Tidings! Me and baby Santa (a.k.a. my little sister) wish you a warm, and full Christmas, and a 2016 that is brimming with answered prayers, opportunities to give to others, and so much energy that you won’t know what hit you!
Thank you all so much for reading, for leaving comments, for hitting like, for sharing, and for being supportive of this “physical therapy experiment.” Getting to know you has been a wonderful gift in 2015.
Chronic Illness Christmas
No matter what last year or years past have looked like… What traditions I may have cherished… Whether or not I still have the people in my life who have been precious to me in years past… And even if I can’t leave my bed again this year for the holidays… I won’t compare this holiday to others. I won’t allow all of the endings and losses to get into my head today. It’s the time to celebrate Christ’s birthday. Mary and Joseph didn’t need everything just so to have a celebration for His birth that night. The people who were supposed to be there for them had tossed them out the door when they most needed help. But new people showed up for them.
Actually, I am wrong. I keep saying, “I won’t” and “I’ve decided” but this has been a prayer for a while, for comfort to get through these holidays. So it isn’t my doing at all. I know that. And I can’t take the credit. It’s an answer to many cries to God. A Christmas miracle, if you will.
I pray now, for those alone and in pain, that you are comforted in your spirit this Christmas.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Something I really soaked in this past year was that God is passionate about calming our fears. I grew up in church, and actually, many pastors do a great job of instilling more fear into people instead of inspiring courage. The opposite of what the Bible reiterates. This isn’t a tirade on the way some churches use fire and brimstone to scare their congregation into submission, however. I am not against the church as a whole.
I grew up afraid of a lot of things. I won’t tell you all of the things I worried about and feared as a child; those fears were not my church’s fault. As a teen, I had anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. No one realized it, but my mind was spinning with worries and fears all the time (not unlike so many teens). Now that my chronic illness is at the point where I’m no longer able to go to church, I have found reading scriptures on my own and journaling about them has been an excellent learning experience.
I’ve stumbled upon so many verses throughout this past year regarding fear. PS, the Bible has a lot to say about not being afraid and having courage. The biggest realization for me is that most of these verses are not only discussing fear, God actually COMMANDS us not to be afraid. That’s pretty major, don’t you think? I think so.
I was going to do an entry listing verses like this, but someone told me there are 365 “Fear Nots” for every day of the year. After researching, God tells us not to be afraid of life and then gives us a different reason for each one 103 different times. But fear is discussed over 500 times throughout the Scriptures! God really wanted to send a message, don’t you think? You might be wondering: if He did not want us to fear, then why create us to be such scaredy cats in the first place? Well, He didn’t. The Bible says that we were not created with a spirit of fear or “timidity” but of power, love and self-discipline. (2 Tim 1:7)
However, He also knew ahead of time that His children would live in an increasingly frightening world. We would have so many terrifying prospects to face every day, so many things to worry about in the future, and we would be petrified when going through risky, unfamiliar circumstances. We are reminded to have faith and not to be distracted by all of the anxieties that fill our minds with doubt.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:6
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh 1:9
Three years ago my health and pain conditions got so much worse than I could have ever anticipated. I spent the first 7 years worrying about what the worst case scenario might be. I protected myself from so many things, hiding from potential threats to my “deteriorating” health- things that might make me worse which anxiety had cooked up in my mind. Yet I never could have foreseen what has happened to me; fear did not help me at all. And I’ve now been through worse than my fears ever prepared me for. Seriously, I’m SO over being afraid!
God keeps reminding us to be courageous, commanding us not to fear, and instilling a sense of His own strength in us. In the coming year, throw some caution to the wind! Take risks. Worry less. Go on more adventures. Say YES more! Give more. We have a God who promises to be with us always and an awesome afterlife waiting…
Several of my friends deal with anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, and are looking into the coming year with a feeling of doom brought on by fear bombarding their thoughts. So many I know are awaiting very scary test results that will determine all they will be dealing with in the coming year, and it feels impossible to shoulder. If you are living in a constant state of terror now that you have been diagnosed, or will be facing major surgery or multiple invasive procedures this year, I would like to leave you with a few verses to take with you which also are a comfort to me. He knew fear would be one of the most overwhelming and distracting emotions for us and wants us to live a good life, focused on things that can help ourselves and others grow, not live bogged down by stress and dread; otherwise, why would He have been on such an anti-fear campaign?
Have a Happy, Fearless New Year!
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Do not be afraid. I have set you free. I have called you by name. You are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 1 Peter 3:13-14
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Prov 31:25
Since my blogging experiment began this past August, I have met some fascinating individuals who have injected so much color and warmth into my little world…even without needles. I just want to take a quick sec to say, Hey beautiful (or Hello there, handsome sir, if you are a gentleman)! Thank you for taking the time out to read my mind splatter. Thank you for leaving your own bits and pieces of brain in the comments section. You’ll never know how much your thoughtful words propel more ideas, more writing, and how you breathe rays of excitement into my life. In such a short time, we have started building friendships or we are getting to know one another through our mutual blogs. When I haven’t seen you around for a while, I get concerned you might not be doing well, or have become lost, wandering around a very, very large shopping mall somewhere (it can happen). You have left a mark my heart (in a good way) and I just want to make sure you know I think you are the bees knees, gorgeous (or good show, jolly old chap)!
Three bloggers who are not only a few of my favorites for their wonderfully honest and insightful writing, but I’m also extremely thankful for their support: Finding out Fibro, Life in Slow Motion, and Escharae inspired this post. As we do here every month, I’d like to give a shout out to few fantastical, fabulicious blogs that I’ve fallen for more recently, and I hope you will as well.
Creating Through the Pain: Kathleen is working on finishing up her first book while she blogs about her family, her faith, and her personal experiences managing CRPS/RSD. Kathleen has a creative whimsical touch to her writing which I always find heartwarming.
The Sick Diva: is a brand new blogger who brings a splash of sass and a big dose of wisdom right out of the blogging gate! She mixes original poetry with posts about her life adapting to Chronic Pain and all of its new challenges.
In the Blink of an Eye: Author, Mary Jane Gonzales is well known in the chronic pain community for her intimate and inspirational books, but she also has a very informative blog to help those with RSD/CRPS, along with their caretakers. She is active in the Facebook community where she shares her freshly-written pieces almost every day. She is a gem!
Mum C. Writes: Is a fantastic poetry page brimming with powerful verse daily. Mum C. writes about love, humanity, pain, hope and everything in between. She is full of passion for African issues and is so generous with her talent.
Sublime Mercies: Shares her witty perspectives on walking aids and being disabled while raising awareness for disability issues, PTSD and child abuse. She always shares bright colorful images and celebrates vintage fashion and femininity.
Thank you to all of the readers who have followed and whose comments encourage, and thank you to the amazing guest writers and fantastic featured artists whose work has appeared here thus far. I’m so uplifted by the creativity and hope messages I’ve seen surrounding this page. This has been a lovely fall of creativity, new discoveries and making new friends in you lovely peeps. I look forward to a fabulous new year of writing along with you!
If you would like to stalk me or share your story, you can find me on Twitter @aBodyofHope or email me at email@example.com.