Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Unwanted Party Guests

I can't remember if I told you that I have fibromyalgia. Part of the reason I can't remember is probably due to fibro fog (think an episode of being forgetful and slightly ditsy).  Fibromyalgia has a lot of associated symptoms. I don't care for any of them.

Right now mine is out of remission. I know that's a word that associated with cancer but it fits here too. Mine doesn't flare up everyday. Sometimes I go for long stretches without issues. But for the last 3 weeks, my body has been host to unwanted party guests. Pain, fatigue and forgetfulness stop by and throw a party in my body without my permission. Sometimes they bring other "friends" along like GI issues, lack of depth perception, sleeplessness, sleepiness, etc. Sometimes it's a short-lived party. Other times it's like those weeks long fests you read about in the Bible.

I could focus on the really horrible parts of this condition. And sometimes I do because it can wear you down and completely out, literally. It's hard to tell your husband to not hug you today because every part of you hurts. It's frustrating to ask your teenager the same question 6 times because you really can't recall what she just said 45 seconds ago. I could go on but I think you get the picture. I could go there on a hourly basis. But this time around, I'm choosing not to.

I am trying to focus on the joy in it. Yes, I said joy. Every unpleasant situation doesn't have to just be unpleasant and difficult. We can choose to see something good in it. For instance, because I sometimes can't sleep, it allows me to read more good books or write. When I feel the extreme exhaustion coming on, I delegate unfinished tasks or just let it be. That's freedom right there. When I'm hurting I know I have to find other ways to allow my family to connect physically with me. Maybe they can't hug me but they can hold my hand or gently touch my knee. The point is that we have come together to come up with a solution.  I don't know how I'm going to feel from one day to the next, so I focus on the most important stuff and leave the rest. It helps me see what my real priorities are. That's priceless, no?

I'm reminded of Paul. He asked God several times to take the thorn from his flesh. (sometimes I wonder if it was fibromyalgia, because it is definitely a thorn in the flesh) God's answer was "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9). In my own life that's God saying, "Mari, you will depend on Me. You will know that your energy, strength, your everything comes only from Me. I will supply what you need in the face of fibromyalgia and the other medical conditions that accompany it. You will glorify me in your weakened state." He's right. I'd overdo it, over think it and sometimes overlook His hand in my life. But this condition, this horrible situation grounds me in Him. It builds and strengthens my trust in Him. So I say bring it! I will rejoice in it. I will find joy in it. And God's great name will be glorified through it.

Be blessed,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turn It Around Tuesday: It's Only Temporary

It's November. When I was living in Chicago that meant 40 or lower degrees and possibly snow. In North Carolina, where we live now, it's 76 degrees. A girl could get used to this. But. You knew that was coming didn't you? This Indian Summer is temporary. Thursday the high will be 55. Sigh!

A little while ago I wrote something that reminds me of how things are temporary. Warning: this is raw and unedited. Be gentle with me :)

Even though there are dark clouds above, notice that they are moving. They are not here to stay. There is hope of blue sky and sun to come. The wind has uprooted some trash cans and recycle bins, scattering their contents about. But this too is a temporary situation since a clean up crew or resident will return the trash to its rightful place. Even the bits of trash cannot take away from the beauty of new life seen all around. The trees are displaying their new buds in an array of colors, reminiscent of fall. Even those that are bare seem expectant, standing next to their budding counterparts. Though not perfect, what I see is still beautiful because it screams hope.The temporary blighted scene cannot detract from the hope of the beautiful scene that will soon emerge. I can hardly wait.

Hope. When things are going bad, remember they are only temporary. There is hope in a change. When you can't seem to get it right, remember it is only temporary. Situations and circumstances are temporary. They ebb and flow. They change. Temporary. Sometimes we like the change. Sometimes we don't. Either way, we know at some point, change is coming. That's hope life works.

But there is one thing we can count on to be permanent and full of hope. God.

"For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob." (Malachi 3:6 NKJV)

"And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16 NKJV)

"For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD endures forever" (Psalm 117:2 NKJV)

I could go on and on. But it all begins and ends with this fact. Life here on earth is full of the temporary. Our souls long for permanency. The only way to satisfy that longing is to fill it with the best. And the best is God. If you don't know Him, have a relationship with Him or seek Him daily, start today.

Blessings to you all,


Friday, November 11, 2011

Frank Friday : Family Dinner

Tonight we went out to a local Mexican restaurant for family dinner. We started this a while back as a way to spend some time together as a family. It sounded like a great idea at the time. However, we had some rough outings. Somehow the family dinners (and even family lunches on occasion) often devolved into arguments and hurt feelings. I can't even explain to you why this happened so often. So we stopped doing them.

But this week my oldest teenage beauty decided she wanted to do family dinner again. I was shocked because she was the one who said we needed to never go out again as a family. OUCH!  Despite that, we all agreed to give it one more try. And we really meant just one more try. One.

We had a rough start. I got hungry and then she got hungry and we hadn't left the house yet. I started making my "Y'all know how I get when I'm hungry" comments. She started making her usual "I'm irritated" comments. My husband and my youngest teenage beauty were oblivious as usual. (And I say that with love). I finally said, "Let's not start. We need to try to make this a nice outing and get along for a change." That didn't go over well. I believe some comments were made by a certain teenager about not being blamed for this. I decided not to acknowledge said comments and a few minutes later we were all on our way for some tasty food and family togetherness.

The food was good. We had some easy conversation and a few laughs.  Aside from a few reminders to put away cell phones and some complaining from a certain picky person about their food (as usual), it was actually a good time. Now mind you, dinner was fairly quick and we were home in short order. I was tempted to feel a bit cheated because it was such a short evening, but then a verse came to me.  "A wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands." (Proverbs 14:1 NIV). So I could take a successful, albeit short family outing and build on that, or I could complain and destroy it all. I could almost hear Monty Hall from "let's Make a Deal" saying "Will it be Door #1 or Door #2?" (If you're too young to know about Monty or Let's Make a Deal...just go with me here).

I chose Door #1. I'd rather be a builder than destroyer. So I said, "Well that turned out well. We'll have to try this again soon." No one said no, so I guess we're on for another family dinner soon. I'll keep you posted on how it goes :) Meanwhile, all I can say is:

Thank you God for your Word that instructs and lifts up.

Blessings to you all,