Posts Tagged ‘courage’

Entering 2014 with a challenge?

Happy New Year!  As we enter 2014 I am certain we all face some sort of challenge.  In our little family, guidance and wisdom areguidance key needs starting 2014.

  • Guidance as my husband considers career adjustments and looks for new employment.
  • Wisdom for me in several different areas.
  • Direction for our daughter as she graduates college in May and has many changes to look forward to.

For some readers,

  • courage and hope are your key needs starting out 2014. You are facing challenges bigger than yourself.
  • Perhaps health and strength are your key  needs at the start of this year as you cope with the physical needs of lupus and lonelinessother autoimmune diseases.
  • Maybe friendship and family are areas of need.  There may be a void in your life or healing that needs to take place.  I could  go on  but I think you get the picture.

What is a person to do?  After the celebrations end and life falls back into the daily routine, where will we find help for the key concerns in our life?  For me, the starting place is always God.  I simply cannot handle the big issues of life alone. The people close to me do not have the ability to soothe all the inner stirrings of anxiety, doubt or what have you, in my soul.  My prayers usually start by explaining the situation to God, even though He already knows.  They are usually short and to the point, but consistent, until the situation is resolved.

Even though the answer  is not always what I want or expect, prayer helps calm me going through the situation.  I do not feel so alone inside with all my feelings, fears, and apprehensions.  People are great, but for me, nothing soothes my soul like leaning on Someone bigger than myself.god-of-all-comfort

Whether or not you deal with the challenges in life the way I do, I sincerely pray that you have

  • all the resources you need to meet your challenges in 2014, and that you will have a good resolution.
  • I pray you will have wisdom and guidance when you need it.
  • I pray you will be courageous and filled with hope as you meet every challenge.
  • I pray you will find increased health and strength to live life more fully than last year.
  • I pray your relationships will thrive this year and your family will have peace.
MANY BLESSINGS FOR 2014
Thank you for following this blog and for your encouragement which usually came at just the right time. 
Leslie Rose K
 
From Wisdom From God’s Word  1/1/2014
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.   Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV

run

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 29

As promised post 29 of this series is about encouraging others.  Your health issues with lupus or other autoimmune diseases may be such that you feel you do not have the ability to be an encourager. I pray you will feel differently as you read this post about an amazing encourager.

Imagine moving to a different land with your husband and two young sons because there is a famine where you live.  Family-Travel-How-To-Make-PlansYou do not know anyone, you do not know the area, but over time you adjust.   One day you become a widow, and there is more adjusting to do.  Your sons marry and you wait expectantly for grandchildren.  Years pass and tragedy strikes instead.  You now find yourself a childless widow with two daughter-in-laws.   It is time to adjust some more, but you are spent.

Let me introduce you to Naomi from the Old Testament of the Bible.

After hearing  there was food again in her homeland, Naomi decided to return home.  To her surprise,  both daughter-in-laws offered to leave their homeland and go with her.  She urged them to return to their people knowing that moving to a new land and culture would be challenging for them.   Reluctantly Orpah left, but Ruth clung to Naomi saying,

“Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you.  For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  Ruth 1:16 & 17**

Most people have no idea that these amazing words were first spoken by a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law.  We tend to relate them to lovers at a wedding ceremony.   But if anyone needed to hear words like this it was Naomi.

Imagine these two women traveling alone 100 miles over the mountains, across the valley, and up through the wilderness*, probably by foot, maybe by donkey.  It sounds overwhelming, scary, and long to me.  Then there is the arrival.  I would not like being the center ofCedar_Mtn_Wilderness attention, and the recipient of everyone’s  sympathy or pity.  It would, however, be comforting to be with familiar people in a familiar place.  It would be good to be home, though very bittersweet.

Whenever I read the book of Ruth I cringe as Naomi tells the people at home  “I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty.” (Ruth 1:21a)  In my opinion the Lord did not bring her back completely empty.  Yes, she was home without her husband and sons but God gave her a tremendous gift in the person of Ruth.

Ruth was not about to let her mother-in-law make the long difficult journey alone.   She had no intention of letting her be comfortless on the journey and was not about to let her face her people alone.  Ruth was a loyal encourager.   She was there to inspire hope, ruth naomicourage, and confidence in Naomi, during one of her most difficult hours in life.

Ruth had her own challenges.  She no longer had the companionship, love, and protection of her husband.  She had to fend for herself at a time when it was extremely difficult for widows.  She was going to a place where she would be an outsider.  Ruth did not let her own challenges and heartbreak stop her from reaching out to someone else in need.  In the end Ruth was greatly rewarded for her selfless actions.

If you read the Book of Ruth, you will see Naomi helped Ruth catch the attention of a kind and loving relative who took her as his wife. She later had a child bringing Naomi much joy.  The real reason however, that she was able to catch this man’s attention was her love and devotion to Naomi.  He saw her heart.

Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Ruth 2:10-12**

Even though you may feel like Naomi in the struggles you go through with your health, I urge you to be a Ruth, and reach out to someone in need of your encouragement.  Reaching out selflessly will have its own rewards.  I guarantee you will be blessed in one wayHe-who-refreshes-otherswill-himself-be-refreshed or another.

Many blessings to you.  Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

*Reference: Who’s Who in the Bible By Joan Comay and Ronald Brownrigg

**English Standard Version Of the Bible

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 26

For the past 25 posts, you have read all different takes on courage and encouragement.  Do you see yourself as courageous?

When we think of courage today, we probably think of the Wikipedia definition:

Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.

In some traditions, fortitude holds approximately the same meaning as courage.

Aquinas says,

. . . the term “fortitude” can be taken in two ways. First, as simply denoting a certain firmness of mind… Secondly, fortitude may be taken to denote firmness only in bearing and withstanding those things wherein it is most difficult to be firm, namely in certain grave dangers.Wikipedia

enduranceThomas Aquinas holds courage or fortitude as being primarily about endurance.   If you live with lupus or any other autoimmune disease, you most likely are building your “courage” up daily.
Life has adversity.  No one escapes.  Living with autoimmune disease presents even more challenges.  The good news here,  we have a greater opportunity to build up our courage, which will hopefully develop into a greater ability to understand and help others.  Clergyman and abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher said “troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.”                                                                                                                                
Roget’s Thesaurus describes fortitude as follows,

The quality of mind enabling one to face danger or hardship resolutely: braveness, bravery, courage, courageousness, dauntlessness, doughtiness, fearlessness, gallantry, gameness, heart, intrepidity, intrepidness, mettle, nerve, pluck, pluckiness, spirit, stoutheartedness, undauntedness, valiance, valiancy, valiantness, valor. Informal spunk, spunkiness. Slang gut (used in plural), gutsiness, moxie.

Do you have more pluck than you did before? More guts to speak up for yourself and others in weakened states?  Do you feel braver having facing traumatic health issues and procedures?  Do you have more courage?  Nick Vujicic from post 9 and post 10  could have committed suicide, but he made a decision to choose a road of fearlessness instead.

Back to Thomas Aquinas.  He thought courage or fortitude was about endurance.  Endurance suggests someone pacing themselves aslong-distance-runner they run a long, sometimes tedious race.   Nick would probably tell you it takes a daily choice, and not just stamina, to succeed.

I am guessing your endurance has grown as you have dealt with the challenges you face.  You are not the same person you were before.  You have more depth, more insight, knowledge and wisdom.

Are you thinking you would have been better off to be healthy and not develop or strengthen these  traits?   Every experience makes us the person we are becoming.  It is the illustration of  the front and back of a tapestry being estherholsenfrontbacklived out in our lives.  We cannot see the beauty now because we see a mess of threads as we see the back side, but one day we will see the front of the tapestry of our lives.  Hopefully, what author William Barclay said will be true for us.  Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.

I pray God will  help you as you grow in courage and endurance.  I am signing off until September.  I hope the next few weeks of summer are blessed for you.

I welcome your comments.  Until next time….Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 25

A few weeks ago, in post 19, I wrote about my duck tape encrusted light switch cover, and change.  I do not know if you are in the process of working on a life change, but I do know that the ordinary challenges of each day with autoimmune disease can make it seem impossible to add anything else to the mix.auto-immune  When you have to live everyday with  lupus, CFS, sjogren’s, etc, life changes will often need good doses of, not only courage, but encouragement.   A faithful encourager, walking beside you, is invaluable.

Several years ago I got up the nerve to invite a couple that we did not know over for  dinner .  They sat across from us in church, and I felt drawn to them for several weeks.  During church I asked them if they wanted to come over that day for Easter dinner.  It was a crazy thing to do.  I was sure they would think I was a nut, like my daughter did, easter_mealbut after church they said yes. That was the beginning of our friendship.

As time went on, I taught my new friend some quilting.  Later, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and asked her to be a prayer support for me during a challenging time of writing this blog.  A couple of years ago, we made a decision to try to get together as couples once a month.  In the meantime my friend made a life choice to lose weight.  She had great success.

While I was happy for her and my other close friends in church that had recently lost weight, I did not think I could do it.  I had tried several times with little success.  After months of consideration, I saw Chris Powell on Dr Oz.  His plan clicked with me, and I decided to give it a try.9781401324452

Let me tell you, I do not know what I did to deserve it, but my friend became my biggest encourager.  Every week she sees me, she is quick to ask how I have done, and tell me how good I look.  On weeks when I have struggled, she has boosted my morale.   She is quick to share her tips and her struggles.

We went to their house the other week anticipating another great time of fellowship.  Shortly after arriving, she looked at me with such sincerity and told me how great I looked.  She amazed me with her consistent encouragement.  Little did she know, I was not feeling particularly good about myself that night.

I know you live in the same world I do, and you probably know how rare this soul is, and how blessed I am that I have been given such a gift to help me with this challenge.

As for my friend, perhaps she is standing with me because the battle is still fresh in her mind as she struggles to lose the last few pounds herself, Girls friendshipbut I do not think so.  I think she has made a choice to make a difference in my life, knowing the day-to-day struggles, not just of losing weight, but of living with chronic illness.

As for me, I am truly thankful for this encourager God has planted in my life.

Are you an encourager?  Perhaps it is time to step out of your comfort zone, and ask for encouragement for yourself as you deal with the daily challenges of illness, or with a  life change you are making.  Or maybe you know someone who could use an encourager,  and could be as invaluable to them as my friend is to me.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

I welcome your comments.  Until next time….Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 24

 

Greetings! Well our daughter is home safe and sound and we couldn’t be happier to see her.  Believe it or not it took her almost three days of travel to get back home.   Now she is trying  to adjust to the 12 hour time change.  IMG_3157

I hope you have had a good week and are anxious to read a message from Bill at Unshakeable Hope.  Bill is one of my favorite bloggers.  His posts are rich with insight.  I think he is an amazing man with an amazing story and family. I encourage you to take time some day and explore his blog.   I pray this post on perspective will help you in your journey with lupus or any other autoimmune disease you have to deal with.

 

Having the Right Perspective

I’ve discovered how essential it is to keep things in perspective in order to maintain hope when you’re in the midst of a trial. The first and most important lesson I learned was focusing on what I have and not on what I’ve lost.

blog family pic

Our family before I was diagnosed with ALS. (Mary still had BIG hair).

Perspective: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. (Webster’s Dictionary)

I know of many people close to my age, even some close friends, who have died of ALS, Cancer and other diseases or were killed in tragic accidents. These moms and dads have missed being able see their children growing up. They weren’t there to take pictures before prom, to watch with pride as their child graduated from high school and/or college or to witness their son or daughter’s wedding.

I force myself to think about these friends and acquaintances when I begin feeling depressed about my inability to fully participate in this thing we call life. At times like last year when my daughter got married, and I was unable to walk her down the aisle or dance with her at the reception. During difficult times like this, I make a conscious effort to think about some of these people that are no longer with us; people like my friend Rick, who died of Cancer, leaving a wife and two teenage sons. I think about another blogger named Patrick, who died of ALS in December leaving a wife and a teenage son and daughter. Sadly, Rick and Patrick won’t get the opportunity to watch with pride as their children go through graduations, weddings and other landmark events in their lives.

I think about these people every time I’m tempted to complain or get depressed about my situation. I ask myself what they’d say to me if I was to complain about things like not being able to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Would they tell me that I should be grateful for just getting to be there to watch as she walked down the aisle? Of course, Rick, Patrick and the others have gone on to heaven so I don’t know what they might say to me. But I know they would be right if they were able to tell me to be grateful that I was able to be there for all the events that they’ve missed and will miss. In a sense, I feel that I owe them; that, if for no other reason, I must be grateful for their sake.

james and girls

Our son-in-law and daughters (January, 2012).

I know it’s strange for me to imagine what deceased people might say to me (to give me the proper perspective), but it works for me and, regardless of the trial that you find yourself in, we all must find ways of coping; ways of changing our perspective and attitude – ways of convincing ourselves that our life isn’t so bad after all.

“…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (Philippians 4:11)

The aim of every Christian should be learning to be content in the good times and in the bad times. But, for those that hope in God, contentment does not mean we stop believing for better days ahead; it just means we’re grateful for today and that we’re going to live it to the full – even if we have to live today in a wheelchair!

Wedding

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)

Taken directly from Unshakeable Hope with permission.

Thank you Bill for letting me share part of your story here.  To read more about Bill’s life story click here.

I welcome your comments.  Until next time….Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 23

Another week has come and gone.  In a few more days my 20-year-old daughter will return from 11 months overseas.  For me it has been a year filled with many emotions as my only child went from a 5 week internship in India, to her junior year of college in China, to touring several countries alone during her long winter break.  (Before last July she had never even been on an airplane.)

Now that it is almost over, I can say it went by fast.  While I was going through it, there were days that the time dragged by.  Thanksgiving was probably the worst.  By Christmas I had adjusted a bit better but still missed her immensely.  As time went  on, I learned to live with the void that this brought into my life, in spite of Skype.IMG_2118

Living with chronic illness is a lot like my experience with my daughter.  It was really rough in the beginning.  I couldn’t get a handle on the whole thing.  Everything had changed overnight and  I couldn’t get my mind around it.  It seemed to take forever for my body to stabilize and for me to get on the upswing.  Then the tough part came.  I had to learn to live with the void that lupus, and then sjogrens, brought to my life.

One of the definitions for void is the quality or state of being without something.  Related words are

defectiveness, detriment, disability, failing, fault, impairment, weakness; deficiency, deficit, imperfection, inadequacy, inadequateness, incompleteness, insufficience, insufficiency, lack, need, shortcoming, shortfall, want  (Merriam Webster On Line)

This pretty much describes it.  Autoimmune disease has changed my life just like it has changed yours.  What happens after that is up to us. We can either let the void mold us into a stronger person, or we can let it consume us, and ruin any chance of a fulfilling life.  This is why I selected the name Dominate Your Diagnosis for my blog.  I knew I needed to continuously work at not being overcome and was hoping others would join me on the journey.

It is not easy. It is work to keep our head up and keep moving forward.  When my daughter was on winter break traveling through Laos, Thailand and Cambodia I had to focus on not being consumed with anxiety.  There were many days I 576046_4480711936910_449760608_nreminded God that she belonged to Him and I put my trust in Him to watch over her.  I could not do it alone just like I have not been able to take this journey with chronic illness alone.

That is the encouraging news today.  We do not have to walk alone.  There are others that understand  what we are going through. There are those that support us.  There is God that invites us to lean on Him if we desire to.

Next time I want to introduce you to Bill. He has an amazing story.  Please come back and see how he responded to the change that autoimmune disease brought into his life.

Even though my daughter is returning, and the void will temporarily be filled, things are forever changed.  There is no going back.  She has experiences under her belt that I cannot even imagine and many more adventures ahead of her.  But for now, I can’t wait to get my mother’s arms around her and see her infectious smile.200758_4480689656353_2863845_n

Encouraging news if you missed the update last week….Adam has received news that his appeal was won for 2013.  It was a quick turn around.  I think his aggressive, no-nonsense approach was quite effective and a lesson for others.

Thanks for your support.  I welcome your comments.  Until next time….Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 21

Those of us dealing with lupus and/or other autoimmune diseases have a lot of experience dealing with adversity.  Adversity affects people differently.  If you follow social media you see this repeatedly.  Even those who are usually strong in the face of adversity can sometimes  give in to the pressure of it.  Fortunately, for these people the fall is usually short-lived.

Baron Batch, football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, notes that our frame of mind is the deciding factor with how we deal with adversity.  I think it is the same living with chronic illness.  Adam from post 20 is a prime example of this.   Adam made up his mind he was going to do the Tough Mudder.  He set his mind to doing the training and following through with the race even when it became very difficult.
764064640 click photo for link
In his article for lubbock on line, Batch writes,
Overcoming is a skill, and should be practiced as such.  As I journey though life I pass fellow travelers who get stuck at certain trials, and can’t seem to overcome them because they lack strength and become stranded. They wander searching for an alternate route, but sometimes there isn’t a way around. There’s no shortcut. Sometimes you have to go through. Some people embrace this, and some simply shut down at the thought.

Baron has strong feelings about overcoming adversity and how the past affects the future.

It’s what we do with our past experiences and trials that dictate how we deal with our future ones. It’s not enough to get through them.  The important thing is storing them for when the next trial or injury arrives and remember the process — because the process is what’s important.

Don’t call it a comeback. Call it part of your journey, a chapter to your story.  Comebacks don’t exist, only the process.

No one is exempt from adversity and it will never stop coming into our lives in one form or another.  Adversity builds character, makes us stronger, and able to relate to the many around us that are struggling in one way or another.  Batch relates our trials to things we put in our backpack and carry around to make us stronger for the next bout of adversity, much like an athlete in training.

Besides writing and having a popular blog, Baron is also  an up and coming artist.  He was able to hone his skill, a childhood fascination, during his most recent injury.

Papa Time by Baron Batch

Papa Time by Baron Batch

Elizabeth Regner, executive director of the Lubbock Arts Alliance says “…his artwork is a fabulous example of contemporary folk art”.  Read more and see a short video here. 

Like Adam, I think Baron Batch is a great example of someone who would not let adversity derail and discourage him, like turning lemons into lemonade.  (I love lemonade.)  So how about you?  Are you making lemonade today?  I hope so.

Lupus, the Adventure Between the Lines

One Patient's Positive Perspectives

Ivory Spring

where treasures of past and present connect

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Dominate Your Diagnosis

Reclaim your life after a diagnosis of lupus/autoimmune disease

Kindness Blog

Kindness Images, Videos, True Life Stories, Quotes, Personal Reflections and Meditations.

Friends Craftin' with Friends

Reclaim your life after a diagnosis of lupus/autoimmune disease

Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

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