30 Things About My Invisible Illness

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

1. The illness I live with is: Ulcerative Colitis, Endometriosis, Late Stage Lyme Disease

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1982, 1987, 2007
3. But I had symptoms since: same year as diagnosed for first 2; who knows for last one?
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: take medication daily, being willing to change plans
5. Most people assume: since I look great, I must feel great.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: getting awake and moving
7. My favorite medical TV show is: none now–used to like ER.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: my Healthy Back Bag
9. The hardest part about nights are: getting to sleep.
10. Each day I take _18_ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: research them thoroughly and make sure God has given me a peace about them before I try them.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: neither, but God has used it mightily in my life to teach me, humble me, and to help others.
13. Regarding working and career: God has given me just the right job for this time in my life.
14. People would be surprised to know: that I struggle with pain and sleep everyday.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: I can’t always do all that I want to do.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:
17. The commercials about my illness: none.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Except for short period, I haven’t missed much.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: teaching certain group fitness classes.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: reading and writing….lots of it.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: thank God for that precious gift!
22. My illness has taught me: that I am not in control and that God wants me to comfort others as He has comforted me.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: You look great; you must be feeling better!
24. But I love it when people: truly want to know how I am doing and are willing to specifically pray for me.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: I will pray for them, answer any questions they might have, get as educated as you can about your illness and treatment, and find a doctor who will treat you as a “whole” person.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: I’ve had to rely on God’s strength more than my own.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: made me a meal (I don’t enjoy cooking much even when I feel great!).
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: we have 4 people in our family and each of us has at least one chronic invisible illness.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: grateful and thankful. Thanks for reading and thanks for your prayers!

Find out more about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and the 5-day free virtual conference with 20 speakers Sept 14-18, 2009 at www.invisibleillness.com

The Tablets of Our Lives

The Tablets of Our Lives

            Trying to restrain the tears in his eyes and the quiver in his lips, he prayed aloud as he held our son’s hand, “Lord, I pray he remembers his heritage as he builds his legacy.” And with those words, my husband and I released our 21-year old son to pursue his graduate degree in Tennessee, and we prepared to drive the 600 miles back to Pennsylvania.

            Habakkuk 2:2 states: “The LORD replied: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.’” It was over fifteen years ago that I felt a clear call from God to write. I was brushing my teeth just after taking my children to the bus stop when I believe I received this clear revelation. However, being a new Christian and believer, I was not confident of the calling. So I prayed, read the Bible, and discussed it with more mature believers, and God did confirm the call in several ways.

            I put my fingers to the keyboard and wrote the introduction and first chapter of a book that the Lord had laid on my heart. I gave my very rough draft to several friends, mature believers, and my husband (my greatest encourager and constructive critic), and made edits based on their input. And then those pages sat in a binder to this very day. My children were age six and nine at the time, I was at home full-time, and I was very involved in their school and their lives.

            Over the past fifteen years, I have written many handwritten notes of encouragement, typed many articles for newsletters as well as whole newsletters, and worked part-time at the publications office at our local school district, but I have not had any of my writings formally published. There are times I have been very discouraged about this and have asked God to help me with this “ministry” since He was the One who laid this on my heart years ago! I tend to be an inpatient person, but my husband just kept saying, “Wait on the Lord.”

            Upon first reading Habakkuk 2:2, I took the word “write” literally as words written on an ancient scroll, penned on paper, or typed onto a computer screen. However, when my husband prayed those words over our son, God spoke to my heart and said “You have written My revelation on your children’s hearts for the past fifteen years and they are My tablets who will run with it.” Years of discouragement, fear, and disappointment over my not having any writing published for Him vanished as I realized the energy poured into our two children has been my “writing ministry.”

            Our daughter married a godly young man last July and in May, they moved to Virginia, where he has been called to be a youth pastor at a church plant and she is teaching literature to high school students in a private Christian school. Working with youth in ministry and at school, they will be attempting to make God’s Word plain on the tablets of these youth’s hearts so that they can run with it.

            After a few difficult teenage years with our son, God has graciously allowed us to see a lot of emotional, mental, and spiritual maturity in him this past summer. He finished college in three years with a double major and is enrolled in an MBA program in Tennessee. God has blessed him with intelligence, a quick wit, and a compassionate heart. Saying goodbye was very difficult, but we know that he will be a herald who will run with God’s revelations to many people.

            In I Corinthians 13, love is the theme and the apostle Paul writes that without it, the gifts of speech, prophecy, faith, generosity, and hope will all cease, be stilled, and pass away. Paul says in I Corinthian 13:1 that love is the most excellent way. As writers, whether we write our revelation on paper, online, or on the hearts of others, we need to first reflect Jesus’ sacrificial love and then make it simple and unadorned so that the “heralds may run with it.”