Don’t Give Up On Your Chronic Illness Friend

If you’re just tuning in to my blog, you missed a few great couple of month’s of blog posts. I invite you to scroll through. This one is probably one of the most important.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galations 6:2

I’ve talked so far in this month’s series about being proactive and actively searching for your joy INside your tunnel (There’s light at the end of the tunnel is a saying those with a chronic issue have a hard time relating to.) I also talked about how we need to find our joy so we can keep searching or keep working at our God-given purpose that fulfills us. Last week, I talked about how a lack of joy and purpose leads us to give up on God, though the Lord loves us dearly and has a joyous life for us despite what we cannot do.

While the last three weeks were for YOU, this week is a special Don’t Give Up that is for those closest to you in your life. It’s important that WE keep looking for joy, purpose, and God’s love and support. It’s also important for those around you not to give up on YOU!

I’d love for you to share this particular post with those around you on your Facebook wall, in any of your Facebook pages or groups, and on any other social media as well as email to anybody you feel would benefit by posting it to THEIR friends and family.

Here’s my message to those around you: PLEASE don’t give up on your friends who struggle with chronic illness or any other chronic issue in their lives!

  1. Don’t give up on inviting them to parties or events.
  2. Don’t give up on asking them how they are really doing.
  3. Don’t give up on asking what you can do to help.
  4. Don’t give up on doing the little things to lift their spirits
  5. Don’t give up on being able to learn important life lessons from them!
  6. Don’t give up on them being able to make a difference in this world.
  7. Don’t give up on them in a moment of grief or weakness.
  8. Don’t give up on them overcoming and being a blessing.
  9. Don’t give up on them finding solutions.
  10. Don’t give up on them!

Those of us who live with chronic illness/issues have good days and bad days, but what we don’t have are days when we don’t need our brothers and sisters. What we don’t have is a resolution to being alone. What we don’t want is for us to be forgotten.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galations 6:2

We still have a life to live. We still have a need to be useful, to be included, and to have fun. So, please, don’t give up on us! Don’t count us out! We have a lot to give. We just need to do it on our own schedule.

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Don’t Give Up: On God

If you’re a regular Life Beyond Surviving reader, you know that my mission is to support those with chronic illness/issues because the chronic part of chronic illness is what builds our stress, our fatigue, and eventually (unfortunately) our faith. I believe Satan starts by hiding our joy and our purpose. Once that is out of our view, we begin to question why we are here on this earth at all.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:26

If you don’t see much joy in your life and you don’t feel you contribute in any way to your family or your finances or eternity, you begin to question not only why you’re here, but why God would allow you to go through life held under the thumbs of chronic issues that have left you with so little. I know because I’ve been there myself.

But I’m here this week to ask you not to give up on the Lord. He hasn’t given up on you! If you’ve read the Bible, you know there are many stories of how God used people who were in the middle of trials for incredible purposes. Think of how Paul was never healed and was in prison when he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. While he was in captivity and suffering with a “thorn” in his side, he wrote to encourage the early churches. God used his trials for a great kingdom purpose and He wants to use you too!

Even if you look at things from a secular perspective, you will see how great things were never accomplished easily. I know Hollywood loves to show a good “rags to riches” story, almost all biographies of successful people have a lot of heartache and struggle in them. I don’t know of anyone who has accomplished great things who didn’t struggle. The more success, the more the struggle. And what’s more amazing with God is that He uses us despite our struggles and sometimes BECAUSE of them!

I’d never be able to help support and uplift those who struggle with chronic illness to the degree I can if I had never had to live through it myself. What do you live with? What do you understand because of your struggles that you can use for the benefit of others?

Once you understand that God can use you, you can begin to see how life isn’t all that useless…all that dark. You can begin to see a purpose and find some joy in what you can do for others or your family and the kingdom of God. It’s at this point that you can begin to feel less of your struggle while allowing you to focus more on the good you can do and feel.

God loves you. He hasn’t abandoned you. He has a purpose for you and a joyous life for you to lead despite all of the struggles and trials life brings you. If you don’t feel that way now, ask Him to show you. Pray for God to show you your joy, your purpose. Once that’s done, you will find yourself growing closer to the Father and that can only lead to more joy and put your troubles further from your focus.

There is a better life to be had. We may not be able to find them on our own, but God is always with us. He loves us and He wants the best for us. Often it takes a relationship with Him in order to see that. I pray you find that in your life. How can I help you?

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:26

Next week, I’ll be sharing part four of this Don’t Give Up series, but this next one isn’t for you as much as it is for those around you! Check back next week for it. You’ll be glad you did!

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Don’t Give Up: Your Purpose

So many of us who struggle with chronic things will, at times, feel like giving up for one reason or another. It’s not as difficult to experience trials for a short time, but after several months turns into several years, we often go through times of frustration, overwhelm, and sadness. And not just once, but it may recur several times throughout our chronic lives. This is what prompted me to write this series.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Last week, I shared why and how you shouldn’t give up looking for joy, humor, and beauty in your life that may live side by side with your chronic illness, financial struggles, or other long-lived difficulties. I started with that because that’s where sadness and depression begin. If you lose your joy, in time, you may find you lose your purpose, but as you can see from the above scripture, God gives a hope and a future to each of his children–even those with chronic issues.

I’d like to talk this week about that next step and ask you please don’t give up searching for your purpose. Many people feel a loss of purpose when they retire from a lifetime spent at a job or career. I know it happens less often now as most people find they can’t live on whatever (if any) retirement money they’ve accumulated. However, those of us with chronic illness have found it necessary to retire from jobs or careers and even ministries we once immersed ourselves in.

If you’re like me, you find yourself almost isolated from friends and family and from contact with the outside world. I quit working outside the home due to fatigue and when raising my kids. I have had to stop my online stores, selling on Amazon, and even my freelance writing. I have a tough time driving with my tremors now in my legs as well as my hands so I don’t go anywhere unless it’s to a doctor appointment or if my husband drives me to the store or to church. This was beginning to take its toll as I felt useless not only to my husband (I have some trouble getting enough energy to do housework at times as well) but to anyone else.

But just because you can’t go out, doesn’t mean you can’t find your purpose and work toward something you are passionate about. God has a plan for your life and He is smart enough and powerful enough to take into account any trials He already knows you are experiencing. That being said, each of us has a unique set of talents and experiences God can use to help others in various ways. The trick is to pray for Him to reveal them to you and give it time enough for Him to reveal it to you.

Some ideas for you:
1. Are you online? Social media has its problems, but it is SOCIAL after all. Get involved on a social media group. Start a Facebook group. Find a way to work from home that works for you. I was having a tough time focusing on the topics my writing clients needed as the research was too hard for me to focus on and the deadlines were difficult to meet if I was having a series of fatigue-plagued days. So, I decided to go back to writing what I’m passionate about and offering them for sale on my websites. More about that in later months.

2. Is there a ministry you have a heart for that you could help with from home? Nothing feels as good as being part of a wonderful ministry or charity!

3. Is there someone in your life who needs uplifting? You can start a daily text to uplift them. I did that once for a friend of mine going through some relocation woes with her small children. I texted her an uplifting scripture or a funny cartoon or saying. Know what I found? It uplifted me too!

4. Are you artistic in some way? I know a woman who paints and sells them online. I know another who creates incredibly gorgeous graphics with uplifting sayings. I know another who writes books and gets them traditionally published. What’s your thing?

There are a myriad of things out there if you give yourself enough time, focus and prayer to become clear to you. Drop me a note and tell me what you do or what you’d like to, or what the Lord has shown you after reading this. I’d love to hear!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Next week, I’m going to be sharing about how Satan uses our loss of joy and purpose to lead us to give up on the Lord.

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Don’t Give Up Series Begins

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

I thought I’d start the holiday season with a series of blog articles about not giving up. So many have a profound sadness or depression around this time of year because it reminds us of who is no longer with us. It chronicles what we can no longer do or what we no longer have since last holiday season.

Most of those struggling with chronic illness or other chronic issues will come to a time of desperation at some point or another. We all get to a level of discomfort, overwhelm, sadness, or frustration (or all of the above) when we feel we can no longer go on or we no longer want to. In fact, it may happen several times over the course of your life. It certainly has with me!

There are times when I feel like giving up. I’ve never really been suicidal, but I have had thoughts along the lines of, “God, if I meet with an unfortunate accident, I wouldn’t be at all upset! In fact, if you’d hurry that along, I’d be grateful!” But so many with chronic illness or issues feel a deep depression or thoughts of wanting their suffering to end in any way possible. If that’s you right now, I’d like to speak to your spirit this month.

The first thing I’d like to share with you is not to give up looking for your joy. Joy is something that leaves you first when you are overwhelmed, frustrated, and saddened by the long, difficult road of chronic issues. I’ve talked about this many times, but the phrase, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel” really bothers me and angers some with a chronic journey because our tunnel doesn’t end this side of heaven. So, if your tunnel doesn’t end, how can you see the light at the end of it?

Why you should not give up looking for joy:
1. The obvious answer is that without joy life doesn’t seem worth living. Without joy, there is only misery inside of that chronic illness tunnel.

2. Believe it or not, there IS joy inside your tunnel! No matter how dismal, draining, or painful your tunnel is. The beauty that was there around you is still there whether or not you’re looking for it. The grass is just as green and peaceful looking. The flowers are just as vibrant. Your children are just as precious. Your spouse’s smile is just as soothing.

3. The more you search for the joy, the more of it you will find. The more you find, the more it will minister to your soul.

4. The more you find your joy, the more you can share it with others even though you are going through tough times. This ties right in with my article for next week on purpose so I’ll have more on that next week.

How not to give up looking for joy:
1. If you’re going to find the joy, you’ve got to actively search for it. Satan has a habit of hiding the joys surrounding those who are in trials or struggling with things. Depression moves us away from our joy and isolates us from others. Those of us who have chronic illness are isolated enough already.

2. Actively searching for something is very different from casually noticing things so you will need to be conscious of every opportunity to find the humor, the beauty, and the kindnesses as life brings you to them. You must keep asking yourself, “What joy can I see right now?”

3. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. After a few weeks of actively, consciously searching for the joy, you will find yourself able to see it without being active about it.

4. So, challenge yourself to take 21 days to find the joys, the humor, the beauty in each place you find yourself. Here are some ideas for you: Write down what you are thankful for each day. Keep a journal of the beauty around your house, your family, your job, your church, and your situation. What’s funny about the ridiculous situations you find yourself in? What has made you smile each day?

5. And then after 21 days or a month or so, take out your notes and reread them. Take special note of just how many you were able to find.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

Next week, I’ll be sharing about the next thing to leave those with chronic issues: a sense of purpose. Stay with me on this journey. Check back next week and please share this with friends and family.

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Vlog Series: 20 Steps to Finding Joy in the Trials- Part 5

I pray you are finding blessings in my vlog series so far!  Here is part five of 20 Steps to Finding Joy in the Trials.  This one is a wee bit longer, but it is well worth the time.  Enjoy!

I’ll see ya next week with part six!  If you haven’t viewed the intro or any of parts 1-4, just go up to the Blog tab and scroll down to view any you missed.

 

Blessings!

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