Being Real

I wanted to speak to all of you from the heart for a few minutes (besides a health and circumstances update). I know that my posts can be a little wordy, but if you can stick with me to the end I would really appreciate it. I have had some serious ups and downs recently, not just physically but emotionally, mentally and spiritually too, and that is something I am going to try and be raw and real about.
As you all know these health difficulties have been plaguing myself and my family for decades, but especially my sister and I. And with this recent setback (again) it is so easy to feel depressed, lonely and hopeless….
Today on this sunny Saturday I think of all of you out there, socializing, having fun, seeing friends, being outside, doing things…. living normally. And for me this morning my POTS is acting up and it is hard for me to even stand without feeling breathless and weak and having waves of heat. (More on POTS below). Another day of my life sacrificed to the Lyme gods as they accept my life as an offering one day at a time (please no one be offended by this little metaphor). 
So this is going to be another in a long line of weekends for me basically in bed resting. I have given about 2/3 of my adult life to this: go to work, go to bed, repeat. I’m back in that cycle where I have just enough strength to work my part time job….and not much else. I call these cycles many things, including Survival Mode and the Chronic Illness Coma. I feel isolated, forgotten, left out and lonely. I keep seeing the years of my life tick by and my life eroding away, with opportunities disappearing on a fading horizon. 

Try and picture for a moment if this was your life for years and years, and you found yourself in your late thirties having your youth behind you having never properly experienced it. You are alone. You’ve never had a significant other or even an opportunity to get one, and you watch most of your friends live there lives from a distance doing “normal” things that you have never experienced and are not normal for you.
I had a very bad weekend last week; besides having a scare and being in the ER on Saturday, I was also very depressed and the enemy saw an opportunity to open a wound. 
The mind can go down Dark rabbit holes so easily: This isn’t living. Alone. Single. Sick. Struggling. My brain and body betray me. Thinking about eventually having my parents die and (gulp) Shiloh in time, and being utterly alone and destitute with no one to be a support is not a fun thought. I also feel like I am such a financial burden and my parents would be so much better off and more secure if I just died. (That’s a major one Satan like to come at me with). 
Thank you to a couple friends who encouraged me last Sunday and reminded me who I am in Christ, and who just listened and let me be real with my feelings.

That said, I am peeking back out of that dark corner and God is reminding me that faith and Who He is for me and His power over my circumstances have nothing to do with my emotions or mindset or the infections in my body and brain that are effecting those things.

After all, faith is all about what we do not see, what we do not feel, and relying on He Who dwells outside the shallowness of those things. 
Why did I share all that? I don’t think it’s because I want pity. I want to be normal, I just want to live, I don’t want to be a person that needs pity! No, rather I just want to be heard and understood and I feel like when I drop off the face of the earth that I don’t do so to the people in my life as well, and I’m just forgotten. 

I do want to thank the couple people who do stay in contact with me, it means the world. Just a text, just a “hi”, nothing fancy, just knowing I’m not forgotten.
Why The Chronically Ill Post TMI

Thank you so much for reading this far.
As far as myself and my sister Holly as you know we are going through treatments right now to deal with some deep parasitic and other infections in our bodies that are not only gut related but are attacking our livers, kidneys and other organs too, and the treatment has been rough. I just did my retest lab work this last week to confirm what infections remain after phase 1 and how to approach my Phase 2 in this next round of treatment. I have had it confirmed that (among other things) I do still have Bartonella: What is Bartonella & its Symptoms?

 Babesia: What is Babesia & its Symptoms?

which are the two major Lyme coinfections. 

My POTS which is usually mild also goes to more of a moderate degree when I have a flare up, and that’s been difficult ( Lyme & POTS )
My sister and I could use prayer that these treatments work, and that maybe this will be the beginning to the end of this multi-decade battle.
Lyme (collective term for Borrelia, coinfections and complications) is so hard to treat because it can change form, hide from the immune system, be antibiotic resistant, cross the blood-brain barrier and infect any and all parts of the body, and treatments are basically going layer by layer, getting deep stuff to come to the surface, and repeating the process. 

A good metaphor would be weeding a garden: you pull weeds, you rototill, you use poison, you pull up roots and do your best with what you see. But you miss a few roots, you can’t always identify every weed, and the “poison” ruins the soil so you have to keep replenishing as you’re killing, and just when you think you got it all…. you find there’s stuff you missed that starts growing and taking over again.
Here is also a good link on why treatments make you feel worse: What is a Herx?

Wow guys, thanks for sticking with me and hearing me out! Even with all that writing it is still just a summary. 

Please also pray for God’s financial provision as for this season expenses have again skyrocketed into about 5,000 a month.

I have been unable to paint again, and that has been disheartening. If anyone has any clever ideas for fundraisers let me know! (It would have to be in the realm of my capacity). 

Steidl Family Lyme Fund
Jennifer’s Lyme Fund
Thank you again for taking the time to read all this. 


Don’t Miss Out On The Collateral Beauty 

I just watched a movie called Collateral Beauty; (you probably saw the trailer at Christmas time), a tale of a broken man and a call back to life from unexpected sources. Well not what I would call a great or life-changing film, I would say it was a good one, and it had some good life lessons that were given to us by “death”, “time”, and “love”.
One line in the film spoken by “love” to a hurting man who lost his child was “yes I was there in her smile, there in her laughter, there inside you in the happiness…..But what you need to know is that I am here also in your pain. I am in everything and the reason for everything. ”
I found this incredibly profound and in a sense very true; but instead of simple love as the world would understand it, I replace that with the person of Jesus Christ; Who in himself is the embodiment of love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son….”

He is the reason. He is the purpose. He is as relevant in our joy as He is in our suffering. He catches every tear and often we feel Him more closely in pain than in joy. 
In the blindness of our own humanity so often we fail to see Him working underneath the surface, but He is, even (especially) in our misery.

For He said He causes all things to work together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose. That is where our faith and our hope lies; nothing, I repeat nothing is wasted when we are in Christ. Quite the opposite. All things are redeemed for his glory and our good.

Sometimes we are lucky (blessed) enough to catch glimpses of Him working miraculously in the most difficult and tragic circumstances. When we get these glimpses of his hand at work sometimes we call it a miracle. But may I propose that this is the normal and not the extraordinary? Do we need to see with our eyes, or do we need to know what God is up to in order to believe that He is always, always working underneath the surface of all things at all times? For his ways are higher than our ways, his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And in his omniscience He weaves webs with a million strands of intricacy with multi-faceted intentionality in every life circumstance. Not because of who we are, but because of Who He is.
So no matter what is happening, whether you see a purpose or not, whether you simply see the circumstance or maybe get a glimpse beneath the surface into the divine….. “just make sure you notice the collateral beauty”. 

Is Hope A Burden? And Accepting Circumstances…

I have been in a different place as of late; all I can say is that there has been an internal shift and this last round of die-off did something to me on a deep level.

As you know (I think at least) I had kind of a double whammy that began with starting a cellular detox May 20th followed by treatment by my LLDC May 23rd where he found that the three B’s were in remission, but that I had Epstein Barr, Non-STD Clamydia, Erhlychia, Lyme Coinfection virus A and C, plus Protozoa.  The first several days after treatment I was fine, felt great in fact and even had some activities with friends. But then I got hit hard and went back down the rabbit hole as I call it. I had been experiencing horrible body pain (much worse than the norm), bad enough to keep me from sleeping at night and causing several bouts of tears, both from the pain and frustration. Also any energy I had got snuffed out, went into a foggy place again, swelling worse… You know, all the usual stuff. 

Somewhere in the midst of this the hopeful light in me went out; it’s just been too many years….too much struggle. Thankfully I felt a slight lift a few days ago and checking the calendar it coincided almost exactly with six weeks post/treatment (they always say die off runs about six weeks with this therapy). I am still not feeling great but I think (hope) this accute bad spell is behind me. But I am left on the other side of this most recent storm a little different than when I went in. It’s hard to explain; I have been through the mind-numbing years when things were unbearable and I was in a state of apathy, grieving and hopelessness, simply surviving one day at a time. I have been through the period following this of awakening and letting go of grief and the regrets of lost time and loss of life and having so much hope for the future… Letting myself dream again. But now I seem to be in a place of complacent acceptance where hope itself has become a burden and not a joy. 

I guess I need to clarify that I have not lost hope in the Lord or the fact that He has good things planned for me or is doing good things, not at all. By His grace I have grown so much and continue to grow. I am blessed by a family I love dearly and we all weather this ongoing storm of chronic illness together because we are all in the same boat, it’s drawn us closer. I am blessed by some of the best friends a person could possibly have. I am blessed by my dog who is a gift from God (Shiloh’s Story). I am immensely blessed by my current job and the people I work with. But I am coming to recognize that some things I hoped would happen in my life are not happening and may never happen, and living every day thinking about what may never be is exhausting. So I am mentally closing the door on finding love, having a family, being “normal”, traveling, all the stuff that people do….  If God chooses to open that door that’s up to Him and it will be welcome, but I need to accept this little room and this life the way it is and just live my best for God one footstep at a time, one encounter at a time. If an online platform for fellow I.I. Sufferers is my calling and my little window out into the world, I have to be okay with that.

No I can’t be financially independent. Yes I have limited energy and have to manage my spoons. Yes life is a yo-yo with periods of brief normalcy followed by times of scraping by. Folks I’m just tired, and desires for the big stuff has kind of been squelched. 

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Honestly I’m not sure, and the answer may be a little of both. I have been reminded a few times lately of Joni Earicson Tada and her story and her amazing minsistry. She had to come to acceptance of the fact that she would never use her arms or legs again (something that is unimaginable to me) and she has lived in so much grace and love. She has touched millions and that never could have happened if she grew bitter or kept striving for healing that would never come. I can’t think of a better role model than Joni. Who am I then to think I deserve better than this life of struggle I am living? Even if I am single forever and I never have a typical/normal life or the things most people take for granted, Or will never be able to eat everything I want, or do activities I want, if I forever have to pick and choose between things in life according to my energy level, if I have to deal with a certain level of constant pain, fatigue and swelling…I am still blessed and I can do a lot if I just let God do whatever He wants to do with me day by day.

So today after having taken a nap that has (again) become a common occurrence, sitting here on my bed with a bit of deep tissue pain, the usual swelling, headache and fatigue… I recognize I was also able to take a little walk in the pleasant summer rain with my fur baby love of my life, come home to a safe comfortable place to my loving family, and be able to write this post. Life is hard, but it can still be good 🙂

Beautiful slightly stormy sky this evening 

No Wasted Days In The Kingdom

My dear friends a couple days ago I wrote a new blog post trying to explain what it was like on a day of struggle. I wrote it as an outlet on a bad day that (seemed) like a total waste and just another hole in my life; I had no idea how wrong I was…

Lately I have been exploring with the Lord what it really, truly, tangibly means to work out my faith and walk in faith when I (feel) that my life is in a stagnant state, not being able to do everything I want to do, not being able to be active in the way I want…

What I believe He has been teaching me is that this means that my posture before Him must be one of praise, worship and rejoicing no matter what I feel or what my eyes see. That working out my faith in these places is all about attitude, perspective and obedience.

Also I have found that He has been working on my worst days when I do choose to be obedient. It’s hard when you are alone in your room not feeling up to doing anything and you’re like “Lord, what does being obedient look like on a day of nothingness?”

On a few of these days He has called me to write and this has been more fruitful than me writing on days I feel better.

So back to His miracle of redemption on me writing about a day of waste and emptiness. 

I wrote the post I shared ( Confessions Of A Functioning Lymie) on what it’s like to live through one of those in between days where people don’t see you, where you don’t feel up to doing anything, and God used that post in ways I didn’t see coming. 

You see I’ve been blogging for about 3 1/2 years about my Lyme journey and it has been fruitful and God has definitely used it to reach and help others. I do get contacted personally from time to time by other Lyme sufferers both through my blog and Facebook page, sometimes asking for help and advice. This can be overwhelming at times and heart-wrenching at hearing the depth of suffering and being unable to help, especially when the people have no access to treatment or the ability to afford it.

Usually when I post something new I will get under a hundred hits on that given day, but of course visitors will continue to read it over the coming days, months and years… The biggest “explosion” I have ever gotten in my years of blogging on a single blog post was over 200 hits in one day and it was something! 

Weeeeell, much to my surprise my most recent post exploded like nothing I have ever had before; other Lyme bloggers and Lyme related pages re-blogged and re-posted and on its first day it got about 1,200 hits, 2,300 on its second day, and as of about 8pm Saturday the 18th it’s gotten just over 6,100 hits. This is beyond me and my ability to promote. 

Well boy oh boy is God teaching me about redemption. I am getting so many responses and personal messages that are touching me and breaking my heart, but showing me how God uses suffering. Here are a few:

Blog Comments

(Since these people’s comments are public when they post them I am hoping it is okay to include some here)

I am struggling terribly. I have been diagnosed and the drs office treated me until the ins stopped paying the huge mark ups on the seevices and no lyme in Texas theroy leaves me bewildered. No one will treat my Lyme and I have lost all hope. My finances are terrible and the drs lack basic knowledge and refuse any effort. The disease is winning and clearly my husband and my kids 5 teens and 1 yr old grand baby deserve better…”.   ~Sara
Thank you for writing this. You just described my life verbatim. Although I do not enjoy hearing of another’s suffering, it is nice to know that I am not alone, and that someone else knows and understands what I am going through. God bless and speed you in your recovery, may your good days outnumber the bad ones and continue to multiply!”   ~Cheryl

“Is there a way to subscribe to your blog? I am not seeing it. I just read your BIO and it sounds just like me so I’d love to see your new posts as they come. Thanks.”        ~Traci

Thank you for writing this……I feel like I could of wrote this myself as this is exactly how my life is on a daily basis down to the exact meds and trying to plan out when to take them. Glad I’m not crazy and the only one that experiences these specific things. I wish you all the best and hope the good days start to out weigh the bad.”       ~Brenda

Wow. I’m at a stage where I don’t talk about my symptoms anymore because even I’m bored of hearing it and I’m also embarrassed every time I see that “oh, here we go again!” look on someone’s face if I dare to mention that my legs hurt or I’m exhausted (the usual response is “but you haven’t done anything!”). This is the first time I have read the experiences of others and it is so good to know that I’m not a mad, paranoid, hypochondriac but a normal person living with a disease that the medical profession will not accept or treat. “.          ~Julie

me exactly as well. it’s been going on (and off and on and off and on) for 21 years. danced (clean) for a solid 4 hours about two weeks ago, and paid for it a few days later and currently still in recovery mode. my first appointment with a lyme-literate professional is tomorrow. THANK YOU FOR THIS. ~Gwupara

Thank you so much for writing and sharing this! It’s as is if I was ready my life! You are right, only Lymies will understand and that’s what I try to remind myself when I feel judged. They are not walking in my shoes so it’s not fair for me to judge others either. Praying for strength and health for us all!”   ~Karen

“Hooked up to my IV antibiotic as I read your post! Late stage Lyme that is attacking the Neuro stem of my brain. Ms/stroke like flares that occur about every 5 weeks lasting 7-10 days. Right sided paralysis, left sided severe migraine, cognitive impairment, visual distortion, aphasia and slurred speech, all over painful muscle spasms with continual involuntary twitching. The body becomes possessed and there is nothing to be done about it until the flare runs its course.             You then have 3 or so weeks to recover, get back on your feet and try to regain some strength, just in time to do it all over again!     A total nightmarish hell that began out of the blue 3 years ago slowly killing me a bit more with each day that passes.                                       I get up, dress up, makeup, and show up usually with a smile! Must not quit, must continue to perservire. What’s the alternative! Got two small kids, can’t work, going bankrupt due to Medical bills and tests not being covered. The list goes on and on with no explanations, rationalizations or solutions. Just prayers, prayers and more prayers, to understand, to cope, to live”.        ~Sheryl

Thanks you so much for this. It made me cry but also gave me a chance to post it to my friends to see if they can understand me. I am on a downward spiral and I can’t seem to stop it. I am in a wheelchair but I keep working 3 days a week. You could of written this for me. Thanks heaps and I hope that your struggle is less. xxxxx”.  ~M.I.

“I’m so sorry. You have just described my life exactly. I was in medical management and had to stop because of what you described. I walked in everyday after work and got in bed and stayed there. Now, my disability insurance is denying my claim…..”    ~Kathy

The other amazing thing is what was happening last Monday night the 13th; despite not feeling well and having worked all day, I went to a gathering of six ladies Monday night. One of the things we did as a group was each of us prayed and had an activity of writing down prophetic words for each other. It was amazing as they were read around the room because of the continuity of what was received from the Spirit for each woman and each had so much personal meaning.

For me, sitting there, not feeling well and not being as “present” as I would have liked I received words from three out of the five women about hearts; having a ministry to other people’s hearts/that people would come to me for healing not of their bodies but for their hearts/that people would come to me because I would understand/that God has entrusted me with a heart ministry…(!!!)

Wow, none of these ladies knew what was going on in the online world that day and that people were indeed flocking to my post and messaging me.

I was so touched by God and His redemption and that He was using me on a day I felt empty and unusable. It really teaches me on a deep level truths I already knew; everything God says about suffering. 
Suffering has been talked about so much at my home church and we have all suffered, none of us has been untouched by it. I know I have shared that God as our Redeemer and His redemptive power has become so personal to me and that not only can we believe that He can use our suffering for our good, His glory, a testimony, a ministry, to comfort others with the comfort we have received, our refinement, growth in faith…. But that we can with TENACITY chase down these things in the very midst of suffering as our blood-bought right in Christ! We needn’t sit back and think that during the trial is just a misery to get to the blessing at the end, and have promises at the end of suffering, no, ours in Christ is having those promises in the midst of suffering; a promise and purpose in every pain. Nothing ever wasted, ever. 

I was also very blessed yesterday to get in on an appointment five days sooner than what was scheduled with my doctor in Anacortes. The pain, swelling and fatigue had really upped their anti the last several weeks (I still believe it’s die off from my treatment of half a dozen little buggers). I had really taken a dive and have been sleeping like 12 hours a day with naps in between on days I’m not working. He said that my autoimmune reactivity was indeed very bad and he could tell my body was in crisis mode.

Thankfully he did necessary adjustments and hopefully the fire will calm down. Pain and swelling still bad bad bad today, but I feel clearer and have a better sense of well being.

Onward and upward. 💚 #deathtocoinfections 👊🏻
To sum it up though I have been given yet another shot of hope, not so much in my body as in my spirit, and I know that there are facets to this journey I have not even begun to understand as far as what God is doing. But I know He is working mightily. 

Tears In The Wee Hours

It is 4:30am and my alarm is set for 8:30am. This has been happening too much lately and it is taking a bit of a toll.

Today is Christmas Eve and I have to admit the tears are falling right now. I am getting hit with that little stab to the heart that happens every holiday season. I know so many people experience this and especially the chronic illness community.  I am thinking about later today when we will gather with family and I will see my cousins who are married with kids, my uncle and aunt who are grandparents… Everyone else who are where they ought to be for the stage they are at in their lives, and that deep sense of loneliness hits.

I do have to say that this year has been better in that my health is very much on the upswing and God has been immeasurably good in so many ways, I have so much to be thankful for. I have not been dwelling on my lack at all, but the holiday/birthday blues have been hunting me like a ninja and I succumbed to a sneak attack. So even though I need my sleep and have to work today before the Christmas gathering tonight, I find myself crying in the dark over all the things that haven’t happened yet in my life and swallowing that pity pill that says they never will.

I will get over it of course; Because what I am feeling is pain, loneliness, grief and sadness, none of which come from God, and instead really are what the enemy is using to bring me down and rob me of my joy. Haven’t I been able to claim His joy in my trials? Am I now going to forget that fact in this one?

He has shown me how He can meet my needs far beyond what I can ask or think. After all God’s plan of salvation for mankind was in place before the creation of the world, how much more can He mend me right now?

On that note, I hope I can get a little more sleep right now and my eye puffs will be gone by morning.

Merry Christmas 🎄

Christmas Day Update: So I woke up in the dark yesterday and cried myself awake (never did get back to sleep) and I went to bed last night in the dark and cried myself to sleep. For my tears in the evening between these times my sweet dog comforted me and licked the tears off my nose. It’s so dumb because as I am bawling I am repenting of it at the same time because I know my attitude should be joyful. Oh well, maybe next year will be different.

Healing and God’s Will

I wrote this earlier this year in June. I was inspired while out walking and listening to the audio book of The Cost Of Discipleship by Dietrich Boenhoffer. 

For my non-Christian followers this may not feel like it directly applies to where you are in your Lyme journey, but I hope you will still find encouragement.
I have been reflecting, reading and meditating on a few things over the past few days and (hopefully) have some things to share that God is teaching me about some subjects we have hit on including suffering and God’s will.

We are multi-generations in now in our country to a very western (and worldly) mindset regarding our “rights” as human beings; the right to comfort, contentment, worldly pleasures, wealth and prosperity. I think this culture has ingrained itself into our way of thinking in ways we probably do not entirely comprehend. We as Christians are called to a different view, but in the same way the kind of family a person is brought up in effects the way they view the world and their heavenly Father, so to does our culture do that to us in how we approach interpreting all things having to do with God. I think because of this it is easy to come at scripture with a “here and now” mindset, especially when it comes to what we expect from God. 

   I have especially been going deep into how this effects the way we view God’s will and what we are to expect in this life with our walk with Jesus. In the gospel Jesus said :

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”. Matt 10:34. 

 “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; Luke 12:51 

New Covenant verses on suffering below* Jesus in His ministry on earth did heal, but this was in accordance with the revelation of His glory and revealing Himself as the Son of God. All of Jesus miracles were much more about the glory of God than they were about the comfort of the healed. Even with Lazarus Jesus says of his sickness “This sickness is not end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son Of God may be revealed”. In these verses we are told the point and purpose of healing in these earthen vessels are for the purpose and glory of God. This is not only true in the time of Jesus but is still true today. That being said, Jesus was also very clear that entering into a relationship with Him is to take a walk into death…to deny ourselves, to take up our cross and follow Him. We enter into death and new life along with Jesus and we are called into the privilege to suffer as Jesus suffered. But nowhere in Scripture does Jesus tell us we will be free from pain and suffering and sickness in this life, quite the opposite. Which is why the New Testament is full of passages on sufferings, trials, enduring, and bearing all things … in joy. 
    Going back to God’s will; taking into account all of the above, we are to pray for healing and told to pray for the sick and He can and does heal, and in those times He miraculously heals we can trust that He is brought the most glory in that situation. For ourselves we have renewed faith, we give testimony to the unsaved and Jesus is revealed that He is still the ultimate Healer. I am a firm believer in the possibility of miracles. But if we err on the side of believing that healing and wholeness (in the strictly physical sense) is always God’s will we can then fall prey to spending our lives in disappointment, doubt, indecision, unfulfilled and lacking joy….which we are told we have in Christ in the midst of suffering. I think also if we believe that healing is always God’s will this aligns our minds not with Christ but instead with a world system that would tell us we are entitled to our own personal comforts and our selfish needs being met in this life. As it was brought up in last week’s discussion we have the promise of perfect and glorified bodies but not in this life. God’s will in every situation is unclear most of the time as to the particulars because we are not God and we have no foreknowledge of which outcome will bring Him the most glory and us the most good. 

   Going into Scripture of how we are told to pray we have the example from Jesus Himself “Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. But what does that mean? What God has been laying on my heart that coming at a passage like this we can err in bringing along our western mindset and include ourselves in the equation; that in heaven there is no death or pain or suffering so that must mean we are entitled to that on earth. I believe that this is completely out of context the same way that 1Peter 2:24 is used out of context for faith healing when that verse has nothing to do with our physical bodies, in that this passage is not about us but rather about the Lord being glorified as He is in heaven. 

   Another danger zone I think we are more prey to falling into with believing God’s will is about comfort and healing on this earth is that this view can come dangerously close to aligning itself with universal spiritualism and a new-age “christianity” that is in our midst and growing, that focuses on world peace, love, healing and prosperity. This may be a stretch, but the spirit of anti- (in opposition to) Christ is alive and well today, and this spirit of false Christ will/does look good. It is the spirit of love without judgement, God in all things, acceptance without repentance…It is a spirit of the here and now instead of the glory that is to come and it is all about us and our happiness instead of Christ glorified. (Thank you Marcie for the reminder of the dangers of the antichrist, you rock). And going back to the words of Jesus that He came to bring division, that we will suffer for Christ, and that this life will not be free from pain and tribulation…we need to be steadfast and alert and stay in His Word not to fall prey the the false Jesus’s that will promise health and wholeness, peace and prosperity. 
I think there is great power in this! In knowing that we have the power of Christ in us to overcome all sickness and tribulation in knowing we have something far more valuable, that joy in suffering is ours to claim as part of our inheritence in Christ, a part of what we can have while in earthen vessels. There is so much richness here to be learned and explored. And of course as always there is great joy and power when Jesus does choose to miraculously heal, He still does and still will. The treasure is in knowing that there is a miracle in the healing and an equal and no lesser miracle in the overcoming. For we are first and foremost overcomers in Christ. 
To God be the glory forever and ever amen. 

* Romans 5:3-5 
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

James 1:2-4 
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Romans 8:18 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
1 Peter 4:12-19

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. … 
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies  

Finding Peace In Redemption

Finding peace in Redemption
I thought that at this time of year as we celebrate the birth of our Redeemer, it might be a good time to write a little about a spiritual truth that has been close to my heart the last several years; redemption. 

We know Jesus is our Redeemer, the Savior of our souls, but there are great depths to the redemption that we have in Him every day of our lives. This is why we can find comfort, hope, faith and peace in pain and trial.
Redeem. Verb.

To buy or pay off

To buy back

To recover

To exchange

To convert

To discharge or fulfill

To make up for; make amends for

To obtain be release or restoration of
It was striking me today how we put our faith in Christ for the redemption of our eternal souls, and yet it is still hard to trust Him in our daily difficulties and the problems we face in life. 

With God redemption is unique in that He knows all and has always known all. Before the foundation of the world He had our plan of redemption in place. While we were in darkness, while we were lost without any foresight on our own, He redeemed.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”‭‭ Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭

“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,”.                          Ephesians‬ ‭1:4-5‬
Isn’t it somewhat the same when we find ourselves in bad situations in life? We have no foresight as to what to do, or whether the trial will end, or what the purpose of our suffering is, or how to better our situation. 

But our greatest comfort can be found if we understand that everything is now under the covering of His redemption. 
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”        Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”.                          James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭

One of the hardest things in our walk is to be joyful in trials. I used to think that this verse was about just putting on a good attitude because God is good. But it is so much more than that. Firstly we can consider it all joy because we know that God is working to purify and refine our inner man, and He is much more concerned with who we are becoming in Him than earthly wealth or comfort. But also (and this is where we have to get out of our own headspace) He is working on and in everyone around you as well, and may be using you to do it. 
“who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ”.‭‭.                                                2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:4-5‬ ‭

How much more are you touched by the testimony of someone who has gone through, or is in the midst of suffering who holds steadfast to their faith, than that of someone who seems to float with ease through life? God uses people mightily who He has called to go through trials. 
Back to the promise of redemption; I am going back to the promise we have that ALL things work together for the good of those who are in Christ. This is huge! And it doesn’t mean menial gains and comforts. It means that everything that you do…before and after knowing Him, every mess up, every disaster, every hardship, pain, trial, mistake, crisis and suffering has the absolute promise of being redeemed for a greater glory. Wow. 

This promise has great comfort for those that have been suffering long-term with illness and trials, myself included. 
Up until about a year and a half ago I had been holding onto a lot of grief and loss; loss of my youth, loss of all the things in life I have not done and not had the opportunity to do, loss of so many years of my life that felt wasted by illness and apathy. Even though God had taught me so much, refined me and built me over the years, I was still grieving. Until He showed me that every day I spent looking backwards and mourning was another day I gave over to it. 

Also by focusing on loss I was not giving God my full surrender and recognizing His plan for redemption in my life over everything that I felt was a “waste”. Because there is no waste in the kingdom of God.
The things we have been through and experienced are unique to us, and no one can have our ministry and our story. Redeeming what we have been through is not a possibility or a probability, it is an absolute promise and is ours to own with dogged tenacity. 

It may be hard if you are still in the midst of suffering and can see no end. But it is comforting that even if you are lying in bed and in pain and don’t know when it will end, you do know that God without question has something in it for you and for others.
This is true:

What we have in Christ is a promise in every problem.

A blessing in every difficulty.

Hope in every trial.

These aren’t maybes, they are absolutes.

Sometimes we just need a little paradigm shift and as one of my favorite teachers Graham Cooke says “if we aren’t seeing things the right way we need a lens change”. 
Nothing is ever wasted, ever.