I’m F.I.N.E…But Please Listen…

Ever ask someone how they are and their response is, “I’m fine”, but your gut told you otherwise? Or have you ever been asked how you are, and through clenched teeth answered, “I’m fine”, meaning, “I’m F.I.N.E.” or as Renee Swope puts it in her book A Confident Heart,“I’m Frazzled, Irritated, Neurotic, and Exhausted.”

Fine

Of course, each of us could fill in our own F.I.N.E. words to meet our individual circumstances, but I believe in the end they would all match up fairly well…

I believe in those times of teeth clenching F.I.N.E. moments we are all asking the same thing…

I believe we are all asking for someone to ask us “Really? Are you really fine?”…

And {LISTEN}…I mean…Really {LISTEN}…

For whatever reason we choose to hide behind our walls of insecurities, we are all looking for acceptance for who we are, in spite of what we may have done, or not done…

But speaking from the viewpoint of someone who lives with a chronic illness, chronic migraines, and chronic pain, I just want someone to step in and stay with me, through the tough times, and understand me, flaws and all…

I want someone to understand that who I am today isn’t who I always was…

do not judgeI wasn’t always Frazzled with Fibro Fog…

  • I usually had it all together, a multi-tasker, with a memory sharp as a whip

I wasn’t always Irritated and Impatient…

  • I had the patience of Job…

I wasn’t always Neurotic…

  • I was care-free and stress-free

I wasn’t always Exhausted…

  • I was like the Energizer Bunny…I could go for hours without stopping…

But then this thing called Fibromyalgia got a hold of me…chronic migraines took over my life…chronic fatigue took my feet out from under me…and all these mini monsters made me who I am today…Forgetful…Irrational…a Napper…and still Exhausted…

So I’m not “Fine” when people ask…

And sometimes, I would like someone to ask me, “Are you really fine?” and just {LISTEN}….

And still assure me that they will be there for my tomorrows…

So many times we put on such a good facade that people don’t even realize what we are going through…and I speak from experience…as I am a Master of Masquerade…

I have learned to hold people at bay…and hide what is really inside…

But I was reminded recently of what I am really doing…and this reminder came through my husband…without him even knowing…

He was working on a house that needed new flooring and he had to crawl under the house to fix it. While underneath, he brushed aside some dirt and found live termites, crawling up the I-Beam of the house. Now, from the outside, the house from all appearances, looked “fine”… and if he hadn’t brushed aside that dirt, those termites would have continued, unnoticed, to eat away at that beam, causing extensive damage to the foundation of the house. But once he found them, he called the landlord, who in turn called a termite exterminator who will treat the house initially, and return for follow-up treatments until they are all extinguished.

I realized that I have termites hidden deep in my heart…

And they are eating away at my soul…

Termites of self-doubt…and insecurities…and fears…

Hidden beneath the surface…causing extensive damage to the foundation…complete work

and I need Someone to treat my heart…

Until they are all extinguished…

and that Someone is Jesus…

The same Jesus who met Sam the Samaritan woman…Mary Magdelene…and the woman caught in adultery…

All with their doubts and insecurities…

All looking for acceptance and approval…

The same Jesus who {listened} and gently removed all of their self-inflicted pain and replaced it with His Pure Love…

The same Jesus who tells me…

{LISTEN}…

“I am come that you, Dianna, might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

So, maybe after the Master Exterminator is finished with extinguishing all that is hidden in my heart…

It is my hope and my prayer that I will soon be able to say, I am “fine” the next time I am asked, and truly say it with meaning.

Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

Support Unfolding…

Gods daughtersI watched a beautiful thing happen yesterday.

Not that I don’t see beautiful things happen. But in this crazy, isolated world of living with chronic pain, finding joy in something isn’t always a daily occurrence…

But yesterday I watched as a community of hurting women came together for a sister who reached out of her lonely and isolated corner to share her need.

For what, she couldn’t even put into words…

And they came. One by one. Offering encouragement and prayers, “I’ve been there” and “Hang in there” stories, caring words of “God’s got you”, love, hugs, true showings of compassion, sincere concern about her pain…

All from women who have never met – except on this side of a computer screen, in a prayer group on Facebook.**

But all who have one thing in common.

They need support. They need encouragement as they deal with daily pain, loneliness, and isolation. They need understanding from someone who “gets it”. They need a non-judgmental ear to listen to their frustrations, and yes, even a shoulder to cry on when no one else is there to pick up the pieces of misunderstanding.

Having a support system when you live with chronic pain or a chronic illness is absolutely necessary to dealing with that pain or illness.

Dealing with physical pain alone and medication side effects can be devastating…

Adtiredd to that the reality of ongoing doctor appointments, doctors who question your pain, ongoing medical tests, possible job loss leading to financial strain, isolation from family and friends, becoming home bound, depression, loneliness, and the list goes on…

Now top all that off with trying do it all on your own…

NOT. POSSIBLE.

I’m sorry, but even the strongest person needs help at times.

So what do you do? Where do you go for support? Here are just a few tips to start:

  • Start at Home with Open Communication -Your greatest support will come from those you live with – spouse, parent, children. Get them involved with your treatment. Research your illness, print out information and let them “read all about it”. Take someone with you to your appointments – let them hear firsthand from the medical team treating you what you are dealing with, limitations, and their treatment plan.
  • Find a Good Medical Team – This is essential to your overall treatment. Look for doctors that will listen to you. Look for doctors that will work with each other to treat you. Of course, this all depends on your insurance and financial state, but there are doctors that specialize in specific areas – don’t settle for a generic doctor who doesn’t listen to you. Keep looking. Ask around. Google the area. You are worth it!
  • Join a Support Group – Look around your area – ask your medical team – ask others you may know with the same illness. If you are unable to leave the house there are many support groups you can join online – but research them first – be cautious with what information you give out – Remember – no support group should ever ask for money, so don’t ever give any to join!

Ok, so these are obviously just a few ways to seek a Support System – and yes, there are many more – I am by no means a professional when it comes to these suggestions!

But the key is to identify what you need in the way of support to help you cope with your chronic pain or illness in a healthy way.

heal2And yesterday our sweet sister did.

She knew that she needed something in the way of support. What it was, she didn’t even know.

But she joined our group. She shared her heartfelt need.

And she was cared for in a way that only God could have orchestrated.

1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us, “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering. 

She is….and we are.

That’s just what a group of God-Living Girls does.

Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

 

For more info on God-Living Girls Groups visit the following links: 

Website: http://www.god-livingwithchronicillness.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/godlivingwithchronicillness/

 

 

A Body in Motion…Hurts…

According to The Physics Classroom, Newton’s first law of motion is stated as:

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion

Sounds about right, right?pain

Except when you are dealing with Chronic Pain…. Then what?

So how about Chronic Pain’s first law of motion is stated as:

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion – wait! is there even motion with chronic pain?

Let’s face it – when every joint in your body is screaming, who wants to even get out of bed, let alone take a walk, ride a bike or any other physical activity that would aggravate  your pain…

But the medical field recommends exercise – to keep the joints and muscles moving – to keep working through the stiffness and pain so the stiffness eventually is alleviated and hopefully the pain in lessened…

Exercise improves your mood, gets you away from those walls that surround you, reduces your need for pain meds, and helps you sleep better.

It’s a Catch-22 dealing with chronic pain or a chronic illness isn’t it…rest – and hurt…move – and hurt…hmmm…so what do you do?

Here are some practical ideas for Non-Strenuous Work-outs to do when you are dealing with chronic pain:

  • Walkingpain2According to Prevention, “walking is an excellent form of light aerobic exercise, which  brings oxygen and nutrition to your muscles to keep them healthy, helps rebuild stamina, boosts energy, and reduces stiffness and pain.” Take short walks – even if it’s 10 minutes a day, build up to longer walks. Keep to a firm surface, wear comfortable shoes, take water along, and enjoy the scenery!
  • Swimming and Water Aerobics in a heated pool (warm water relaxes muscles, and the buoyancy of the water helps with movement). Join a local community pool or check out local schools that may offer open swim times at low cost – physical therapy pools are also often available for open swim when classes aren’t taking place.
  • Stretching – always do some soft stretching after you exercise so you don’t pull cold muscles – but even before getting out of bed in the morning try some gentle stretches to loosen up stiff arms, shoulders, neck, and legs. Do what you can without pain! Stretch throughout the day as you sit – reaching for the remote – walking down the hall – doing range of motion keeps your joints from becoming stiff.
  • Everyday Activities – Do what you can when you can. Gardening. Washing the dishes. Playing with the dog. Shopping. – You’d be surprised not only the muscles you use physically but also the mental muscles that are used.

So these are a few practical ways to coping with our physical chronic pain – but how do we cope with what this pain does to our spiritual walk? 

  • We walk – the path set before us. We start with small steps and then build to bigger, bolder steps. But we keep our eyes on Jesus along the way. He is our Breath of Life – He is our Energy – He is our Strength. Psalm 73:26 tells us,“My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” And let’s be honest here, some days all we can do is just hold on to that knowledge.
  • We swim – in the refreshing and healing waters of His Word – As we spend time with God and allow His Word to take root in our hearts we become stronger, and begin building our spiritual muscles to continue our walk. What better time to spend with our Maker than when we are flat on our back, unable to move because of our pain? He’s right there with us! Isaiah 43:2 reminds us, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.”
  • We stretch – our spiritual muscles – we step out of our comforGetAttachmentt zone, asking God to use us where we are. Dealing with chronic pain or a chronic illness doesn’t have to stop us from being used by Him. He just uses us in a different way and in a different place. Eph. 2:10 tells us, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
  • We do what we can when we can – we make ourselves available – we are obedient to His call, wherever, whenever. Philippians 1:6 gives us this beautiful reminder, “For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Remember, no medical diagnosis defines us – our Almighty Creator does.

Our mind tends to play that game of “you can’t do it” over and over and we need to stop listening – when we are able, we need to get up and get moving – physically…spiritually…

Then we rest.

And yes, then we will rest well.

Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

 

 

Detour Ahead…Enjoy the View…

Road Construction…

Not my favorite part of driving…

But here in my little corner of Sussex County in my little State of Delaware it seems that everywhere I go there is some type of roadwork being done….UGH…

From patching potholes on the major interstate to widening the main highways and even some of the secondary roads –

Now, being close imagesto the beach we are considered a “resort” area, so of course everything is being done at once to be completed…uh-em…before “season”…Memorial Day…yeah…right…

But a few of the highways have posted a sign…with an option to go around the construction…and maybe sometimes not-so-much an option…

Have you ever had to take a Detour to avoid traffic or road work?

It’s interesting what you find when you take that road you haven’t been on for a while…or drive a completely new route totally unfamiliar to you, just following those arrows, hoping and praying they get you back on that main road…

I’ve gone on roads I haven’t been on for months and find myself amazed at some of the changes…buildings no longer there…brand new housing developments being built…

I’ve gone on roads I’ve never been on at all and find myself driving slower…just taking in the view…(remember y’all I live in a rural area so the roads are usually 2-lanes and windy…with farms…and acres of open land…so I can do that!)clSo, has life ever forced you to take a Detour? Right in the middle of your smooth life ride have you ever been stopped by barriers in the roadway, blocking your path? Maybe its deteriorating health…or the loss of a job…or the death of a spouse which throws you into an immediate head of household status…

And you have no other option than to go another route…maybe one you’ve been on before…maybe one you’ve never traveled…

Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “A person plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”  Hmmm…sure sounds like a Detour could be around the bend at any time, doesn’t it?…

I guess the question then becomes “How will I react when I am faced with a Detour?” Will I recognize a familiar path and look for and embrace the changes? Will I slow down and take in the sights in that unfamiliar territory, appreciating what I experience along the way? Or will I cross my arms and stomp my feet, complaining that ‘this isn’t what I had planned for my life’?

Friend, can I just remind you that God’s Ways are Perfect, no matter what? Whether you stay on that smooth life road or are detoured to a side road – He’s got your back.

Road construction…Detours… Unforeseen roadblocks…are all out of our control…

But they aren’t out of His…

So next time life sends youdo on a Detour…

Slow down, take in the sights, and enjoy the view…

There’s something on that side road for you that wasn’t on the road you were traveling on…

Look for it…

Do you really want to miss what God has waiting for you along the way?

Living With Eyz2God, 

Dianna

 

Teach Me to Number My Days…

eternalTIME

I was born Jan 2, 1958…

Which has given me, as of today, April 13, 2016…

58 years 3 months 11 days…
or 699 months 11 days…
or 3040 weeks 6 days…
or 21,286 days…
or 510,864 hours…
or 30,651,840 minutes…
or 1,839,110,400 seconds…

on this earth…

IMG_104637306030392TIME

Where has it gone?

I look at my children and now my grand-children and I wonder…

How have I spent the TIME God has given to me?

Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Do I number my days in this manner? Have I been wise in my life choices? Am I growing a heart of wisdom?

TIME…

A precious gift…

“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand.” Psalm 31:14-15

Those photographed moments we hold onto…

  • TIME is our friend…

Those agonizing moments we can’t let go…

  • TIME is our enemy…

Waiting for an answer…clock2

  • TIME stands still…

Contemplating a life changing decision…

  • TIME rushes us for an answer…

So in the midst of all the busyness and uncertainty of life…

I cherish TIME with my Abba Father…

Sitting quietly before Him…

Communing with Him…

Praying…Listening…

It’s the only way I can remain focused…

It’s the only way I can grow…

TIME

God’s gift to us…

And how we spend each moment?

Well, that is our gift to Him…

Yet I am shamed…

I wonder if I can even offer Him those moments…and if I did, would they even be acceptable to a Holy God…

My heart aches because I know the answer…

And I am challenged…

To make those moments count…and to be made accountable…

So my time of communion with my Father is restored…unhindered…

A pleasant offering to Him…

How about you?

Living With Eyz2God, 

Diannaholy_and_set_apart_for_jesus

 Linking up with Tuesday at Ten

Awaken…My Soul…

When I was a young mom one of the things I absolutely loved was watching my newborns sleep…so peaceful…so innocent…so calm…A chance to get things done around the house…or take a nap…or sit and enjoy a cup of {{hot}} coffee…really? what is {{hotmadycole}}??

Why is it then…that I would just stand by their crib and watch them sleep…waiting for them to awaken…or want to just pick them up and hold them…

That first little yawn…followed by a stretch…one arm…then the other…one eye open…then the other…head turning, looking around…maybe a coo of wonder…maybe a whimper or a lonely cry…

Then those beautiful eyes would meet mine as I stood there looking down in love…

And there it came…that magical smile of recognition…Hey! I know you!…arms raised in sweet surrender…waiting to be swept up in love…

Yep…the time spent just watching was well worth it…(I can enjoy plenty of hot coffee now a days!) Now I am rewarded with watching my grandchildren❤

Do you ever imagine our God…our Abba Father just standing by us while we sleep? or while we go through the darkest nights in life?

Psalm 121:3-4 tells us, “He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.… “

Sound familiar? He who watches over you sounds very much like what I did with my newborns – okay yes, even with my children…3clouds

A part of me wanted them to remain asleep…catching those all important hours of rest that I knew would be needed to get them through the many hours they would be awake…

Yet, another part of me wanted them to be awake…to hold…to love on…to play with…to learn from…to teach new things to…and watch them grow as they learned on their own…

Lately, I’ve been struggling with ongoing extreme back pain and recurring migraines. You could say the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of my being have all fallen asleep… and not in a good way…not in a way that is calm, and peaceful, like a newborn baby…

Suffering with chronic pain brings with it a huge burden of guilt, isolation, depression, loneliness, and many unanswered medical and inward soul-searching questions, in addition to just dealing with ongoing physical pain…

So when I say my soul part has fallen asleep – I mean I know it’s somewhere – but not quite sure where…Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t lost my faith – if anything this is drawing me closer to my sweet Jesus…giving me purpose to seek Him more…Seeking an awakening in my soul…

In Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts she makes this statement, “The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.”

Wow! Don’t you just love that? I guess that’s exactly what I’m doing…

When I know deep down that my Abba Father is standing by my side – whether it’s secretwhile I’m sleeping or going about my busy day…whether I’m facing a time of rejoicing or a time of heartbreak…I have that sense of calm…and Peace…

And when I awaken from a restful (or restless) sleep and stretch…open my eyes…looking around…and meet those beautiful eyes of my Saviour…my Abba God…a smile of recognition crosses my lips…

I raise my arms in sweet surrender…Hey! I know you!…

And I am swept away in His arms of Love…

Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

The Past is over…Or is it?

“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.” ~ Isaiah 43:18

Growing up, I used to listen to a radio show called The Rest of the Story, by Paul Harvey – hmmm…shows my age, yes?

On that program Mr. Harvey would always tell a story and finish with an ending that would leave you scratching your head, just saying, “wow”… and finishing up with those now infamous words…”And now you know the rest of the story.”

do not judgeBut we don’t always know “the rest of the story” do we? We look at people and make snap judgments from what we see – what we experience – at that moment.

But what about the past? What about their past? What about all those things that have come into play to bring them to where they are – good or bad? Why are we so quick to put a label on a person based only on what we see? And do we really see them – or do we see only what we want to see?

Did you know that there are hundreds of invisible illnesses that are debilitating to those who suffer from them? From Wikopedia, Invisible disabilities are chronic illnesses and conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living. In the United States, 96% of people with chronic medical conditions show no outward signs of their illness. 96%!!! That’s a huge number friend!

So how does this rabbit trail about invisible illness tie into people’s past…and the “rest of the story” you ask?

Well…here’s how…

See, my “past” was one of being physically active. Serving in the church. Working a full-time job outside of the home in addition to being a wife and mom. Playing sports. Going out socially. Inviting people over to my home. Happy, happy, joy, joy…You get the picture…

But that all changed a few years ago when I was “diagnosed” with chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, sciatica, Invisible-illness-under-the-surfaceand anxiety/depression…

My physically active days came to a grinding halt. My days of serving in the church ended. Working any job was out of the question. I became a spectator at sports. From the couch. Going out – no way. Inviting people over? Couldn’t even plan that.

“But you don’t look sick” … hmmm … yeah…right…Hard to argue with someone on that one when you “look” okay, but are dealing not only with those unseen physical symptoms but also emotional and mental struggles under that great facade…

But I have learned a valuable lesson over the past few years…

Although our past plays a role in who we become, our past doesn’t define who we remain.

Sounds simple in theory, right?

But not always simple in reality.

I’ve had to let go of lots of things over the past years. Dreams. Hopes. Plans. But maybe, just maybe, they were all mine anyway. And they needed to go.

So they could be replaced.

With something better. By Someone better.

God’s Plans. God’s Dreams. God’s Vision.victory

For me.

Since I’ve been unable to work outside of the home, God has provided for us over and over through my husband’s job. He has opened other doors for me through online ministries, including an amazing chronic illness group* I am now part of. We attend a new church where I feel accepted for who I am and what I can offer. I have an awesome group of doctors who work together to plan my health care. I play with my grandkids and yes, I even entertain more at home.

So it isn’t all bad. Yes, there are days that just plain suck. But there are also days that are just plain amazing.

Because God is amazing.

See, I can look at my past and grieve because of what I’ve “lost”…or I can look back and rejoice at what I’ve gained…

I can look ahead…at my future…at my God…and what lies ahead…

Because of this promise…

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Rev. 21:4

And that, my friends, is the rest of the story…

Still waiting to be written…

Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

Linking up with Tuesday at Ten – This weeks Prompt Word – {{PAST}}

**For more information on this group of amazing women check out the following link on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/godlivingwithchronicillness  

or the website: http://www.god-livingwithchronicillness.com