Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Though You Slay Me

A song that I have enjoyed listening to this year is "Though You Slay Me" by Shane & Shane. It is a song that tells of suffering, joy, hope, and praise, all mixed together. Today I would like to share the music video of the song with you. (If you are reading in an email, please click over to my blog to view the video).

Within the video there is clip from a conference message by John Piper. You can hear the entire message here: The Glory of God in the Sight of EternityIn this message, John Piper teaches on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, and he shares the secret for not losing heart. The message is encouraging, challenging, and full of good teaching.

Though You Slay Me 
I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who's broken
The one who's torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I'll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I'll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need

Though tonight I'm crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You're still all that I need
You're enough for me
You're enough for me

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need
Sing a song to the One who's all I need

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Just One Thing I Could Not Do Without

Today is the last day of Invisible Illness Week. A big thanks to all of you who have come here to learn more about what life is like for those of us who have an invisible illness. I am grateful for the opportunity to help spread awareness, and I am grateful to you for reading and joining me in this space.

I have written a few "Just One" blog posts, but I have saved the most important one for today. If you only read one "Just One" post, please read this one! And if you have any questions, know that I am just an email away. You can reach me at RachelLundy(at)cranberryteatime(dot)com.

One thing I could not do without in the midst of life with a chronic illness isn’t really a thing; it is a Person, Jesus Christ. He is the reason that I have hope every single day in the midst of illness. It is through knowing Jesus and studying the Bible that I am able to make sense of the suffering that I face and the suffering that I see in the world.

Life is hard. We live in a world that is under a curse because of sin. There are devastating earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes. There is chronic illness, disease, and death. There is hate, murder, and abuse. There is bitterness and anger, envy and strife. There is deeply rooted sin in every heart. This world is full of pain and suffering.

The world wasn’t always this way. God created a perfect world. Sin came into the world when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and eat fruit from the one tree in the garden that was forbidden. When sin entered the world, death and sickness and suffering came with it. Sin is the reason for the suffering and pain in the world today. Because of our sin, we have earned death. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death…”

But God, in His mercy, did not leave us to suffer alone and to die without hope. Instead, He sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be the Savior. Jesus lived in this same sin-cursed world that we live in. He is intimately acquainted with grief and sorrow. He isn’t a Savior who is distant from our suffering. He is a Savior who entered into suffering willingly on our behalf. He came and suffered with us and for us.

Jesus knows our struggles. He knows our pain. He knows the temptations that we face. He faced them too. The difference is that Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). He is perfect, holy, and blameless. Because He is perfect and holy He was a suitable sacrifice for us. Jesus died on the cross and took the punishment that we deserve. He suffered the wrath of God in our place.

Three days after dying on the cross for our sins, Jesus rose from the dead! The Son of God conquered death and came back to life. Because of His sacrifice we can have forgiveness of sins and the sure hope of eternal life in Heaven. God made the ultimate sacrifice when He sent His Son to die on the cross. Jesus died a horrible death, and God used it for great good - the salvation of all who believe!

“For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It is only through faith in Jesus and His work on the cross that we can find salvation from sin. Through knowing Jesus we can have hope in the midst of suffering now, and we can be assured that one day He will take us to Heaven and “will wipe away every tear…

Because I know Jesus as my Savior, I have peace and hope in the midst of suffering today. I can trust the One who loves me so much that He suffered on my behalf. It is because of Jesus that I have hope and joy in the midst of the momentary troubles of chronic illness. It is because of Him that I have an eternity to look forward to in a resurrected body on the New Earth.

There are many things that help make my life with a chronic illness easier, but there is just one thing I could not do without. I could not do without Jesus.

Man of Sorrows
"Man of Sorrows," what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 
Guilty, vile, and helpless, we.
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full redemption - can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 
Lifted up was He to die,
"It is finished!" was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high;
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 
When He comes, our glorious King,
To His kingdom us to bring,
Then anew this song we'll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 
Philip P. Bliss, 1875

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Do You Have Just One Question?

The theme for Invisible Illness Week this year is “Just One.” On Monday I asked if you had “just one” question about invisible illness, chronic illness, or dysautonomia. I received two questions, and I will answer them below. If you have another question, please feel free to ask your question in the comment box, and we can chat there! I will do my best to answer you soon.

Q. I think my biggest questions revolve around what friends can do! What is helpful vs. intrusive, what could be considered rude or into that territory...? I know it varies person to person, but I would hate to offend or otherwise seem rude suggesting something that a friend could help with (cleaning/tidying, babysitting, etc.). What are the most helpful things to you?? :~)

A. You are so right that it varies from person to person. There are different practical and physical needs. There are also different levels of comfort in discussing illness and/or accepting help with some of the more personal needs.

Some people are very open about everything regarding their chronic illness. Others don’t like to talk about their illness at all. I would guess that most people fall somewhere in the middle. There are probably many things that they are willing to talk about, but some things they want to keep private. I think a good rule of thumb is: “If it happens behind closed doors in the bathroom or the bedroom, it is best not to ask about it or offer to help with it.” However, if you are very close friends, then it may be okay to discuss some of the more personal aspects of illness or offer personal help.

In my opinion, and based on what I have heard from numerous women with chronic illness, offering practical help is very much appreciated. If you have a friend with chronic illness, there is likely something you can do to help your friend in a practical way. Here are some things that might be helpful:
  • Taking her shopping
  • Cleaning her house
  • Picking a few groceries up at the store
  • Bringing over a meal
  • Bringing over meals for the freezer
  • Taking care of children
  • Picking up laundry and bringing it back clean and folded the next day

It usually isn’t helpful to tell a friend with chronic illness, “Let me know if you need anything.” It is hard for us to know how to respond if we don’t know exactly what someone is willing and able to do. Many of us have had the experience of getting up the courage to ask for help, and then a friend says “no” or thinks that we are asking too much of them.

If you would like to help a friend with chronic illness, go ahead and let her know! Tell her that you care about her and want to be her friend through the hard times. Let her know that you would like to help her in practical ways. Then let her know what you would like to do, and ask if that would be helpful for her.

You could say something like this: “I am so grateful for your friendship. I want to continue to spend time with you and be your friend. I know that you must face a lot of challenges with chronic illness, and I would like to help you. Would it be helpful if I did ______?” And then see what she says! You could also list out several things that you would be able to do, ask her which one or two would be the most helpful for her, and then do those for her.

I am planning on writing a series on chronic illness and friendship this fall, and I will be sharing more practical tips for reaching out to a friend with chronic illness. If you don’t want to miss it, you are welcome to subscribe to Cranberry Tea Time and receive an email whenever a new post is up.

Rachel and Dorina

With my friend, Dorina

Q. What makes you feel seen or validated the most in a good way?

A. I feel seen when people communicate with me through email, facebook, a blog post comment, a text message, or through the mail. Being homebound is lonely and isolating, and when someone reaches out to me it is very much appreciated. That is why the encouragement that came in the mail this spring was so appreciated. Friends far away reached out to me to let me know that they saw me and my pain. They shared words of encouragement. They shared about how I had encouraged them through my example or through the words on my blog. Some of them sent thoughtful and practical gifts that would be helpful to me or that would bring cheer.

I feel validated when someone asks about my health and how I am feeling without trying to fix me or give treatment advice. Instead they offer words of kindness and compassion. I feel seen and validated when someone notices something that I am struggling with or that I might need and then asks if she can help.

I feel seen and validated when someone reaches out in friendship, appreciates me for who I am, and spends time with me. When someone offers friendship, that is the best gift of all. There is nothing better than someone seeing me and wanting to be my friend even when there is very little I can “do” with them.

Thank you, ladies, for your questions! If anyone else has a question, you are welcome to leave it in the comment box and we can chat!

Read more "Just One" blog posts on the Invisible Illness Week website.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Ready

Today I am joining joining the Five Minute Friday blogging community. We write for five minutes on the same writing prompt, and then we gather at Kate Motaung's blog to share our words. This week the prompt is: Ready.

Because this is Invisible Illness Awareness Week, I am writing about what it is like to get ready to go out with a invisible chronic illness. If you want to know more about my invisible chronic illness, you can read my post, 30 Things About My Chronic Illness You May Not Know. My other Invisible Illness Week posts for 2014 are listed here.

The Lundy Family


When you have a chronic illness, getting ready to go somewhere is not a simple task. For me, getting ready to go out of the house means that I need to start preparing a few days in advance. I have to plan extra rest time to make sure that I will have enough strength and energy left to go out on the scheduled day.

When the day comes to go out, I cannot just get dressed, eat breakfast, and walk out the door. It takes my body two or three hours to “wake up” to the point that it is ready to move. Once I am out of bed, I move slowly as I pick out clothes and get ready to go. First I have to put on compression garments. If you have never worn medical grade compression that is 30-40mmHg, then just imagine putting on a pair of Spanx that is two sizes too small! It is a lot of work for my muscles and can be painful on the loose joints in my fingers.

Next I get dressed in my clothes for the outing, which can take extra time if I have to keep sitting or lying down to rest. After I am dressed I decide if I have enough energy to on makeup. If I have enough energy to spare, then I put on a little bit of make up so that I don’t look so tired. If I am feeling awful and not up for hearing comments about how good I look, then I just skip the makeup.

Even after putting on my outfit for the day, there is still more dressing that needs to be done. If it is above 72 degrees outside then I have to put on an ice pack vest and/or an ice pack neck wrap. If it isn’t hot outside, then I might have to bring the vest anyway, just in case it is warm in whatever building I am going to be in. If it is a cool day, then I need to bring an extra layer for warmth. But I also need to make sure that I can shed layers later on if I get too warm.

Before heading out the door, I have to make sure I have everything I need: my purse, medicine, water bottle, medical ID bracelet, and Roho cushion. We almost always forget the Roho cushion, and someone has to go back to the house to get it! Because of an injury to my tailbone 11 years ago, the Roho cushion is a must when sitting anywhere. In addition to all of that, we also need to make sure that I have my wheelchair in the van to use wherever we are going.

After days of planning out my energy, a few hours of waking up, and an hour getting dressed and gathering my things, I am finally ready to go. Getting ready isn’t a simple thing when you have a chronic illness. It is time consuming and takes a lot of planning and a lot of energy. But, hopefully, every outing is worth it!

P.S. I tried to write this post in five minutes, but I really struggled to think and communicate clearly in just five minutes, and it took me extra time. I'm sorry! Can I blame it on the brain fog that goes along with my chronic illness? :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Just One Thing that Makes Life with Chronic Illness Easier

Invisible Illness Week JUST ONE logo
Along with invisible chronic illness come extra things that have to be done, such as keeping up with medical records and paperwork, taking trips to the doctor, going to the pharmacy, taking medications, corresponding with doctors, researching health information, and learning a new way to live.

For many with chronic illness, as needs increase, energy levels and strength decrease. There is more to do, but less energy with which to do it. So we search for little tips and tricks that can make life just a bit easier. One simple thing that has made my life easier is pill boxes.

I used to not want pill boxes because it seemed like it was something just for really sick people to use. I was young and healthy! Or at least, I wanted to be. Giving up my pride and using pill boxes has been such a help.

Opening medicine and vitamin bottles all day long is tiring and time consuming. I have found that it is much easier to make “pill packs” every week. Every Sunday afternoon I sit on my bed and fill my pill boxes for the next week. I have two Sterilite storage boxes under my bed that are filled with medications and vitamins. I get those, along with my week-long pill boxes, and get to work.

weekly pill boxes

I have pill boxes for morning, mealtimes, and bedtime. I fill these with medications, vitamins, and supplements.

small pill boxes

I also have three small pill boxes that I keep in my purse for when I am out. One of them is actually an old Altoids tin, but it works well for holding large mealtime vitamins and supplements.

Using pill boxes helps to save some time and energy, but it also helps to jog my memory. Sometimes I can't remember if I have taken my medication and vitamins or not. I don't want to double up on a dose, but neither do I want to go without. If I have put all of my medications and vitamins into pill boxes, then I can easily look at that day's pill box and see if I have already taken them. 

Pill boxes are just a small, simple thing, but they have made my life easier. What is just one thing that makes your life easier? I would like to hear your tips!

Read more "Just One" blog posts on the Invisible Illness Week website!
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