Why Your Life is Like a Magic Trick

Lately, this season that my husband and I have been walking through has been long, treacherous and quite painful. We battle not only my sickness, but desires, dreams and goals that go unmet for various reasons.

In the past few weeks, we have not only been hit with a financial burden that was completely unseen, but physical struggles we weren’t expecting. Our marriage has taken the brunt and after just over a year of wedded bliss, we found ourselves unfulfilled and wishing for more.

As I sat back and analyzed all that was happening around me, I realized that quite often our conversations spoke about what we didn’t have, what we couldn’t do and where we weren’t in our lives. I heard us say “When you/I get better, we can enjoy our life for a few years, then have kids.” Or, “If only we made more money, we could have some fun.”

After several days of reflecting on these statements and the mindset behind them, they grew more and more unsettling in my heart. I realized that we, for some reason, are in a routine that says our “now” isn’t good enough.

I realized that once we get what we think will satisfy us, or go where we think will make us happy, we will always—and I mean always—be looking for more. Ecclesiasties 6:9 puts it this way: “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.”

Recently one morning, before my husband left for work, I stopped him in our kitchen and said “Babe. You know how when you watch a magic trick there is a magician who is trying to sneak something by you. He is doing some kind of slight-of-hand or other trick and needs you to be distracted so he can ‘pull it off’. During that moment, there is usually something huge, loud, bright, or attractive going on just feet away from him; but it draws our attention away so the trick can be completed.” I continued to explain to him that I felt like our life was a huge magic trick. There is a lot going on right now—no doubt. However, we need our focus to be diverted to something else so the “trick” can be completed.

Not only is there plenty of negatives happening, but there are just as many positives. I will be the first to admit that I have a hard time seeing them most of the time. It’s as if the positives sneak past you in camouflage while the negatives parade by in bright clothes and loud music. They stand out and stick for much longer in the recess of our memory.

What if we shifted our thinking just slightly and thought about life as a magic trick with God as the magician. He’s got this amazing “trick” He’s trying to complete, but He doesn’t want us to focus on the how, when or why.

Let me ask you this. When you watch a magic trick and the ending happens, what feeling are you left with? I don’t know about you, but I am in complete awe and stopped dead in my tracks by sheer amazement.

You see, that’s how our lives can be. It will be filled with those “awe struck” moments if we just let God do the magic trick while we divert our attention elsewhere. We need to get out of the “when things get better” or “when we are more secure financially” mindset and realize that we are living right now!

We have this imperfect—and if you’re honest—beautiful life in front of us TODAY. All we need to do is enjoy the here-and-now, stop wishing for the better tomorrow and embrace the broken today. Count your blessings, bloom where you’re planted and just enjoy the magic trick!

I’ll leave you with this. My husband and I aren’t perfect. We are the exact opposite of the newly-wed picture-perfect couple. We have our ups and we have our downs; but right now, our change is happening one day at a time, one distraction at a time and one positive at a time.

An Open Letter To Everyone Who Suffers from my Chronic Illnesses

I am addressing this letter to each person in my life who does not personally suffer from chronic illness, but does suffer from the effects of mine. You cannot begin to understand the amount of guilt I carry because I have imposed on your life in ways that are not fair to any of you. Each person that I encounter on a daily or weekly basis is very instrumental in the journey I travel. Please take each word you read, hear my heart behind them and grasp the depth of my appreciation and apologies.


To my loving parents— I am so sorry for putting you through the years of pain, heartache and frustration as we faced the unknown monster of my health. None of us chose this life, but the amazing thing is that you still chose to love me anyway. I am sorry for the added expense, the weeks in the hospital, the late nights awake with me at home, and the hundreds of buckets of puke you’ve so graciously dumped for me. I need you to know that not only am I sorry for all the times you missed out on what you wanted to do because of me, but I also appreciate the sacrifices you have made for me. Thank you for being an example of how to handle struggles with grace and patience. I love you, and please- don’t give up on me!

To my dear husband— I am so sorry that you have to live through this unpleasant journey as well. The main difference between us is that I didn’t choose it, but you did, and I love and respect you even more for that. I am so sorry that I can’t always live up to your expectations of an active and fit lifestyle, I’m sorry that I can’t meet your “needs” each time you desire, I’m sorry that I cry and talk about how I feel often. I want you to know that I feel guilty on a daily basis for putting you through it all, but I also want to thank you for caring about my feelings both physically and emotionally. Thank you for attempting to learn all of the medical vernacular and gibberish that I already know like the back of my hand. Thank you for picking up the slack with the housework and doing so with a smile! Thank you for giving me something to wake up for and believing in me when I don’t believe in myself. And thank you for tackling this beast with me, hand in hand and heart in heart. I love you and please- don’t give up on me!

To my friends and family near and far— I am so sorry for the countless times I have needed to cancel our plans at the last-minute or for the periods of time that I have essentially fallen off the face of the earth. I want you to know that I feel embarrassed every time that situation transpires and it’s my prayer that you don’t assume that I am flaky or that I do not care about you or our friendship. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Honestly, there are instances where I can’t even muster enough energy or brain power to complete priority tasks, much less the things I would enjoy doing. With that said, thank you for the love and support, the care and concern and all of the understanding, and please- don’t give up on me!

To my boss and coworkers– I am well aware that it’s difficult and inconvenient for you and your work load when I am forced to randomly miss days of work without any warning. I hate it just as much as you (if not more) and I am truly sorry. I need you to understand that I can honestly say that I would rather be at work than at home because I am terribly ill or in the hospital hooked up to machines and medicine. (In case you don’t believe me, or understand the gravity of my situation please read my other post entitled When your Chronic Illness Flares and Doesn’t Ask Your Permission). With that said, please don’t consider me to be unreliable or assume that I am simply skipping out. I am extremely thankful that I can rely on you to pick up the slack on the days that I am absent. It’s tremendously helpful to be assured that my duties are covered so I have the ability to rest and recover. The guilt I carry for putting my burdens on your shoulders as well is enormous, but I appreciate your care and concern when I return, and please- don’t give up on me!

To my amazing doctor— Thank you for believing me! Thank you for investing time and care into my frequent visits to your office. Thank you for calling me on holidays to check on my progress since you just started me on a new medication. Thank you for thinking of me when you hear of new medications, treatments, tests or therapies. I can’t begin to adequately express my gratitude for you and the investment you have made into my health and recovery. Thank you for changing my life! We both are well aware that I have an intricate body and my case is extremely puzzling at times, but please- don’t give up on me!


I recognize that there are plenty of people who experience the exact emotions as I do and wish to portray those feelings to the people closest to them. I pray that this letter be a voice for those who are unable to express it themselves. I ask for all of you, whether I know you or not, please don’t give up on us! We hurt in ways you can’t imagine, and we are well aware that you hurt in your own way as well. We appreciate all you do and wouldn’t be where we are without your love, care and sacrifice on our behalf! So, again, thank you!

 

Are you wasting your tears?

If you know me at all, then you are well aware that I am pretty much able to cry on command. With that said, it’s obvious that I definitely have more of an emotional type of personality, and inevitably, over the years, I have shed countless tears for a multitude of reasons. Crying is a natural occurrence in the human life. We cry because we’re happy, sad, tired or while we’re watching that new viral cat video online.

Last night during a worship service at my church, we sang a song by Gateway Worship called “We Bow Low”.

We bow low, we bow low
Faces down to the ground in Your presence Lord
With our tears we wash Your feet
We bow low, we bow low
Falling on our knees
We bow low, we bow low
To the King of Kings

Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy are You Lord forevermore

It was during that personal moment with God that He asked me a question.

“Are you wasting your tears?”

At first I wasn’t sure what He meant, but as I pondered that question throughout the night I realized that at times, I have!

In the book of Luke, there’s an account given of a woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears. She was a sinner, yet she knew who He was and that He was holy and deserving of her everything- even her tears.

Luke 7:37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

Do we treat Jesus with that amount of reverence and respect? I’m not saying that it’s wrong to laugh so hard that you cry or even that it’s wrong to cry when you’re sad or hurting. I am suggesting, however, that when we do shed tears in our darkest moments that it should be our first instinct to stop and kneel before God and turn the tears from agony and self-pity to a realization and reverence for the only One that can actually do anything about the giants we face.

Another song I love by Laura Story is called “Blessings”. The lyrics speak of healing and power that comes through difficulties and tears.

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

I know how challenging it can be to not view our difficulties as unmovable mountains. In our flesh, the giants of sickness, loss, heartbreak and financial burdens can often overshadow the power, strength and love of our Father. It’s imperative that we don’t miss out on the blessings and healing that can come through those dark times. Let’s not waste our tears by wallowing in self-pity and sorrow but instead let’s lay it all at His feet and ask Him to carry the heavy burdens for us. I promise He will!

When Your Chronic Illness Flares and Doesn’t Ask Your Permission

My current physical status can be summarized in one word- Pain. Intense, debilitating pain. I’m confined to  my couch, fighting a war against my body that decided that today was a perfect day for a horrible Fibromyalgia flare up and possible kidney infection (I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to confirm my suspicions of the later).

Considering the degree of pain, I was left with no choice but to call in sick to work, and guess what? My body didn’t even consult me! How dare it!

It’s incredibly difficult to accept the fact that without warning your body can begin to attack itself and leave you with little to no control over when, where, why or how it happens. At this moment, my body is so weak and in so much pain that I’m not writing this blog- I’m speaking it. The level of pain is to the point where my legs can’t touch each other or it resembles two of your worst bruises being pushed together. The elastic on my sweats hurts around my waist and sitting on anything other than the bed or couch brings immediate tears.

You might find yourself in this position as well from time to time- a place of frustrations, discouragement and confusion. A place where you have no control or say as to what or how your body reacts. You may do everything that you’re supposed to- you take your medications, you eat right and still your body fights a civil war within you. It’s in this state of frustration and confusion that I want to encourage you (and myself in the process) on how to deal with your body’s unfortunate decision.

First of all, lets realize that it’s just a flare and flares come and flares go. This doesn’t necessarily change the pain or the inconvenient timing, but it can give you hope that just as quickly as it came, it will go. So, brace yourself, join me and grab a comfy blanket and your favorite pillow (or 6 if you’re like me), sit on the couch, binge watch your favorite show on Netflix and relax.

For some of you this might be harder to accept than others, but listen to your body. It’s what it requires to heal. If you’re doing everything you are supposed to prior to a flare, don’t stop now. Give it what it needs during this delicate time!

Also, please don’t blame yourself. I went through this this morning when I got up and could hardly walk to the restroom. The whole journey there- which is only about 10 steps, but felt like 10 miles- was spent in tears resembling Niagara Falls. When I realized that I had to call in sick to work, the unnecessary guilt swept over me and I started apologizing to my husband as if I had caused this. I felt like if I only could have done something differently then I wouldn’t be in this position, but I know that that’s not true and you do too. We’re given medications and treatments to help, but our bodies have a mind of their own. They will react however they so choose and that’s not your fault.

Don’t believe the lies. Stay strong during the flares, live Beyond the Noise, and join me in a relaxing day surrounded by pillows, Netflix and soup!