Monday, May 23, 2011

I am the face of Lupus...

and you can't really tell, can you? That's because there are rarely outward signs of Lupus, and many other auto-immune diseases. It is a disease that lurks within attacking all those areas in my body it so chooses. Normally, the body creates antibodies when a threat appears to the body. With auto-immune diseases, the body creates Anti-Nuclear Antibodies (ANA) that attacks the GOOD antibodies AND anything else that is helpful (organs, blood, bones, vitamins, nutrients, babies... yeah, all that good stuff).

There is no cure and not a promising future. Lupus, as with many auto-immune diseases, shortens one's life. The dangling thread of hope is that the disease goes into remission. For a long time. Unfortunately, remission isn't a formulaic procedure. if I follow these steps and this treatment, then it gets under control. I wish it were so simple. In fact, remission is so dependent on a variety of possibilities and, even then, a patient could be doing everything right; have all pieces of the puzzle in place and the disease still roar out of control.

So, I'm in a flare. Trust me, it's not as exotic as it seems. In fact, it's frustrating, painful, inconvenient, exhausting and dangerous. Not necessarily in that order. A flare means the disease is not only actively destroying parts of my body but is overactive; so it's in hyper drive. This is dangerous because it can cause the same damage (or even death) at a faster rate than it is normally doing damage to organs. And I'm not just talking AN organ. It's got the entire buffet to choose from - kidneys, liver, skin, brain, heart, lungs, pancreas, connective tissue, muscles, skeletal system, etc. My body is in such a hyper active mode right now that the onset of my period (sorry for going there) puts my immune system into attack mode - with fever, body chills, etc. So bizarre!

I am concerned about the damage that could be occurring but no one can stop. I am concerned that when it's waging its war against my body, what permanent damage will I be left with. Yet, this.. this is the most troublesome component of having Lupus: how it effects our home life.

When the Lupus is active, it changes how I am as a wife and mom. I cannot do the same things I can when I'm not under attack. I do not have the same energy, attention or quality of care as I do when Lupus is in its cage. I am not me when it flares... and I can't STAND that! To see the quality of my home life, the interactions with my husband and children suffer at the hands of this dumb disease, truly breaks my heart because since I was in Kindergarten, all I've ever wanted to do was be a stay at home wife and mom ( I had a few other dreams here and there but this was my heart's desire). It makes me so sad to not be able to do the normal, everyday things I should/could/would do if I didn't have this limitation!

However, despite my frustration, I know I'm held in the palm of my Creator's hand. The Bible is very clear that we have bodies that are imperfect and will deteriorate and fade away. I actually discovered a blessing in my last flare-up some years ago. Instead of seeing it as the enemy (which is sometimes hard NOT to do), Lupus, or any disease, can be God's way of prompting us to change the pace of our life. It can be a friend who is forcing us to take it easy. It can be a wonderful way to remind us to slow down and spend more time taking care of ourselves and our loved ones. It is a wonderful way of creating healthy boundaries in one's life. I know that He is in control, not the Lupus. My temporary panic of learning I'm in a flare is being overcome with the reality to rest easy in His arms and listen to the promptings to let go and let God, once again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let go and Let God...

It's been awhile since my last post but you can see from it that I love to plan! I love planning events, routines, schedules, shopping trips, vacations, home school schedules... it's endless, really, all the things I can plan!

This week, Good Morning Girls kicked off their summer reading program which gets women all of the world into God's word daily. Next week we also begin reading through the WONDERFUL book, "Ministry of Motherhood" by Sally Clarkson. Why do I tell you this? Well, it's not too late to jump in and join us, for starters! There is still room for you so head on over to Good Morning Girls and join an accountability group and meet some wonderful women! I have and am enjoying getting to know these women better as we journey this road together.

My other reason for bringing this up is to share with you what God has shared with me today. With my propensity to plan, it's easy to get ahead of God. It's easy to have my week, month, year all planned out. Logically, I KNOW that my plans won't all come to be, yet, I gain comfort from planning it anyway. Strange, huh? A good clue as to where I place my trust and faith - not His plans but my own. Ugh.

In Matthew 6:33 we read, "and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern." This is a powerful IF/THEN statement that spoke to me this morning. My focus needs to be wholeheartedly, first and foremost, on Him and His ways. Yet, that is difficult when my mind is wandering to next week's dinner with friends or the camping trip in a month or what my kids will learn next school year. While those things aren't "bad" to focus on and plan out, they occupy too much of my focus in the day to day that I run the risk of MISSING today because I'm not HERE!

Now, this seems like such a simple "DUH, Sheri" moment. Perhaps this isn't a struggle for you but, boy, did I need to be reminded of this! My faith and trust shouldn't lie in MY plans but in the One that holds my future. This verse is SO clear - It is day to day that God provides all of my needs WHEN I'm focused on Him and His ways. I mean, The One who created all things and was there in the beginning and knows the end, He, even He, provides not a month's worth of needs, not a week's worth but day to day. If the Creator of the universe can focus on the day to day, surely I can take captive my thoughts and focus and bring them down to TODAY. In doing so, I become a better wife and mom because my focus is on my time with them - today.

It's easy for us to focus on the good part of this verse (He will provide ALL our needs day to day...) yet this verse requires action from us. He promises to take care of ALL of our needs, day to day, IF (yes, this is where you and I come in) I live for Him and make His ways my "primary concern". For me, this action is taking my thoughts and focus captive and behaving in a way that shows my faith and trust in Him - not my plans. For the reality is, I can make all the plans in the world and it gives me warm fuzzies to do so BUT I'm not in charge. I'm not in control of those plans or the REAL plans that He has for me. I need to lessen my faith in my own way and let His way in. "Let go and Let God" as the saying goes. That is what I needed to hear today.

I don't think making plan is 'bad', it is how tightly we grip those plans that is a problem. It is when we put our faith and trust in the plans and not the One who REALLY is in charge.

Let go of whatever you are holding onto today and Let God. Let God move in your life. Let God lay a better plan than you could ever have imagined.

This post is linked up to Women in the Word Wednesdays over at GoodMorningGirls