Why My Chronic Illness Has Also Been A Blessing

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Fibromyalgia, Menopause, and Weight Gain ~ Oh My!

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Yesterday morning I had a moment…a moment of I don’t know what!

It happened first thing upon waking when I stepped on the scale for the first time in two weeks.

It happened after two weeks of frustrating pain and constant prayer for the discipline to try, try again to drop some weight so as to improve my health related issues.

I wasn’t asking for much. But I sure was hoping to see at least ONE DANG POUND drop after not allowing myself one miniscule eentsy teensy BIT of leeway in the realm of sugar or starch for two weeks straight!

I thought for sure the scale might tip in my favor – just a little bit.

But NO.

I don’t know what to label this snapshot in time as, and for the first time in a while, I feel like I’m at a loss for the right words to describe the state I am in currently. All I can say is that all of me (including the couple of pounds I have even gained) felt suspended in time when I stepped on that scale.

Suspended in an ugly moment in time….I guess that’s one way to feel lighter ~ albeit a sad substitute for true weight loss ~ (smirking to the max right about now).

I couldn’t believe my ever-loving eyes. The discouragement I felt was palpable.

“No. This can not be.”

SO…………

I shall just foam at the mouth for a bit, I guess. Maybe the words will capture this moment I had and maybe they won’t.

But I have to try.

First, let me give you some background. Coming right up, is a by-no-mean-exhaustive list of what all I have done, tried, been open to, over the past two years to contend with my “problem.”

  • My Fibromyalgia problem.
  • My ensuing weight gain problem.
  • My weight gain because of Fibro and then worsening of the Fibro problem.
  • My problem of learning how to live  for this moment and be content, yet not fall into a resignation-of-sorts about the desire to just. give. up. problem!
  • My problem regarding the need to keep on trying – (at least TRY for crying out loud!!!) – to not get sucked all the way down by this beast.

Yeh ~ THAT problem. Bleck!

Chiropractic, Massage, Cognitive Therapy, Myofacial Release, Physical Therapy, Thyroid Meds, Gluten Free eating, strictly juicing, no sugar, no starch, calorie counting, dry body brushing, low inflammation diet, shots of lemon, vinegar and baking soda, accupuncture, essential oils, book reading and research galore, supplements unending under the supervision of a Fibro specialty doctor, support groups, sleeping in all organic materials, changing all my clothing and toiletries, sleeping with a fan at just the right setting and on my face, melatonin, lunesta, 5htp, Sam-e, vitamins I never knew existed, purified water, alkaline water, sugar free cranberry juice concoction all day long, Reflexology, Cupping, Yoga, Walking, Exercising when I can, Not exercising when I can’t, seminar watching, Youtube searching, book reading, rest, stretching, ergo changes galore, epsom salt bathing, sun soaking for melatonin, light therapy, aromatherapy…

….and the list goes on and on.

It’s time to breathe, yo.

The by-no-means-exhaustive list is only part of what I have done in the physical realm. This does not include all the prayer, all the crying out to the Lord, or any of the other stuff that is IN FRONT OF all of these things, dudes.

Not at all. Not at all exhaustive.

But this girl’s still simply……exhausted.

And so yet another ugly moment came yesterday morning – where I felt I had exhausted everything I haven’t drawn a line in the sand over – my last ditch effort  to lose weight but still be able to maintain a semblance of pain control over the Fibro -…it was made clear: that yet again…I had failed.

EPIC FAIL, YO!

In fact, I gained almost two pounds. (Can I cry now?)

I. will. not. cave. in.

I will not cross the line into the realm that the Lord has made clear to me that I am not to enter into by any means.

  • No one is gonna be hypnotizing me.
  • No one is performing some kind of surgery on me to help me lose weight (although that is something I am not against for certain peeps and certain situations).
  • I will not visualize my higher self through meditation or yoga.
  • I will not tap into the “power of me”.

Yet I want more. I want more for my life than this ugly Fibro monster. I want more for my life than this small woman trapped inside a bunch of blubber. I am thankful others can’t really see it – that I “carry it well.” But I know the truth. And this moment of truth stinks.

I don’t so much begrudge the fact that I have Fibromyalgia. I see the good God has brought out of an affliction and I am not even asking that it be removed. He will do that if He wants to some day – my faith is strong and I know that He knows what is best.

I just want to be able to cope with it and learn from it. I don’t want it to drag me down into a pit of despair.

I don’t care that I am not supermodel material anymore and that I am pushing 50 and the lines on my face are deeper and my skin is not so supple any more.

I just want to be able to smile and shine the love of Jesus through it all. 

I don’t care that I am not the perfect, ideal weight and cannot run for ten miles (although I miss that).

I just want to be healthy and not “overweight”, because being overweight makes all the rest of it worsen.

I just want!

I just want!

I. JUST. WANT.

Uber Important Side Note: Do you think that when God says for us to come like a child unto Him, that means toddler behavior is acceptable as well? Just sayin’.

I want to stop feeling like I halfway relate to Job in the Bible. (I don’t have a CLUE of the hard that man suffered, yet I, in my simple little way, sorta-kinda feel I can relate to the guy ~ ‘cept I’m not as absolutely GOOD as he was – no way, no how).

Yet I do know that I am better for the hard stuff and the trials. I do know that God works ALL things together for our good. I do know that suffering and affliction draws us into a place in our relationship with Jesus that we don’t necessarily experience without it.

I know.

But in spite of what I do know, I was still just hoping for a little victory yesterday morning. And again, I was looking in the wrong place for that.

(Duh! Ya think?)

So yesterday morning – this moment in the morning time yesterday in which I stepped on that dreaded scale, it felt like all of my hard work just. meant. nothing.

It even felt like all of my hard work actually HURT me, friends.

Maybe it did.

And I find myself at the ugly and horrible place again today – teetering on the line. Knowing I won’t cross the lines that have been drawn for me, yet hanging on by a thread to the ever-present tightrope that is suspended between surrender and full-on giving up.

It’s a fine one – that line is. And I don’t mean fine in the positive sense of the word.

When the truth hits you full on in the face and isn’t softened by anything else in that same moment, it’s hard to absorb.

It’s hard to stomach the fact that I may remain overweight for the rest of my life. I may gain even more weight. And all of this hurts my Fibromyalgia and chances of reversing it immensely.

  • It’s hard not to wallow.
  • It’s hard not to despair.
  • It’s hard not to want to roll up into a fat little ball and just cry, cry cry.
  • Sometimes I just want to jump.

I am a lover of truth most of the time. But sometimes, the truth is hard to accept. I keep hearing myself saying “it can’t be true!”

“This CAN’T be right?”

“This CAN’T be how it’s supposed to be, right?”

But maybe it is.

Maybe there’s a good reason my body needs forty extra pounds on it. I always have thought of that as a bad thing, but is it possible it’s meant for my good?

Is it possible?

And if so, can I accept it? Can this girl accept being forty or more pounds overweight for her frame?

I don’t know. I really do not know.

But I know this: For now, I have to take a break from all the trying. I also have to keep on going and be open to what the Lord brings my way. I’m there, friends. I will try something else if He so leads, but I will stay status quo as well if that’s what is in the near future too.

No matter what happens or doesn’t happen, I am HIS child.

For now, I have to stop doing what seems like wheel spinning, because frankly, it’s wearing me out. And I covet your prayers.

There has to be some kind of beauty to be found in this moment of truth. Either that, or it’s not a moment of truth at all – instead it may be a moment of a counterfeit kind of truth (a nice way of saying it very well could be a BIG FAT LIE).

I don’t know which it is yet, but it’s either one or the other.

And this girl? Well, that’s what I am going to seek to find out as I draw near to the Lord and cry, cry cry for the next couple of weeks.

I won’t have to get on any stupid scale to determine the outcome or the success of that one, either.

  • He will tell me what I need to know.
  • It may not be pleasant. But it will be the real truth because it is HIS.
  • And that can never be overrated.

My hope is in Him. Not for weight loss alone, not for healing alone from the Fibro beast of a whatever-thing-it is. But for every last bit of it.

He is my only Hope for anything.

Cause the truth – the real and honest truth of the matter is this: In sickness or in health, skinny or overweight, toddler-tantrum-throwing-like or baby-angelic-cooing child-like, I am His.

And that’s the only truth I should cling to at all anyway.

  • His truth is beautiful.
  • His truth is lasting.
  • His truth brings true health.
  • He loves me no matter what.

And although certain moments of truth smell ugly and can be overrated, His moments ~ HIS moments in which He comes closer and says “it’s okay, trust in me” ~ well, those always smell beautiful every single time I get a good whiff. Thanks be to God!

The scale will not deliver me from everything, friends. Only Jesus Christ can do that. I will keep on trying – because He tells me not to wallow in despair and to run a good race. But I will only look to Him as a measure of success. I will only look to Him for deliverance and sanctification. I will only look to Him for the real truth, even when it’s not pleasant.

Because it’s always freeing. He frees me.

Jesus’ truth is always going to set us FREE. Even if we are trapped inside of bodies that have turned against us, we know the reality.

So today, I will pull myself out of this pit and jump. Yes, I WILL jump – for the joy that I have in Jesus.

Even if I AM two pounds heavier.

Because in Him, I can.

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

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Thrive

THRIVE not survive

On the days that I slip back, health-wise, I fight it, but still seem to move backward spiritually. emotionally and mentally too. It always causes me to realize (again) that I have forgotten to remember how Great our God really and truly is.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God…..

I struggle. I drown in self-pity. I cry and wonder “why me?” I want to thrive, Lord. I want to be full of energy and verve and move and walk with joy and enthusiasm among your people. It hurts to smile when I feel this way. What is wrong with my body? Did you make a mistake? Can’t you fix me? I feel like you either don’t understand or you simply don’t care about this seemingly minor, yet so very pervasive problem I am dealing with here.

…Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable…

I am doing everything I am supposed to do. I even tried not doing anything and just turning it all over to You, Lord. Why am I so weak and weary? I just want to enjoy life. I am scared. Just when I think I am growing stronger physically, I am set back and seem to be worse off than when I started. I want to trust in You – that You will heal me, Lord. But if that’s not your will, I just plead with You – please help me to surrender and know what to do. I feel I have no strength left in my body and don’t know what You want for me to do, God!

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

I supposed this may be about patience, huh? Okay then – I get that, God. BUT….how am I supposed to do life this way? How can I take care of my family and other responsibilities when I am like this? What can I do? I can’t just stop life, can I? I  mean, I would, but don’t I have to keep going? I can’t just lay down and stay in bed until You  heal me, now can I? Can’t You just tell me how to handle things in the meantime?

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength….

Clearly, I don’t have the answers. I know that You do. I supposed I haven’t truly learned what You really mean by “waiting.” I am tired, God. I am so very tired. My heart is alive, and so is my mind. My faith is in You, but I still have a degree of unbelief You need to deal with in me. I still put too much stock in myself and my own capabilities. Is that what You might be doing here? Asking me to lay down and be still so that you can make me soar the way You always intended? Not of my own might or power or strength, but in Yours – that Divine and Supernatural God-Kind?

…they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary…  

I’m going to stop trying so hard, God. I submit this temple to You. I pray You decide to heal it. And as long as You equip me to do so, I will continue to walk. I hope to run one day. I hope to soar and fly. But only with YOU.  Help me to endure the pain, God. Help me to keep my heart and mind clean while the physical junk keeps dragging me down. Help me to love in ways I never loved before. Help me not only to keep going, but to walk strong with You, love with You, fly with You and…oh my God…THRIVE with YOU.

….they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

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The Other Pause in Menopause

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It’s so difficult to think of our bodies as not just our own. After all, we live and breathe in these bodies. We walk in them. We sleep in them. We tell our fingers to move, our legs to bend, and our mouths when to open or close.

But is that really the way it’s supposed to be?

So much that we do is just reflexive…just done automatically. But what happens when we stop and pause a moment – pause to think about what the Lord would have us do?

I haven’t figured out how to move through life that way yet…don’t know if I ever will (fully). But over this last week, I have been making a concentrated effort to tune in more with God physically as well as spiritually.

This came out of the fact that although I have been feeding myself spiritually in prayer and time spent with the Lord, my body has just deteriorated over this last year or two. It took becoming quite desperate for me to wake up and realize that I needed God’s help in this area too.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to physical stuff, I tend to separate that from the Lord sometimes. I tend to get caught up in thinking it’s just a part of living in this flesh that I have to deal with on my own – weight gain, menopausal hormonal symptoms, body aches, injuries – the whole thing. But, although it’s true that our flesh is going to eventually fail us, there is power in asking the Lord to help us to keep our perspective straight in relation to our bodies in the here and the now.

He can help us.

So, I have embarked upon a different way in relation to getting my body straightened out, friends. I thought it fitting to share a few of these things with you as I go along and tell you how the Lord is growing me spiritually in each of these areas.

Week 1 – What’s Happening?

I could tell my body has become just,  “polluted.” All of the hormonal changes, the stress that has built up over the past few years since mama passed away, the sedentary jobs – all of it has just poisoned my body. I have been focusing on my spiritual health, which is good, but my body needed something more extreme than just “eat pretty well, and exercise a few times a week.” I had to surrender to the fact that extreme measures are sometimes the right ones when it comes to fully surrendering something of this magnitude. Here is the first thing the Lord led me to…

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

Hmmm. What did I learn as I focused upon this scripture this past week? And what did I think about changing and submitting to as I felt led by the Lord?

Changes I have made:

Detoxify. I have removed all processed (even the “good” ones) stuff from my eating plan. I kept only one little thing, which is a splash of sugar free creamer in my two cups of coffee in the morning. The rest of the day, it’s water, tea, and whole foods. I already feel waaaayyy better!

New Discipline: I have let go of not doing the weight training that is so highly recommended for menopausal women and started to do this two to three times a week along with cardio. I don’t enjoy it, but know it is making me stronger.

Giving up even more of “my” time: I have added stretching/relaxation time in for my muscles and stress levels and used that time to talk with and pray to the Lord – spend the time with Him.

Overall Change: I am really pressing in and thinking on this verse daily….I am trying to focus upon thinking of myself the way the Lord thinks of me, versus the way that I think of me.

Things are going quite well, friends. I feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I feel that the Lord is working on healing me, but that it’s a daily and moment-by-moment process contingent upon my surrender and willingness to accept His gentle, yet loving correction.

He is working on asking me to strike the correct balance between relying upon Him ultimately for all of it, yet be a good student and research things that will help me to meet these goals.

I want to take better care of His temple. But I selfishly find myself thinking of my body still as “mine” too. I haven’t yet figured out if I am supposed to let go of that part of it. It’s hard sometimes to discern whether your driving motivation is self-oriented or God-oriented when it comes to something as all-encompassng as the body you wake  up inside of every day, the mind you are stuck with every second, or anything else that is pervasive and with you all the time.

But hard doesn’t have to be bad. Not when God is on our side.

He is truly made “perfect through my weakness” – He is magnified when I realize I don’t have this all figured out – He is the One who gets all the glory for the success I may experience.

And when I fail, I get the opportunity to search my own heart with the Lord and accept His correction and guidance.

I am excited to share things with you as they develop in this area of my life because I am pretty certain many of you are contending with an area or two in your own lives that you just don’t enjoy very much right now, and I want to encourage you:

For I (we) can do everything through Christ, who gives me (us) strength. Philippians 4:13

Like Proverbs says, we must BELIEVE. Like Philippians says, we must turn to Christ for His strength, and His power!

Won’t you spend some time with the Lord today if there is an area that you know you are struggling with in regard to your belief? Ask Him…tell Him the truth. Tell the Lord and cry out to Him “God, I want to believe, but I don’t and I am asking You to help my unbelief here!”

Take this time to pause and fill the gap with HIM.

Jesus loves that, friends. He loves it when we cry out to Him honestly and ask Him to meet us where we are! He shows up big time and makes His power known to us in new ways when we come to Him in such a manner.

May you be blessed today as you search for faith and complete belief with the Lord. And may what we think in the depths of our  hearts be more and more of Him, and less and less of us!

(Maybe the “less of us” will also translate into weight loss if He decides it would be good for us – hee hee).

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HE Gets to be the Game Changer!

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More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5: 3-5

Yes, menopause can really, really stink! But check out that verse! Did you see that? We REJOICE in our sufferings. Whoa!

You got it –  I am writing about menopause again today. Yes, I am going to continue to write about it for some time. Because that verse up there? Well, it is TRUE!

I have to admit, I have not been rejoicing much with this menopausal crazy in my life. It’s hard to do so when you feel like – YUCK! This stuff is way more pervasive than I ever imagined. At this point, I feel like what I thought it would be like at the age of 80 or 90 – and I am NOT kidding!

Yes, I am praying for the Lord to help me to endure and change my attitude. I woke up today and just decided that I can’t make it go away, so I must press in and ask God to bring me through it. I am asking God something very specific here, along with the “normal” stuff I ask Him to teach me through any trial:

1 – Will you help me to remember all of this so I can point out the positive and the hope for others going through this? Will you give me your clear voice to tell other women that there is light at the end of menopause (I have to believe there is) and that it will get better? Most of all, will you help me to share with them, with myself, that there is YOUR light right now while we are in the thick of it?

You. Are. Here.

2 – Will you help me remember the Serenity Prayer, Lord? I find it so hard to surrender, yet keep trying. You know what I mean, right? We can’t just give up on trying to take care of ourselves; your temple, our body. But we must surrender the expectations or hoped-for results ultimately over to you and focus MORE upon what you are teaching us in this now. Help me to do that, Lord. Help all of us to do that, whether we are dealing with the crazy convoluted mess of menopause or something else that has and continues to just rock our world. Help us step through each day one step at a time. Help us to abide in You and YOUR love and YOUR strength. Help us to trust and love you more and be who you are in us despite the thorns in our side.

In the meantime, I am not giving up, friends. After much prayer, I have come to the conclusion that even if I don’t feel like it, I am going to pour myself in to being open minded and trying new things. I am not going to focus too much on the end result of these things I am trying in order to feel better, but just step – just try stuff out with the Lord’s approval each and every step of the way.

Here’s what I am doing now and why:

The standard, “just exercise, eat right, get enough sleep” stuff is NOT cutting it! It’s time for extreme measures, and that actually now makes some sense to me. You know, there is NO WAY to pinpoint what’s going on with menopause, figure out a solution, and just stay there and all will be good. It has a life of it’s own and it changes on a whim. We have to change along with the “change.” I find it funny it’s called the change, as it is a million billion trillion little changes that are going on all at once to create a big change.

Thank God that HE never changes!

So….I am doing a bunch of stuff now and it seems (after a few weeks now) to be helping some of the problems, but certainly not all of them. I am doing a detox (two weeks long) made especially for women to get the digestion right. I am doing some intermittent fasting (only twice a week, and not a full fast) to create calorie confusion and get the adrenals, the metabolism, the digestion working better. AND, I am doing an entirely different eating program on the rest of the days per week….shaking things up a bit.

Menopause may try to trick us, but two can play that game!

I have added weight training and yoga into my week along with my cardio, which I have reduced to shorter spurts, versus the longer and endurance-producing ones. Those longer ones are good when your body isn’t full-on stressed, but actually don’t help much when you are where I am at.

AND…are you ready for it? Along with massage once a month (not near enough, but it’s expensive) I am getting ready to try accupuncture for the first time for the joint pain. THIS joint pain has been the worst part for me over the last six months. It’s almost to where I feel I can’t function normally any longer. I feel hopeful. But again, my hope is in the Lord more than anything else. I feel He is asking me to step, let Him do the rest. I must stop resisting  having an open mind!

I want to be someone who can say to other women:Guess what? It does get better! And guess what? Everyone is different, but if you are determined and prayerful, you can manage better until you reach the other side.”

I think we can be better than ever, but we don’t have to wait until “it’s over.” What if it never is over (fully)? I had to wrap my heart and mind around that last night with God. Am I going to just lay down and let my life be permanently “paused?”

NO WAY!

Paul didn’t do that when he was in prison and carried around that thorn in his side for so long. He found contentment where he was at, but didn’t stop being hopeful in Christ.

I’m not one of those “name it and claim it” types. But I do believe God can and will do anything He sees fit for His glory and good. It is within the realm of possibility that He wants to heal me and make me more energetic and vibrant than ever. And it’s also very possible I will carry this physical thorn in my side until I go home to be with Him.

The key is: Am I going to allow Him to work in me through it all? Am I going to be more like Jesus even when it’s hard? When I am angry, feeling panicky, getting hot flashes, night sweats? When my elbows and joints in my hands and arms and feet feel like they are about to crack? When it hurts to even walk, but I have to muster up something within to exercise through it? When it costs money to try to take care of myself when I really don’t want to spend it? When I need to think of others and not myself in the face of something so pervasive it feels like it is consuming me?

The list goes on and on, I can assure you.

Remember: We are allowed to not feel good about it sometimes. But we still can rejoice that God is doing a mighty work within us – even when our bodies feel like they are falling apart.

Look at the work done on the cross, friends. Look at what was done there. Jesus’ body was beyond broken there. Then He was filled with all the dark and sin of the world for a time before He rose again. And I KNOW – I just KNOW, because He tells us so – He is more vibrant than EVER!

He lives!

Yes, we are going through the change – daily. If we press in and abide in Christ, it is good news that we are changing, friends. It’s a daily process. It’s a continual gift. And we must remember that we can rejoice even when we don’t “feel” good.

I don’t think Jesus pretended to be happy up on that cross. I don’t think that he showed the world, “hey, buck up and do it with a smile.” But I do think that he willingly endured what He knew was the Father’s will….He didn’t complain, even though He didn’t like it (to say the least). He STILL forgave to the end. He STILL showed love and mercy to the end. He STILL remained pure and – GOD – to the end.

He still is our perfect and our mighty God.

And HE needs no changing. So he has all the room, power, might and love in the world to work in and through us while we DO change – a LOT!

Turn your expectations over to God, especially when it comes to your body if you seem to have no control over it. But not your hope! Never your hope!

Our hope is in HIM. Nothing can take that from us!

Our bodies belong to Him. I glorify HIM and not my flesh. But I will do my best to take care of that temple. If it feels like it’s falling apart, I am going to remember how beautifully Jesus was put back together when He rose again. He didn’t fall off that cross like a lump of nothing to remain that way forever – no way! And neither will we.

But we must nail our flesh to that cross with Him – daily. And if and when we feel we can’t put one foot in front of the other, He will tell us whether to stop and rest or keep moving, as hard as it is to do.

He will tell us.

Nope. I am not going to let menopause define me. THAT is what the Lord is doing in me right now, friends. He is challenging me to remain true to Him and make certain that who He is in me is what defines me.

He IS changing me. Is He changing you or is menopause doing that?

Become free if you aren’t, friends. Become free not from the pains and hardships, but from all the darts and arrows of the enemy that try to trick us into being defined by our circumstances.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY!

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

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Menopause and Just Because

 

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I think I have mentioned before that I am in peri-menopause at this time in my life, and it is sometimes not the most pleasant thing in the world. I could write an entire book about all of the things one goes through in relation to this little adventure, which  can last on average, about ten years. But I am not going to do that, because it would probably take about that long to finish, and quite frankly my dear ones, I just have better things to write about! So, BAM!  Ha Ha.

Truthfully, I had not been prepared to start this lovely process involving constant chemical changes raging within as a forty-something woman, and all I had ever heard about in relation to it was that hot flashes and mood swings would be part of the game. No worries!

BAM, right back at me with a deadly right hook and a nice little set of symptoms I didn’t know about to contend with!!! We now have a declaration of war!

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There are soooo many other things that happen as a result of this little tug of war between your hormones, and it is not EVEN funny! One set of them that I have experienced to a level that has my jaw gaping in utter disbelief is joint pain, fatigue, and deep tissue muscle pain. I wake up every day wondering to myself, “If it feels like this at the age of 46, I don’t know how my in-laws in their 80’s have any quality of life at all.” Then I have to remember that this too, shall pass.

It all peaked at a point of desperation a few months back when my husband and I realized that this battle for my body and the way that it functions is continuing to escalate and suck the life right out of me. So we knew that I was going to have to do something to alleviate the casualties of war, and fast! “Menopause? You’re a punk!”

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Rather than invest a ton of money into going to chiropractors, doctors, accupuncturists (although I may try that one), or a whole bunch of herbs and remedies, I did a lot of research and talked to lots of women and found that massage therapy was one of the most effective ways of alleviating some of the pain associated with these symptoms.

I can tell you this now, and this is the absolute truth – this has not resulted in a hormonal peace agreement nor a ceasefire, but it definitely has thwarted the plans of the enemy and prevented further ambushes from taking out my good troops. One or two good massages per month and a little strategizing, planning, and dedicated maintenance is not very expensive and really pays off! I truly do feel so much better.

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Although perimenopause and the pain and symptoms involved with it is a minute thing to deal with in life when compared with other things that are much more devastating, it is pervasive and can absolutely overtake one’s entire existence if steps aren’t taken to better cope with it along the way. After all, I have Jesus to focus upon and joy to live out and this is competing for far too much of my attention and energy at this point. I don’t think it’s good at all to be a complainer, and this was really giving me a run for my money in that department!You may have heard the potter/clay analogies and teachings from the Bible before – I have too. What I am going through now at this stage in my life has given me a real and practical, personal application for it – I am literally watching it as it is happening, my Almighty Father, the Potter, molding me – His clay, and I am grateful for the fresh perspective He is giving me.

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Here is my story…………

I have the greatest massage therapist in the world. She is strong, compassionate, and far and beyond one of the most educated people I have ever met when it comes to the human body and all of the things that exacerbate our aches and pains.

Her hands are so strong, but emanate grace and care for her patients. But because of her own occupation, she can experience pain too.  She has carpel tunnel syndrome, and her hands seize up on her  late at night at times. She has neck pain from standing over and leaning into people’s backs and muscles to get deep enough to bring them some relief. But she keeps on going, never complains, and you would never know she is suffering in any way while she is diligently working and kneading your body to a state of peace and reprieve from pain.

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These massages that I get are not tickle massages – they are a workout through and through (mostly for her, and then my muscles feel it later).  They last for about two hours, and she digs in to every single muscle, tendon, and attachment (those are deeeep down). Not one square inch of me is left untouched by the time she is finished. She knows everything about my body, has seen every stretch mark, every scar, any bruises, all my broken blood vessels, all my dull and old skin, and believe me when I say this; there is no where for any residual fat one may have lurking below left to hide when it comes to this one!

One is fully exposed and completely vulnerable when submitting to this process – trust is absolutely essential. There is no room for shame or holding back and resisting, lest no headway be made. Aside from having a baby, I have never been so exposed, and she is nothing but gracious to me. I’m a well-cared for baby in her hands.

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She knows my body. And she listens to it to see what has changed since the last time I have seen her. She tailors what she knows she needs to do for my own good to what she knows I can actually withstand. But she does ask for something in return from me too – I am asked to go home and take a bath in epsom salts after each session to draw what she has brought up to the surface the rest of the way out.  This not only purges the rest of the toxins out of the tissue, but then redeposits certain things your body needs back in for you all at the same time. I am told to drink plenty of extra fluids and keep my water intake up every day between visits. I am asked to roller out my back and do specific stretches every night to maintain my results and heal. And of course, my lifestyle in general needs to consist of good sleep, stress reduction, exercise, excellent nutrition and sound mental and emotional health. I have no problem with that.

Woman Resting in Bath

Along with that physical battle these fun little hormones cause, there  will always be another war raging within me that is just as life-consuming and debilitating, and one that is far more influential in my life than the one my hormones have undertaken. This one is spiritual – and one that is lifelong until I go home to be with my Savior for all eternity.

Sin enters in and spreads its poison and goes to bat against the Holy Spirit who lives inside of me. And there is no masseuse on this planet who can help me to fight that kind of battle with any kind of lasting power.

via gospelgifs.com

        via gospelgifs.com

But, thankfully, I do know someone else who has that kind of power and He lives within me! His name is Jesus Christ and He isn’t about to be kicked out of the home He has made in my heart. He has divinely empowered hands – and He knows me inside and out (physically, spiritually, in every way) like no other.  He molds me into what He wants me to become (more like Him) if I submit myself into His holy and healing hands.

This is not something than happens simply due to a 10 year “change of life”, nor is it something that ends after roughly ten years of good therapy. It happens because of sin that we contend with and fight against as Christians, as we are still flawed human beings too. Thankfully, if we are saved, our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus, but life still takes a toll upon us as it dishes out more than we can take sometimes and we are sometimes overcome by temptation and the poison of sin.

www.heartlight.com

       www.heartlight.com

I’m so grateful that the Lord never stops molding us and working with us, His clay. He is intent on bringing about a complete transformation and restoration for us as we journey through this earthly life until the very day that we go to spend our eternal one with Him. There, we will experience no sin, no sorrow, no aches or pains, no tears, no suffering. And there, we will STILL be in His hands.

And like my dear massage therapist, His hands have taken a beating for us – they press us and shape us and sometimes there is pain involved. Yet His own hands show us that He knows pain – not pain from His own sin, but that which He chose to take upon Himself because of ours -OUR SIN.

He did this for us on the cross, and because of it, we are seen as righteous in the eyes of God. His hands were pierced and He was nailed to it – for you – for me! I can place myself, like putty in those beautiful hands, because I trust upon Him – and He has done far more for me and withstood far more pain for me than I could ever begin to imagine.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the
righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

angelafletcher via Binlam.com

angelafletcher via Binlam.com

He knows just how much therapy to provide…just how much I can withstand. He is patient, yet tough when I need it. He digs deep, if only I will surrender. He re-deposits His living water inside of me to replenish the tired and sore spots we are working on at any given time. He cares for me as he molds me, blesses me, and transforms me through the work of His glorious and mighty hands.

I could stay there forever, and I have decided that I will.

I am already spotless in the eyes of the Lord because Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, rose again, and I accepted His gift of salvation. I am a new creature in Him, and just as the bible says, all the old has passed away and I am a new creation. But I still live in this flesh and walk upon this earthly land, so I continue to grow – and to grow to be more like the Holy One, shedding of the stuff that likes to creep in and stunt that very growth is necessary. We pick up toxins as we walk along this earthly path in life – ugliness creeps in no matter  how hard we try – the elements wreak havoc on our spiritual newness in Him, and we must be willing to submit to being worked over by Him in order to bear good fruit. I am more than grateful to be like putty in my Savior’s hands.

via binlam.com

            via binlam.com

He has my body in his hands. He  has my heart in his hands. He has my life in his hands.  And I am putty in His hands. He’s got the whole world in those hands too – right in His very palm – at the tips of His almighty fingers.

It’s all under control.

One day I will see more clearly how going through menopause is all for a good cause – but for now, I am just thankful that I am loved and molded by Him…..whatever place I might be in – whatever “stage in life” happens to come my way. And…I am so thankful that He loves us, even “while we were still sinners” – so very thankful that He loves us just the way we are………..

Just because.

Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

If you haven’t already, might you accept His healing touch in your life today?