This blog has not turned out what I had originally planned. When the year began, I desired to write everyday, which has not happened, as you can see.
I have actually been unwell and just have not had the energy to write blogs. Let me explain a little so you can hopefully understand me a bit better. I was an active Salvation Army officer/minister. I am happily married with two wonderful boys who are now teenagers. Sometime in 2010 I became ill. I was tired all the time; everything I did made me exhausted. I’m not just talking about being tired after a long day’s work or several days without sleep, although this is what it felt like. This exhaustion was after doing simple things such as leading a service.
We moved to Gateshead in 2011 and the exhaustion continued. I just thought I needed more rest. It wasn’t until 2012, when I finally had the courage to discuss this with my doctor, that I found out I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was told I should take some time off work to learn to pace myself and get better. Well, I did try to pace my activities and rest, but I couldn’t keep up with the pace of officership. I then pretty much collapsed at the end of 2013 and have not been able to get back to work since.
I also endured constant pain in my lower back to the point where I cannot walk very far without support (I use crutches in the house to help me) and I cannot stand for more than 5-10 minutes at a time. I was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in my lower spine. Whenever I go out, I have to be in a wheelchair due to the pain and fatigue. I also was diagnosed with fibromyalgia due to muscle and nerve pain all over my body.
I struggle with day to day living as it completely routine: get up, shower, breakfast, Facebook, nap, cards, colouring, Facebook, tea, knitting, bed, with some physio exercises in between.
When I have a bad day, I cannot manage making cards or knitting. This frustrates the fire out of me. This has been the case a lot the past couple of months.
Why am I telling you this? First of all to tell you this has not been an easy journey for me. I have grieved so many times my former life and ministry. I struggle some days wondering why. I am still off work and the medical staff tells me all they can do is give me support. I have no idea if I will ever be able to have the energy to go back to work. If I had energy and didn’t have to fight constant fatigue, I could manage some things in my wheelchair. However, for now, I am pretty much housebound except for doctors’ appointments and holidays. I get excited about going out shopping, even if it’s at Tesco.
During this time of illness, I have started several groups and pages on Facebook. I use this as ministry. I wanted this blog to be ministry related as well. I want it to be a place of encouragement. I see so many people struggling and in my own struggles, I want to minister to others.
I cannot say I understand why God is allowing me to go through all of this, however, I can say I know without a shadow of a doubt God is with me.
I am able to spend more time with him, and when the boys are at school or out with their friends, I can spend time in his word. I continue to study Ephesians and then I have several other books of the Bible to read, write, study and pray when I am able to do so.
It becomes very hard to study or do much of anything else when the fatigue is very strong. Sadly for me, the past 2 plus months I have struggled with cough and cold thus depleting any energy I have. I am not complaining. I just have to remind myself it is okay to stop doing for others and rest. This is not easy as I am sure it isn’t for many others.
I love to knit, make cards, write, and colour. Most everything I do is for other people as I want to bless them. But when it comes to looking after myself, blessing myself by resting, well, this is a massive challenge.
In praying God’s word, I have to remember I can rest in him. Some days, the prayers are very simple and I just fall asleep in his arms. I hope he understands.
All of this blog to say, I need to learn to rest, really rest without worrying about doing for others. I know I am a human “being” not a human “doing.” It’s not easy shutting off.
I pray God will help me to rest better. I pray he will help me to look after myself better so I can minister to others more effectively. I pray others will be encouraged in their faith; they are not alone.
I desire this to be a blog to encourage you. I pray it does. God bless you.