Jesus in the Midst of Chronic Illness Flare

Later this week, I will have my annual physical. I went in for the blood test last Friday. Not sure how my blood test went because I did not study for it. lol

I have been in the midst of a flare up for a few weeks, but did not seek treatment because some treatments can cause the blood tests to return negative.

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Yesterday was a bit rough. I took two power naps but did manage to teach my two classes online. But that is life with chronic illness.

BUT- The whole day I felt the presence of Jesus. The whole day I felt a song in my spirit. It reminded me of Zephaniah 3 in the bible:

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Have you experience that? The Lord singing over you? It can be a worship song in your spirit that just stays with you. Did you know that Jesus takes delight in you? Let that sink in for a moment. Jesus takes delight in you and sings over you.

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I have experienced that during flare ups with chronic illness. I have experienced it during difficult times. At times it is what keeps me going.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Safe by Alisa Turner and Her Story

Last Monday I shared Alisa Turner’s song My Prayer For You. As I listened to the song many times, I felt I was listening to a song by someone who has known hardship.

I live with Chronic Illnesses-Celiacs, Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroid, Each of them have wrecked havoc in my life at different times. Celiacs and Fibromyalgia each have symptoms of depression and anxiety.

That is why I felt a connection to her song My Prayer For You. I felt she understands what it is like to go through hardship.

I watched a video about her story which is the 2nd video in this post. It will help you realize why she understands living with hardship and yet still live for Jesus. Each Monday this month I will share one of her videos.

Today I am sharing Safe. During this time of the COVID-19 Crisis with all of the uncertainty it would be understandable if someone does not feel safe.

There are other reasons we may not feel safe- abuse, chronic illness, anxiety, PTSD, family problems, depression, and more.

I love these lyrics from the song safe:

Safe, I’m finally safe
I can hide here, I can hide here
Safe, You hold me safe
I’m okay here, I’m okay here
Completely safe

We are safe in the presence of Jesus. He is our loving Savior. When John was taken into the presence of Jesus in the book of Revelation and saw Jesus in all of his glory, John fell to his face out of fear. Jesus touched his shoulder and said:

“Do not be afraid. It is me.”

Come to Jesus. Do not be afraid. He loves you. He is waiting for you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- It Is Well by Kristene DiMarco

Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And through it all, through it all
It is well

In this time of crisis throughout the world, it certainly feels as if the earth has quaked. The times are so uncertain due to the virus pandemic and the chaos being inflicted on daily lives.

That is why I want to share It Is Well by Kristene DiMarco. It was one of the first videos I shared a few years ago when I first started doing Music Mondays. At that time it was because of how much Jesus blessed me through the song as I went through a period of months of doctor’s visits to find out a diagnosis of Celiacs. Celiacs is just one of the chronic illnesses I deal with.

The process of getting diagnosed is a long and winding road and involves dealing with the unknown much like what we are facing now- THE UNKNOWN.

We do not know what will happen. We do not feel certain during these times. It is an unsettling time for the whole world. But there is one thing that is certain- God.

I love the lyric- “through it all my eyes are on you.” In these troubled times, my source of encouragement is to look to Jesus to keep my eyes on him.

I pray that this video blesses you as much or more than it has me since that time in 2017 when I went from specialist to specialist.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Holy Spirit by Kristene DiMarco

I will be going through a season of seeing various doctors beginning March 4th. I have not taken Prednisone since last October because in discussion with my doctor we do not want to skew blood tests. That means flare ups might be more prevalent as hopefully move to a diagnosis. There is something else going on besides Celiacs, Fibromyalgia, and Hypothyroid. It comes with a rash on my face that comes and goes that is sometimes pink and sometimes red.

This past weekend included a flare up. I woke up Sunday morning and it was all I could do to sit down and drink a cup of coffee. I listened to some worship music and prayed asking God to give me the strength to go to church.

I made it to church and was blessed. One of the worship songs we sang was Holy Spirit. As we sang, I felt the presence of the Lord so strongly. I thanked him for helping me be in church to worship. I expressed my regret about chronic illness being an obstacle. It was a wonderful time in the presence of Jesus.

So I want to share Kristene DiMarco singing the song Holy Spirit. Others have made videos singing it too, but there is something special to me about Kristene DiMarco’s music. It was her song It Is Well that helped me so much to get through 2017 with all of the doctors appointments and testing.

I hope the song blesses you as you start your day and week.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Friday Lunch with My Yazidi Friend

Last Friday a Yazidi friend of mine bought me lunch. We had a great time talking eating and good food.

I love hummus especially when it is freshly made in a restaurant. We also had kebab.

The kebab was awesome. I miss being able to eat the naan due to Celiacs. but kebab with salad is wonderful.

As we ate and talked, I wondered again about something that I have wondered about many times. My Yazidi friends are so friendly and generous. It is hard for me to understand people trying to kill them simply because they have a different religion.

I shared with my friend that as a Christian I like to share about the love of Jesus and if anyone does not agree with me they are still my friend. I shared that Jesus taught God is Love and that threatening people about differences in beliefs is not love.

Just a glimpse into my life with my refugee and immigrant friends on a rare double post day.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Big Thank You to a Pastor Who Has Blessed me

Monday I had lunch with Pastor Robb from my church. My home church is going through some changes with the pastoral staff. Our lunch was a blessed time of fellowship, but Pastor Robb let me know that duties for the pastoral staff are changing.

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It was a bittersweet lunch for me. I enjoyed our time of fellowship. I have greatly appreciated Pastor Robb’s ministry as the pastor of outreach for the past several years. During his time as pastor of outreach, I experienced many valleys due to health issues. I shared with him that he has been a lifeline for me through the down times of dealing with health issues.

Pastor Robb was the one I first shared with that I needed the medication for depression/anxiety due to years of living with chronic illness whittling away at me. Depression and anxiety are symptoms of two of the chronic illnesses I live with. He was the one who told me that it was medical and I did not need to resign my ministry.

As we talked, I had mixed emotions. He has meant a lot to me over the past several years. But I was also excited about the pastor my ministry will be under and a new direction the church is taking for outreach because it fits wonderfully with a new direction I feel the Lord calling me to in my ministry.

If I were to try to use a comparison from the bible to explain it, I would look at Paul and Barnabas. Paul forged ahead to share the gospel no matter what. Barnabas encouraged him and shared his wisdom with him. Not that I am anywhere near being Paul, but my ministry has been one of sharing Christ’s love with the nations. Pastor Robb has been a great source of guidance and encouragement for me.

So my post today is to thank Pastor Robb for his ministry to me over the past several years. I am so grateful for all of your help while at the same time I look forward to a new direction.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Out and About Day That Almost Did Not Happen

Saturday was an out and about day even though it is COLD here. It wasn’t actually terribly cold just felt that way after a few “nice” days.

In the morning I went to church and met my friend from Bosnia. We always have a lot of fun and laugh when we study. His wife is in the middle of her final exams, so I suggested he take her shopping after she finishes. He laughed and rolled his eyes.

After we finished, I went to my favorite deli to get Mulligatawny soup. As I had hoped, my friend with the semi colon tattoo was working. I always have a joke for her. That has helped me build a friendship with her. I am so happy that we have plans for me to meet her and her boyfriend for coffee later this week.

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I went next door to the coffee shop, ate my lunch, and just hung out. A surprise blessing was seeing my friend from Iran. We talked for a while. I am friends with her whole family, grandparents, parents, sister and brother. It was good to catch up.

So it wasn’t an eventful day. It was a peaceful day of enjoying time with friends. Even though they are from diverse cultures, American, Bosnian. and Iranian, they have something in common. God has blessed me to show his love to them in different ways.

One other thing they had in common today. I would not have seen them if I had given in to the desire to stay home and stay in bed on a day when fatigue from chronic illness was hitting. Weather extremes make it worse, both hot and cold. I live in the wrong state for someone with that problem. lol

My fellow spoonies who follow my blog will understand when I say Saturday was a small victory of getting out even though I didn’t feel like it. And I was BLESSED.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

What Keeps Me Going While Living with Chronic Illness

My evening classes finished for the term last night. One more week of morning classes and then I am on break.

Last night as my students and I were talking. I thought about how I met one of them two and half years ago and also about what I have been through during that time.

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My student came here two and a half years ago as a refugee. He survived the genocide of the Yazidi people in Iraq. He and two of his cousins came to a Newcomer Refugee class I substitute taught in the summer of 2017.

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That summer I was in the midst of medical tests and doctors appointments to try to find out what was wrong. That was the first diagnosis- Celiacs Disease.

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My student came back to me in an intermediate ESL class this past Spring. I was going through more tests and appointments. The diagnosis- Fibromyalgia.

My student will go on to a bright future in America. He will start college soon. One of his cousins just got engaged. The other one continues to improve her English.

The past few years have been a woven fabric of focusing on teaching and ministry while going through medical tests and appointments with various doctors.

I put my hand on my student’s shoulder and told him I am proud of him. I encouraged him to keep going. I told all of my students they did a good job and I was happy to be their teacher.

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My students, my classes, and my ministry are the reason I keep going. I never tell my students things like I had to come home for a while in the afternoon and take a nap because I am so fatigued all of the time. I don’t tell them why I keep a few of the lights off in the room which is because my eyes are so sensitive to lights at times. I never tell them about frequent doctors visits that seem to come in clusters, pain, or fatigue. In fact, yesterday was one of those days I had to come home and take a nap because I was wiped out

I am looking forward to a four week break in the evenings, writing in my book, relaxing, sleeping A LOT, and meeting people for coffee. After the break there will more teaching, ministry, and yes, more tests and doctors because perhaps there is one more thing to diagnose.

Through it all, the reason I keep going for my ministry, classes and students is because Jesus gives me the strength to do so. He is the reason I push through.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Snails for Breakfast?

In June 2004, I taught English in a conversational English camp in Lyon France. It was a wonderful experience in a beautiful city. The city was actually Saint Genis Laval a suburb of Lyon.

I stayed in the home of a retired American couple who were serving a four year missions term there. Each evening the wife would leave something out for me to have for breakfast the next morning such as bread or pastries.

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(Having since found out I have Celiacs I really miss bread and pastries)

One morning I went to the kitchen and saw a box of croissants with a label that said- Escargo which means snails. There were bits of black on the croissants, so I assumed they were pieces of snail.

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The husband came to the kitchen to have coffee with me and asked if I wanted a croissant. I told him I don’t eat snails. He smiled and picked one up to show me it was shaped like a snail. He then told me the black pieces were chocolate. We laughed. I ate one and took one with me for later.

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We so often assume we know before we check into something. We at times do the same with people. For our own comfort zone, we like to be able to put people into neat little boxes.

Thankfully, Jesus never does that. Numerous times when Jesus was on earth, he shook the status quo by reaching out to someone others never would. Jesus does not view us as others do. When Jesus looks at us, he sees someone he loves and died for. He also sees the person we will become because of him.

A great example of that is Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Zacchaeus was a tax collector, so he was frowned down upon by most of the people. Tax collectors in those days were known for being corrupt. A rabbi, religious leader, would have never gone into his home. But Jesus saw the change that would happen and went to his home. Other reacted negatively, but Jesus paid them no attention. We read in Luke 19:

“All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

“Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Because Jesus did not keep Zacchaeus in the neat little box that others did in their thinking, and because Jesus knew the change that he would bring about in Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus was transformed and his life completely turned around.

Only God can see what is in the heart and soul of people. We need to be careful of judgement of others and let Jesus lead us to show his love.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

God Carrying Me Through :)

Labor Day September 2nd. There was really nothing special about the day for me except that was the last day I was healthy, well healthy for someone with chronic illness.

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I experienced a Celiacs and Fibromyalgia flare up that started September 3rd and last over a week. I have been battling bronchitis since the middle of last week.

That makes it two weeks since the last time I felt healthy for me.

Why am I sharing this? Not to get sympathy. No. It is to thank God for pulling me through this time.

Even though I was sick, this past weekend was the best weekend I have had for a while for my weekend ministry. My morning class is off to a good start. Yesterday I had a great meeting to discuss a new possibility. God worked through my church and friends to help me through a difficult financial situation due to having classes canceled over the summer. To top it all off, I have not missed a class or a weekend at church except one Saturday when students canceled.

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The past few weeks have really been a testimony of two wonderful verse in the bible.

In 2 Corinthians 12- But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

God has shown his power has been made perfect in my sickness and financial difficulties the past few weeks.

In Isaiah 46- Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Perhaps not a surprise if you have seen my pictures but I have some gray hair and some white hair. God has certainly been taking care of me.

I am so thankful for God pulling me through the past few weeks. However, I do hope for healthier days ahead 🙂

So please join me in thanking God for carrying me through the past few weeks, but also pray for me to get healthier 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.