Category Archives: Grace

The Half That Makes Me Whole

I wrote this earlier this evening and posted it to my Facebook pages.

This Season I’m In

I want to scream and cry all at once
I want the fear and worry to cease
I want to know it will all be okay
I want the meltdowns to go away and never come back
I want healing and return to good health
I want peace without begging for it
I want the pain to end
I want one day to be perfect with no problems
I want the storms to pass and the dark valleys to become full of light again
I want to live and not just exist
I want to smile with my mouth and not just my heart
I want to walk with no more pain
I want to know my husband will never have another stroke or seizure again
I want to be all God calls me to be every day
I want to be a light to someone in their darkest times
I know this season I am will not last forever, this too shall pass
I know God will stretch me beyond what I think I can endure
I know God has a plan for my life
I know I may not understand His methods or His plan
I know part of growing is going through stuff
I know He is always with me
I know Jesus is my source of joy, never-ending love, strengthener of my faith
I know everything I go through, He will use for good
I know I am loved without conditions because I am HIS
I want the world to know that the Grace of God is enough to carry me when my eyes cannot see why we go through what we do. Jesus is enough.
I know how blessed I am and my wants are temporary, my love for Jesus is eternal.
©Carlene S. Wooddell/May 13, 2019

 

Hebrews 10:24 New Living Translation (NLT)
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

 

This past week/weekend, our family had some very scary moments.  Where you stop and evaluate your life. Where you remember that it can all be gone in an instant. My husband suffered a stroke that led to a series or maybe just one seizure lasting over 30 minutes. Wires and monitors everywhere, in and out of consciousness, not remembering the episode or even the ride to the hospital, not knowing how close we came to not having him in our lives.

We both know when it is our time to leave this earth, we will return home to Jesus. There is no fear of dying. The fear comes in when you watch the love of your life, laying there motionless and unable to communicate or even aware you are there. As I worked to maintain control of my emotions, silent prayers were being said, calling and texting all prayer warriors to come to our aid again.

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He survived this time. He is home now. I am doing my best to not be the “helicopter wife”, hovering over him and treating him like a baby that needs to be watched over, just waiting for the pin to drop, but it has been difficult to not do that. It is hard to watch him realize he doesn’t know much of what happened and even after asking multiple times, he can’t remember and must ask again. The sorrow in his voice as he apologizes for something he had no control over. The concern on how long these effects of his memory will last and the sheer fatigue that is hard to comprehend when all he does is sleep.

While I do my best to reassure him that the rest his body needs is imperative and the short term memory loss is normal, it does nothing to help him feel better about it. And I don’t know if I were in his shoes, it would make me feel any better or not.

The fact he is required to take new medications to prevent future seizures and the possibility of not driving until he is approved to do so by his Neurologists is scary. Losing any type of independence at any age is daunting.

But we will get through this together, one day at a time.

Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you, show them by your actions, love them daily as if it is their last because when that time comes for them to pass on, don’t leave regrets of words and actions not being said because you always thought there would be time. Settle disagreements quickly. Life is so very short.

Trust that Jesus has a plan for your life and He loves you very much!

Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

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Tender Mercies

Mercies New Every Morning

Just as the Lord’s mercies are new every morning, I am finding my compassion and mercy must be just as new every day and the events from the previous day must be filed in the crevices of my brain as another day done.

It is so easy to hold onto hurts, hangups, and insecurities and let them fester in our minds. If we dwell on events that have happened days before or years before, we are not living as Jesus Christ wants us to.

Today was a difficult day in our home. For all of us. It didn’t start out that way, most days never do but throw in a child that can meltdown in a moment, and heated words and tempers flared toward one another and you usually have a recipe for disaster. I was reminded of this as my husband attempted to usher our grandson into the house after he climbed down the steps of his school bus with little success. He’s a runner and he loves being outside. After many months of  a cold winter, it’s understandable that he doesn’t want to come into the house, but not only is he not old enough to be outside alone, he has a tendency to run as soon as he can and chasing him around the house or down the street to catch him and encourage him to come inside is less than ideal. It usually requires one of us carrying him in, kicking and screaming, literally.  And as usual, if there are cars passing by or people they may think he is being hurt or abducted. In today’s world, there is always a fear that someone will think that.  And the stares are just as bad as if someone actually says something. Nothing was said, but there were stares and immediately you are on the defense. Even if you don’t want to be. No one, unless they live with an autistic child, can understand the stares or unspoken comments just lingering there.

While we try to calm him and explain why he can’t come outside, the person passing by makes her way to our front door. I opt to be the person to open the door and am ready to matter-of-factly let this person know, everything is ok; he lives here. When she just comes to tell me, I totally understand what you are going through. My child is autistic. At that moment all defensiveness subsides and I am so thankful she chose to come back and speak those words. She stood on my porch for many minutes and we talked about how difficult it is and shook hands knowing that she is not alone in this journey either.

That one event changed the course of our day for all of us. Everyone was on edge for the rest of the day. But we didn’t have to be. We could have chosen to let that moment go and continue with our day; however, no one told our grandson that it was over. He managed to stay in his defiant mood for most of the day. Nothing was going as he wanted, so, therefore, he did what he does. He screamed. He cried. He slammed himself into the wooden gates that separate rooms. He threw a tantrum in the vehicle because he wasn’t getting his way.  I’ll admit there are times like today that I cry inwardly because I know that some of it he can control and other moments the overload is just too much and that is the only way he can react because he is lost inside himself.

We go through this so much, that it is part of our normal. We don’t like to go through it, but some days we get through with showing mercy and grace.  And then there are days like today when a rough day seems to hit all at once and nothing said or done, makes a difference. So I pray, and I seek the Lord. I pray for wisdom and clarity, give me the right words Lord. Help me; help us.

His routine on Tuesday’s is so different from his other days of the week, that right now, Tuesday’s and the weekend days are the hardest. On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, these are his days of joy. He goes to ABA therapy in the afternoon and he loves going and working on new things and learning new ways. But not on Tuesday. On Tuesday he goes to Speech Therapy. He has been going to speech therapy for over 2 1/2 years.  I know there are days he doesn’t want to go. He wants a break. And I will admit, there are days I don’t want to have to go to one more therapy session, but it has helped him so much to develop his language and speak, that we won’t quit or give up or give in.

Three years ago, he didn’t speak. He was nonverbal. He didn’t make eye contact or engage with others. He was in his own little world and very rarely were we let in. Now he wants us to play with him. He loves learning. Putting puzzles together. Counting and reciting his ABC’s. He loves school and although he is developmentally behind his peers, he is catching up. And one day he will get there. I cling to that hope. I cling to the day that his words will be clear and communication will no longer be a problem. The funniest thing is that when he is mad, his words are very concise and clear. It’s only when he gets in a hurry to tell us something, that we struggle with understanding his speech.

We were concerned about how he would react to his new baby sister. Would he hurt her? Would he understand that she is fragile? Would he love her or at least like her? We had nothing to worry about.  He worries when she cries and he tries to soothe her by talking to her or giving her a pacifier. He is so in love with her. And yes, we still have to watch him like a hawk, because there have been times he wants to pick her up from her bassinet and soothe her cries. He loves holding her and rocking her. I know he will always be a great big brother to her and how lucky she is.

As he became sleepy tonight, he made his way to each of us and in a small tearful voice told each one of us he loves us. And as we hugged him, we reassured him we love you too buddy.  Bless his heart. He doesn’t like having bad days either and at least he knows that our love will never change, no matter what his behavior is. He taught me a lot about forgiveness, by saying those three little words.

God’s mercies are new every morning. Ours should be too. We can’t change what happens in the past, whether it’s 5 minutes ago or 5 years ago, but we can change how we respond.

Now, as I sit here and I watch him sleeping, he looks so peaceful. The peace we had hoped would be part of our day, is, just not as we had thought it would be. He’s all boy. He wants to play outdoors, run wild and have fun. He likes picking up sticks and breaking them in half, He tries to help rake the yard and clear all the sticks that have fallen over the winter and early spring storms. Yes, it has made more work for us, but he tries. He hates being indoors, but being outdoors requires preparation. There has to be several of us with him as there are no fences or barriers from him going into the street and he still has no sense of danger.

My challenge to you is this: the next time you are out in your neighborhood or at the store or a local restaurant, don’t be the first to assume that a child is out of control and parents need to take care of that child. They may be doing the best they can with the situation they are given. And remember, God gives us grace daily. Not because we have earned it, but simply because He loves us.

Our charge by the Lord is to love Him and love others. My prayer is that I show the love of Jesus to all I meet and when I fail, grace and mercy will carry me through.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You ~ right now and always. Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

 

 

HIS Peace

Proverbs 3:5 New Living Translation (NLT)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.

I feel like I’ve been gnawing my way through tons of emotions this week to remember to trust in the Lord and realizing His ways I may not always understand, but He is in Control. Of EVERYTHING.

I love Jesus with all my heart. There is absolutely no doubt about that. I know HE is the God of Peace. I know He is Good. I know that many things happen in our lives and lately I have felt all alone, even when surrounded by those that love me.

I guess it’s some type of depression. I haven’t dealt with depression for me very much and so I have tried to banish it from my mind. I’ve lived with others that have depression and have lived with it for many years and I truly don’t know how they manage to make it through every single day, unscathed.

I know that I have always been able to turn to the Lord and He comforts me. He reminds me I am loved and no matter what I am in the midst of it is only temporary.  I cling to that hope. I hold on so tightly that sometime’s the tears don’t stop.  But no one sees the tears because I have learned to hide them. Even if they see tears, there is always an explanation of why. No one suspects anything. But hiding this depression isn’t helping me and it certainly isn’t helping anyone around me.

I am up late, usually alone, soaking in the silence and hanging on because once I go to bed, I don’t want to get up. I want to sleep.  Sleeping is easy because then I don’t have to face all the high stress in the house. High stress of living with a special needs child that creates stress for the rest of us. Stress, none of us, seem to be able to get a grip on. And as much as I don’t like to use the word worry, lots of concern over if our happy little guy will ever be back again. If his appetite will come back. If he will want to eat foods again that he used to love and were good for him. If he will learn how to control the sensory overload and not go on a rampage throwing toys, breaking objects, trying to hurt himself and hurt others. And while I pray about this and I think about it every single second I am awake, life goes on.

My friend Mary went to be with the Lord eight days ago. I grieve for knowing I can’t talk to her anymore, her children don’t have their mom to hug and hold, her husband must go on without her and all the people whose lives she has touched, have this deep sense of loss just as I do. But Mary knew her time was near. She had visions of being with Jesus. No matter how painful her last few days were, cancer could not destroy her spirit. She fought her short battle with so much grace and dignity, I can only hope I can go as peacefully when my time comes.  And I know I will gaze upon her face in the future. I know she is with our Lord and Savior, dancing and singing in Heaven showering Him with Praise and totally pain-free. And that gives me peace.

In 4 weeks, more or less, there will be a new life in our home. I am so excited to meet our newest granddaughter, but I am cautiously optimistic because I am concerned about how her brother will react when she cries. Will, he still gaze upon her as he does every other baby he sees with such awe and wonder? Or will he not understand and act out? Will he be gentle and kind, or will he………?

New therapy and new medications have started and I am believing this will be the missing pieces along with continued love and support to help our little guy gain some understanding of what works for self-regulation. For ways to cope when the noise becomes too much for his little body to handle all by itself. Sensory tools are being used in the home to help too. A new sensory swing that he now requests. A new “favorite game” he calls it. He lays on the couch and I lean back across him, applying pressure, for only a few seconds, several times in a row. And then he seems to feel better. And in those moments, we have peace.

blue sky clear sky cold fog

Photo by Bri Schneiter on Pexels.com

Even as I write this, I feel a peace settling in around my heart. A peace that only comes from God because, without Him, I would be a wreck of a human being.  I want this peace to become so much that nothing shakes me to the core. I used to have that peace and slowly, I let the distractions in my life, chip it away bit by bit. This last week has been proof of that. Thoughts that come to mind and I send them fleeing because they are not thoughts from my Lord. Words unspoken, because I realize we all deal with our emotions so differently and words hurt. Even well-meaning words can have an effect that nothing good can come from.

I consciously choose to love through it all. And I also consciously know without Jesus, His grace, His forgiveness, His love, and His mercy, I would be a jumbled up ball of emotions, shaking in a corner and wishing I could go home too.

I don’t like being depressed. Or even sad. I know the enemy would like nothing more for me to succumb to it. But the one thing satan seems to forget is I am a God girl and there is nothing he can do that will ever change my mind, my heart or my soul. I am a Princess of the King of Kings and I know my God is bigger than anything I will ever face.

Lord Jesus,

Thank you for loving me unconditionally, no matter what type of emotions or circumstances I find myself in, You are always there. You hold me up when I feel like I am falling. You strengthen me when my strength is gone. You give me peace where I can’t find any. You battle for me in the realms where I cannot go and Your love endures forever. Your peace no one can snatch from me. I hang onto the hope Father that you have plans for my life, plans to prosper me and not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future. You give me people to counsel me and share their testimonies of what a faithful father you are. You will never abandon me, or leave me. I love you, Lord! Father God, I ask that you forgive my unbelief when I doubt that you are working in my life. When I can’t see past the hurt and sorrow, when I weep, I know you are still working in and through me and on my behalf. In Your Mighty and Powerful name, Jesus. Amen

Jesus Loves You~right now and always. He can turn any mess you are in, into a message and any test you go through into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings to all ~ Carlene

Living in a Battle Zone

Genesis 1:27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

 

Constantly aware. Ever vigilant. Exits secured. Dodging bullets (nerf bullets, toy trucks, sippy cups, shoes, metal toy cars, anything that can be used to target a person or glass screen, window or door). No bunker to run to for safety. No place to retreat to escape the torment. Physically or emotionally. The only place to retreat is Jesus, crying out for shelter and rest as tears tumble down your cheeks. Mentally trying to figure out your next battle plan, strategy to calm the attacks. Weeping because you are exhausted of this every single day.  Thankful that 28 days ago, there was a truce of sorts. No battles, no lashing out, no rage at all. A day of peace with quiet, but sad because that was a day he wasn’t feeling good and just wanted to be held and cuddled. Wouldn’t let you let go, because he feels most secure when he’s close and held tight.

Sounds and noises we cannot hear, whether we have tuned them out because we have the ability to filter out noise or because we aren’t gifted to hear such quiet noises he can hear. The moment the gas furnace comes on before we can hear it before we can feel the hot air coming through the floor vents, he rushes over and is fearful, asking “what’s that noise?” but I hear nothing out of the norm. A few seconds later, I hear it chug to life and feel the heat. I assure him it’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s just the furnace (in the basement far from where he hears it).

Investigator of all. The coffee pot full of HOT coffee. The toolbox with sharp tools, that can’t be locked. The dryer that is big enough to climb inside. The vacuum that might need a new belt or part. The stovetop where he can cook his play food.  The step stool he tries to stand on to reach something that has been put up high, out of his reach. The tablet or smartphone that he probably knows how to operate better than us. There is never a time we can let him out of our line of vision. Because no matter how many times we say, STOP or DANGER he will still reach for them or climb on it.

Constantly moving, sits for YouTube videos and when he is in his car seat with a locked chest clip and buckle guard, so he can’t escape while the vehicle is moving or in his specialty stroller with a built-in torso vest and extra fasteners. Activities that once held his attention painting, playdough, putting puzzles together, coloring, matching sequences, matching objects in a memory game, no longer appeal to him.

Body slams into people and walls, gates and furniture. Climbing and jumping off of anything he can. Sliding down the stairs on his stomach face or feet first. The faster and harder the surface the better. Hitting and punching, pulling your hair, grabbing your eyeglasses off your face, biting, throwing his body on the floor, banging his head. All the while, trying to stop him from doing things to hurt himself or you. Holding him tight, hugging him, playing music, counting out loud, letting him swing, offering his trampoline, suggesting he spins himself around or jumps up and down. Let’s make a tent so you can hide in the darkness.

 

Houdini wanna-be. Made it past adult the other day, out the back door wearing a pull-up only. No clothing/coat or shoes. Hates clothing. It was 34 degrees. He didn’t get far this time, I was in the driveway. Doors are secured with locks at the top, every single door in the home, but where there’s a will, he always seems to find a way.

Sleep is either totally out or restless. There is no in between. If he goes to sleep too early in the evening (9pm), he’s full-on awake by 1 a.m. If he waits to go to sleep later in the evening, he’s too tired to function in the morning hours. Night terrors since birth. Some doctors say he will outgrow them. Cannot sleep alone due to health conditions. He co-sleeps with his mommy or me, so at least every other night, we can get some rest. Sleep only comes with the help of prescribed medication, otherwise sleep is like that of a newborn baby, constantly up and down all night.

Psalm 139:13-14 New Living Translation (NLT)
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Many prayers prayed throughout the day. Not to make him better, but to help him. Help him figure out why he acts the way he does, how to control his moods and impulses. Show us how to love him through it all in a calm manner. Help us figure out what sets off the explosions, the sensory overloads, the meltdowns, the anger. Help us know when he is in pain, help us to soothe the noise. Help us to respond and not react. Reactions are normally based on emotions and emotions ride very high when you feel like from the minute you wake up until you lay your head down for the night you live in a battle zone. Responding in love and compassion and words that lift up are always much better, even if it takes him a while to process it.

His brain is wired differently than ours. He sees the world differently. That’s okay. We need to learn how to teach in a way that he learns. In a way that he hears. Our expectations can’t be set so high that we set him up to fail before we even start. And we also can’t see our parenting skills as a failure. We know we are doing the best we can. He has one parent and two grandparents that care for him daily. That battle with him daily. That on occasion, we laugh and giggle with him daily.

We miss our happy-go-lucky boy. We miss the one that used to love to build block towers, play with toy cars on his toy race track, blow bubbles. We miss sitting and watching Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Stuart Little Movies over and over and over again.

We miss the child that used to love all types of food, raw vegetables, cooked ones, all types of meats, dairy products, foods that fueled our bodies. Now his main staples are chicken nuggets, chips, cookies, and juice. Occasionally a yogurt sneaks in. And cold cereal.  We miss the child that used to drink his liquids the right way and now we must watch him drink and make him swallow it or he will spit it out on himself, you or the floor, table, wherever he can.

We miss the child that didn’t seem angry and upset all the time.  We know he is still in there because we see glimpses of him.

We miss the days when he didn’t have to take medication unless he had a fever or an infection of some sort. Now he takes medications to prevent seizures from happening on a regular basis. Medication to help him fall asleep and stay asleep. Medication to help him focus and not be so aggressive. And I often wonder with all the medication he is taking, the constipation it causes him to have isn’t a source of the battles. We will find out more at the end of February when he goes to see a GI specialist.

When we are in public, we pray he will have a good time. No throwing himself on the floor. No knocking merchandise off the shelves. No meltdowns. But when he sees his developmental doctor, although we don’t want him to have problems, it would be nice if just once they could visualize the outbursts of aggression so they could understand it’s not just him having a bad day.  All of us have bad days from time to time.  Days we want to stay in bed, pull the covers over our heads and skip participating in life that day.

BUT, even with all of this, we are very grateful for how far he has come. Two 1/2 years ago there were no words. No way for him to communicate with us at all. And during this time he has had to endure extensive speech therapy every week. In-home therapies.

Soon, he will be starting ABA services. In hopes that they can reach him and help him and help us to live a little bit more of a peaceful existence.

We will continue to fight the battles and strategize the best way to live our lives with this amazing little boy. He is truly a blessing in our lives. We would never want to imagine him not with us, no matter how hard it can be.

Having a child with special needs requires a lot of perseverance and a whole lot of patience and never-ending unconditional love. And a grandma like me, that isn’t afraid to pray over him daily that Jesus will help him to understand the world around him and that the world will understand and love him just as much as we do.

In four days, his back to school will resume. The winter break has been brutal. His routines thrown out the window. And it will take him a couple of weeks to get back into that routine. Most families cherish winter and spring breaks, a time to refresh and rejuvenate and all I have been praying for is when the day comes to put him back on the bus and sit down with my feet up for a couple of hours and just rest in the peace and quiet.

animal army battle canine

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, the next time you hear someone say that being a special needs parent is much the same as being a combat soldier, their not downplaying the role of a soldier in combat, but relating the stress levels are just as high. If you know of a family that has special needs individuals, ask if you can help. If you are a special needs family, don’t be afraid to ask for help and support.

Love one another, through the good, the bad and the ugly. Show grace when you feel like you’ve failed. You are doing the best you can. Seek the Lord and His guidance. PUSH-pray until something happens.

Mark 9:22-24 New Living Translation (NLT)
22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into the water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

 

Tomorrow is a new day. A clean slate. I cling to Hope.

Jesus loves you more than you will ever know! Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony. #HopeAlways#HaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

Fresh Start

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019

As 2018 draws to a close, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me and being part of my life.

May 2019 bring you peace and joy.  At the stroke of midnight, you will have 365 days to write your story.  Every choice we make determines the destination we land at.

Love others, forgive often, admit mistakes, don’t be too hard on yourself. Show yourself grace in difficult moments.

Jesus Loves You~always.  Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

For My Mom~Happy Birthday

Exodus 20:12  New International Version (NIV)
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Today I am choosing to celebrate my most favorite teacher of all time. She helped to shape and mold me into the woman I am today. Without her in my life and showing me the ropes of life, teaching me about the ups and downs a woman will face throughout her life; understanding the heartaches and pains a mother goes through; I would not be the person I am.

This woman has given selflessly to more than just me. She has mothered many children as her own, many that have adopted her as a second mom, always willing to listen and just be there. No answers for the many problems or challenges that any of us have faced, but offering two simple suggestions:

  1.  Always Be Kind – you never know what others are going through.
  2.  Give it to God – and leave it there. Don’t pick it back up and then give it back. Give your cares and fears and worries to God. Pray and wait for His answer. And while you are praying, I will pray too.

She is always available to listen, no matter how many miles separate us. She taught me how to be self-sufficient and independent. She taught me tact, which wasn’t easy since I have always been the type of person to speak my mind, sometime’s without a filter in place. She taught me anger has a place, but not in the form of raised voices and slamming doors. That anger can be justified if you can use it wisely to learn from or teach with. But to be angry and thoughtless, only causes pain and nothing good or helpful can come from that.

She has taught me to always listen, look at the other’s point of view before speaking and show grace to others. She exemplifies that grace daily. She is the most non-judgemental person I have ever met. She reminded me when my babies were young to hold them, rock them, love them. When they cry, pick them up. They need that sense of security. It will not spoil them. It will help them learn what love feels like. To be loved by another human being is the greatest gift of all, even through tears.

This woman has my heart. She has had my heart since I was in her womb. This woman is my mother. Today is her birthday. I love her with so much love there are not enough words to convey what she means to me and not enough time to share it with you.

I have been very fortunate that I grew up with a mom that chose love over hate. A mother that chose to be and live the way she did regardless of her circumstances before she was a wife and mother. (She had a very hard and abusive childhood the first 8/9 years of her life and at age 10 she was adopted and well cared for and loved and learned what love should be.) She chose to be the parent that would teach and model for her children what she missed out on in her early years. She chose not to let the abuse/neglect she endured to go on with her.

Ours was the home where neighborhood friends came, and she treated them just as she treated her own children. Life wasn’t a bed of roses all the time. There was discipline. There were chores. There were consequences but always seasoned with grace and kindness. Life lessons learned early that have carried my siblings and me all our lives.

She has always been my greatest confidant and as I became an adult and a wife and mother, grandmother, the greatest friend I have. We don’t always see eye to eye but she is always available to chat no matter how far away she lives.

I wish we lived closer than 975 miles from one another, but we don’t. I am thankful for wi-fi and internet, 4G phone services, video conferencing and all the technology that keeps us close when we cannot be together face to face.

mom and me july 2018

Mom and I visiting daddy on his birthday July 2018

Mom, today I hope that as you celebrate the 75 years you have been on this earth that you will know without a doubt that my love for you grows every day more and more. I long for the day when I can be half the woman you are. There are not enough ways that I can express how much you mean to me and how I wish we could be together to celebrate your special day. I know you will be with friends and I know you know you are loved so very much. I am so very thankful that God blessed me with you as my mom! I am hugging you from afar until the day we can be with one another face to face and I can wrap my arms around you and hug you back.  Happy Birthday, Mom~I Love You!!!

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~~right now~wherever you are!

Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings to all~Carlene

 

 

 

 

Living with an Invisible Illness

Psalm 28:7 New International Version (NIV)
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

 

I am so thankful Jesus is with me daily. His Holy Spirit resides within me. He keeps me focused when the pain is too much. When the bed seems like the best place to spend my days, he reminds me that whilst I can spend an unlimited amount of time with Him lying in my bed, it’s more difficult to share His love for others from that position.

A little over a year ago, I was in a different place, physically. I was feeling pretty good, my fibromyalgia was held at bay with amazing supplements I was using to heal my body from the inside out.  I truly had forgotten, although I can’t imagine how I could ever forget, the all-encompassing pain that runs through your body when you live with Fibromyalgia. I was walking and moving a lot faster than a snail’s crawl which is how I feel now. It was my hope back then when the pain wasn’t as noticeable, fatigue was held at bay and I felt like a normal person, that I would never endure this painful condition again. I wasn’t afraid to go places and try new things for fear of a flare-up and intense pain that might last for days and weeks.

fibro3

I’ve thought long and hard about posting any of this because I truly believed I didn’t have to deal with it anymore. It was a thing of the past. Unfortunately, I know in my mind, as well as my body, that if I am not consistent in using the supplements, eventually my body would go back to what it was and the supplements alone were not enough for the change to take place. I was eating healthier and getting some exercise. As much as I knew this was inevitable, I had hoped and prayed the muscle aches, the pain, the fatigue/insomnia would not come back. Instead of having the sheer exhausted feeling of fatigue, now I am plagued with insomnia. It’s crazy!

But, I push through. I will not quit or give up. That’s not me. I’m not wired that way. Thank you, Lord, that I am not. Thank you Lord Jesus for giving me the strength and determination I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how difficult or slow I may be. And watching people much older than me zoom by me in the grocery store or in a parking lot, makes me realize how slow I am moving. However, I AM moving. So very thankful that is the case and I am not in need of a wheelchair.

And because I guess my hand/wrist felt left out of the pain equation, the carpal tunnel is back with a vengeance. I’m back to using a night splint and sometime’s using the night splint during the daytime so I can function again. I never did learn how to use my non-dominant hand to write with. I wonder if that is even possible at my age? OR if I am too set in my ways to take the time to learn?

My internal temperature gauge is stuck in cold mode. I am rarely warm, no matter how many layers of clothing I wear. This totally sucks. I tried to think of a better way to say it that didn’t sound rude or unbecoming, but it sucks. Plain and simple. That’s why I always try to get my hubby to drive everywhere; his vehicle has heated seats.

I guess the hardest part of living with Fibromyalgia is you never know from one day to the next how you are going to feel. Knock wood, the osteoarthritis in my knees and hips are manageable at this time. The degenerative disc disease in my lumbar spine is worse. And the spill I had a few weeks ago, trying not to fall mind you, hasn’t helped.

Because of respiratory problems I live with, I cannot take pain medications to help with my pain. This causes problems with my breathing. Slows it down too much. So I rely on Jesus to carry me through the pain. I spend a lot of time sitting, with my legs propped up as much as possible and I long for the times when I was able to be an active participant in the lives of my family and grandchildren. I have four amazing grandchildren, one lives with us and I am blessed to see him grow and bloom before my eyes. The other three are several years older, involved in extracurricular activities and I haven’t been able to attend any of their outdoor events this year.  It makes me very sad. I love them so much and as much as I know they try to understand, I feel as if I am cheating them somehow and I HATE this part of this disorder/disease.

The other three have known for years that I can’t run and play with them the way their grandfather does. But I have always been able to go before. Now the cool weather is just too much for my body to handle. But I am so very proud of them for everything they do and someday when they are much older, I hope they will know without a doubt that if I could I would have been to every single thing they were involved in.

I push myself many days to get up and get dressed. Put on my “happy” face and “fake” it. I know living with me when I am in pain, is not a walk in the park. I become irritable and grumpy and short with others. I do my best not to let this side of me come out from behind closed doors, but it is so difficult because some days just getting dressed wears me out. The thought of running to the store to grab a few things is exhausting just thinking about it. It’s great if the store you go to has electric carts for customer use, that actually work and will last for the entire time you are in the store, but many are used so much they never have a chance to fully charge and the only thing worse than not having them available is using them to shop and the battery dying in the middle of your  shopping trip and then it’s like being stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere. Now you have a full basket of goods, but no cart in sight to transfer them to.

The single most agonizing part of the widespread pain returning is the muscle spasms that come, out of nowhere. I turned my head earlier to look at something, not quickly, but as I turned my head, a sharp muscle pain and I just had to wait for it to pass. And I get these spasms throughout the day, everywhere. Many you cannot just walk out. Most of the time you just have to wait until your muscles relax. It may be myofascial pain. I’ve been reading about it. This is something I will have to ask my physician the next time I see her.

I have many friends that live with Fibromyalgia and as much as we can be there to support one another, all of us live with it and have varying symptoms to varying degrees. Many of my fibro friends, can’t stand the hot weather or warm temperatures, drains them and all their energy. For me, I am completely the opposite. I love the heat. The hotter the better. Cold weather sucks the life right out of me. There isn’t a coat or blanket warm enough to keep me comfortable. And of course, I live in a state that is known for unpredictable weather.  One day it’s 80, the next it’s 40. It’s no wonder I feel so cold, right?

2 Corinthians 1:3-5   New International Version (NIV)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

I am thankful that I have Fibromyalgia because then I know how to extend comfort to those who deal with it too. I know that God allows us to go through many things in life as a way to be a testimony to others that put their hope in Him. I can still be a light to others by encouraging them, no matter the type of physical pain they experience because our earthly bodies are temporary. This is not our home. We are citizens of Heaven. But I also know that He does not expect us to suffer alone in silence. We are all made for relationship. Relationship with friends and family. All of us have a need to be part of a community, that is loving and supportive. And while all of us can be less than loving and supportive at times in our lives, that is where grace comes in. God gives us grace because He loves us, not because of anything we can do to deserve it. We all fall short in that area. All of us.

Be kind to others. Love them. No one, except for Jesus, knows the internal struggles and battles each and every one of us faces daily. And for each of us, no matter the battles, they can be debilitating if we forget to lean on The One who gives us life. The most important relationship you will ever have in this life is the one you have with Jesus. In my opinion.

Psalm 100:5 New International Version (NIV)
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right now~here in this moment and always! Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings friends~Carlene