Sabbath is like a Touch of Heaven

I Sure Miss Going to Church

As we move into the 9th month of COVID-19, I realize that I haven’t physically been in church for over 7 months. I never would have thought I would find this to be true for me. Sunday Worship (Sabbath) has always been highly important to me. Now I am finding out why.

Worship services have always been the highlight of my week. Beautiful music drawing me up close to the breast of God. And teaching and preaching that enlightens my mind and heart. Friends and family. Hugs and kisses.

Family Reunions are the Best

My mind goes back to my childhood days and our yearly family reunions. What a joy! Aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents everywhere on Aunt Julia’s farm. Tons of hugs and kisses.

And food! Long tables of the best homemade food you have ever seen including a huge pot of Aunt Mildred’s dumplings. Towards the end of the day ice cream cones. Oh my goodness! What a day!

Church Homecomings are a Close Second

Mostly a tradition in the south, church homecomings in the churches Mike and I served had a homecoming every fall. Again, EVERYONE came out for a day of remembrance and celebration.

We started with a time of fellowship as people arrived. Maybe some breakfast food! Then the preaching! We usually invited a pastor emeritus to come and preach and reminisce. We would also bring in a gospel quartet to sing through the afternoon. Of course, this was after we ate way too much good southern cooking. My Goodness!

Sabbath is like a Taste of Heaven

taste of heaven

These reunions are just a smidgen of what heaven will be like. Think of the joy and celebration there will be! Friends and family old and new… and then all the patriarchs that we have been looking up to all our lives. We will finally have made it HOME.

I have heard that a poll was taken that found that people had a really off-skewed vision of what heaven is or what it will be like. If you want to know the truth you can read Revelation 21 for a description. It will be anything but boring. It won’t be a long boring church service. Actually, the truth is that our Sunday Services ought to be a picture of heaven that increases our desire to find our way to heaven.

Heaven will not be a long boring church service! #sabbath #heaven Click To Tweet

Beautiful Resistance an Irresistible Read

I recently was given Jon Tyson’s book, Beautiful Resistance, to read and review. It is another of those books where I found myself highlighting every page. While Jon covers a myriad of other disciplines in our lives, his chapter on the Sabbath made me realize that every Sunday should be like a taste of heaven. Just a little practice for what is to come. Never a drudgery but something we always look forward to. Here’s his taste of what heaven will be and what the Sabbath should be:

We are called to feast on beauty. To fill our hearts with painting and photography and poetry and literature and nature. We are called to feast on friendship. To enjoy the company of friends and family and drink deeply from the well of belonging. We are called to feast on God, to again “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)

The Sabbath is filled with sensory delight and wonder that remind us, if even for a moment, that Jesus is making all things new. (Revelation 21:5)

Beautiful Resistance, Jon Tyson

I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

I also give my my thanks to Jon Tyson and Multnomah Publishers.



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pain and suffering

Pain and Suffering: An Indication of God’s Love

This is Going to Hurt me More than it hurts you

Have you ever heard your parents say this to you? I can remember a time or too when it was said to me. However, it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I saw the truth in that statement. We never had to discipline our children much but when the need arose, it broke our hearts.

It’s the same with God.

pain and suffering

He loves us so much and He wants to keep us on the right path. And as we know there are times that the only way to keep us on the straight and narrow is to apply the rod of discipline.

I learned this lesson when I was hit with chronic pain in 2011. It was excruciating. But as time went by I realized that God was trying to get my attention. I was “working for the Lord” … very busy with children’s ministry and other things that draw the attention of a pastor’s wife. But in retrospect, God was saying to me, ‘Hey, you going out on your own and forgetting to rely on Me.” It was then that I turned my attention back to God. I got serious about studying His Word. And I found this statement from David.

It was good for me to be afflicted

so that I could learn your statutes.

Psalm 119:71

God Allows Pain and Suffering for Many Reasons

Certainly, God allows pain and suffering because He loves us. But there are other reasons as well. C.S. Lewis states in The Problem of Pain,

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Have you ever noticed that when tragedy comes, this is when people turn back to God? (At least for a while). And this is God’s purpose. .. to draw us back to Him. He did it time and again in the Old Testament. We may need to repent of sin or just develop our faith. You see, He doesn’t want us to stay infants in Christ. He wants to bring us to maturity.

Like a Shepherd, He gently guides

We, humans, are like sheep. dumb and ignorant. God places us in a green pasture and we start gobbling up the grass, never looking to the right or the left. Until that moment, when we look up and we are nowhere near the rest of the flock and now we don’t know how to get back.

So we need a shepherd to guide us and correct our paths. Just as David said in the 23rd Psalm. He allows us to go through the shadows of death, but He is right there to guide us and comfort us. He never leaves us alone.

Not long after my illness began, a friend reminded me of a wonderful book, Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds’ Feet in High Places.

a timeless allegory dramatizing the yearning of God’s children to be led to new heights of love, joy, and victory. In this moving tale, follow Much-Afraid on her spiritual journey as she overcomes many dangers and mounts at last to the High Places. There she gains a new name and is transformed by her union with the loving Shepherd.

Hind’s Feet in High Places, Hannah Hurnard

One surprising element in the book was that the Shepherd gave her a guide named, Suffering. Why would she want this guide? But the Shepherd assured her that Suffering was the best guide she could have. I have found it true as well. My pain and suffering has kept me at the feet of Jesus and caused my faith to continue to grow.

Even Years of Pain and Suffering are for our advantage

I just reached year 9 of chronic pain. LIke Paul I have talked with God about taking the pain away. But God and I have come to an understanding.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

2 Corinthians 12:9
2 corinthians 12:9  My Grace is all you need

You see, I have found that through my pain I have many blessings.

  • I am maturing in Christ daily.
  • Writing and blogging have been my new ministry.
  • Friendships around the globe have been cultivated.
  • I have more empathy for those who suffer.
  • Becoming an advocate for others who suffer.

I previously wrote about these things and came to one conclusion, If pain is what it takes to keep me in the center of God’s will, then …

BRING ON THE PAIN!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA


I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

I agreed to review this book because of my own journey with pain. What a great reminder of the reasons God allows pain and suffering in our lives. Just as we discipline our children when the veer off the path of righteousness, God also loves us enough to direct our path on the straight and narrow.

All of us will at some time, experience a bit of pain and suffering. That is when it is time to remember that God is with us in the Furnace of Affliction and it is for our good.

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intercede

Intercessory Prayer is the Spiritual Warfare Frontlines

Have you ever known someone who could really touch heaven?

If you had a need, who would you ask to pray? My mother is like that. When Mike and I got engaged, we decided to take his two young boys and go to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving to meet my family. Mom thought how nice it would be for these young Georgia boys to experience snow. So she prayed … and boy, did it snow! You can read about another time my mom prayed and probably saved my sister’s life in my memoirs blog, Raised in a Barn.

While these stories of intercessory prayers are very good, I am also reminded of two precious ladies at our last church. Mrs. Mae Thomas was a prayer warrior. She kept a notebook where she recorded everyone she prayed for. And she recorded the answers too. (By the way, it is a wonderfully encouraging way to remind yourself of the goodness of God.) When she passed away and the family closed up her home, They found stacks of prayer notebooks with years worth of prayers and answers.

Prayer Warriors

There was another precious lady in the history of that same church. I never knew her but the people still spoke warmly of this precious prayer warrior. It is told that she had a table where she prayed and studied. On that table, was written all the names of people she had prayed for. So many that had turned away from God were pleased to later find their name written on that table.

These are just a few instances that prove the importance of intercessory prayer. Sometimes, we need to get really serious with God to bring people to Him. It can’t be just a flippant sentence, “Oh God, save so-and-so”. Intercessory prayer is found on the frontlines of spiritual warfare.

Intercessory Prayer is found on the frontlines of Spiritual Warfare. #prayer #intercession Click To Tweet

The Importance of Intercessory Prayer

We are instructed in the Bible to intercede for others. One can find many verses on intercession but the one that comes to my mind first is

 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

1 Timothy 2:1-2
interceding for others

You know, as I read this verse again, I find it interesting that it says not only to pray for them but to give thanks for them. Oh my, when you think of the people that need salvation, typically, we may not really be that thankful for them. I know from experience though that being thankful can make a world of difference. You know how prayer changes things, most of the time, it is our own hearts that change.

Prayer changes things, most of the time, it is our own hearts that change. #prayer Click To Tweet

OK, that was just an aside. Let’s get back to Intercessory prayer.

Come Prepared for Intercession

We do not stride into the presence of God.

Dennis Kinlaw

I recently received an article from Titus Women and it struck a chord with me. I want to share part of it with you now…

When we come to a time of intercession, we must come prepared to be in the presence of God Himself. As Dennis Kinlaw said, “We do not stride into the presence of God.” There must be heart preparation and humility. As we prepare for lifting others in prayer, here are some means of preparation for our own hearts.
 
“Lord Jesus, we ask You for these things as we come before You to pray for others.” 

Checklist for Intercession

  • A Clean Heart: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Cor.7:1
  • A Free HeartLet all bitterness and wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind…forgiving even as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph 4:31-22
  • A Forgiving Heart“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness spring up causes trouble and by it, many be defiled.” Hebrews 12: 15
  • A Right Spirit“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51: 10, 11
  • A Yielded Will“Teach me to do Your will, for you are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” Psalm 143: 10
  • A Loyal Affection: “You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing; you guard all that is mine.”  Psalm 16: 5 (NLT)

*copied from Titus Women

These characteristics certainly describe the aforementioned women!



A Challenge to Intercede

I remember once being challenged to think of the greatest “Lost case” you know. The one that you think will never come to Christ; never get their hearts right and straight on the path to heaven. Then intercede deeply for them every day. You might be surprised by what God will do.

Will you join me today to pray and intercede for one person in your life? If you can’t think of anyone, how about one of the presidential candidates? Or the other myriads of people on Capitol Hill? (See 1 Timothy 2:1-2 above)

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

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humankind

How to Create Space With Those Who are Different

I wanted to melt into the floor.

Once again my mouth had opened before my brain engaged and the words I said came out to be insulting. When will I learn? When will I think about what I am about to say before I say it?

Have you been there?

Too often, we think we know it all; but seldom do we know what and where another person is coming from. And then, our words can come across demeaning and cruel when maybe we didn’t mean it to be that way at all. [Of course, there is always the chance that we did mean it that way because we have held ourselves in higher esteem than we ought to.]

Ah, and there’s the key.

Humility is the toughest discipline to grasp and fully enact in our lives. I see it as the main principle for Christian living. Without humility, we are never going to “get it right”. Without humility, there won’t be kindness or understanding or compassion or any of the other traits we so desire from our Lord Jesus.

Especially in today’s culture of racial unrest, humility is needed from both sides of the fence. Ah, we don’t like to hear about humility mainly because it is a lot like the bad “S” word… SUBMISSION. It’s likely, we all think we are a little better than most people. But what does the Word of God say?

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3&4

These are hard words to swallow. But this does not mean we belittle ourselves. It is more that we “think about ourselves less and think of others first”. Life isn’t about “me” and the world does not revolve around me.

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

C.S. LEwis

And Andrew Murray suggests,

“The only humility that is really ours is … that which we carry with us in our daily conduct.”  

Andrew Murray

Humility is the beginning of kindness and compassion. With humble attitudes, we will find it natural to act in kindness towards others. So, let’s get back to how we cultivate that humility and grow kindness.

Steps before we open our mouths

STOP

Before we speak or give our “wise suggestions” to another, perhaps we ought to get to know them a little. Make sure that we understand a bit about their culture and the things they deal with on a daily basis. I’m finding you can “know” someone rather well but not REALLY know them. Try these scriptures on for size.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 17:28

LISTEN

If we really take some time to listen to others and learn about them. We might just realize they don’t need our “suggestions”. And it could be that we don’t really have anything to offer them anyway. When we let our tongue fly, this is what brings on hurt and anger which is followed by arguing and bad-mouthing, all this is not acceptable for a follower of Christ,

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18

CONSIDER

Now that you know more about a person’s situation, consider how you would want to be treated and do likewise.

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 29:20

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12

CREATE SPACE WITH LOVE AND KINDNESS

Possibly, we are a bit too close for comfort. Backing up and acting in love and kindness create the space people need to understand where you are coming from. Creating space allows both parties an opportunity to consider the aforementioned steps. If you are the one receiving ill words, give the benefit of the doubt. Think like Jesus, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Consequently, acting in kindness can make a difference for everyone. In her book, Humankindness, Ashlee Eiland states,

Kindness may be a mushy word, but it’s the dark horse of our humanity. It’s not loud or demanding, but given enough time, it wins.

Humankind - AshleeEiland on Kindness

About the book, Humankindness

create space Humankind Book

Ashlee Eiland was raised in an affluent African American home but struggled to find her place to belong. In this book, she writes about instances throughout her life that were “uncomfortable” in the least. How she handled it and how she gave space for others to learn about her culture and also about attitudes and actions that weren’t as easy to get over.

Ashlee encourages us to create space and act in kindness and “rediscover our own humanity through another lens. She shares that sometimes sacrifice is needed to create that space. She shared at one time as a small girl having a white babysitter that didn’t know how to comb her “black” hair. She was doing her best only to become frustrated, creating an even worse mess. Ashlee concluded in that chapter,

So, we have a choice. Either we can resent the fact that some people can’t give us everything and demand that they try harder, that they sacrifice even more of themselves.

Or we can sit under the comb, knowing in our hearts that the outcome might be less than desirable – but also knowing that trying is the best offering some can give.

CREATING SPACE ~ Understanding and bearing up under it.

This goes both ways

Do we subject others to our own standards? In middle school, my family moved from a medium-sized town in Ohio to a very small town in Wisconsin. My original school had a dress code and the girls still wore dresses in most cases. The school in Wisconsin had no dress code. I still chose to wear a dress because I was most comfortable in a dress. After the first few questions, it became more my signature because I gave them space and they gave me space.

I see this same type of thing in The Church. A stranger comes to visit but they aren’t wearing the right clothing, they are too loud or outspoken. God forbid, they sit in “your pew”. These things shouldn’t matter to us. We should reach out in love and friendship and if there are things that need changing, God will do that work.”.

create space Humankind Quote

Ashlee says,

Our work is to learn how to stand in awe of each created being without making modifications or trying to bring out something that’s not ours to call forth.

We need to be cautious when what’s true for us isn’t true of someone else’s life, avoiding the conclusion that it’s not just that we differ or respectfully disagree but that their choice makes them unrelatable.

Unrelatable can become unworthy, or inferior if we aren’t careful. It all comes back to humility and creating space for each other. With this attitude, we can go far.


Making space. this is what true friendship is about and also how we learn about cultural differences and help each other learn and understand

Will you create space with me?

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

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God is There in these Shards of Ice

When I share about fibromyalgia, oftentimes is to women. And it’s true the majority of people with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain issues are women. But there are men that suffer as well. (And I’m not talking about our husbands. ha!)

I recently met Jonathan Thorn. When I heard his story I decided it was time to hear about chronic pain from the viewpoint of a male. Jonathan is a stay-at-home dad working on his masters in Mental Health Counseling. Wow! Kudos to Jonathan! Come meet him with me…

divider
curleque by Coffee at pixabay
Shards of Ice; hupomone

Hello Jonathan. Will you share the short story of your chronic pain journey. What are your diagnoses? Tell us about your journey towards a diagnosis?

      My journey has been tremendously impacted over the past 10 years…

      In January 2010 I was coming off my night shift. On my way home I was making a left-hand turn per the light. I did not notice the box truck barreling toward me at 60 mph. He hit me and crushed my car. He was drunk with no license or insurance and injured his two young daughters in the back.

Brain Injuries

The Traumatic Brain Injury caused daily unrelenting severe migraines. In the fall of 2012, I experienced the first of four TIA’s/Strokes. The final one in March of 2013 took part of my sight permanently, stole some memories, twisted my intestines, and made it almost impossible to walk. With my right side weakened I had pneumonia 8 times that year and was in the hospital ER over 20 times.

Breathing Issues

Breathing became an issue doctors had me on nebulizers and inhalers multiple times a day. They did one test after another after a year they discovered I had nerve damage between my ribs. It was decided to put a neuro stem unit in my back with wires throughout my ribs so I could breathe.

Nerve Damage

During the recovery, I fell and tore my Planters tendon which led to permanent nerve damage in my right ankle. I have TBI, TMJ, severe migraine, nerve damage in my ribs and ankle, Tietze syndrome, arthritis. Carpal tunnel, hearing loss, tinnitus, and partial eyesight loss. This is on top of my Elhor’s Danlos syndrome which dislodges my ribs, shoulders, knees, and elbows every so often.

The Past Ten Years

Consequently, Over the past ten years, I have had over 650 injections and have had visits for myself to the ER no less than four times every year over the past seven years (this year is the first with none so far). My condition is complex, and I struggle with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Because of these problems I have lost three jobs.

What a trial! I can’t imagine dealing with so many struggles. Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get Stronger?

More Struggles

I am not great. I do not believe that true strength is something we can have in ourselves but in God alone. I am only a man who has had many weaknesses and found greater strength in God alone.

There hardly was a time I did not struggle. For the crucible I walked in was constant. I did not just walk in pain but through also through my wife’s miscarriage, and the loss of two jobs. Many times, I got angry at God. Many times, I was mad about being hit one more time with one new health or financial problems.

Encouraged by Men of the Bible

  • One story in the Bible stuck with me and that was with Jacob wrestling with God.
  • I found Jacob’s zeal to not letting go of the true fight with God inspired me to do the same.
  • First Timothy talks about fighting the good fight.

I have been in spiritual battles against demoniacs and such. Those were easy compared to this. This fight in myself. This fight to recognize God over every trial. Jacob didn’t hold onto his sleep, his bed, or worry about all the other things he could have easily worried about. He held onto the One who he wanted to know, even when his hip hurt he held on.

It’s What You Hold On to

In the times of trials, it is easy to hold onto the pain, the loss, and the despair of it happening again. It is easy to get mad at the dreams and false hopes that were trampled upon. The question is do we hold onto hope or The True Hope that will never leave us or forsake us. I remember the dread of tests and shots and being sent to the Emergency Department one more time.

Every time despair drained in me. The fire licked at my feet and I felt like I was walking on the broken pieces of me. In those moments, I learned, that in that crucible, at that moment, to hold onto who I was walking through that fire with me. That was God. Hupomone.

Hold onto Who is walking through that fire with you Click To Tweet

Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?

Placed There for a Reason

      After my second stroke, the doctors put me into the heart wing of the hospital as it was the only place to put me. When I was rolled into the room there was a man there. He was pale, as white as a ghost and had a raspy breath.

The doctors were trying to figure out why I have problems. This one of the lowest points in my journey. The neurologist came in and told me I was crazy and made my pregnant wife cry. He kept me at the hospital anyway for more tests and to figure out why I struggled. After the doctor and my wife left, I curled in a ball and cried. I felt stripped from anything that made me human; like a horrible person for putting people through this. I prayed.

Opportunities

The man on the other side of the room asked if I was okay. And we began to talk. We had breakfast and lunch and supper together. At one point the nurses came in to check on us as we were laughing so loud. God opened an opportunity for me to pray with him. He was already a believer, but the fellowship helped us both grow.

When I left the hospital, they pushed the wheelchair by the nurses’ station. The nurses stopped me. They said they thought this man was not going to make it but now it had seemed he was going to be fine.

God was there!

     I thanked God for the stroke because without it I would not have been in a place to minister to that man. It brought me to the place of understanding that though trials suck, God is there. We need only to be open to him and turn those trials into something for His glory.

What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey? Why?

In the middle of the storm I do not look to the storm for peace but to God and in God for peace. He alone is my anchor and the stillness I need to walk through these shards of ice that beat my body. In my true being, I find Him alone. I see God who is over any flame or darkness through which I may walk. 

Beautiful. These are favorites of mine as well. So how do you find comfort on especially painful days?

Breakthrough Pain

God is my life. My center. My breath. Breakthrough pain is horrifying. It is crippling. Unexpected. Maddening. It feels like a tornado of icy glass is spinning around piercing me and trying to dig into who I am.

      When I get hit. I feel weak and tired. I struggle to breath and to expand my chest to find air for my lungs; curling up in a ball on the corner of my couch as pain tremors quake my body.

      When this floods me. I pull pillows around my chest. I bring myself inward and center myself, my True Self, my being on God who is in my heart. Knowing He never left me or forsaken me while my body broke my trust.

He was there.

I recognize the pain and let it go to God.

I anchor myself in Him with sure footing, one foot then another.

Then, in that place of peace, I find stillness in His presence.

My body is often very weakened after breakthrough pain to the point where it is hard to move even a finger. In those moments I try not to worry about moving but focus on God who is my life. My center. My breath.

What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?

Amazing Friends and Family

      My family and friends have been amazing in my crucible. They have given me grace and forgiveness when I get snappy. I’ve been given an ear to talk to when I feel overwhelmed. They have reminded me of who I truly am as my peace parries with the pain. My friends and family have constantly asked if I need anything and at times protected me from doing things that may hurt me.

Pacing is hard.

Asking for help feels helpless.

They provided me a safe empowering place to just be me while I am broken into pieces.

Are you involved in any ministries or community service to reach out to others with chronic pain? Share about this.

Being Who I AM

      I can only be who I am. I do not hide who I am. When I am in pain, I hold strong but when asked how I am, I answer truthfully. I share my tribulations openly.

But, with each turn, I focus on God. I share with others how God has held this body and my soul together when it is scattered and the winds in the storm have tried to shade me from all hope. Even in those darkest of times God has given opportunities to minister to others.

Online

I share my journey on Facebook and my blog. Many of my friends whom I have met on Facebook deal with chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. My blog is a place where I encourage others in the faith who are facing trials.

God opens doors for ministry where we walk, we need only to be open to these. I have made bread for all my neighbors in my condo complex. This has given me the opportunity to pray with many of them.

At the store,

God opens up conversations with strangers who I am able to encourage and pray with. Many of these men and women have chronic pain and I am given the opportunity to encourage them.

In the ER

I have been in the ER many times and I pray for those sitting there and talk with them. God has even given me the opportunity to encourage and pray with nurses and doctors.

At Church

At church I was supposed to work on putting together a pain management group unfortunately COVID has delayed this.

Finally, Can you offer some words of encouragement to those searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey?

Hupomone

      My favorite Coine Greek word in the Bible is hupomone (the ‘e’ sounds like an ‘a’). It is translated into perseverance. But in a deeper study into this word, it means to turn your disadvantage into your advantage.

Romans 5:3-5, ‘Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us freely.’

Hupomone! turn your disadvantage into your advantage Click To Tweet

Hold On to True Hope

In our pain as it parries with peace hold onto True Hope. Let the pain be where it is as you hold onto what is greater. I know this is hard. I know the pain and how draining it is.

You have got this because God has got you. Keep walking through this valley of fire with the Lion of Judah beside you and in your heart.

Anchor yourself in Him who is in you who is greater than anything in the world. Our life comes from A Greater Hope.

You are loved always.

You are not alone in this fight.

Jonathan Thorn

Wow! Jonathan, You had me in tears of sorrow and joy and especially hope! Hupomone! Thank you for sharing your story with us

It’s Your Turn! Legacy Time

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Sue Inge guest

Fibromyalgia ~ What You Need to Understand &; Legacy Link-Up


By now you have heard about fibromyalgia, but maybe you don’t understand much about it or the effects it has on the patient. I have been writing about fibromyalgia for about 5 years now in the hope that I can explain it to you. Other pain warriors have also offered to “write letters” to answer specific questions.

Today, I introduce to you, Sue Ingebretson. She is a fellow pain warrior and best-selling author. She has offered to share with us an open letter she wrote a few years ago. We are offering part of this letter in print here but also offering the full letter as a downloadable, printable that you may more easily share with others or have handy for helping your friends with fibro. So without further ado, here’s Sue Ingebretson…

(Don’t forget to join the Legacy Link-Up)

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Dear Concerned,

You’ve recently asked me about fibromyalgia and I’m sure you’re wondering what all the hype is about. While most people have heard of it by now, that doesn’t mean they know what it is. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there and it can be confusing.

After all, if everything you know about fibromyalgia comes from what you see on TV, you might believe I should be out rowing a canoe, gardening, or opening my own bakery and sweets shop. But, instead, you may see me not feeling well and not participating in activities that are too taxing or stressful.

If everything you know about fibromyalgia comes from what you see on TV, you might believe I should be out rowing a canoe, gardening, or opening my own bakery Click To Tweet

Download to Understand Fibromyalgia

To clarify my response to you, I’m providing it in this written format. It’s my way of making sure I don’t leave out anything important. Click below to open the letter in its entirety or read a portion below.

Download letter
Letter to Friends about Fibromyalgia ~ Click Arrow Above

An Excerpt to Understand Fibromyalgia

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is how to express myself. Although it’s difficult, here are a few thoughts on that topic:

Please don’t ….

Tell me that you know how I feel. Even if you have fibromyalgia and/or any other health challenge, we’re all different and experience our conditions differently.

Tell me how I should feel. That’s up to me.

Tell me that so-and-so drank this “magic juice” and got better. There are as many treatments that don’t work as ones that do. I’m on the journey to discover this process on my own.

Compare me to siblings, friends, colleagues, who don’t have health challenges or even those who do. As I’ve stated, I’m on my own path to wellness.

Please do ….

Tell me that you’re thinking of me. Even if I’m not terribly responsive or talkative it’s wonderful to know that you’re supportive of me and of my health.

Send me books, magazines, cards, emails, notes, etc. that express that you’re there. Chronic illness can be SO isolating and every kind word from you matters to me.

Ask if there’s anything specific that I need. Even if I say “no” 50 times out of 51, that one time that I really need something may mean the world to me.

Continue to search for helpful treatments, protocols, nutrients, supplements, and practices. Just because I don’t always implement your suggestions doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the help. I’m always open to and encouraged by current news and information.

In Summary of Understanding Fibromyalgia:

  1. My body may bruise like a tender peach, but my will is strong as iron.
  2. Inside, I’m still the same me.
  3. I’m just trying to find my way as best I can.
  4. I’d love it if you’d come along with me on this unpredictable journey.

Not behind me pushing.

Not in front of me pulling.

But beside me –

Guiding, encouraging, nurturing, and supporting.

Sue Ingebretson

Are you with me?

Sue Ingebretson

Author, Speaker, Practitioner; Connect with Sue on her blog www.RebuildingWellness.com

Download Complete Letter


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How to Pursue Humility

How to Pursue Humility as Followers of Christ

When we look around our communities and our world, it seems we have allowed pride and privilege to take over our hearts and lives. Perhaps it’s time to pursue humility in all our lives.

Inspired by her earlier post, Seven Biblical Promises for Walking in Humility, I asked Karen Friday if she would write more on the subject. Karen is a fellow Christian blogger and a pastor’s wife. Read with open hearts and then share on the link-up what you have been writing about Leaving a Legacy.


How to Pursue Humility & Legacy Link-Up Click To Tweet

by Karen “Girl” Friday

Humility.

pursue humility

It seems missing from our present culture. But this lack isn’t anything new. People, even God’s people, have always had a bent toward self-centeredness and boasting.

And learning to pursue humility is a needed spiritual discipline for a Christ-follower.

So here are 8 ways to pursue H-U-M-I-L-I-T-Y.

H – Honor God.

Pursuing humility starts with honoring God by letting Him be God and do His job—not taking over.

But we have a choice to let Him act as CEO of our plans and purpose. We ask ourselves: God is CEO, am I in His seat? If I am, it means I’ve exchanged honoring God for honoring myself.

Because when we take the reins, God doesn’t reign as Lord.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10, ESV)

U – Understand humanity.

Once we realize who God is, we come to terms with our own flesh. Created in God’s image, we are wired for humility, but learn life’s about me.

Our flesh and spirit war against each other. And make no mistake, our flesh and the enemy of our soul wars against humility in our life. But our spirit desires humility.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12, NIV, emphasis added)

clothes yourself in humility
Image by Daria Nepriakhina at Pixabay
modified by Mandy

M – Model Jesus.

Although Jesus was fully human and divine, He lived and ministered as a humble man who put the interest of others first. He never turned anyone away, not even those considered “unclean” or social outcasts.

We are called to the same humble life.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves…Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8, ESV, emphasis added)

I – Invite transformation.

Ask the Holy Spirit for help to change and transform us from the inside out.

Maybe we start with praying these Bible verses over ourselves.

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” (Romans 12:16, NIV)

“…serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13b, ESV)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV)

Live in #harmony
Image created at canva.com

L – Lay down pride.

None of us enjoy discovering areas of pride. But it is worth a continual evaluation if we consider how Satan’s fall all started with pride. And pride disrupts our relationships with others and the Lord. Again, ask the Spirit to reveal this to us.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18, ESV)

“Haughty eyes and a proud heart— the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.” (Proverbs 21:4, NIV)

“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” (Psalm 10:4, NIV)

I – Identify boasting.

Boasting is often seen online, in our career, in relationships, and so on.

Many life areas may promote boasting, “Look at me and what I did.” If we don’t voice it, we display the attitude.

Jeremiah describes a time God’s people had forsaken His law, not obeyed His voice, but followed their own hearts and other gods.

The Lord said, “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord….” (Jeremiah 9:23-24a, ESV)

Likewise, Paul notes how God doesn’t choose those to minister and serve based on the world’s standards of wisdom, power, or nobility. “So that no human being might boast in the presence of God…as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:29-31, ESV)

Identify areas of outward or inward boasting of “me,” and increase our boasting of God.

T – Train in godliness.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 encourages us to train for a godly life. Godliness always includes humility.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13, NIV, emphasis added)

“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” (Psalm 25:8-9, ESV, emphasis added)

Y – Yield to God’s glory.

Nothing showcases humility like yielding everything to God and making sure He receives the glory—He’s always in the spotlight.

“Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4, NIV)

“Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty.” (Psalm 104:1, NASB)


Thank you, Karen. You have given all of us some new ways to pursue humility. I pray that we will take this to heart today. You will find more of Karen’s wisdom on her blog, Karen “Girl” Friday.

Want to Pursue Humility Further?

If you would like to study more on the topics of Pride and Humility, may I suggest a new book out by Linda Wentworth Barnes, (my college roommate, and also a pastor’s wife.) Look for my review on the Amazon listing of this book.



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light and temporary

When You Don’t See the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors #4

I know! It’s strange to write these words “light and momentary” when talking about chronic pain. I have been in an R.A. flair most of the past year and now facing some heart issues. I sometimes wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at myself at 58 and then (judging from my family history) look forward to maybe 30 more years, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I wonder,

“Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?” #chronicpain #endurance #lightandmomentarytrouble Click To Tweet

“Light and momentary” comes from the scriptures where the Apostle Paul shares that when we arrive in heaven this will all seem small and insignificant. (2 Corinthians 4:17) He shares that one of the purposes of our trials is that when we get through them we can encourage and comfort others who are experiencing the same type of pain.

So this year, I’d like to offer a series of interviews with chronic pain warriors. I would like us to all share and encourage one another so that we can “all patiently endure as we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)

 And then though “we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” Even when we expect that we will die, we will stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)

And now Interview #4 with Terri Sutula.

light at the end of the tunnel

Terri is a certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach who also lives with fibromyalgia and IBS. She has made it her mission to walk alongside others with fibromyalgia to help them find what works for them to help them thrive. Find our interview below.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Would you share the short story of your chronic pain journey? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.

This is a little tough because I can’t remember a time that I didn’t have pain. Even as a child, I suffered debilitating headaches on a regular basis. Fast forward a few years, and I started having migraines in addition to the regular headaches.

Finally, when I was around 30, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. These things made my life difficult at times, but I retired after 20 years in the US Air Force, then went on to work as a Finance Officer of a small town, then as a Personal Trainer for about 6 years.

Where’s the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

In 2011, I started having widespread pain (as in, everything hurt, all over my body), severe abdominal pain, and lots of other strange symptoms. I could no longer work. Some lab results caused concern, but then when repeated, the labs came back normal. I just couldn’t understand how I could feel this horrible and not have something seriously wrong with me. At one point, I was spending my days in bed, just waiting for each day to be over.

Eventually, in 2012, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and IBS. It was actually a relief to have a name for what was going on. Once I realized I didn’t have something that was going to kill me, I got on with learning how to live my best life in spite of my illnesses.

What a long journey. Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get stronger?

When I was at my worst with my fibromyalgia symptoms, my relationship with the Lord was the closest it’s ever been. I had absolutely no strength of my own; I had to depend on His strength to even get through the day. The longer I live with it, the more I’ve learned to lean on Him for even the mundane things in life. He’s always there for us, through the big things and the small ones.

What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey?

The scripture I mentioned below, Romans 8:28, has been a huge comfort for me because it reminds me that God is using this for my good in some way, but the one I cling to the most is Isaiah 41:10,

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

isaiah 41:10

One thing that has been especially difficult for me on this fibromyalgia journey has been the weakness I experience sometimes. There have been times that I wasn’t even sure my legs would hold me up, but I always know that when I’m weak, God is strong, and He will hold me up when I can’t hold myself up.

How do you find comfort during these ‘ light and momentary’ painful days?

I remember that God is going to use this in some way. He never wastes any experience or difficulty we have. Romans 8:28 tells us,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

I firmly believe that, and that’s what helps me get through the really tough days.

What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?

I’m fortunate to have family and friends who try to understand and make accommodations when my symptoms are not cooperating. My husband has really been a Godsend through all of this. He does everything he can to make my life as easy as possible.


Are you involved in any ministries or community service to reach out to others with chronic pain? Share about this?

I consider my blog to be my ministry. When I first started experiencing all these weird symptoms and right after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I wanted some real, actionable tips for getting on with my life and I needed to reclaim my hope that I could still have a good life. Once I started figuring things out, I wanted to be that resource for others, Reclaiming HOPE was born.

In Conclusion, Can you offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey?

Sweet friend, I know this isn’t easy. I know there are some days that you feel you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you are not alone. You have others who have been where you are and who are willing to walk alongside you as you go through this.

And know that God is always there with you. He’s promised us in His Word that he’ll never leave us or forsake us. Life may not ever go back to the way it was, but you can still thrive in spite of your circumstances. You’ve got this!

Offering a light at the end of the tunnel,

~Terri

certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach 

Thank you, Terri, for sharing your story and these encouraging words.

Readers, I encourage you to comment below or connect with Terri on social media or her blog.

Mandy Farmer

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Are you a Chronic Pain Warrior? Can you offer a light at the End of the Tunnel?

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take every captive

How to Take Every Thought Captive


It is time to put all of these crazy, negative thoughts into captivity where they belong! Let’s put’em in jail.

Easy to say, isn’t it?

How do we actually do it?

He was 16 then and I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep and just as the scoundrel does, he put a horrid image and thought inside my head. Oh, I knew it came from the devil and I instantly rebuked him in Jesus’ Name and suddenly it was as though someone had changed the channel in my brain, warmth and peace overcame me.

Take that, devil.

Today that 16-year old is 40 and is as normal as any man can be!

Take that too, devil.

Crazy, negative thoughts have got to be captured and put inside a cell. They can overtake us and bring anxiety, fear, stress, and oppression to name a few.

Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. Proverbs 12.25 (NLT)

Let’s look at 2 Corinthian 10 and find out what Paul is talking about!

take every thought captive
image by Susan Shipe

The church at Corinth was in criticize mode against the Apostle. They were challenging his authority and he rebuked those with impure motives seeking to undermine his ministry. He simply tells them…(all scripture in Susan Translation)

We might walk as humans walk but we do not battle as humans battle. 2 Corinthians 10.3

Our weapons are not those of humans but are mighty in GOD for pulling down strongholds and arguments and every other thing that raises itself up against the knowledge of God. 2 Corinthians 10.4-5a

The mighty weapons IN GOD are available to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10.5b

So, when the enemy comes in and says to me, “Susan, your son is going to be blank and blank.”

I can say to him, “Satan, I might look human but I don’t fight like a human because I carry the weapons, the mighty weapons, of Almighty God and I throw your accusations and threats and lies into jail!”

Then, follow up with a declaration, “Satan, my son is the righteousness of Christ. He is an oak of righteousness. He walks in the newness of life and God’s hand is on him for all eternity.”

take every thought captive
centere image by Susan Shipe

When Satan comes in with thoughts of fear, tell him…

I am not afraid. God will never leave me nor forsake me. Deuteronomy 31.8; God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1.7

When Satan comes in and tries to steal your peace, tell him…

God will keep me in peace because my thoughts are set on Him. Isaiah 26.3;  I am going to throw all my anxieties onto God because He cares for me. 1 Peter 5.7

When Satan comes in and tries to make you worried about things, tell him…

You know what devil? I am not going to worry about that because God is so good that He even takes care of the birds. And He makes the flowers beautiful and He cares about me and all the things that concern me. Matthew 6; The things that concern me, concern Him. Psalm 138.8

When Satan comes in and tries to cause you to stress and have anxious thoughts, tell him…

I am not going to be anxious because I can tell my heavenly Father about it. Philippians 4.6; Ya know what Satan? God is going to crush you under his feet and I am covered by the grace of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Romans 16.20

A Scripture for EVERY Thought

I can assure you there is a scripture for every thought that comes against us. You can Google any thought for a scripture to combat it. But we have to take the initiative. We have to be pro-active. Sometimes something is so serious and hard that we are told to fast and pray about it, here.

THE.WORD.WORKS.

USE.IT

BELIEVE.IT.

STAKE.YOUR.LIFE.ON.IT.

FIGHT THE ENEMY WITH HIS MOST FEARED WEAPON – THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, THE LIVING WORD OF GOD.

Fight the Enemy with his Most Feared Weapon – The Sword of the Spirit, The Living Word of God. #anxiety #worry #fear # Click To Tweet

Let’s take every thought captive.

Throw those things that are thrown against us, to steal our joy and peace, right into a prison cell and lock the door and throw away the key. We have the power and weaponry.

USE IT.

Finally, Here’s a handy printable!

evry thought captive printable

Susan Shipe ~ Hope Heart Home


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Sometimes We Link Up Here…

pain is an opportunity

Chronic Pain Can Be a Powerful Opportunity

This Tuesday, May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness day. I thought it would be appropriate to share another encouraging post of how chronic warriors hang on to their faith to get through the worst of days.

I was greatly encouraged to hear Olivia Wolfertz story about her struggle with Lyme Disease. What an incredibly strong women she is. Please read on…

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. What is your diagnosis? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.

I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in May 2016. After several months or so of increasingly bizarre symptoms—chest pains, stiff neck, headaches, stabbing pains in arms and feet, and severe trouble walking, I was officially tested and diagnosed by a rheumatologist. I was fortunate that my diagnosis was relatively quick and that I had a positive Lyme disease test even by CDC criteria, as that is actually somewhat rare.

From there, I went on the pretty typical goose chase of finding the right Lyme-literate doctor and treatment combination. Unfortunately, even though I was treating my illness, symptoms continued to spread and expand to affect more and more of my body and mind. Throughout this four-year timeframe, I’ve seen several specialists and explored numerous treatment protocols ranging from conventional antibiotics and herbals to more unconventional methods like rife machines, essential oils, and now a nebulizer treatment. While I’ve seen tangible bouts of improvement and had seasons of “better days” in the mix, I continue to suffer daily with symptoms that largely impair and limit my life.

Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get Stronger?

Olivia Wolfertz #chronicpaininterviews
Oliva Wolfertz

At the start of my treatment journey, I felt a strong conviction that God had given me this illness very intentionally. I felt like this was God telling me it was my time to walk through one of my first “major trials,” as I had never before had a serious health issue before. At the time I thought I would go through it, get treated, get better and move on and be able to look back at it as a story of how I joyfully clung to God during a hard time.

I subconsciously was viewing it as a test and thought that if I just stayed positive and did my best to fully trust God, he would soon enough heal me, and then I would move on with life and have this story to encourage others with. I viewed it as very transactional if I’m being honest. Needless to say, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I was getting into.

I didn't have the slightest idea what I was getting into… #chronic pain #lymedisease #interviews Click To Tweet

Little did I know at that time how devastating and long-term this illness would be or how much it would affect every other area of my life. I would say for the first two years or so, I wasn’t terribly worried about this being the rest of my life and I was able to trust God relatively well all things considered. Of course, there were many difficult battles and symptoms and challenging times that I struggled more, but I felt very supported in the beginning and continued to believe healing was around the next corner.

It wasn’t until probably three years in that I really started to experience more sobering doubts and struggles in my faith. Not only was I still not where I thought I would be after 3 years (still unable to work or be financially independent), but I was feeling a lot of new and difficult symptoms, including serious mental health and sleep struggles, that were very challenging to live with.

Not to mention I was getting emotionally exhausted from the day-to-day struggle. With my worsening symptoms, it became a lot harder to be regularly plugged into a community where I could be spiritually supported, and the isolation made everything a lot harder.

I also wrestled with a lot of shame over the fact that my life isn’t “normal” that affected my self-image and ability to make friends and be vulnerable. Even still, God provided the right people at the right time and sent me some incredibly supportive believers whose prayers were a huge factor in keeping my faith from crushing beneath the pain.

Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?

As I mentioned above, the anniversary of year three was a turning point where I really started to struggle with doubts and fears that this might actually be the rest of my life and I may never get better. When I realized I wasn’t even close to getting better or even if I was on the right track with treatments, I began to wrestle with anger and disillusionment towards God and a lot of fear that things would never change.

Accepting the Inevitable

I also began to realize that all that I lost might never come back—

  • financial independence,
  • the ability to take care of myself and work a full-time job,
  • live on my own or at least away from my parents,
  • be able to have a normal social life

-all of those things suddenly seemed like things that may never happen again. This realization was the beginning of a very dark season of depression and increasing hopelessness.

Letting Others In

What made the most difference in turning from despair to surrender and trust, though, was taking small steps to let people in my struggle more. Whether that was being honest about my doubts, struggles, or the extent to which I was feeling lonely or needing support, that act of humbling myself opened the door for more people to encourage me in ways I actually needed.

This was such a hard lesson and one that I likely will continually need to relearn, but God definitely wanted me to get to this point.

God definitely wanted me to get to this point. #lymesdisease #chronicpain Click To Tweet

Keeping a Strong Faith is Critical

Keeping a strong faith and hope is absolutely critical to fighting a chronic illness—but there are times where we can’t get there without inviting others in to help. Sometimes the struggles are too hard to emotionally or even spiritually deal with on our own and the turning point doesn’t come until others are invited in the mix and given the opportunity to pour their strength and hope into us. I continue to pray for a supportive community to walk through whatever my future has in store.

What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey? Why?

There have been several different scriptures that I’ve turned to during different stages of this journey. Here are some:

#sripturecomfort
#chronicpain
  • 1 Peter 5:6-7
  • 1 Peter 4:19
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Romans 4:18-22
  • Isaiah 40:29
  • Proverbs 15:15
  • Psalm 34:19

Not surprisingly these are all verses that shine a light on suffering or trials and trusting God’s deliverance. Widening my scriptural vocabulary to include more specific truths to apply to pain and suffering has made a huge difference in my outlook during rougher patches.

Sometimes when everything seems to be falling apart, it can be all too easy and natural to feed into self-pity, anger, and overall exhaustion with our circumstances. It can feel like we are at the end of our rope and don’t know how we will get through the next hour let alone the rest of our lives if things don’t change.

I’ve found it absolutely critical at those moments to turn to a verse like one of these and allow it to penetrate my despairing thoughts.  It does make a difference, and meditating on or carrying around these verses proactively help arm me so that I am more prepared when those despairing thoughts come and can be quicker to replace them with truths from Scripture.

How do you find comfort on especially painful days?

That’s a really tough question to answer and it definitely depends on the type of bad day I’m having. Sometimes a bad day might mean a ton of pain, in which case I will usually try to rest my body laying down but can find comfort in reading a good book or doing some Bible study if my mental energy is there.

Some days a bad day might mean an extreme excess of fatigue or dizziness or headaches in which case I am not up for reading or blogging or anything but can find comfort in closing my eyes and listening to a good podcast or sermon or take a bath. I find that this will be a good way to encourage my soul and heart even when I don’t have the energy or mental ability to read my Bible or an encouraging book.

Then a bad day might be where I feel more depression or anxiety or discouragement and something that brings me comfort on those types of bad days is talking with a friend or journaling my feelings or painting or getting fresh air if I am feeling up for that physically.

Chronic Pain  #opportunity
Olivia’s Painting

Painting has become an unexpected yet powerful channel for encouragement, as the feeling of tangibly creating something beautiful to share with others is rewarding when you feel like you can’t be productive in other areas of life.

What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?

The best things my friends or family can do for me during harder times are going out of their way to practically help me or take time to ask me how I am doing and listen to me. I live with my parents, so the best ways I feel comforted by them is when they respect my needs, whether that’s for space or independence or the freedom to not be okay all the time. It is also very comforting when they help out with practical things like meals and laundry or giving me rides to places on days where I can’t handle it.

I moved a few states away to go back home about a year and a half after getting sick, so a lot of my good friends are states away and it’s been hard to get involved and socialize regularly enough to make good friends here as easily. A great way that these friends have comforted me over the distance is through phone call check-ins, cards, and other gestures to show me they are thinking about me. And especially prayer!

Are you involved in any ministries or community service to reach out to others with chronic pain? Share about this.

Olivia's cards #comfortothers #chronicpain
Olivia’s cards

I’m not in any formal capacity but it’s something I really have a desire to work towards. One way that I have started to give back towards others who are suffering (in any way) is to create and write sympathy or encouragement cards for people in my church or community.

I’m involved with a Bible study where the leader is very involved with the church community and she often notifies me when there are people in the area who are going through something hard. Since I love to paint, I love the opportunity to create a card and then bring it to Bible study for the whole group to sign. It’s a great way for me to feel like I’m giving back and tangibly support others with my unique talents and passions.

Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey.

Chronic Pain - a Powerful Opportunity
Olivia’s painting

Something I would say to someone who is struggling in his or her chronic illness journey (whatever that may be) that I hope might be encouraging is that I believe suffering in this kind of way is a unique calling. I would tell that person that they are very brave for carrying a burden that is much harder than most people realize.

I would affirm that they were chosen with this particular trial for a reason that I believe comes with it a special opportunity for God to work in a very powerful way if they let Him.

suffering in this kind of way is a unique calling #chronicpain #paininterviews Click To Tweet

I would encourage someone in the thick of their suffering to find inspiring examples and role models in the faith that triumphed through immeasurable hardships. I have found inspiration in people like Charles Spurgeon, a nineteenth-century preacher who struggled with deep depression and Elisabeth Elliot, a twentieth-century missionary who went through devastating loss and hardship in her life.

1 Peter 4:19 comfort powerful opportunity

I would also recommend reading the testimonies of Christians who have suffered or are suffering immense persecution or incarceration for their faith in Christ around the world. Hearing about how other believers have walked valiantly through deep trials always gives me strong motivation and inspiration to keep fighting the fight to trust and hope in God no matter where my health may be.

Olivia Wolfertz

Thank you Olivia for your encouraging words.

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