Monday, February 6, 2017

God is Listening

"But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears." - Psalm 18:6 (NLT)

As I look across this room today, I am sick of being sick. After battling an upper respiratory infection for weeks, with a cough that just won’t go away, on top of a painful shoulder and a sore foot, I am tired of hurting.

This is an unexpected feeling, because before Christmas, I was feeling pretty good. I felt like I was pretty much in remission with my RA, and I began a diet, hoping to get my pre-RA figure back.

Alas, with rheumatoid arthritis – or life in general, I guess - nothing is ever a straight line.

That is where trust comes in. Trust in myself? Ha, I wish. I’ve been down that road before, thinking that if I just try harder or work smarter, it will all work out. Unfortunately, I can’t control every facet of my life, the least of which is my chronic illness.

I don’t like being told I’m not in control. I am a linear thinker, which means I want to know that if I am in control of the input, then I can control the output. That isn’t real life, though, is it? There are so many variables, only a few of which I am really in control of.

I am fortunate to have found a good program, Pack Health, about a year ago, which set me on the path to taking better care of myself. I’ve been able to apply the strategies to my life and as a result, I feel much better overall. I’ve even begun writing blog pieces for them, so that others may benefit from my experience. That said, no program can prevent all the curveballs that autoimmune diseases can throw at us.

For me, the most frustrating aspect of living with RA is the inability to heal. I thought I was never going to recover from my shoulder surgery two years ago. I did, but not without a lot of hard work, some extra time, and only with the help of a DMARD (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug). I hadn’t needed to be on a DMARD before, but my doctor made it clear I would never fully recover the use of my shoulder without reducing the inflammation in my body. Wow, what a difference!

Yet here I am again, with the other shoulder’s torn rotator cuff…and despite months of physical therapy, it still hurts. And while I was just feeling good about a daily walk through the neighborhood with my husband, along comes a constant pain in the bottom of my foot. In between visits to my physical therapist, my rheumatologist and my primary care physician (for that pesky sinus infection), I might actually make it to the podiatrist. Joy…another new medical experience!

Not to sound like negative Nellie, but sometimes you just have to get real. You know what I mean?

I tell you why I’m sharing all of my frustrations here. It’s so you know that I understand where you’re at. I know exactly how it feels to be fed up. Or maybe we should call it “beat up” because sometimes that’s more like it, isn’t it? The pain is more than just physical; it’s emotional too. I don’t know about you, but there are days I just want to curl up in bed, throw the covers over my head, and quit.

You know what keeps me going, though? It’s that still, small voice that says “I’m not finished yet.”

Yes, I believe it when God says in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has a plan for my life and it’s a good one. I believe Him when He says He doesn’t start something He isn’t planning to finish. And somehow, I don’t think He’s done with me yet.

There are enough times in the Bible that God says “Do not fear…I will go with you” to let me know that even right now, while I’m ready to give up, He is with me, cheering me on. Sometimes, it’s seeing a news clip that makes me realize I’m really not so bad off after all, compared with them, anyway. At other times, it’s my daughter, who makes me smile and yet also makes me see how much she needs me. And when I look back over my life, I can see where God really has been there during the hard times, carrying me until I could get back on my feet and walk again.

I know that when I close my eyes and pray, my prayers are heard. He hears my cries. I know, because at some point, the pain stops – even if just for a few moments – and I can feel His peace and His presence.

Whatever you are struggling with today, whether it is chronic illness or something else, you can be confident in a God who loves you and cares for you. He hears your cries too and says, through the words of Jesus, “Come to me, lay down your burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Peace, love and joy to you today.


God is Listening originally appeared on Spring Sight blog, by Linda W. Perkins. Click here for more posts. Get even more encouragement by following me on Facebook and Twitter

Many of Spring Sight's posts can also be found each week on Crystal Storms' Thoughtful Thursday,  Kelly Balarie's #RaRaLinkUp, Holly Barrett's Testimony Tuesday, Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart, and Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday. I also link up often with Jennifer Dukes Lee and Dawn at Journeys in Grace, as well as with Lori Schumaker.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Quit Yer Bellyachin'

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." - Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Happy New Year! Or is it?

If the Christmas season is "the happiest time of the year" then is it any wonder that after all the tinsel and glittering decorations are packed back up in the attic (except in my house, of course, where we are total slowpokes about leaving the holiday season behind), there seems to be a period of letdown?

Yes, here we are in January, and 'tis the season to work on those resolutions. Whether you're trying to lose weight or get organized, this time of the year can just feel hard.

Gone are the holiday parties. Now it's time to work off the 10 pounds you put on while noshing on all that fabulous food consumed at them. Forget the tinsel and bows around the Christmas tree. Now you're trying to find a place to put it all, as you search for those financial files underneath the rolls of wrapping paper strewn across your office.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

And the Winner is...

Congratulations to Deb Constien, who won a copy of The Case for Hope book by Lee Strobel in my recent giveaway! Thank you to all who participated by sharing my post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, and for subscribing to Spring Sight. This was my first giveaway, but I have a few more in mind for 2017, so please continue to let people know about Spring Sight! As you know, this site exists for one sole purpose: to give hope to people who are hurting. 

As I sit here in my living room, looking at my lit Christmas tree, I am reminded of all the gifts I have received this year - love and laughter, hugs and kisses, sunny days and starry nights, cool breezes and warm fires. I truly believe that the best gifts in life are free. We receive some of them from family and friends, and some from the world around us.

So often, when we are diagnosed with a chronic illness, we may think we will no longer receive the gifts life has to offer. And yet, my few years with rheumatoid arthritis has taught me that's not true. Living with RA and my other chronic illnesses, I have learned that I now have other gifts to enjoy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Where There is Hope {GIVEAWAY}

“The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” 
– Psalm 147:11 (NIV)

Have you ever thought about how precious the gift of hope is? How lost we feel when we don’t have it? If you have ever been hopeless, you know exactly what I mean. I remember many years ago, when I had wandered away from God and made a mess of my life, feeling hopeless. I didn’t know where to turn or what to do. But in desperation, I reached up to Him and He made me whole again. It wasn’t overnight. It was a process. But as I trusted His love for me, I began to see it becoming a reality.