Wednesday, December 12, 2012

..."A Spring Gone Dry!

Today is Wednesday, December 12, 2012 and I'm free of that horrible medication! Actually, about 2 weeks after my last post I just stopped taking it. Dealt with withdrawals but not as debilitating as the last time I tried. I feel so much healthier and I'm ready to be active again and live life.

Unfortunately, my body pain has increased immensely. I have moments when I just cry from frustration because the pain is exasperating. It's not like your knee hurts sometimes or you get random little pains here and there. No, you hurt and ache all over and then on top of that your get stabbings, pinches, joint pain...even to the point of actually collapsing on the stairs because your knees decide to flip out. I get exhausted from just little things.

The other day I was watching my husband hangs lights for my mom. I was standing there for about 30 seconds, yes seconds, and all I wanted to do was sit down and rest my legs and back. I starting thinking, "did God really make our bodies to not be able to even stand there for a few seconds? Is this normal? Is my mom feeling the same thing right now? Is it hurting my husband to be on that ladder? Am I just a wimp?" Then I remember, I didn't used to hurt this much and get exhausted so easily, This is different. Not age or weight, this is a disease.

On the couch, crying and frustrated with myself, my oldest daughter came to me and said, "Mom, I just want you to know, whatever happens with your fibromyalgia, whether it gets better or not, I will love you." While I love her intentions in what she was saying and her tender heart in that moment, it crushed me to know that she ever had to process that kind of information through her mind and heart about me.

Face in my hands, tears flowing like a river, "Why!?" I asked God. "Take this from me, I cannot do this anymore! This pain in my heart is greater than that of my body; this I cannot do." Quickly, I remembered that this disease had been entrusted to me and God was creating a story, something that would bring Him glory, that I couldn't yet see. Soon after, I heard Him speak through scripture.

I came across a verse, Jeremiah 15:16-18 "When your words turned up, I feasted on them; and they became my joy, the delight of my heart, because I belong to you, LORD God of heavenly forces. I didn't join the festive occasions; I took no delight in them. I sat alone because your hand was upon me and you filled me with curses. Why am I always in pain? Why is my wound incurable, so far beyond healing? You have become for me as unreliable as a spring gone dry!"

Wow, never before had I read a verse that actually ended with someone making such claims to God; they always seem to end with hope and understanding that God will come through. Let me back up a little and give you some context about the scripture. Jeremiah was a prophet of God in the old testament. God's people, Israel, were turning their backs on God and Jeremiah was hated by the people because he remained devoted to the LORD and spoke God's words. This part of scripture is a dialogue between Jeremiah and God about the nation of Israel. While throughout the conversation Jeremiah addresses God regarding Israel and God responds with what the nation needs to do, here in this small portion of that conversation Jeremiah addresses God about a personal issue. He is complaining about how he has remained devoted and faithful and as a result hated. He goes on to complain about always being in pain and having an incurable wound. He blames God for not being healed and actually calls Him unreliable.

I don't know what kind of wound/pain he had....physical or emotional, all I know is that he is upset with God about it to the point of feeling like God is unreliable to him. I continued on to read God's response to such claims and found that He doesn't even address them. He speaks only to Jeremiah about Israel. This struck me as kind of odd and rude, Jeremiah, God's prophet, had a real personal problem and God just ignored it! So, I know my God cares deeply about each of His children and wants us to come to Him with all our thoughts and feelings; so why ignore Jeremiah's?

Here is what was revealed to me. While God loved Jeremiah, there was something larger at stake, something of greater importance. A picture that Jeremiah couldn't see yet.....something we today get to look back at and see just how important it was. Maybe God spoke to him at some other time regarding his pain; I don't know. What I do know is that God wasn't about to divert the conversation to satisfy Jeremiah's complaints or his ridiculous claim that God was unreliable. If Jeremiah only knew what God was planning through Jesus Christ. He was keeping the conversation focused on what needed to be done; there was a much larger picture being painted at the moment.

He knows I hurt but something bigger, something better is happening. Example, when I tell my daughter to clean her room and she begins to complain that she is tired and I must not care or love her because I'm making her clean her room; I don't even address her accusations, I simply say, "clean your room." I understand she's tired and doesn't want to have to clean up but it still needs done and I'm not going to allow her to distract me or herself with her claims of my not caring or loving her. Something needs done, I'm telling her to do it, she can rest after.

When I cry out to God for healing in my moments of frustration and all I here is "My grace is sufficient." Or, I hear nothing at all, I know that God is working on something bigger. A painting that is beyond my eyes. My God IS reliable! He will not leave me here. He will bring me rest, but first, there is a job to be done.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pain...Afflicted or Entrusted?

Today is Tuesday, October 9, 2012 and I'm doing fine so far today. I have a lot to catch you up on. I had to get back on my medication after attempting to stop taking it over a 3 week period. That didn't go over well with my body. I got back on and have since then started to lower the dosage on my own. I'm down to about 8-10mg a day from 60mg.

Every time I lower it I have a pretty bad headache for about a week but then I adjust and lower again after about 3 weeks. I hope to be completely free from taking the medication by December. You see, before I started taking the medicine I was a somewhat active person. After starting it I became just about what felt like disabled. I felt a heaviness inside and very unhealthy. Yes, it helped a lot with the pain but I couldn't do anything and be active with my family. As I have slowly gotten off the medication I have had a major increase in my pain but at the same time I feel so much more well and alive. It excites me to even think about gaining my lively self back!

So, to the title of this post. I have had a major shift in my thinking over the last month on this disease. Not just the disease but other areas of my life as well. Strangely enough this shift occurred over lessons on financial peace my husband and I are taking at our church. I highly recommend finding a class and taking it. The name is Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. Our Pastor, John Dix, decided that since we were going to take this study as a church family that he would also align the sermons over a nine week course to prepare us for that weeks small group lesson on financial peace.

One of the first things he spoke about came from a parable in the bible. The story teaches that what God "gives" to us isn't really given to us to keep. We are entrusted with things anywhere from money to our children, from talents and skills to pain, yes, pain. Now, did my Pastor actually say that God entrust pain to people, no. This is what was revealed to me within my heart.

It was clear that God entrust money to us to use in ways that glorify Him. When you spend money that belongs to someone else you use it more wisely. You think about how you are spending it and you account for every dollar. You want to make right by that person, not just blow their money and have nothing to show for it. If you entrusted your money to other people you would be very particular about who you would want to entrust it to based on how they used it, would you not?

So I got this concept down, but what about all other areas of my life? It hit me, I wasn't being afflicted with Fibromyalgia rather I was being entrusted. Okay, I know that might sound strange but it has caused me to approach this disease with eyes that see. Affliction causes inward vision which is blinding to the afflicted where as entrustment forces one to look outward at a larger picture and it opens the eyes of the entrustee. 

Here is what I see; people who need hope. As we go around doing life, living in our "me" world, pretending that our self absorbed lives are satisfying, we slowly become afflicted by everything we think is going wrong around us. We sink deeper into our afflictions and our "why me's" and become blinded within keeping us from seeing how we afflict others. Love, selflessness, truth, grace, and mercy find no home in the blinded heart of the afflicted.

I do not exclude myself from that group of people, I'm human and I'm willing to admit that at times, I allow myself to be blinded. But, I have a new mind, a new thought, a new understanding about these "afflictions" in my life. For whatever reason beyond my understanding, God in His great wisdom decided that I was the perfect person to entrust with Fibromyalgia. I get to choose whether I'm going to feel afflicted and become blinded or entrusted and have my eyes opened. So, what can I do with this disease. For starters, I can write this post. Perhaps I can bring hope to someone out there who could use a little bit of more hope today. Maybe, this is exactly what you needed to hear at this moment.

Could I possibly impact someone positively by my attitude about fibro? Could I show up in my pain and bring healing to someone's heart? Could I jump out of myself for moments in time and be what someone else needs in that moment? The possibilities are endless when we choose entrustment over affliction. What God can do with the heart that sees. I want to see outside of myself and make room for love, selflessness, truth, grace, and mercy.

I'm not saying that at times I wish I didn't need to deal with so much physical pain. I get really tired of constantly feeling all my joints and every muscle aching. To just be able to sleep and not hurt in every position I lay in would be nice. But this is not my current reality. I cry out to God for healing or even just a little relief. Sometimes, I just cry. But, and here's the key, His grace is sufficient for me. In healing or in pain His grace is sufficient. In the meantime, while I have eyes to see, I might as well see and while my blurred vision breaks free from myself I begin to see more and more of God's beauty. 

We are all downing within ourselves and grasping at goggles to see more clearly under the waves of our afflictions. May I suggest.....lift up your head, grab onto the life raft of entrustment, breathe, and open your aren't a fish, you will drown down there. You are loved by Creator God, made in His image and He intends for you to see. He wants you to see those waves that crush you for what they are...Satan's attempt to blind you from truth and keep you crushed under the weight of his lies. God Almighty longs for you to rise up, breathe in His saving grace and open your's beautiful up here above the waves, come join me.

I would love to hear your story. What afflictions are blinding you? How can your mind be changed from affliction to entrustment? Be real with me as I am with you. I challenge you today to begin the process of a total mind shift. Talk to God and be real with Him, ask Him to change your mind. Talk to me, maybe we can help each other. If you prefer to not have your comments on the post, then send me a private message through my facebook page Natalie Snyder Specht.

In any case, we aren't meant to do life alone. Meet with me where you are but most importantly, meet with God, come just as you are.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Facing the Giants

Today is Tuesday July 31, 2012 and it's been a good day.  Doing the pictures for Vacation Bible School this week and I love it! A lot has happened since my last post......too much to get into real detail. The past month has been the hardest month of my life.....I think. Then again, I've probably felt that way before.

I've been weaning off a medication that helps with my pain; I've only been on it for 10 months and my body has formed a dependency to it. I'm not addicted.....I don't crave it at all, but my body is rejecting the idea of not having it. The withdrawals are horrible. I wish my previous doctor never gave me the medication to begin with. Would rather of dealt with increased pain over the past 10 months than what I've been dealing with now.

My new doctor is helping me through the process; she is great! My poor family has had to suffer through my changes and sickness from weaning off. I decided to take it much slower so that I don't feel the affects as drastically. Can't stand that other than the pain I was fine before the meds and now that I've taken them I'm not fine without them; I will get there though.

A few days after my last post God really spoke to my heart. He is so sweet and gentle with me even during my tantrums. Let me give you a visual of what happened in my heart. I was throwing a tantrum and complaining to my Father while He sat and listened to my cries. When I was done He gently lifted me onto His lap, brought His face down to mine and whispered into my ear "Natalie, I love you. I saw tomorrow and it's going to be good." To God be the glory!

Every time I feel a pain I say....sometimes out load, "for Your glory". Now, I certainly had a week recently where my attitude did not reflect this change of mind at all, but that is past and today is new. I don't understand why this process is for His glory but I do understand that I don't need to understand. I used to say "why me? Why do I have to go through this" and now I say "why me? Why have You chosen me to glorify You? Why do You bless me with the opportunity to bring You glory? I am nothing."

I saw this disease as an interruption in being able to be about His work but here is what I've learned.....It's exactly that, His work. It's not about my dreams and desires or the passions and callings He has given to me. It's about Him and what He wants to accomplish in and through me. How can I complain about things that were never mine to complain about? They are and have always been His; what a relief.

A movie I highly recommend, Facing the Giants. In this movie the main character is facing many "giants" in his life. He decides that in the good and the bad He will praise God. Something he says that will stick with me and free me from myself forever is "I resolve to give me best to God and leave the results up to Him." I love it! This is my resolve. This is my reality and I will live it with all that I am for God. What happens next is up to Him, I just have to live. Here I don't just survive but rather I thrive.

My "giants" aren't so scary when I know all I can and have to do is throw the stone; God directs its path. So, by faith I will face my giants. I will throw myself into His arms. I will quietly wait to hear His thunder. I will call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised. So shall I be saved from my enemies (giants). He doesn't promise ease but He does promise peace.

In the Good, the bad, the beautiful, and the God be the glory forever and ever, Amen.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Architect Without a Pen

Today is Thursday June 28, 2012. Having a hard time even finding the energy to write this. Past couple of weeks have not been good for me. I don't know what happened, I was doing so well. I feel as though my body is attacking itself. My muscles and my mind feel like they are degenerating. I feel so weak that the usual things are becoming difficult.

Folded laundry today and I felt like my arms were going to fall off...kinda like after a hard workout when your muscles are spent or when you've been sick a long time and you have no muscle strength. My legs aren't being kind either. I can hardly walk for a few minutes and I feel like I've just ran a marathon. Dropped a glass bowl while doing dishes today because I couldn't seem to get my fingers strong enough to grip it. Broke all over the kitchen floor and was in agony trying to sweep it up. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

I have felt so under attack lately. You see, I'm a visionary, a dreamer, one who sees beyond her reality and believes she can accomplish more than she actually can......or so it seems so far in my life. I'm frustrated because I did not make myself this way, God did, and yet He seemed to forget to give me the ability to fulfill those visions or dreams. I am angry by this. I can't have ideas and not be able to go through with them any more.

I truly believe that the ideas I have are not self seeking. I feel that they are self sacrificing and supposed to be glorifying to God. Why isn't He helping me? I'm an architect without a pen. The vision is there but the capability is not. I want to minister to children, I feel called to love children but I have little to no support physically. I want my husband to support me in this, to be on board and encourage me but the Lord didn't bless my husband with the gift of encouragement.

I do not mean to "bash" my husband at all here, he is exactly what I need in so many ways, but when it comes to my visionary personality he is my balance. When my mind is in the clouds he brings me back to the hard, rough, dirty ground. He is probably my number one discourage-er in all things related to my "ideas". This causes me to feel defeated, as if the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue aren't enough.

Selfish, a word I've been hearing lately. How can the things I do for others, or the things I want to do for others that bring no benefit to me be selfish? This is when I realize I'm under attack. When things are said to me that make no since and are used to crush me and cause me to want to give up on what is right, I know I'm under attack. When I finally release myself from trying to be "supermom" because in reality it is only hurting my children and myself and I'm told that I'm selfish and every action I've taken to do or to fix the "damage" I've caused by trying to be "supermom" is all about me......I know I'm under attack.

I want to do what is right, my body already makes that difficult enough so why does God allow my spirit to be crushed as well. I have a thorn, do I really need a snake bite as well? Do you intend on using me or not? I'm an architect without a pen; heck, I've even got the paper sitting right in front of me but nothing to draw with. If You wont give me a pen will You at least give me someone who can draw for me?

Stop shoving the paper in my face and stop giving me the vision if You wont provide the pen. I'll take any writing utensil at this point. I can't be surrounded by children who need to be loved, I can't have ideas on how to show them Your love, I can't imagine and dream anymore if You wont give me the tools to materialize those dreams. I'm tired and frustrated, I'm fighting the urge to be angry with You. Why did You make me like this? Any dream I've ever had and attempted has failed; the only one that has brought forth what seems to be any fruit at all is Cross Tuition. Yes, I know some things have been self seeking and in attempt to help my family but there has been no payoff, or at least non I have seen. Even Cross Tuition remains small and I've pored in the energy I've been capable of for 4 years now. I've sought You through the whole process and I've leaned on You in all areas of Cross Tuition and still, we are struggling to find support and grow.

My energy and ability to pour myself into Cross Tuition is less than it was a couple of years ago so what do You want from me? I know this is from You, I know You don't want me to give up, and I have no intention of doing so but could You please help? I don't care how just do something. I'm being honest and real with you God. You are my Father and I'm your daughter but I feel like you've forgotten me. Remember me. Remember I am dust and forgive my boldness with You. I am painfully aware that I can do no good if it's not from and through You. So, I'm asking You to remember my reality and do something. I feel despair sneaking in on me and I know that is not of You. Why am I under attack? Is this what glorifies You the most?

Does my pitiful self bring You the most glory? I wrestle within myself. My nature tells me to not care but my spirit burns within me to love. While my heart breaks for children my body tells me to focus on myself, to not be concerned for others. I feel like if I just give up and not care that this would be so much easier. You can't call me to love, provide the children to love, but then take away the ability to express that love.

If taring me down will bring You the most glory than tare away but please do not leave me there; remember me. I'm an architect without a pen, I even have the paper to draw on; perhaps I should focus on the art of origami instead. Is this what I must do first? Is there something different I must learn before I can draw? Then show me please. Remember me. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Noticeable Changes

Today is Tuesday June 5, 2012. I haven't written in a while and I really miss it.....just been a little distracted. The past week I have felt really good. Haven't had a week like that in a while. I woke up today not feeling very good though, my back and legs are hurting. Took me a while to actually get out of bed but obviously I finally did.

I think I know why I have been feeling so well. A couple of weeks ago I went to Sprouts for my grocery shopping. Purchased mostly gluten free and organic. Also, I got unrefined organic coconut oil to use on my body and face......yes, I'm using cooking oil as my moisturizer, and I'm using natural coconut shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. I love it! My hair, skin, and face has never felt and looked better. I don't use lotion at all now. Okay, so before you think I've lost it, do some research on the internet about coconut oil, it's pretty amazing stuff.

The past couple of weeks of eating mostly organic and gluten...oh yes, and dairy free foods, hasn't been totally easy, especially with my kids, but It's worth the struggle to reform their taste buds. I have felt so much better physically and have had more energy. I'm not going to pretend that I've stuck to it completely, but the little and simple changes I've made had done wonders for my least I think.

You see, there are all sorts of things that can affect the way I feel, physical and emotional stress, weather, sleep, and so on. The weather has been warmer and my stress level is down so I guess that could be why I feel so much better. Yesterday I went to Target with Ryan and the girls and it was so cold in there. I started feeling very achy while there and finally just decided we needed to leave. We took Jessie to her first t-ball practice and it was really cold there too. I don't know what happened to the nice warm day but the wind chill was no fun.

Left t-ball and we decided to not go grocery shopping because I was so achy and just wanted to go home and lay down under a heating blanket. So, was I feeling so well because it's been warm and then bad because it was so cold at Target and t-ball practice? Was it because I've been eating healthier, taking Omega 3, and avoiding foods that cause inflammation? Is my body that sensitive that just being in cold temperatures for a couple of hours can cause me to be so achy for at least a day? I guess time will tell. In either case, I've loved the past week!

I forgot to tell you in my last post.....I found a private school just around the corner from where we moved that is half the cost of the other schools we have looked at. My dad and step-mom said that they would help with the monthly cost so we went ahead and signed her up. She has a placement test on Friday and I'm nervous for her. I would feel absolutely horrible if she has to repeat 3rd grade. To think that I did that to her and made it so she would graduate late and start her career or whatever it might be a year really upsets me. I know I couldn't have foreseen the past year being so bad but still, I was responsible for her education.

I guess we're doing the right thing now by taking it out of my hands but at the same time I've been having feelings of guilt like I'm giving up on her and just getting rid of her for 6 hours a day. I hate that this feeling comes sneaking up on me; that is not at all what I'm doing but the enemy knows my self focused standards that I've tried to release and is trying to tare me down by  rubbing them in my face. At least I'm aware of it....I know that helps me to think about God's words and His thoughts towards me.

Another helpful thing I received at church this Sunday. We are going through a series called Families Fit for Blessing. It has been very educational. This past Sunday was about children's attitudes and response towards parents and parents' attitudes and response towards children. One main thing that hit home with me was this statement, "As a parent, you have been gifted with the understanding to know your child the very best, and you hold a unique place in their heart that only you hold."

I know that Emily needs more structure and discipline with school and I can't give that to her personally so I am doing good for her by giving her the opportunity to receive that structure and discipline. Also, just because I am no longer home schooling her as far as primary education goes, that doesn't mean I don't hold her heart and home school her in all other aspects of life. I can give her my non exhausted self before and after school.

I believe I will be able to treat her with more patience and loving kindness which will only boost her spiritually and emotionally. Also, I will be able to give Jessica more focused time which I know is necessary. I really am excited for this coming fall and I can't wait to see the positive changes within our household.

One last thing. I told you I would keep you updated on whether or not Cross Tuition reached its goal of $15,000 in donations. Cross Tuition has not received any donations since I originally told you about it. I'm bummed but I know it's all in God's hands and my goals aren't always aligned with His and I just have to accept that. Not saying He doesn't want donations to come in or that He can't do something awesome last minute, just saying that I wont stress about it.

Any way, to end things....the noticeable changes have not only been physical but mental/emotional as well. I look forward to the coming weeks and the continued changes God makes in my life. Thanks for walking with me on this journey and I'll be posting more often than I have been the last month.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Good Grief?

Today is Tuesday May 15 2012. It's been a while since I last wrote; a lot has gone on. April 25th my husband had a job interview to maintain a property in Rialto; it went good. The next day, Thursday, we met with the owner of the property who offered Ryan a deal we couldn't rent at the location if he maintained the 40 units there (3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, 1340 sq. foot townhome). Ryan left Friday to go fishing in Bishop, came home Sunday at noon, we went to look at the property we would be living at, left at 2pm to go on vacation for my 30th b-day, came home Wednesday, and moved into our new townhome Thursday....on my birthday!

So, it's been a busy couple of weeks vacationing, moving, and settling in. Still don't have internet so I'm writing at my mom's house right now. Moving hasn't been very easy on my body and frankly, while I love having my own place, I haven't been feeling very well. My body just doesn't like all the lifting and going up and down stairs. It all happened so quickly that I don't think I've even had time to process. Today I feel okay, although I woke up with a bladder infection and had to go get antibiotics......hey, what's one more thing.

I don't have a lot of time to write this post so I'm kinda rushing it; not really what I want to do but I miss writing and I finally have the opportunity. Oh yes, before I move on to the title of this post I wanted to give you an update on Cross Tuition. So far we haven't received any new donations to help with this semester's grant but I am still praying that God will bring us some Champions. I have had a couple of people say they would pray and I'm very grateful for that support.

So, the title. Good Grief? On Mother's Day my daughter, Emily, performed in a 40 minute musical at church called LIFE IS GOOD. It was such a great lesson and I really took a lot from the performance. At one point some kids were discussing whether or not life is full of good or grief. They come to agree that it is filled with both and that perhaps in our grief God creates good.

What a reality check! When I take a glance back on my life and consider all the times of grief I have experienced in my 30 years I see that God always made good out of it. When I look back at the time when I was in 3rd grade and was molested by my great uncle I see things from a different perspective. At that time I felt alone, scared, betrayed, afraid, dirty...yes, dirty, ugly, judged, and guilty. I didn't see God grieving with me, I was alone in my feelings and forever changed. I would never see men the same or trust them the same. I could no longer be comfortable around older men, not even my own father who I was very close to before this. The world was seeing inside me past my skin and I just knew they saw an ugly, dirty little girl that for some reason, although I didn't know why, was to blame for what happened. I was robbed of my innocent self image and my security and trust in men.

For some time now when I've looked back at my experience I always see something I didn't see then. I see Jesus sitting next to me and crying. He is sitting with me on my bunk bed to my right and grieving with me. He is so sad that I don't see Him, that I don't see myself the way He sees me. He is crying for my pain and so badly just wants to take it away; why didn't He? But there is something else that I see now, He is not taking the pain away because my grief is good. Good Grief is the grief that God uses to eventually heal others, bring compassion, mercy, love, understanding, and wisdom. Yes, today I still grieve my experience in the fact that it truly shaped a part of my distorted thinking towards myself and men that God is still in the works of transforming for His glory. Yes, I grieve still because I believe that I may have thought very differently in my middle and high school years in regards to what love is and how to receive it. But, bring me a child who suffers as I did and God can use my grief to bring compassion, love, comfort, truth, understanding, wisdom, and GOOD to that child. I wish there was someone like that for me back then.

I do not wish what happened to me upon anyone but if it does, I am here. You are not alone, ugly, dirty, to blame or guilty. I understand, I grieve with you, but most of all......and this is one thing I wish I knew then, Jesus grieves with you. He is close and although you may not see it, He catches each tear and will not let them go to waste. He will use your grief for good. Have hope in this and rise because you are beautiful. You are loved by the God of all creation and He will do good out of your grief.

So, would I take it all back, would I change what happened if I could? Yes and no. Yes because a part of me was taken away that day. The human condition, sin, stole something from me. I don't even know exactly what that thing was.....I don't remember what was taken because I was young and I haven't experienced that part of me since. I just knew then that something had been lost. I wish I knew, I wish I could find it and experience what it feels like. Yes, a part of me broke off that day and has never been truly reattached. Now for the "No" I wouldn't change it. While a part of me was taken God wasn't about to keep this "space" empty. He built a "prosthetic" in it's place. A part of me that wouldn't be there if this hadn't happened.

The part that couldn't share this with you. The part that wouldn't be talking about my daily life with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. Strangely, my experience also brought forth a boldness and courage to share intimate details about myself. I am an open book.....just ask anyone from my family, and I remain vulnerable to the masses. While this does have it's drawbacks I can't image the love, support, opportunities, experiences, and so on that I would have missed had this "prosthetic" part of my personality never been there. Truly my grief was made good and I still have more time to see the good that will come from my grief.

I have many more experiences of grief, just as everyone else does, that I could share but I need to get going so, I'll leave it at that experience for now. Just remember, in all your experiences of grief, God will make it Good Grief. This is my hope, this is what I can hold onto when I grieve in my physical pain from Fibro. This will be good.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Invasion of the Body Snatchers!!!

Tonight is Thursday April 26 2012. Had a really good day today. I woke up feeling much better than I have in a while. Took some time to myself while Ryan (husband) took care of the girls. It was pretty short lived but well needed and rather relaxing.

I wanted to write last night but I was too exhausted to even think; got a good nights sleep instead. So, even though I felt so much better today, I can't help but to feel that "feeling so much better" isn't saying much when I consider how I used to feel.

Once a vibrant, outgoing, active, fun, and free-spirited person is now a slow, tired, achy, drained, and cranky person. I used to have fun and be fun. I played sports and worked out. I had dreams and goals. I could do anything if I put my mind to it. I felt "in control" and capable. I cleaned house, took care of two kids and played with them, I was patient and kind, made three meals a day, and was attentive to my friends and family. Slowly, this all began to fade away.

I'm not quite sure when I started noticing a change but I think it was in 2007 after I had my youngest daughter. I began having a lot of joint pain which I thought was probably arthritis. My husband used to joke that I would one day need so many replacements that I would be a bionic woman. In 2009 I began getting really exhausted during the day and by the end of the year I was having to lay down and sleep under a heating blanket everyday because I would all of a sudden feel like a 85 year old lady with the flu. At this point I knew something was wrong.

It seemed like someone had been slowly taking over my body. I began doing research but felt too embarrassed to go to the doctor and explain what was happening. I was scared they would tell me it was all in my head and I was just being a wimp. I started becoming more vocal about how I was feeling and the weird pains I would get. You see, I always thought that everyone felt those same pains but when they got worse I spoke up. Soon I realized that they weren't normal and something was really wrong. After an extensive blood test came back really good I sat in my car and cried. Crazy huh? Well, I had no answers but the symptoms remained. My mom was actually praising God for healthy results while I was crying from frustration.

After more doctor visits I was finally diagnosed. It was a relief to find out that I wasn't nuts. I was being validated and could finally begin treating the problem. I felt so much better for a few months, like I was coming back alive, then my fatigue hit me like a bat to the head. I found something that brought me back from that too and it was wonderful to have manageable pain and energy. Not too long after that my body just seem to shut down. Full invasion had occurred. Where did my body go? Yes, the appearance was a mix of my fault and those wonderful child bearing months, but the pain, the exhaustion over nothing, when did this become me?

I have not yet accepted this "new me" because it isn't me! I want myself back so bad. This invasion is not welcomed by myself, my husband, my kids, or any other family member. While it is being tolerated by some I will not have it any longer! I'm DONE! Move out and stay out! I'm fighting this invasion, this leach that is sucking the life out of me. I'm kicking, I'm screaming, I'm begging, and I'm battling but at the end of the day I loose. I lie in bed at night dreading the fact that I will do it all over again the next day. I wake up not wanting to even move from my position because the moment I do I stir awake my invader and am reminded so suddenly of it's ever present nagging of my body.

I give up! And then I don't. Then I do! Then I don't. THIS ISN'T ME!!! Stubborn me would defeat this and I would continue doing everything I ever wanted to do. I wouldn't be writing this blog practically throwing up all my problems to the world. You would not see this vulnerable, pitiful, and broken Natalie. That is not who I am! I'm proud, strong, outspoken, and ready to take on the world supper-mom. Perhaps I'm being stripped of these things for a reason.

I once explained to my daughter, when we had to move into my dad's house, that sometimes when we build the wrong kind of "stuff" in our lives, God tares it down and rebuilds the right "stuff". We may loose it all in order to gain it all. Yes, the loosing hurts but the gaining is well worth the pain. I told her that it's just like when someone works out, they have to tare down the muscle in order for it to build up stronger. Even though the taring down of the muscle hurts, the gain is well worth it.

Is this what is happening to me emotionally and physically? Am I completely loosing myself in order to find the self God truly wants for me? I'm still here, deep inside my personality and strengths still remain trying to fight their way out. Perhaps this fight has done some tweaking to those traits. Perhaps when I come back, and oh YES I WILL COME BACK, I'll remain vulnerable and broken but strong and ready....perhaps.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Who is my true invader? Is it this disease or is it God?

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Deep Passion

Tonight is Monday April 23 2012. I don't have much to say about my day other than it went by really fast. I have been wanting to talk about a very deep passion of mine; something that God put on my heart about exactly 4 years ago.

After finding out through a talk show that there are people who donate to pay for women to have a particular surgery to "improve" a part of their body, I began to think "if people will actually help strangers pay for that surgery, then surely those who would agree that an education from a Christian school is valuable would help those students achieve that education by financial giving".

I am finding though that more people seem motivated to help pay for those surgeries (because they get to see the "before and after" pictures) than are motivated to help pay for students to achieve their goals. I believe the right people are out there who see the vision as I do and will help.

Here is my vision: To remove the burden of financial responsibility from eligible students who are seeking an education from a Christian school. My desire is that they will be able to focus more on God's call in their life, achieve that education, then turn around and serve our Lord with that very same education. I feel that some are called to the "field" while others are called to support them through the process.

So, I started a non-profit organization called Cross Tuition. The organization was incorporated on June 17, 2008 as an association of churches and also became a legal 501(c)(3) or in other words, a non-profit charity on the same date. I was so excited to watch God as He provided all the right people and resources at just the right time in order to accomplish the process of starting a legal non-profit. Remember, I don't have an education that would qualify me for this type of thing, I was just being obedient.

The mission of Cross Tuition is to provide grants to eligible students attending Christian schools. We rely completely on the financial support of others who want to help these students in the process of achieving their educational goals so they can turn around and serve the Lord. So far Cross Tuition has received over 40 registered students from different countries all over the world. We have been able to give out at least 7 different grants over the past 4 years!

While this excites me I am driven to go further. The grants have been small because of the amount of donations we have received and there have even been times when we could not give out a grant at all. I'm passionate about these students, their stories, and the call on their lives from God. What they are trying to achieve is breathtaking and admirable. I am so honored that God allows me to know these students through their applications and testimonies. So many times I think "if people could only know what I know about these students they wouldn't hesitate to support them".

These are our missionaries, pastors, servants to the "least of these", future world leaders and decision makers, organization starters, and so on. These students will be leading others to the Lord. To think that we might be reviewing the application of the next "Billy Graham" or any influential teacher or pastor just blows my mind. Then to think that we could have a part in helping them get there is even more mind blowing. The Board members of Cross Tuition and I feel called to serve these students but we need help.

After researching the cost of private school for my own daughter I realized just how expensive Christian schooling is and I can't imagine trying to afford a Christian college. Man, while being able to give out grants has been great, I see that the amount of $1,000 is just barely enough to put a dent in the cost; actually it just about scratches the cost and that's it. Now, I know $1,000 is still $1,000 but I can't help but to feel that we can do better.

So, here is my call to you. In June 2012 the Board of Directors will be reviewing grant applications. Our goal is to give out a grant or two in July 2012 that is much larger than $1,000. The number $15,000 wont leave my mind so I'm gonna go with it. We have never raised this much before but I do not doubt God's ability to call people to this vision. Will you consider being apart of Cross Tuition's Champions and help us reach this goal? The grants do not go in the hands of the students but are applied directly towards their tuition costs. All donations are 100% tax deductible and 85% of each donation goes towards the grants. The other 15% goes towards operational costs of the organization. No, there are no paid employees. All who participate in Cross Tuition are volunteers, even the Board of Directors, Officers, and myself. We benefit in no way except for the blessing of serving these students and remaining obedient to God in this calling.

Will you rise up and help these students? Will you choose to be a part of what God is doing through Cross Tuition? You can learn more about Cross Tuition, how to donate, see a list of the Board of Directors, a list of our Champions (donors), and a list of our registered students by going to

Please, if you have any questions ask, I am happy to answer. I will keep everyone updated on our goal over the next month and a half; I know we can do it! Let's watch God move!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

You make beautiful things......

Tonight is Sunday April 22 2012. Today was a hard day. Allowed emotional pain to cause me stress which in turn caused me physical pain. I woke up thinking I was fine but within an hour I realized that I must not be "quenching my thirst" for God's word. I became quickly "dehydrated" and in desperate need of some hydration. Do you ever find that Sunday mornings seem to be "against" you? Do you walk into church feeling that you have no right to worship God in the mindset you are currently in because it would be empty worship?

Got to church, was aware of my mindset and allowed the Spirit to settle upon me so I could worship and learn. I soon felt as though I not only had a jacuzzi size cup of water to "hydrate" my soul but that I had submerged my whole body into that jacuzzi and was soaking in the relaxing warmth. I felt at ease and encouraged. I learned today that, and I'm writing from my church notes, The Holy Spirit's divine presence in our lives sets a new threshold of sustainability...Lamentations 3:19-24 "Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him.'"

I also learned that....from my notes again....We are free from our self-focused standards, to live according to Jesus' standard. Wow, while that is a high calling, it is also very freeing. Christ will not give me what I can't handle. If there are things in my life that are from God and I can't handle them then He will handle them for me. If there are things I have put on myself and can't handle, then I need to let them go and not hold myself to a self-focused standard. This is something that only God can reveal to me, I cannot allow others to tell me what is and isn't from God in my life. I will not be held to anyone's standards but Jesus'.

This revelation was so quenching to me I just about drowned in it. I've held on for so long to self-focused standards and now I can begin the process of letting go. Within minutes after church, as I was still deep in the "jacuzzi" I began feeling this "dry wind" blowing on my head. Like a blow dryer was hanging over the jacuzzi trying to evaporate the warm, intoxicating water of truth right out of me. The dry heat was catching my attention so much that even though I knew I didn't like being "dry" I couldn't help but be drawn towards it. So, here I am now, looking up at a blow dryer the size of King Kong, feeling just about completely dehydrated again. But still, the jacuzzi of truth and life giving water remains there. I continue to keep my toes soaked in order to not dry up and I struggle to get myself back in and completely submerged.

While God can use people's words and actions to speak truth, love, and hydration into your life, those very same people can be used (not by God) by their words and actions to speak lies, pain, and "blow dryers" into your life. It is so very hard not to take those lies and painful things personally. I myself begin to wonder "what is wrong with me and why do I deserve this. What did I do?" In order to protect myself I try and convince myself that I am a good person deserving of good things, I've done this or that and so on. I HATE when I do that! While being humbled through pain I begin to become self righteous and prideful through my self-focused thinking and standards. It makes me SICK! I don't want anything that I do be done for me, I want it to be done for the glory of God. But, when I think like this I am attempting to rob God of His glory in my life. Anything good in me is from God not from myself.

In my own thinking and trying to be the one to lift my spirit, I am lying to myself. I need to not allow lies and pain to humble me but rather be humbled by God and His amazing affection towards me. He then lifts me with that same amazing affection through His word. How quickly I forget what quenched my thirst to begin with. Oh, so human am I.

So, here is how I have kept my toes at least in the water. There is a song we sang at church today, it goes..."You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust; You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us." I remember from this that all those people who may speak lies and pain into my life are God's creation made after His perfect image. They are made just like me, from dust and YES we are all beautiful. Those beautiful people may sometimes hurt me but it is not a reflection of God's thoughts towards me. No, it is a reflection of their own relationship with God and His Lordship over their tongues and attitudes. They are dust as I am dust and they are beautiful as I am beautiful. Sometimes we forget just how beautiful God created us to be. So, with my toes at least soaked, I can forgive because Christ forgives and I can repent of my prideful, self-righteous thinking. I can become humbled by His amazing affection towards me and then lifted by that same affection.

How intoxicating it all can be, when we submerge ourselves in His truth and life giving waters. I was crying when I first started writing this post, but as God spoke to me and I freely wrote as I felt led, I am ending this post with a smile on my face. I get a kick out of Him when He reveals Himself to me through me. I think I might be up to my knees in His waters at this very moment. He truly does make beautiful things!

"I might have to do this all over again tomorrow." But I sure hope not.

PS. I had in mind something else to talk about tonight but I knew I had to remain true to the moment and decided not to. I hope to talk about it tomorrow....I'm really excited about it and want to share it with you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fairy Godmother?

Tonight is Friday April 20 2012. I'll get to the title of this blog in a little bit. First, I want to talk about something. I know that some people may read my blog and think, "what a complainer. Everyone has problems and goes through things that aren't fun but they don't go blasting it all on the internet. Who does she think she is?" Well, let me answer that.

I am no one of influence or importance. I do not possess any special talents deserving of attention or recognition. I don't have special intellectual abilities nor a degree in, well anything. I do not possess surpassing beauty, a singing voice worth listening to, artistic abilities, or special physical talents or tricks. I don't pretend to be any of these things, I am simply who God says I am. I am His daughter.

I didn't decide to write this blog to receive special attention and pity for my life experiences. I know my life is just like yours in one way or the other. I don't "have it bad", rather, I have it pretty good and I know this. I am blessed. I write because my life is meant to bring glory to God. I know He has a plan for me; a journey He is taking me on. I just want to blog that journey so others can "watch" with me to see what God does. He takes us all on a journey but it can be hard to see the blessings unless we've recorded them. Sometimes it's easier to see them in others' lives; we hold an "outsider's" perspective which can help us see more clearly. Well, If my blog causes just one person to think upon God just a little more, to ponder His will or seek His mind, then my time and life circumstances are worth it.

There is a song I love. One of the lines from the song goes "Christ on the mind of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the words of everyone who speaks of me." This is my desire, that my life would cause everyone to think and speak of God. When my name is spoken I want Christ to be the immediate thought in the speaker's and the hearers mind. I want the story of my life to point only and always to Him. This is why I share my "story". Christ was, is, and always will be honest and real. I must then be the same.

I really do love and appreciate all of your comments and honesty. I look forward to reading what you have to say.....keep them coming. I respond to every comment I receive; just in case you didn't know that I do respond to you.

Okay, now to the meaning of this post's title. My girls stayed the night with their grandma last night so I had this morning to myself; I actually had time to think. While I was getting ready I began thinking about how great a blessing my step-mom has been to me. For some reason the term Fairy Godmother entered my head. I am no Cinderella and she hasn't "bibbity bobbity" any of my life problems away. She hasn't given me new glass slippers.....would just exchange them for something  little softer if she had. No magic wand in her hand but I couldn't help to think that there was something magic about her in my life. Then it hit me! There have been a few times in my life when I felt God clearly speak to my heart. This was one of those times.

She is not magic, she is my "Aaron"! Jill, my step-mom, is my "Aaron". She is my Jill. She was there all along but because I am so afraid to let go, to loose control...that I never really had, I was blind to who she was in my life other than my step-mom. She has been there the past year to help me with my kids, help take care of them when I wasn't feeling good, and feed them. She, above all else, has allowed me to "go through this", while remaining honest with me. She tells me what I need to hear whether or not I want to hear it. She has shown me so much grace and mercy while doing everything she can to pick up the slack on my part. She "gets" me, understands me, listens to me, and speaks reality into my life.

Half the stuff she says I don't want to have to accept, but it is right and slowly the Lord has peeled away my stubborn control issues so that I can accept what she says. It is humbling to depend on another women to take care of my family when I can't. I am learning to let go. I was begging God for an "Aaron" that wouldn't just speak for me but hold the staff as well; Jill was holding that staff all along, I just refused to emotionally except it.

I'm really interested in seeing what happens now that my eyes have been opened to this. I'm excited because God is teaching me so much so quick. Walk with me on this journey and let's praise God together in all He does.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why doesn't God just snap His fingers and.....?

Tonight is Wednesday April 18 2012 and I am Achy! My legs are so irritating and I'm just frustrated that they hurt for no reason. I mean, couldn't I have done some awesome workout or long hike that's going to tone them up and strengthen them to account for the pain? No? They're just gonna hurt for the heck of it? That is so dumb.

Having a hard time with my memory the past week. My husband is actually my calender right now; what a twisted turn of events in our marriage, I was always the "event reminder". I guess it's called Fibro fog. It's like my mind is so overloaded that it just kinda shuts down. I've had way more on my plate before but for some reason I just can't seem to remember the things I need to do or plans that I have; weird.

Felt really overwhelmed today with home school. I considered giving up on home schooling so much that I actually did research on private schools in the area. Well, unless God decides to blow us away with money, money, money, we wont be sending Emily to private school this fall. Have a very hide time considering public school at all. I don't know exactly what it is but it just feels like I'm not supposed to go down that path right now. I think this would be a good place for God to bring me an "Aaron". Home schooling Emily seems to be one of the biggest stress causing factors in my life right now and I just don't have the energy to do it any more.

It saddens and frustrates me that I feel this way right now because I'm not a failure and I only have so many years to give to my children all of me before my influence is no longer so powerful. I'm scared to let go of this one. I feel like a selfish failure for even thinking of not home schooling her. When I told my husband my thoughts it was pretty clear to me that he felt I need to stick it out. He is not being mean, he loves his children so much and we are both like minded when it comes to why we home school, this is why it kills me that I have come to the point of wanting to quit. Are my selfish desires to be free of this stress greater than my desire to influence and impact my children in a way that blesses them? As I write these words I feel shame and I cry.

Has this disease broken my spirit? Oh Lord, where is my "Aaron"? Will You not grant one to me in this time of weakness? Is it my husband who will not allow me to quit? I need more Lord, I need not only the one who can "speak" for me but one who can hold the "staff" as well. Will these "waters" remain as my "enemy" approaches? Will You not part this "sea" so that I may cross on the safety of "dry land"? What do You want from me Father? Are You calling me to step out "on the water" while keeping my eyes on You? My vision is blurred by tears of self pity; please bring forth Your mighty wind that they may dry my eyes so I can see You more clearly, for if You don't I will surely sink. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth. Help me Father, please.

On the way home today from AWANA, Emily was talking to me about the possibility that I might stop home schooling her. She was a bit frustrated that she had to learn or do school any way. She asked me, "Mom, why doesn't God just snap His fingers and make it so everyone knows everything and they don't have to go to school?" Great question! Why doesn't He just snap His fingers and.......? You fill in the blank.

I responded with "why doesn't God just snap His fingers and take away my fibromyalgia?" "Why doesn't He?" She asked. Maybe this is why I have fibro, so that in my time of pain I could explain humanity's choice to sin and the spiritual, emotional, and physical results of that choice even if that physical result doesn't directly relate to a particular sin of one's own. We got into why God allows us the choice to love Him instead of forcing it on us so there would be no sin. This really got to her because she couldn't understand why God would "plan" for us to sin. I explained that it wasn't His perfect plan for us to sin but that even though He knew before the creation of the world that we would sin and Jesus would have to bare the unbearable, He loved her too much to not go through with it. He had to create Emily because He already loved her too much not to. He loved you too much and me too much. Perhaps I simply have fibromyalgia so I could be reminded of this. Perhaps the conversation was for me too?

He baffles me so. I can't get beyond nor can I hide from His love for me. I am a whining, sinful, ungrateful piece of dust that He just can't help but to love. They say that love is blind, well my God is love and it certainly must be blinding Him of my humanity. Keep baffling me Lord so that I may hide IN Your love.

He just snapped His fingers and made me any way.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beautifully Human

Tonight is Tuesday April 17 2012. Busy today re-organizing the girl's bedroom and getting rid of stuff they just don't play with; just trying to make their bedroom stay cleaner so I can stay saner ;-)  Took Emily to her musical rehearsal again today and got to see some work my husband was doing at the church. Always impressed with what he can do.

Jessica had soccer practice today but my step mom took her because I had to take Emily. Sad to have missed her practice but I feel very fortunate that I have family to help me out. Came home to wonderful dinner that my step mom made, good! Could tell that I really over did it with my kids room today, my back hurts and my legs just feel so achy, oh well. Pretty sure I'll feel fine tomorrow but I really need to pay more attention to my body. I knew I was overdoing it, especially since I didn't even eat today until 3:15pm.....a granola bar, maybe that's why the chili was so darn good lol.

After dinner I hung out with my girls in my bedroom and watched a movie with them while they ate popcorn on my bed. Movie is still going, they just finished the popcorn, my husband got home from bible study about 10 minutes ago, and I'm ready to just hang out with him and relax.

Last night Ryan (my husband) and I watched a christian movie about life after the rapture; kind of like Left Behind but different. Any way, in the movie there is a clan of Christians who are living in the desert trying to keep safe from the "army". They depend on God for all their resources and safety. At one point two of the men are killed for no reason by the "army" and the group is grief stricken. While the pastor of the group is trying to keep things in order with one of the members and remind him that all things are in God's control, he himself flips out and begins yelling at God. Here is where he becomes beautifully human. As he is yelling at God about wanting justice and how God should just kill all the militia and "army" members and telling Him he wants them all dead, he falls to his knees and becomes beautifully human.

He remains quiet for a moment then surrenders his will to God saying "not my will but your will be done." He apologizes to God for his sinful thinking and then tells his friend "I think I might have to do this again tomorrow." I was wowed by this scene. I could almost imagine God listening to His child yell at Him about what his child thinks is best and rather than striking him down, as God has every right to do, He remembers that his child is dust and has mercy on him. God bestows grace on His child and because of this response His child falls to his knees, surrenders his will, and apologizes. After apologizing he realizes that he just might have to do this all over again tomorrow. So real and so true.

Have you ever had one of these moments? I know I have. I remember a few years ago when I was so angry about something and completely fed up. I went inside my closet and just yelled at Him. I was angry that He could but wasn't changing the situation I was in. In the same moment of my complete honesty with my Father in Heaven I felt that very grace. He remembered that I was dust and he loved me even beyond my nerve to question Him. I too feel to my knees and surrendered. I told Him I knew that I was wrong in being angry at Him but that I couldn't help the reality that I was still angry.

I think that may have been the first time I was ever so naked, bare, and honest before God. In that moment, I was beautifully human; emotionally out of control (human) yet created in His image and broken by His love, grace, and mercy (beautiful). I was real and true to what was happening in me. I must remember that at any time I might succumb to these human moments, I am not beyond my humanity but I have a God Who loves me beyond it.

So, have you? Have you been beautifully human? I'm not suggesting we all go around yelling at God, I'm just saying that if you do ever find yourself needing to be naked and honest before Him (which I'm convinced He appreciates our honesty), just know that He remembers you are dust and accept that grace and mercy so that you can surrender to Him. When our ugliest side of humanity takes over, choose to be beautifully human.

Would love to hear about your beautifully human moments. Please share them with me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

This is the Day the LORD Has Made....

.....I will rejoice and be glad in it! Tonight is Monday April 16 2012 and today was a good day. Will I be able to rejoice in the bad days? Trying to learn how to get to that point. Any way, today I woke up feeling so much better and ready to get the stuff done that I neglected all last week.

I was able to get all those pesky bill things taken care of, took care of some Cross Tuition stuff (although for some reason my email and Cross Tuition's website aren't working. Waiting to hear back from my web hosting company), tax stuff, organized my filing cabinet, unloaded the "chore" for the day so I don't over due it physically.....took my 9 year old to singing practice for a Mother's Day Musical she is in, hung out with my hubby and 5 year while we waited for her practice to finish, and held my 5 year old's hand. I love doing that! Just holding her hand and focusing on that sweet, soft hand that God allows me to hold.

Sang a song from an old Cinderella play to Jessica (5) on the way home in the car. Tweaked it a little but here's how it goes "Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you? Do I want you because you're wonderful, or are you wonderful because I want you? Are you the sweet invention of a Mother's dream, or are you really as wonderful as you seem?" The highlight of my day was just a few minutes later when she sang it right back to me! This truly is the day the Lord has made.

My Emily (9) just walked in the room saying she can't sleep. Going to keep it short tonight because apparently she needs some love from me right now. Any way, before I go I have to tell you that the sun felt great today. I didn't realize how much sun time I needed until I finally went out into the daylight. Wonder if that's kinda how I am with the Lord sometimes. I allow life circumstances to keep me from basking in the SON and when I finally do I realize that I should of so much earlier.

God is good....all the time.....All the time....God is good! This is the Day the LORD has made, will you rejoice and be glad in it? Talk to me, I want to hear from you.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Three simple, yet powerful words...

Three simple, yet powerful words.....Tonight is Sunday April 15 2012. Woke up this morning not feeling well enough to go to church. Stayed home with my 5 year old and watched Veggie Tales on Netflix with her in my bed; it was nice to spend that time with her. My husband took our 9 year old to church with him and my dad and step-mom went to their church so the house was nice and quite.

Before my dad left the house he informed me that he had read my blog. He then went on to say the three most simple yet powerful words to me that I have heard in a long time. No, it wasn't "I love you", although those words are nice to hear sometimes, it was something I needed to hear. You see, I know my dad loves me; I know my whole family loves me as I do them. "I hear you" he said.

It wasn't just the words because you can claim to hear all sorts of things, it was his meaning behind the words. I can't explain the impact that had on me, those three words, but I will always remember he said them. I was being validated, if only by him, I was still being told that I am valid and so is what I experience. Sometimes we are so quick to give advice or tell people what they should do in their circumstances; I am just as guilty of this as anyone, but we fail to realize that if we don't truly comprehend the situation we can hurt each other with our empty suggestions. "I hear you." To be heard and not told.

Maybe we can all somehow learn to sit back and listen and then actually "hear" what someone is saying. To connect with someone because we "hear" them and they know they are being "heard". Somehow those words brought healing to me today, no not physical healing, although I started feeling way better around 1:30pm when I finally got out of bed and ate. A different kind of healing. Not really sure exactly what healed but I felt it either way.

So, considering the late "wake up and get my booty going" morning, today was a much better day. My mom came over for a little bit and we had a good conversation. Ask her if she saw my blog but she hadn't. I went ahead and read it to her after she lectured me a little about my kids not getting enough attention from me when I "flare" and telling me I need to do something about trying to not "flare" anymore. She said that my blog was sad.

I don't intend for this blog to be sad, this isn't about a pity party or wanting anyone's sympathy, although yes, it's great to be "heard". I want to move past being controlled by my disease and continue to blog about my life with it, not my life because of it. Yes, I'm having to learn to make changes and choose to depend on a deeper level on God. I have this thing called a "control issue". Can anyone relate? Well, it seems I've lost all control, not that I ever actually had any to begin with. I guess that's part of the human condition; we think we are in control when in fact that couldn't be farther from the truth.

Here is what I can control though. I can control my attitude, my response to situations, and the level of dependency I have on God. I'm fully aware that my very life truly depends on Him but what I mean is that I can control how much I except to understand that concept. No matter how much I accept it though, it doesn't change the fact that I am completely and utterly dependent upon Him.

After talking with my mom I spent some time, about an hour, making some Jessie Scarfs. It was great to be on my feet, do something I enjoy, have a sense of accomplishment, and stop way sooner than I usually would have. I made 3 scarfs instead of 6-9 of them. I listened to my body. I guess you can say that for the first time I "heard" my body. A sense of euphoria came over me; I accomplished something while still remaining in my physical boundaries.

So, that was pretty much my day. While rather uneventful I can't help but feel that huge progress was made in my life; I was "heard" and I "listened". Perhaps this is the beginning of progress in me. I know there will still be ups and downs although goal is to have more ups than downs, but in any case, this is My Life with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrom.

On a side note: I can't force you to think negatively or positively about my husband but I wanted to express that I hope you don't think badly of him because of what I blogged last night. I'm just being real and that was a real situation. He is good to me and takes care of me; he loves me, he just has yet to "hear" me. I believe that he doesn't research about my disease because then he has to except it. He doesn't want this for me but the truth is that no matter how much he doesn't want it for me, I have it. There is a plan for me, I know this because my God tells me so. My husband is a part of that plan; who knows, maybe you are too. I understand this journey isn't about me but about God's glory, I've just decided to write about it.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

My name is Natalie, I'm 29 years old and as you've probably guessed, I have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Tonight is Saturday April 14 2012. The whole day has passed me by, actually, the whole week has passed me by. I don't think I spent much time with my kids or doing anything productive for that matter these past 6 days. I am left thinking "what purpose have I even served this week?". Let me back up a little. In September of 2011 I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I'd known for a few years that something was definitely wrong with me, I mean, I was in my 20's but I felt like an old lady with the flu most the time.

After being diagnosed I felt a bit of relief knowing that I wasn't just crazy or lazy, there was a reason for all of my pain and fatigue. I was a little nervous though about the diagnosis because as of yet there was no cure, not a lot known about it, and frankly it seemed not very accepted as a legitimate disease. You see, while I knew I wasn't a "wimp" or "lazy" I wanted my family and friends to know the same thing. All I could do was ask them to educate themselves on it. I still find it very frustrating that my husband has yet to sit down and actually learn about it. He said, and I quote "I don't need to research it on the internet, I live with someone who has it." What a slap in the face. So, he cares to research all sorts of stuff about guns and cars, including a gun he "lives" with, but he can't care enough to learn about a disease his wife has.

Okay, I got a bit side tracked there, sorry. After diagnosis I found a medication that helped me manage the pain but it didn't help with the fatigue. About 2 months ago I found another medication that drastically changed my quality of life. While the pain is, well painful, I've learned throughout the years to deal with the normal "non-flared" everyday pain. The fatigue on the other hand was very debilitating. I found myself most days feeling like I needed to just lay down under a heating blanket and sleep; I couldn't do all the things I wanted to do with my family and it made it almost impossible to take care of the necessary things in my life. Okay, so this new medication actually has been affective in keeping me from feeling the affects of the Chronic Fatigue. I have energy again and I, when I don't over do it, feel young again. I can clean, play with my kids, take on tasks and so on. I love it. Here's the problem though, because I have energy I'm mistaken on my body's ability to work.

So, going back to this week. Easter Sunday my family went to my aunt's house to fix it up. There was damage to it and some deep, deep cleaning that needed done because of people who lived there with her and took advantage of her. They are no longer there. Any way, I decided to put my whole self into serving my aunt on Easter, I mean, what better thing to do and teach your kids than to serve on the day that God served us in the greatest way ever? I worked from 11am to 9pm with only a dinner rest. My step-mom kept telling me to stop because she knew what would happen to me after. We are living with my dad and step-mom while my husband works on getting his new heating and and air company off the ground and stable enough for us to be out on our own.....that's a whole other story. So, because we I live with my step-mom and she stays home as well, she sees first hand what having energy and over using it does to my body for days after.

I should have listened to her. Not to her surprise but to my disappointment, I was completely "out of commission" the next day. The pain was crazy; I couldn't even get out of bed until that evening. Tuesday I was still in a lot of pain but it was manageable and I could get around. Wednesday I woke up with more of my "normal" pain level but feeling sick. Thursday I broke down into a self pity fit from my frustration of not being able to be "normal". There are so many things in my life that I want to do...goals, hobbies, dreams, ministries....some selfish and others not, but when I have weeks like this last week I feel incapable of moving forward with any of them; life is put on hold, I have no control, and I feel like nothing will ever get done. I decided at that point that I can't have weeks like this anymore. So, how can I prevent these weeks?

 Well, I find emotional and physical stress cause "flare ups" in me. I have already eliminated a few emotional type of stresses that I could reasonably eliminate but life is full of stresses. I need to learn my physical limits and how to manage emotional stresses. I want to do so much but I'm realizing that I can only do a few things that I enjoy so there isn't so much "on my plate". The rest of me needs to focus on Cross Tuition (non-profit charity I founded in 2008), my girls...including home schooling them, and my husband. I hate that I'm having to give up on giving of myself because I truly love to serve.

I had a conversation with God on Thursday, well, it was more like a child complaining to her dad. I told Him that He either needs to take away all my desires to serve and do more or He needs to take away the disease. I also reminded Him, not that He needs reminding, that just like Moses I'm completely unqualified to run Cross Tuition and to home school the two precious children He gave to me. Not only do I lack the education and "know how" I lack the emotional and physical capacity....without risking a "flare up" to actually be successful with either of them. I know God has called me to both just as He called Moses to go talk to Pharaoh and get His people out of Egypt. Moses felt he couldn't do it because he had a speech problem. God decided to give Moses a way by having his brother, Aaron, speak for him. So, if God wont take away the desires, calling, or disease, then I need Him to give me an "Aaron". I'm interested in seeing what He does and I'm waiting with thanks for His answer in advance.....I just hope my timeline isn't to far off from His.

Friday I progressively got worse. So here we are now, Saturday. I hardly slept last night because I felt so bad; almost went to urgent care this morning because I can't handle another week being sick and unproductive. I decided not to go after I called to find out the wait time.....there were already people ahead of me and the doctor wasn't due to arrive for a least an hour. I decided that trying to sleep would be a better solution for the time being. My husband got a call at 12:25pm from his mom. She was wondering if we were on our way to my niece's birthday party. MAN I MESSED UP! I felt so horrible. I completely forgot about her 14th birthday party today at 12pm. I can't imagine how we made my niece feel by forgetting and not showing up. My husband told his mom that he didn't even know about it, which he later remembered that he did, and that I was in bed sick. I HATE THIS DISEASE!!! Part of fibromyalgia are memory problems and a weakened immune system. If I didn't have this dumb disease I wouldn't have flared from helping my aunt, I wouldn't have gotten sick because I flared, and I wouldn't have forgotten my niece's birthday party.

I'm putting my foot down! It's one thing to be hurt from my own disease but I'm seeing how it's also hurting so many others around me that I love. Strangely enough, putting my foot down so my disease doesn't hurt others means I have to become very focused on myself (ugh! I hate even saying that; it seems so selfish). Putting my foot down must be done with patience and gentleness. I must learn to slow down so that I can speed up and to do less so that more can get done.

So here I am, writing to whoever will listen; maybe no one and that's okay but I will continue to write any way. I will continue to talk about my life and expand on who I am, other than a women with a disease. If anyone is there, I encourage your input, advice, comments, questions, or whatever you have to say. Would be nice to know you're there.