Chronic illness, faith, family, hope, encouragment, life

DVD’s in my Purse

I know, silly title, right?  What in the world would “DVD’s in my purse” have to do with chronic illness or even faith for that matter?  This thought kind of jumped into my head recently, after a particularly bad day when, once again I could not muster the energy to hardly think, let alone move. I did have one crazy thought pop up though: “What if I had DVD’s that I could carry around in my purse to hand out to people who didn’t know me back when I was well?”  The title of the DVD would probably be something like “I Wish You Knew Me Before…”.  Before what, you may wonder?  There are probably even people who know me now that are reading this blog but have met me “after”.  You see, with chronic illness there is usually a “before and after”.  There is that person that you were before and now the person you’ve become after you’ve suffered with some form of chronic illness.  My DVD would be pretty long and maybe even entertaining to some.   You see, before I developed all these pesky problems, I feel like I was a pretty fun person.  I know that I was energetic.  One of my favorite memories is when I was staying with my precious Grandma the month she went home to be with the Lord.  She was suffering from colon cancer.  I packed up all three boys, who were then ages 5, 3 and 1 and headed “home” to take care of Grandma in the time she had left. My husband supported this wholeheartedly and there was NEVER a single thought that went through my brain about what doing this would involve or how much work or anything like that. All I saw was the opportunity to go and honor the woman who helped raise me and took care of me while my Mama worked. I’ve been like that since we moved to Charlotte 16 years ago. Driving up and down 218 was a common occurrence for us because if my family called I was there. But one thing I didn’t slow down and think about was how this time would not be about work. I realized that one day when we were hanging out THE screened in porch (our gathering place) and Grandma was relaxing on the swing with her sister.  I don’t remember what I was doing (it was probably laundry since that’s all I ever do) but she asked me if I “ever just sat my tail down and quit moving”.  (Tail is country talk for your rear end, lol).  I honestly thought about it and quickly realised that very seldom did I just stop and not find work to do.  I worked my actual nursing job, cared for my 3 young boys and husband and took care of my own home. I worked from my house so when I couldn’t find someone to cover for me I would go home, work my shift, and usually drive back. Of course I was tired but I didn’t feel like I was doing too much or even pushing myself too hard. I know a lot of that was age and being younger. After Grandma passed away, I had found work coverage for an entire month, so I came back home to Charlotte determined to rest more before going back to work. That didn’t happen. I think I grieved by working more and ended up painting my entire house and doing major work here before I went back to work. My point in writing all of this is to try and give you a mental picture of what that DVD would be like. I guess it’d be like the Tazmanian Devil on crack or something. It would show you all the things that I used to be that I’m not now. The boys grew and started school so there were all the school things to do, being in the PTA, sports, etc. I did things and was so involved in church. I was reliable. So when the bottom fell out for me and I literally couldn’t do these things anymore, I was devastated. I don’t know how many people know about the HUGE book that medical personnel use for diagnosis codes for patients. There is one for mental illness as well. Well I think my range of emotions ran through every code in that huge book and then some more they haven’t even thought of yet. It literally was like I was a train flying down a track at max speed and then I just hit this huge concrete wall. Physically, the “injuries” have been from minor to moderate with some bad scares in between. But emotionally and spiritually, I was wounded beyond belief. I, of course, turned to my faith and tried to figure out why this was happening. I knew (and I still know) that I am not immune to suffering. None of us are. But while I once thought that I was this super strong, resilient do it all person, I realized that I wasn’t even close. And this was hard to take. So hard. I see others dealing with cancer and other horrible, painful, even fatal diseases far worse than mine. And I feel so selfish. I know that I should always feel blessed because God is keeping me here for a reason. But I’ve always been very impatient and stubborn and I want to know everything NOW! I’ve lost relationships with some of my best friends because of this. Going anywhere is always a guessing game with me because I never know how I might feel from one day to the next. But to most people this appears as me just being an unreliable, selfish person with no regards to anyone’s feelings. Those people don’t know that I sit home alone and cry and cry over being that kind of person. And I know it gets so tiresome so I just don’t talk about it. Just always give the same response, “I’m fine”. Since there seems to be no end in sight for if or when I’ll feel better or even gain a little of the old me back, I’ve learned to stay in the background now. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve cut myself off from a lot of people just to avoid disappointing them. I know a lot of people think “well why don’t you just get out and get over it, you’ve got to at least try”. Those are the ones who probably need to see my DVD the most. If anybody ever thinks that I wanted to go from what I was to what I am now, they are very sadly mistaken. I know this post has been a downer, especially compared to my other ones. I guess I’m just in one of those “pits” that I’m trying so hard to avoid. But I also want to say “I’m sorry”. If you are reading this and you know me now, or have known me in the past, please forgive me. I am trying. I don’t want pity. I just want God’s plan for this adventure that is my life now. And if it somehow glorifies Him, even in a tiny way, then it’s all worth it. If it helps bring just one life to Him to be saved, then it’s worth it. So if you ever do see that DVD come to fruition, don’t despair! It might start out crazy wild, go into a pretty depressing low point in the middle, but here’s the best part! The end is FULL of hope, peace and joy because through it all, no matter what I go through, now and forever, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has got my back!

Chronic illness, faith, family, hope, encouragment, life

“Mommy I Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven”

For a lot of people the title of this post alone would be really scary. When my ten year old son said this to me a few weeks ago, I got this kind of weird but ambivalent vibe. Rather than jumping to conclusions and going into a panic (as I normally would), I decided to just come back with the ultimate question, “Why”? Needless to say, I was completely shocked by what he told me next and it cast my own issues with chronic illness into a brand new light for me. What was so funny was that I should probably already have that mindset but I guess I don’t. The mindset I’m referring to is “I can’t wait to get to Heaven”. Of course, my 10 year old son’s answer seemed like it was coming from a much older, extremely wise man. However, I can say that my son has always seemed to be wise beyond his years in his spiritual life. He has been “talking” to God everyday since he could talk, just as best friends do. He is so eerily perceptive in matters of the spirit that I can’t wait to see what God has in store for him. He has already used my son in so many ways to touch others. This time, though, He was using him to touch ME! His answer to my question of “Why” he couldn’t wait to get to Heaven really stunned me. In his usual, matter of fact, “duh” tone of voice he shrugged his shoulders, let out a big sigh and said, “Because the Bible says that there are no tears and pain in Heaven, and I’m tired of hurting in my stomach so going to Heaven would mean that I won’t hurt anymore and I’ll always be happy”. HUGE silence from me. Then some big, fat tears and LOTS of introspection. I was the one who had a chronic illness. I was the one who has to daily remind myself that it’s not my fault and it’s not fake. I am the one who hasn’t thought about my illness enough to grasp the fact that one day it will be over. No, let me rephrase that. I’ve thought about my illness more than I should, but what I haven’t given as much thought to as I should is that God in still in control of it and He will one day take it away.
My precious youngest son has gotten stuck with the same problems as most of our family has with his stomach. We’ve had him checked of course. The doctor found inflammation in his stomach and intestines. Stress doesn’t help of course. When it bothers him he does not feel good.
Me to self: “Hello??? why would you think his chronic problems don’t affect him like yours affect you?”
I guess what I’m trying to say is that my baby boy taught me a valuable lesson that day. No matter what comes your way, no matter how you perceive it, NEVER take your eyes off the bigger picture. We will suffer during our earthly lives and there is all kinds of suffering. But we will be FREE of all that when we enter into His presence and all the pain and tears will be gone! Do you have that assurance too? I pray you do because I don’t know about you but “I can’t wait to get to Heaven” either!!
**This is a blog I started a while back and finally finished. Hopefully someone needed to hear that today.**

Chronic illness, faith, family, hope, encouragment, life

Be An OVERCOMER!

I don’t even know where to begin with my story.  Obviously, it’s been a long time since I posted anything.  Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve been motivated to anything at all.   Being chronically ill finally gave way to being chronically depressed.  Anyone who suffers from a chronic illness, no matter what it might be, probably knows where I’m coming from with the depression.  It’s like a huge black pit just opens up and swallows you whole. 

When I was a little girl, my Grandpa used to operate a huge machine called a dragline. It was almost like 2 giant metal shovels that looked like claws.  He ran the “claws” from inside a cab.  What he was doing was digging huge holes so that the rocks and gravel could be loaded and taken to the “plant” where the rest of the work was done.  You may have heard of Sakrete before.  Well, that’s pretty much where it started.  Obviously, once he got out all the goods from one hole, he would leave it and go start on another one.  We used to love to go visit him while he was working because he would let us hop up there with him and look out the front window and see the huge holes he was digging.  They  never really seemed scary though because we were always looking down into them and knew that we safe with our Grandpa. 

One day, as I was driving back “home” to see my Mama, it hit me just how many “pits” were scattered around.  Huge open places in the earth that you wouldn’t want to get to close to for fear of falling in.  Now that I’m older, I don’t have my Grandpa sitting there in a dragline waiting to let me look out over the big pits.  But don’t get me wrong.  I’m still dealing with pits in my life, only this time they are my own little pits that I dug for myself when I found out about my health problems. 

That’s what I had been dealing with for so long and why I haven’t written anything on here for a while.  But I also changed the title of my blog as well.  It’s now called “overcome”.  I will be sharing my story on here of how I finally let God PULL me up out my own pit of self-pity,

 

Chronic illness, faith, family, hope, encouragment, life

Broken..

Well, it’s that time of year when the stores are packed and people are running around like crazy searching for that “perfect gift” for the special people in their lives.  I can tell you from experience that a lot of those “perfect gifts” that my kids have mentioned don’t come cheap.  As the mom of 3 truly awesome boys, ages 14, 12 and 10, I’ve found that the older they get, the higher the price tag.  Of course some of the usual big-ticket items are Electronics and the latest video games.  I usually just ask my kids to make a “Wish List” at Christmas because most of the time (well all of the time really) I don’t have a clue what they are talking about.  They are far more intelligent than me with all the latest technology so if they don’t write it down, then who knows what they might end up with LOL.

There have been a few occasions when I have found the “perfect” gift only to find out it’s broken or doesn’t work properly after we get it home.  I’m not the nicest person when this happens either.  I tend to freak out (just a little).  Seriously, it’s not a pretty site.  After all, who in their right mind would want something that doesn’t work when they paid for a brand new version?  And it doesn’t have to be something brand new necessarily.  That brings me to the infamous (in our family anyway) story of Dalton’s dirt bike.

All Dalton, my youngest son,  wanted was a dirt bike. In fact, he didn’t care if that was all he got for Christmas, he just wanted to ride dirt bikes.   He had been watching it on TV, talking to friends of ours who raced dirt bike, the whole nine yards.  And so, like any good mother, I absolutely refused his request.  Of course, also like any good mother at Christmas, I gave in.  I live with 3 boys and a husband, so who do you think had the numbers stacked against them?  In my house, whatever we spend on one kid has to be multiplied x3 so that meant Dalton wasn’t getting a brand new dirt bike.  I left this to my husband, who eventually found one on Ebay for him that fit the bill (financially anyway).  When we get the thing home, it obviously needed work so my husband and our neighbor worked on the bike some.  As my husband just told me, “we got it to run, but it didn’t run smoothly”.  Well that was an understatement.  I have to admit that even I was super excited to see my son’s face when he saw his gift.  And he was super excited when he saw it.  But then they took it outside so that he could try to ride it.  I went with them to be the “heavy”, but I was scared to death to watch him.  He couldn’t get it cranked!  Whew!  Bad for him but good for me.  He finally got it started and proceeded to go about 2 feet and unintentionally done a pretty cool wheelie.  Time to get off!  Mama didn’t get Valium in her stocking 😉  But they kept at it but the stupid thing just kept cutting off.  He finally gave up but how pitiful he was that he wasn’t able to ride it!  And, even through my “scared mom” eyes, I really didn’t want him to be disappointed or sad, especially not on Christmas.  But not only was the dirt bike not a new one, it was a broken one to boot.  How horrible Keith and I felt as parents that we gave our kid a broken gift on Christmas Day!  The worst part was how he would get so excited when it cranked for about 2 seconds, and the hope would be back in those beautiful eyes.  But then every time it stopped, he (and I) only felt more let down.  And he really didn’t have a whole lot of other gifts that weren’t dirt bike related.  He had to have a helmet, of course.  But this Mama wasn’t letting him get on there without pads too, lol.  And he got “cool dirt biking clothes” as he called them.  So when it came down to it, there just wasn’t anything to take the place of his dirt bike that year.  But he was such a good sport about it.  Even though he was sad, he still had hope that his Daddy could fix it and everything would be okay..

Oh how much like that dirt bike dilemma is life with chronic illness.  We wake up thinking we are gonna start just fine and we are excited and hopeful.  But then we start to sputter and gradually our engine just cuts off.  But we try again.  And again.  And we keep on trying, every single day because that’s what we have to do to keep our sanity.  Sometimes, though, even trying is too hard.  It just doesn’t seem like it’s enough.  And it doesn’t seem like it’s worth it anymore.  I will be honest with you.  I’ve been trying to get a blog out for a while now.  I wouldn’t say I had writer’s block but more like writers “fog”.  If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, then you are probably very familiar with the “fog”.  If you don’t know what it is, trust me, you don’t want to.  But a simple description is that it is exactly the way it sounds.  This weird fog comes over your brain and nothing, no matter how much you force it, will penetrate that horrible shroud of funk that your brain is in.  It took a pretty sad pity party to make its way through this mess in my head.  I was literally at the end of my rope, hanging on with all I had a few nights ago.  Or more like mornings ago.  I couldn’t sleep-again-so I was up and just messing around my house.  As I was going through my house, ALL I could see were the things that were wrong.  All the things that had been neglected because of this stupid illness.  All of unfinished projects and the messes I had yet to clean up.  Literally everywhere I turned was something else that was seemingly slapping me in the face with my ineptitude.  All I could think about was what a failure I’ve become.  I started sobbing uncontrollably and wondered if this was ever going to get better or if I was ever going to see a glimpse of that person that I used to be.  Finally, I did the thing that I should have done first.  I called out to my Heavenly Father and I said “You’ve got to fix this.  I can’t do it on my own and I don’t want to.  If You don’t do something to make it better than this is it.  I’m shutting down for good”.  I know that’s pretty dramatic, but it was a pretty dramatic pity party, even for me.  I had lost sight of that hopefulness that I’ve always prided myself on having.  Pride being the key word there.  In my selfish pride lately, I had been ignoring the very One I called out to that night.  For I knew in the far recesses of that all-consuming fog that I had going on that I could still count on my Father to fix it.  Just like Dalton was so sure that his earthly Dad could fix the dirt bike, I should have been sure all along that my Heavenly Father could fix this.  Now when I say fix, I don’t mean take it all away or send a flash of light down and heal me there on the spot (although I’m positive that could happen, too) but he could repair it and help me get started and get focused on what’s important.  There was a flash, but it was a flash of scripture that came to mind and it was like a balm that washed over me and calmed me down so quickly, I thought I was imagining it.  It was like the sun came out and that silly fog started to clear out.  This is the verse that was on my heart: ” My sacrifice, O God, is[a] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise”.  Psalms 51:17 NIV

Of course!  I was broken and He promised to be there always!  But caught up in my own pride and self-pity, I didn’t call out to Him.  I love the way The Message translates that verse:  “Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice”.  Psalm 51:16-17 The Message

Yes!  Finally!  I understood the true meaning of this verse and boy did it fit me!  Most of the time, God has to really thump me on my head for me to get it and this was no exception.  But I was not only “heart-shattered”, but physically and emotionally shattered, too.  Doesn’t matter though.  God is in the business of repairing it all.  I finally saw that and oh how good it felt to give that burden over to Him.  For He had been with me all along anyway, watching and waiting for me to realize what and who I truly needed.  I guess He was going to see how many times I would try to start my own engine without asking for help.  But on that night when my engine finally flooded, He was there, with the necessary tools, and he helped me get started again.  Don’t let yourself get flooded like I did before you call out to Him.  He’s ready and waiting, because He knows when you are broken and hurting and in need.  And trust me on this too:  He won’t EVER let you down.  After all, you’ve got a lifetime warranty with Him 😉

Chronic illness, faith, family, hope, encouragment, life

“Potty Mouth”

Okay, I know you are wondering about that title. But I am raising 3 boys, ages 14, 12 and 10 so they are constantly providing me with inspiration, in all sense of the word. I absolutely adore my boys. They are wonderful young men who love the Lord and they love their Mom. I am blessed. BUT, they are boys. So therefore, I live in a houseful of males who do the typical male “things” like burp and pass gas and then laugh hysterically. They are also never shy about sharing the need to advertise a bathroom visit and when they need to go. I will admit that on some days I have to give in to the humor and add my own comments. (Hey, I also grew up with two brothers, so I’m definitely used to the gross stuff). So anyway, today was one of those days. The boys and I were joking around about something and they were really picking on me so I laughingly told them “Oh you guys are full of poop”. Well they roll right on with the comebacks and one of them said, “you know, you’re right about that MOTHER” (I know it’s going to be good when I hear “Mother” instead of “Mama”). But do I just keep my mouth shut? Nope! I asked him THE question: “Why”? So he proceeds to tell me about his need to go to the bathroom ALL day and he thinks it’s just going to start coming out everywhere. SO GROSS! Then he asked me, since I’m a nurse, “Well, what would your diagnosis for that one be”? Without a thought, I answered “potty mouth”! For some reason, this was also hysterical to them but of course, it got me thinking (no, not about poop) but about the things that do come out of our mouths. (I’m talking words here so don’t think I’m that gross). Of course, that is what most people think of when they think about “potty mouth”-usually when our kids say a “bad” word, etc. But honestly anything negative or hurtful could be considered potty mouth. After all, what’s really the difference? When we say things to others that hurt them what does that say about us? The Bible tells us that what comes out of our mouths is really just the overflow from our hearts. (HUGE difference from what my son said, right)? But what a fitting example. If you have things in your heart that are not so pleasant, you tend to spread that around with little things called words. But those words sometimes have more power than Duke Energy. A few harshly spoken, bitter words can tear down a person like nothing else can. On the flip side, you can also build up a person with sincere encouraging words or just a tiny compliment. It means so much more than people realize when we use our “potty mouths” or when we choose to have goodness in our hearts so that it “overflows from our mouth”. What does this have to do with chronic illness? Quite a lot. Everybody needs kind words and encouragement but I’ve found that when you have a chronic illness and each day is different and often a struggle, those kind, encouraging words turn into motivators for us. Sometimes I can be having a really crappy day (no pun intended) and a “potty mouth” can bring me down even lower than I already was. Especially for people who don’t understand it. They say things like “oh, just deal with it” or “it must be nice to be able to nap during the day”, etc. Do I really want to be in this situation? Did I choose to have a condition that took me from being an on the go, always busy, there for everybody type of person and turned me into the exact opposite? Of course not! But people have a hard time relating to things they don’t understand I guess. That’s why I truly want to change the way people look at chronic illness and those affected by it. Because, believe me, it’s not just the sick person who suffers. It’s their entire family. But I’ll save that for another day. But you know what? I’ve found people in my life who know the value of those encouraging words and they pick me up when I’m having a bad day. Sometimes, it’s those words that are lifesavers to me, better than anything modern medicine can provide. So, if you have a chronic illness, or if you don’t, surround yourself with the encouragers, not the “potty mouths”. It will eventually rub off on you and you will find yourself encouraging others, too. Just think what the world would be like if we all did that? One of the best ways to get yourself past potty mouth and to that place of encouragement is through Jesus Christ. If He reigns over your heart, then you know good things are going to spill from your mouth and affect those around you. And if you do find yourself in a potty mouth kind of mood, do what I told my son to do today: Get yourself to that bathroom and get rid of the gross stuff clogging up your body, or in this case, your heart. In other words, get on your knees and cry out to the One who will always encourage and uplift you and can cure that potty mouth quicker than any laxative 🙂

Chronic illness, faith, family, hope, encouragment, life

“You are not alone”

So based on the response from my first post, it seems like maybe I should keep doing this.  (Actually, I’m pretty stubborn,  I would keep doing it no matter what kind of response I got but it’s so nice to hear from so many people telling me positive things about it)!  But another thing that was so glaringly evident to me is that pretty much everybody who gave me their opinion could relate to what I said-whether they had a chronic illness or not!   I’ve really thought about this and come to the conclusion that we are a hurting world and that everybody has some type of “chronic illness” that they deal with.  Obviously, as a daughter of Christ, I believe that the chronic illness is sin.  We are a sinful, prideful world and we ALL need Jesus.  But there’s so much more than that going on.  Each of us has our own pain or hurt that we are dealing with.  Now I don’t mean that we are all “woe is me” people, I just mean that we can all relate to each other in some way.  It might be because people judge you for any number of reasons.  Or it might be because of a situation or crisis that you are going through at the moment.  Or maybe it’s an addict who wants to stop whatever it is that has control over them but they are afraid.  Whatever the reason, IT DOESN’T MATTER!  You are still in pain and you want to feel better.  If you suffer from a chronic illness then you know exactly where I’m coming from.  Each day you wake up not sure what you will be facing that day.  Maybe it’s a good day and you feel like you can totally do this!  Maybe it’s a great day and you accomplish things that you wondered if you would ever be able to do again.  But eventually, that “bad” day comes.  You wake up and you just know that even getting out of bed will be your greatest achievement of the day (and sometimes you can’t even get out of bed).  If you are like me, you feel so guilty because of the things you can’t do anymore.  It’s like you crash and you wonder why in the world  you have to go through this.  It’s hard to be grateful on those days because I tend to focus on what I’ve lost instead of focusing on the positive things.  It seems like, on those horrible days, there is no hope.  But, my friends, let me tell you this.  THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE!  One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through this journey is to never lose hope.  I will know that I have truly given up when I am totally hopeless.  So, even on those days when I don’t have the energy to move, much less do anything else, my mind is still going strong.  And I tell myself:  “You are not without hope”!  And it is on these days that Jesus shows me how much worse it could be.  I hear of tragedies so unthinkable to me that I wonder what right I have to even complain, much less question “Why me”.  It’s more like “why not me”?  After all, it could be so much worse than it is.  So on those days my biggest accomplishment is to turn to my Heavenly Father.  I can never be without hope because I know that He is watching over me.  He knows this is a bad day for me.  He knew it a long time ago.  If fact, He’s just waiting on ME to call out to him.  And He doesn’t care if I come to him with joy in my heart or sadness or even anger.  He just wants me to come to Him period.  Then He will do the rest.  He is my hope.  That doesn’t mean He will fix it all and take away all my pain and illness.  But He will get me through that moment.  And you know what?  That moment turns into an hour and those hours turn into a day.  He gives me the hope I need for that moment.  And he doesn’t just do that for people with chronic illnesses.  He does that for ANYBODY in pain.  You just have to bring it to Him.  It doesn’t matter if you are crawling and don’t think you will get there or if you are just weary and moving slow, He is there waiting.  And He won’t give up on you so please don’t give up on Him.  Take that hurt you have and give it to your Heavenly Father because He says that He will bear that burden for you.  Trust me, I know this to be true.  I have made that “crawl” and that “weary walk” to Him more times than I can count.  I’ve even stumbled and fell on the way there and He came and met me where I was.  And you know what else?  Not one time has He failed to be there for me with His arms wide open!  He’s just waiting for you, too.  Take that first step and begin the greatest journey of your life-with Him!

Chronic illness, faith, family, hope, encouragment, life

“I Call That One”

So here it is, my very first attempt at blogging.  I’ve loved to write all my life, even won a state writing award once.  My favorite class in college (besides my nursing courses) was a writing class that I took.  So you would think that I would’ve kept it up.  But, like a lot of things I “used” to do, it got put to the side.  My husband has been encouraging me to write now for a while, but I guess I had nothing to say until now (that’s a joke-if you know me then you know that’s not an issue for me).

Deciding what to write about though has been my problem.  I just didn’t feel “led” to go in a certain direction and I wanted something specific to focus on.  I LOVE reading blogs that other people write and I thought, “Why can’t I just do this, too”?  But after my whole life got turned upside down in April, 2005, and hasn’t been the same since-what to write about now is one of my easiest decisions.  Also, my wonderful, amazing sister (well, she’s really my sister-in-law but that’s just a technicality) just published her first book that started from a blog that she had written a while back.  It tells her “story”.  It is a story of pain, sadness, hope, renewal and joy.  So while I will share a lot of my “story” with you, I’ve decided to focus on Chronic Illness.  Some might say that is my story now, because that’s what I face daily.  But I’ve learned that it is only because I took my eyes off the One who is the ultimate author of my story and zoomed in on that one particular area.  Anybody who suffers from a chronic illness (or illnesses) can attest to how hard it is to NOT concentrate on that constantly.  I probably won’t share my entire story in one blog (unless you want to read for hours, lol) but I had this thought that popped into my head a few days ago and it won’t leave me alone so I knew that this must be my starting point.  That’s where the name of this particular blog came from, “I Call that One”.

My husband and my 3 boys play this game in the car all the time.  They try to find the coolest or priciest cars and “call them”.  Sometimes that’s the only conversation in our car.  But they pick out the Porches, Camaros, Mustangs, etc (never BMW convertibles, which is my favorite, because it’s an “old lady car” J).  This game eventually trickled down to their friends who would be in the car with us and now it is almost like a rite of passage to ride with us-you have to name the cars.  In fact, it had gotten so competitive, everybody started calling out almost any kind of car you can think of (except for the old clunkers of course).  Even police cars and firetrucks were called out.  I had to pull rank on them eventually and tell them to go back to the original form of the game because half the time I don’t think they even looked closely for the “good” ones anymore.

So on Monday morning on the way home from carpool, I was thinking about this game, because of course I had 5 kids calling out cars the entire time.  Why, I wondered, was it so very easy to pick out the “fancy”, high priced cars (and really anything that looked “new”).  Sure, they don’t get a kick out of calling out the clunkers, but they don’t look good enough.  But a car is a car.  Even the Porsche we pass one second might go on down the road and have some kind of engine problem and totally break down.  However, they are none the wiser because all they see is the outside-a nice, gorgeous, shiny car that they think will run forever.  How very much, I thought, is that similar to the way others look at those of us who suffer from some form of a chronic illness.  A chronic illness can be anything at all-a long term condition that the person has to live with daily.  It’s often called the “Invisible Illness” because no one sees it.  But that’s only from the outside.  Someone might have cancer, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, even high blood pressure that affects them all the time.  But just because you don’t “look” the part of someone who is sick, people don’t think that there is anything wrong.  It’s a common assumption that just because you look okay on the outside that you must feel great on the inside.  That is so far from how it really is.  With women, a little makeup and styling your hair goes a long way into turning you into that Porsche that looks great on the outside but what they don’t realize is that eventually, (and it’s usually at home with family or alone), that the engine messes up and you totally get stopped in your tracks.  Sure, the outside still looks good, but underneath the “hood”, there are all sorts of bad things going on.  And you don’t want to tell anyone because what would that do to your reputation as being “the cool car”?  So you sit it out on the sidelines and nobody says “I Call that One” because who wants a car that doesn’t run right?

Thank goodness there is One who will always want us, no matter how we look on the outside or the inside for that matter.  He meets us where we are and he pursues us until we put all of our faith in Him and trust Him to be that “Great Mechanic”.  I know that’s a crazy term for Jesus Christ, but He did promise to be what we needed.  Does that mean that He is going to completely fix everything that is wrong?  Nope.  Sometimes the thing that is wrong can’t be fixed but merely repaired or tuned up so to speak.  He also promises never to leave us or forsake us.  And He doesn’t.  He’s always there beside you in the passenger seat.  Sometimes it’s just hard to see through the smoke coming through the car from the engine. That’s when we have to trust and take that hand that is reaching out for us through the smoke and just be still and let Him handle the problem.  And He will handle it.  It might not always be the way we want or fast enough for us, but I promise you this:  He won’t trade you in for a newer, better model.  He takes what you already have and He lovingly cares for it until you can start up again and move on, even if it’s just for that day.  One day, we will all have the perfect “cars” that my boys and my husband call out all the time.  We just have to give our hearts to Him and let Him guide us.  Trust me, He will.  On the days when all I feel like is the old clunker nobody wants and I feel like I’m totally on my last few miles, I know that my Heavenly Father is looking down, reaching for my hand and saying “I Call that One”.