When I Find Myself In Times Of Trouble….

My dear fellow Lymies and other I.I. Sufferers, it seems maybe it’s time for me to jump on the bandwagon like so many other individuals, companies and industries, and address the present health crisis that is effecting us all; whether it be socially, economically or physically.

For those in the autoimmune disease community protecting our immune systems from exposure to viruses is nothing new. Being that we have Borellia, Erhlichia, Babesia, Bartonella… and other coinfections raging in our bodies on a regular basis weakens us to other seasonal viruses and illnesses, along with other contractable diseases like hepatitis, Epstein-Bar, mycoplasma and a host of others.

As the world is facing a pandemic of COVD-19 it is easy to be fearful. Although most people will be okay, even if they contract the virus, we know that the elderly, the immuno-compromised and others with chronic conditions are at risk. So how are we to react? And how are we to negotiate our emotional response in these uncertain times?

Firstly, I want to share this helpful article for the Lyme community regarding COVD-19:

https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-response-to-coronavirus/

Thankfully I believe our community is already well-versed and prepared in self-care; We know how to boost our immune systems, we know what supplements help our bodies and our conditions we (hopefully most) have access to LLMD’s or LLND’s who have given us care, educated us and who we can call on for questions or advice.

For those of us not fortunate enough to have a personal doctor, whatever the reasons, we have been our own advocates and researchers, which includes strong online communities who support, educate and advise us.

There is good news.

Suddenly the world is becoming aware of cleanliness, germs and how things are spread. They are being more mindful in regards to how their actions may impact others. I hope and pray that after this present crisis is over that this will permanently change how not only individuals perceive cleanliness and infection control, but many businesses and public places will be hyper-attentive to infection control protocols in times of seasonal illnesses and on a day to day basis.

Fear is not your friend.

Friends, I am here with you; I too find myself in a people group that could be more susceptible to COVD-19. But I am choosing not to fear. Very practically speaking fear and negative emotions lower immunity and bring your cellular health down (there are studies to back this), so fear and panic are not our friends. Also when you are fearful you do not think as clearly and it is harder to have wise judgment. Secondly fear does not help you. Being more afraid is not going to change your situation, help you be more prepared, or assist your body or situation in any way, quite the opposite. Please know I am not downplaying the seriousness, or being nonchalant, I am simply saying keeping a level head and logically and methodically making plans to keep yourself safe is what will be more beneficial. Healthy concern and preparedness are your friends.

Whatever your belief system, if you have been reading my blog you know my faith and strength are in Jesus Christ. He is Who has given me the ability to get through the hardest trials and suffering in my life. And only He has had the ability to redeem lost years and lost life, and turn mourning into dancing, weeping into joy…. Now as always He is where I place my trust, and Who is giving me peace whereas I might otherwise fear.

Much love to you my community, we are in this together.

Further Down The Road

Hello to my invisible and chronic illness community, it has been a long time since my last blog post. It seems that there are fewer needs for words when suffering eases up. There is something about deep physical and emotional suffering that brings forth an outpouring of the agony of a soul, to be spilled upon the page.

My greatest inspirations for writing in my blog have always come from a deep place of suffering, and from that place a longing to be heard and to help others, as well as seek a higher purpose and find a calling in my words. It seems that this fact in and of itself shines a great light on the purpose of pain, and the reason for “senseless” trials and tribulations in this life. I know I’ve touched on the subject before, but how often do we relate to the story of another who has walked in our shoes and suffered the same as we have, in a way we could never relate to the kind words and comfort of someone who has no idea what we are experiencing? We are touched by those who overcome and find peace and joy not when suffering ends, but in the midst of it and despite of it.

This week I finished a short five day devotional called Finding God Faithful. It focused on the story of Joseph; we know the story so well, I feel to the point of not actually experiencing it anymore. Much like the mindlessness of repeating a memorized verse or song, that has lost any spark of meaning due to it’s familiarity. And yet, I found a new message in the story of Joseph that I feel relates specifically to not only God’s relentless and unending faithfulness to us, but how we experience Him in trials and suffering.

Part of the verse that was emphasized in this short devotional (that was repeated in several places) was “God was with Joseph”.

So simple, and yet so profound. Because did God initially show up and rescue Joseph from the pit or being sold into slavery? Did God for many many years rescue Joseph from prison or change his circumstance? No he didn’t, at least not for a long time. So where was Joseph’s comfort? How was God with Joseph this whole time? And on the flipside, how was Joseph unwavering in his faith? It certainly was not in seeing God change his circumstances, or end his suffering. The answer is in abiding in him, and holding fast not onto how God would work, but onto the person and character of God himself and having unshakable faith in a faithful and unchanging God.

It is easy to think we have faith in God when in fact without always realizing it, often we fall into having faith in how we want Him to work, what we think He will do, how we believe He will make us feel, how He will change someone….

When our faith is placed in the “what, when, where and how”, this is where we are sometimes disappointed, and our faith is shaken.

When our faith however truly rests in the “Who”, we shall never be disappointed; for our focus is on the unchanging character and nature of God and His promises to us, that are not always about our comfort, but about our good and His glory.

“”Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”

Isaiah 49:15-16

“and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 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 8:27-28

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

John 10:27-29

(Also see the entire chapter Psalm 139).

To those with chronic illness that betrays them on a daily basis in their physical bodies and even in their minds and emotions; I know the agony of hopelessness, I know the pain and despair of seeing no end to suffering. Some of us will get well. Some of us will receive partial healing. Some of us will see the path of suffering go on to the horizon with no end in sight. We do not always know the answers, sometimes God is gracious to show us the reasons in this life, like he did to Joseph. And for some of us the answers may not come. It is here that our faith rests that God is relentlessly intentional to us, and the promise we rest on is that everything works together for our good and his glory. Disappointment comes when that good and glory doesn’t look the way we think it will look or want it to look.

I am in a season where so much has changed for the better, yes there are still struggles with chronic symptoms including unexplainable fatigue that hits me from time to time, seasons of brain fog, the relentlessness of inflammation and autoimmune reactivity…. But I am grateful that the last couple years has brought me to a place of peace with where I am in my life and with the Lord.

I am in another season of a faith journey which is stretching me, but which I face with equal appreciation as I do struggle.

The reason being is that there is a very sweet spot that you find with the Lord and a reliance on him during times that your faith is being stretched, that you cannot experience in any other way. Right now I find myself in a beautiful place of abiding, in a place of praying without ceasing; which is less about actual prayer than it is a constant commune with the Lord and an acknowledgment of Him in every thought I think, everything I do, in every waking moment of the day where He is my director, my comforter, my shield, my guide, my peace.

In the past I have given over more years than I can count to darkness and being in a place of mourning over things lost, and suffering that robbed me of so much life. I told God recently that I have spent too much of my life in a dark hallway grieving over closed doors. It is with extreme gratitude that several years back I had a friend challenge me out of that place, that I was to give my grief as an offering to the Lord and let him exchange it for a different vision, and He was faithful to do so.

So today, I have less to say about the particulars of the symptoms and sufferings of chronic Lyme disease along with its coinfection’s and complications, and less about the emotional place of agony we find ourselves in chronic illness.

Today rather I try and speak from a different place in the journey, a place further up the road, which is more a spiritual place than a physical one. There’s still so much in life that has not yet happened for me, that I have not experienced, that I have not reclaimed from the lost years of the past… and yet, God is with me.

Casket Of Departed Hopes

Being haunted is when something dead will not stay buried, and instead comes back to remind you of loss and death.

It has been a long time, a very long time indeed since I have cried and felt the deep pain of lost hope. Not that I never feel passing regret, but rarely does it cut deep enough (anymore) to cause a night of crying myself to sleep. There was a trigger tonight; beautiful pictures of a friend and her husband enraptured in the joy of a new baby. For some reason even in my happiness for them, a dark window opened in my heart that felt like gazing in a looking glass at what could have been, and (for me) will never be.

Over the past few years I have successfully mastered driving a stake through the heart of hope and moving on with an alternative life path, one that I didn’t choose. I have come to peace with God and even to an understanding of the blessings, like flowers in the weeds of hardship. I had to lay those hopes to rest because the dreams that carried me through years of suffering, seemingly always on my horizon, only to vanish in the harsh light of truth, became only pain, and pain robbed me on a daily basis of both joy and seeing God’s truths.

It wasn’t that many years ago when a state of mourning and grief were my daily countenance, and sadness was a mantle I wore across my shoulders. Constantly looking back at loss, and down at disappointment robbed me daily of any life in my life. I have come a long way since those days, and although a huge component was outside my control (literal bacterial, viral and parasitical infections in my brain and body), there was also a huge spiritual component, and letting go of my expectations for my life and coming to an acceptance of what was my plan Z, but what was God’s plan A was a turning point.

In the many years that I’ve kept a blog, I’ve found that rather than focusing so much on the physical aspects of chronic illness I have found myself writing about the emotion and spiritual experiences. This has been both part of my therapy and advocacy, but also my testimony and how God has led me to have a voice where I would not have otherwise. Does purpose in pain make it easier? Usually, but not always. I do look back though from time to time on where I was at different points along the journey, and it can be helpful on dark nights like this when all I can do is put my pain to prayer.

I’ve come a long way from the little lost girl in a dark corner…

Little lost girl (towards the beginning of the blog): https://jeanvieve7.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/little-lost-girl/

Gratitude: https://jeanvieve7.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/why-im-grateful-for-the-struggle/

Reshaping Hope: https://jeanvieve7.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/some-honest-thoughts-on-a-sunday-afternoon-when-life-reshapes-hope/

Reimagining Hope: https://jeanvieve7.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/out-of-brokenness-reimagining-hope/

Trusting God in difficulty: https://jeanvieve7.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/trusting-god-in-the-process/

Healing and God’s Will: https://jeanvieve7.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/healing-and-gods-will/

And this one that has been republished many times on The Mighty: https://themighty.com/2017/01/facebook-posts-chronically-sick/?utm_source=ChronicIllness_Page&utm_medium=Facebook

So, I no longer pound my fists on the door with the letters that say “what could have been.” And as the years pass the pictures of what lay behind that door fade with increasing frequency into the mist of memory. But those pretty pictures of hope are soiled by the memories of years upon years of grief, regret and mourning and living in a state that robbed me of even more life than my illness did.

So once in a rare while, on nights like this those happy images of a life missed come into sharp clarity, and that sharpness cuts like a knife. And shattered dreams come haunting me at night like some poltergeist refusing to go to its final resting place and instead attaching itself to the living and barring me from moving on…

But this is a bump in the night, and tomorrow is a new day. His mercies are new every morning and His song is with me in the night. As I begin to try and sleep I open my Bible to the verse of the day:

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?””

LUKE 11:13

He has indeed been good. And I may not have received all the gifts I wanted, but I am assured that I have received the good gifts I needed.

“No matter what precautions we take, no matter how well we have put together a good life, no matter how hard we have worked to be healthy, wealthy, comfortable with friends and family, and successful with our career — something will inevitably ruin it.

Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you. Therefore, only when our greatest love is God, a love that we cannot lose even in death, can we face all things with peace.

Ultimately, you don’t really know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.”

(Tim Keller)

Why I’m grateful for the struggle

I’m just now waking up on New Year’s morning and although today begins a new year filled with possibility, blessings, and good things ahead, first I have to deal with a morning filled with a spike in inflammation and pain.

I had an amazing surprise for my birthday yesterday and was flown back to Seattle to spend a few days with my good friends, people I love like family. It was a wonderful relaxed evening and one of my friends even labored to make me a grain-free cardamom cake (my favorite). This morning (although there were no “major” cheats last night), my body is reminding me of it’s intolerance of normalcy, and well, eating in general :/

I’m not enjoying the feeling, mostly the fact that my face and limbs have enough fluid to sail a boat on…

But I digress.

Although I’m very uncomfortable physically and psychologically (I’m pretty self conscious of my layers of puff), I am also not dismayed and this present discomfort is small compared to past suffering, or what I know many others have to bear on a daily basis .

Lately I have been meditating on gratitude for the years of illness, for the struggles, the isolation, the lack of normalcy and the divergent path my life has gone down. I know It’s a strange thing to say I’m grateful, and I know I felt differently when I was in the midst of my worst years; the years of numbness and apathy, the years of neurological Lyme, the years of being in bed most of the time…..But I had to go through those times, get through the layers of treatments, of having hopes and dashed hopes, having health discoveries, having to make the climb if you will……

But more importantly it was the steps that God was taking me through in my spiritual journey; the stripping down and restructuring of everything I was, including my priorities and my paradigms. Fire cleanses.

Why am I writing this now?

Well I have to admit I don’t do as well in my spiritual walk when things are too easy. Not to say that my life lacks struggle (see the first sentences of this page), but that said I have been very blessed as of late with entering a good season of my life. I live in a new area I love, my living situation has improved and i have a wonderful new job working with great people. Now I certainly haven’t forgotten God, not even close, but I find I am not crying out to Him in need as of late, and I actually miss that.

There is a depth of relationship with the Lord when you are hurting, or scared, or have heavy burdens and don’t know where to turn other than to Him. There is a sweet place in misery where an intimacy with God can be cultivated. In these times you recognize Him as the All In All in comparison to the frailty of the world that is crumbling around you. That’s why I’m thankful. My roots have been anchored in dark and lowly places of desolation. Through many years and seasons past I think what God was doing in the toughest times (although for so long I couldn’t see it), was driving my growth down and deep and not up into the light. I think left to my frailty and the messiness of my own character, I would so easily fall into step with the world and be charmed and wooed by things that don’t last and offer only menial pleasures, and in the end starve the soul, if not for having lived in the valley for so long.

The writer of Ecclesiastes is spot on when he calls the treasures of the world vanities.

Where am I going with all this? I think what I’m feeling is that I’m entering a new season, a season where I get to put into practice all that I have learned (not that the learning or growing ever ends), and it’s time to practice discipline and obedience in my spiritual journey. Discipline is something I have always struggled with, at least when it comes to scheduling and organizing certain aspects of my life. The words for 2019 seem to be “gratitude” and “obedience”. It’s a theme God seems to be sprinkling me with here and there, little words from different people and different sources that together make a clear picture of what He is saying. When God tells you something He usually reinforces that message by giving it to you multiple times and in different ways to affirm the word.

I am happy to find that I am not fully contented in my present circumstances taking them at face value, it’s good that I want to keep moving forward as closely partnered with the Lord as I can be, to not put my time or relationship with Him on a sidebar, but to keep digging in deep even though I finally have some spring leaves in the light of the sun.

So, I will keep pressing on to try solve these autoimmune issues, the ones that still cause pain and challenges, I will enjoy and give thanks for the positive changes that are new in my life, and most importantly I will keep my focus on Jesus and my ears open to what He has to say in this season and the new commissions He has laid on the path before me.

Hello 2019, welcome.

Where Did That Come From?!?!

Words. Nothing more powerful. More encouraging…..Emotive. Destructive. Attractive, And about as many more adjectives as you could come up with.

But that first word, powerful is maybe the one that overshadows the rest, and gives all the other adjectives their weight. Also the one we maybe too often forget.

Words that carry the most weight and power are often fueled by the most driving force in our humanity: emotion, and that is both wonderful and scary depending on the circumstances.

I’ve been thinking lately about my communications and where my “ugly” words come from. Not necessarily horrible, but just the ones that come off wrong, are misinterpreted, lack tact and just in general convey a “me” I don’t like.

Where do those come from? Well, after some thought, I believe they usually they come from places of fear, hurt, desperation, frustration, and the like.

There have been a couple instances lately where maybe the gist of what I said was fine, but in hindsight I really didn’t like the reflection it painted of myself to the person I was communicating with and maybe caused hurt or frustration.

The most recent example was an email to a doctor. Nothing basically wrong with my content, but I had to think after his reply that I hoped I wasn’t frustrating him or questioning his wisdom. This really made me think about my feelings when I was writing, and I realized I was frustrated, worried and a little desperate, both with myself and what was going on in my body.

Not a good foundation, because my words came from that emotional base.

The Bible of course has a good deal to say about the tongue and our words:

Proverbs 11:9 “Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.”

Proverbs 11:12 “It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent.”

Proverbs 11:17 “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.”

Proverbs 15: 1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but hard words stir up anger.”

Proverbs 18:4 “A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.”

And of course most of James chapter 3 in regards to the tongue. The majority of a chapter of the Bible devoted to the destructive power of words!

Great! But, it goes deeper than that, and deeper is where I have been introspecting myself. A few quick questions to cut through the layers to get to the source:

Where do words come from? The brain.

Okay, what prompts the brain to create the words? Um, thought processes and emotions.

Hmmmm, what fuels those thought processes and emotions? Character.

Whoa, So basically who we are.

Who should be in charge of our character? God.

So this is a great (although be it uncomfortable) process to go through with the Lord when you find your words lacking, hurting, harsh, sarcastic, condescending, always being misunderstood, or falling short of kindness or clarity. In some cases just focusing on your recipient and not your agenda is all you need, but more often than not you need Jesus to take a magnifying glass to places in your heart you didn’t even know needed work. Trust me, there is no better heart surgeon than Jesus.

Being opened up is always uncomfortable, but having tumors removed is ALWAYS profitable.

❤️

Psalm 139:23-24

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Psalm 51:10

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”

Trusting God In The Process

GONNA’ MAKE IT

“God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where rust destroys and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where thieves do not break in or steal;”

Matthew 6:19-20 (abridged)

Make the goal.

Make the deadline.

Accomplish the task.

Make enough money.

Be a success.

Attain the stuff.

Endure/put up with/get through The trial or difficulty simply with the goal of having it be over so you can get back to doing all of the above.

In our humanity and our society we are very much goal oriented as far as how we consider success. But we are also very much that way when it comes to trials or difficulties; just get to the end and have it be over with! We see the entire “goal” of difficulty to have it be over.

This seems to be very much magnified in our modern Western society where we are driven by comfort, accomplishment, acknowledgement and success. These things are the alter at which we worship and pay tribute to with our very lives.

How opposite we are of God in our viewpoint due to our finiteness.

Because you see God is all about the process. Backwards thinking huh? Or as one of my best friends would say “upside down Kingdom”.

EVERYTHING IS BACKWARDS

…we will stand amazed to see the topside of the tapestry and how God beautifully embroidered each circumstance into a pattern for our good and His glory.

Joni Eareckson Tada (quadriplegic for 50 years)

Anyone who has seen the hugely popular Stranger Things understands the concept of the “upside down”. A world in perfect mirror of ours only it is dark, decaying and full of monsters.

Of course in this Sci-Fi series the “good” world is our own natural one.

But in reality (not tv) we exist in the fallen world where there is death, evil, disasters and pain. It is hard to imagine the perfect Eden God created and what this world was meant to be. But having an awareness that Christ’s death ripped the veil and brought about the Kingdom age of the earth (the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and direct access to heaven in prayer) can change our perspectives of being in defeat, to coming into awareness that victory has already been won.

The enemy’s number one goal at its heart is really about destroying our victory and awareness of who we are in Him.

Ahhh but spiritual warfare is a lengthy topic for another day….. (But hold onto that knowledge!).

Are you downtrodden and disappointed right now? In deep suffering and trial? Is it bringing you poverty, loneliness, oppression, discrimination? Are you low on wealth, love, employment, friends, family, health and comfort?

Those are all super important and the basics in life, and yet they are still things and count as treasures on earth.

No, it doesn’t seem fair and before you think I pass judgment, I am also poor and suffering in many of those same things and have been for years.

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

ACCEPTING WHAT IS UNACCEPTABLE

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6

Once we have an understanding and acceptance and even appreciation of God’s process (especially when it comes to our own situation) this doesn’t always mean that our attitudes or emotions at every given moment reflect this understanding.

Emotions fluctuate.

It took many years but I did finally come to not regretting years of illness and the loss of so much life to something that was out of my control.

I came to appreciate all that God had done in me and through me and continues to do. That said, in the years since that understanding I have not always been happy about it, or always appreciated or not reverted to regret.

I have to admit right now being in the season where negativity has been over- running any kind of positivity and I really don’t like myself very much right now.

I have experienced the ebbs and flows that go on in my body, my mind, my emotions and my spirit for so many years that I feel like I can never find level footing as far as where I am in my life, or my spirituality or my own personality. This can be incredibly frustrating especially when I am very much aware of it and how it is affecting myself and others.

As is usual during the more negative times I am quite aware that there is very much a physical component to my outlook comprised of how my internal organs are functioning, my hormones, my toxicity levels and many other factors. But that does not mean I am not responsible to take control to the best of my ability my relationship with God in these times and with others.

Whether I feel like it or not it is in these times that I should all the more dig my feet in as hard as I can into Jesus and into the Word to counterbalance the chaos and negativity inside my mind my body.

What happens when I act out of obedience and do just that? What you’re reading right now is a fruit of what happens. God opens up a channel and I’m able to do the best I can with his help to write for him.

SEEING INSTEAD OF LOOKING

We know that as long as we have breath in life that God is not finished with us. When he is “done” (for reasons that are wrapped in the mystery of his will), we go home. So while we have life whether we be in the midst of trials and difficulties or if we are blessed enough to have things easy; we should never stop seeking, growing, learning, exploring all the things that God has for us in our hearts and souls.

Because that’s why we are here right now, for those things in ourselves and in others.

We’ve Got stuff to do. And if we don’t know what that stuff is right now, at least we know Who to go to to ask.

Knowing God is the beginning of knowing His will and getting to understand what He is up to. Because when we are going through horrible trials we lose our comforts and the very things that (we think) bring us stability (such as money, a steady job, a loving relationship or our health). When we lose our foundations our world is rocked and we have nothing to stand on.

But I think that is the point. When we lose our false foundations we truly do know where we are spiritually, how much faith is real and how much we do or don’t trust God. That is why we are told to consider it all joy when we have trials, because we know we have God’s loving attention and He is looking to building the gold inside us by removing the costume jewelry we have surrounded ourselves with.

“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”

~Corie Ten Boom

If you have not read Corie Ten Boom’s story I highly recommend it. She survived a German concentration camp and witnessed the murder of her family as well as countless others.

“”Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”

Isaiah 48:10

CONCLUSION

We will all go through trials and difficulties. It’s not a maybe it’s a sure thing. The difference is how we choose to face them and Who we choose to face them with and what we allow Him to do in the midst.

One thing that is assured in Christ is that (hear this!) it’s not for nothing and it’s not pointless!!! Quite the opposite. Rather instead we have blessings that would have been unattainable otherwise. I don’t know about you but if I’m going to suffer I sure want to be looking for the treasure and not miss out. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it means I will continue to ebb and flow in this journey of life and go through the cycles of negativity only to bob my head free again and recognize the truths God keeps reminding me of and giving me a better understanding of as I work at running the race.

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. 

The Chronic Illness Sufferer’s Dilemma: To Post Or Not To Post, That Is The Question

Nobody is normal. 
Everyone is unique.

That said,  long term illness changes a person; it changes your mind, your emotions, your perspective, your way of thinking… to say nothing of your body.

And the places in your mind that change can be impossible to perceive what is caused by the physical (hey come on, LITERAL viruses and bacteria in our brains) or the changes that come from long-term isolation, suffering, frustration, loneliness, abandonment, hopelessness…. (trust me even with the deepest introspection lines are blurry).
So when you are in this bubble of misery and feeling desperate; many of us reach that crossroad decision of whether to reach out publicly or not. Now some do so all the time, and some do so seldomly. I want to share with you, the healthy person, the “normal” person, what goes on in our heads and where the need to reach out comes from. Because to you seeing our (sometimes frequent) posts regarding how we are feeling physically and mentally can come off as….

Desperate

Attention-getting

Overly dramatic

Whiny

Ungrateful

Emotionally unstable

Lacking faith

Hypochondriac 

Lacking strength 

Or “_____” fill in the blank 
And honestly maybe some chronic illness sufferers are. BUT, I am asking you to consider grace, and here is why. 

Imagine you are living a fairly normal active life; you work, you socialize with friends a few times a week, maybe you are also busy with kids. You DO stuff! You go out to movies, you eat out at restaurants, you meet friends for coffee, you have a lot of human interaction at work, you sometimes take day trips or mini vacations, your life may not be perfect or exciting, but it is full. 

One day your body starts to betray you. Suddenly all the normal daily things that were no big deal become as hard as lifting heavy boulders. Your entire body is tired, tired to the point it feels like you have lead in your veins. You swear earth’s gravity just dialed it up a notch as you struggle to go up the same staircase you have been bounding up the last five years. 

You start sleeping a LOT more, so much more you start to feel guilt over your laziness. Even after a full night sleep your body starts to shut down in the middle of the day and you need to nap. The thing is all this extra sleep doesn’t help and you are just as tired and fatigued when you wake up in the morning as the night before. Even worse you feel hungover, even without alcohol: toxic, heavy, foggy, headache, basically like sludge.

So of course you pump yourself full of caffeine because you have a life and things to do… only the caffeine is a quick fix that doesn’t last, so you have more. After a few cycles of this you start to blow out your adrenals, and things get worse…. You start to feel like you are letting the people in your life down as you can’t be there for them in the capacity you were only a short while ago.
Oh and did I mention the pain? You are dealing with pain that has no business in your body at your age! You feel old and achy. Joints and tendons, muscles and tissues that you never even “felt” at all before, are making their presence known by infusing non-stop pain. 
Along with all of this (and a myriad of other symptoms I could mention) is the fact that your mind and your thinking are as foggy as your body. You know that feeling when it’s past your bed time and you feel your brain trying to shut down for the night? How everything becomes difficult if you are fighting sleep? Trying to just finish that chapter, watch the last 10 minutes of that movie as your brain wants to sleep….Now it feels like that ALL the time, all hours of the day as your brain is constantly trying to go down as you are trying to get it to go up. Every waking moment is a battle.

Normal conversations become difficult because it feels like you are fighting through fog to both process what you are hearing while trying to formulate the appropriate response. You never knew until now that it actually takes energy to communicate and be with people. You frustrate yourself as word recollection fails you and you feel dumb as you can’t seem to formulate articulate conversation.
As time goes on all this takes a toll and you start saying no to things. The energy it takes even to get ready, drive places, prepare for things… becomes too much, and you start having to pick and choose what you are able to do in a day, or even in a week or month as things get worse.

You start realizing that every activity also requires recovery time, and one afternoon out may mean you need two days in bed afterward.

Your world grows smaller.

As time goes on mentally and emotionally you for through all kinds of cycles that can be up and down and all around. These can swing extremely even over the course of one day from crying to anger to apathy. 
At first all the people in your life are supportive, but as time goes on and you don’t get better, and you have seen this specialist, and that specialist and tried every suggestion of every caring friend from acupuncture, to massage, to “this amazing doctor that helped my friend who had the same problem!”

… you have read every article ever sent to you on any condition that even sounds similar, you have done crazy alternative things you would never have thought you would ever try…. your friends start to drop away, they check in on you less and less, they stop inviting you to things because they know you will just say “no”. 

Life moves on without you and as the years go by your world gets smaller and smaller and smaller until you find you are alone most of the time.

You probably at this point have little to no money because it’s been spent trying to figure out what’s wrong with you and/or trying to get better. You also probably either can only work very little or not at all, and if you can work it drains you so much you have nothing left for any semblance of a life.  
Remember when I mentioned the muddled place of your mind and your emotions caused by both the physical and psychological? This is where you are now. You feel a little “crazy” and desperate and sad and lonely. Since you don’t see people in person so much anymore you reach out to your friends online; both your real-world friends and your friends who you have now met in your chronic illness forums and such.
So I am speaking to you; “normal” person, who I love and admire. When you see this chronically ill person prolifically posting, “wanting attention”, talking about what they are going through very publicly (sometimes) going into TMI territory…. know that this did not happen overnight. This is the same person you know and love and they are beyond desperate to be the person they once were. 
They post because:
They want fellowship,

They want friendship, 

They want to both hear and be heard,

They need a sounding block,

They want to feel normal,

They don’t want to disappear and be forgotten

They want to have a glimpse of normalcy and online may be all they have

They don’t see people much face-to-face so “face”-book is their life.
Hear me now as I write this for my sick brothers and sisters!

Everyone needs people! When you are sick and isolated online is your people!

We are not grand-standers or attention getters (at least not most of us) we are people just like you who have had our lives changed and shaped by our illness and our circumstances. All we want is to be normal and healthy. We covet the little things that most people take for granted; even just taking a walk on a sunny day. 
One more thing I want you to know; worry about the chronically ill people who don’t post and instead stay quiet. They are experiencing everything the communicators are, they are just internalizing their pain versus reaching out.  

It is: Having an outlet, versus internalizing everything

Isolation, versus reaching out

Honesty, versus putting on a happy face

I have seen too many of the “quiet one’s” obituaries online, (self inflicted.)
Please also know the  anxiety we go through on what to post and what not to post. 

It is SO hard to judge because (especially) on a bad day our perspectives are askew… and the reactions we get from people also vary greatly.:

You get the positive feedback from the chronic illness community;

 “thank you so much for sharing, I am not alone”.

  “so glad to hear another person’s perspective”.

“Thank you for being honest and blazing a trail for others that will come behind you.”

This community supports you and your difficulties as you support them. And this is a safe and honest place to be raw and real in your times of suffering. 

But, you also get the negative reactions of people who think you’re a drama queen, or are sick of hearing about your pain, or… (see list at beginning of post). So you get the negative feedback, or the stony silence of family members, or the snubs and shuns of people who used to support you….
In closing; why am I posting this? I will tell you it’s not for attention or sympathy. I am giving voice to the silent suffering ones. I am advocating for those whose families don’t believe them. I am opening a window into a world (I hope and pray) you will never experience so that you can have a better understanding of your sick friend or family member.

This seems like a good day to do this, Christmas Eve when hearts should be open, love should abound, peace and charity reign over all else 💚

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. 

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