Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

TLC Tuesday: Chronic Illness, Deprivation, and Lent

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicLent begins tomorrow, and today, many people will be indulging in overindulgence so that they can “tank up” before depriving themselves (mostly) of whatever they choose to give up for Lent.

(I realize that doesn’t fully describe “Fat Tuesday,” or, “Mardi Gras,” but I choose to be general about it.)

You see, I don’t really observe the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday as a 24-hour chocolate binge (or any other binge for that matter). I prefer to add something during Lent, rather than take something away, and if you have a chronic illness that precariously balances on the edge of a routine, with little disruption, then you probably understand why I do this.

When you live with a chronic illness, you essentially live deprivation of many kinds. So, I prefer to try to do something more, something “more good,” during the 40 days of Lent and, hopefully, beyond. And, like every year, I will keep this to myself, not seeking public acknowledgement, but rather, being “anonymous” to anyone but God.

Perhaps you feel you have no joy. Try to cultivate it for Lent. Or, perhaps, you have a hard time being compassionate toward people who are less ill than you, but complain more loudly. Try to turn around your heart. Maybe you really abhor the body that has become yours over the course of your illness. Try to see it through God’s prism: one of love for his unique child, one worthy of respect and love.

Take today to muster determination for tomorrow and all through Lent – to add something positive instead of focusing on the negative!

Peace

Maureen

 

Food for Thought: Good Input, Excellent Outlook

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicThese days, I have often found the following Scripture verse coming to mind:

“Do not conformyourself to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”  Romans 12: 2

It’s an excellent reading to remember at any time of year, but especially during Lent, when we take extra care to pray, meditate, and disengage our lives from at least some of the distractions swirling about us.

But what I really focus on is the phrase “renewal of your mind,” and dicerning “what is good.” It’s really hard to think of the right path if you’re obsessed with the wrong one. And it’s nearly impossible to hear the Holy Spirit’s whisper if our ears, physical and spiritual, are filled with destructive noise.

As Lent approaches, think of the good that you can bring into your life and heart. Focus on it having an excellent result – and excellent outlook – in the days and months to come. I sure will!

Blessings,

Maureen

A Praying Spirit: Praying Love

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Pat138241/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Pat138241/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, as we celebrate love in all it’s forms, I encourage you to “pray love.” What do I mean by this?

First, pray that God’s love may cover all those whom you hold dear, including yourself. Ask that His goodness and comfort may permeate your lives, inside and out.

Next, pray for those whom you do not know, but who are suffering from lack of love, those whose lives are covered in darkness, despair, fear, pain, and loneliness. Spend extra time imagining your prayer moving and resting over these souls, breaking through the darkness and delivering light.

Third, rest. Listen to God’s response to your prayers for and of love. Listen for the Holy Spirit’s wisdom. Listen in simple wonder at the power – and the inspiration – of Our Lord’s mercy.

Happy Valentine’s Day! May you feel – and share – love!

Hope for Chronically Ill Teens

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicAs a teenager, it seemed as if I was always getting sick. “Regular” things, like colds and flu, and “Really Wierd Illnesses” that, in hindsight, were probably manifestations and flares of the lupus I would later learn that I have. It wasn’t easy being sick so often. I missed out on school classes and other activities, and felt internal stress heaped on the normal development we go through when transitioning from child to young adult.

But there was a benefit to being sick, too. Yes, those “bad stretches” have their positive sides – if we look for them. And now, as I am older and have the luxury of looking back, I can say that the lessons I learned, consciously or unconsciously, have helped me, I hope, be a better and unique individual. Here are some of the benefits; if you are a teen and have a chronic illness, I offer them as food for thought and, I pray, hope:

o  If you suffer from a chronic illness, you are in a unique and wonderful position to learn just how amazing, delicate, and complex our bodies are. You learn how to better care for yourself, and throughout your life, you can apply that knowledge to yourself and others.

o  You can develop into a very unique person. Yes, it hurts to have to study at home and not participate in a lot of the “usual” things teens do. But your chronic illness is allowing you time and space to develop your very individual self – hopes, dreams, and plans, too. By all means, work hard to build good, positive and nurturing friendships and enjoy this time of your life. But also embrace the precious, singular person you are and are becoming!

o  Talk to God as a friend and build your spirituality. When I was so very sick as a child, my mother told me, “Even if you are alone, God is with you. You can always talk to God.” That advice has sustained me and inspired me so very much, and it’s also been a great comfort. Yes, sometimes my talks with God are not easy ones. Sometimes, he gets quite an earful! But always, I am grateful for His presence and work in my life – and for the ability to talk with him no matter when.

o  Develop your dreams and develop a plan.  Today more than ever, people with chronic illness are able to be active and productive in a variety of areas. Even if you are considered “totally disabled,” you have something to give, and should keep dreaming – and planning – how you can take your many attributes and gifts and use them for the good of all.

o  You are strong!  Throughout your life, you will encounter people who say, “I can’t make it.”  “I can’t do this.” “This situation is just too hard for me to handle.” The tough things you are going through now are showing you that you have a tremendous amount of inner strength and resilience. This enables you to be an inspiration for others who have not quite developed their inner strength like you have. And it enables you to guide them through their tough patches in the days and years ahead.

Above all, know that your life matters. You matter. And although life is not exactly easy, it is full of wonderful blessings – beginning with your unique and God-given spirit!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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