Tag Archive | Grief

It’s not fair!

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“It’s not fair!” My 5yr old son was throwing a tantrum. I asked him to do his chores, he refused, and now was missing out on the T.V. show that his siblings were watching. “It’s not fair! It’s not fair!” He continued. I can completely relate to this feeling.

 

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When I was 13yrs old, I gave up chocolate because I was addicted to it. A speaker at church talked about addictions, and I took to heart that scripture, “if your hand offends you, cut it off.” (Mark 9:43) In quitting chocolate, I noticed that my asthma attacks went way down. It was difficult. I proved that I had self-control and that it did not control me.

 

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When I was 16yrs, I noticed that my stomach felt like it had knives in it when I drank milk. I switched to rice milk, though, the colonoscopy results said “the beginnings of stomach ulcers.”

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When I was 18yrs, I began passing out and having severe migraines. I found a severe intolerance to Red Dye #40, and a corn allergy were the cause. Often these ingredients were together in products which made it easier to avoid both.

 

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And now, in my mid-thirties, my body won’t tolerate sugar. A little over a year ago, I began experiencing Chronic Pain and Fatigue, and other Dysautonomia/POTS symptoms. My body is very low on salts and doesn’t hold them anymore, so sugar sends me right back where I was over a year ago. It’s just not fair.

 

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This Christmas, they were passing around treats at church, and normally, I can refrain because they are pre-packaged. (Either chocolate, corn syrup, red dye or all 3.) But there were tiny muffin size home-made pecan treats… so I ate a few. Almost immediately afterwards, I felt light-headed. I went to the kitchen and took out my emergency Nuun tablets. It wasn’t enough this time. It was just not fair!

 

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Now, I have been learning to love myself this last year, but right there, I turned immediately to frustration at myself. But, if I truly looked at this situation with love, I would see how far I’ve come and be a little more patient in my learning… just like my 5yr old child in the beginning of this post.

 

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A year ago, I didn’t know why I was so exhausted. I not only have those answers of why, but how to heal. This is my first Christmas knowing how sugar hurts my body. It’s hard to cut out foods or change anything regardless of what that change is. And frankly, life just isn’t fair. It’s okay to grieve through it. We all have our own struggles. I’m realizing that the expectations I place on myself to “Get it right already!” are just as damaging as the sugar itself.

 

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I have learned to avoid harmful foods before. I have made healthy changes before. I can be patient with myself while I learn to change and be healthy in this new way. I have a wonderful support system that is ready to help me in the way I ask. I can use my voice and ask for help. I can change and learn at a pace that I’m able to handle. And… I can enjoy the accomplishments I’ve made this far.

 

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Get Over It!

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Sitting in church not too long ago, we were talking about how we could be more like Jesus. One of the ladies put her hand up and stated, “I just think we need to get over ourselves and love people. I tell my daughter that she just needs to buck up and stop taking things so personally. Cheer up and Move on! That’s what Jesus did.” This last week, I heard something similar from a gentleman, “Grow a thicker skin and a thinner heart.” I would like to address the lies and harm done in these statements.

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  1. Jesus was a man of many sorrows. (Isaiah 53) He felt pain and loved deeply at the same time. He didn’t have a “thicker skin” as to assume that pain bounced off of him or didn’t affect him. He bore his sorrow. We are also called to carry our own cross. (Matthew 16:24) Carrying our own cross is a tough thing. It’s not something we shrug off. To those of us that you might say, “Cheer up and Move On,” I might ask you to provide a little more understanding and compassion. Jesus understood our sorrows because he experienced them. We can provide empathy for those who are having a hard time and be there for them. In doing so, we give them hope, a smile, and a reason to move on: we show them Jesus.

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2. For some reason, we have it stuck in our heads that we have GOOD and BAD emotions. Anger, Frustration, Sorrow  VS. Joy, Happiness, Excitement. God made ALL of our emotions. Understand what our emotions are for and allow them to be expressed.

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Anger, Frustration, and Being Upset are all red flags to our system that something is wrong. Just like Pain in our body, we need to stop and address that pain. When we ignore it and push through it, we can cause major damage. Anyone who has had a knee or back injury understands the danger in that statement. Take a time-out, Rest, or Get away from the person who stirs up these feelings inside you. In a healthy way, express your anger or pain where you will not hurt anyone. Don’t go out and yell at the world hurting everyone in the process. Write your anger in a journal, Shout into a pillow. Talk to a friend that you trust not to gossip, but to encourage you. Think it through and realize what you’re really angry or upset aboutProcess the best way to confront the issue in a kind, loving way. If you cannot do that at that moment remember to come back to the issue soon or it will grow. And ALWAYS pray through it. It is through these issues in our lives that we can grow OR create more problems.

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I remember grieving over my first daughter who I miscarried at 16wks. So many people wanted me to hurry to get through the grief. “You’ll have another one.” “You’re still young.”  After a few months, even my own grandmother told me to “Get over it, already.” I was still grieving long after my son was born. Comments like those did not help me in my grieving process, in fact, it made me feel more alone than ever.

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We NEED to express our emotion. We need to go THROUGH the emotions similar to a grieving process if we are ever to heal. By stuffing them inside or claiming that they do not exist, we are making the emotion a bigger problem. It will be expressed one way or another. Sometimes, it comes out internally as mine did in Fybromyalgia or suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it comes out as explosions, sarcasm, or even apathy. Some revert to addictions. Not expressing these emotions that are tough to understand, causes us not to want to feel anything. How can you feel love if you do not feel sorrow? I know, for me, I can cry and laugh at the same time sometimes for the same reason. “My baby is growing up.”

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If we cannot feel, we cannot “mourn with those that mourn.” (Romans 12:15) We cannot have compassion on ANYONE. So, what’s the point of being together on this earth, if we do not care about each other? (1 John 4:7)  By NOT feeling our emotions, we cause Bitterness, Resentment, and Hatred towards others. This is not what God wants for us.

 

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3. We are all different personalities. Some of us can work through our emotions super fast, while others of us need to take our time and work through things a little longer. I know from experience that if someone pushes me to get through something faster, I will dig my heels in because I literally cannot process things when I am pushed. With these different ways of dealing with things also comes different amazing talents and gifts. We do not need to be like each other. We need to become the gifts that God created us to be and stop judging others for not being like US. Learn about different kinds of people and have understanding and appreciation for the different types. God made all of us to be different and to help each other. (1 Corinthians 12)

 

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Instead of saying, “Get Over It”  Let’s understand that we all have pain, have compassion for those that are currently experiencing it, allow ourselves and others to feel, express, and go through pain, be there for them who are going through it, and understand that there is no time limit on going through pain. We can be gifts to each other instead of robots. (expressionless mechanical actors) You cannot be both.

 

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Gratitude

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One of my favorite times of year is November around Thanksgiving when we think of all we’re grateful for. I like to state one thing I’m grateful for every day of the month. What starts out as something simple ends up being so many things for me. I love that it sets me in the mood for the whole Thanksgiving/Christmas season. I have found that it is much easier to be grateful when others around me are stating what they are thankful for.

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In contrast, it is also very easy to be “misled” as 1 Corinthians 15:33 states. “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” That being said, I have also noticed that when I am around people who are complaining constantly or are ungrateful, it is very easy to begin to pick out the faults of others. This causes uneasiness, frustration, and kicks love right out the door. It is so contagious that if I am grumpy and discontent, I can watch my whole household fall apart within minutes.

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The Apostle Paul described our day to Timothy when he wrote that in the last days. “men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” (2 Timothy ) These sins are fellow travelers, and ingratitude makes one susceptible to all of them. Here’s a fun poem I found that goes with what I’m trying to say…

The Grumble Family
by Anonymous

There’s a family nobody likes to meet;
They live, it is said, on Complaining Street
In the city of Never-Are-Satisfied,
The River of Discontent beside.

They growl at that and they growl at this;
Whatever comes, there is something amiss;
And whether their station be high or humble,
They are all known by the name of Grumble.

The weather is always too hot or cold;
Summer and winter alike they scold.
Nothing goes right with the folks you meet
Down on that gloomy Complaining Street.

They growl at the rain and they growl at the sun;
In fact, their growling is never done.
And if everything pleased them, there isn’t a doubt
They’d growl that they’d nothing to grumble about!

But the queerest thing is that not one of the same
Can be brought to acknowledge his family name;
For never a Grumbler will own that he
Is connected with it at all, you see.

The worst thing is that if anyone stays
Among them too long, he will learn their ways;
And before he dreams of the terrible jumble
He’s adopted into the family of Grumble.

And so it were wisest to keep our feet
From wandering into Complaining Street;
And never to growl, whatever we do,
Lest we be mistaken for Grumblers, too.


If there’s one main thing that I have heard about the news or social media, it is how much complaining and negativity is out there. It can really bring a person down and makes one want to become a hermit.

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In Matthew 5:14-16, we are called to bring others up. It says, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

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The verses before that call us the salt of the earth. We are the flavor. We can make this world interesting. In Deuteronomy and 1 Peter, God calls his people a “peculiar people.” We are to stand out in a good way because we are different. How can we be that light for others while trying not to be sucked in by negativity?

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You cannot shine light that you do not have. If what is going on around us is “just adding to the noise,” we need to find a place of solace and spend time alone in prayer and scripture study. We need a time out.

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And along that note, We need to remember that we will have moments where we will feel sadness, grief, anger, and frustration. Many label these emotions as bad and happiness, joy, and contentment as the only good ones. As the wife of a counselor, if you have this mindset, I am encouraged to have you watch the new movie “Inside Out.” Our emotions were given to us by Heavenly Father. Jesus felt those same emotions while on this earth. He was a man of many sorrows and it was recorded that He had taken a few time-outs with His Heavenly Father.

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It’s okay to vent to someone that you trust to lead you back to Heavenly Father and His plan for you, who does not gossip, or mislead you. It’s even okay to be honest and say that you are not okay. In fact, not talking about it can cause worse problems.

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Having gratitude does not mean that we do not feel sorrow. But it is the attitude in which we accept our circumstances or even in how we love others that determines our outcome.

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I have a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome that affects everything in my body. I’ve had severe problems from it where I couldn’t get out of bed for months, severe allergies, severe pain, joints popping out of place, easy ruptures and skin tears, and recently extreme fatigue and dizziness. I cannot say in all truthfulness that I am grateful to have a mutation that not only affects me, but others around me including my children who have inherited it. I have had days where I have been frustrated, angry at my inabilities, and mourned better days. And yet, I have hope.

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#1) We all have bad days, but I am grateful that this life isn’t it. Jesus, after talking about his crucifixion, promises in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

#2) I am grateful for good days. If we didn’t taste the bitter, we would not know the sweet.

#3) I am grateful that I can receive comfort from the Spirit and the Scriptures of those who have gone before me.

#4) I have also been blessed with wonderful friends who listen, encourage, pray for, help, and inspire me. It would be boring if we didn’t have problems to help each other with

#5) I can pray for answers, seek for them, and He will answer me. I have learned so much from every trial that I have gone through. I am very grateful for that knowledge.

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I cling to the scripture Romans 8:28. No matter what, I know God can work it out for good. The Apostle Paul was often in bonds and imprisoned, but in all, he learned to be content and make the best of it.

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I have been blessed immeasurably by being grateful. I used to be a suicidal, masochistic, and extremely depressed person, with anxiety that hurt my stomach internally. I have fought so hard to concentrate on God’s Word, His Promises, and on being grateful for those encouraging words. This mindset of being grateful has also helped me to WANT to feel better physically. It has given me the encouragement that I needed to Press On.

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I also feel, that I have been blessed physically with so many material things given to me that I did not necessarily ask for, but have made me feel even more blessed. I am blessed with family and friends that I know for a fact would not want to be around me if I were the person I used to be. I am overwhelmed with blessings.

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In conclusion, I would like to reiterate 5 points about Gratitude

  • God commands us to be grateful for our benefit.
  • Complaining is the opposite of faith and trust in God. Complaining shows our ungrateful heart.
  • However, We all need a time of grieving, a need to vent to the right person, and even a need to be set straight.
  • We can have a continual attitude of gratitude and ask, “What can I learn from this circumstance to be more like Jesus?”
  • God wants to bless us more when we are grateful for what we have and Trust Him for what we don’t.

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I’m thankful for an amazing mother who not only listens to me when I need to vent, but gives me another perspective and leads me back to becoming more like my Savior with a grateful heart. If you don’t have someone that can do that for you, please pray to find that person. I know God wants that for you, as well. We were not meant to be alone. I’m grateful that I have listened to the Spirit and focused on being grateful for the little things in my marriage, and that because of all the counseling that we experienced the first 10 years of our marriage, my husband felt compelled to counsel others as the Savior would… and how amazing that is! I’m grateful for my beautiful family and for the chance to go through this life together learning to love, understand, and encourage each other. And I know I said this before, but I’m grateful for my Heavenly Father who is always there for me and my wonderful Savior who led the way by example, so that I can be more like Him which isn’t easy, but so worth it.

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This Amazing Journey

About 6 months ago, I experienced Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain… and it has been an AMAZING JOURNEY!!!

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I began, like anyone would, experiencing grief for my health. I was very emotional, I felt defeated and frustrated, and I felt a great loss. This is necessary, however, I am not one to stay hopeless. I know that there are answers out there and I know that as we seek God for these answers, He WILL provide.

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I began with a Fight

A Fight against my connective tissue disorder: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

A Fight against taking care of everyone else but me.

A Fight to take care of myself.

A Fight to want to heal and provide answers for myself and my children who also have EDS.

A Fight to be heard; I did not want to feel alone and keep the suffering to myself. A Fight to ask for help.

A Fight to Keep Positive knowing that I didn’t have to stay this way no matter what others around me kept saying.

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My sister gave me a Christmas gift of a beautiful bracelet that brought me to tears. I felt understood, encouraged, and supported in that moment. It was a reminder to keep pressing on when I wore it.

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The more that I convinced myself that it was okay to be honest and to talk about it to others, the more I found support and love. I did not expect that. It was hard for me, being a private person, to say that anything was wrong with me or that I needed help. I had felt so much misunderstanding from health professionals, having to argue their misinformation, that I expected more misunderstandings. That happened in the beginning as I got the “What?” looks from people and the looks from others thinking I wanted a pity party. But there were so many more that became my supports even if only in their kind encouragement and prayers.

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As I began to find answers, some all at once and others slowly, I began to incorporate them. My own family was questioning me, but I just knew that when God lead me to an answer, I had to go for it. (Honestly, if they’d known how long I’d prayed about it and researched it before knowing that it was right for me, they probably would have understood a lot easier, but change is hard and scary nonetheless) I began to accept this beautiful person that God created me to be.

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Last month, walking into one of my specialist’s offices, he was shocked at how different I was. He asked me if he could sign the book that I was going to write. I laughed it off, but he wanted to know all that I had been doing to heal. So, I listed the things off for him. He was amazed that I had sought out many different avenues and he encouraged me to keep going. How neat to hear from a doctor!

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My husband, being a counselor, talks about the 4 different areas of our life that we need to be healthy. He likes to compare them to the legs of a chair. If one of these 4 legs is damaged, it affects all of the other legs, as well as, the ability to stand on it’s own.

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I am not done searching and applying answers that I have been given, as well as, those I have not yet received. I will continue to seek them out as long as I breathe. I am an example to these children of mine who will have similar challenges because of EDS and will also have many other challenges that I may have never experienced. But I am grateful to be on this AMAZING JOURNEY! I am so amazed at how God never leaves us alone and how He always keeps His promises.

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So, to others who are currently in the grieving process, Do not be afraid to fight, search, pray, accept, and love yourself enough to change. The answers ARE out there and you CAN make a difference!

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