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.

 ♦♦♦♦♦♦

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).’”

 

 





‘Want world-class endurance?

7 08 2012

Need more endurance? I do.

 

I love the Olympics. The stories of the athletes are impressive. Stories of sacrifice, discipline, and determination. I can only dream of such qualities. But those athletes teach me how to deal with day-to-day struggles. They inspire me to continue on through my MS. But, it’s God’s Word which tells me how to endure.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Keeping my eyes on Jesus one day at a time. That’s the key.

I recently wrote a devotional about how I endure my constant pain.

You can find that devotional on Rest Ministries website. It’s entitled “Endure the Pain with an Eye on the Gold” and was posted July 12th.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read that devotional (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).

☞Free list of Bible verses.

When I taught second graders, I had a year-long theme called “God’s Athletes.” I compiled a list of verses related to that theme. They can be yours by clicking on this link:

athletes verses





How do you deal with it?

2 02 2012

We all face trials at one time or another – some severe, others perpetual annoyances.

Living with multiple sclerosis challenges me to fix my thoughts on Him instead of my constant pain.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read a devotional I wrote (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).

This recent devotional is entitled, “Is Chronic Pain Your Focus? What Happens When You Shift Your Thoughts?”





God’s Living Show and Tell

15 01 2012

What’s the point of pain and suffering?

The typical response is to question God.  Why God? Why have You allowed this trial in my life?

Those of us who endure chronic pain experience God’s loving response to our secret cries. He reveals His love and faithfulness on a daily basis.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read a devotional I wrote (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).  This recent devotional is entitled, “Is My Pain a Punishment? It Can Feel Like it!”





Thanksgiving Devotional

19 11 2011

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read a devotional I wrote (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).





Trouble Walking

3 10 2011

I recently found out about Rest Ministries – an online ministry for people who have or know of loved ones with chronic illness.  Their mission: ‘Turning Your Illness Detour Into a Pilgrimage of Hope’ 

They are an affiliate ministry with Joni & Friends International Disability Ministry. 

Below is a devotional I wrote for Rest Ministries (which should be posted soon at: http://restministries.com/category/devotionals/)

Trouble Walking

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  (Psalm 23:4).

 To slow the progression of my multiple sclerosis, my husband gives me weekly interferon injections.  Tuesdays are ‘shot days.’  I used to dread Tuesdays.  After my shot I’d wait to see if I’d get flu-like symptoms. 

 Often I’d be awakened by a terrible achy feeling.  Then I knew I’d have that feeling for 24 hours.  Yuk!  My choices were to lie in bed feeling the horrible symptoms or try to ignore them and function. 

 Sometimes I’d wake up without flu-like symptoms. Yay!   I was desperate to know if there was anything I could do to avoid the dreadful feelings.  My doctor recommended getting the shot in an area where I have the most muscles. 

 The problem is that I don’t have many muscles.  My arms are weak.  My legs are stronger. Three times a week I manage to do water walking.

 A friend of mine who suffers with similar pain and fatigue asked me, “How are you able to exercise?”  I told her it’s a series of victories: getting out of bed, driving to the gym, and then exercising.     

 Water walking has built up my thigh muscles.  They became the preferred targets for the needle.  Ever since I began following my doctor’s advice I haven’t experienced flu-like symptoms.  That’s motivation enough to continue water walking! 

 There are big payoffs for faithfully walking.  No flu-like symptoms and I maintain my mobility. 

 I used to take walking for granted.  Now I’m grateful for that ability.  I realized I take walking with the Lord for granted.  Why aren’t I as disciplined in my walk with Him as I am with my pool exercises? 

 There are huge benefits for faithfully walking with the Lord.  Psalm 23 tells us of God’s comfort as we walk with Him in dark valleys.  Psalm 89 tells us that those who walk with the Lord are blessed.

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, Lord.”  (Psalm 89:15). 

 Focusing on physical benefits helps me walk in water.  Focusing more on Him will help me walk closer with my Lord. 

 Heavenly Father,

Forgive me for not having a closer walk with You.  How I love spending time in Your presence!  Help me to keep my focus on You, walking with you each day.

Why is it so hard to find time to be alone with God?