The Princess from “The Princess and the Pea” is diagnosed with Fibromyalgia

I am convinced this princess didn’t feel the pea under that stack of mattresses because she had some princess spidey skills or keen princess pea detection abilities.  She had to have felt it because she had Fibromyalgia.

She wouldn’t have been diagnosed back then because the medical community is just now catching up with what thousands of men and women have been saying for decades—”We hurt!”

I am definitely no princess with fine linens and my bedding and sheets tend to look more like a pack of wolves were fighting for their territory, but when I lay down, I can feel even the tiniest crease in my fitted sheet touch the sides of my leg.  My nerve endings scream, “Get away from me pea!”  I then have to flatten out all of the wrinkles trying to steal away my good sleep.

It’s pretty ridiculous, really.  Sometimes when the pain is at full speed ahead, my sheets can look more like a snake pit rather than a comfortable place to rest my body.  A piece of string on my leg can feel like a hot, burning metal wire searing into my skin.  Every crack, crevice, and wrinkle now becomes my mortal enemy.  If I was on that stack of mattresses, that pea may as well have been a bowling ball.

The one thing I know to be true about Fibromyalgia is that it is just my human cross to bear living on this side of Eden.  In the DNA lottery passed down from generation to generation, I hit the screaming in pain, nerve endings on fire disease jackpot. I also know that it won’t last forever.  It won’t be my eternity.  It won’t define me as a person.  And it won’t change my place as a child of God.

We are all dealt a DNA hand of one form or another.  What we do with it and how we respond to it is what shapes our lives.  I have to admit I didn’t respond very graciously going through the “What in the world is happening to me?” process and most of that time I can honestly say I wasn’t seeking God for help or guidance.  I was just plain mad.

It’s been ten years since that diagnosis and many more years before when I knew something wasn’t right, and now I have gained something called perspective.  It’s when you crawl out of the soupy mess of your life and look down to see what you were actually swimming in.  Through this process I learned I needed God, I can’t blame God for my post Eden DNA, and it’s when trying times hit I need to move closer to Him, not further away.  My Fibromyalgia has steered my life in many different directions, and I can actually say in a bizarre way it has helped me. I’m stronger mentally, I’ve learned to humble myself and ask for help, and I rely heavily on my Father to meet my every need.  Even though my body dictates what I will accomplish in a day, it won’t ever stop me from doing God’s will.

Our adversities are what make us who we are.  Sometimes they also bring us to our knees which may be the only way we are willing to get there.  It’s how God got me there, and I wouldn’t trade a day of pain away if it meant going back to the person I was—the person who thought she knew Christ but really didn’t.  I’ve been refined through the fire and have many more burning hours to go.  How about you?

Have your adversities brought you closer to God or further away?

 

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It’s time to be Kingdom Workers for God. Pick Up Your Gear, and Let’s Go!

So, I’m writing a second book.  I just completed the workbook for The Full Armor of God as a companion to use during Bible studies, and I am waiting for that to be published.  Now, onto the next one.

Today I finally wrote my first few paragraphs of my second book.  I had a name picked out for the title, but that was chosen weeks ago.  I just haven’t found my footing until this morning.  It’s a praise that I wanted to share.

I had difficult pregnancies, and I would figuratively crawl and scrape to the day I would find out the gender of my baby so I could name him or her and feel a connection and a reason to keep fighting through the sickness.  My mom even cut out a picture of a baby from a magazine and used a magnet to stick it to my refrigerator.  I felt like I was in a locker room before the big game and listening to the coach telling me to fight through the pain and win one for the team.  I was having my mom’s first grandchild, so she locked eyes with me and helped carry me to victory.

My title to blank pages is a very similar experience.  I can gratefully say the picture on the refrigerator is taking shape, and I am starting to see what I will be working towards.

I keep looking up at God to see if I am finished with His plan for me, and I keep hearing, “No—just keep on writing.”  Sigh.

I am new in this arena of sharing words and feelings to unknown eyes, and even this blog is an act of faith.  Some writers have complete confidence in their place, space, and time, but I have always been a closet writer showing only my words to God and maybe a friend.  Trudging forward, I am doing this out of obedience and love for my Father.  We are meant to share the covered slate that has been written upon our lives over the years, and that is what I am feeling He wants me to do.  That is what He wants you to do.  Just keep moving forward and sharing what He has taught us.

I pray that you are listening to your Father’s voice.  When we band together and follow the path He has laid out for us, then together we can move mountains for His kingdom.  We may not like it, but only He can see what is coming up over the horizon.  He may need your gift of speaking, writing, listening, encouraging, giving, helping, cooking, building, caring…for a time such as this.  It is what God sewed inside of you since conception, and He may be calling on you this moment to use your gift to be a kingdom worker for Him.  We may never know who we touch, but we always know Who is actually doing the touching.

I will write until He tells me, “You are finished.”  Until then, I will keep sliding outside of my comfort zone and openly share my world—the world where God is our King and deserves the best that we have to offer.  He will multiply and use your efforts far beyond your imagination.  Don’t you just love God’s math?  The least is the biggest and the biggest is the least.  A mustard seed will do, and the smallest act of faith will be rewarded.

God Bless you on your journey.  We are all in this together, right?

 

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A Prayer For Those in the Wake of Hurricane Irma

Dear Lord,

Your promise is that you will never leave us nor forsake us. You said we are your beloved whom you were willing to give up your life on the cross so we could live. I hold on to these truths and picture your whole hand hovering over Florida and the surrounding areas. I know this hurricane is just a puff of air against your mighty power and you could stop it with a single word—but it remains.

As humans, we will always wonder why because it is our natural inclination and desire to possess the same understanding that you have. That comes from the very first humans ever created who ate what you asked them not to. Our desire to be all knowing is still plaguing our humanity today.

I turn to you because even at the time of your death, all seemed lost for the apostles who watched and wondered if giving up their lives to follow you was for nothing. They felt fearful and hopeless, but just as your unfair arrest, trial, and death seemed to be the end to all who called you Lord and Master, you were the only one who truly knew its purpose.

I trust in your wisdom and knowledge and give over my worries, doubts, and concerns as my family and so many other families were unable to evacuate before the storm arrived. Because of your promises, I know, Lord, that you are standing by them and will continue to be with them until this fury passes. I feel your arm around their neighbors, surrounding cities, and throughout the affected areas because you will never leave us even when all can seem lost. I know you are comforting the families who are seeing the destruction of the wake for the first time and in disbelief that their house is no longer standing. You are in this storm, through this storm, and over this storm and prepared us ahead of the storm even before the evening news had a hint of the winds to come.

In this I hand over to you the present and future of the people affected by the unknown because you are all knowing—not us. Love, keep, protect, and give your peace that transcends our limited understanding to all who seek your comfort. Thank you for your promises, and thank you for holding us in your hands.

In your precious name I pray,

Amen

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A Prayer for the Hurricane Irma, Katia, and Earthquake Victims.

To say that our collective hearts are breaking for all of those affected by the litany of natural disasters would be an understatement. I have family in Florida and can’t even imagine leaving my home behind to take refuge knowing that may be the last time I see my community in tact. The unknown is beyond scary.

Then I awoke to the news that Mexico has been hit with the worst earthquake it has ever seen just as Hurricane Katia was making landfall. Aren’t these the moments we look up to heaven and say, “Really, God? Couldn’t you hold back this devastation? What is the deal?”

Then I remember the God that I serve. Any one of us could be in the path of something bigger than we could ever imagine, but we have a God that is bigger than anything we could face. Why is this occurring? I have no idea. Can God still handle our questions, pleas, and doubts? Yes, He can.

I know He is with everyone who is feeling this devastating loss, and my prayers go up to the One who holds it all. He knew this would take place even before we were born to experience it. God knows the beginning to the end. During all of this devastation, it may feel like He has left us, but He hasn’t. He could have left us when we chose sin over Him, but He stayed and continues to stay because that is how much He loves us. We need to reach out to Him and in our hurt and confusion, ask Him to be the mighty God that He is and help all of those who are in the wake of this unleashing from nature.

Dear Heavenly Father, we know that you are mighty and powerful. We know you could stop all of this with an inaudible whisper. The reasons it still remains is beyond our human understanding. Lord, I may not know the why’s, but I know the Who. It’s you that I search and seek to provide comfort, calmness, peace, and hope in the midst of this scary time. It is you that I beseech to be with the people affected by these disasters whether we are experiencing the reality of the situation first hand or watching it from afar. It is you that I pray to because I know even in the fear, you are holding every person in your hand and living among them because you are omnipresent. You never turn your head away from us and you never leave us. In this I put all of my faith and trust. Please be with everyone during this difficult time, and please give the emergency workers the unobstructed opportunity to assist and save those in need. Give them your eyes to see who is in need and your supernatural strength to perform these tasks. Give our leaders the wisdom you possess in how to best help and serve the communities. Please unite our shields of faith and hear our prayers. We weren’t promised an easy life on this side of Eden, but some days, it can seem almost unbearable. Please Lord, give us your heart for comfort and help us to comfort each other. In Jesus precious name I pray. Amen.

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Are You a Talker or a Listener?

Psalm 46 10

Have you noticed that when we pray, our eyes are closed, our hands are resting, and our mouths are still? The only thing open is our ears. I think this visual picture describes how we are to pray: listen more and speak less.

I need reminding of this every time I pray. I’m usually heading straight to the point and dumping in Jesus’ lap all of the fears, concerns, and burdens that are plaguing me.

Jesus is not our therapist taking notes. He already knows the reasons we are in prayer. He is looking to see if we come with thanksgiving, a willingness to confess our sins to receive His forgiveness and grace, and humbling our hearts and minds to be ready to listen to His loving guidance.

That doesn’t mean Jesus would rather we didn’t pour our hearts out to Him.  He wants us to give it to Him to take to the cross.  He already knows our needs before we tell Him, but that doesn’t make him disinterested in our fears and concerns. We just can’t hog up all of our quiet time with Him asking for our world to be fixed.  When we take moments in our prayer life to acknowledge and feel reverence for our Lord and praise Him for all that He is, all that He does, and all that He will do, then we gain the mindset that we are seeking the advice and counsel from the creator of the universe and not just someone who grants our wishes.

When we do pour out our hearts, it keeps things in perspective.  Our problems may seem giant, but revering our God reminds us that He is bigger.  He’s got this—we just have to remember who we are talking to.  For prayer life to be effective, there needs to  be more than a one-way conversation with one topic being discussed—ourselves.

When we pray, we need to practice quieting our minds and spirits to hear the wisdom that Christ is trying to speak into our lives. He loves us all so very much, and He has so much to say if we are willing to listen.

 

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IS Your Life In Or Out Of Focus?

Well, life just got really busy with the beginning of this school year. There is so much involved in preparing for students, putting a classroom (speech room) together, and making sure my own children are prepared to start their school year.  The sands of time are falling faster than my list of things to do is being checked off.

What are you spending your time focusing on right now? What commitments are forcing you to move around at lightening speed?  Is your focus on Earthly things like mine has been lately or on Heavenly things which I have been ignoring?

When I was putting the contents of my desk back together, I came across an index card that I had written a reminder. I am not sure when I wrote it, but it was a message to keep the focus on what is in His plan for me, and not necessarily what I had planned for myself.

The top part of the index card had a phrase that I had heard (I think from church):

God’s first concern is not our happiness—it’s our holiness.

This truth struck me and stirred something inside of me while I was organizning my room. It is so easy to slip back into the pattern of keeping God at bay so we can take care of the more “important” things.  I thought I would share with you the message that I wrote on this index card in case it would help someone else to keep their focus.  I was lucky enough to find it at a time my hamster wheel was starting to turn.  This is the reminder that I wrote:

I want to fast-track my way into what I want, but then I short-circuit His plan for me.  God doesn’t want me to just focus on jobs, relationships…, so He isn’t going to give me the steps in my life until I stop and grow in my fellowship with Him.

When I’m in His Word, in prayer, and looking upwards, then He reveals His next step.  It may not be the answer that I want, but it’s His answer, so it’s perfect for His will and plan in my life. He will let me suffer and in my suffering, I am drawn closer to Him; my character is building and my testimony is created.  It’s all for His glory—not mine.

If you have one foot inside your hamster wheel and ready to jump on, I pray that this reminder will help you as well.  As a Christian community, we need to be reminding each other of what our priorities should be because when God is the focus, everything else that is out of focus will soon be crystal clear.

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Memes for Christ: Which Way Should I go?

which directionSimply Scripture~

“The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.” (Prov. 22:12) NIV

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Peace-Who Wants It, and How Do We Get It?

I search for peace day and night.  I can tell when it eludes me because I begin to feel anxious and my thoughts are jumping over multiple tracks never landing on the one that will bring me peace.

Trying to catch a lightning bug across a yard after his light goes out is easier to do than catching peace.

My peace escaped through my fingers recently because I’ve taken the worries of the world upon myself again and left God out.

Why is this so easy to do? I am able to slip back into this pattern so effortlessly that it materializes undetected.  The increments are so tiny by which they occur, a turtle could pass faster than my sliding.

The last few days I have let life take over, it has a funny way of doing that, so my soul thirsts for what I’ve lost—my peace.

I sat down with God’s Word this morning with this heavy on my heart.  Truthfully, when I open His Word I sometimes think, “Wow, that is just what I needed,” or “God, I’m not really sure I get what you are saying here,” or simply, “Huh?”

When we read the same scripture multiple times, what was once a, “Huh?” can turn into a “Wow!” Those days are the best days.

Proverbs 3:17, “Her ways (wisdom’s ways) are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.” NIV

The first time I read this, I had a neutral response. I thought, “Okay,” and went on to read the subsequent verses.

Since really soaking up Proverbs this last month and gaining understanding that wisdom develops by fearing (revering) the Lord, I read this verse again with my peace hanging out to dry and thought, “Wow! I get it!”

Our peace is interwoven with reading His Word every day. When we do, we take up the sword of God’s armor which is the only offensive piece we are given. Might I add, it is the only piece that is needed.  His piece brings peace.

Without God’s sword, we are merely accepting the hits of life and standing there taking them one by one.

Pick up your sword found in the pages of the Word of God, revere Him, learn His truths, and the author of peace and wisdom will erase every other track that does not belong in your life and reveal the only one that does.

In order to gain peace, we need to gain God.  The choice is ours.  We can either allow life to continue serving uppercuts, or we can utilize the gift of God’s sword.

He is the author of peace, so why do we try to read self-help books or any other book to find it?  Why try to catch a lightning bug a yard away when there is one right by your side?  His light never goes out.  We just need to be willing to catch it.

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Memes for Christ: Bad Contractors, Don’t Apply Here!

wisdom, understanding, knowledge

Have you ever experienced a bad contractor?

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” (Prov. 24:3-4) NIV

 

The most important part of having a good house is having a good contractor.  A successful and trustworthy contractor doesn’t act alone. They surround themselves with mentors they can refer to and subcontractors they can trust and depend upon

The contractor uses their many years of experience to weigh the successes and failures of previous decisions in order to plan and choose the materials and layout that best fits our family.

The end result is an amazing house that will stand the test of time.

If our contractor has only one or two qualities of wisdom, understanding, or knowledge, it may be best to find a new contractor.

This is also true for ourselves. We need wisdom to build our spiritual houses and make good choices. We need understanding gleaned through the wise counsel of trusted people in our lives to strengthen our moral discernment of what is right and what is wrong, and we need to be acquiring knowledge by observing, studying, being slow to speak, and heeding the wisdom of others.

How do we obtain all of this?

Fear our Lord, and He will give all of these to you. (Prov. 1:7)

When we revere God and know He is the author of wisdom, He will direct and teach us on how to be more wise.

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Memes for Christ: Step Away From Control

trusting in God

Are you tired of being a control freak?

Prov. 20:24, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” NLT

We are planners by nature-always trying to prepare for the unexpected. Even when packing for a picnic, we make sure we have everything by checking off lists and anticipating who will fall and hurt themselves or who won’t eat the bologna.

How often do we end up around the bend in the road to learn we were preparing for all of the wrong things? No one fell, and Johnny spilled his drink all over the sandwiches.

Maybe the sandwiches are ruined, but the nice family sitting at the picnic table close to yours saw your dilemma and said they had plenty of fried chicken to share! You get to chatting, and you discover this family just moved to the area and bought the house right down the street from yours!

Why do we worry? Trust in God to direct your steps. He knows the big and small happenings of your life. Take each step in faith and know that your God is there to guide you.

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