Why I Write About Chronic Illness and God

After experiencing chronic illness for a few years, I was confused as to what was going on with my body, my limitations, and with how I was living my life. After being diagnosed with ME/CFS I felt profound relief knowing my experiences were real, but I also was a little confused. What is the purpose of this disease? What am I supposed to learn from this? How am I supposed to cope and raise a family? Years prior to this time period, I began writing hoping to share some of my experiences after recovering from postpartum depression. At that time I was wondering why I was experiencing depression and I asked the Lord what he wanted me to learn. After recovery, and over the course of the next few years, several people opened up to me and shared their experiences of depression wishing they had known more about depression and how to deal with it. They asked for help. I began to understand I was experiencing this trial, so I could help others and lift and encourage them. And maybe even guide them to recovery through God. Feeling others pain helps us to understand them better. After all,  He uses us as instruments for His purposes. So, again, when I was diagnosed with ME/CFS a few years later, the feeling and need to write was strong. I began writing again for the second time and learned that God wanted me to share about chronic illness, to give a voice to those who are suffering in any way.

I am scared to share and open up about chronic illness. First of all, I’m not sure I really understand it all, so what could little old me possibly share with anyone else. Second, no one likes to hear about someone’s problems and I don’t like to complain. I’m definitely a “the glass is half-full” kind of a person and negativity is not a  good word to describe my personality. Third, though I am extremely open and will share information if I think someone needs help, I don’t like talking about me or my private life at all. When the spotlight shines on me, it is blinding and uncomfortable. But one day, as I was reading my scriptures, I could imagine the Lord saying, “If you could help one person, like articles you have read have helped you, would you help me?” Sometimes it is easier to say yes, than it is actually to do. So, I said yes. And now here I am left with the growing pains that come with learning to seek out God and help His people.

Journal and Scriptures

Learn of me

Living with chronic illness is not easy. It is confusing, overwhelming, painful, hard, and downright cruel to its victims. It can leave its victims misunderstood, depressed, anxious and scared. But as with any other life trial that WE WILL experience on this fallen earth, God will walk with us, IF WE ASK HIM. Deuteronomy 5:33 tells us, “Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.”

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 KJV). He is the way. He is the light and life. And He will bring us the TRUE happiness we seek through any of life’s darkest trials.

I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.

Just Jump

“Don’t think about it, just jump”, my son’s swim teacher called out to him as he was preparing to jump off the diving board. Miss Amy is no ordinary swim teacher. She is good and what I would call a miracle worker. Because if you know my son at all, you would know he doesn’t like water in his face at all. And though he is adventurous, he is quite afraid of a lot of things. When taking baths, we go through several rags and towels to just get the water out of his eyes. He wants to be brave and he wants to swim, but he is often scared of the water. The first day of swim lessons when they were to dunk their heads in the water, his reply was, “This is awful!” In the one week Miss Amy had my son in her class, he was swimming with his head under the water, diving for toys in the shallow end, and yes, even jumping off the diving board, though extremely fearful. Yes, Miss Amy is a miracle worker.

“Don’t think about it, just jump” resonated in my mind as I watched swim lessons this particular very hot day. How many times have I thought I wanted or needed to do something, and then my mind starts thinking. It starts thinking about the pros and the cons. My mind thinks of whether it is worth my time or worth the risk. The overwhelm sets in. What if I just jumped, rather than thought about the deep water that loomed beneath me knowing that I was safe with the teacher who is teaching me? In Hebrews 11:1 (KJV), it says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We hope when we jump our teacher will catch us so we don’t sink. Do we believe God when he says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19 KJV).

Brendon Burchard, motivator, speaker and author, and one of my all time favorite people to listen to in the morning, often says, “What small things can I do tomorrow to move ahead?” (http://brendon.com/blog/believe-in-yourself/). What steps can you take today to get to your goal tomorrow? When I began writing I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I still don’t. But every morning I would wake up I would think about three things I could do today. So I would write the title. Or think of a thought that occurred throughout the day that I wanted to write about. I reminded myself, I didn’t need the whole article written, or even to have it perfected, I just needed a start. When I set up my blog, I realized there was a lot I didn’t know. But instead of looming into the deep end, I reminded myself that starting it was more than I had the day before. I reminded myself, “I don’t need it perfected today, I just need to do my best today, not be the best.” And so, though there are still many unknowns, I choose to trust the God that inspired me to write for his purposes.

Simone De Beauvoir said, “Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future.” I have had a lot of friends, family, strangers comment on how they wish they had a different life. But how the choices they have made in the past have prevented them from progressing and they are stuck. I say to you, you are not stuck. You can change your life when you believe the God is on your side. Because “With God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 KJV).  Believe in yourself and believe that you can change. When we are stuck in the “victim” mode, we cannot progress. Instead, create an atmosphere where we believe we are survivors and heroes. Think, “yes, I have had some hard things I have dealt with in my life, and I handled them quite nicely (or even not). I still have things that make living life difficult, but I can still dream. I can still achieve. I can choose today to change my life.”

“Just jump”, because you can make a difference. “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy” (Norman Vincent Peale). And as George Herbert says, “Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” Because God will always be on your side.

I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.


Gratitude Unlocks the Fullness of Life

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Melody Beattie



One thing is for sure, is that you never know when it’s your time to go, and/or when you or people you know and love will become impaired and unable to be present. I have read so many stories and seen death so many times, to know that this life shouldn’t be taken for granted. As Fourth of July is rapidly approaching and the patriotism and gratitude for those who came before me enters my heart, my heart swells from within with gratitude. An unknown author said, “It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.” My focus for me and my family always will be to be thankful, no matter what. Because as most people say, trials are blessings in disguise.

I am ever so thankful for just being alive and alert. To be present here on this earth and to watch my children, yes even when they fight, as this gives me a moment to teach. I am grateful for slobbery kisses from my darling baby as she smiles with her bright blue eyes. I am grateful for a warm, clean, and spacious home that we as a family can spend time in comfortably. A home where we can decorate as we wish and a house we can make a home. I am grateful for a husband who works so hard for this family to pay for our wants and our needs.

I am grateful that the same man shows his love to me through his acts of service, big or small. An example is when he spends all night planning your birthday, which I get to celebrate for a whole week-and-a-half. Just to show me I am loved. A man who listens to my fears and hurts and loves me the same. A man who celebrates my smallest successes and who thinks I am amazing even when I am at my worst. A man who makes me feel so loved and safe. A best friend who helps me to become a better person every single dang day and who excels at the same pace. When I think of the scripture “Perfect love casteth out all fear”, I know that this is the love the my sweet companion gives to me. And I know this is why I am at my best (and sometimes worst) with him. Because he gives and shows what perfect love really is.

For a son who spends most of his time making sure other people feel loved by his acts of service. A son who is wildly creative and kind to everyone he meets, always looking to do good. A son who on my worst day makes me feel like a million bucks and I wonder how did I ever get so lucky to be his mother? For a daughter who loves life and her mother and who can give the best cuddles a mother could ever want. Who just wants to be by your side all of the time helping you do whatever it is that you are doing. And who makes you smile with her sweet and sassy personality. Whenever she goes, she is admired for her beauty and her strength. For a sweet baby girl who is a curious little spitfire. Who you know will succeed far in this life because of her determination and strength. Who is possibly the happiest person on this earth. And who gave a mother hope, when she thought all hope might be lost. Hermann Hesse says it best when he says, “If I know what love is, it is because of you.” To my darlings, I love you. May all your days be wonderful and bright.

I’m grateful for early morning stillness that fills my heart with gratitude before the storms of daily life come rolling in. I am grateful to a family who forgives my weaknesses big and small. I am grateful to have chronic illness as this keeps me humble and also teaches me to be compassionate and empathetic towards others. It helps me to keep this life in perspective and to hopefully focus on the things in my life that matter to me. And it keeps me close to God.

I am grateful to live in a beautiful suburb, where most all feel blessed to live here. And I am grateful for the home which we did buy, which supports our biggest needs and desires. To have a home where I can easily clean, and be comfortable through some of my illnesses. Where I can go into an extremely beautiful backyard that we have created as a family. A space where I feel peace and comfort every day. A place where I feel gratitude to a Heavenly Father who has richly blessed us.

I’m grateful for freedom of religion. That I can make my own choices. I’m grateful to live in a country who celebrates progression and makes it easy to achieve ones dreams. I am grateful to leaders who run this country, as I know I could never be qualified to do this very intense and hard job.

I am grateful for friends and family who are always there for us, no matter what. A neighbor who quickly became my friend and who helped show me how fun this life can be with a friend by my side. Who wants to just hang out and makes me feel like a kid again. Other friends who call just to see how you are doing, who you know will always be your best friends no matter the distance and time that has gone. A mother and father who drop whatever they are doing just to help you, whenever and wherever. Family and friends who listen and care for me and my own family. Who are my biggest supporters and best friends. A sister who can make me laugh in a ridiculous manner. And who compliments me and makes me feel good about myself. A brother who can talk about life subjects in an open and honest manner, so that we can help figure out this messy life we live in. And a younger brother who calls to check in on me just to make sure I’m ok. Man, am I lucky and blessed.

A pin on Pinterest from (staypositive.me) quoted, “The things you take for granted someone else is praying for.” There is always something grateful to be for, no matter the situation. Psalm 44:8 “In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever.” Because this is where all our marvelous blessings and gifts come from. The same God who loves us FOREVER, no matter what. Thanks be to God for his marvelous blessings for which he has richly blessed me and my family.

I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.



You Know You Have A Chronic Illness When…

You Know You Have a Chronic Illness When

When living with a chronic illness, seemingly trivial tasks or things healthy counterparts do can often seem like insurmountable challenges for you. While I was at the beach with my children on a warm summer day, my body started telling me I needed to go lay down. I know when this happens and I am away from home, I need to pack my kids up immediately and get home to rest my body. We had only been at the beach half an hour, so it was no surprise my children were disappointed to leave so soon. I felt like I had let them down, but knew I had done my very best and couldn’t let myself get discouraged. As I was driving home, these thoughts came to my mind. I wrote them as a sort of humorous way to cope with the stresses of chronic illness. I hope you can share in and enjoy the humor that life sometimes throws you.

The kids “quiet time” is actually your nap time so you can rest your body. Unfortunately for my children, there is also more than one quiet time per day.

Planned outings often get cut short leaving your children to ask why others get to stay longer.

Pepsi, combined with ibuprofen, is your daily medicine used to relieve pain, not the enjoyable treat it usually is for others.

Your kids response to “What is your mother’s favorite thing to do” is sleep.

When your friends want to go to St. George and you live in Salt Lake (a 4 1/2 hour drive) , you look at how much flights cost so you can join them.

Reading books and writing articles become your favorite pastime even though you still don’t know what an adjective or verb is.

Your spouse carries heavy bags and does hard chores because he knows how much your body will hurt if he doesn’t. He also knows how proactive you are and is constantly reminding you to pace yourself, which is hard to do.

Your kids friends often see you laying in your bed with your leopard printed blanket resting.

You take more than a couple hot baths a day.

The gym daycare discounts your punch card because they know you only workout for 15-20 minutes instead of the hour they charge.

Going to the doctor scares you and not because of the needles, but because you’re afraid they will find nothing wrong with you.

Your medical vocabulary is quite excellent.

When your spouse doesn’t know where to find you, he knows to look in your bed or the bath first.

Walking to your mailbox while pushing a stroller and then back up the big hill is quite a feat!

Heated car seats are a huge blessing!

Your kids are dang good at cleaning up and taking care of themselves.

You eat healthy foods your grandma thinks are cardboard, but you secretly like.

You hate the cold, but despise the heat even more.

You have a schedule for chores, but know it probably won’t get done, and you have to be okay with that.

You want to do fun things that people your age don’t think twice about, but know you’ll pay for it later. You do them anyways because part of caring for your mental health is to live.

Your kids pray for you and always tell you they wish you could get better soon.

You are making an oasis in your backyard because you know that’s probably as far as you’ll travel, at least very often.

Your house is decorated simply.

Your children are pretty compassionate people.

You are grateful for simple and small things in your life.

I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.


From my 6-year-old son for Mother’s Day 2017

This article showed up as a guest post on Julie Ryan’s Counting My Spoons