Monday, February 28, 2011

God's Comfort Zone

I follow a ton of blogs. One hauntingly beautiful one is called A Holy Experience, by Ann Voskamp, New York Times best selling author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. I have yet to read this book for myself, but today's post leapt off the screen and right into my hear. Yet again, God reminds me about His gifts in the midst of pain:
When God moves us out of our comfort zone —- into places that are way bigger than us, places that are difficult, hard, painful —- even hurt — this is a gift. We are being given a gift. These hard places give us the gift of intimately knowing God in ways that would never be possible in our comfort zones.”

And further down the post...

"When God moves us out of our comfort zone…

"When God…

"We’re in the God zone when we’re out of our comfort zone and the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, comforts us when we step outside our comfort zone. It’s only in the uncomfortable places that we can experience the tenderness of the Comforter."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spinal Fluid

Spinal fluid now also points to ME/CFS as a "real disease". It's so encouraging to watch science continue to validate what those of us who have lived it have known all along!CBS news

Since there was a big news splash last week basically telling patients that we could "exercise our way to health," a dangerous notion that could lead to significant relapse as most of us have personally experienced, the CBS report was a breath of fresh air. To read more on last week's reports, check out Advocates Hit Back on Graded Exercise for ME/CFS. Dr. Paul Cheney, MD, PhD, states that the idea that patients can ‘exercise their way to health with this illness is foolishness... insanity."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chronic Lifestyle

I would truly love you feedback on how illness has impacted the big picture of your life, be it not marring or having kids, a change in educational or career goals, a new direction you never thought you would take (but maybe find you love more than you expected), or anything you would like me to consider about big life decisions or lifestyle choices that are changed by your health. Please share your joys, frustrations, victories, struggles, eye-opening realizations, heartaches and achievements. I truly want to know! You input may help shape the direction of my book and is highly appreciated.

How has your illness impacted the decisions you make concerning daily life? Do you find yourself making choices that surprise you or surprise others in spite of, or sometimes specifically because off, your health needs? I'm curious to know where you "push" yourself, what dreams you let go of because of your body's demands, what things you do anyway, but maybe differently? How is your life impacted so that it differs from what you pictured before illness? In what areas have you been able to thankfully maintain normalcy? In what ways are any differences actually a blessing and in what ways are they are disappointments or sources of discouragement?

I've been thinking about all of this since recently posting resources and recording a radio interview about our family's choice to homeschool (sometimes "bedschool") while living with XMRV. For us, homeschooling is a path we probably would have taken anyway, but the challenges and blessings are both multiplied by the realities of my body's daily unpredictability. I am eager to hear about your daily life and how your health impacts you, both positively and negatively, in both daily and overall lifestyle decisions.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Valentines Day Gift... of Pain?

This beautiful story was first published on the website of Rest Ministries: Chronic Illness Ministry and is reprinted here with permission of the author, Dana Kennedy. I love the way it captures the concept of the "gift" of pain! (c) Copyright, Dana Kennedy, 2011

In a holy whisper, compassionate eyes searching my soul, He hands me a gift.

“I love you, my child. As the cross is a symbol of my love, so is this gift. It’s not what you desire, but it will bring you more than you ever asked or imagined. Remember, all my gifts are good.”

Tears course off His face as He leans down to kiss my forehead.

As I carefully open the gift avoiding the thorns twisted into a bow, the blood red paper drops to the ground. I lift off the lid and peer into the tiny box. Before my mind can comprehend that it is empty, I am brought to my knees. Pain, fatigue, and weakness crash through my body pulling me under. Instantaneously, I am stricken with illness.

“Oh, God! What have you given me?” I scream in anguish.

“There, there, my child. Be still and know that I am God.”

He gathers me to His heart and carries me to the darkened window. As His breath dispels ice crystals formed in the shape of a dove, He points outside and says, “Look beyond your own comfort, to see what I see.”

In the crisp chill of a winter night, the heavens open and I know fully even as I am fully known.

My life includes gifts many healthy people experience. The chance to wed and to have children. The gift of friends and loved ones, a home and a church. But, the most intriguing gifts are the ones He gives through illness.

I realize I can’t, God can, and I let Him.

In being sick, I am forced to lean on Christ more. I appreciate the beauty of each snowfall, not just the first one, because I have time to treasure His creation. I realize that being physically weaker doesn’t mean I am worthless. Using my heart instead of my hands is my role in the body of believers.

As He caresses my face with a look of love I can’t begin to fathom He says…

“My child, the true gift you hold tonight is me. I want for you to know me and to love me above all else. Because this is truth, your illness isn’t some evil plan of mine designed for your ruin. It’s meant to bring you closer to me, my heart and my will for your life. For without it, you wouldn’t be all I’ve planned for you. Remember, when you begin to doubt my love, that I came as a babe to save all mankind. I am the gift.”

With that thought echoing in my heart, I kiss His check and accept my gift.
Dana Kennedy is a survivor, encourager, wife and mother. She writes a devotional column for Glory and Strength e-magazine. It has taken Dana the better part of 17 years to begin to understand the gifts God has hidden for her in chronic illness, especially Himself. Dana welcomes your contact at

Looking for more great articles like this one? Contact:
Rest Ministries, Inc.
PO Box 502928
San Diego, CA 92150

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Invisible Poetry Contest

Thank you, Dr. Dolan, for hosting the Invisible Poetry Contest. Congratulations to all the winning poets. Thank you for including What's In a Name? in your top 20 pick!