Thursday, May 30, 2013

Poster Child

"You are the poster child of all the bad symptoms of Chronic Fatigue"
Those were the words that came from the mouth of my specialist this morning after I updated him on how I was doing and told him about my new symptoms.  I didn't quite know what to think when he first told me that.  Was I supposed to be happy that at least all my symptoms are confirming that yes I have CFS?  Was I to be discouraged that I was dealing with so many of the horrible symptoms?  Was I to laugh off the idea of me being a 'poster child' (I know he didn't mean it literally but still!)?
I don't know. And honestly I still feel all those things. 
Yes it is great to know that my increase in hot flashes, cold sweats, numbing pain, muscle spasms, joint pain, headaches, and ice cold feet are "classic" with CFS.  Although he did say that my pain is beginning to sound like Fibromyalgia is getting thrown into the mix too - but that is also "classic" with CFS.
I know I definitely do not have anywhere near the worst case of CFS either, but it is rather frustrating knowing I seem to be experiencing the majority of the symptoms.  
But although frustrating, it still somehow calms my mind knowing that I am a poster child.  That I am not experiencing weird symptoms that do not seem to fit the story.  That despite all the tests, they haven't missed something ominous.  
That indeed I am someone with CFS. 
Someone with an illness that little is known about but someone who is also fortunate enough to have a doctor who knows much more than many do about it.  He is encouraging and today, despite my new symptoms, strongly feels I am getting better and will fully recover!
As we left his office with a prescription in hand and odd image in our minds of me being a poster child, my mom and I were comforted in our hearts.  
I am being cared for by one of the best and he believes I will recover.  He believes in me. 

I also believe that maybe, just maybe, we may have found another key to helping my body
heal.  Acupuncture was very interesting yesterday evening.  The Chinese Medicine Doctor I saw was oh so kind and spent nearly two hours with me finding out about my history, asking what I thought, how I felt through all of this, explaining what she was going to do and how she hoped to help, and actually giving me acupuncture and some fun 'ear blocks' (radish seeds that are taped on pressure spots on my ear - see photo).  
After the treatment I seemed to be more energized and seemed more like me - my mom said the colour in my face was back to my normal, something she hadn't seen this whole time I have been sick.  9:00, my bed time, came so quickly.  I couldn't believe it. It didn't seem to help with my other symptoms, but the focus of her treatment was to increase my hormones, combat the fatigue, and help with the dizziness.  
It is hard to tell from just one treatment and I don't want to get my hopes up, but I really think we may finally be on to something!
Today I am quite fatigued and battling aching body pain and a lot of sweats but I am hopeful.  I also managed to slowly make my way up to see my specialist at St Paul's Hospital without a wheel chair (I used my chair on the way down as I was quite tired from walking up and having the appointment but I am still very happy with my accomplishment!). 

So this evening as I sit in bed, I am grateful.  
I am grateful for all the wonderful health care providers who care about me and want to see me well.
I am grateful that I can be a poster child for this illness in some sort of way through this blog.  That I can share about the hidden illness that is estimated to be affecting 50,000 undiagnosed patients in British Columbia alone. Yes, you read that right. 50,000 undiagnosed people are living with some degree of CFS and have no idea what is wrong with them. Why no one can seem to figure it out.  
I am blessed that I am not like one if my specialist's patients who saw 20 other doctors before seeing my specialist and finally getting a diagnosis.  (And by the way, my specialist is the one who told me the quote of 50,000 that he was told by the doctor at the new Chronic Illness clinic at BC Women's Hospital). 
I am grateful that I have the strength to be able to share my story with you. It is such a blessing to be able to write again and tell you about the things God has been teaching me through this rough time of my life.  I am beyond humbled and blown away that you would care to listen to a piece of my story - be a piece of my healing. 

So thank you.  I am beyond blessed. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful" (Colossians 4:2)
I am learning about waiting as I have been doing a lot of it.  Waiting for doctor appointments. Waiting for test results. Waiting for something to help (today I am trying acupuncture and will let you know how it goes!). Waiting for God to answer my prayers for healing - not only for myself but for many other people in my life as well. Waiting
Waiting to see what life will hold. What it will be like. What I will be able to do. But really aren't we all to some extent?
We all experience seasons of waiting - some longer than others. But I think it isn't the fact of the waiting that is important, but rather what we do in the waiting. 

I have tried to rush the waiting. Been angry for having to wait. Denied that I was waiting. Been grateful for lessons learned in waiting.  Looked to myself for strength in the waiting.  Looked to God in the waiting.  Felt almost every emotion in the waiting.

I am slowly learning in the waiting that it is not the outcome that is the most important. It is being expectantly patient, watchful for God, thankful for the many gifts, being open to the divine moments of now. 

Our tendency, or at least mine, is to want to know the outcome. How much further until the finish line.  When life can move on.  But in saying that I realize, I already know my ultimate outcome.  I know I am made for more than this.  That one day I will be free from the bondage of sickness and be able to dance forever in His courts.  But I do not know when that will be either. But I long for that day.  
Yet in longing for that day, I do not forsake this day. 
For in today there is purpose. 
In the waiting, there is purpose. 

And the more I align my focus on Jesus, instead of recovery, the more I see the beautiful face of God and words of God in the now.  The less focused I become on the outcome of getting better, the more focused I become on giving Him glory in the times of waiting and hurting.  And as I begin to grow stronger in my faith, it doesn't matter how weak I am for I know that no matter how bashed and broken I am, Christ will be victorious in the end.  Even if the healing doesn't come this side of glory, I know it will come.  (And that isn't to say I have given up on the healing at all, for it is a strong cry of my heart - it just isn't the greatest cry of my heart.)

And in the waiting I need to trust, I need to be watchful of the sacred, I need to continue to prayer, and I must be thankful. After writing the previous sentence I stop and realize it is not that I need to actually do any of those things, I get to.  I get to trust in Christ alone and gain the comfort that comes from that instead of the fear that comes from hoping in recovery alone as it seems so far off right now.  I get to watch for the sacred and see God working in amazing ways around me - like the beautiful light at sunset that breaks through the clouds.  I get to pray to my Father and have the assurance that He hears my cries for healing and if it is His will, He will heal me now.  I get to be thankful because of the many gifts God has blessed me with. 

I get to wait on Him and in doing so, my focus changes to His amazing outcome that is always true.

And the skies and the heavens are above and close and coming down all around and we’re all out here in the rain and His reign and we’re born again in Him and we are His and we are found.
In Christ — no matter the road, the storm, the story — we always know the outcome.
Our Savior: surrounds.
Our future: secure.
Our joy: certain.

-Ann Voskamp @ aholyexperience
So in the waiting, I pray that both you and I will be able to move our focus on the outcome that is in Christ instead of the outcome of our own recovery.  That we would focus on Him. And in doing so feel Him surround us with His comforting arms, know our future is secure despite our insecurities in this life, and that our joy is certain in Him.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dancing in the Rain

Today I find myself longing for the life I had more than I usually do.
But the more I think about this - the more I really think about what I long for - I begin to realize that it isn't the life I had that I truly long for.  I realize that although I would do pretty much anything in the hopes of getting better, I also wouldn't trade anything for the lessons I am learning through this.  My life has been forever changed, my journey has taken a different turn, and I believe it will be for the better.  That doesn't make it now pain and struggle free, but it does give hope.  It is something to hold on to.  That this experience (whether it lasts a long time or ends tomorrow) has opened my eyes to so many things and in doing so redirected my path and priorities.
It is something I hold on to but sometimes have a hard time remembering or focusing on - like this morning.
I woke up at 7am with huge amounts of pain running up my neck into my head. I felt paralyzed by the pain and was beyond grateful I was able to fall back asleep until after 9:30.  I awoke to the same pain but after some pain killers and a little massage from my wonderful sister who is visiting, it seemed to lighten.  (I have had to keep on top of the pain killers and take more time to write but it is so much better than this morning)
It is also raining and grey today. A day where I would previously have wished to curl up by the fire and read.  A day where I would not want to venture out of the house.  But today I wish I could just run outside and dance in the rain.
I think I long to do this, not because it was a common past time, but because it is something that made me feel alive.  The spontaneity of it is so refreshing and it always ended in laughter - such joy! Feeling the fresh rain on my skin and dancing without a care in the world seemed to make the world pause - the world of pain, obligations, expectations... Nothing seemed to matter for freedom was felt.

I think we all need to learn to dance in the rain.  No matter what storm we are in, whether it is a passing rain cloud or what seems to be a hurricane, we can choose to dance in the rain.  Choose to live in the moment we are in.
No matter how tired, weak, or lost we may feel, I believe that joy can be found.  But not if it is only wished for. It requires taking a step. Stepping out and doing something different.  Seeing things differently.  Being grateful for the gifts you are given in the moment.
I have sat and waited for joy - for a change.  Waited for the day I will feel well again.  Waited for my storm to pass. But I have learned that in the dark places, joy can still be found.  There is still so much to be thankful for. We can still dance - even if it means dancing to a different tune.  
I was having a really hard time hearing that tune and figuring out my steps this morning.  I was kind of stuck wishing for what was, instead of looking to what is now.
I received an email newsletter from Jeff Goins, a blogger I recently started following.  While reading it, I came across a sentence that struck a chord with me.  Helped me hear the tune of now, and not then, a little better.
Pay attention to the moment — this one, right now. It's all you have. And it's more sacred than you realize.
So I hope to find the right steps to dance to today's tune and pray that in whatever you are facing, you too learn to dance in the rain.  To find joy and freedom today - regardless of what storm you may be facing.  

And if you have never actually danced in the rain,  I dare you to do it sometime. Don't stop and think about it or try and find your rain coat, just go and dance.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Here's to Dreaming

I look forward to when the moon rises and I can escape to dreamland.   I find my dreams very interesting as sometimes I am sick and sometimes I am not.  In some of my dreams it seems like part way through my brain remembers I am still sick and then dream-me remembers it too.  But sometimes I am free from any hindrance that being sick brings and I am hiking mountains, dancing with friends, or playing volleyball in a hot tub (that was last night haha!). 
Many people with CFS have difficulties sleeping, which may seem weird as you would think someone who is chronically tired (among many other things - you can read my blog post on my symptoms if you haven't already) would have the best sleeps.  But that is definitely not the case. 
I have dealt with insomnia.  Sometimes being awake for hours on end in the middle of the night. Sometimes waking up over ten times throughout the night. Sometimes not falling asleep for hours. Always waking up in the morning feeling as though I didn't sleep at all. 
Thankfully I am sleeping almost straight throughout the night now thanks to my lovely sleeping pill combo.  A couple hours before making the move to my own bed upstairs for the night, I take 6.25mg of methoprazine and then about 30 minutes before I take 30mg of nortriptyline and 7.5mg of zopiclone.  When I first started taking zopiclone, they told me to take it in bed as it makes some people fall asleep instantly.  Not the case for me, but I do remember that being the case for some of my patients during night shifts as a student nurse!
It still usually takes me a while to fall asleep once I am in my bed, but when I do fall asleep it is bliss.  My sleep still is not very restorative.  But I sleep. 
This morning when I was replying to a message someone wrote me last night, I almost echoed back their good night wishes.  I caught myself but wrote it to them anyways and then added Good morning!
But I sleep. And when I sleep I dream. Because I remain in a light sleep for a majority of the night, hence my sleep not being restorative, I dream a lot.  My dreams are vivid too.  
I like dreaming.  In my dreams I can be whoever I  want, wherever I want, and do whatever I want.  I am not held back by the laws of physics or any inhibitions I my have.  I dream and I love it.   

I wonder what life would be like for us if we could all live that way - without inhibitions. 

What if we all lived out our dreams?   Not our dreams from when we sleep, but dreams from our hearts. 
What if we could somehow act on our dreams without letting our minds talk us out of them? 
I think the world would be a much better place.  Much more filled with generosity,  love, kindness, and ultimate joy!
I think it would be much closer to the way things were in the beginning. When we were made in God's image and sin had not entered the world. We wouldn't be ashamed or worried what others would think.  We wouldn't care if people called us crazy.  Life would be so much more of an adventure. A wonderful adventure walking with God.  
I have definitely been a dreamer. One who wants to push the limits of a normal Canadian life.  One who goes, does, changes and in doing so is changed. 

But now I don't really know what to dream.  I am sometimes scared to dream because I do not know what is possible. I don't know what I will be able to do.  When I will be able to do them.  I don't know how long this will last, what life will look like in the future. 
But I am reminded and encouraged that all things are possible
That I can continue to dream. And dream even better dreams.  Dreams that are different from what I could have imagined before and that makes them all the more exciting. 

I started reading "You're Made for a God-sized Dream" by Holley Gerth this morning.  It is the first book I have attempted to read, besides my Bible, since March I believe. I only got a couple pages in before I started getting a sore head and aching eyes but already it has inspired me and given me hope for dreaming.  And dreaming big. 

So here's to dreaming. Dreaming for something other than the American dream.  
Dreaming our own dreams that God has placed on our hearts!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Storm

Almost everywhere I looked today, I ended up reading about a storm.  The Oklahoma disastrous tornadoes proved the power that is in the skies.  It is heart breaking hearing those stories, although I admit to being quite unaware of most of the happenings there and around the world.
I have all day to look up news stories, look at photos, and watch clips of people talking about the destruction they have seen - whether it's to do with Oklahoma, Syria, or in my own neighbourhood.  It might be because I am caught up in my own type of storm.  It might be because it is easier not to know.  But I do not really know.
I admit the energy I do have is spent mostly on my own journey right now. Going to appointments, reading other people's stories about their battle with CFS, spending time furthering my faith, and looking at things that interest me.  These things are not bad but I am quite focused on me right now.  I have questioned how I could be of help to the world.  I have wondered how I could love and share the Gospel.  I have complained and asked how I could be of use when I cannot seem to do much.
I have been stuck in my own world of sickness and depression. I have been stuck in grey clouds and wondered if I could ever see blue again.  Wondered if I could ever say I was good, let alone great, and mean it.
But I was reminded today that the storms do not last forever. It is easy to see the first drop of rain from the grey sky and run for cover.  To forget what the blue skies look like.
Just before writing this, a big dark cloud covered the sky, the winds picked up, and the rain came.  From my window I watched as it came closer and closer. Yet despite this dark ominous cloud, a patch of sunlight was streaming down. I think it was God smiling at one of my friends, but it served to remind me that in all the storms that are in this world, including my own, there is always a light. A light that breaks through.  It may be small or hard to find at times, but it is always there.
Today was a light breaking through day for me.  I had a phone appointment with one of my doctors this morning and some blood work had come back showing my estrogen and progesterone levels are very low.  This can definitely account for huge levels of fatigue and there have been stories of people who have improved significantly when they started taking these hormones. He was also able to suggest a couple more things, including compression stockings to help with the dizziness, and also decided to run a test to see how my body was responding to all the salt.  This call gave me hope of finding more answers and for treatment that was tangible. But it didn't only give me hope because of the medical suggestions and advise he was able to give, but also because he wants to help me.  He wants to keep trying and looking into things.  He hasn't given up on me. Instead he told me he will not give up.  
Those words are such comfort.  They keep me going.  I can have hope for a better tomorrow, where I can go and tangibly help change the world by going.  But I realize now is not the time for me to be going but instead to be resting and to being open to new plans - to new ways to impact the world around me.

The following is one of my favourite Bible passages:
"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, "Here I am." If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. (Isaiah 58:6-12 ESV)
I love this passage as it speaks the passions of my heart and also of the closeness and guidance of The Lord.  Today I realized something new in this passage though.  "And The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places".  In the scorched places, there The Lord will comfort and be with us. In scorched places. In the storms. 
But then it continues, "and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden".
Watered gardens blossom.  Watered gardens bear fruit.  Watered gardens are places of beauty, serenity, peace. 

But scorched places, the barren, dry, hard places, will be there first. But then the beauty of the lush gardens come.
The storm rains down and the fires blaze, but then new life grows and flowers bloom.
The storm eventually passes. The blue skies come.

And even if the advise and suggestions from my doctor do not lead to improvement or my healing, I will still strive to hold onto the hope of the light that breaks through the storm and hope that some day that light will fill the whole sky.

The storm this evening seemed to pass almost as quickly as it came.  The grey dark clouds turned into brilliant white clouds on a blue canvas.  
That change was amazing.  The storm did pass.  The light came.  
The light has come.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

One Word

I stumbled upon One Word 365 today. It is meant to be in place of a New Years Resolution.
You choose one word.  You don't create a list.  One word is manageable. One word doesn't require making all these goals that I fear not being able to achieve. I can do one word. 
Yes, I know it's not January 1 but it is still the beginning of something for me. I choose to start my 22nd year with a word. A word that will hopefully shape my year. A word that could shape and transform me. 
Since starting my blog, I have begun to enter a new world. I have found other bloggers who are going through life with similar struggles. I have entered into other people's wonderful stories and been transformed.  Some blogs I am told about, others I search for, and others I just happen to get to. I just happened to find Tanya's blog, Thorns and Gold.  As I read her post on her 'word', I felt as though my words were spilled out and typed by a different set of hands.  Her word is 'anyways'.  She writes that despite not being able to do things perfectly, she will do them anyways. (You can read more about it here.)
I am a recovering perfectionist. Reading that post was refreshing for me. I do not like failure or being wrong. I still do not like it but I am slowly becoming less afraid of it. Her post reminded me to do things anyways,  even if I cannot do them how I used to do them.
Do them anyway. In a new way. Do them. Any way I can. 
My heart seemed heard these words. Felt them. Let them soak in. 

I don't believe finding her post and One Word 365 today was just a coincidence. Yesterday marked 22 in my life journey and I am feelin' 22. I am loving it. I feel different. My outlook has changed. I feel like the grey cloud above my head is slowly lifting. I feel a little stronger. I feel like I want to try different things. I want to live life - even if it is from a bed for who knows how long.
So my word for this year is open. 
Open to what God has in store. Open to His plans and timing. Open to His answers to "what now?".
Open to hearing Him, seeking Him, finding Him.
Open to research, testing, and treatments.
Open to living.

My word is open and I invite you to choose your word. 
To let a word transform the rest of the year, to transform you. Even if it is May 21.
Better late then never, right?

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. (Psalms 119:18)

... Open your hearts also (2 Corinthians 6:13)

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Happy Day Indeed

Today is my 22nd birthday. It is hard to believe. Life is definitely now what I thought it would be like when I used to dream and think about what being 'an adult' would look like when I was a kid. Heck, life isn't what I dreamed and assumed it would be just over 6 months ago. At a first glance, it is so much less, so much more confusing. And yes it is confusing, but somehow it is more than what I had assumed it would be.
I thought at this point I would be graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, be working as a New Grad nurse, be living with girlfriends who also graduated with me, and be adjusting to a whole new and exciting chapter of my life.  I expected this and was so confused, disappointed, and shattered, as I realized that what I am going through couldn't just be fixed by some medication or a surgery.
But as dark and depressing as these times have been, they have also been richer than I could ever of imagined.  There have been days where I begin to question what my purpose could possibly be and wonder what I would be able to grasp onto to make it to the next day. Yesterday was one of those days. As I wrote about being worn yesterday morning,  I struggled to lift my eyes up to Christ throughout the day. I was stuck in a ditch that filled my head with all the things this past year did not hold.  I felt like my birthday would not be a happy day for me to celebrate. I was just caught in a spiral of dark sadness.
But God still threaded hope and peace into my day. Wonderful words from friends, a conversation with my sister that was filled with tears, being able to be outside for a little while and feel the sun, seeing life from another view than just through my window. Although overall the day was very rough physically and emotionally, I praise God that I was still able to go to bed thanking Him for the day and pieces of hope and peace and able to ask Him to guide and sustain me anew.  I was blessed with rest and slept almost 12 hours.
I awoke and was blessed with such peace. A dear friend had sent me a beautiful photo last night which I awoke to. It was so peaceful and filled my soul with good.  I also awoke to a couple wonderful texts from some of my closest friends.  Every where I seemed to turn this morning, His peace and joy filled me.
One of my friends so faithfully reminded me that God wants to be well and in the end,  I will be well.  It is well, today, with my soul despite the weakness I feel. It is well with my soul.
Then in my morning devotional I was comforted by the truth that God does all things well. It was based off Tenth Avenue North's song "You do all things well" and the wonderful truth that God is "working beauty even out of ugly things".  
Even out of sickness and pain, something wonderful and even beautiful can come and has come. 
Then the scripture of the day on my Bible app led me to Romans 15:4-6 where Paul refers to God as the God of endurance and encouragement!
 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
This continued... Every thing I looked at, the blogs I read, the Scripture I opened, and the wonderful wishes and visits from dear friends have lifted my Spirit and strengthend my body. I have been blessed to be able to visit with friends and not grow fiercely exhausted and been able to move a little better. It is a blessed and happy day indeed!
And so as this new 'age' comes I look forward to the what now? The where will this year bring me. Who will I meet. And the where will you lead me Lord?
What now? is not just a panic-stricken question tossed out into a dark unknown. What now? can also be our joy. It is a declaration of possibility, of promise, of chance. It acknowledges that our future is open, that we may well do more than anyone expected of us, that at every point in our development we are still striving to grow.” - Ann Patchett (found on Emily Freeman's blog Chatting at the Sky)

And so I ask, what now?

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Today I am reminded of my humanness.  I continue to be extremely fatigued and experience a flare up of most of my symptoms since Thursday.  What I am experiencing is often referred to by those who have CFS as a 'crash' or more technically post-exertional malaise. That is one of the many difficulties with CFS - if you do too much you pay for it (and can pay for it for a long time).
Knowing this in my mind can be quite a hindrance. Crashing is not fun - especially when fatigue, weakness, headaches and other symptoms are bad before the crash even happens. It intensifies things quite exponentially.  Today I am in a lot of pain through out my body, extremely weak (eating lunch was difficult), and even more tired than normal. Today I had to take an hour long nap (that I was awakened from otherwise it would have been longer!) after being awake for only 3 hrs (which were mostly all spent in bed).  As I write this, I am having to take more breaks than usual as my head is sore and my hands are aching.  But despite being physically one of the worsts I have been, I am so grateful that I have less brain fog and can concentrate enough to write. 
I felt like I needed to share with you what lifted my spirit this morning. 
Like I mentioned yesterday, I am doing a devotional by Tenth Avenue North. (You can find it here). Today it was based off of one of the songs that has kept me going: 'Worn'. 
'Worn' is a song that admits to being weak and unable to carry on. It admits that the truth is that Christ can give rest but that sometimes it is all too much and becomes too hard to even lift up your eyes to Him. I can relate to this song and it gives me hope for sometimes it is too hard for me to do the things I know to be true - the things that bring truth, peace and comfort. But sometimes that is too much. 
The following quote comes to mind that has the same message of weakness - of inability to continue. It is by Hudson Taylor, who was one of the most amazing world-changers and missionary in China.  
“I am so weak that I can hardly write, I cannot read my Bible, I cannot even pray, I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child, and trust.”
What a strong conclusion and hope that brings despite the weakest of feelings,  most inadequate of thoughts, or however tired your soul: that even when we cannot do anything, God still holds us. 
And even more, He does not require anything from us
The devotional ends with this:
He's after a responsive people, not a self-helped one. Live loved. That's our call. That is our job. Even when we're worn out, worn thin, and feel like we've got nothing left to offer Him, all He demands is our nothing. Like the old hymn says, "All the fitness He requires is to feel your need of Him…" Nothing is all we bring to Him because nothing is the place that He can fill.
We just need to come to Him - to Him who gives rest. 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Things Above

The last couple days have been hard. I have been busy with things that remind me that I am sick: doctors appointments, blood work and other such things.  On Thursday I had two doctor appointments - one a new specialist and the other an integrative health doctor I have been seeing.  The first appointment was supposed to be 45 minutes as it was our first appointment with this internal medicine specialist at VGH. It ended up being almost an hour and a half. It was an exhausting appointment.  After asking a lot of questions and doing a physical exam, he was in agreement with my other doctors - chronic fatigue syndrome. He did want to run a couple more tests just to be sure as he was worried by my sudden drop in BP when standing up.  He did tell me my GP went "above and beyond the call of a family doctor" and that my other internist is "one of the wisest guys" he knows.  So despite some of the other things he had said, the words he said about my other doctors were very encouraging. I know I am so blessed by the healthcare team that is working to help me in any way they can. 
My second doctors appointment was good as well. As my first appointment went so long I was very late for my next appointment but my doctor graciously fit me into his packed schedule. He also ordered some more blood work. I am very glad I am seeing a wise doctor who is aware of more than just the typical western approaches to medicine; however, it can be difficult as it can end up with my doctors saying opposing things (such as my recommended salt - I am supposed to take 9g a day according to my specialist but he says I should not salt load at all!).  
Since my symptoms have been getting worse (hence no posts in a couple of days), I figured I would try removing the copious amounts of salt; however, that led to almost fainting at dinner yesterday so I decided to follow the western recommendation and keep salt loading as it increases my blood volume and prevents me from faiting, even if it is 'unhealthy' I prefer that at this point.  In retrospect, it wasn't wise to stop the salt yesterday as I also got blood drawn - 7 vials worth!  I literally felt drained of all my reserves.
Thankfully today I have a little more strength although my symptoms are still quite bad. As I have no big outings today, I am glad to use some strength to write. I feel that it is healing in itself as it brings me some joy. 
This past week I have begun to focus more on my health or lack thereof. I think it is a combination of a few things - mostly all the medical appointments I have had this week, an eye infection and also doing a bit more investigating into CFS.  The combination of those things and also battling with depression, I began to narrow my focus more and more on the illness and how debilitating it can be instead of all the blessings and gifts: the things that bring me joy.
Two nights ago I found myself feeling particularly down. I thinking about some of the things I had read and how the specialist had said he could treat HIV better than CFS as so little is known about CFS and the trial drugs they are using in the States for CFS are not available in Canada (as well as the fact that he would've tested me for HIV if he thought he had any reason to). As I lay discouraged, I felt a sense that I needed to look outside. Before my eyes was the most beautiful pink skies.  Immediately I was filled with a loving comfort and I couldn't keep this gift to myself. I told one of my friends, who is in the middle of her own health battles, to look outside as I knew she could see part of the view that I see from her window. So both of us enjoyed the beauty beyond our windows and shared it with each other.  It was truly such a comfort and a joy to share it. 

However, all too quickly my mindset came back to me and my discomfort. 
This morning I was reminded of the truth that I so needed to hear - set your mind on things above
I have been doing a short devotional this week that is based off Tenth Avenue North's album The Struggle.  Today's was based off their song "Where Life Will Never Die". I don't think I have heard this song before and because of my headache I didn't listen to it this morning although the words that were written about it in the devotional we're exactly what I needed to hear.  What my very soul needed
"O tempted heart, come alive. I feel you burning inside. O weary soul, lift your eyes, to a city where life will never die. This rusted world, can't satisfy, there's nothing here that will survive, but the night will end and the sun will rise on a city where life will never die."
This world cannot satisfy. It's not what I was made for. It's not my home. 
Suffering, pain, and death are from this life - they are not from above. Yet I still focus on them. I let my heart and mind linger in the sufferings of this world. No wonder my soul is downcast. 
Focusing on problems will never satisfy.  Focusing on things this world offers, will not fulfill the cry of my soul for something more. For something that gives hope and a purpose - a purpose even for this tired nearly bed bound body. 

I was made for another world.  I was made for a place where all things will be renewed. My body will be given new life! Now that is something to be expectantly patient for! Something that gives me hope!  
“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” - CS Lewis

When I focus on things above, things below change.
The ordinary becomes divine. 
Life is filled with hope, comfort, peace - with God moments. 

It doesn't take the pain away but it seems to change everything.  So today I pray that my heart, soul, and mind would be refocused. Refocused on that which is above.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

He Remains

I continue to hear those two words, "Be still." They keep repeating in my mind like an endless echo in a glorious cave.  Multiple blog posts I have read are centered around the theme of stillness before God.  I keep hearing it, seeing it, feeling it.
Be still.
My heart and soul are comforted by these words.  My body knows them well but I still need to take them to heart.  A friend of mine was saying how she needed to learn to be still and remarked that I must have that one figured out!  But being still physically is only part of the battle.  Although it is a hard battle.  Well at least it was for me.  Before I became sick, I was busy.  I was always on the go.  Always thinking three steps ahead.  Figuring out what I would do the next day before the present day had even begun.  Before I got sick and bedridden, when I was just battling what I thought was a bad cold, I remember joking with some of my friends after a meeting that being sick was God getting me to finally slow down somehow.  
Back in early November I had no idea what those words would actually mean... Slow down.
Well slow down led to stop pretty quickly.  Going 120% was my norm and before I could make heads or tails of it, I was almost at 0%.  
So God helped me figure out the be still part physically.  I guess He knew I was too stubborn to do that one much on my own.  But after over six months of this, He is still having to whisper it to my soul over and over again.  I catch myself worrying about a blood test result, constantly checking Facebook and Instagram, mindlessly looking at something on my computer, ... the list goes on.  I have a hard time stopping for some reason.  
I think in my mind stopping equals weakness.  Growing up I somehow got in my mind that I had to be strong.  I had to be the strong one.  As the eldest of three girls in a house where my dad was gone with work frequently and my mom was dealing with health issues of her own, I assumed a type of mothering role.  I decided I needed to be strong and hold things together whenever they began to fall apart.  I was a fixer, a doer, a helper.  I did not like being  helped.
But all of that has changed.  
It has changed because I need to be helped.  I cannot do it on my own.  I need help walking.  I need help washing my hair.  I need help with almost everything.  And in this time of physically falling apart, God has been working inside of me.  Teaching me to stop and seek Him.  Teaching me that He is always there - He is with me no matter how many times I try and do it on my own.

"God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day... Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth"
Psalm 46:5 & 10

Today my mom helped me outside.  The warmth from the sun and the wonderful fresh breeze was nourishing.  It was a peaceful day.  One filled with His graces.  Although I could not stay out too long, as my body was having a difficult time regulating its temperature and I was sweating one moment and then chilled the next, it was still a beautiful gift to be out.  And while I was outside I was reminded of a truth that God had revealed to me earlier this year.  
On the bottom of our pool is a cross.  On the windy and stormy days, it is hard to make out but on the still days, like today in all its beauty, the cross stands out.  But just because it isn't visible on the stormy days, it doesn't make it any less there.  The cross always remains.  He always remains.  
Amidst the storms and battles of this life, He remains the one constant thing.  Amidst doctors' questioning and unsure, amidst my own depression and confusion, amidst it all - He remains and promises to fight for me. 
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still" Exodus 14:14
He says He will fight for us, but we have to do one thing.  We don't have to fight first, come in after He has begun to fight, or fight alongside Him - we just have to be still.
I am slowly learning but I am still a far way off from figuring it out.  Figuring out how to get rid of the busy and distracted me.  
But I do know that I am learning and that is what matters.  Slowly but surely I am learning to be still in more than just body.  I know this as I am hearing Him more, seeing Him more, desiring Him more.  And that is all to His glory and praise.
Be still my soul and just let it go
Just let it go
Glory to God
Glory to God in the Highest
Glory to God
Glory to God in the Highest
Be still my soul, Lord make me whole
Lord make me whole
- "Dust We are and Shall Return" by The Brilliance

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Just Be Still

My family has two pugs, Levi and Bailey, and they love each other.  Well at least Levi loves Bailey... Bailey tends to be pretty self-absorbed.  My mom had to take Bailey to the vet today and Levi was beside himself.  I was resting in bed and I could hear him frantically running around and crying in the kitchen.  He is going blind and because of that rarely goes on our deck as one time he fell in the pool but today he went racing on the deck, tail between his legs, looking for Bailey.  I saw this happening and I felt so sad for him.  Levi and I have a special bond as I got him when he was just a puppy.  Whenever I used to come home from being away at university, he would get so excited and stick by my side.  So seeing him so upset broke my heart a bit and made me muster up enough strength to go get him from the kitchen so he could be with me.  I knew once he got over himself, he would settle down and be happy to be with me.  As I let him out of the kitchen, he ran around the house continuing to look for Bailey.  I called him meekly and he came running back to me.  He stayed right beside the bed but continued to howl, clearly distraught.  He continued in this manner no matter how many times I pet him, told him it would be okay, said she was coming back soon and hugged him saying that I was here.  He would leave my side for a bit, run around the house again, and come back after I would call him again.  To any onlooker of this situation, they would say Levi was a mess.  He was frantic, inconsolable, crying, and going blind, and only has three legs.  And I would agree that he is a bit of a mess but that would never stop me from wanting to use the energy I had to console him, be with him, and love him.  
I realized I was kind of like him.  I too am a mess.  
I too run (figuratively... but hopefully literally again!) around in circles in a panic at times.  I think about different situations way too much.  Wondering what my doctor may tell me next or what a test result may be.  I think myself silly sometimes.  Once I found out I was going to have a head CT, I could not help but think about the brain tumor they could find or the infection they may see (thankfully neither are true as my results came back saying I have a nice and normal brain).  I wonder why things are happening to me, why I am stuck in bed, why I have been single so long, ...  All the while God is calling me, caressing me, and saying "It is going to be okay" just like I was telling Levi earlier:  "Shhhh... everything is going to be okay... just be still and wait."
Hearing that everything happens for a reason, that everything will work out, and that all happens for the good of those that love God, can be hard to swallow amidst suffering.  Amidst the times when something is taken away.  Amidst the times when life seems to fall apart.  But I began to think about how I could say those things to Levi with such confidence.  
I could say those things because I knew Bailey would be back soon.  I knew that if he just sat and stopped worrying, he could receive my love and be happy.  I knew that he was being irrational and just needed to be still and listen to my voice.
Then my eyes were opened a little more and I began to understand why God could say those things.  I know that God knows inconceivably more than I can begin to even imagine.  He knows the outcome will be good - He knows in the end good wins.  He knows I will be fine even if it means I continue to physically suffer for a time.  He knows that in heaven there truly is no more suffering or pain or tears.  He sees me now and says "Be still."
He says, "Wait on my timing, wait for me." 
In the running chaos, I too often miss His calm whispers: "I love you and have a plan for you."
"You are mine... 
Listen for my voice...
Be expectantly patient for Me...
Wait for the joy that comes when you stop, hear, and listen...
You need only to be still"

Monday, May 13, 2013

Because of Mom

Beyond the window, a family grows.  A family learns to stick together.  To follow mom's lead.  To have fun and live a little.  To come when called.  They learn to survive in this big world.  I watch this family beyond my window and think of how amazing life truly is, how fragile it is, how beautiful it is, and how full of adventure it is.  I keep watching them and realize something.  I realize it is because of mom.

It is because of mom that all nine of her prized ducklings remain.  It is because of mom's protection and wisdom that no hawk or eagle have swooped in - though some have definitely tried.  It is because of mom that the nine have learned all that they know.  The nine can have full tummies because of mom.  The nine can play games and chase each other in the shallow because mom led them there.  The nine learn other ducks do not care and caress as mom - simply because they are not mom.  The nine are nurtured, loved, and protected because of mom. 

I too have been nurtured, loved, and protected because of mom.  I could come back to mom sick.  I could come back to mom worn.  And now when I am too slow, too tired, too weak, too sick, mom holds me.  Mom gives up her needs because I have needs.  Mom stops her journey and joins mine.  Mom never stops loving, helping, holding.
And though we are different, we are forever united.  Though the life giving cord was clipped between the two of us almost twenty two years ago, mom continues to nourish me, comfort me, protect me, and guide me.  Mom has been through endless health care appointments with me.  Mom has been through every new symptom with me.  Mom has been through frustration, depression, and anger with me.  Mom has been through it all and has not left my side.  

Like the ducks, she pulls me under her wing.  She quietly holds me, fiercely protects me, constantly helps me.  

She is my mom and no one else can take her place. 

Photo credit: #1 (I tried taking photos from bed of my duck family but no luck...)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I want you to know...

Tomorrow is a special day, a day everyone knows about, a day that is celebrated annually around the world - a day when we celebrate our mothers.  It is also a day that I have never before celebrated or known about, a day I probably would never of heard about had I not been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Tomorrow is International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.  
I felt compelled to share more of my daily symptoms and battles with CFS in hopes that it may raise some awareness.  Before being diagnosed with CFS, I barely knew anything about it.  I was able to reason that it meant being fatigued or tired for a long time.  And unfortunately that is what is assumed by many.  It is not recognized to be serious by the general population and some doctors will not even see patients who have been diagnosed with it (my mom called the Mayo Clinic and they told her they "don't do fatigue issues" but we may not be okay with that).  Thankfully medical awareness is slowly rising and research is being done; however, much remains a mystery or unknown.  I hope that in sharing my story it may make a small impact and raise some awareness for the many who suffer from this disease that can be so debilitating.
Little is known about what causes CFS.  In my case, they think it was of viral origin; however, I have not been found to have any infection throughout the six months that I have been dealing with this.  Although it seems like forever, six months is nothing compared to many who suffer from CFS.  Six months is the bench mark of when they can officially diagnose someone with CFS, although I was diagnosed by one of my specialists after two months with mild CFS; however, since then he now considers it to be a moderate case.  Yes, more testing is being done and I am going to see other doctors to see if they have another opinion, but regardless of whether I will fight CFS for a long time or not, I know how it feels.  I know it is so much more than being tired.  I know an extra nap will not fix it.  I know that it is not because I am lazy and not wanting to do anything.  I know that exercise, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep will not reverse my symptoms.  I know that if I push myself, I will crash and be worse off.  I know that well wishes of "Feel better soon" are said with the best intentions but can be frustrating and at times make me feel as though no one understands.  I don't blame anyone who says that for I too hope and pray for that.  I believe God can heal me but I am also aware that it may not happen.  I may not receive a complete physical healing miracle but that does not mean I am not hoping with every ounce of my being for that or some sort of treatment that helps.  
I wish Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was not called chronic fatigue syndrome because it really does not sound that bad.  It does not do it justice for my list of symptoms is much more than being tired.  I am going to tell you more of what I feel and think but please know it is not for sympathy or well wishes. In sharing more of how I feel, it is not to belittle other struggles, health related or not, but to build awareness and be a voice.  My desire is for people to gain a small understanding of where I, and the many who have CFS, are coming from.

So here it goes...  
My life is unpredictable with CFS.  Symptoms seem to come and go without reason or explanation.  I do not know what I will have energy to be able to do and my energy is used up by activities of daily living (such as brushing my teeth and getting dressed - and sometimes these are even too much!) and health care appointments.  I feel as though I have pulled an all-nighter all the time (which I have only done once in my life before my Microbiology final exam!).  My sleep is never restorative.  In order to sleep I take three different types of medication.  Without them, I would wake up over five times a night, struggling with bouts of insomnia.  I tried melatonin, UV light therapy, magnesium... they helped a bit but then stopped working at all.  I never feel rested from my sleep but I am grateful for the sleep I get now.  It is one of the 'normal' things I can do.  I love escaping into my dreams for when I awake I am instantly met with the reality of my illness.
My body feels like a thousand pounds at times, I get general body aches like when you have the flu, I get a numbing pain that goes up my legs and arms, fierce chest pain, and a headache that wraps around my head that will not relent.  
I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardic Syndrome (POTS), which basically means when I change positions from lying down to sitting or standing, my heart rate raises and my blood pressure plummets causing me to get dizzy and lightheaded.  It feels as though the blood has drained out of my head and I cannot see properly.  I have to hold onto something in fear of passing out and falling to the floor.  I help combat this I am on a beta-blocker and also required to have 9 grams of a salt a day (sounds great but in order to get that amount I put a scoop of salt on the back of my tongue three times a day and drink it down!)
My legs feel like they may collapse at any moment when walking and lifting a fork is sometimes too much to handle.  I struggle with depression and anxiety.  I am easily overwhelmed when plans change.  I sometimes find it hard to find the right words and cannot concentrate for more than fifteen minutes while reading.  My brain feels as though it is in a fog at times.  I get sensory overload from too much noise, movement, or light around me.  I have poor temperature control and am often too hot or cold.  My feet are usually freezing.  I get hot flashes and I'm only turning 22!  If I do too much, my symptoms get worse, something they call post-exertional malaise.  
I take over 30 pills a day (prescription, OTC, vitamins and minerals) in hopes they may help relieve my symptoms or strengthen my immune system as it is trashed.  I have noticed some pills helping but generally nothing relieves too much.  But some is definitely better than none!
I have not driven a car since the beginning of November.  I have not been able to dance, sing, or paint.  I have not been to church in over a month.  I haven't been able to go for a run, bike ride, or even leisurely walk.  When I choose to walk, it is because I need to get somewhere.  I do not have the strength to go exploring, hiking, or traveling.  Most of my day is spent in silence and in bed. 
I have not been able to do very much, been able to feel independent, nor have I been free of pain or fatigue.  But although this is my reality, I choose not to let it define me.  The disease is not my life, it is just a part of it.  A part of my life that comes with much learning and growing closer to God.  A part of my life that has allowed me to simply be still.  A part of my life where I notice the small things and view every accomplishment as a huge one.  A part of my life where I have been able to share and encourage others in ways I never did before.  A part of my life where I am learning that being weak is okay, good really, as it is where Christ's strength shines through, where I am less and He is more.

Friday, May 10, 2013

When Sparrows Fall...and Soar

Over the past six months I have been broken.  My priorities and plans have been shattered.  My life, as I had thought it would be, was taken apart.  I felt like a vase dropped on the floor.  I wondered why me?  Why is this happening to me?  Why now?
I thought those things (and still do sometimes).  I felt like God had dropped my life onto a hard and dark ground.  I felt confused and still do not understand this.  But that is not the point.  I do not need to know the why although I still ask it far too often.  A couple of months ago I first listened to the sermon "When Sparrows Fall" by Britt Merrick that was based off of this passage: 
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father...So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29 & 31).  
I listened to part of his sermon again today and was reminded and comforted by its truth.  Britt and his family were going through huge trial as his 8 year old daughter was battling cancer for the fourth time.  His sermon hit home because he was suffering but it also gave such hope.  Yes, our situations are very different but they come to the same point: trust that our loving Father is with us.  He knows suffering and speaks about what the true issue is when times are beyond believably hard.  He says, "A sparrow doesn't fall to the ground apart from Your Father's will.  That is a phrase that changes everything. Therefore do not fear.  He doesn't say a sparrow will never fall.  God says the sparrows will fall.  Bad things will happen in this world and in our lives but not apart from the Father.  God is never absent from the equation."  
Britt continues, "But what He isn't dealing with [in Matthew 10] is the question of why?" He further explain we always want to know why but suppose we knew why... Would why fix the broken heart?  Heal the hurt?  No, why will never have a satisfactory answer.  And that's because it is not the right question.  He explains, "Christ gives us an answer that redirects the question from why to who - not why do bad things happen but Who is present?" 
And through this time of being sick, I have realized that yes I was broken in the dark.  I am broken in the dark. But I am in God's embrace.  He is slowly building me back together.  In the face what I am going through, it is much more comfort knowing I am not alone.  Even though it is so hard to see the light - the end of illness, medication, testing, and medical appointments - I know He is building me back together stronger in Him than ever before.  Holding me, teaching me, equipping me.
From my window I watch the birds.  I watch them flying around, bathing in the water, pecking the ground for food.  They are small and weak but they still fly.  They spread their wings and soar!  When I change my question from why to Who, I see light instead of dark, I see God instead of me, I see hope and joy instead of despair!
The sparrows continue to fly and sing.  I am reminded of a beautiful post Ann Voskamp wrote on her blog, A Holy Experience, about a sparrow who flew into her home.  I will end with a piece of her wonderful writing and pray you may find some comfort and joy today as I have. 
The Puritan Thomas Watson wrote, “He who takes a review of his blessings, looks upon himself as a person engaged for God… He dedicates himself to God.”
This way.
This way
, I tell the sparrow. Pointing in that direction, the direction of grace, gratitude, joy — this is the best gift.
She who re-views her blessings, re-views herself — sees herself as beheld by her Beloved.
When you re-view blessings, you view your life right and you re-joice — and who doesn’t want joy over and over again?
Rejoice – it means that: to swell with joy again, again, again.
Who does this, who lives in a repeating joy? Sparrow with your wildly thumming heart in a very big world — do you know this? Repeat the sounding joy.
The thing is: we only repeat the sounding joy, re-joice, re-joy again and again, when we remember to give thanks — and again repeat.
And when I remember to give thanks in a fallen and broken world, this is what re-members me and I am put together again. That sparrow, I can see it’s beautiful shadow on the wall, how she opens her beak, her mouth, but she is too tired, too scared, too lost, and there is no sound. She is looking for song… right where she is.


Sometimes you feel caged when really you’re only cupped.
And then she does — she spreads her wings and she finds out: He is the air of this world and she’s meant to soar.
She swoops right towards the open window and I can hear it, re-joy, those wings that thrum thanks again and again and again.
And this is how a sparrow flies…

Photo credit A Holy Experience - Ann Voskamp

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Change in Perspective

Today I returned to Richmond Hospital.  Thankfully not to stay but just to visit the CT scanner.  This time it was for my head.  It was odd having my head strapped down but otherwise it was quick and the technician was really nice.  I had to have the IV contrast dye again, which gives this weird warm feeling as it goes through your blood stream.  As bizarre as it is, it is so cool.  Yes, it makes you feel like you have peed your pants but it is incredible because it goes through the body so quickly.  Within seconds your whole body gets this warm sensation.  How marvelous our circulatory system is!  How fearfully and wonderfully made we are!
Click here to check out Sevenly!

That is one thing that being sick makes you realize.  The complexity of our bodies truly has no explanation other than divine creation.  It is awe-inspiring.  For everything to function is an absolute miracle - a miracle that too often is taken for granted.  Today I ordered a print from Sevenly (an amazing organization that gives $7 from every item purchased to a weekly cause; this week it is CURE International to provide babies in Uganda with life saving brain surgeries!) and the print reads as follows:
Someone is praying for the things you take for granted
I think that is a good reminder - a perspective changer.  Being in bed has given me a lot of time to think.  To think about what I place importance on.  To think about the things that I make my priority.  To think about what I have and what I have been blessed with.  But I have not always taken the time I have been given to work through lessons and realize the blessings.  I have sat and just cried.  I have been angry with God.  I have had to examine what I believe to be true.  I have sat in denial and disbelief of my situation.  I have sat in the dark valleys.  But you know, I am actually thankful for those times.  The times when I could not seem to find God.  The times when I realized I actually was mad at Him for changing what I had planned for my life (like really who do I think I am?).  For in those times, He really is there.  "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me"  (Psalm 23:4).  He is there in the sun shining, my mother's embrace, the mother duck guiding her babies along, the peace that passes understanding, the joy unexplained bubbling up in my soul, the comfort that seems to never leave...
But I still take so much for granted: God's eternally unconditional kind of love, my family being by my side to hold me up when I am faint and bring me food and drive me to the doctor, to have a doctor, a car, a bed, a life.
Today while waiting for my CT I was reminded that things really are not that bad.  Despite me sitting in a wheelchair, I was definitely not the sickest of the bunch waiting to have my head or some other part scanned.  One man looked as though he were made of bone and skin alone.  But you know, he seemed happy.  He had a smile on his face and his wife beside him.  Being in the hospital today caused me to open my eyes a little wider to the blessings in my life.  To the miracles that occur every day here.  To the beautiful divine words of God.  To the everyday blessings that bring joy to my heart.  To knowing I am His and He is mine.
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