Monday, September 29, 2008

Life in Limbo?

Sorry for being so long in posting. Life has been busy for me. How about you? Is it busy or do you feel like you're in limbo waiting for the government to decide what they're going to do with your hard-earned dollars? Waiting for your 401K to plummet farther down in value? Waiting to see if the economy can make it "at all" if we're to listen to the media doomsayers.

I am learning along with my husband Ray that all things are known by God and because we love him and are called according to his purposes he will work ALL, yes ALL things together for our good (Romans 8:28). It may not seem like it as we have lost so much of our 401K but he promises this and we've learned we can believe him.

We learned it when Ray was out of work six years ago and we didn't know what would happen. He was offered a job, we rented our new house here in Washington state near Portland, Oregon, and we were moved to Salt Lake City, Utah for 11 months. We weren't in limbo, we took life as it came and it turned into such an incredibly fun and interesting time for us, we wouldn't have traded the adventure for the peace he could have had otherwise.

We learned it when I tumbled head-first down an entire flight of stairs and couldn't feel a thing from my excruciatingly painful neck down. I cried out loud, "God help me!" and had searing pain down my arms and hands and tingling from the waist down. I could move my legs and knew I wasn't paralyzed by God's grace. I should have died or been a quadriplegic according to the doctors. Yes, I had a long recovery learning to stand and walk again only to have three MS attacks put me back in a wheelchair, but God was ever-present and so precious. I wasn't in limbo, I was growing in God's and Ray's love and sharing with people I would never have met if I hadn't fallen.

During this seemingly awful time of limbo, lets ask God what he'd like us to learn. Let's look at things that seem frightening and ask, "What can I do or think in order to be less insecure." As we remind ourselves that God loves us with an everlasting love we will be less likely to fret.

To living today instead of living in limbo!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Making Friends

A woman from New York named Maureen listened to the archived talk I gave on helping those who help us on during National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and she wrote me with a most interesting question.

During the interview I had talked about a woman who asked, "How are you?" I had answered, "Do you really want to know?" and she turned to walk away as she said, "Not really." I was stunned. I had said that because I was becoming unsure of how honest I should be since most seemed to want to hear, "I'm fine."

I then described how it is helpful to have a friend who tries to understand our difficulties due to our illness. The kind of friend who will ask, care, and occasionally help us when we're in need. Maureen asked how we find that kind of friend. She said she's moved around a lot and doesn't have a good support system. I can relate because Ray and I have moved around some as well and I have wanted friends wherever we lived.

I'd like to share how I have made this kind of friend. The first thing I do is ask God to make me a friend to someone who needs and wants what I can give, and I ask him to bring people into my life that will do the same. I don't leave it there though. I attend a local Bible women's study or one at the church we attend because I've made friends in this kind of setting before.

When I am in the small group of this Bible study where we're asked to share about ourselves I am vulnerable about having an illness (MS) that makes life challenging at times. I also tell how God is working in my life because of it. This oftentimes causes someone to come up to me with compassion or a similar health concern.

If this happens, or I sense God is leading me to reach out to a certain person, I put myself out by asking that woman to meet me for coffee or lunch, or to come over to my house for coffee. Since the only way to really have a friendship is to be a friend, I want to be a good listener and show I care. As we get to know each other I learn more about how to meet her needs--which may only be to listen, it's a valuable gift we all need--and I share more about my own difficulties.

Then, if I need someone's help I take a risk and ask her if she can meet it--drive me somewhere or push my wheelchair in a mall to help me Christmas shop. I never know when someone will desire to get a blessing by helping me without asking them. I've made several friends who were just looking for someone to help because it gave them a purpose. When I asked they jumped at the chance and we developed a wonderful relationship because of it.

I'd enjoy any feedback you have to this blog topic!

To making new friends . . .!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

People Around the World

Lisa and I had a great time during my blogtalkradio interview yesterday. I love interacting with people after I speak to an audience, at a book signing, anywhere actually!

Sandra called in from England at midnight her time to share how she is encouraged by praise music. I so relate. As Sandra put it so aptly, God inhabits the praises of his people, and when we praise him our hearts are comforted and rise above our circumstances. (On another note, it was fun to discuss my traveling to England alone using forearm crutches. She knew where I had stayed with "me English mum" for a week!)

I'm sorry that I didn't get the woman's name who called in and talked vulnerably about those who help her due to her MS. She also gave pearls of wisdom for the listening audience as she gratefully told about a friend who drove her three hours to her neurologist appointment--what a sacrifice of time! And another friend who took her shopping. I have had friends do both of these things and I know how precious they are.

No matter where we live around the world--which is much smaller than we realize when we look at a globe or map--we have common needs and desires. We appreciate the needed help of friends and our hearts are lifted by praise to God.

I apologize for having the wrong phone call in phone number listed. I didn't know it had been changed. If you'd like to call in today, Thursday or Friday, use the following number: (347) 202-0072. You can click on the link to the right to check out the schedule of talks.

May each of us be a friend to those in need . . . Have a great day!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Invisible Illness Week

Hello! Today is the beginning of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week! Did you know that 96% of illnesses are invisible? Many start out that way--like MS--and develop into symtoms that others can see.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, at 3 pm PST I will be speaking on about how we can help those who help us. We'll talk about friends and family who assist us. Please join us by calling (347) 843-4271.

Hope to hear from you tomorrow!


Friday, September 5, 2008

How to Help the Ones Who Help Us

This coming Monday is the start of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. I am proud and honored to be a part once again of this annual event.

On Tuesday at 3 pm PST I will be speaking and answering questions about how we can help those who help us on You can click on the link to the right of this post in order to get to the NICIAW website and go directly to the scheduled talks.

No matter what political party you belong or adhere to, or how you choose to vote, you may have heard or watched Senator McCain giving his acceptance speech last night. He said something to the effect that he was cocky until he spiraled to the ground from his plane into enemy hands where an angry crowd awaited him. He related that he became even more changed when he was put in a cell with two other prisoners who fed him because he couldn't himself.

I relate this because his experience of being broken when he needed help is one that is universal to mankind. When we need the help of others to handle basic living all the strength and self reliance we depend upon is immediately depleted.

And how we accept the help of others and incorporate it into our lives makes all the difference in how they feel about assisting us. Though I am usually, as I am now, able to do almost anything as long as I walk with forearm crutches, when I travel to speak across country I depend on others to assist me at events. I depend on people to drive me to speaking engagements as well, though I drive near home. How I ask for help, showing appreciation for and trying to understand how my helpers might feel regarding things, influences how we get along. When I need help in our home the assumptions I make and how I communicate my needs reinforces or depletes the relationship warmth we maintain among us.

Jesus wasn't afraid to ask his disciples to accompany him in his time of need in the Garden of Gethsemane. He models for us behavior that often needs to be learned.

How we help the ones who help us will be the basis of my talk on Tuesday. If this is something you'd like to explore, please join Lisa and me on!

Learning how to help others who help me . . .

Have a great weekend!