Beliefnet
Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicToward the end of last year, I received an email from one of the patient advocacy groups I keep informed of. It said that a lupus drug had failed in trials and was being scrapped – but not to lose hope!

We’ve had only one new drug approved for lupus in the past 50-60 years, so the news of a potentially newer drug failing in trials was tough to hear. True, in the 20+ years I’ve lived with lupus, there has been some progress in better managing the disease and better diagnostics to identify precise ways in which lupus and the autoimmune process is at work.

But, couched in the news of a potential drug’s failure and the ‘encouragement’ to not lose hope is something that defies a superficial response, a question that many chronically ill patients – not just lupies – have to grapple with, if we are to have lives of purpose and light:

How can you have hope when you’re told, “There’s nothing more we can do” or when there are no truly curative medications for your condition?

I’ve dealt with this question by taking “hope” out of the realm of science and healthcare, out of the hands of men and women. Rather, I put my hope in the fact that, no matter what, new medication or no new medication, worsened disease or awesome cure, God is present in my life and He is guiding, comforting, encouraging, and upholding me. Always. No matter what. And I pray.

I pray for researchers, doctors, and other medical professionals who are in the trenches, working on finding “why,” and then “what can we do?” I pray for my fellow lupies and others who are challenged, fighting, and working hard to mold goodness from their lives. I pray for the people who read this blog, those who feel so very alone, and those who feel afraid. I keep my hope alive and growing as I reflect on others, on our amazing fellowship across miles and time zones.

I pray for peace of heart for all as we move ahead, despite and in spite of our health challenges.

And I pray that hope will grow ever-stronger in all of our hearts as we work with our doctors and stay close to our God – our awesome, loving, ever-wonderful God!

Blessings,

Maureen

CrecheforblogPine needles are scattered down the hallway, a stray ornament has rolled under a living room table. The manger scene will remain on my piano through Epiphany and then it, too, will be stowed away until next/this Christmas. The time has passed fluidly, one holiday day to the next.

But, oh, not so much the physical wear and tear! No, holidays on top of “regular” days of illness and chronic pain do take their toll. And, as the decorations are put back into their boxes, there’s a lot of protesting from back, legs, shoulders, and elsewhere!

Unlike in years past, I have been in no real hurry to pick up the pieces after the holidays. I’m trying to take my own advice – one box, one ornament at a time. All will be taken care of, just not perhaps as swiftly as others might be able to accomplish.

Even if you have lots still to do to put away the holidays, do take time to relax, remember fondly, let your body ease back into the New Year and those decorations ease back into their hiding places.

Yes, it’s TLC Tuesday once again – Encourage yourself to take it easy!

Blessings,

Maureen

Photo courtesy of posterize/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of posterize/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m fascinated by how, after Jesus was crucified, died, and rose from the dead, those devoted to Jesus did not scatter like cowards, fearing they would be next to die on the cross. Rather, they gathered in an “upper room” and received the Holy Spirit! From there, then, they went forth, communicating in ways that had before been utterly foreign to them. And, spreading the Gospel, they changed the world (though not without pain and personal sacrifice).

It’s a powerful lesson for anyone, but especially for those of us with chronic illness. If you read the first couple of chapters of Acts of the Apostles superficially, it seems “natural” that all those men and women, followers of Christ, would naturally continue His ministry.

But then, consider the time, the political climate, the personal tragedy they had each witnessed – the brutal death of their friend and, in Mary’s case, son. It’s a wonder they didn’t scatter, hide, “take a time out,” or otherwise give up!

Praise God, they didn’t!

Faced even with tremendous obstacles, each was given the gift of the Holy Spirit, speaking in foreign languages, filled with determination and that “strong driving wind” (Acts 2:2) of purpose beyond suffering.

As we begin a new year, and probably face serious health obstacles, let’s keep in mind those first people who rose above their troubles, fears, and disadvantages – and changed the world! Pray for the profound gift of the Holy Spirit, and delight in where it takes you!

Blessings for the New Year,

Maureen

pic for website 2012As we get back into our regular routines in the new year, I’m thinking of how I will incorporate more prayer into my days. If I look at some of the blocks on my calendar, full of doctor’s visits and other appointments, I might be inclined to think that I’ll have to wait until I have more quality, spare moments in which to talk to God.

But in the Spirit of prayer, and especially as I look at an already busy year, a question nudges out the  “noise” of appointments:

Why not now?

It’s a powerfully simple question, but one with great implications. Why now, indeed, pray in traffic (we probably do this, already!), in line at the store, as we fold laundry, feed the cat, brush our teeth?

Yes, why not pray now?

That’s the spirit!

Blessings for today – and this brand new year!

Maureen