Sharing the Gospel in Spite of Personal Difficulties (CMI Reblog)

First published at Cataclysm Missions International (CMI) on March 26, 2016  

By Anna Popescu

Please visit CMI to see how you can become part of a team
to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world!

Sharing the Gospel in Spite of Personal Difficulties

SharingTheGospelDifficulties

Awhile back, I read an article titled “Telephone Difficulties with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”1 As a person who lives with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, this article helped me understand why I often have trouble with telephone and even one-on-one personal communication.

When you’re on the phone, you don’t get any of the non-verbal cues that come with face-to-face conversation. Communication experts agree that most of communication is non-verbal, and when you remove all those verbal cues, your brain has to work harder to comprehend what’s being said. Our foggy brains may not be able to muster the level of focus.1

This also holds for me many times during personal conversations with people. I will either completely blank out when trying to pull a specific word out of my brain or I start talking about something completely different than I intended, hoping it will help me remember what I was going to say.

I have learned to lean heavily on my computer, tablet and phone to keep in touch with people. I do much better if I can type out what I want to communicate because it gives me the time to correctly compose what I want to say—oh, do I ever love my delete and backspace keys!

I can quietly sit and wait for the intended word or phrase to come to me, without feeling the stress of frantically trying to drag it out of my memory. Typing also allows me to look up synonyms of the word I’m trying to come up with, which leads me to the word in question or to another, better word.

I love to share the Gospel message with people, but I am often homebound with several chronic illnesses. Another big plus of interacting socially online means I can take better care of myself by doing it only when I’m feeling up to it.

Social interaction takes energy. I didn’t understand that when I was healthy, but now I know it all too well. On low-energy days, I really try to avoid the phone.1

These difficulties when trying to communicate personally can also be a part of several other chronic illnesses. Dealing with chronic pain severely depletes energy, and that means we need to make the most of the bits of time when we’re not sleeping or resting.

Most of my days are now “low-energy days,” so I heavily rely on my personal electronics to make contact with people all over the world. Using various forms of social media, I am able to reach out to those who so badly need to hear about the saving mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.

Even if you do not have the limitations of illness, you can still opt to reach out to the world through your electronic devices. If that works better for you, your lifestyle and preferences, go for it! What matters most is spreading the Gospel message, not how you do it. God uses everything; He wastes nothing.

1 Telephone Difficulties with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Adjusting to Serious Illness

This is an excellent article from CFIDS & Fibromyalgia Self-Help. It is not easy to live with chronic illness, whether you’re the patient, the caregiver, friend or family member. Included in this article are ten practical ways that patients and their families can use to make their households and relationships work better.

Adjusting to Serious Illness:
Strategies for Patients and Their Families

By Bruce Campbell

CFS and fibromyalgia force profound adjustments, both for patients and for those around them. Household tasks are juggled, finances are often strained, and all family members wonder what the future will bring. What strategies will help you and your family adjust if you are struggling with the disruptions created by CFS or FM?

Understanding Your Unique Situation

The foundation of an effective response is understanding your unique situation. Every family’s circumstances are different. Just as each patient must individualize his or her self-management strategy, families need to develop a response to CFS or FM that fits their individual circumstances.

The scope of adjustments will be dictated by the seriousness of the patient’s health problems. CFS and fibromyalgia vary greatly in severity. The average person in our self-help program reports that she functions at about 25% of normal, but there are sizeable numbers who are housebound, while others are less affected and continue to work part time or full time. The severity of medical issues will set the limits on the amount of adjustment required.

The family’s financial situation is also crucial. Some families can afford to let the ill person stop working or have her take an early retirement, while others are stretched financially and may be forced to make financial adjustments of various kinds. The presence or absence of children and, if present, their ages is significant. Couples with school-age children have to juggle work and child care. Those with adult children may get help from their kids. The health of the spouse is another important factor. In some families, both spouses are ill or a normally-healthy spouse has a health emergency like a heart attack or surgery.

A final factor is the strength of the bond between the partners. Some marriages are made stronger by illness, while others become frayed and still others break. The response of the well spouse to illness may vary from strong support, on the one hand, to disbelief, abuse and abandonment on the other. Some people in our groups, who have had multiple marriages report that they have experienced the full range of possible responses, most commonly a lack of support in an initial relationship and understanding in a later one.

Ten Strategies

Here are ten ideas for how families can adapt to CFS or FM.

SeriousIllness10Strategies

Read the rest here

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Suffering According to God’s Will

HospitalSick-Joni Eareckson Tada-sm--AMP

Suffering According to God’s Will

by Joni Eareckson Tada


“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will
should commit themselves to their faithful Creator
and continue to do good.” 

—1 Peter 4:19

All suffering is within God’s sovereign will. There is not a sparrow that falls without His knowledge or a soul lost for eternity without His tearful purpose being accomplished. In the midst of the expanse of the sovereign will of God is one kind of suffering initiated by us that God not only allows but rewards.

There are many ways to suffer in this world, where things happen to us. But the kind of suffering referred to by Peter is suffering we experience by choice, through obedience. Such obedience may result in mockery, beatings, discrimination, trials, and temptations. It’s the price one pays for having our bodies in the world and our spirits in the kingdom. Like being on a rack, we can’t escape the torture.

My wheelchair is a suffering that came from the sovereign purpose of the glory of God. And since that time twenty-five years ago, I’ve also suffered things that have come upon my spirit as a result of being in the kingdom. I have chosen to flee temptation, to drag my body from church to hospital, to endure the scorn of those who don’t know God. And I have suffered as a result. Such is the will of God for my life.

The common suffering He comforts. The godly suffering He rewards. Exchange neither for anything. We can “entrust our souls to a faithful Creator.”

Lord, grant me strength to endure the common sufferings of life and the willful sufferings of Your kingdom. In all these, may Your presence sustain me and Your glory be made known.

Taken from Diamonds in the Dust.  Copyright © 1993 by Joni Eareckson Tada.  Used by permission.  Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

 

Day by Day Renewal

Saturday

On this Sweet Saturday, please remember that although we may lose heart during very trying circumstances, God does not lose heart with us. He is always ready to enfold us in His everlasting arms and remind us that through the pain we are being renewed day by day.

Day by Day Renewal

2Cor4-16-18


“Coffee Break: Recharge Your Brain”
read an Internet headline and could I ever relate to that! I am definitely a coffee drinker and very thankful that its pick-me-up properties help ease me into my day. I awaken foggy brained most days, but after an hour or two of java sipping, I feel better able to face whatever the day holds.

JustPourTheCoffeeAfter reading that headline, it occurred to me that if coffee can boost our energy levels, how much more could we be recharged by diving into the Word of God?

In this particular Scripture passage Paul is urging us to not dwell on our present circumstances and trials, but rather to focus on God’s grace in our lives.

I am always impressed by how often Paul—who continually praised God in the midst of the many trials, persecutions and imprisonments he endured—encourages us to look outwardly to God rather than inwardly focusing on our daily concerns.

What an example Paul is! He never lost heart over his dire circumstances and in fact urged his followers to use these situations to draw closer to God in order to be spiritually and emotionally renewed. Paul’s close relationship with the Lord gave him the confidence to rely on the Holy Spirit’s strength when things were toughest for him.

Beloved, we can do the same thing! During those times when we feel we positively cannot go on, let’s not let fatigue or pain keep us from drawing closer to God and renewing ourselves with His refreshing spiritual nourishment.
…..

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SmileyBlackCoffeeAnna

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Oh, the pain…

mish mash

This Mishmash Monday is brought to you by the pain I live with every day. There are several things I’m going through this week that will make it difficult for me to work on my blog regularly for the next couple of weeks, so I’m scheduling several inspirational image posts to remind you how much you are loved by Jesus Christ, the One who loves us so much He died for our sins.

Even though I endure pain on a daily basis, I always look to my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, for “the peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). And I absolutely “consider it all joy…when [I] encounter various trials” (James 1:2).

How is this even possible? Because I know where my true joy lies: in the knowledge that one day I will no longer be in any kind of pain as I enjoy life in my new heavenly home.

So, here’s my mishmash of images that describe (in a way) how I feel on any given day.

CycleOfChronicPain

My term for de-conditioning is “payback”

Fibromyalgia

fibro1

This is how I should look because of how I normally feel

This is how I should look because of how I normally feel

Migraine head

Migraine head

what_is_chronic_pain

If you have trouble viewing the Casting Crowns video above, here are the lyrics to the song, “Praise You in This Storm”:


I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus:]
And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus]

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

AnnaSmile

My Hair Hurts!

I couldn’t believe it when I found this image at A New Kind of Normal. Jamee lives with multiple chronic illnesses so she understands the sentiment in this image.

I can’t tell you how often I have said that my hair hurts, or have had to change clothes because seams and tags cause extreme itchiness and sometimes even pain. I have cut the tags out of most of my clothing and am thankful for the companies which are now imprinting clothing with the information in lieu of a tag.

These are just a couple of my symptoms of my Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS). Oh, and let’s not forget the chronic migraines that are liberally sprinkled in with everything else.

Next week is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Please check out the Invisible Disabilities site to find out more about what’s going on next week, or just to learn more about chronic illnesses that seem invisible to others but are very real to those of us who struggle with one or multiple of these illnesses every single day.

Apparently this flareup I’ve been going through has affected me more than I realized because I thought I had already composed this post and scheduled it for today but I had only started it, typing in only a few lines before laying it aside several weeks ago. But that’s the way my body works in these “new normal” days. As I type this, I am struggling for each word so I guess it’s time to stop typing and publish this.

Before I go, though, I want to keep it real by saying that throughout my many struggles with these chronic illnesses, I have many days where despair threatens to take over. Sometimes it does. But most times I can think clearly enough to remember that I have a Hope that doesn’t quit and never fails me:

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. —Isaiah 40:31

Beloved, no matter what you’re going through, hold on tight to that Hope! One day all pain and suffering will be erased for those who believe in the mighty and saving power of the Hope of the world: our Lord Jesus Christ! Those who trust in His saving grace will be able to live pain-free for eternity. The physical pain we feel now is nothing compared to the extreme joy we will experience in our heavenly homes.

To find out more about the saving power of Jesus Christ, please read this or contact me. I would be so happy to answer your questions!

In His powerful and comforting grip,

Recovery Mode

Reblogged from October 22, 2011: an ongoing issue for me in my new normal…

CRASH AND BURN

It has been a very busy week for me and I’m grateful I was able to do everything I did, but… now I’m going through the crash and burn phase—what I call my payback days. Living with multiple chronic illnesses is no picnic. It’s very discouraging to look around the house and see everything that needs doing but only being able to do the minimum to keep up. I try hard not to think back on how much I used to be able to do, seemingly simple things like cleaning my whole house in one morning.

Those days are long gone.

Now I can only do one thing, such as dusting one room, and then have to stop and rest for awhile before doing anything else. And quite often, dusting that one room is the only task I am able to accomplish that day.

Take something as enjoyable as having company. Rick and I have friends over for coffee on Thursday mornings, and I love my time with these close friends whom we call “family.” But when everyone leaves, I suddenly realize I am wiped out! If the migraine I woke up with hasn’t completely left me, then it feels horrible by that point because of all the talking and laughing during that sweet fellowship. I wonder if that’s what the phrase “hurts so good” means—well, maybe not.

To this “get it all done now” turned “maybe tomorrow” person, it has been a slow process. From denial to frustration to understanding and finally to acceptance, this journey has not been easy. However, I’ve learned some things that work for me:

  1. Accept what you can do and don’t worry about the rest — it will eventually get done.
  2. Make yourself rest often, even if you don’t think you need it at the time. If you’re like me, your mind wants you to keep on going (like that Energizer bunny) even when your body tells you to stop.
  3. Enlist help from your spouse and children for tasks that are too difficult or time-consuming for your energy levels.
  4. Find things to do that you enjoy but won’t add to your pain burden. I can still write, something that fills me with joy, but I’ve learned I have to pace myself  because I could easily go on for hours! I have also discovered how much I enjoy crocheting, especially for others. This keeps me busy, makes me feel productive, and moves the focus from me and my pain to whomever I’m crocheting for at the time. And I have always loved to read and lose myself in a good book.
  5. Be thankful for what you are still able to do, even if it is something as simple as making coffee.

Every so often when I do get out with Rick for coffee or a meal out or to get together with friends, someone will ask how I’m doing that day. My response? “I’m here!” I think that short and sweet statement says it all.