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.