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: www.godstruggler.com.
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!)