JoJoisms

Step Two: Getting Out of Survival Mode

Written By: JoJoisms - Aug• 14•17

We are in week two of our 18 week in-depth series on getting out of survival mode based on my article 18 Steps to Living Better with Chronic Illness!  Last week, I talked about step one: being flexible.  Step two is developing a sense of humor.  Here’s step two from my article:

If you don’t laugh, well…you know the alternative. I make a joke of things. Makes me feel better. Makes others around me feel better too.  But for times when I can’t joke, I can usually count on some friends, family and my dh to say something funny to cheer me up.  Life can be hard, even if you don’t struggle with chronic issues.  Making your struggle into humor is just plain uplifting. I’m not saying to make light of what you are going through, but I am saying to make light of what you are going through.  Now before you ask me for the Jibberish Subtitles, let me explain.  I don’t ever say that what I’m going through is easy or fun, but I do point out the funny parts of it.  In that way, I’m making it lighter and lifting my spirits.

Now in order to get practice in seeing the humor in your own struggles and trials, it often helps to see humor in  something else first.  My default had always been to listen to Praise and Worship music when I was down, but when I was in a deep darkness, I found it difficult to listen.  The songs made me cry and, as you may have guessed, crying isn’t usually uplifting (However, see my side note below).  I found myself gravitating to the comedy section of Netflix and watching clean stand up comedians on YouTube for HOURS! Find something that makes you giggle, even if it’s watching the same I Love Lucy episode twelve times!

Have you ever been so stressed out that something seemingly just a smidge funny made you laugh uncontrollably for what seemed like hours? Then afterward you felt a bit happier and much calmer?  That’s what seeking out humor in your life can do for you.  So…after a much needed giggle fest, I was able to see a bit more humor in my own issues.  You’d be surprised at the sense of humor life has when you’re primed to see it!

Another way is to just begin to do silly things with your friends and family.  I once went to a large park with sales booths and stores.  My sister and I walked around all day together just talking and laughing.  One particular store had hats.  Weird, odd, silly, pretty…hats.  We went about the store trying them all on and taking our pictures both separately and together.  It was such fun!  A great release and a much needed giggle in my stressful situation and declining health that I was facing at the time.

Yet another way to get some lighthearted humor in your life is through me!  I’m a goofball by nature and I’ve been defunkifying myself for decades!  I’ve created over 570 humorous sayings about life-most of which come directly from my own struggles with various health, financial and life issues.  I call them JoJoisms.  I’ve turned several of them into small PDFs on a particular topic and posted several of them in visual format I call Visual JoJoisms. These have been sprinkled in throughout this post.

Once you have been able to lift your spirits for a short time by finding humor others bring to the table, you are ready to find it on your own.  Finding the humor hidden inside trials is something that has two parts:

1. You can never find the humor when your struggle is raw.  When you first find yourself in a painful situation or when you first find out about something that adds to a difficult situation, it’s hard to find ANYTHING funny about it.  But, if you give yourself a little time, you will be better able to see the humor sitting just below the surface of a frustrating situation.  How long a time it takes for something to heal enough to where you can see the funny side of it, depends.  Each person is different and each zinger life throws at you is different.  Tread lightly at first, but invite yourself to see the humor at various times during your trials.

Side Note: There are times when you just can’t laugh and you really want to cry…need to cry.  Do so!  Find a sad song or movie and give yourself permission to cry.  Afterward, you’ll probably be ready to find something to make you giggle. 

2. The more you practice this the easier it gets.  I was born a goofball. I’ve always been a goofball and I’ll probably always be a goofball.  But I know everyone else has a different gift as well as a different natural approach to life’s struggles.  The trick is to work with what you’ve got.  The more you see the humor or blessing or gift hidden (albeit sometimes FAR beneath) the struggles, the easier it will be the next time life throws you a curve ball.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If you’re not already subscribed to my mailing list, click here to learn why you should be!

The first step in getting out of survival mode

Written By: JoJoisms - Aug• 07•17

I wrote an article a while back, 18 Steps to Living Better with Chronic Illness.  I thought I’d expand on these one at a time to share just how this works and how it has helped me.  Sometimes it’s hard to see things with a short blurb without really expanding the concept.  So over the next 18 weeks, I’ll be sharing one concept in depth. I pray you can see yourself and your family in these as they are some of the best ways I’ve found to live a life beyond surviving.

I started off with some ideas of attitude. The first was:  Be flexible and here’s what I wrote:

Chronic illness takes twists and turns. No matter how well you plan and/or how faithful you are to your meds/vitamins/diet, you will have times when you won’t be able to do X.  Be flexible enough, if your work allows, to be okay doing Y or Z or M.O.U.S.E.  If I don’t have the energy to bounce back after a difficult or stressful weekend, I may need to devote Monday to staying in and even taking a nap if need be.

Any time you or your family is in crisis/survival mode, you will have twists and turns.  It can be financial, health, or even family related.  Any major issue or struggle in your life will have ebbs and flows, twists and turns.  Even if God is working things for your good and the outcome will be deliverance from the trial, I’ve never found the path to be straight up.  It’s like that meme on Facebook everyone shares.  You may have seen it too.  The top shows a stick figure on a bicycle on a path with a slight upward grade and says, “Your Plan.”  The bottom shows the same stick figure on the same bicycle on that same slight upward grade, but on a rocky path with ups and downs and pits filled with water and precarious narrow bridges. It says, “Reality.”

If you are not willing to be flexible with whatever gets thrown in your way (or flung in your face), if you are not willing to go with the flow when bad goes to worse, you will only succeed in frustrating yourself such that you will not be able to enjoy the in between times when you are clearly on that slight upward grade with no pitfalls impeding your steps.  Frustration only leads to more and there comes a time when too much frustration will bring you to a place of wanting to give up.

First, let me say that life will give you plenty of times when you will need to stop, regroup, gather strength to go on without any help from you.  Those times are built for resting, but not for giving up.  However, if you heap more frustration upon yourself by not being flexible with your plan, you will come to that place much sooner and your brain won’t listen to your  heart for God’s guidance that will allow you to continue.  It will lead you to a valley too deep to climb out of on your own.  When you are flexible, you flow easily between your plan and reality without benefit of fits.

So what does being flexible really mean?  You know how when you’re really looking forward to seeing a movie on TV, but you got the night wrong or the station goofed in reporting its programming?  It’s disappointing and frustrating because maybe you passed up an opportunity to go somewhere more exciting than what that channel is currently broadcasting.  But, what if just after you find this out, a friend calls that you haven’t been able to see in years and says she’s in town for only that day and has two hours to spend with you?  You’re no longer upset about the movie, are you? You’re delighted to be able to see that dear friend and happy you didn’t have other plans that would have made you unavailable when she called.

Life can be like that when you’re in survival mode.  You can think that your answer comes from one place and it can be devastating when that place is no longer available to you.  That resource is no longer attainable.  But where does our help come from?  The Lord is always at work and sometimes we need to be flexible enough to appreciate it.  Sometimes we are able to see that help right away in the place we expected it to be.  Sometimes we are able to see it around the corner from the place we expected it to be.  And sometimes it’s a long way down the road from where we expected it to be.

But if we spend our time frustrated that it wasn’t where we wanted it to be, we may not have our eyes on the road and miss it down the road…because our eyes were filled with tears.  There are times when we need to our tears to clear out our anxiety and help us focus on what’s next.  But sometimes those tears go on so long that we miss what God has put in our path. It could be the very thing our heart longs for.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If you’re not already subscribed to my mailing list, click here to learn why you should be!

 

Three Ways to Discover Your Mission

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 31•17

Several weeks ago, I talked about that God isn’t a Genie we can order a cure from, that when we feel alone…God is with us, and why sometimes God chooses not to heal us–because He has a plan to use us.  This week, I’d like to share three ways we can discover a mission God may have for our lives BECAUSE of what we are going though.

1.What do you know that others may not?

Do you know what it feels like to struggle with something that most don’t?  Have you found a way to deal with it?  Are you willing to share your struggle with others?  How might your insights help those who are also struggling with it?  How might your insights help their families who feel lost to help someone who is struggling?  Do you have a talent for writing?  A talent for comforting others? A heart to be a support?

2. What options are available to you to share your knowledge?

Are you on social media?  Would you like to blog?  Could you contribute to your church’s outreach in the community?  Would you be willing to write a book?  Volunteer at a hospital?

3. How might your passion for that topic help others and lead them back to the Lord? 

What do you need that others just like you might also be in need of?  What would you like someone to do for you?  Would you be able and willing to do that for others who struggle like you do?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I went through a natural childbirth training.  I’ll never forget what the woman told me.  She said that the pain is unbearable when you don’t know how long it will be.  She said, just when you think you can’t stand it anymore, that’s usually when the baby is born.  I can live through anything if I know there is a purpose behind it.  Otherwise, even the smallest pain lived with for a long time can seem unbearable.

I’m able to thrive through most of my pain and fatigue because I know I’m being used by God to help others who feel alone in their struggle.  My fondness for sarcasm and humor is being used to ease others’ pain.

You may not be in for a lifetime of struggle. You may be healed tomorrow, a year from now.  You may feel as if it’s been forever and a day.  If you feel there is no reason for what you are living through, maybe there is.  Maybe you are to share, uplift, or guide someone else.

What do you think?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If you’re not already subscribed to my mailing list, click here to learn why you should be!

The Light Isn’t Only at the End of the Tunnel

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 24•17

You know that old saying. It’s supposed to make you feel better about the dark times you may go through.  There’s light at the end of the tunnel.  I don’t like that saying.  I don’t like it because it isn’t always helpful.  What if my tunnel is long?  What if it isn’t just a few weeks or even a few years? What if my tunnel is decades?  What if my tunnel doesn’t end this side of heaven?

There’s light at the end of the tunnel.  It used to make me sad.  Sad because I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the end of my tunnel.  Sad because I wasn’t sure how to navigate through the tunnel. It’s dark in there.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel.  It used to make me mad.  Mad because it wasn’t fair that I’m in this tunnel.  It wasn’t fair that it was so long or so lonely in the tunnel. After all, if there was anyone else in the tunnel, it’s so dark and cold that it’s often hard to tell.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel.  I don’t like it now either.  And it isn’t because some of my tunnels ended and others got bigger or darker or colder.  It’s because I found the light INside the tunnel.  There’s light inside the tunnel too, but you have to look for it.  Sometimes you have to look very hard.

I spent years waiting for the light at the end of my dark tunnels.  The problem with waiting until you get to the end of your dark tunnel of struggles is that you may lose hope along the way.  You may lose yourself along the way.  You will lose your joy along the way.

Those dark tunnels breed despair. The darkness covers the light and the joy and it swallows up your life.  You find yourself just surviving. Just struggling through to make it another two feet that day.  After years, you look back and all you can see is darkness.

If you change your mindset to look for the light along the way, your trip down that dark tunnel seems shorter, more doable.  You begin to notice the fireflies in the tunnel with you, the sunlight that pierces through from the end to where you are.  You notice the overhead lights along the way.  I may not feel I can make it all the way to the end, but I can make it to that next overhead light.

Now you begin to see the beauty in the tunnel, the lessons along the way, the opportunities presented, and the growth you have experienced.  All this can happen before you ever reach the end of your tunnel.

Know how I know?  I’m still in my tunnel and I see you…here…reading my words.  I see my blessed family…by my side.  I see the light the Lord has shining down through the tunnel walls to reach me where I am.

Look for the light INSIDE your tunnel.  Look for the beauty there, right where you are.  You can make it one step at a time if you look for the next light.  Who knows.   You might even find joy in the dark.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If you’re not already subscribed to my mailing list, click here to learn why you should be!

 

Don’t sing songs to a heavy heart

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 17•17

I often gain insight from reading my Bible in the mornings. I shared last time about one.  Well, this one was on the very same day:  “Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, And like vinegar on soda, Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” -Proverbs 25:20.  

I’ve read through the Bible many times, but never really pondered this scripture until then.  I went a bit further to read several commentaries on this scripture and began to see a picture of how many Christians, though well-meaning, will choose the absurdity of trying to cheer up someone who is deep in trial whose soul is weary.  These same people would never think to take away a cold man’s coat in cold weather.  Yet they do feel it appropriate to try to bring a smile to an aching heart.

If this is your first time reading my posts, you may have missed an article I wrote once that got quite a bit of attention, called Sometimes You Need a Pity Party. Ecclesiastes says there is a time for every purpose under heaven.  There is a time laugh and a time to cry.  I think people are very uncomfortable during those times when their friends or relatives need time to cry. They simply don’t know what to do and feel so uncomfortable that their first instinct is to try to cheer them up.  

Some Christians subscribe to the relatively new positive thinking that anything negative must be shunned, struck down, and eliminated.  The Power of Positive thinking is HUGE, but there is a time and a place for it.  And that time isn’t when an individual is deep in the sorrow and need to cry it out.  Or when someone first learns of a death or a major loss of any other kind.  

Take it from one who has been there many times.  There is a time and a place for everything.  There is a time for positive thinking.  There is a time for cheering someone up.  There is a time to lift someone up.  But…don’t sing songs to a heavy heart.  If you don’t know what to do for them, may I offer these ideas?

Pray with them. Sit with them. Cry with them. Ask how you may help.  And when their heart has had time to begin the healing process, then be a beacon of hope to lift them up.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If you’re not already subscribed to my mailing list, click here to learn why you should be!

 

Remember your creator in the days of your youth

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 10•17

I was reading my Bible recently when this passage hit me: “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’” -Ecclesiastes 12:1 and it struck me why some people are able to move past devastating news or endure through the most difficult of trials and others are more easily struck down or derailed by something like not getting a car they wanted or finding out that they didn’t get the promotion they should have.

I was having a conversation with my mom about how difficult life was say, 100 years ago, compared with today.  We have so many “modern conveniences” available to us to make our lives “easier’ that, I think, we take it for granted these days that life is SUPPOSED to be easy.  We aren’t prepared for the fact that we will “have trails of various kinds” as it says in James 1:2.

Even more important than being prepared that life isn’t going to be easy is knowing who you can count on to get you through those times and why that is so incredibly important.  I’m often asked how I’m able to handle all the surgeries, diagnoses, tests, pain and financial issues that seem to come my way on a weekly basis.  Frankly, it’s not that I’m such a strong person or that I am so smart.  As they say, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

I remember my Creator in the days of my youth (OK it wasn’t really my youth. It was more like my younger adulthood days after I accepted the Lord), before my difficult days came.  I remember how He loves me and how He may choose to use me for the greater good of others.  Or for the greater good of myself.  Or for the greater good of my family that He wishes to bless me with in far more abundance in the coming days than He would have if I had not endured.  I think of a meme I saw once where the little girl doesn’t want Jesus to take away her Teddy Bear, but it’s because He wishes to bless her with a bigger one.

The more grounded, secure, and comfortable in my faith, the easier the tough times are to endure, get through and, yes, even get over.  I feel sorrow for those going through tough times without benefit of the Lord’s help and comfort.  Without knowing that even if this struggle lasts a lifetime, our joy comes in the morning when the sun rises over heaven.

Dig into your Bible each morning. Pray for His help, comfort, and guidance.  Seek out fellowship with other believers who can help you through and pick you up when you are down.  Cry or kvetch if you need to momentarily.  Help others to pick themselves up.  Trust me when I tell you that sometimes, when you think you have nothing left to give another, a kind word or a smile can not only lift them up, but you as well from where you sit atop your own issues.  There blessings may blossom.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If you’re not already subscribed to my mailing list, click here to learn why you should be!

The Mammogram Blues News

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 03•17

I went to get my yearly mammogram today. It was an interesting experience.  I mean, it’s always an “interesting” experience, but this one was due to an observation that the lovely woman who did my mammogram made to me.  

The lovely, sweet woman who performed my mammogram was charming.  She was so cute as she asked me all the questions to update their records.  She asked if I was post menopausal.  I said yes, I had a hysterectomy.  She asked when and I told her.  She asked why and I shared that they had found a huge fibroid in my uterus and when they tested to see if it was still there, they found a ovarian cyst and how when the surgeon decided to take my my ovary AND Fallopian tube, they found the cancer.  She couldn’t find Fallopian tube cancer on her drop down menu so she had to add it and commented that she’d never heard of anyone with Fallopian tube cancer. I told her that it’s rare and aggressive so most women don’t know about it until it’s too late.  With all the records updated, she began the test.    

Mammograms are never fun.  Let’s face it. Stretching pieces of skin off your bones, putting it in a vice grip and turning the pressure up until you can’t breathe is no day at the park.  Most women say it is painful.  Some say VERY painful.  I’d be in that batch of somebodies–maybe because I also happen to have Fibro.  I don’t know, but my way of dealing with it is to grin and bear it.  I mean, wadaya gonna do?  

After it was all over, she looked at me and asked.  You’ve had a lot of difficult issues in your life, haven’t you?  I said, I guess so and shared that I’d had four surgeries in a 2.5 year span, three of which in a six month span of time.  She said, “I thought so.  I can always tell when someone’s had a lot of challenges in life.  They’re the ones who complain the least.”  

That got me thinking.  I had a mammogram when I was in my 30’s and I do remember complaining about it a lot, but I’m a lot more calm about procedures…a lot more comfortable with inconveniences…a lot more patient getting results…a lot more joyous about life.  Since I realized just how blessed I was to have had that cancer found early…before it spread…such that I didn’t need to go through Chemo or Radiation Therapy…and I’m still here to tell the tale. 

What changed was my outlook.  What changed was my attitude.  What changed was my expectation.  I expected that life would have difficulties so I had an attitude of patience to endure it for a time which changed my outlook on having to go through things from a burden to a slight bump in the road.  

If I’d never had to endure so many of life’s trials, I don’t think I’d have learned to brush things off as much as I do now.  Getting bogged down in “what should be” made me grumpy and more easily frustrated.  Having an outlook of gratitude for what could have happened but didn’t is so much more liberating and allows me to live a life of much greater joy.  

I can’t say I’d knowingly choose to go through all that again, but I can honestly say I’m grateful for having lived through it.  Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns now, but I do see a unicorn on the hill over there and a rainbow off in the middle distance that I never noticed before.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If you’re not already subscribed to my mailing list, click here to learn why you should be!

Six Reasons Why Chronic Issues are Different

Written By: JoJoisms - Jun• 26•17

When I was about to have my first child, I went to a birthing class for The Bradley Method (different philosophy, but similar idea to La Maz).  The teacher said something I will always remember because it fits as a motto for so many things in life.  She said, “You can stand just about anything for a short time.”  She explained that when you couldn’t stand the pain a moment longer, that’s usually when the baby is born.  I found that to be true.

I remember thinking, about that quote as I lay in the hospital bed in agony dilated to 7.  The nurse said it would be HOURS yet.  I was only in labor for about nine hours at that point.  Most women are in labor far longer so that is what hospitals are used to.  Well, they never met Speedy Tabares!  So she walked out of the room saying to call her back when I felt the need to push.  Well, the minute she walked out, I felt I needed to push.  My husband went to go tell her and she sent him back in assuring me it would be HOURS yet and to tell me no, she’d be back in later on.  I was in so much pain, I remember thinking, I could possibly take another few minutes of this, a few hours?  NO!  So I told him to go back to her and tell her YES!  She came back in and sure enough, I was at 10.  My daughter was born just a few minutes later.

You can stand just about anything for a short time, but the longer it goes on, the more the stress of it zaps your energy, your hope, your strength, your courage, your resolve, and shakes your faith.

There was a psychologist I read about who was teaching a class on stress management. She asked her class to imagine holding up a glass of water.  Most of the students thought she was going to talk about the glass being half full or empty to illustrate optimism vs pessimism.  However, she asked them how much they thought the glass would weigh.  Many of the students gave answers, but she told them it didn’t matter.  It wasn’t how much the glass weighed that was at issue; it was how long one must stand there with their arm outstretched holding it up.  You see, you can stand there with your arm up holding nothing at all and, over time, your arm will grow tired.  Holding it up for a minute is no big deal.  While, holding it up for an hour would cause your arm to go numb and feel paralyzed.  She explained that it’s the same with stress.  While it may not kill you, it can destroy your quality of life.

Most chronic conditions will not kill you, but they can destroy your quality of life as the person you were is stretched and changed and limited beyond what you were and had ever envisioned for your life.

If you’re ever seen the movie Facing the Giants, you’ll remember that scene where the coach has the football player close his eyes and he coaches him a few inches at a time to eventually get him across the entire field with another man on his back.  When he opens his eyes, he is amazed at how far he had come because he was certain he couldn’t make it all the way before he started.  Life is like that.  We can stand just about anything for a short time and then we need encouragement and inspiration one step at a time to make it to the end…or just keep making it each day as some struggles don’t have an ending this side of heaven.  It’s how the old saying goes about how ones eats an elephant…one bite at a time.

There are actually six reasons why chronic issues are so different, devastating, and destructive.

1. What doesn’t kill you may, indeed, destroy your quality of life.

…and very few who have not experienced a chronic issue will truly understand this.

  • Over time these experiences will change who you are.  Not necessarily for the worse, but it may seem that way at first as you no longer will be able to do the things you once could.  If it’s financial, you will no longer be able to afford things like luxuries (or in extreme cases even basic necessities) that you once could. If it’s health related, you will no longer be able to afford the energy to do the things you once could or loved or desire.
  • Chronic issues force you to think ahead much more than you used to, to plan things ahead of time.  In the case of financial matters, you will be forced to not go to dinner all month in order to be able to afford to go to a birthday dinner with friends next month.  In health issues, you may need to plan to take it easy this week in order to have the energy to go out to lunch with friends next week.
  • It can be increasingly frustrating not to know when, or even IF, your current crisis will end.

2. Most people will not understand. 

  • They’ll make comments like, “You don’t look sick.”  or “I’m broke too, but I’m going to buy a nice gift for Mom. Why can’t you?”  They don’t understand…”chronic illness can’t be all that bad if you look ok on the outside.”  Their idea of broke may be different from yours if you can’t pay rent this month.
  • Friends and family will use the words tired and exhausted interchangeably to mean they stayed up a bit too late last night and think that’s how you feel when you share why you can’t make the trip to Vegas this year.  After all, they’re tired too.

I remember a time when we were so broke, we drove an hour to a grocery store because it was the only one in the area who took credit cards at the time and we had no money for milk and bread.  We mentioned our financial struggles to a friend of ours who said they understood how we felt as they were down to their “last $10,000 in their bank account.”  True story and, yes, they really thought they knew how we felt.

3. Feeling guilty for all the things you can’t do for others. 

  • For all the gifts you can’t afford to buy for your nieces and nephews…or maybe your own children
  • For not being able to spend time with others who are hurting because you just can’t physically make it out to see them.
  • For not being able to give money to deserving friends or family when they are in need.
  • For not taking your kids out to a movie or signing them up for an extra curricular event because you don’t have the money or the energy to get them there.
  • For not volunteering at church.
  • For not offering to make dinner for a friend in need because you can hardly sum up the money or energy to make your own.

4. You will feel the need to push yourself beyond what you can comfortably give to others. 

  • and this will cause you to over extend your energy levels or financial situation beyond what it can hold.
  • and this will cause you to have consequences like having to give up working the next few days to recover or give up some repair because you ran out of money before you ran out of month.

5. Getting angry or defensive when challenged.

  • and you will be challenged.  You may find yourself having to explain to the very same relative why you can’t come to the big shindig next year in Tahiti even though they were able to save up for it this year.
  • Explaining for the 20th time how you may have to cancel lunch for the third time because you just don’t feel up to it today even though you did feel up to cleaning the house yesterday.

6. You may find your faith eroding as you wonder why God hasn’t healed you. 

  • because He did heal So and So
  • You’ll wonder if God really cares for you if He is willing to leave you in this trial all this time.
  • You may wonder why me? What did I do to deserve this?
  • You may wonder if God is really there at all.

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  It’s so important in our struggles that I put it up on the top of this blog.  You see, we can get down in the valley after a while such that we have a hard time pulling ourselves out.  That’s when we need others to help us up.

John 14:18 says, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Just knowing that someone understands what you’re going through and justifies your feelings about what you are dealing with can help pull you out of the valley.  And that’s why I’m here.

I am not a doctor or a financial wiz kid. God may not choose to heal you or put an end to your financial struggles, but I can help you pull yourself out of the valley so you can begin to see the joy and live a life beyond surviving!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If you’re not already subscribed to my mailing list, click here to learn why you should be!

Why doesn’t God heal me?

Written By: JoJoisms - Jun• 19•17

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why some people are allowed to remain in their struggle while others are delivered from their suffering.  We ask God and sometimes even demand that God tell us why He keeps us this way.  To some, this may sound like sin and maybe it is, but it is human nature and I believe the Lord understands why we, who have chronic conditions can come to a point where we can only moan a prayer or get to the point where we are so incredibly frustrated that we yell at Him or to Him.  Can you relate?

I think most of the reason we feel this way is because of the many devotionals (and I’ve read them all)  that point to Job when sharing about suffering.  They point out how hard life was for Job and all he lost.  But God healed Job and gave him back many fold that which He allowed to be taken away.  Have you noticed that God hasn’t done that for you?  He hasn’t for me.  But did you also notice something else?  He didn’t for Paul either.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but God doesn’t ALWAYS heal.  He doesn’t always solve our problem. Sometimes He says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9) as He did with Paul.  Paul talked about a thorn in his side that God allowed to stay in his life.  Paul expressed that he felt it was because it would keep him closer to God, relying on Him.  Maybe this is the case with you.  Or maybe it just isn’t your time.  Maybe God has a different plan for you.  He seems to for me.  I’ve struggled with chronic illness since I was a teenager.  I’ll be 55 in September.  In case your brain fog has beat out your math skills, that’s about 40 years…or in chronic illness years: FOREVER!

Sometimes God allows His child to continue with the thorn for many years.  Sometimes He allows it until His child comes to the other side of Heaven.  Why?  Why would God allow such suffering?  It’s not always because that person DESERVED to suffer.  It’s sometimes in spite of the fact.  Like Paul, His child has a mission.

Think about it this way.  If God had healed me, I probably wouldn’t be writing this weekly blog.  I probably wouldn’t have a heart for those who struggle daily with pain and fatigue.  And you probably wouldn’t listen to me if I didn’t truly understand what you go through, would you?

If God has you in a season filled with struggle, pain, fatigue, hardship, heartache, maybe He has a mission for you.  Maybe He is using this time in your life or the rest of your life as He is using mine.  Maybe you aren’t a Job.  Maybe you, too, are a Paul.

What is it that you, and maybe ONLY YOU, can understand that might reach others?  What might your mission be?  What can others learn from you?  How can you lead them back to God?  How can you ease another’s suffering?  Speaking for myself, I can honestly say I’ve been to the point I spoke of at the beginning of this post.  I have shouted, “Why me, Lord?”  But I’ve also felt a sense of purpose in these last years that I’ve been posting my blog. Somehow it makes my days of pain and fatigue easier to live with.

I’ll have more thoughts on this next week, but for now, how do you think God can use YOU because of what you’ve been through?

When Your Symptoms Argue with Each Other Over Treatment

Written By: JoJoisms - Jun• 05•17

Remember how your kids used to argue over a toy? Mine! Mine!  Well, as you gather more and more chronic conditions, your symptoms don’t work and play well with others.  Just to list a few examples…

Years ago, my Hashimoto’s Disease and adrenal issues had my doctor put me on the Everything Diet.  That’s where your down to bread and water only you can’t eat the bread.  I was to cut out all dairy, all carbs, all artificial anything…blah blah blah…and even the water was ideally to be filtered by God.  However, years later, my parathyroids developed growths and leached all the calcium out of my bones.  My new bone specialist said to eat a bunch of dairy.  Seeing as eating nothing didn’t seem to help my Hashi’s any, I happily complied.

After my hysterectomy, I was thrust head first into full menopause and started gaining weight. I decided to cut down again on the carbs and sugar, but several of the diets I saw getting rave reviews called for eating certain fruits as snacks.  Well, I have Reactive Hypoglycemia so if I eat something with sugar, even natural sugar, and don’t have any protein, I get shaky.

My 18 year battle with insomnia and Fibro forced me into taking muscle relaxers, Melatonin and magnesium before bedtime.  I was told to take the magnesium with a meal.  Meals after 8pm tend to contribute to the delinquency of my hind quarters so I am straddling a fine line between heartburn and obesity by eating a slice of turkey or cheese and half a banana right before bed.

The last two to three months have been spent walking to the point of jogging daily M-F.  It’s supposed to be great for weight loss (I’ll believe that when I see it) and for my osteoporosis as well as my fibro.  On the other hand, it makes me tired and increases my pain so…whadaya gonna do?

I was taking Black Cohosh for my hot flashes, but my Oncologist advised against it due to the fact that even plant estrogen reacted with my biopsy so ANY type of hormone (HRT) is contraindicated.  Isn’t that special?!

Speaking of the hot flashes, my body is in a permanent state of “WHAH?” Most of the time I’m freezing. My hands and feet are like icicles and I’m often found under the blankets on the couch where the heat vent blows up through the cushions.  HOWEVER, when I get a hot flash, WATCH OUT! I could melt the paint off a Buick!

Somewhere in my head, I have a picture of a flame with an evil grin battling an ice cube wearing a parka…where all my symptoms choose up sides and Dueling Banjos is playing in the background.

How’s by you?  Have you got arguing symptoms?  Is there a battle field inside you?  Spill.  I’d love to hear I’m not alone in this…