Hello Again

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a blog post here! But it has been on my heart to pop back over here and say a little something. I’ve missed the community here, and think of you often, but there are a few reasons I haven’t been so active on this blog any longer. They are not necessarily the generic reasons one might expect, like writer’s block or being too busy or too ill. It’s true that I’ve been very sick, and that it interferes with writing just as well as the rest of life, making it difficult and painful. As my fellow spoonie Meg said, “I want to be able to do a lot, desperately so, but I live in a body that’s temperamental and if we’re going to be frank; a body that can’t really handle commitment.” It is challenging to write with M.E., let alone on a schedule like bloggers are expected to. But writing is one of the beautiful gifts that allow me to process living each day with such severe illness. It’s something that I love and enjoy. I’m always writing, even if I’m not sharing it. And so, I can’t simply give a reason like this for my absence. Truthfully, it’s been more of a matter of reflecting, of introspection, of observing.

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10 Spoonie-Themed Gifts for The Holiday Season

I thought I’d put together a little something for those of you who are shopping for a spoonie this holiday season (or those of you who want to treat yourself to a little spoonie something!) It’s all in good fun! Here are a few spoonie themed gifts I’ve stumbled across 🙂

P.S. If you are wondering what the term “spoonie” means or where it came from, please check out “The Spoon Theory”

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To The Ones That Inspire {Coffee For Your Heart}

This week Holley shared a writing prompt for a post on who inspires her readers most. While Holley is certainly high on my list, I thought this would be a very lovely opportunity to share a post about some of my dear friends and partners through the battle of illness. They inspire me every day with their brave and tender hearts.

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Kathryn is easy to write love letters about. She’s faithful and silly and sweet and gracious and kind. She’s the kind of person who can send you a card or a text at just the right time with just the right words, so perfectly warm and timely that it feels like she just gave your heart a big, warm hug, even if she’s miles and miles away. She’s spunky but in the sweetest and softest of ways. Her spirit is so faithful, kind, cheerful, and upbeat despite overwhelming pain. I wholeheartedly adore her. Something she says that touches me and reiterates in my heart each day is, “The worse it gets, the greater the redemption will be.” No matter how much pain she faces, she finds a way to believe it will make the healing even sweeter. Her courage and bravery inspire me every day.

Kelly is so full of life that she glows with joy and kindness. Her smile is as bright as her love. She’s the kind of person who sparks smiles and warms hearts. Her faith is strong and her trust in God’s plan is radiantly clear! She’s authentic, honest, and genuine. Despite her battle with severe illnesses, she’s shared the little energy she has to spare with fellow sufferers. She shares her story through her blog and creates upbeat and encouraging videos on topics that sufferers struggle with, and she’s been completely transparent about the dark sides of chronic pain, too. That is something so brave to do. She even has a cute little Etsy shop where she sells her handmade heating-pad covers, key chains, spoons, and jars of hope. Kelly is a true inspiration for those around her. I’m so thankful to have crossed paths with such a beautiful soul.

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Fiona has such a faithful heart. She has devoted much to serving others despite her own trials with chronic illness. She is an administrator for a large online community group for Christians with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Although that is task enough, she also connects individually with other suffers and supports them in loving kindness. Experiencing this is truly touching. Reading Fiona’s words is so revitalizing. She shares encouragement in a very clear and trustworthy way. I admire her strength in staying true to Biblical roots and sharing empathy with those around her.

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{You can join in the Coffee For Your Heart fun at Holley’s site! Stop on by with the picture-link above 🙂 }

When Loss is Gain

A few weeks ago, one of my closest friends and I went on a tiny adventure to a church in a neighboring town. It was a night of worship and a message for college aged kids, and the large and lovely church was filled to the brim with twenty-somethings. The summer series had just begun, and it was all about Godly relationships.

The speakers were a married couple, and they spoke about the significance of self-sacrificial relationships. Kemper began with the example of a fuse; the component of a structure that is designed to fail so that the rest of the machine doesn’t. He spoke about how when an overwhelming electrical current hits, the fuse is designed to take that current so that the other parts of the mechanism don’t have to. The fuse gives itself up, by design, for the sake of the machine. He then turned this example to us and spoke about how we need to let go of certain parts of ourselves for the sake of our relationships. Both he and Laura were careful to explain that we need to be attentive to what we are willing to sacrifice. We need to let go of the negatives, not the positives. We need to let go of the things that hinder God’s glory in the relationship, not make decisions just to please the other person. I couldn’t have worded it any more beautifully and cleverly as they did that night. Their words deeply touched my heart. The truth was so refreshing; so soothing. It’s stayed with me, and it’s reached toward other parts of my life, as well. Because I can’t help but think that if we need to let go of negative things like selfishness, fears, and control to have graceful, nurtured, and healthy relationships with others (and we know we do!), don’t we need to do the same for our own well-being, too?

It may seem to be a strange question. How can we be selfless, for the sake of ourselves? But let’s put it another way:

“…Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” ~Hebrews 12:1

Because when the stress hits, and the choices come, and the days ache, what are we releasing and what are we gripping? Because, my dear friend, if we are clenching our pride and we are releasing our peace, we really must reconsider our choice. What is it that hinders, that so easily entangles us? Are we willing to let go?

Are we willing to let go of the fear of the unknown, so that we can hold on our faith in our unfailing, all-loving Christ?

Are we willing to let go of our prideful desire to do everything ourselves, so that we can accept the grace and hospitality of others?

Are we willing to let go of trying to accomplish tasks we know we are not well enough to, so that we can spare ourselves energy much needed for the things we can do?

Are we willing to let go of the lies that we are incapable, so that we can rejoice over our accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem?

I pray that our view of our relationships and ourselves would be refreshed with the gentle and powerful reminder. We are designed with a vast, intimate potential for intentional, faithful, redeemed relationships and that comes from letting ourselves be freed from all the lies that have stood in the way. This starts in our own hearts. Let us be kinder to ourselves today.

May I ask you this: what are you willing to give up today? And what will you gain when you lose it?

(If you would like to learn more about the message I referenced, please view the “Vintage Ministries” podcast: Love and Nunchuck’s #2 by Kemper and Laura Lewis.)

A Peace that Refreshes the Soul

God has such a special way of slipping sweet surprises into our lives. The right doors open widely, and light shines through their hallways; a friend sends you a message with just the loving words your aching heart needed to hear; you open a book and the page seems like it was written just for you, just for you today; you start a new journey and see the path before you blooming in radiant colors. These beautiful things pop in our lives and we smile as we recognize Christ’s signature on them. It’s like receiving a letter in the mail without a return address, but immediately recognizing the handwriting as your beloved’s. His work has a special glimmer about it; it’s the kind that captivates you and leaves your heart wrapped in awe and wonder.

Last week, I was delighted by sweet surprises like this. It felt like my life was refreshed with the presence of His artwork and I found myself lifting my eyes and my heart up with joy. I was reminded of His tender provisions in a way that I can’t help but want to share with you. So please, cozy in, my sweet friend, and let me tell you this:

You are enough, right where you are.

God can still work through your life, no matter how many limitations that seem to hold you back. They are not stronger than His will for you.

He placed purpose and value within your soul and within your life, and He knows how to express His glory through you.

You can rest safely in His love, for who you are and where you are never leave His sight.

He has a rescue plan for you; a ransom paid long before you took your first breath.

He met each of your needs before you even recognized them as such!

He is the same God that met each of Adam’s needs in the garden; from breath to nourishment to companionship to love. He will do the same for you, His beloved child.

For He will not leave nor forsake you.

Your journey has just begun!

So with grace fresh in the air and hope blossoming all around us, let’s open our hearts, our bibles, and the doors to our dreams. Let’s share smiles of love, even to strangers, and beam with the joy filling our hearts. Let’s breathe in the peace of Christ and let it soothe our souls. Let’s open our arms to the hurting and embrace them with warm hugs and encouraging words. Let’s speak the truth, even to ourselves. Let’s lay our hearts in the radiance of Christ like we lay in the sunshine; warmed, soothed, and comforted. Let’s detox from Satan’s lies. Let’s stretch our hearts and our bodies and feel the rush of excitement. Let’s thrive in His goodness and spill out in praise. Let’s refresh our weary hearts by drinking deeply of His living water. Let’s live in unity; let’s forgive. Let’s release any bitterness and live full of the sweet reasonableness He’s designed us for. Let’s rejoice, for we can do all of this and so much more in Christ our Savior.

Praying peace to you.