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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness and Pain: Strangers to Ourselves

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Keattikorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Keattikorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“I don’t even recognize myself!”

If you have ever said this during your journey with chronic illness or pain, you’re in good company! I think, at one point or another, each of us will take a look in the proverbial mirror and say, “Who is that?” or “What have I become?”

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Physical changes can make us gasp. Losing hair, gaining weight – all those visible signs that something is wrong can truly be horrifying.

Personality changes can also be confounding. Whether because of medication or  the long-chafing ordeal of living with poor health, we can become moody, angry, depressed, and lash out in what are unusual ways for us.

If we have to give up working and other activities, we also lose the identity we have from those endeavors. No longer can we say, “I’m a manager,” or “I play soccer.”

And through all these and other revelations, we might find ourselves asking, “Who in the world am I, now?”

Faith holds a very good answer for us, for the God who made us knows exactly who we are. Never wavering in His love for us, His children, Our Lord not only knows us through and through, but He is constantly holding our hands through the process we embark upon as we move more fully into a different kind of life – life with illness and pain. That process is one of recognition and discovery – Through faith and prayer, God helps us recognize that we are not utterly changed, nor are we complete strangers to who we used to be. We are still, fundamentally, ourselves. But we have new challenges, and through God, again, we discover how to meet these challenges and find ways to let the best of ourselves, the talents and other assets, shine through. Differently, perhaps. But shine nevertheless.

Strangers to ourselves? Perhaps briefly. But after the shock wears off, we can be heartened that the next part is better and more promising

The next part is where we move ahead – and get to know ourselves and God even better than before!

Joy,

Maureen

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Connecting with God on Vacation

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of ArvindBalaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ArvindBalaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We leave behind a lot when we go on vacation! Jobs, daily tasks, household chores. Alas, sometimes, too, we might leave behind an active sense of nurturing our faith, opting to skip church or gloss over our daily prayer routine.

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True, it can be difficult to take our regular faith practices with us on vacation. Often, our schedule is not our own (if we’re on a tour, for example, or if we are dependent on others for transportation and other activities). Our days are not the same, too; if we want to see all the sights, we might have every waking moment taken up with touring – and be too bleary-eyed by the end of the day to think of much else except sleep!

So, how can we connect with God while we’re on vacation?

Some simple tips:

Copy a Bible verse or two, or a favorite prayer, and tuck it into your wallet or purse. Even the knowledge it is there will help you remember the Creator – and give you access to a reading more readily.

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Plot church stops along your itinerary. Perhaps you cannot make it to a full service on Sunday, but even a brief stop by a church, inside or out, can help you refresh your spirit.

Learn about the faith traditions of the place where you are going. Many historic sites have deep spiritual roots. Learning about these as you take in the other details about who, what, and why will fill-out your understanding of history and feed your faith.

Be open to God revealing new things to you. All along the way, as we travel, there are many opportunities for God to reveal new insights, wisdom, experiences, and relationships. Keep your heart and eyes and ears open as you journey and don’t hesitate to pursue a road that might lead to spirit-filled delight!

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Spend time in nature. One of the best places to be with the Creator is to spend time in quiet enjoyment of natural surroundings. Even if it is an urban garden, a flower and plant-filled location can be a place of rejuvenation and spiritual refreshment.

Enjoy your time of rest. Delight in your re-connection with yourself and loved ones. And keep yourself open to God – for He never takes a vacation, but is always present!

Joy,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: Recognizing Progress, However Small

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I remember the day when, months after I was diagnosed with lupus, I could pick up a drinking glass without feeling pain in my fingers. It wasn’t a huge, “Oh, I’m cured!” moment. After all, I still had lots and lots of other internal problems and complete baldness to deal with. But it was progress, small but also monumental.

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As I’ve continued living with lupus and other sometimes debilitating/sometimes more tolerable conditions, I’ve become even more mindful of the small steps ahead, the “little” progress that can lift my spirits and signal hope. But sometimes, too, especially in the midst of a flare up, I can forget to recognize the mini-progress as I look at how much farther I have to go. Faith helps me be more attentive.

When Jesus said, “I am with you always,” He meant every moment, waking or sleeping, moving or sitting. In small moments of progress and huge moments of pain. To be intent on recognizing the nuanced times when we move forward is a reflection of our love for the Lord and our desire to recognize Him, too, even in those “I can lift a drinking glass” moments.

So, if you make small steps of progress, if you inch along snail-like, still know that Jesus is supporting you throughout – and revealing Himself as mightily as if He were coming down from a cloud in heaven!

 

Peace!

Maureen

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TLC Tuesday: Celebrate!

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Aduldej/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Aduldej/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When was the last time you celebrated living? Oh, not another birthday or anniversary. Not even milestones such as so many months after ending treatment or physical therapy.

No, when was the last time you celebrated your God-given, blessedly wonderful life?

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The celebration need not be elaborate, and it can even be private. No one need know what is behind that lilt in your voice or smile on your lips. And, of course, the celebration should be something health-filled and healthful. This is not an invitation to go overboard, but rather a way to lift up praise for this day, this time, this now – and all the bounty contained in it.

Today, embrace your life, this precious you that God has individually and lovingly fashioned. You, with all of your quirks and talents, chronic illness, pain and all.

Celebrate this life, this you. And, God will smile, too!

Joy,

Maureen

Previous Posts

Chronic Illness and Pain: Strangers to Ourselves
"I don't even recognize myself!" If you have ever said this during your journey with chronic illness or pain, you're ...

posted 7:18:06pm Aug. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Connecting with God on Vacation
We leave behind a lot when we go on vacation! Jobs, daily tasks, household chores. Alas, sometimes, too, we might ...

posted 7:06:26pm Aug. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Recognizing Progress, However Small
I remember the day when, months after I was diagnosed with lupus, I could pick up a drinking glass without feeling pain in ...

posted 8:56:43am Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

TLC Tuesday: Celebrate!
When was the last time you celebrated living? Oh, not another birthday or anniversary. Not even milestones such as so many ...

posted 8:49:46am Jul. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Pain: The Oasis in Our Hearts
One of the most difficult things about living with chronic pain can be finding relief. Oh, yes, we work with our doctors, ...

posted 8:16:38am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

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