10/30/14

12 Things to Pray for the Children of Parents with a Chronic Health Condition

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}

Happy Thursday y'all!! I am so excited to continue this ten part series on Thursdays dealing with topics related to "What to Pray for Someone who is  Struggling with a Chronic Health Condition or who loves Someone struggling with a Chronic Health Condition" (including those with chronic pain)!! In this series (when dealing with the word chronic) I am addressing anyone who has had an illness or pain for more than six months that has affected their life. This is a series that I have been praying about and asking the Lord to give great wisdom as I hope it will be helpful for someone! I am often told by very dear and well-meaning people, "I am praying for you" but am also told "I don't really know how to pray for you" or am asked just as often "How can I really pray for you?". While this series won't address every idea of what to pray and is not a "formula" I do hope and pray that it is a good "jumping off point" for you to be praying for those that you love who struggle with chronic health issues and their loved ones. 

Here is the list of the topics for the series:
August 28th-12 Things to Pray for Someone Struggling with a Chronic Health Condition
September 4th- 12 things to Pray for Yourself as you Struggle with a Chronic Health Condition
September 18th- 12 things to Pray for the Parents of a young child with a Chronic Health Condition
October 2nd- 12 things to Pray for the Parents of an adult child with a Chronic Health Condition
October 16th- 12 things to Pray for Caretakers of someone with a Chronic Health Condition
October 23rd- 12 things to Pray for the Spouse of someone with a Chronic Health Condition
October 30th- 12 things to Pray for the Children of Parents with a Chronic Health Condition
November 6th- 12 things to Pray for the Siblings of someone with a Chronic Health Condition
November 13th- 12 things to Pray for the Friends of someone with a Chronic Health Condition
November 20th- 12 Things to pray for Someone with a Struggling with a Chronic Health Condition during the Holidays

** Thank you to  several "older children" who were in or are in this situation and who graciously shared their hearts, hurts, hopes, fears, and joys about this subject with me.**
1. Pray for their "new" role and wisdom to face new situations.  Having a sick parent brings a "new" role into the relationship and often times an unwanted role at that. No matter the age, children of parents with chronic health conditions often have to take on an independent or adult type role in the relationship. This can bring with it a host of emotions including feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, scared, and a host of of other emotions. Having a parent who is struggling with a chronic health condition creates a change in the "normal relationship status quo" that often times the child is longing for. This delicate balance of how to help, how to support, and how to handle the shifting roles can be "tricky" to say the least. Pray for them as they navigate these trick waters.


"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
-Proverbs 3: five & six-

2. Pray for their communication skills with their parent. Along with number one above, pray that these children will have the grace and the knowledge of what to say and when to say it. It is not just the diagnosis that will be talked about but a million different details that include tests, doctors appointments, health jargon, etc. Sometimes it is hard to settle into these new "roles" that a health condition has brought to the table and there needs to be an incredible amount of patience, love, grace, and good communication on every one's part. Pray that these parents will be able to do this well.

"The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly."
-Proverbs 15:two-


3. Pray for those who are far away.  Many times adult children do not live close to their ailing parent and this is an extremely difficult and emotional situation to handle. It is hard to be far away and not caring for your parent and not feeling like you are doing "enough". Pray for the hearts of those who live far away that they will be comforted and for wisdom on how to handle situations that arise while living far away.

"It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in."

-Isaiah 40:twenty-two-


4. Pray for those who are nearby (or who have taken in their ailing parents).  Just like there are unique situations for those who are far away there are unique situations to pray for those who live nearby (or who have taken in their ailing parents). These nearby caretakers are often at every doctors appointment or treatment and spend their days trying to balance their own family needs with their parents. It is an extremely difficult and sensitive area to handle and they need prayers for handling each of the situations they encounter.

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."


-Philippians 4:nineteen-

5.Pray against Fear. Is there anything that causes fear more than entrusting your a parent  to a team of medical doctors? I don’t think so. It is definitely a helpless feeling for all children and  fears abound...fears over a million details that could never all be listed. Pray against fear for these children. Pray that the Lord would take away all of their fears.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."
-Psalm 56:three-

6. Pray that they will know that God has not abandoned them. So many children that watch their parents struggle with chronic health issues struggle to believe that God is good and has not abandoned them. After watching so much pain and suffering it can be difficult to remember the truth. Pray that they will see God's mighty love and power despite their circumstances. 

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than sparrows."
-Matthew 10:twenty-nine through thirty-one-

7.  Pray for their Hope. Dealing with the grief of a parent who is not well is heart-wrenching. Pray that they will not lose hope for themselves, their parents, or their situation. 

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you."
-Isaiah 43: two-

8. Pray for others to come around them and help them for the duration of this battle.  These children (no matter the age) need people to come along side of them, walk the long road with them, and extravagently love them in the midnight hours. The younger children need people who will step in and help by being at school events, helping them with homework, taking pictures for the sick parent, and the list goes on and on and on. Older children need friends to walk alongside physically but also emotionally. This could mean a million different things, but pray that they will have support and people that would walk this road with them. Illness is incredibly lonely but these children need that support at this critical time.

"...but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
-Proverbs 18: twenty-four-

9. Pray that they will believe the truth of Joel 2:25. 
"I will restore to you the years the locust have stolen..."
-Joel 2:twenty-five-

"My God turns my darkness into light."
-Psalm Eighteen-

10. Pray for Healing, Peace and Acceptance. While we pray for healing for these parents, let us also pray that the children will also find healing, peace and acceptance in the day before them. Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India once said, "In Acceptance lies peace". This does not mean acceptance randomly that we pray for but for acceptance that the Lord has allowed this.

"He is the Lord, let him do what is good in His eyes."
-I Samuel 3:eighteen-

11. Pray for patience, tenderness and compassion.  
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
-Colossians 3:twelve-

12. Pray that no matter where your friend is (their bedroom because they are bed-ridden, a hospital, an ER, a doctors office, therapy, etc.) they will find Hope that the Lord is there. One of the most difficult things about a chronic health condition is that you never know what a day could bring. Pray that these children would find comfort and Hope that no matter where they are or what their surroundings are they can find rest in the Lord. Pray that these children will know that no matter the disease or ailment the Lord is in the midst of that and is Mighty.

"Lord, Thou has been our Dwelling Place through All Generations."
-Psalm 90:one-

"The Lord thy God is with you, the Mighty Warrior saves. He will take great delight in You; in His love He will rejoice over you with Singing."
-Zephaniah 3:seventeen-

I hope these ideas have been helpful y'all! If you would like a copy of these twelve things to print out please email me and I will send you a word document! Sometimes when you are praying for someone with a chronic health condition you may feel that you are not "seeing" any results or doing anything, but the truth is you are!! God promises that He hears our prayers and He does hear yours! 
Keep praying for your friends and loved ones!! You are a blessing!!

10/29/14

today.

"Almighty God, we bless and praise Thee that we have awakened to the light of another early day, 
and now we will think of what a day should be. 
Our days are Thine, let them be spent for Thee. 
Our days are few let them be spent with care. 
There are dark days behind us' there may be dark days before us, strengthen us for their trials.
 We pray Thee to shine on this day- the day which we may call our own. 
Lord we go to our daily work. Show us clearly what our duty is and help us to be faithful in doing it. 
Give us strength to do, patience to bear, let our courage never fail. When we cannot love our work, let us think of it as Thy task; and by our true love to Thee, make unlovely things shine in the light of Thy Great love. Amen."
Happy Wednesday Friends!

p.s.- Like these pictures? These are a few of the pictures from the 2015 Trees on the Shores of Lake Champlain Calendar which you can find HERE!

10/28/14

2015 Lake Champlain Calendar

I am so excited to share with y'all a project that I have been working hard on behind the scenes! This year it was a dream of mine to produce a couple of calendars for my shop and I am so excited to share the first one with you today! 
This 12-month 2015 calendar shows twelve gorgeous shots of Lake Champlain in upstate New York. Nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Champlain is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the United States and is famous for its part in the War of 1812. (It is also my favorite spot on earth! *smiles*)
Each picture in the calendar has been taken by me and I have chosen twelve of my most favorite shots!
With each calendar you have the option of purchasing a desk calendar or two different sized wall calendars! I am so excited to have this in the shop! Thank you again for your support of my shop! If you are interested in purchasing this you can go directly HERE!

10/27/14

the Lyme Diaries: Helpful Resources

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}
A few weeks before I was "officially" diagnosed with Lyme Disease I remember searching the internet for answers, resources, and help. I spent time calling numerous doctors, left hundreds of messages on any office phone number where I had heard that they even knew of Lyme and laid in bed at night with tears crying out to the Lord as it appeared to be a fruitless and hopeless journey ahead of me. After I received the "official" diagnosis of Lyme I searched the internet for people who had been healed of Lyme Disease and looked to see what doctor they went to, what habits they adopted, and a host of other things. Honestly, the whole thing was a very scary and confusing time. There were a lot of tears, a lot of time spent frustrated as it seemed to be just running into a brick wall, and most of all I kept finding more and more scary things on the internet (some of which were true and some of which were not!). A lot of things that I have learned are simply "trial and error" or something that I have heard someone else try or hearing of a "friend of a friend" trying it. What I would have loved would have been a "resource" guide to all things "Lyme related" and that is what I hope to provide today. (This is in no way an exhaustive list and I plan to continually update it but I hope it will help you navigate this scary world)

Books
(With the exception of any Lyme books that have come out since July 2014 I have read every single Lyme book there is out there (even tracking one down from Germany that I had a friend help me translate!) and have listed the ones that I have found the most helpful. I have listed the ones that I have found "the best" from top to bottom. This is not an exhaustive list and because Lyme Disease symptoms do vary I would encourage you to read as much as you can get your hands on but hopefully this list will be a good starting point for you!)





Cure Unknown By: Pamela Weintraub (This book to me is a "must read" for all Lyme patients. It is difficult to "weed" through the language at some parts but the fight for health will be understood by all Lyme patients and their families.)

Videos


Resources for the Role of Diet in fighting Lyme Disease
The Lyme Diet By: Dr. Nicole McFadzean (I wish I had read this earlier on my journey as I didn't read this until recently and had already adopted all of the principles she mentions. For someone just starting out and not understanding the role of diet in the fight of Lyme Disease this would be an excellent book.)

The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health by Shelley Redford Young and Robert O. Young 

Gerson Therapy (While I do not follow this therapy in its whole  I do believe some of the principles in the book are a wonderful resource towards healing. You can read the book HERE.)

Recipes for Repair, A Lyme Disease Cookbook: Recipes and tips for the anti-inflammation diet developed by Kenneth B. Singleton, MD, MPH (I have not used all of these recipes but some of them have provided a great "jumping point" for delicious and healthy meals.)

Alternative Therapy Resources
(I have found great relief from symptoms as well as help in the healing process with alternative therapy resources. Some of these I do on a weekly basis some more than once a week but always under the supervision of a doctor. It is SO important to make sure that you are under the care of a trained professional before adding any type of therapy into your routine, even "alternative" things!)

*Dry Brushing and Detox Baths (The role of detoxing is so important but must be done under the supervision of a trained professional so that you do not experience severe herx reactions!)

*IV Vitamin C Therapy (and other IV Nutritional Therapies)

*Acupuncture (When I first started my journey to get better I tried in vain to find an acupuncturist that would work with me not try and "heal me" all in one day. Although I have not found one where I live for half of the year I have a wonderful acupuncturist in upstate New York who has helped me so much with my healing process. I continue to search for one here in the south to help me throughout the year but I definitely recommend acupuncture!)
Lyme Disease and Modern Chinese Medicine by: Dr. QingCai Zhang 

*Vitamins, Herbs, and Supplements (under the supervision of a doctor)

*Therapeutic Reflexology 

*Hyperbaric Oxygen (You can see what I wrote about oxygen HERE. I have an article that is in the works about the therapeutic affects of hyperbaric oxygen on Lyme Disease. Once that is published I will cite the link here!)

*Essential Oils (under the supervision of a doctor)

*Gerson Therapy (As noted above)

* Cowden Protocol (All of the items for this can be bought from Nutramedix and they offer a financial support option if you are struggling financially. The ladies there are so sweet and I was so impressed with them as I talked with them. DISCLAIMER: I have not done the Cowden Protocol although it is something that I plan to add in to my regime in the future but have several friends who have done it and it has helped them in their journey. If you are going to follow the Cowden Protocol you might be interested in this book: 

*Dental Link to Disease (I have been reading more and more about the role of disease and teeth related issues. A great article from Dr. David Jernigan about the role of dental issues with Lyme Disease started me researching this. You can read the original article HERE!)

*Stomach Tip: (from Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride)  
"Protocol to help kill infections in the stomach:
1. Three tablespoons of high ppm colloidal silver morning and night on empty stomach. The silver solution will kill the infection.
2. DGL tablets fifteen minutes after the silver. Three per dose twice a day. This is a licorice extract and is effective in healing.
3. Aloe Vera fifteen minutes after the DGL. Take five tablespoons per dose, twice a day. All three on an empty stomach. That way the effect in the stomach is maximized.

Do this for two months. While doing this, consume no coffee of any kind (get off acidic drinks) and no carbonated drinks. No acidic foods like tomatoes, chili, hot peppers while the two months of treatment is going on."

(I have lots of stomach issues and while I haven't followed this exactly I know people that have and I have taken these same tips and applied them (under the care of a doctor) and seen helpful results!)


Financial Tips (General)
*Upcoming Blog post about this in the Lyme Diaries coming at the end of this week!

Groups/Organizations

10/25/14

the nine year anniversary

If you read my October 25th post from last year or you know me well you know that October 25th is a very special day to me. It holds incredible meaning and significance as nine years ago I had a life-changing surgery that change the course of my life and this was the day that the Lord healed me after doctors told me that there was "nothing" that they could do. 

Over the years I have celebrated this anniversary in different ways from quite evenings in with friends or family to special lunches to attending a work dinner to a very special trip to Disney World with my sister to celebrate. 

Celebrating four years in Disney World
A very special lunch with my parents at the 5 year celebration mark!
Chinese food to celebrate six years!
 Celebrating seven years in 2012
And while some of these days and moments have been photographed over the years, many of them have not. The moments of a beautiful card from my mom on the one year anniversary mark, the precious moments of telling my story to my students over the years as I testified about the Lord's mighty healing power, the laughter between family and friends, the precious phone calls and texts from friends who prayed for the miracle to happen and never stopped believing, my sister calling to celebrate with me, long walks thanking the Lord on year two, and the quiet celebration in my heart every time I see the calendar approaching this special day when doctors said there was "no hope" and yet the Lord spoke differently. 

And as I think about year nine today I have so many mixed emotions. Emotions of gratitude and humble thankfulness and prayers of, "why aren't you healing the same way this time Lord?". It is a question that I think so many people have asked behind the scenes (and some of the brave have cried with me). 

I recently received an email asking me if "I wanted to address the fact that the Lord healed me of Endometriosis  but hasn't healed me and doesn't seem to be healing me of Lyme Disease? Could it be that last time you were more spiritual or could it be that maybe God doesn't intend to heal you at all and you should stop believing for this to happen?". You know what sweet friends? As I told this reader, I really don't. Instead I shared that I have learned a lesson in this journey that is incredibly precious but only comes when you walk through difficult trials... you can either spend your energy and time questioning the Lord or you can bow the knee and say, "I don't understand, but you are God" and humbly (and many times tearfully) surrender. There is NOTHING easy in surrendering our dreams, hopes, fears, etc. but there is freedom. Freedom to know that God is in charge. Freedom to trust His ways even when we don't understand them. Freedom to know that pain here on earth is temporary. Freedom to know that God is God and that is all that is important in this life. 

The rest of it... how God answers or doesn't answer my prayers is not my concern. 

And with this surrender comes the opportunity to fall more in love with Jesus and who He is and what the Bible states and promises. NOT what I want it to state or promise but what it actually states and promises. And the nine year anniversary is so significant to me. 

Did you know that the number nine is important in the Bible? The number nine is used 49 times in scripture and many theologians state that it symbolizes completeness. Christ died on the ninth hour of the day (3pm) and provided the way for salvation for us. In addition to this there are nine fruits of the Spirit, and there are nine people recorded as having leprosy in the Bible. 

*smiles* Okay, so you might be asking what do those three things have to do with me celebrating my nine year anniversary and why are they significant to me? 

First, scripture has never been shy about speaking about disease OR Jesus' healing diseases. BUT scripture has also showed that sometimes (due to the fact that we live in a fallen and sinful world) disease does exist and healing sometimes happens later than we expect it or in Heaven. (This does not mean that Jesus is not all powerful in fact the exact opposite!)

Second, our all powerful God showed His complete power on the cross which happened on the 9th hour! In this act of unmeasurable love we not only are given the opportunity to accept Jesus as our Lord and be saved but on the cross Jesus conquered EVERYTHING. Including illness. EVERYTHING was conquered on the cross. 

Third, knowing this I have a choice to make... every single day... I can choose to act in faith and trust the Lord completely (where the fruits of the spirit are found) or I can respond to my circumstances sinfully and grow bitter and angry at the ways of the Lord. 

There is absolutely no question in my mind of my choice. 

Even on the days that I feel discouraged I choose to run to my precious Heavenly Father and lay everything at His feet. And friends, as I spend more time with the Lord and continue to run to Him with all of my questions, fears, disappointments, hurts, and every other emotion He lovingly speaks to my hurting heart. And I am reminded on this ninth anniversary of His incredible grace, His good gifts, His undeserving ways, and the gift of love that He gives. 

And the best gift of all? Is the gift that the ninth hour reminds me that Jesus' fulfilled it ALL on the cross...  all of the questions, fears, and every other emotion by His work on the cross. And in that there is incredible hope. Hope of a future that the Lord has in store... Hope of beautiful healing here on earth or in Heaven... Hope of living joyfully despite difficult circumstances... Hope of a loving God who loves us abundantly... and Hope of celebrating another nine year healing in the future...

healing from Lyme Disease. 

10/24/14

a tough but necessary decision

I am learning a life decision again this week... the reality that we only have so many hours in each day to accomplish the things that the Lord puts before us. And I am learning that business and having a lot of things to do is not always the healthiest decision... not just when you are seriously ill like I am, but for everyday... in each of our lives. At some point we have to acknowledge the actual amount of hours we have in each day and make tough decisions on what we are going to spend our energy (or in my case very limited energy on). And this week I had to make several difficult decisions on where my time was going to be spent. 
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, a day in my life currently, doesn't leave much time for me to accomplish all of the things that I want to do. There is a lot of time that is being spent on treatment, rest, and all of the necessary components to fight these diseases. This takes an incredibly amount of energy and discipline every single day. I might not "feel" like doing a detox bath twice a day or taking all of the necessary medications (and dealing with their side effects) or even taking my naps but if I want to get better all of these things are necessary components to meet the end goal. 

Part of that is hard to recognize... I like many others who are sick want to live a relatively "normal" life but as I sat in one of my ten doctors appointments for this week alone on Monday I had to acknowledge that what I want and what the reality is are two completely different things. The truth is hard and difficult... but the truth is also freeing. 
With that realization and the acknowledgement that this treatment plan is "kicking my butt" (as we say here in the south) I had to start thinking about the priorities that I have in my life and what they are in a more "fine toothed way".  In addition to meeting my requirements for treatment I must have time to spend with Jesus (which is a non-negotiable for me), have time for quality prayer, I want to have the energy to be able to carry conversations with my family, have the energy to chat and write letters with my close friends, have the energy to give several quality hours to SEEN Gathering each week, complete my work for CRATE 526 and Adopt-a-Platoon, work on my writing (for my upcoming books and for this blog) and work on continuing to develop my shop
And the rest of the things that I am doing will have to go. 

*smiles* I think a lot of times people think that people who are seriously ill sit around watching a lot of TV and "get to take naps" and it is like a season "off of life". This may be true for some people, but honestly in my journey, I have yet to meet someone who likes either of those things. TV gets really old (even if you are not like me and liked TV before you got sick) and naps... well let me tell you they are not all that they are cracked up to be. 

Most people who are sick are living life the best that they can and like everyone else must take time to evaluate what is going to "make the cut" of where we will spend energy. 
So while there are a hundred little things that I closed the door on this week one of the big ones is the end of the Parcel Post Tribe. I shared with the Parcel Post Tribe Members this week that this has been a decision that has actually been a long time coming but I was hoping it would "make the cut". But honestly there are several different reasons that this is the best decision right now. One of course is my health and another was the cost of making the cards and the cost of shipping. Unlike some other monthly card services, the Parcel Post Tribe was a monthly card service with ALL handmade cards (every single part) which took a ton of time and also made the cost of shipping more expensive. 

I tried in the last couple of months to "simplify" my cards so that the shipping would be lower but in doing so I feel like a "piece of December Caravan" is being lost. So the end of the Parcel Post Tribe (at least for now) has come. I do apologize to some of you that had written me emails in the last several weeks about becoming a member and I didn't respond until this week explaining my decision. I appreciate your compassionate and understanding heart about this. 
As we head into this weekend I am so thankful for the Lord's love and leading in all areas of our lives, especially in regards to things that are best for us. I pray that as I have found you will find peace to make the tough decisions and let certain things go so that you can be abundantly free to chase after the dreams and spend time with the people you love the most. 

10/23/14

12 Things to Pray for the Spouse of Someone with a Chronic Health Condition

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}

Happy Thursday y'all!! I am so excited to continue this ten part series on Thursdays dealing with topics related to "What to Pray for Someone who is  Struggling with a Chronic Health Condition or who loves Someone struggling with a Chronic Health Condition" (including those with chronic pain)!! In this series (when dealing with the word chronic) I am addressing anyone who has had an illness or pain for more than six months that has affected their life. This is a series that I have been praying about and asking the Lord to give great wisdom as I hope it will be helpful for someone! I am often told by very dear and well-meaning people, "I am praying for you" but am also told "I don't really know how to pray for you" or am asked just as often "How can I really pray for you?". While this series won't address every idea of what to pray and is not a "formula" I do hope and pray that it is a good "jumping off point" for you to be praying for those that you love who struggle with chronic health issues and their loved ones. 

Here is the list of the topics for the series:
August 28th-12 Things to Pray for Someone Struggling with a Chronic Health Condition
September 4th- 12 things to Pray for Yourself as you Struggle with a Chronic Health Condition
September 18th- 12 things to Pray for the Parents of a young child with a Chronic Health Condition
October 2nd- 12 things to Pray for the Parents of an adult child with a Chronic Health Condition
October 16th- 12 things to Pray for Caretakers of someone with a Chronic Health Condition
October 23rd- 12 things to Pray for the Spouse of someone with a Chronic Health Condition
October 30th- 12 things to Pray for the Children of Parents with a Chronic Health Condition
November 6th- 12 things to Pray for the Siblings of someone with a Chronic Health Condition
November 13th- 12 things to Pray for the Friends of someone with a Chronic Health Condition
November 20th- 12 Things to pray for Someone with a Struggling with a Chronic Health Condition during the Holidays

** Thank you to  several married couples who are in this situation and who graciously shared their hearts, hurts, hopes, fears, and joys about this subject with me.**
1. Pray for their marriages.  Did you know that having a spouse who is chronically ill increases the divorce statistics by 80%?!?? These odds are scary but completely understandable as the stress, frustration, fear, anger, and all of the other emotions are usually taken out on each other because you can not "get mad at a disease". Pray for the strengthening of these relationships, the protection against the temptation to cheat, and that the Lord would bind these two people together despite the difficult circumstances that they face.

"Therefore what God has joined together let no one separate."
-Mark 10:nine-

2. Pray for compassionate and "steady" people to join them on this journey.  These couples (and these spouses who have someone who is struggling with a chronic health condition) need compassionate and "steady" people to join them on this journey that they are on. By "steady" I mean friends who will not get caught up in the emotions of the moments or the difficulties but will support these spouses and these couples as a WHOLE reminding them of the love that they have for each other, the courage that they have to face these difficult circumstances, and the hope that someday (even though it might seem far away) things can get better. These spouses need friends who will lovingly not let them wallow in self-pity but will encourage them to be courageous.  Pray for friends who will also help take the burdens off of these spouses by volunteering to "give them a break" to get out of the house while they sit with the person who is sick or support them in other ways. Pray for friends who will stick closer than anyone could imagine.

"...but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
-Proverbs 18: twenty-four-

3. Pray for the right words to say.  Spouses often take on the role of caretakers (and the role of interim nurse and doctor) as patients look to them for answers. While down deep patients know that their spouse (unless they have a medical degree) most likely does not know the answer, they still ask questions. This is incredibly exhausting. Most of these times the questions hold incredible weight for the spouse as they must navigate the tricky waters of determining if the spouse needs to just "talk things through", go see the doctor, or if the situation is an emergency. All of this is incredibly taxing on the spouse. Most of the times this is also highly emotional as the patients are looking for words of encouragement and hope. Pray that these spouses will have the right words to say to meet each unique situation.

"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say." 
-2 Thessalonians 2:sixteen & seventeen-


4. Pray for EXTREME patience.  As mentioned in number three, spouses are often asked the same questions again and again and again and again. It can be scary and difficult to understand as a patient what exactly is going on in your body and also scary to know what the future will hold. These fears and questions are often asked repeatedly- even daily and hourly- and after a while this can drain even the best spouse. In addition to this spouses can be (understandably) frustrated as their lives are often dictated by how their spouse is feeling. This is incredibly confusing as with a lot of Chronic Illnesses (and even chronic pain) symptoms can flare or subside with little to no warning. For example a couple might be planning for a night out of the house and about two hours before  (or even minutes before) the sick spouse can be all of a sudden bedridden. To navigate this situation and a thousand others that can happen everyday these spouses need lots of patience (seriously they are heroes!) so pray for their patience. 

"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."
-Ephesians 4:two-


5. Pray for their resilience.  Webster's Dictionary defines resilience as: "the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens... the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc." Spouses need prayers for resilience EVERY SINGLE DAY. These spouses are watching the people they love most on earth struggle with something that they can not control or stop (no matter how much they wish that they could). These spouses have to watch the people that they love the most deal with incredible pain and sickness every single day. Many times spouses have had to give up their own dreams and plans due to these chronic health conditions. These dreams and plans could mean giving up the dream of a certain job (because they can't work the hours required), the dream for kids (as some chronic health conditions make this difficult- even for fostering and adopting in some states and countries), the dream for a certain lifestyle, the dream of travel, the dream of a more "easy life", and the list goes on and on and on and on. These spouses pour their hearts and souls into their loved ones and there is no "leaving" at the end of the day. Its exhausting and tiring and requires resilience so pray for this daily.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." 
- John 16: thirty-three-

6. Pray for their Loneliness. There is a loneliness so deep that it cuts to the soul for those that are the spouse of someone with a chronic health condition. I think that this article said it best: 
For three years, Mr. Paradise's life had centered on his wife and her illness. He visited her every day during her numerous hospital stays, gave her body rubs, helped her take her medications and comforted her. At home he did the laundry, housecleaning, shopping and cooking. And that day at the hospital, while a nurse comforted him, Mr. Paradise said he felt overwhelmed. "She used to do everything," he said. "I'm a confused person. I'm going several different ways at the same time." Mr. Paradise, who has no children, also talked about some of his relatives who no longer keep in touch with him. "People should get closer," he said. And as he reminisced about the reunions the family used to have, he broke down and wept. Alone and devastated by his wife's illness, Mr. Paradise is one of nearly a dozen husbands and wives interviewed who share a common experience in caring for an ill spouse. They agreed that theirs was an experience few people who have not been in their shoes could appreciate. "The forgotten group," "the silent army" and "the hidden role" are terms they use to describe themselves. The spouses said that even close friends and family did not know what it was like to live in an endless round of medical tests, hospital visits and round-the-clock care; to be married and at the same time feel the loss of a companion and lover, and to feel ignored as family members, friends and medical professionals focus their attention on the sick partner. " (You can read the rest of the article HERE if you are interested.)
Pray for these spouses and the loneliness that they face.
"...behold I am with you ALWAYS..." 
- Matthew 28:twenty-

7. Pray for the times when they want to say "ENOUGH is enough".  We are all human and the reality is that there are sometimes where these spouses want to say, "enough". These spouses carry an incredible amount of responsibility, emotional baggage and financial fears and sometimes want to say, "enough". In our day and age it is common to hear of people walking out of marriages for less things than these circumstances and it takes a courage and a warrior's heart to say that "my enough" is found in nothing or no one but Christ. Sadly often times well-meaning friends, family members, or co-workers encourage this behavior by not just sympathizing with the well spouse but encouraging the well spouse to find their complete unhappiness with life in this situation. Often times this leads to resentment of the sick spouse (unintentionally or intentionally), a decimation of character of the sick spouse, a question of motives and actions regarding the sick spouse (some examples are: "well they felt good enough to go to _______, surely they could have cooked a healthy dinner for you" or "she never wants to make love to her husband but she seems friendly enough with other men" or "I thought I saw your spouse out earlier today at the grocery store (or the shopping mall) why couldn't they come to the work party tonight... are you sure that they are really sick"  or "you are such a nice person and always doing so much for others it seems like your spouse would be more happy with all that you do" and the list goes on and on and on and on.) These comments and others do NOT help the marriage and these well-meaning people are doing a huge disservice to this couple. Instead these spouses need a "safe place" to vent and people that will encourage them to continuing living with honor and courage and NOT to get wallowed in self-pity. These people need friends who understand that while they might not understand the actions or the motives of the sick spouse they can lovingly support these people who are hurting and struggling with their words and their actions by supporting the marriage.

"... Be Strong and Courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it... ALL of it... "
-I Chronicles 28: twenty-

8. Pray for their Strength to meet Each Day. Pray for their strength to meet each new challenge and each day.


"O Lord, my might, and my strength, and my refuge in the day of tribulation..."
-Jeremiah 16:nineteen-


9. Pray for their tenderness and compassion.  The role of a spouse who is a caregiver is one of hourly tenderness and compassion. Pray that they will have the strength to meet these needs each day.


"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
-Colossians 3:twelve-


10 Pray for the return of their joy. Illness can steal so many different things from people including joy. While a well spouses' role is difficult, lonely, and sometimes very depressing, there are many couples who can and do thrive in this situation. Pray that this well spouse will see the incredible opportunity before them of not only what they feel has been lost or stolen from them but the opportunities in front of them. Pray for their joy!

"They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."
-Isaiah 35:ten-


11.  Pray for their Hope. This role may appear hopeless but our God is a God of hope - even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances. Pray that they will not lose hope for their spouses, themselves, or the situation. 

"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."
-Psalm 27:thirteen-

12. Pray for peace. Many times these families are in the state of "chaos" where everyone involved is just trying to do the best that they can. This can create a host of tension, awkwardness, and also unrest. Pray for the peace of their household and for peace to reign in every area of their lives. 

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times
and in every way."

-2 Thessalonians 3:sixteen-
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Extra Resources:
On such a sensitive and needed topic I would be remiss if I did not offer some resources that might be helpful to those who are in this situation or to the loved ones of those in this situation:

Organization:
The Well Spouse Organization

Book:
God On Mute by: Pete Greig

And these books came, while I have not personally read them, came from highly respected sources and might provide some encouragement and help for these extremely difficult circumstances:

In Sickness as In Health by: Barbara Kivowitz

Mainstay: for the Well Spouse of the Chronically Ill by: Maggie Strong
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I hope these ideas have been helpful y'all! If you would like a copy of these twelve things to print out please email me and I will send you a word document! Sometimes when you are praying for someone with a chronic health condition you may feel that you are not "seeing" any results or doing anything, but the truth is you are!! God promises that He hears our prayers and He does hear yours! 
Keep praying for your friends and loved ones!! You are a blessing!!