Hidden Pain

4 09 2014

Invisible.Illness.pic

September 8-14, 2014 will be the 12th annual Invisible Illness Awareness Week.

On their website you can read about the history of the Invisible Illness Awareness Week. Here’s a little peek:

“Invisible Illness Awareness Week was started in 2002 when Lisa Copen, founder of RestMinistries.com, saw so many people who felt misunderstood by everyone. Familiar with the book “Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired,”* Lisa understood what the authors of the book called an “invisible chronic illness” or ICI.”

Watch their YouTube video to get the feel of the campaign to raise awareness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H18QKmYxaKA

The theme for this year is JUST ONE. For me the response to that theme is ‘Just one desire.’

I created an item as my gift to fellow individuals who have an invisible illness. Click on the link below to view photographs I took. Many have scripture I added. All pictures can be downloaded and saved.

http://secure.smilebox.com/ecom/openTheBox?sendevent=4e4445784e6a6b314d4442384d5467334e7a55774e44413d0d0a&sb=1

Below you find out how my item fits into the JUST ONE campaign.

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Just One Desire

It seems like a simple question to answer … until you’ve been diagnosed with an invisible illness.

You appear to be fine so others casually ask, “What do you do?”

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has chiseled away at my ability to work. But there’s one thing my disability can’t snatch from me: my desire—my desire to have a purpose. I’m guessing that’s true for most people. We want to fit in, contribute, and have a life with meaning. And we can.

When I was first diagnosed, I wanted to make Christmas gifts for family and friends. Limited stamina prevented me from continuing my decades-old tradition of baking cookies. So I switched to calendars made out of photographs I’d taken.

Invisible symptoms of pain and fatigue don’t interfere with photo shoots. I ride a scooter, shoot indoors, and even snap pics from a car. While taking pictures, I’m rarely aware of my pain.

Though my pain is constant, it’s minimal. When countless lesions on my brain made it increasingly more difficult to multitask or concentrate for long periods of time I wondered what would become of me.

Who am I if I can’t think?

God revealed His plan for my life with an invisible illness. He’s given me opportunities to teach part-time, write, and speak. My passion is to support others who have hidden pain. Like fellow moms raising children with mental illness (MI). Or victims of bullying and the bystanders who witness aggression.

Through my blog, I connect with mothers facing similar trials. Writing has also helped me equip bystanders of bullying. The central character in the picture book I wrote sees others differently. Beth has heart eyes.

Don’t you wish others could see you with heart eyes? God does. He knows your struggles and desires.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).’”

 

 





Go for the Gold

12 01 2014

gold

What would you do to get gold? Work overtime. Marry a millionaire. Move to Hollywood. Train eight hours a day for years to become a world-class athlete.

There are all kinds of gold. This is the season of pursuing the prize. Movie stars sparkle more than the gold statue displayed in their hands. Olympiads beam brighter than the gold medal draped on their proud chests. 

The Winter Olympics will begin soon. Medal counts will be fun to calculate. Victories will be thrilling.

What can our children learn from the athletes? What does it take to become the best? Confidence tempered with humility. Practice and hard work. Great sacrifice. Support. Discipline. Determination. Resilience. An ability to embrace mistakes and learn from them. To rise again and become better.

We want our kids to have goals and follow their dreams. Are some goals better than others?

Do you remember the name of the athlete who won the gold medal in men’s speed skating in the last Olympics (500 m, 1000 m, or 1500 m)? Fame is fleeting. Fortune fades.

In Matthew 6:19-20 we read about disintegrating trophies and indestructible ones. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

This is not to say earthly accomplishments are wrong. We supported our sons’ endeavors. We provided what was needed for them to pursue their black belts in karate. They achieved that goal. Then they strove to become accomplished musicians. We did all we could to help them in that endeavor.  

Let’s continue to encourage our kids to set goals and to dream dreams. But let’s also pass on our passion for God. To instill in them a desire to serve Him, share the Gospel, and love others.

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds … You see that (Moses’) faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”   James 2:18, 22

Help them focus on an eternal goal. So that one day they’ll be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:7-8

Personally, I wish my children continue to spend their lives ‘going for the gold.’ I can’t imagine anything better than for them to walk the streets of gold in heaven, wearing a crown from God.

Each year I taught second graders, I planned a year-long theme. During a Winter Olympic year, the theme was ‘God’s Athletes.’ Click on the link below to find the list of verses I compiled related to that theme.

Gods.athletes.verses