Monday, April 26, 2010

Just Fine

When people ask, "How are you?" do you tell them how you really are? Do they really want to know? Is it just what people ask to fill in empty space and not knowing how to greet people? Am I just supposed to say, "I'm just fine, and how are you?" (Don't you just love that wonderful standard response "just fine".) I am faced with this problem a lot. Suffering, and that is what it is, from a chronic illness makes it hard to know how to answer people. Do you really want to hear that I'm having a good day? or Do you really want the truth?

I live with an invisible illness. I struggle daily to find a way to live well, even though I can't get well. My symptoms keep progressing, even though I don't like to admit that. I have a feeling the migraines and headaches I am now experiencing are somehow connected to my lupus. I struggle with saying that I have it, lupus. What an ugly word. It is ugly, there is nothing pretty about this thing that I will never be rid of. The symptoms are persistent and recurring. Remissions are possible, but only temporary.

Do you want to know how I feel now? Well, if you want to know keep reading. If not, then stop. Here is the truth right now...

This has been a long year so far. I have had bronchitis now three times. I have had long periods of pain and fatigue. I have had to find better makeup to cover the redness on my face. I have begun to have frequent headaches and migraines. I have been sick the entire month of April. Seriously, the entire month. I have filled 12prescriptions this month alone. This month I have had 2 antibiotic shots, 1 steroid shot, 1 pain shot, 3 antibiotic prescriptions, 1 steroid pack, 2 other prescriptions for side effects from all the antibiotics, cough medicine, nasal spray stuff, and my 3 regular meds I take, plus the different vitamins I take...what am I missing???...oh, the migraine meds I finally got. That is a lot, even for me!

So, back to my question...should I really tell people how I am? I know that some really want to know, but I really don't want to complain. I don't tell my husband how I feel all the time. Sometimes I only tell him so that he knows that I'm not mad at him or just lazy; that I don't feel well. I don't admit the severity of the pain, fatigue or other symptoms to my loved ones so that they don't worry. Come to my house...if it is clean then you know that I have really been feeling fine. If it looks like it does now then you know that I feel like crap. I do really well at putting on a good face when I go in public. You don't want people to feel sorry for you. You smile, chat, cry inwardly from the pain and for longing to be at home in bed.

I sometimes ask myself "how can I have actually taken care of my babies today?" I know the answer. Christ. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." By the grace of God I am usually able to care for my kids till my husband makes it home. God is good, all the time. He gave me these four wonderful kids, and He will give me the resources to take care of them when I am feeling "just fine".

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lonely and Letting Go?

Today has been one of those "I want to move back to Oklahoma" days. We have been here 8 months already, and I have yet to find a best friend. I miss my Robin and Susan. Those gals that I could tell anything to and not be judged, but would be encourage by. Someone to watch movies with in our pj's. I miss my Laurie. To have a neighbor that is also a friend. Someone you can count on, and that trusts you and counts on you also. I miss my Jessica. To have a couple to hang with as families. To have over for dinner, and not to stress about how the food will be or if the house is clean enough. The one you can call just to have a glass of iced tea with. I miss my Carla. Even though we didn't get together often, the comfort of having the person that shares your history close to you. There are others I miss, so if you aren't listed please don't be hurt.

I really thought that within a few months I would have my Texas Robin, my Texas Laurie, etc. That hasn't happened. Have I met some nice gals? Yes? Have I shared a few play dates? Yes. But it isn't the same. The people here don't know my history. They don't "get" me. I feel alone. There are lots of people around, but yet I still feel so alone.

I have no doubt that God has brought us here for a reason. It is HIS will that we are here. But is it too much to ask to find some friends? And some that live close to me? The one person I have clicked with lives across town. I know the Lord is with me. I know He is my friend, and He wants to fill this void. But he can't watch my kids while I go have my MRI done or go to the doctor. I feel bad every time my husband has to take off work because of me.

I just don't feel like I belong. I don't belong in Oklahoma anymore, and I still don't belong here. We have found a great Sunday school class, but I just don't feel like I belong there. We are the youngest in there. We are one of the only ones with small kids. Everyone is nice, and I genuinely care for them. I just don't feel close to them. I wouldn't know who to call if something happened and we needed help fast. There is someone I could call, but they aren't from our church now. She is from a church we visited when we first moved here. I have continued to go to Bible study there with her. I feel like maybe we "belong" more over there. If that's the case, then why has God called us to Harvest instead of FBC? I know we are where He wants us. I feel so confused. I just don't understand things yet. I wish God would just reveal himself to me. Can't He just shine a light over someone and say "This is the friend, whom I have chosen for you."? I know he can, but he probably won't.

Things are different here. Women here are busy. Most of them work, at least part time. They don't have time to form new friendships. They probably struggle to find the time just to maintain the ones they already have. So, where do I fit in? Where do I belong? Where is my niche? How can I let go of the past so that I can move on toward the future. Let go of Oklahoma and all I had there, and move forward to the future here in this crazy place called Texas? This is what I am struggling with right now.

So here are the verse I will claim today. The words I will let wsh over me and comfort me. If you have any that you would like to share with me, please do.

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" Deut. 31:8

"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:18-19

"The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold." Psalm 46:7

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." John 14:27

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Seeking People

There seems to be a lot of people seeking lately. Seeking what? Seeking answers. Seeking God.

My husband has a man at work that he has been talking to that is trying to figure out what he believes. He isn't sure if the Protestant, Catholics, Jews or Muslims have it right. He is trying to find the right answers.

There is a woman I spoke with today at Bible study. She says she's seeking the truth. She believes in the Old Testament, but not in the new. She thinks people have twisted what really happened with Jesus and his message into something it wasn't. She believes in God. She is looking for historical proof. She is searching for the thing that will make her take the leap of faith to Christ.

At Bible study today we were talking about sanctification, and being set apart. The question was asked "Do you think your set apart? If so, why."

People are seeking. They are looking for people to talk to. People to answer questions they have about God, Jesus and the Bible. What is it about your lifestyle that would lead people to Christ. Do you talk like the world? Let your kids watch the same shows and listen to the same music that the world does? Do you live as the world lives, or just a small step away? We are called to be set apart. It is not an option for the Christian, it is a command. "Be holy, as I am holy" (1Peter 1:16) We have to be creditable. We have to know what we believe and why. We have to be passionate without being forceful.

God is opening up doors to us. Find your courage to speak the Truth. Plant seeds that need to be planted. Water the seeds that have been planted by someone else. Be ready for to the harvest that is ready and waiting. The time is now. Don't let these opportunities pass by. We are dealing with eternity. People are hurting and they need Jesus.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


After talking with someone today I was reminded anew of what MOPS means to me. I am passionate about MOPS. It has been my saving grace at times. For those who do not know what MOPS is, it is Mothers of Preschoolers. And let me tell you, I am a MOPS!

So, what all has MOPS meant to me over the years? At different stages it has been different things for me.

When I first became a stay at home mom it was a place where I could be with other moms. I could have a break from my children, and have adult conversation. That was probably what saved me from going over the edge. I became a better mom by having that down time away from my kids. And, I was able to relax because I knew my kids were close to me, having fun, and safe.

As I grew in my walk with the Lord, He showed me that He could use me. Becoming a mom when I was 18 and not married, I had this mentality that I wasn't usable by God. My choices had benched me from serving the Lord in any public way. After all I had done in my past, who was I to help lead other women? MOPS was the place that God showed me He wanted to use me. I became a discussion group leader. Pretty the girls and remind them about MOPS, and during discussion time pose the questions that were on a piece of paper in front of me. Simple, but this was a big step for me.

MOPS then became where I learned to trust God with my time. I became more involved in a leadership role. I learned that I do have what it takes. I really can be used by God in a larger way that I thought I could. I also made lasting friendships here. You really do bond with people that you serve side by side with.

Now MOPS has become a place where I can meet people. I am in a new town. I'm three hours from a familiar face. We are involved in a church now, but when we first got here seven months ago I didn't know anyone. We were still searching for a church home. I was lonely, with an capital L. I knew when we got here that I had to find a MOPS group. Through MOPS I have found a friend that I can call and meet at the park, or just hang out with. Some connection. I need that desperately. When I had to take my daughter to get her cast on, it was a MOPS mom that stepped up and watched my two youngest kids for me.

What a blessing other MOPS moms have been to me. I have laughed with these women over the funny things that happen during this stage in our kids lives. I have cried with them, when they lost a pregnancy or we were just struggling with raising our kids. I have found acceptance, not judgment. I have found encouragement when I needed it the most. Overall, I have been fed. Fed physically (us women like to eat!), fed emotionally, and fed spiritually. I pray that I have given something to some mom along the way. I know that I have been given much by my fellow MOPS moms.

On top of all of this, I cannot forget all the wisdom that I have gained from the speakers over the years. I have learned everything from freezer cooking to making bows. I've learned about postpartum depression and how to get my child ready for reading. We have covered topics from photography to disciplining children to keeping the romance alive in your marriage.

I could go on and on about everything I have gained from being in MOPS groups over the last five years...but I will stop here. I hope that you get my point about how important MOPS is. It is a ministry that reaches out into the community and connects women. I have seen women come to know the Lord through MOPS. Please, please, please support your local MOPS groups or start one up today!

To learn more about MOPS International visit