Category Archives: Migraine

O Christmas Tree!

Today is another Wonderful Wednesday and I’m enjoying the Christmas decorations I finally put out yesterday. It didn’t take long because I’ve pared down the process a lot over the last few years, but I still needed some recovery time afterwards. I spent the afternoon dozing in my recliner, happy with what I had been able to accomplish that morning.

Life for me these days is lived in bytes, small bits of time in which I break tasks up into manageable pieces. Gone are the days when I could  accomplish five or six things at almost the same time, all while compiling a grocery list in my head. But I’m not complaining. I truly appreciate the days when I can do more than just live through a migraine.

It’s funny how used to things one can get, given enough time and thought. Last year, one of the darkest years of my life, a good day for me meant not sleeping most of the day away. Earlier this year, I felt thankful when I no longer needed insulin injections. Now… well, let’s just say that I plan the night before the one or two tasks I want to accomplish the next day and hope for the best.

Christmas preparation for me used to involve days and days of making and freezing cookies and other delectable treats. I would crank up the Christmas music on the stereo and sing along during hours of decorating. If it was snowing outside during any of these activities (I’ve lived in snow country most of my life), then all the better.

Now life is slower but not by choice. Still, having had to slow down is not a completely bad thing. In a few minutes I’m going to slide into my recliner and gaze around the living room at our few decorations. Although we no longer put up a traditional tree, the sight of the small ceramic Christmas tree with its tiny colored lights always brings a smile. My mother-in-law made it especially for me as a gift many years ago and I cherish it still.

So, do any of you have treasured Christmas traditions or keepsakes? If you do, please share them in the comment section below.

 

 

Give Thanks to God

“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.”

–Psalm 95:1-3, ESV

This year has been one of ups and downs for me, but the ups far outweigh the downs. The best thing that happened in my life this year concerns my son. After praying diligently for him for many years, he came back to the Lord and was baptized in September. And the day after that, he was on a plane to Albania where he was part of a medical mission team. To say that this mother’s heart was full of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord is a gross understatement!

All around us things are happening that make life a challenge. My daily battle with migraines continues but the pattern has changed somewhat. I still wake up with a migraine every morning and go to bed with one every night. The difference now is that on many days I am migraine-free for about four hours so I can at least feel somewhat human and get a few things done around the house.

The other day a close friend who has been estranged from her son for several years received the sweetest note from him as the first step in a joyful reconciliation. In this note, he asked for forgiveness and told her that God had been doing a work in his heart.

My husband and I were saddened to hear of the recent sudden death of a dear friend we knew when we lived in California. We shared many a Saturday morning over coffee, discussing many things including Biblical matters. We don’t know if he ever came to know the healing power of Jesus Christ, but our heavy hearts are comforted by the fact that God knows, and that is enough for us.

Read or watch the news and it is easy to see that all over the country people are struggling with health and financial issues, family and personal relationships, extreme weather devastation, and job problems. Our cost of living is constantly on the rise in direct contrast to most people’s income staying the same or going down.

And yet, in spite of all this, God is always with us and ever in control.

Is life getting you down? Are you wondering when — or if — your suffering will ever end? Why not do something completely different than what our normal human tendency dictates? I’m talking about a radical approach to everyday life, a way of lifting ourselves up before we get mired down in the muck of life as we know it. Here it is: thank God for each and every thing in your life, the bad as well as the good.

Wow… really? Yes, really! It is understandably difficult to thank God for illness, questionable finances, family problems…and on and on. But — and here it comes — how we will be blessed!

Huh?

This is more than the power of positive thinking. It is an inner calm and a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), not in spite of your circumstances but because of them. See what I mean? Radical, right?

Beloved, our thanks to God ought to be because of who He is, not for what He does or does not do for us. We need to be thankful for every single thing in our lives, whether good or bad, because these are what He uses to shape us into who He wants us to be. And the first and best thing we should thank Him for is the ultimate gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, Who died in our place, for our sins. How awesome is that?

I wonder if changing our thought process this way would change our outlook on life. I mean, if we remember to thank God first for everything in our lives, wouldn’t that change our view of our circumstances?

Since I am a visual person, I like to picture this: place your arms out wide — this is how much we think we need; now place your hands about six to eight inches apart — this is how much we actually need.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive us for not always acknowledging who You are and how much You have given us. Thank You for sending Your Son to die on our behalf so that we can spend eternity loving and worshipping You on Your throne. Help us to always remember that You want the best for us, even when we can’t see or understand it. We love You, Lord, thank You for being our All in All!

*~*~*

“I thank God for my handicaps, for through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”    –Helen Keller

“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” –Henry Ward Beecher

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” –1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

Migraine Life in the High Country

See this photo? This is the way my migraines make me feel.

Once again I woke up with a killer migraine. No real surprise since I went to bed with the same one last night. In fact, I can’t recall a day without a migraine except for when I went to Phoenix a couple of weeks ago to visit my children. My head really likes the lower altitude down there but my heart loves the high country.

I didn’t know until we moved up here that my body does not like the mountain elevations, so for the past 7 years, my doctor and I have struggled to find a medication or treatment that will conquer these migraines. Between bad side effects (which were worse than the actual migraine) or the medication just not working for me, I am now relying on Excedrin Migraine and Alka-Seltzer at times when the nausea grips unrelentingly, like last night. These provide temporary relief, but when faced with a situation like mine you finally come to the realization that relief is relief, even if it is temporary! I start my day with a migraine and the OTC meds generally kick in mid-morning, so I have about 4 to 6 hours of relief before the barometric pressure changes at sunset and the migraine haunts my evening hours.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining or whining, just stating the facts. My doctor finally told me that apparently my body has never acclimated to the high altitude here. Ya think?

But don’t feel sorry or sad for me. What I may have lost physically God has more than blessed me with spiritually:

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:5-6)

I think this boils down to a statement I’ve seen before which says:

When you’re down, look up!

Dear friends, think on this: if life was perfect here on earth, would we ever long for heaven?

Joy in Our Circumstances

“Genuine, authentic faith must be definite and free of doubt. Not simply general in character; not a mere belief in the being, goodness, and power of God, but a faith which believes that the things which “he saith, shall come to pass.”” ~Necessity of Prayer, E. M. Bounds

Joy

“Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:10b,c)

Don’t you wonder how Job could say this after everything he went through? Doesn’t it make you shake your head and think, “yeah, right”? How could Job even think to say this after everything–and I do mean everything–was taken away from him?

Job had it all: a loving family, great wealth, a thriving business and good health. He was loved and respected by his family and the community because he was a very general and loving man. He indeed had it all… until suddenly it is all taken away and he is left helpless and hopeless.

Oh, did I say “hopeless”? Hardly.

“Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.” ~C. S. Lewis

I know it’s been quite a while since you’ve heard from me but rest assured that God has been very much at work in my life. I have been heard to say that I’d like to wipe the year 2010 from my calendar, but as I have reflected on this, I have to say now that’s not really true.

Like many of you, I live with daily chronic pain. Among the several illnesses I endure, my most persistent “thorn in the flesh” is daily migraines. Last year I tried yet another medication I hoped would help but the greatest side effect was to increase the intensity and duration of my migraines plus cause me to sleep for a good portion of the day as well as at night. It wasn’t unusual for me to get 12 hours of sleep during the night and then sleep again for 2-3 hours in the morning and again in the afternoon. I found myself unable to do the simplest tasks and the year went by in a blur of pain.

Without going into too much detail, it turned out that the new medication had caused a host of reactions, the least of which was the increased migraine activity. Once I was completely weaned off this medication, I started feeling almost human again. Living in a haze of pain medications is no picnic!

So many times last year I felt as if I was sliding through what I called wasted days–when all I was capable of doing was sleeping, eating and some light household chores. I spent lots of time talking to God, wondering why this was happening to me and if it would ever end. I thought my days were wasted because I wasn’t doing anything that I deemed valuable, but in reality God was doing a work in me that I finally understand.

Before this time of pain and frustration, I understood how to be joyful in spite of my circumstances. However, I can now see that God has shown me how to be thankful because of those same circumstances. In effect, God increased my faith by allowing me to travel through that tough time in order to bring me to the realization that not all bad things are… bad!

God allows circumstances and situations in our lives that are sometimes very difficult to navigate, and all He wants us to do is trust that He knows what is best for us. It is all about having faith in spite of not seeing or knowing the “why” of it. When we cannot understand the meaning behind our suffering, we immediately want to tell God how angry and frustrated we are. I know, because I’ve been there.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”(Hebrews 11:1).

Faith essentially does not make sense to our human way of thinking. I guess that’s why it’s called faith–”a belief that is not based on proof,” according to the dictionary definition.

When we pray in faith, we are saying in effect that we believe God knows what is best for us–in spite of what our circumstances appear to be. We are ultimately acknowledging what we know to be true: God knows all and we do not!

In spite of that, we want to breeze through life without experiencing any kind of pain or disappointment. We think that “if only” this or that wasn’t happening in our lives, everything would be so much easier or better. If only we had more money or more time or better health or a larger home or a different job… and the list goes on. What if the circumstances in our lives–good or bad–are there to make us stronger? What if–bear with me here–we try to change our outlook so that the “bad stuff” doesn’t seem so bad after all?

“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.” ~George Seaton

Beloved, if life on earth was one big picnic would we ever yearn for heaven? Would we truly be able to appreciate Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross?

Oh, and our friend Job? In spite of all the horrible things that happened to him, “Job did not sin with his lips.” Obviously Job was not happy that he had lost so much and did not like what God was allowing in his life, but he trusted God even as he was going through that terrible time. Oh, that we could all be as Job and exhibit such trust in our Creator!

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”             ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m thinking that life here on earth is meant to grow our faith, to show us how to life joyfully and victoriously because of our circumstances, not merely in spite of them. “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being” (Psalm 104:33).

“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!” ~Psalm 57:7


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