He Cares For You

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

I memorized this verse a very long time ago when I was teaching a Sunday school class for 1st graders. It’s a simple verse that even the kids could memorize.

How can a Bible verse help you in today’s world? If your hope is in Him, you know there will be a glorious day when all the pain ends. That’s literally what keeps me going every morning when I wake up.

I do not believe meditating on a Bible verse relieves chronic pain.

Every morning I’m usually in the same amount of pain when I wake up. It’s not easy to keep going, but my hope is not from this world. Knowing there will be an end to the pain gives me the hope I need to continue my life.

It is like a birth. You know at the end of the pain there will be a reward of a baby when it is over.

I choose to look at my salvation in that way also. Life is hard with physical and emotional pain. This world is not our world. We will feel pain of all kinds, but there is a reward much greater than we can imagine.

This verse helps me trust in God giving me peace so that I can focus on what is important, helping others, instead of worrying.

Do you have a Bible verse that carries you through hard times? Please share. It could encourage someone else. You never know the impact you can make by reaching out to help others.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

Beautiful People

“The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have still found their way out of the depths.  These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen.”      ——Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We cannot control the things that happen to us, but we can grow through the pain when bad things happen.  There is a purpose, but you cannot see it yet.  He will bring good out of the most difficult situations.

The struggle up the mountain is difficult and challenging, but at the top is a view that is unimaginable.  Keep fighting the fight and win the race.

Overcoming struggles is what make us strong. We weren’t born brave. We develop it through trials, and sometimes those trials seem so unfair.  I always try to remember this is not the world that God intended for us.

Rest in knowing you are being transformed. Every defeat that brought you down, the suffering that made you feel weak, the struggles to get through each day, and every loss that broke your heart will be used for good.

Who can you reach out to today with compassion and help them on their journey and bring beauty from your pain by helping others with your own experiences?

I hope you will do that this week because everyone needs to hear the encouraging, “You got this.”

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”
—-Bob Marley

Much Love & Many Prayers,

Cindy

You Are Strong

Strong quote

Wow, I really have felt this quote the past few weeks.  Every day I wake up living with chronic pain, I have to find my strength to get back up and do it all over again.  Without a focus, living this way causes depression in me, so I have been putting all my attention on starting the support group and getting my office put back together. This has created less time for the blog.  I may be posting less, but I am still here.

I wanted to post this for those that just keep moving no matter what, keep putting one foot in front of the other, just keep going, regardless of their circumstances.  You are strong fighters working through hard, painful things every day. I know what you are going through every day.  You aren’t alone.  Just keep moving.

Move Lyrics by TobyMac

Another heartbreak day
Feels like you’re miles away
Don’t even need no shade
When your sun don’t shine, shine
Too many passin’ dreams
Roll by like limousines
It’s hard to keep believin’
When they pass you by and by
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Echoin’ inside your head
Are the words that your sweet momma said
“Shoot for the moon, my dear”
So you took aim out of this atmosphere
Between high stakes and pump fakes
You’re feelin’ like you can’t buy a break
I can hold your hand, but I can’t turn your eyes to freedom
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Hold on, hold on
Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on
He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on
These are the promises
I never will forget
I never will forget, so
Hold on, hold on
The Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on
He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on
These are the promises
I never will forget
I never will forget
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
But it ain’t over yet, it ain’t over yet
So get up and move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Lift up your head now, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Lift up your head now keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Keep believin’ keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, it ain’t over yet
Songwriters: Bryan Christopher Fowler / Christopher E Stevens / Toby Mc Keehan
Move (Keep Walkin’) lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group
Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Ways to Emerge as Who You Want To Be

discoveryPhoto by Micah Hill on UnsplashBeing authentic is the emergence of your genuine self. It is when we arrive at who WE say we are and we do not rely on how others define us.

Being true to ourselves allows our actions to align with what our core believes.

When there is a shift in our actions that cause conflict with our inner beliefs, difficulties will arise in our life creating speed bumps and sometimes complete roadblocks making us feel stuck.

When you have chronic pain, it increases and complicates the roadblocks further. Like when someone asks how you are doing.  I’ve always had trouble answering that question.

My hubby and I have code words. If I tell someone I am “peachy” then he knows the pain level is high, but I don’t want to complain. Most people do not understand the experiences people with pain go through.

It’s easier to just say you are fine. This false response creates stress because we want to be real about our experience and the pressure of not being authentic creates more pain; physical and emotional. So, we are not helping ourselves when we lie about how we feel because it is easier for others to accept or so that we don’t have to say no.

mirrorPhoto by Taylor Smith on Unsplash.jpg

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it a familiar friend or a distant relative?

SIGNS YOU AREN’T LIVING AN AUTHENTIC LIFE

You are a people pleaserdo you do things for others out of guilt? Feeling like you must do everything for everyone will get in the way of your self-care.

Honoring others is important but not at the expense of our health. It is not selfish to take the time for ourselves.

Some days I find my body exhausted and in excruciating pain. I only have myself to blame sometimes because I did not say no to a request or make the time to take care of myself.

Refueling yourself is the best way to be able to give to others

You question your own thoughtsdo you rely on others to validate your feelings? Doubt fuels negative thinking. We can find ourselves quickly spiraling down when we doubt ourselves. I constantly doubt myself. I doubt myself right now while I am writing this! On some days my unbelief in myself can be paralyzing.

You compare yourself to others – do you feel like other people have it all together and you don’t? I have a love-hate relationship with social media. So much of it is fake. No one and I mean no one has a perfect life. A friend of mine told me that her daughter would spend hours taking selfies to post one picture online. Hours to post one picture! Live who you are.

You blame others for your problems to avoid dealing with them- do you accept responsibility for your actions? Isn’t it easier to blame someone else?  It takes the pressure off of ourselves and relieves the feeling that we need to take some action. There is a little part of everyone that does not want to accept responsibility for the things we do. Not taking control of your actions is just denying there is a problem and denial will keep you stuck. Look at yourself honestly but remember to look with love also.

girl on rock stuck

When we do not live authentically, we become stuck where we are at in life which can lead to depression and anxiety.

I developed severe anxiety and depression after the back and leg pain began to be daily in 2014. I lived in the pit with all of these things I listed above and it kept me frozen with fear. I did not want to leave my house or see anyone.  And I definitely didn’t want anyone coming over and seeing my home.

Over the past 2 years, I have worked very hard on trying to stop the control that fear has over my life.  I have picked up a few tips on living authentically I’d like to share with you. It will give you a few tools to find your happy place by learning to live and love who you really are, even with chronic pain.  Your life can still be exceptional!

HOW TO EMERGE AS WHO YOU WANT TO BE

Decide to accept yourself. We need to love ourselves on purpose as we are at this exact moment. We can choose to love ourselves like we can choose to be angry or to be sad.

Accepting ourselves can be especially hard if we feel our body has let us down because we have chronic pain.

Living in a shell of a body that always seems to fail can make us feel unworthy of joy if we allow it to.

We each need to meet ourselves where we are at in this world and begin a real journey of self-discovery. We are exquisitely made by our Creator. Be you.

Make a list of your strengths. Whatever we are good at should be celebrated. With chronic pain, life can be challenging.

Think of all that you have overcome and put it on this list. You are reading this, so you are still standing. We may have lost some of our strengths, but we cannot forget to remind ourselves of what we can still accomplish.

I promise you that you can continue to have fulfillment with chronic pain. Dig deeper, and you can find new ways to be strong. Don’t forget you are intelligent and creative.

Stop listening to the negative voice in your head. Our minds are powerful, and we can decide where our thoughts go. Your thoughts also decide your next steps in life.

Just remember that we would probably never speak to other people the way that we talk to ourselves.

Slow down your thoughts to find out what you are saying to yourself and change the dialogue to be who you want to be.

Distance yourself from the people that do not believe in you. Your feelings and thoughts are important.

We need to surround ourselves with people that will nurture us, helping us reach our true potential, not tearing us down or keeping us stuck.

Grieve your previous life before your chronic pain or illness. I wish I had a magical way of going through grief without any pain, but everyone is much too different to have one tried and true way to get through grief. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance and are a part of the framework that helps us understand what we are experiencing when we grieve a loss. I would suggest if you feel stuck in any of the stages of grief to seek out professional help.

Spend time doing the things you love. I am doing a complete overhaul of how I spend my time every day. I feel like I don’t have time for everything I want to accomplish. I have found that I need to make blocks of time and set them aside for the things that I enjoy doing. Find what you love and do it.

Communicate with the people around you.  I understand now that I need to communicate truthfully with the people close to me. It is incredible how much of a difference being real has helped with feeling good mentally and physically. I encourage you to do it but if you haven’t had a voice in a while.  Go easy on those around you. Explain to them the things you want to change in your life and recruit their help.

unexpected surprise.jpg

You can live your whole life and never reveal your real self to the world. What a shame that would be not to be truly known. You can decide today to live authentically and find happiness. You can learn to love yourself and even be proud of yourself. It creates better life opportunities and promotes creativity. It empowers us to live our best life, even with chronic pain.

Your life is not over. In some ways, when you get to this vantage point of living authentically, your life has just begun.

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

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PredniZoning and Marriage

I pretty much disconnected this past week because I was on steroids. Medications like that affect me strongly in a negative way, but everyone is different. My pain level had gotten high enough that I was willing to go through the week-long regimen. I had been talking about doing it for a few months, but because of how it affects me so powerfully, I dreaded it. I guess I should be thankful that it is still an option sometimes instead of having no options at all.

With these types of medicines, for me, my logical brain goes on vacation, and my emotional brain goes to high-stepping workaholic wonderland. Except there is nothing wonderful about it. Significant anxiety and wide mood swings of depression and despair are what I experience intensely along with the physical side effects.

My poor hubby. He has been through many steroid hell weeks because of the many steroid shots and pills for the chronic back and leg pain I have needed over the past ten years. Usually, I become a mean ogre with a short fuse, but this time there was crying– lots of crying. I cried about everything.

My hubby may not always understand what crazy emotional or physical side effects that some medicines cause in me, but I can say he tries to get it if I will explain to him what is going on in my head. This week, he just rode the wave with me.

He could have quickly gotten relief from my medication-induced distress when I started saying I was going to stop taking the pills after the initial injection and only one day of pills. I was just so miserable. He helped me through the thought process, which I know should have been obvious, and thankfully, I am on the other side of this experience.

Although I have a choice on how I view my chronic pain, I don’t have an option to not go through pain every day, so I just do what I have to do. My hubby did not sign up for this, but just as he helped me stay committed to the steroids, he commits to me every day regardless of my circumstances with pain.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some issues while adjusting to my new normal, but we are stronger because of the struggle. Our bond is tighter due to me having chronic pain because it has made us both look beyond ourselves and find out what commitment literally means. It is an effort that we make every day for each other.

So every day, when the sun comes up, hubby and I get a fresh start if we failed each other yesterday. We get to try again with each day building on the next. That’s how we have made it this far. That’s what unconditional love means to me.

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

Disclaimer: I am not trying to sway anybody’s opinion about steroids. I am merely sharing my experience with them.

Time to Love Yourself

candy-hearts.jpgReading Time 5 mins 18 secs

The month of February is all things pink and lovely, isn’t it? Either you love all the valentine day hoopla, or you don’t.

I think it is all a bit negative. All the buzz leaves us to believe we must be partnered with another person for our life to mean something.

If you are not married or if you haven’t found “the one,” you might focus on the fact that you are single at this time of year.

I know I felt that way when February rolled around, and I was a single person. I especially became down when I was a single mom of three small boys, and the pink banners, cards, and candies began popping up in the stores in January. I thought no one would ever want me because I had apparently failed the first time. Valentine’s Day was a reminder of my failures with a one-two punch; I was single, and I had failed the first time. My perception of myself was low at that time, and it wasn’t healthy to feel that way about myself.  I’ve changed some of those thoughts, but I find it is a daily struggle fighting off the negative feelings.

What can we do to change this negative perception that we have in our head about ourselves? 

woman footprints on beach

 

Let’s start by learning to love yourself. Make this time about taking care of you. This means spending the amount of time you need to recharge your batteries, instead of running them all way down until you fall over entirely. If you take time for yourself, you have more to offer other people.

 

SOME WAYS TO LOVE YOURSELF:

1. Stop the inner critic from speaking in your ear. This one is a big one and hard to do because you cannot get away from your inner voice. You have to retrain that voice.  There are many ways to do that, and here are just a few:

  • Develop an awareness of your thoughts. You can’t change what you don’t notice yourself doing so start being mindful of what your inner critic is saying to you.  Most of the time, it is entirely out of proportion so challenge the thought if it is negative.
  • Stop beating yourself up. When you make a mistake, admit it and move on.  Worrying about it will never change it. This has helped me tremendously.  I know that my intentions are good but sometimes, the things we say or the things we do, go wrong.  Talk to people and explain, apologize, or do whatever you need to do to move on.  Then, move on.
  • Treat yourself with compassion. With our chronic illnesses, we need to be very diligent about our health. I believe that it is essential to have a caring and an empathetic view of ourselves. This includes forgiving yourself and your body.

2. Learn to say “no.” Another way to show yourself some love is to learn to tell other people no. Have you ever been asked to do something and inside you are screaming no, but your lips have the nerve to say the word, yes?! I have trouble with this one also, but I have been doing better.  I never want people to think I am lazy so I always feel judged by the “lazy” compass if I say no when I am in pain.

Conflict causes pain, especially, in couples. Here’s the link to an interesting pain study from Rush University, Chicago, about how conflict and criticism from your spouse could be leading to increased pain. I will be doing more posts about cortisol in the future because I believe it has a significant impact on chronic pain.

Learning to say no without guilt is hard.  It is something that I am learning to do. If you find yourself angry when you are doing something for someone else, and you are not doing it in love, you have probably guilted yourself into doing it.  That’s people pleasing.  Know your limits and speak honestly.  We do better physically when we are tactfully honest.

The other side is if you tell the other person no, and they try to manipulate you with guilt, then you need to look at that relationship and determine how it is helping you or if that connection is hurting you more during your chronic pain journey.

3. Surround yourself with lots of positive people. If you feel alone, even if you are with people, and struggle to face the day, then you have some work to do.  YOU need to seek out and find encouraging people to be in your everyday life.

You know that laughter is good medicine so use it every day.  I know you have valid issues that might hold you back from leaving your house.  There are so many groups online where you can find encouragement. The beauty of it is that you can do it from your bed if you are disabled.  I have met some beautiful people from doing this blog and chronic pain advocacy.  I have had courageous people send me their chronic pain journeys, and I am finding real hope in their words.

Another benefit of surrounding yourself with people is that you can learn new coping techniques from others. Nobody has perfect days every day.  That’s why we lean on others and learn from them.  You can help others when you share your story by being the inspiration someone else might need.

4. Spend time resting with Jesus. You are not alone in this world.  God wants a relationship with us.  It’s what He created us for.  In this verse, Jesus understands how tired you are, and He invites us “to get some rest” in Mark 6:31. I encourage spending time reading and meditating on God’s word and praying to recharge your batteries.

Mark 6:31 New International Version (NIV)

31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat,(A) he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

taking a break.jpg
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”  —-Pema Chodrin

Sometimes, we all need reminders about the importance of self-care and February is a great month to examine your relationship with yourself.

The Mighty is doing a self-love campaign during February to help you. Here’s the link to the campaign and the article explaining The Mighty’s challenge. Download and print the self-love planner here. Download and print the self-love cheat sheet here. These freebies will guide you in the beginning. The key to lasting change is repetition.

I hope taking these baby steps this February will lead you down the path of self-acceptance and self-love the rest of the year.

youareworthoflove

If there is any way I can help with encouragement or information about resources, please comment below or go here.

And, as for my current upcoming Valentine’s Day, I will be spending it with my hubby going out to one of our favorite restaurants on the weekend to celebrate.  I did eventually find my prince that would stick with me through thick and thin.

Begin loving yourself, and you will attract the right people in your life. Self-love sets the stage for every relationship you have with others; whether it is a platonic or a romantic relationship. When you respect and love yourself, other people notice and know that you expect nothing less from them.

Much love and many prayers,
Cindy

 

 

New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Retrieved February 3, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cortisol

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