Health Update 2015

It has been my intention to write a blog post for almost a year now.  I have learned so many new things about my health in the past two years and I want to share it with you!  I’ve missed you!  So for those of you still reading…

In March of 2013, my normal fibro/CFS cycles seem to take a turn for the worse.  I was spending more time in bed.  My anxiety was out of control.  I was so achy and tired.  Much more than usual.  My legs felt very weak and it hurt to walk.  This was all very intense and different than my normal cfs/fibro routine of 18 years.  Coincidentally, (Divinely appointed) I was scheduled to see a new doctor about this same time.  I finally found a doctor who practices integrative medicine in my area. On my first visit with her, I explained my story.  She looked at me and said, “I can’t believe no one has sent you to see me before this.  You are the type of person I can help!”   And that started our journey together.  I have seen her almost every month since then.  She has tested me for lots of different things.  She thinks outside of the box and her main goal is to help me figure out why I feel so bad.  She is a puzzle solver and she takes pride in her patience and knowledge to find root causes of symptoms.  And together we found out a lot of things that I never knew before.  Let me list them here.  It’s a big list.

Celiac Disease
Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism
MTHFR Genetic Defect
Vitamin deficiencies
Mineral deficiencies
Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut)
Food intolerances
Elevated Epstein Barr Virus counts
Possible Lyme’s Disease

My cousin sent me this article to look at a few years ago.  All the things on this list, are the exact things that my new doctor was addressing.  This is a great reference for you to keep and a great place to start looking for root causes!!!!

10 Causes of Fibromyalgia Your Doctor May Not Know About

I wish I had the room to tell you in detail everything that I have learned.  I have spent hours researching and reading about all these new discoveries we have made about my body.  But the biggest lesson I have learned is that functional/integrative/naturalistic medicine is the only place we should be looking for answers.  A doctor who practices integrative medicine looks at the whole body.  All they bodily systems and tries to figure out why some systems are out of balance.

The gut plays a much bigger role in disease than we ever thought.  Addressing gut issues is bound to have you feeling better in some way.  My suggestions?

Google Leaky Gut Syndrome and learn about it
Take a strong, quality probiotic daily
Take Digestive Enzymes
Get tested for Celiac Disease
Do a trial of gluten free – after being tested for Celiac
Do a trial elimination diet – for food intolerances
Do a trial AIP diet – autoimmune protocol
Some of my favorite functional medicine resources are:

Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Mercola
Dr. Tom O’Bryan

No doctor had ever thought to test me for Celiac Disease.  I never thought of it either.  I didn’t have gastrointestinal symptoms!! But I had autoimmune symptoms! Who knew that Celiac Disease could present with autoimmune symptoms without digestive symptoms?  Celiac Disease awareness as well as gluten sensitivity/intolerance is making it’s way into the headlines.  And I am so thankful.  Dr. Tom O’Bryan says that if you are experiencing a chronic health problem or an autoimmune disease – you should be tested for Celiac Disease.  And if you are negative, you should still do a trial of gluten free to see if helps you feel better.  I always told myself that the food I was eating had nothing to do with how I felt. Some of you even wrote to me saying I should try a gluten free diet.   I ate pretty healthy, I thought that was all that mattered.  I was convinced that an elimination diet or a gluten free diet would do nothing.  Boy, was I wrong.  Very wrong.

 And because I tested positive for Celiac Disease, I had all of my kids tested too.  My oldest daughter tested positive.  She was 11 at the time.  It broke my heart, but at least we know and maybe an early Celiac diagnosis can save her years of pain and testing.

I also thought that I didn’t have thyroid issues because my lab tests always came back “normal”.  Until Dr. V tested me for thyroid antibodies and I learned that I had Hashimoto’s Disease.  Find a doctor who knows what they are doing!!!  It’s so important!

We still don’t know why my Epstein Barr counts are so high.  And we have extensively tested for Lyme Disease and are still unsure if that is part of the problem.  One test is positive, but several others are negative.  Still trying to put the puzzle pieces together on that one.

 I have come a long way.  I have many days of relief, but I am still not well.  I know all these new things about myself, but it has not brought about much physical relief YET!  Having answers is a good thing and I will not stop trying!!  We are on the right track!  One step at a time…

Now, in closing I want to share with you a new passion I have developed over the past two years. If you have read my blog in the past, you know that I have always been interested in natural remedies and alternative medicine.  A dear friend introduced me to the world of essential oils two years ago and my life has not been the same since then.  I tiptoed into the world of essential oils trying to help with the pain of fibromyalgia and I am now a huge advocate and educator with Young Living Essential Oils.  My entire family uses them for everyday health and wellness.  They are more potent and powerful than the supplements I have tried in the past.  And they work for our family.  We use them for so many different things from general headaches and stomachaches to the extreme pain and fatigue of fibro and cfs.

Essential Oils have become my passion.  And in sharing that passion, it has also become my business. I thought I would never work again.  But I am working from home, teaching, helping, sharing, and loving all of it.  God has blessed it.  And I am working hard.  If you are at all curious about essential oils and how they have made a difference in my life, then I would love for you to view this video that I personally made.  I even talk about fibromyalgia a bit.

 Introduction to Essential Oils – an online video presentation

I am passionate about essential oils.  And I believe in them!  Let me know if I can teach you even more about these wonderful God given treasures!

Email me at

Thank you for listening to me.  Thank you for taking this journey with me.  I hope and pray that each one of you is encouraged by the community we have shared here together.  Be blessed.  And never give up.  Keep seeking answers and striving for better health.

Love and hugs!


P.S.  Ironically, out of nowhere and completely unrelated to any of my other physical ailments, I have been suffering from debilitating vertigo for 5 months.  It has literally stopped my life in it’s tracks.  After much testing and seeing many doctors, I found an awesome vertigo doctor in New Orleans that diagnosed me with having a tear in the membrane of my left inner ear.  Thank God for a diagnosis!  I thought I was dying – it’s been very scary!  With a diagnosis, I am on my way to healing and recovery.  I kept saying to my family, I wish this vertigo would leave and I could just get back to my normal chronic illnesses!  (Never thought I would say that!) 🙂  Life is a journey!

Blog Giveaway Winners!

We have two winners!  Kelsey and Sharon D. are the winners of my blog giveaway! Congratulations!  I am so excited to share “Jesus Today”  with you both and hope that you find it as encouraging as I did.  For those of you who commented, but did not win, try locating this book at your local library or buy yourself a copy.  It is worth your time and money to read these encouraging daily thoughts and Scriptures.  It is a bright spot in my day!

Sharon D., I do not have an email address for you.  Please email me at to claim your book!

Look for more blog posts in the near future giving you my health updates and sharing what I have learned this year.  So much to tell!

Love and hugs to all of you!


Jesus Today (A Blog Giveaway!!)

4815-jesus today.jpg

This little book is a gem!  My mom gave it to me several weeks ago and said, “Here, I picked up this little devotional book for you.  I think the lady that wrote it has chronic fatigue syndrome.”    I thought it sounded interesting so, I started reading from the beginning where Sarah Young explains her journey with chronic fatigue syndrome and then Lyme disease.


Sarah Young is also the author of the ever popular Jesus Calling book.  I really enjoyed that one too!

And her Jesus Today book is even better!  At least to me it is, because it speaks directly to one who is going through suffering.  It is a daily devotional type book with a small reading written by Sarah and then several Scriptures that go directly along with her writings.  A very short, daily read, but it has spoken to my soul so deeply.  She writes from a place of pain, but peppered with so much grace.

The last 8-9 months have been plain awful for me.  I am having NEW symptoms, some added diagnosis, and lots of testing.  I haven’t felt this bad in a very long time.  And this is in stark contrast to the several good months I had at the end of last year.  Needless to say, I have had some very dark days and this book has been such an encouragement to me.  I will eventually blog about what is going on with my health.  Stay tuned.  I have learned so much through my new doctor and we have gotten to some root problems through lots of testing and lots of trial and error.  Not feeling better yet, but we now have a game plan.

I encourage every one of my readers that is facing chronic illness to get your hands on a copy of Jesus Today if you can.  It will put a small little spot of sunshine and understanding in your day.  And because I love this book so much, I am having my first blog giveaway!!!!  I will be giving away TWO copies of Jesus Today and I am VERY excited about it.  My gift to you!  So, here’s what you need to know:

Just leave a comment in the comments section, right here on this blog post, by Friday, October 4, 2013 at midnight EST.  There are no tricks or anything.  I am not looking for new blog traffic, just want to offer my readers a little gift.  So, your comment doesn’t need to be anything fancy.  Just say something like, “I would love to win a copy of Jesus Today!”  After the deadline, I will randomly choose two winners.  It will be random, I promise!!!  Come back to my blog on Monday, October 7, 2013, to see if you are one of the winners.  This giveaway will only be open to my readers in the USA.  I apologize to my overseas friends, but for the sake of shipping costs, this is limited to those of us here in America.  However, I highly encourage all my international readers to visit your local Christian bookstore and see if you can pick up a copy.  I am in no way profiting from my publicity of this book.  I just love it so much and I wanted you all to know!

Blessings!  Now leave a comment and enter the giveaway!

P.S.  I will send reminders of this giveaway periodically through my Facebook Page.  If you have not “liked” my page yet, go here and do so.  It’s a great way to interact with other readers!!!

Sharing My Music

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

Ah, a long overdue blog post!  I realize I am not posting nearly as frequently as I used to and not nearly as much as I would like to, but I want you to know that I think of you all often.  I remember you as a group in my prayers.  I cherish the comments and friendships that have been formed here.  I do hope that wherever you are in your illness journey that you are being sustained and upheld by the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have shared some of my favorite music with you in blog posts before, but I am doing something a little different today.  I am sharing some of MY music with you!  I hope you find encouragement as you listen.  My gift to you… Enjoy!

The Majesty and Glory and My Jesus I Love Thee were recorded live as special music during our church’s worship service.  I also do not own copyright for the soundtracks so please use these for your listening pleasure only.  Do not sell or redistribute in any way; however, you may download them for future listening if you desire.

And if you like more classical music, listen to the The Lord’s Prayer which was originally recorded as an audio sample for my website   And if you go there, you’ll find some musical theater audio recordings – If that interests you.

I hope to have some new blog posts soon with some new Tuesday Tips.  Stay tuned! 🙂  I have visited a new doctor recently who has been very supportive and helpful.  Hoping to share what I have learned from her in posts to come.

Love and Blessings,


Wisdom in 2013

Ferguson Family 2012

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Truth be told, I had planned a “Merry Christmas” blog post and then an actual “Happy New Year” post on New Year’s Day. Well, here we are on January 17 and I am finally getting to it! I hope you all had a blessed holiday season. Time off work, spending time with family, sleeping in, and baking treats OR just laying on the couch watching the festivities around you. Holidays can be tough for us. I enjoyed mine. But the thing I enjoyed the most was the absence of the stressful schedules, routines, running around, etc… We spent lots of time resting, watching movies, sleeping in, being with family, and enjoying life instead of watching it race by.

There is a verse that keeps coming to mind and has been filtering my thoughts for the past few months. I’ve decided to go ahead make it my theme for this year of 2013.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5

I have been struggling lately. It’s a good struggle. I have been feeling well – no, not normal well, just lots of good days strung together. (I think my supplements are helping!) But when I feel well the struggle comes to pace myself. I have recently let life get too “busy”. And for someone with cfs/fibro that is waaaaaaay dangerous. Too many things going on, too many decisions to make, too many irons in the fire, too many goals, too much stress, too much participation. Something needs to be cut out. I have learned these lessons before, but as you know sometimes life just happens. And I am actively making the decision to “cut back” before that decision is made for me. It is not worth ruining my health. So, I am faced with some decisions as to what to eliminate from my life.

This verse is my new year’s “resolution”. It is special to me, because as I pray this verse, I am asking God to give me wisdom in my daily life decisions.

What needs to be eliminated, what needs to stay?
What steps need to be made this year toward better health?
How can I help myself be in the best health and treat the symptoms of fibro/cfs?
What doctors should I visit? What supplements should I take?
What part of me needs to be serving others? or reserved for my family?
Am I well enough to start helping the family income?
How can I spend my time drawing closer to God? to show His love to others?

As I process these thoughts and commit them to prayer, I will be praying this verse. I am confidant the Holy Spirit will guide me through the decisions that need to be made – even if it means saying “no” to things that I love. I strive to put my relationship with God and my family first, but the priorities after that sometimes get jumbled. I need wisdom! And God has so graciously promised it!

What are some of your “resolutions” this new year? Do you have a theme verse to start this year new and fresh to help guide you? How about a theme verse for chronic illness? Please share that with us!

I pray that you all will be filled with wisdom as you journey through illness. Ask for it. God may provide healing or He may just fill you with wisdom for treating the worst symptoms.

Love and Blessings,

I blogged about this topic last year for Rest Ministries. If you care to read more about it, click here.

ONE YEAR: A little blog chat…

Exactly one year ago I posted my very first blog post. That was very exciting and scary at the same time! This blog had been in the “works” for at least six months prior to that because I spent six months bantering with God about how inadequate I was to do what He was calling me to do. I kind of felt like Moses wrestling with God’s instructions to lead the Israelites. 🙂

There are so many blogs in cyberspace, it seems that everyone has one, so why the big deal? Why such inner turmoil? Well, I knew what God had laid on my heart. I felt led to use my experience with chronic illness to help others in similar situations. He was calling me to be vulnerable, to go public, to share personal experience, to admit defeat and failures, to be honest, raw and real. These are things that are often hard for me. There were times this past year that as I wrote a post, I cringed as I hit the “publish” button. Not that I regret anything I wrote, it was just hard to put those thoughts and feelings out there for everyone to read.

When I finally committed to starting this blog, I decided to consistently write for one year. I am goal oriented so giving myself a goal inspires me to work harder. Well, here we are at the ONE YEAR mark! YAY!

I have learned so much from putting my thoughts into words. It has been very emotionally healing and therapeutic for me. It has also encouraged me to stay up to date on the latest CFS/FM/ME research and to try new things to ease symptoms. Overall, it has been a WONDERFUL experience, more than I thought it ever could be. I have “met” so many new friends along the way too – sisters in Christ who empathize and also need understanding. I hope that is what this blog has done for you. I hope you have found encouragement, inspiration, understanding, empathy, love, kindness, and above all have felt the LOVE of God through words in a blog. I didn’t know if anyone would actually read this blog. But I told God and my husband, that if I help even one person, this journey will have been worth my time. I meant that! Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me!

Here are some fun blog stats:

*Last week, I reached 10,000 page views. Meaning people have visited my blog and looked at one of my pages 10,000+ times during this past year.

*I have had readers and blog visitors from 76 different countries.

*There have been 6 guest posts this year and one guest poster was inspired to start her own ministry blog because of that. Love it!

*This blog has 125 Facebook friends, 54 email subscribers, 25 Twitter followers (not much of a tweeter) and 34 WordPress subscribers. That is a total of 238 people receiving notifications of any new posts. I know numbers aren’t important, but these are the people that God brought to all of us to help each other.

*I have kept quiet about the blog in my own social circles, which means the majority of my readers are people all across the world that I have never met. This warms my heart!!! We are sisters in Christ bound together by His love, sharing with one another, uplifting and encouraging one another in times of physical pain and distress.

*I love reading your comments!!!! The purpose of the blog was to reach out to others with the same chronic illness and share spiritual encouragement, but I have found that through your comments and emails, I have been so blessed by all of YOU. I wasn’t expecting that! 🙂

Now, some of you are wondering, so her year of blogging is up, is this goodbye? No, it’s not!!! I have posted once or twice a week for a year. I was committed to that. My new goal is to blog whenever the Holy Spirit leads me to. Blogging is fun, but it is also very time consuming. I didn’t really know that at first. Towards the end of this year of blogging, I was feeling obligated to write, instead of inspired to write. I don’t like feeling like that. It was a self imposed goal to write once a week, but I still felt an obligation to my readers. Our family will be moving in the next few weeks and then we have the holiday season. Busy times for me. I want the freedom to post blogs as I have time and as I feel led to do so. So, I may not be blogging as much, but I am still here and will continue to write, as long as someone is here to read!

You can reach me anytime through email at

I love you all and pray that God continues to lead you and guide you through this journey of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis. It’s a tough road, no doubt. Keep praying for wisdom and let’s try to keep loving one another.

Much love and many blessings,

Ann 🙂

When Life Gets Broken

I first heard this song at an Extraordinary Women’s Conference earlier this year. The worship leader, Michael O Brien, sang it and I became a puddle of tears. The live version of music is always better and brings an enhanced worship expereince for me, but here is a Sandi Patti/Natalie Grant version that is candid and beautiful! Life sometimes does get broken, but God never leaves us. NEVER!

Next week I am celebrating ONE YEAR of blogging.  Look for a special post next week!

Hope you all have a pain free weekend!  The weather here in the Florida panhandle is GORGEOUS!  So, pain or no pain, I am going to go soak up some fresh autumn air and some vitamin D sunshine.

Love and Blessings,
Ann : )

When Life Gets Broken
by Michael O Brien

Hands reaching out
No one to hold
You’ve been abandoned
With no place to go
Wounded and wanting
Such desperate times
Cold bitter tears are filling your eyes

Get a glimpse of Jesus
For He is right there with you
He knows just what you need

When life gets broken
And you’re in despair
He’ll carry your burden
When it’s too much to bear
It’s down in the valley
Where He’ll give you strength
And there is nothing you have lost
That He can’t replace
He’ll help you start all over again
When life gets broken

Verse 2:
You hoped God would heal her
But she went home anyway
Now it’s hard to imagine
How you’ll make it through the day
Weeks turn to years
Time’s passing you by
But you’re still holding on
To the how’s and the why’s

Get a glimpse of Jesus
For He is right there with you
He knows just what you need

When life gets broken
And you’re in despair
He’ll carry your burden
When it’s too much to bear
It’s down in the valley
Where He’ll give you strength
And there is nothing you have lost
That He can’t replace
He’ll help you start all over again
When life gets broken

Healing waters
heal our troubled souls
Jesus, sweet Jesus
Cleanse and make us whole
When life gets broken
And you’re in despair
He’ll carry your burden
When it’s too much to bear
It’s down in the valley
Where He’ll give you strength
And there is nothing you have lost
That He can’t replace
He’ll help you start all over again
When life gets broken

Love One Another

My Inspiration:

Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 22:37-40

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 13:34-35

My Thoughts:

I have read these verses hundreds of times in my lifetime. I have heard countless sermons on them, sat through chapel messages and read devotionals on them, but it seems like at this particular point in my life, it is finally starting to sink in. God has placed a huge importance on loving others.  It is the second greatest commandment, right behind loving Him.  I am not sure why this is becoming so relevant to me now at this stage in my life, but my guess would be because I am a parent. Having kids makes me fully aware that life is not all about me.  And this is a character trait that I so desperately want to instill in my children. To love others.

I consider myself to be a kind person. I don’t really have a lot of conflict with people. So, doesn’t that by default make me a loving person. Someone who loves people and is kind?

The more I reflect on this passage of scripture, the more I realize that I am not loving others the way I should. I seek relationships that are comfortable. People convenient to love. But what about the ones that take extra time to love? The ones that take self sacrifice to love. (I am not talking about toxic personal relationships that are draining. That’s a different topic.) I am speaking of taking the time to love and connect with the people you encounter everyday. The people that I generally ignore. The cashier at the grocery store, the neighbor who routinely walks by my house, the shy girl at church, the neighbor kid who comes over to play.

I am busy.  I am the mother of five.  I have a chronic illness. I have laundry to do, meals to make, and errands to run. I need time in my day to rest and take care of myself.  I have to leave time for the flares and crashes.  And it does not come naturally to me to strike up a conversation with a stranger. This is all true. These are not “excuses”. I don’t have leftover time or energy for “loving people.”

Or do I?  Do I?  Hmmmmm.

I am efficient. Yes, that is a good word . And I am sure that my “efficiency” often looks like I am in a hurry. I have an agenda, a plan, a goal, and I am on task to get it done. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.  In my efficiency, I am so focused on my task that I completely block everything and everyone out.  How many people do I pass along the way, that could use a smile or a “hello”.  Am I on task to “love people” throughout my day?  I am ashamed to say, that many times I am not.  I have even encountered embarrassing situations where I am so lost in my thoughts of what I have to do, that I tune out those who are readily speaking to me.  Ignoring people who are speaking to you – that is definitely not loving others.

In the privacy of my own home, I can often have a complaining spirit…about other people. Am I “loving people” when I complain about them? Am I showing my children the second greatest commandment in the scriptures when I gripe and whine about how other people are not as perfect as I am? (Just being honest here.)

Maybe this post has less to do with chronic illness and more about some personal reflection, but since chronic illness affects who I am, then somehow it does indeed tie together.  I am on a new inspired journey.  To purpose to love others.  Maybe that doesn’t involve a new big project, but maybe it is just creating an awareness within myself of all the people I encounter each week.  Each soul needing to see a glimpse of Christ’s love reflected through me.  As inadequate as I feel and as unimportant as it may seem, loving others is what we are called to do.  Even in the small things.  I purpose to first SEE these people and then show them a small measure of Christ’s boundless love.

How about you?  We are all in different stages of illness.  Some leading seemingly normal lives and encountering other people everyday.  Some are housebound and don’t have the opportunity to love people throughout their day.  I am convinced that whichever stage you are in, there is a way to show Christ’s love.  And it often takes thought and commitment to do so.  I hope my reflection today has encouraged you to purposefully LOVE others.

Ann 🙂

Guest Post: Seasons of Fibromyalgia (Part 2)

This is our last guest post for a while.  I consider the summer “Invite to Write” a huge success!  Thank you to all that participated and I will definitely do this again next summer. Mia wrote us a lovely post earlier this year called Seasons of Fibromyalgia.  (You can find her bio there.) This is her follow up post concluding her thoughts on seasons.  She wrote these posts for me just wanting to share her heart and discovered she loved writing her thoughts so much that she started her own blog.  You can visit her blog here.  Another sister in Christ and fellow fibromyalgia sufferer reaching out to help the hurting –  I LOVE IT!!!! 🙂  I hope you are encouraged by Mia’s thoughts today.  Show her some love in the comments and go check out her new blog!

God’s thoughts to me

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you, O Israel, the One who formed you says,” Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you, I have called you by name, you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficultly, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”(Isaiah 43:1-3, NLT)

Seasons of Fibromyalgia (Part 2)

My home country, South Africa, this year experienced an unusually cold and severe winter. Fortunately spring has officially arrived with the beautiful month of September. All around us new life is slowly blooming and the air is filled with vibrant expectancy. The yellow finches have returned to our garden and are busily building their nests. Their loud chirping and singing are like a joyous ode to spring.

Winter is stubbornly refusing to release us from its grip on this first spring day. A gale force wind is howling around the corners of our house. But its sorrowful moaning and groaning are slowly but surely replaced by a bubbling new spring song of joy.

My previous post ended when my spring arrived with a diagnosis by a rheumatologist in Port Elizabeth. Unfortunately this doctor was not very knowledgable about the treatment of this illness and sent me on my way with only a prescription in hand. I was still clueless about this condition and the fierce battle between the winter of depression and despondency and the spring of new hope and courage was raging in my heart. I was at once filled with an odd mixture of dread and expectancy.

Dear Ones, I am convinced that this is such a wonderful opportunity for us to stretch those faith muscles and to allow our Lord to lead us forward on this journey. I want to encourage you not to condemn yourself when you experience this cacophony of weird and unfamiliar emotions. Condemnation is not from our Lord and is so destructive. Rather focus on your Pappa God, our Heavenly Gardener, who is weeding out all the weeds, thorns and thistles from the garden of your soul and the new beauty He is creating in its stead.

I dared to dream again and dove head first into extensive research on possible treatments and cures for FM/CFS. I gathered lots of information and it did not feel as if I was fighting a phantom in my mind anymore, but a real enemy with a real name. I still had no idea that there was no known cure for this condition and was convinced that I would be able to beat this foe. There were so many advise and treatments available and each one brought new hope to my heart. With so many options available, how could one not be cured!

I also discovered wonderful online support through blogs like Ann’s and it brought so much comfort and relief to my heart. Every time winter was trying to re-assert itself through despair, the naked honesty and coping advice I received through these links were precious gifts from our Father. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of the support of other travelers on this FM/CFS road, but crucial to this road is our Lord Jesus. He is the One who carries us, our Strength and Support. He cares deeply about everything that happens to you.

Realizing that there was no cure for this illness yet, launched me onto a new road during my spring journey. I found it so difficult to wrap my mind around the possibility that I could forever, whilst on earth, suffer from this pain and exhaustion. I tried so many different treatments: supplements which helped a bit, but became too expensive; diet changes that caused me to lose weight I could ill afford; an exercise regime that actually made the CFS worse; prescription medications, etc. I even went to a pastor to undergo a deliverance. He apparently was an expert on this field. I had no previous knowledge on this kind of thing and was prepared to try anything legal. I realized that these people only meant well and tried their utmost best to help me, but it nearly drove me over the edge of reality straight into the arms of insanity when they told me that demons of death and insanity were trying to kill me. This experience caused me so much spiritual harm and it took me a long time to recover enough to be able to share this with you. The extreme terror and fear I experienced caused me to completely lose my appetite and my weight plummeted down to 47kg.

The spring in my heart made way for a very hot and dry summer as disappointment followed every unsuccessful new treatment. I also endured so much uncertainty and self-doubt as it seemed as if no one actually believed in the legitimacy of this condition. Dark, frightening thunderclouds of terror and fear (and all their evil counterparts) started to suffocate the last hope in my heart. I was brought to the brink of a complete breakdown as lightning flashes of pain relentlessly ripped thorough my body and sanity. The only thing that I was able to do, was to cling unto our Pappa God for dear life. He was my only anchor and lifeline and, just at the right time, He brought repeating storms of crying. Thousands upon thousands of tears flooded away all those terrible emotions and quenched the fire that was consuming my life. Our Pappa brought only good out of this as He was drawing me closer and closer into His loving embrace. He brought a new Christian doctor into my life who taught me the golden rule of pacing. We worked together trying to find the right combination of medication to at least alleviate some of my symptoms and we managed to get many symptoms under control. This dear, patient man prayed for me and listened to all my aches and pains, as well as to all my sorrows and woes.

Our Lord then escorted me into the beautiful new season of autumn. The colors of the leaves of my self-efforts changed into rich shades of golden browns and yellows, coppers and burnished reds. As trees are stripped of their green foliage during winter, I was stripped of all my self confidence and efforts to bring about healing to my life. I personally had to experience the loss of the “self” life before I was able to receive and experience new life in our Lord Jesus. I realized then that only as I allow our Lord to live His Life in and through me, was He able to produce delicious fruit through all my seasons of FM/CFS; not only for my needs, but also for everyone around me.

It has taken our Pappa quite a fair amount of time to teach this stubborn child of His that He brings beauty only out of ashes (and not self-effort), and strength out of weakness (and not out of striving). Now, whenever my heart experiences a cold winter or dry, hot summer and not much life is visible from the outside, I look forward to the new hope, new trust, increased faith and dependence that our Lord is creating in my heart.

When you are overwhelmed by all the different seasons and fluctuating symptoms and emotions, remember our Lord Jesus’ gentle invitation: ” Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28a, NLT) Your Pappa will, if you allow Him, use every season you experience for your ultimate good and His wonderful Glory.

Thank you so much for sharing my thoughts. Ann, I so appreciate the opportunity you gave me to bring my thoughts on all the seasons of FM/CFS to the only logical and possible conclusion, a life lived in our Lord Jesus.

Hugs and blessings.

Thank you MIa for sharing you heart!  You blessed and encouraged me and I know you have blessed others as well.  Don’t forget to visit Mia’s blog

Guest Post: Paul, Prison, and Paralympics

This is good stuff, really good stuff.  I hope you enjoy what Tanya has written for us today.  She is a very talented writer and I have enjoyed reading her blog Thorns and Gold.  Please take the time to check it out.  I know it will be a blessing to you.  She is a sister in Christ across the sea in the UK.  She suffers from ME, myalgic encephalomyelitis, or what we in the states call chronic fatigue syndrome.  Thank you to Tonya for sharing her thoughts today.  If this blesses you, please leave her some love in the comments!

Tanya Marlow is passionate about teaching the Bible, answering tricky questions of faith and training others to do this. In the past she has done this in student and church ministry and as Associate Director of the Peninsula Gospel Partnership (PGP) Bible training course in the UK. Right now she does it by reading Bible stories to her gorgeous toddler, as she learns what it means to be a stay-at-home mum who is also currently housebound with an autoimmune illness. Her blog, Thorns and Gold can be found at where she writes about many things, but mainly the Bible, suffering, and the messy edges of life.

Paul, Prison and Paralympics

I watched the Olympics medal ceremony, feeling a little tearful alongside the winners. It is amazing to celebrate with those who have achieved their goal, who have succeeded, who have conquered.

But I felt a bit sad as well, as I recalled some of the goals that I had had to leave behind because of illness.

  • I had always wanted to run a marathon.
  • I love singing opera; I had wanted to improve my singing.
  • I had wanted to write a best-selling book.
  • I had wanted to learn to make michelin-star quality desserts (okay – that’s a total lie; I’ve got no motivation or aptitude to cook and making desserts would be way down the list, somewhere after an MA in New Testament Greek, learning to barre chords properly on the guitar and not just play G, D and E minor, star in a local production of Les Miserables as Fantine, learn about art history, get a diploma in counselling).

I can’t do these things, and it is unlikely I will ever be able to do these. My M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis, sometimes known under the umbrella term of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) has deteriorated to the extent that I am housebound, mainly bedbound, and I need help to look after my toddler. I have to limit my social activity and my brain activity.

Somehow the Paralympics can be even more depressing from this point of view. They’re disabled too – but they’re achieving amazing things! Me? I achieved getting dressed today – and it took me hours to even recover from that. Is there anyone who gives Olympic medals for taking a shower?

This morning I felt so acutely my weaknesses and limitations.

My Prison is an Open Cage

In my discouragement, I read Philippians.

“…I am in chains…” (Phil 1:13)

And then a light clicked on for me. I thought of the chains of my disability. I thought of Paul, imprisoned in his house, unable to preach the gospel openly. I thought of his goal to go to the far nations, to preach where the gospel had not gone before. I thought of his love of debate and dialogue, and being able to persuade people.

I paused reading. And suddenly I was Paul, stuck under house-arrest, seeing all of his hopes and desires for ministry wither away, his substantial gifts atrophying as he spent the hours in chains, counting the hours as they passed. I was Paul, thinking, ‘Has God rejected me? Did I get it wrong? Were the other apostles chosen rather than me? Was I being punished in some way?’

And then I was Paul, feeling that it was God who was at fault, God who had failed. Surely there was much more valuable work for him to be doing. If I were Paul, this is how I would have felt: God had got it wrong.

But God hadn’t got it wrong.

Paul being in prison meant that he couldn’t do as much preaching and travelling. The only way he could keep in touch with the churches to encourage them and continue in mission was to write. So he wrote – and as a result we have most of the New Testament today.

Out of a place of weakness, limitation, the world of small things, he left a legacy for thousands of generations.

Paul wasn’t to know this. Although he was probably aware that his words were scripture (2 Pet 3:16), he wasn’t to know how many thousands of people, how many languages his words would be translated into.

His writing, his second-choice mission activity was God’s way of enabling the scriptures to be written. His weakness was a means of God’s grace. His Plan B was God’s Plan A.

What we think of as our greatest achievements, may, in the light of eternity, be nothing.

What we think of as our weakness may, in the light of eternity, be our greatest achievement.

I go back to reading the passage and drink in Paul’s words:

“For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Phil 1:21

And actually, in the end, it’s not about the achievements, whatever they end up being. Our life is in His hands, and whatever else we do we need to adore.

It’s not about thinking of the medals we’ve gained or lost but it’s about Jesus: the saviour who lost so we might receive and gave that we might gain.

Over to you:

  • What goals have you had to surrender because of illness or life circumstances?

Like this? Stay in touch with Tanya: Like the Thorns and Gold Facebook page here


I did not get a blog written last week.  Boo!  Let me tell you why.  We were faced with a possible hurricane (it skipped us, we are fine).  We have been looking for a new house, found one, went through several days of emotional turmoil to try and get a contract.  We got it.  My husband worked 85 hours last week to finish a deadline – so I was single mom last week.  And my in-laws came and visited over the holiday weekend.  Whew!  That was a bit stressful.  Glad it’s over.  Good things.  But even good stress is still stress.  So, here is my post for this week.  Hope it makes up for last week.  Love to you all!!

My Inspiration:

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.  He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
Job 1:20-22

My Thoughts:

Do you ever blame God for the things that go wrong in your life? If anyone on this earth had reason too, it would be Job. He lost everything. The family he loved, all of his possessions, and his health. Sometimes bad things happen because of our poor choices. But sometimes painful things just happen in life for reasons that we don’t understand. I don’t think I have ever blamed God for bad things, but I have questioned Him. I recognize that both believers and non-believers encounter all kinds of earthly suffering due to the curse of sin. As a believer though, I have often questioned why suffering happens to those who are trying to please Him. I have also felt angry and frustrated that we don’t know these answers. I have grieved and continue to grieve a life that I thought I was going to have and still desire.

My illness started my last year in college. I have been dealing with this for basically my whole adult life with very little hope that I will ever be “well”. I have ups and downs physically that range from completely bedridden (did that for 2 years) to all appearances of normal. I managed to finish college and even get a Master’s degree. I married the love of my life and spent the first 18 months of our marriage in the bed. Literally. I grieve that I never had a honeymoon or the first years of marriage were covered in illness and doctor’s appointments, but I am blessed beyond measure that he stuck with me and doesn’t complain. Life has become more manageable since the early days. I know my body’s limitations and triggers. I appear to live a “normal” life, but no one sees the meds and lifestyle changes that have been made to appear that way. Although I am in a good place with my health right now, I still suffer consequences of this chronic illness, everyday. That is my life.

I have discovered that dealing with chronic pain and the loss of “normalcy” is a continual process. It is not something that can just be conquered emotionally or spiritually once and for all. Wait. Read that again. It is a continual process. Just when I think I have a handle on how this illness works. It surprises me. And just when I think I have laid this to rest, accepting it for what it is, something happens that sends me spiraling into tears of frustration. And just when I think I have put all of this into God’s hands, I am tempted to doubt and question His ways. This is a journey! A constant, active mindset of laying our lives and our plans at the feet of Jesus.

My thoughts from the beginning have always been to allow the Lord to teach me through it – to use it for His purposes. But what do you do when you try to find purpose in it and sometimes come up empty? We know that God ordains everything. Nothing surprises Him. He chose you and me to suffer chronic pain and fatigue. Why? I search for reasons why all the time. Maybe I am to minister to those who chronically suffer. Maybe this lesson is for me to trust completely. Maybe it is the only thing in my life that keeps me running to His Word. Maybe the desires and ambitions I had for this life were not good for me. (Blessings)

I am currently a stay at home mother of five kids and I am thankful and blessed. But I am also full of ambition and passionate about what my career would have been. I still dream of going to get my Doctorate degree. But for what purpose? I don’t know that I could ever work a full time job. Why would God give me talent, ambition, and passion and then allow my body to fail me? I don’t know. I think it’s OK to question why, to question His purpose. But always realizing that HE DOES INDEED HAVE A PURPOSE!!!

I don’t have answers, but I can offer you encouragement. Keep trusting, praying, believing, and looking for ways to use your suffering. Remind yourself of all the good in your life – the abundant blessings that we often take for granted. I hope and pray that in our lifetime there will be a cure for fibro and cfs and that the suffering will one day come to an end. Until then, I allow myself to grieve and question, but I am also confident that He controls it all. Sometimes it stinks, but His purposes are always for the greater good. ALWAYS!

Love and Blessings,
Ann 🙂

Guest Post: Finding Purpose

Here is another great guest post!  Please meet my friend, Lee.  We have never met in person, but we have become great friends through email.  She is a treasure! 🙂  Lee will be getting married very soon and will be going through some wonderful changes in her life.  Please keep her in prayer as fibromyalgia is not friendly to  life’s adjustments, even the good ones.  I know you will be blessed by her words.  Leave her some love in the comments!

My name is Lee and I’m currently living in Ohio. I’m 21 years old and will be getting married in just a few short weeks. My fiancee and I are striving to fulfill the Lord’s purpose for our lives, and have future plans for ministry overseas. Fibro was an unexpected thing for both of us, but we know that God’s calling is His enabling, and that He will give us the strength to fulfill His plan.

Finding Purpose

Have you ever spoken with someone who was struggling with a serious issue, and felt completely helpless as to what to do to help? Maybe it was someone struggling with an abusive marriage, drug addiction, suicide, depression, cancer, diabetes or maybe an eating disorder? In that moment, you might have struggled finding the right words to say, or maybe you just sat bewildered and said in your heart “Help me Lord…what do I do?”

This feeling can be so crippling, especially when your heart yearns to be a blessing to them somehow and to ease their pain. Aristotle once said: “To perceive is to suffer.” The more I read this statement and roll it around in my mind, the more I find it beautifully profound. The word perceive can be defined: “to recognize, discern, envision, or understand.”

To truly perceive a person’s pain, one must be familiar with or recognize it. True empathy cannot be realized until someone has suffered and understood a similar issue.

The Lord has been gently stamping this truth on my heart, and it has been such an amazing tool for me in coping with my illness. I am learning that there is so much blessing in sickness, and so much wisdom to be learned in pain. One of my favorite authors is C.S Lewis, and I have just recently read a beautiful quote of his that I would like to share with you.

He said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

My heart both breaks and sings with this statement because I have found it to be so true in my life. This season of struggle has caused me to hear the voice of God in a way that I never have before. It has both brought me to my knees and raised me up in great joy.

He has been helping me to find purpose in my pain. The daily struggle with fatigue, neuropathy, sleeplessness, brain fog, and pain is all for a reason. This attack on my body is not in vain! This experience has sharpened my ability to recognize and identify with the pain and chronic conditions of others. This ability is a gift from God, not my doing, and I feel honored to have been given stewardship of it. I am learning that this pain has not been permitted in my body for me to be crushed beneath the weight of it, or be in valleys of despair and self-pity. Let me tell you, it’s not always easy, but I have found that the joy of the Lord truly is my strength!

Each day I have learned how to draw on that joy, over and over again, and I find that He has such a sweet and gentle way of replenishing it. He has called me to share that joy, and I believe He is calling you too. If there’s one thing that people need most in our world, it is the salvation and joy of the Lord. They are starving for it and you might be surprised at the reactions of people when you exercise this principle. Your pain is not in vain, and there are people who desperately need your empathy. They need someone to be there for them when they are hurting, and not just to be there, but to listen, and truly understand. As you well know, there is something so priceless about an understanding hug, tear, or hand to hold. But I challenge you, don’t wait forever for someone to come to you…go to them! If you don’t know where to find them, just pray…the Lord will lead you right to them. In that moment when you sacrifice your time and energy to give to a hurting heart, you will find that God refreshes your spirit in a way so beautiful, it is not easily forgotten.

God has such a wonderful plan for your life, whether you are healed of your infirmity, or whether you faithfully endure until He calls you home. You are called according to His purpose, and each one of you has one! Ask Him to lead you to that neighbor who’s hurting, or to that person who just needs a smile or a hug. When you’re feeling low, try to reach out, when you’re feeling blue….SING! When you feel alone, remember that Jesus suffered much for you, and that there is not a single thing that you’re going through that He doesn’t understand. His compassion and love is overwhelming, and He would delight to see you lavish that love and empathy on a soul who needs it.

May God give us all the strength and courage we need to be exactly what He wants us to be on this journey. May we see His bright and beautiful purpose, may we catch a glimpse of Heaven, may we be propelled to do everything we can to see His kingdom grow, and may we learn from each daily experience how to share His love! Thankyou so much for letting me share my heart with you today. May God richly bless each one of you! 🙂

 Well said, Lee!  Thank you for taking the time to share with us during this busy time of your life!  Blessings to you!!!

My Secret

Not so much an inspirational post, just some of my thoughts that I think you might relate to. Love and prayers to you!

Having chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia has been a very private journey for me. Of course, my family and close friends know of my illness, but for the most part a large portion of the people I know and interact with on a weekly basis have no idea. (Well, at least until I started this blog! ) I choose it to be this way. Writing this blog has been the most vulnerable I have been about it EVER. I really don’t mind opening up to complete strangers about my personal journey because I know that the majority of people reading this know exactly what I am talking about and totally understand! It’s comforting to know that there is a community of people who will accept my illness without any judgement. That’s part of the reason I started this blog. I know there are others like me, who suffer, but also have their faith to help sustain them through the hard times. I wanted a way to find those people and share in the journey together.

So, I often wonder why I feel so secretive about this fibro/cfs? I mean if I had cancer or multiple sclerosis or something like that, I don’t think I would have any trouble sharing that with people. So, I’ve taken the time to evaluate my feelings and here are my thoughts. I hope you can relate.

I don’t like being vulnerable. Who does really? I started my illness with doctors telling me that it was basically all in my head. That I had depression. That my symptoms were not real. Perhaps they were doing all that they knew to do, but they were wrong. Hearing that what you experience is perhaps a facet of your imagination is very hurtful. The symptoms are so real and can be very debilitating. How could I have made that up in my head? Little was known of fibromyalgia and cfs back in 1996 and although they’ve made huge strides in the medical community, there still seems to be a stigma among physicians about these syndromes. Terribly misunderstood. I still live in fear of the judgement, even today. It’s hurtful.

I have a wonderfully supportive family. I feel open enough to tell them anything and everything about my illness without any fear of judgement. Not that there is always understanding, but there is always compassion. I choose not to tell friends/acquaintances of my illness for many reasons, but a big one is still the fear of judgement. Perhaps, not to my face, but in their thoughts. It leaves me open to misunderstanding and hurt feelings. So, I have kept my journey private, I guess to protect myself. Anyone else live that way?

Another reason, is that this syndrome is so unpredictable. It changes daily, sometimes hourly, I find it hard to keep everyone updated. I mentioned this in one of my earliest blogs Compassion. I don’t expect other people, even those close to me, to be able to keep up with which symptoms pop up on which days. How often and how severe. I can hardly keep up the ever changing status of my illness, I certainly don’t expect other people to. And I don’t expect them to understand it either. I’ve mentioned this before, but if I am feeling bad enough that I can’t get off the couch then I let husband and kids know that and ask for some help during those times. If I were to dump the symptom list on them at any given time it might go something like this:

Well, my head feels heavy, the muscles in my neck feel like guitar strings, my shoulders are burning and feel like someone has beaten me with a club, my hips and glutes hurt so bad that sitting or lying down is very uncomfortable, but all I want to do is lie down, my joints ache like I have the flu, the fatigue is so bad that I feel like I need a blood transfusion, I can’t think straight, I’m nauseous and have no appetite, I feel like I might pass out, my arms tingle and are slightly numb, and I’m a little dizzy. Did you get all that? Because if you didn’t get it all, I am sure I will feel like this again tomorrow and could go over it all again.

Sound familiar? Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful thing to educate people and to communicate with loved ones. But in my case, after 16 years, it just gets old. I just want them to know that I don’t feel well today and hopefully that will change by tomorrow. Love me anyway and help me if you can.

A few people have found out about my illness from this blog or just through conversation and the most common response is, “ I had no idea.” Well, I guess I hide it well. The point is, if I am feeling bad, I stay home. You won’t see me. And if I am out and about and I feel bad, I usually will fake it until I can get home and in the bed. That’s just the way I prefer to roll. It is somewhat of a survival mechanism for me. Can anyone relate to this? or am I the only one who chooses this way of thinking? I am blessed that I don’t have to report to an employer everyday.  I suppose I couldn’t keep much of a secret while attempting to work full time. I don’t even know how that would be possible. And I know some of you reading this are doing just that. Difficult.

Some people choose to make it their mission to create Fibromyalgia awareness. I get this and I don’t disagree with it, but I am not there yet. People need to be educated on these syndromes. To create awareness, if only to create more compassion and understanding. But all of that takes vulnerability and trust. Many of us, including myself, don’t have the energy for that kind of vulnerability. I applaud those who do. I feel like I am doing my part by writing to those of you who understand. Creating encouragement. And in that process, I am being vulnerable. That is a step for me. I am happy to share my journey with others who have it. To be vulnerable to help others be comforted and feel less lonely. This has been a mission of sorts. And it has helped tremendously in my understanding of the workings of these syndromes and my emotional response to it. No secrets here! 🙂 Thanks for coming along for the ride and listening to me!

Love and Blessings to all of you,

Let me know your thoughts about the secrecy part of fibro.  Do you feel free to share your illness with the people in your life?  or do you feel judged? Do you feel like it is your responsibility to help educate others about fibromyalgia or cfs? or do you just keep quiet, like me?  I would love to know!

Guest Post: With This Breath…

Another guest post today!  You are going to love what Kirsty shares with us today. I very much connected with her thoughts and she blessed me with her words.  Take some time to visit her blog  and if you like this post, encourage her and leave her some love in the comments.  I am loving this guest blog thing!!!  You all are amazing!

Kirsty is 28 and currently lives in New Zealand with her husband Matt. She grew up as a missionary’s daughter in Tanzania and has lived her life travelling between Australia, New Zealand and Africa. She has had serious problems with her health since she was 19, battling a myriad of tropical illnesses and currently deals with post-infectious (or chronic)-fatigue. She loves God and is so thankful for his faithfulness and grace to her through all the years of illness. She has recently started a blog at: and would love to hear from you!

With This Breath…

Our life is but a breath…Psalm 39.5

With time, it seems that I understand more and more what this means. The days come, and go, so quickly. Soon, we will be standing at the end, and then, no more. At least of this world.

Sometimes when illness brings us close to death it gives a glimpse of this reality. We come so close to the end that we feel we might fall off it. Suddenly we remember that our days are a gift. Even filled with illness and darkness, our days are a gift.

It’s been two years now since I came so close to death that my family held their breath and prayed. No one else knew how sick I had become, but God woke friends in the night to pray for my safety. I was too sick to be really aware of the danger I was in, but remember having a sense that when I went to sleep, there was a chance that I just might not wake up.

God brought me through, and healed me of what threatened my life, but then, I went on living with the consequences of illness. Of course, anyone with chronic illness knows how hard this is, this day in, day out, struggle with feeling completely horrible. I don’t have to explain it to you, you know.

Keeping perspective…

As time goes on, and illness continues, I began to lose the perspective gained through this experience. With illness, we can all lose perspective.

I know, deep down, how precious life is, and that I don’t want to waste a day, but then the symptoms come, and it seems impossible to see past the tiredness or the pain. This is a hard thing to live out. I want to make the most of everyday, but my head is in a blur, and my body just won’t co-operate. There is a fight to remain content, to make the most of this day, despite illness.

I am a lot better now than I was then, and maybe that has helped me get some perspective back, but also, I am learning to be thankful for the small things. Some days, I have lots of energy. Others, my energy comes in little bursts, up and down all day. I try to be thankful that I have little bursts. I feel like a box of sparklers, energy bursts lighting up one at a time, and then, gone. I try to be thankful for the beauty and the bursts of light, rather than looking at the burnt out stem of blackness left afterwards.

The days of having no energy at all are few now, for which I am very thankful, but they still come, and I still have weeks where I can hardly get out of bed.


Often, there is an intense frustration accompanying this, and the questions come. How do I make the most of my time?

How do we?

How do we treat our days like a gift, when we are sick? How do we make the most of them despite illness? How do we avoid feeling useless and use what we do have in a meaningful way?

I have been thinking about this, struggling with feelings of uselessness, unable to do what a ‘normal’ woman of my age would, I’m not earning money, and I don’t have a career or children.

I keep coming back to this same conclusion, or rather, God keeps reminding me of what is most important, he pulls me out of my discouragement, and says to me, “It’s not what you do, but how you love.” He tells me again the words Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind…and love your neighbour as yourself.”  -Mark 12:30-31

We can love God…

I find it to be such an encouragement. The most encouraging thing I can hear, because no matter how illness limits me, I can do that. No matter how illness limits us we can love. He gives us the grace to. In the simple, in the little, he gives us the grace to love him. We can love our God by spending time with him, even if it is a desperate cry from a hospital bed, or with tears of frustration flowing down our cheeks. We can love him with thankfulness for a good day, or a beautiful sunset, or another milestone reached.

We can love him, not by doing, but by being with him. We can love him, by being loved by him. We can love him by accepting his grace, just to be. By coming to him like Jesus says. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  –Matt 11: 28-30

We can love others, and ourselves…

We can love others with the simplest gifts, maybe not with the energy many have, but with the little that we can do, we can love them. We can love with the grace God gives to us. We can love them by making a meal if we are strong enough, being present in a conversation, listening, or if we are all alone, with no energy to even move, we can love them by praying for them. God will show you how you can love your neighbour, and it won’t be something that is too much for you =) (Refer to verse in Matthew above =))

We can love ourselves by accepting our own limitations, not being too hard on ourselves, and accepting the grace God has given us.

I find this one the hardest personally. I have such high expectations for myself, but God will help us, and as we learn from God to love ourselves better, we will be able to love others better too.

“But love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your might, with all your strength… and love your neighbour as yourself.” -Mark 12:30-31

He gives us the answer. Our days are a gift, and they are to love. There are no wasted days with God. He loves us deeply, and he asks us also, to love.

P.S. Thank you for taking the time to read, and thank you so much to Ann for giving me this opportunity!

Priorities in Illness

My Inspiration:

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

My thoughts:

I’ve heard from many people with chronic illness, specifically fibromyalgia, that one of the greatest blessings to come from illness is the necessity to create priorities in life. Most healthy people have adequate energy to spend on whatever they want throughout the day, but when you have limited energy, every choice is calculated. I am forced to think about the energy output of daily tasks which automatically helps me focus on the things that are truly important to me. That is a blessing. Not everyone is given that clarity in life.

It is frustrating when I don’t get the things done that I want to. I make a reasonable list everyday of the things that I would like to accomplish, but I am often forced to go back and whittle that list down to what absolutely has to be done and some days, I am forced to just say, none of it really matters and I stay in bed.

My relationship with God and my family are the most valuable things to me. I just don’t have the energy, physically or emotionally, for all the extras. Yes, I am robbed of some pleasure in this life, but my focus is clear and I am thankful for it.

It’s tempting to create our own agenda, spending time and effort on things that we think are good. Staying busy and perhaps not putting our focus where it should be. Our minds and hearts are full of “plans” as they should be, but seeking God’s purpose should be the driving force behind any plan. God’s purposes are good and right and holy. Even when we are tempted to disagree with what God allows in our life, it doesn’t change the fact that His purposes prevail.

Chronic illness forces us to create priorities in our physical life, but what is motivating us to make priorities in our spiritual life? I fight the noises inside my head that keep me from focusing spiritually. It’s not an easy thing to always trust that the Lord has purpose in chronic illness as part of His plan. I sometimes struggle to quiet the thoughts that want to be angry and bitter. Or even the everyday distractions that keep me from spending alone time with God. Brain fog can even make it hard to read my Bible. A genuine spiritual focus will bring our priorities in line with what God wants for us. But we will never know this unless we are in communion with Him, seeking His plans, His ways.

How can I bring glory to Him in my limited daily activities? How does He want me to prioritize my time? How can my agenda come in line with what He wants for me? These are sometimes tough questions, but worth the effort to consider. I pray that I will choose to seek Christ when prioritizing life’s activities and in my daily walk with Him. Plans are good, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Love and Blessings,

*If you liked this post, go read Learning To Say No.