not have a strong body on this side of heaven, but no matter how little our physical strength, we have the power and might of God on our side, and with His help, we can press through our physical limitations and inabilities to become the spiritual powerhouses God intended for us to become.

Does your physical limitations and weaknesses make you feel helpless? Do you have a hard time picturing yourself as a strong person?

About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He is grateful that though he often feels weak, the Lord is his strength and power source.

Prayer: Dear Lord, sometimes we feel so weak and helpless, yet help us to never forget that though we may be physically weak, through You we become strong within. Amen.


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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5/26/13 7:04 P

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I think a list of things that we can do to feel better is a good idea..I for one know I can't think straight when the pain is high and often can't think of things to do to help myself then.


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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5/18/13 8:44 P

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I like this idea and think I need to follow through and Write myself a letter and put it with my list of steps to take when the fibro flares hit so hard I can't think...The meds/supplements to take and in what sequence and set the alarm clock so they get done on time.

Linda in WA state ***John 10:10b Jesus came to give me life, an abundant life!
*Gluten free, Heart Healthy, Anti-inflammatory, Diabetic Low Carb way of eating and life structure
Jan 1 2019 immediate goal of 199.5# = ONEderland Long term goal of 160#


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5/16/13 3:39 P

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Preparing for Hard times

Rather than giving in to a bad day, preparing in advance can keep you encouraged when reality threatens to bring you down. Elizabeth shares.

“For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?” (Ecclesiastes 6:12)

Some days we groan only seconds after waking. Our first thoughts, if directed above at all, are a plea for strength. It is those days that take monumental effort to get moving. It takes a miracle of grace to cultivate a half reasonable attitude on such days. We need all the help we can get. Been there? Are you there?

Here is a trick that has served me well on such days. I have a letter written to me, by me. On rough days, if I remember to, I read it. When I do it always helps. It is custom made after all, so the wording is always just what I need to hear.

I write these letters on days that I am feeling fairly well and generally positive. I call these ‘on’ days. My attitude is up (by God’s grace) and my pain is not overwhelming my every thought. My writing is going smooth and ideas come swiftly. On such days, I get in the mood to tackle 100 things that come to mind but of course my body will only allow minimal productivity.

So after I start to tackle one of these jobs on my list, I will need a rest for my body even if my mind is ‘rearing to go’. Then is when I write myself a letter of encouragement. I jot down my positive thoughts and get my productive mental energies down on paper. I know exactly what I will need to hear on my not so victorious days. This has worked well for me.

I will share an example with you:
Hey Elizabeth!
I know you are struggling or you wouldn’t be reading this. I am writing to remind you that not every day is such challenge. This is only a 24 hour day and you know how things change, wax, and wane. Try not to let it get to you, I know it is hard. I want to remind you that you have made through many of these kind of days. Sometimes even victoriously!
You know God is on your side and you know He will not waste this experience. Try to figure out a way to benefit His Kingdom in this. Go deeper into the Word than you did yesterday, or pray long and hard for someone in dire straits. There are many good things you can do with your ‘down’ time, but I know your mind is foggy, so I am giving you ideas.

If you want to you can even write me a letter telling me off! Tell me all about how lousy you feel and how hopeless it all looks. I know you, and you, like the psalmist David, will end up counting your blessings and praising God before you are finished.
You are not so bad off, not on the inside. Your heart is true and your Savior adores you and has proven it time and again. Be gentle with yourself, give yourself the same level of compassion you have for others. God is good and you will survive this, and even if you didn’t, you’d have Heaven to enjoy. Either way you win. Hang in there; better days ahead.

As you can see I use a bit of tongue in cheek humor with myself. You will know what works best for you, like I said, it is custom made.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that no season lasts forever here on earth. Help me to look at the big picture when I am feeling poorly and tempted to despair. Your Beloved Son understood that sorrow is temporary and He used that to strengthen Himself to carry out Your plan for our salvation. Thank You Father, that we do not have to live forever like this. Thank You for Hope and Heaven. Most of all thank you for Your Son Jesus Christ and His obedience onto death for my sake. I offer this prayer in His precious name, Amen.

About the author:
Elizabeth Vendley is the wife David, and lives in North Central Michigan. They have raised seven children. Elizabeth has lived with severe Interstitial Cystitis since 1996. Her passion is glorifying the Lord by writing out the lessons He has taught her. She would love to hear from readers through the Sunroom.


"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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5/16/13 3:37 P

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I have found some wonderful articles related to dealing and living with chronic illness through the Hopekeeps association.
I would like to put those articles here and anything else that you may find related.

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us"
Romans 8:37


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