Monday, January 25, 2010

overcoming illness

I remember when my children were young and I had all the energy of the world. We would play outside for hours , only to come inside for more play. I was the mom who was doing it all, not just at home but at church.
One day I awoke and I was feeling as though the bed and I were one. As my migraines entered I found my energy levels drop and my days in bed longer. When the panic attacks began I had added insecurities of health and peace. After several trips to the E.R, and visits with many specialists I began finding out very slowly all of my health problems. Each one coming in on a different day, a different time in my life, but all coming with a fierceness I was not ready for.
My activities with my children began to slow down. I remember them asking me, "Mommy, what is wrong?" I remember feeling as though I was not the mother or wife I should be. I was not able to do the things I once had done so well, and I was not having that same joy each day.
With my migraines, and panic attacks, they not only effected me, but my family, my friendships and all around me. Each day was the toss of a coin. The plans you made a week ago, soon, turned into staying in bed while your family went on ahead. When chronic illness effects our lives, it effects every aspect in our lives, and we do not always have those around us who understand.
Many think you can just overcome each day, take an aspirin, take some vitamins and move on. I heard many times, "Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get moving!" The problem was, I couldn't, I didn't have the energy, and at times depression would set in. I was questioning God about why all this was happening, and I was not hearing the answers I wanted to hear.
Over time as my children were growing, I was also homeschooling them. There were many days we were in my bed, learning and reading together. My children were helping to take care of me. They would bring me my meds and keep my glass of tea filled, but the most amazing part was the hugs, the kisses, and the prayers they were saying for their mom. I was very thankful my children and husband were there by my side to lift my spirits, releasing me from the pity parties that affected my whole being. As each day brought about new challenges, things began to slowly get better.
Today my migraines are less severe. My panic attacks are under control with medication.Since having thyroid surgery, my levels are now under control. I still fight the days of migraines, I still fight the fibromyalgia, which has become my biggest battle now. My children grew knowing life was not perfect, there were glitches in our daily routines. They saw me struggle first hand, and they too saw how the Lord worked in my life, giving me the strength to overcome and keep moving forward, knowing He is with me each step of the way.
There are days I still do not get out of bed, but in those times I have sweet moments with the Lord. It is in those times I hear His voice and listen to Him as He calms my spirit and brings peace.
Being a mother is the hardest job in the world, but one that gives the greatest joy.When you have an added illness on top of being a mother, it adds a heavy burden to each day. It was so hard for me to tell my children no, after we had planned on going to the zoo. It was hard not to be able to make everyday perfect. With each day we learn that nothing is perfect.
We can make the most out of each day we are given. We may not be able to change our circumstances, but we can change the way we react to each one.For me, making these changes did not come easy. Accepting my illness' did not bring a smile. With each day it became easier than the first. When I allowed everything to pass through my hand unto the Lord's hands took the control away from me, and placed my faith and trust in Him.
When I learned to let go of my pride and allowed humbleness to enter it took a heavy weight off my shoulders that I was carrying.I no longer had to prove myself worthy to those around me. When illness strikes, we must take in everything and be honest. When we are honest and share our struggles with others, they know our needs and can help in the areas needed.Being surrounded by a support group,along with prayer brings a great joy.
As moms we want to think we can do it all, but we simply cannot and its okay. With each day as we give our best, some days it may be 100%, some 70% and others we may sitting at 30%, but we are giving to our best ability, and that is what Christ calls us to do. When my children were allowed to see my deepest struggles they were seeing truth.In seeing their mother struggle it taught them to be more compassionate and merciful to others.
Each day brings something new, new changes for us to face, but in the midst of all this we have a never changing God who is with us all the way, giving us all we need to not just get through the day, but to excel in every area of our lives.
Today as I write this article, I am weak, I am low on energy, but I am facing my challenges of today with the grace that Christ has given me. I may have to rest more this evening, may even have to take a nap, but I know that is okay. I have to be willing to let some things go and as I do, the Lord will bring other blessings in my life.
I am not Superwoman, I am me, the girl God is creating to be the woman of God He is desiring. I know as my migraines hit, I find myself in bed at times, but I found that if I try to take my focus off of me, it helps me through the situation effecting me. A wonderful friend of mine makes beautiful cards, and had given me a box for Christmas one year. While a migraine had hit, I found myself bringing that box up on my bed, and writing cards to others I knew who were hurting, and in sending hugs to others I knew God was at work in me. I may not be the same woman I was when my children were small, but I know without a doubt, I am becoming the woman God has called me to be.
When we face chronic illness, we don't have to allow that illness to define who we are, but we can allow God to define Himself through us and our struggles, reaching others through the very things that change our lives daily. Others do not want to seek fake smiles, they want us to be real, so may we show the world who Jesus is through our honesty about real life, real struggles and how God can change us through the worst of circumstances.
Isaiah 40:28-31 " Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
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