Comfort and Compassion

My Inspiration:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
II Corinthians 1:3-4 

My Thoughts:

Comfort and Compassion. Father of Compassion. God of all Comfort.

God understands the human need for comfort and compassion. Not only is He omniscient, but we were made in His image.  He is the author of comfort and compassion.  So many times in my life, I have seen Him as the giver of these things. To me and to others. And in turn because we understand this human need and are the blessed recipients, we are then able to share these gifts with others.

I have experienced the comfort of my Lord countless times throughout the 16 year journey of fibromyalgia and cfs. In times of discouragement and despair. In times of emotional hurt and physical pain. In times of depression. In times of overwhelming fatigue. Knowing He is there, listening and caring for me, brings peace.

The words of God comfort me. I love to surround myself with His words of promise. For even though He has chosen me to walk through the hardship of chronic illness, His promise to be with me brings comfort. The New Testament is filled with examples where Jesus offers comfort to hurting people. From healing the sick to feeding the hungry, Jesus set a wonderful example for us. He knew how to comfort people. And meditating on His words of comfort for others offers comfort to me. He is a loving and compassionate Saviour!

Matthew 14:13-14
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
And then He went on to feed them because they were hungry. Compassion for the hungry. Comfort for the sick and hurting.

I have been blessed to receive comfort from family and friends through difficult times. Sometimes, God uses people to comfort us. Comfort from God, through friends. Love that. It’s like a double hug! Not to say there aren’t times when we feel lonely and afraid, but in those times if we will cling to His Words and trust, His comfort will abound.

My dad had quadruple bypass surgery last week. It was sudden and surprising. It was a time full of anxiety and fear, for all of us. I was blessed to be the recipient of comfort last week. So many people outpouring their love, thoughts and prayers to my dad and to us, his family. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of the body of Christ. Jesus set the example and so many have followed with compassion. By offering comfort to the hurting.

Dad is on the road to recovery. It will be slow and long. We are praying for no complications. Thank you to those who have asked about him and have been praying for him. Keep it up!  And many thanks to those who have lived out the mission of comfort and compassion to our family.

Many Blessings,
Ann 🙂

Is there a specific moment where you remember you felt the comfort of God? or were overwhelmed by the compassion of a friend? Share your encouraging stories with us!


Guest Post: Kindness Comes

I am so happy that this guest blogging thing is working out!  I am thrilled to share Kathy’s words with you today.  I was planning on writing a blog post this week, but my baby girl had strep throat and scarlet fever (she’s better now) and I spent most of my day at the hospital with my dad who had a heart cath and now will require bypass surgery.  It’s been a rough week, but we know God is in control.  Thankfully, Kathy’s blog post was ready to go, so I am sharing that with you today.  I hope and pray Kathy’s words will encourage you.  Leave her some love in the comments!  I love how you all are encouraging one another.  Thanks for writing, Kathy!

About our guest blogger:
I am Kathy Chesley from Ashland, Wisconsin, right on Lake Superior. I am a writer, speaker, retreat leader, piano teacher and choir director and have had fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue for over 25 years. I am a clergy spouse and have two darling daughters, now grown and out on their own. I get by on God’s grace and like to share my struggles and successes in overcoming through my God’s Struggler ministry and blog:

Kindness Comes
My mother used to say that if you were feeling lonely or depressed or hurting so badly you couldn’t stand yourself, you should do something for someone else. She was right about that. Doing kindnesses for others seems to take your mind off of yourself. It also gives you purpose which pain, loneliness and depression seem to take away.

Maybe my mother had read Henry Drummond because he also liked that idea. He said, “The greatest thing one can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children.”

I have learned that there are simple things I can do, even while hurting, that serve this purpose. Writing notes of encouragement, sharing the bountiful blossoms from my peony bush, singing at funerals, teaching classes on coping with chronic pain or classes on the benefits of laughter are some of the ways I share my gifts and distract myself from ME.

But the kindnesses I’ve never forgotten are the ones that came to me from others. Because of my struggles with pain and fatigue and depression, I have frequently been the recipient of the heart goodness of friends and neighbors and sometimes even total strangers.

I will never forget meals brought to me when I was incapacitated or the flowers delivered by my fellow book club members to cheer me. I also remember the loan of a special chair when I was unable to stand without screaming due to a broken rib. This chair just sort of lifted me to my feet without any effort other than pushing a button. I have cherished the listening ears of friends, who, even if they don’t understand what my pain feels like, are willing to hear me try to describe it to them. I love all the efforts that people make to keep my mind off myself, because truly, distraction is the only thing that has ever worked for me as pain relief. Taking me to a movie or concert or sharing DVD’s or a short road trip work wonders on my mental state. People who make me laugh are best of all and funny cards in the mail or videos sent to me by e-mail really do the trick.

I think chronic pain is equally as hard on family members as it is on me but just knowing they are thinking of me makes my day. I don’t get to spend long periods of time with my husband because he is a very busy pastor. But he blesses me in so many ways by emptying garbage, filling my car with gas, fixing broken stuff, freshening the cat’s litter box, purchasing the groceries and picking up prescriptions or taking me for drives in the country. My darling daughters are very different in their responses but one calls me alot and the other connects me with other hurting people via Facebook.

What a blessing it is to know that others are thinking of me in a time of trial and to have the assurance that God never leaves my side. It seems like when I need it most, kindness comes.

Be ye kind, one unto another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another; even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
(Du Du, Doodly Du) – Ephesians 4:32 (Because it is scripture set to song, you see!)

Guest Post: Seasons of Fibromyalgia

I am so excited to be posting our first guest blog from my “invite to write”.  I know that my blog readers will enjoy hearing from other readers.  This makes me happy!!!  Thank you to Mia for being willing to share her beautifully written devotional.  I hope you are encouraged – and please leave Mia some love in the comments! 🙂

I am a 49 year old fibromite from South Africa. My hometown is the beautiful little coastal town of Gonubie about 20 km from East London. We are so blessed to stay about 200 meters from the sea. I am married to my teenage sweetheart of 27 years and we have two precious sons. The oldest is a fourth year architecture student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and the youngest is taking a gap year, waitering in PE. My hobbies include knitting, cross stitching, sewing,art, writing and cooking. I am a housewife and love it! My husband is the love of my life, my best friend and so special.

The Scripture reading comes from Eccles. 3:1-8 : A Time for Everything.

This is the first devotional I have ever written. Looking at Solomon’s wisdom, I want to thank Ann for giving me a place to share my time to encourage others with the same encouragement God has given me and for sharing with you one of my passions: writing.

I was diagnosed with FM about 6 years ago and have gone through many, many fibroseasons during which God has carried me with more patience and love than what I allowed for myself. I think I am finally entering my season of the new normal. Ann, I love that description! I would like to share with my fellow fibromites the seasons of fibromyalgia that I have experienced.

The first season that I think we all go through is the cold, dark frightening winter of this unknown visitor that causes so much pain. The icy cold fear of pain, exhaustion of night-after-night of insomnia and so many other terrible symptoms often lead you to the road of extreme loneliness and despair. The skepticism of the people around you does NOT contribute to your wellbeing. Usually the doctor’s conclusion of that-all-in-your-head kind of thing is the last straw that makes you doubt your own sanity. The emotional hurt can be even be more severe and frightening than the physical symptoms and most often much harder to bear. It seems that you are sooooo alone; struggling through thick layers of snow without even one ray of sunshine to bring just a little warmth of relief.

Dear Ones, when you are in the midst of your own severe winter season, you are never alone. Your Lord is walking with you every single step of the way. Be patient with yourself even if you are the only one and allow your roots to grow deep into our Wonderful Saviour, our Lord Jesus. Let your lives be built upon Him. He knows pain and suffering and understands exactly what you are going through. Ps 22 gives a good description of His own pain, suffering and loneliness He went through. Commit your spirit into His Hands like He did His into our Father’s Hands. Remember His great, great love for you and His tender, gentle smile of joy when He looks at you. He lovingly collects all your tears and saves them in a special jar marked with your name.

Remember that this is just a season, a time and He created it all; not to stay, but to pass. Only He is Eternal. During my own winter I went through so many conflicting indescribable emotions of terror, anger, rebellion at life and so many more that I was totally unfamiliar with. Eventually the extreme darkness was slowly replaced by greys and browns of discouragement, despair, hopelessness and loneliness and later with beautiful dark, rich reds, oranges, blues, greens as our Good Shepherd started leading me on a wonderful inward journey to springs and waters of refreshment and rest, where he fed my soul with Himself. What a Saviour, what a Friend and God! The seasons were changing.

My first fibro spring started mercifully with a diagnosis by a rheumatologist in Port Elizabeth. For me it was profound and so liberating. I was not insane neither a hypochondriac. I had permission to suffer without having to make excuses whenever some one was enquiring about my illness. Some colors started creeping back into my life. Spring flowers of joy started to bloom where there was only a dead winter landscape of depression.

For those ladies (and gents) going through this season, I want to encourage you to keep your eyes and thoughts on our Heavenly Gardener who is creating a beautiful garden in your soul. This season is necessary for cultivating all the lush green foliage He is preparing.

Through both these seasons I was startled by all the feelings that I experienced, especially the intensity of emotions it caused. When I realized that they were all also created by Our Father as a gift of mercy to help me cope with the illness, my summer started.

In a next devotional I would love to share the next two seasons.
(Mia has done such a great job that I am allowing her to submit another devotional to be published later in the summer. Stay tuned!)

Lots of warm love and blessings from a cold South Africa.
Mia de Vries

If this blog post encouraged you today, please encourage Mia by leaving her a comment!  🙂  If you would like to contact her personally, her email address is: