Tag Archives: CFIDS

Putting Away Childish Ways

ice-cream-2As it was school’s half term last week, we had the company of our grandchildren all week. Three delightful little girls, each one quite different and a credit to their parents who sacrificially go to great lengths in bringing them up and teaching them what is right.

They are already forming their own opinions and it’s particularly at mealtimes when their individual likes and dislikes came to the fore. ‘I don’t eat cheese’ and ‘I only drink apple juice’, etc. Continue reading

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The Pain and the Presence

Having suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for a number of years has  given me a just an inkling of what it could be like for someone who has experienced far greater pain than me.

Lying here, Father,
I know You are there.
I don’t feel your Presence, but
I do feel the pain and discomfort
that tries to take over
and invade my fatigued soul.
Every aching muscle and sinew
vying for attention and
threatening to melt away the hope.

But as I look to You,
I know You are with me,
feeling my every feeling.
And as I keep on looking
and looking and looking,
reaching out to You,
minute by hour,
heart to Blessed Heart,
Your love seems to take over,
in a way I don’t understand.
Fear goes out the window,
faith and hope rise
and the pain grows dim
just for now –

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Acceptance or Resignation

Speaking with someone with chronic fatigue, the other day, made me think. She said she had accepted the illness and this brought peace inside. A fact that I readily agree with.

Accepting that we have an illness is absolutely key to moving on and allowing God’s healing to take place. I struggled with this for a long time. I just loathed what was happening to me and I complained a lot. I was being real and had to work through all the feelings, including anger that were boiling inside me. Through this expression, I did eventually come to the place of acceptance. The way I would put it, is that I yielded to Father God in the situation.

However, that’s not the whole story. Acceptance is not the same as resignation. Resignation can be saying something like, “This is my lot,” a sort of powerful sentence spoken over you. I didn’t believe that God wanted me to stay as I was, but I knew healing had to start with acceptance and surrender. That to me seemed like taking an enormous risk. What if God does not do anything? But that is like saying that I don’t trust God!

Resignation can have deep roots in our lives. Despite having parents that did all they could for me, there was a lack of emotional and physical bonding. The childhood needs for affection to be demonstrated to the degree that I needed, just were not there. At some stage I must have said to myself, “This is as good as it gets,” and I buried the emotional pain, covered it over and got on with my life, compensating for the lack, in whatever way I could.

It was only after I came into the knowledge and experience of God’s love that I allowed these feelings to surface and found freedom. This involved a changed mindset. So far as the illness was concerned, I was not going to take it lying down. I wanted to live life to the full, but surrender meant something in me had to die. So acceptance brought hope, expectation and the healing journey to commence. From a worldly viewpoint that’s a paradox.

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Retreat – Relaxation, Refreshment and Renewal

We’ve just returned from a week spending time at a Christian retreat centre. The manor house had views to die for and was just the place to relax, unwind and let our cares and worries fall away. It was like a little piece of heaven away from work, family responsibilities and household chores.

It wasn’t just a holiday, but more a vital time to refresh ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. Space to just ‘be’ and begin to get things in perspective – God’s perspective hopefully – and seek the way forward. The community are there to see to your needs, adults and children, and were available to lend a listening ear and pray with us if needed. There were also precious moments of time shared with other guests.

I had a completely open agenda for the time and was looking to receive – or give – in any way that was appropriate. My spiritual antenna were out. I needed to hear what I believed God was saying to me and as I stilled myself inside, I wasn’t disappointed, although this often came in surprising and unexpected ways. We came away both challenged and encouraged with things to chew over.

This was an ideal place for someone like myself, recovering from M.E. – chronic fatigue – as there were short level walks or ambles within the extensive grounds and places to just sit and admire the views. It’s the sort of thing that I would recommend for anyone, young or old, who wants to escape from the merry-go-round of everyday life for a while and discover who they are.

My wife is disabled and I was on hand to assist where needed. Also, although they had made every effort to make the old building accessible to all, there were steps to negotiate. On the last morning when I returned to the lobby after loading our car, someone I hadn’t spoken to, but had been observing me all week, turned to me on his way out and almost as an aside said, “You’re doing a good job!” and vanished before I could comment.  I thought, ‘was God saying that? ‘ Either way, it was just what I needed to hear and rounded things of for me nicely.

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Walking Out Our Healing

I’ve just been reading the New Testament account of Jesus’ encounter at the healing pool – John 5: 6. On the face of it, it does seem that Jesus is being a bit harsh? Here is this sick man lying by the side of the pool, complaining that there is no one to help him in – they are all too busy looking after number one! And Jesus asks him if he really wants to get well. Then tells him to “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Presumably Jesus didn’t even lend him an arm?

I tried to relate this to my own experience:

I’ve been coping with chronic fatigue syndrome for several years. It was terrible at first, like having the rug pulled from under me. My strength had gone and I was pitched into a world of forced inactivity, pain and discomfort – and the rest!

My first response was to look to God for answers. After all, I believed in a God who heals today! In my searching and as I surrendered to God in the situation, I received His promise to heal me personally. Slowly, very slowly, I began to change, learn new ways and even grew stronger. However, I still experienced relapses at frequent intervals, which I found extremely disappointing and debilitating. I just couldn’t understand how, despite all my requests, God could continue allowing it to happen. It seemed to me, that although I believed He had promised to heal me, He was doing nothing about it! I was even angry with God!

When you are continually sapped of energy and just when you think you are making some progress, you are knocked down again and again, it can be very discouraging. It is so easy, when the medics don’t have any lasting solutions, when those around you are getting on with their – successful? – lives and you are left on the sidelines to cope on you own, to get into a ‘victim’ mindset of rejection, thinking no one cares!

It was a jolt to realise that I was angry – and with God! Taking responsibility for this was the catalyst to get me to change my way of thinking. God wasn’t knocking me down. Far from it, He was for me! It came to me that God could be saying something like, “I’ve already done what you asked, so what are you waiting for?” I did not receive instantaneous healing, but this change in attitude heralded an acceleration of the healing process.

I had to accept that once my eyes were opened to the truth, there was no room for passivity. We need to take action, however small. I believe that as I walk with Father, He will meet me on the way.

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The Seventy-five Percent Rule versus Intimacy

I am enjoying a period where I am stronger and best of all, the fog has lifted. To be clear-handed with unclouded thought processes is deliciously exquisite and I revel in it! It’s like a breath of fresh air. I know enough now though, not to make any special claims, but just to be thankful to God that this is how it is today. If it’s the same, or even better, in a year’s time, that will be a different matter.

I have also learnt that I have to be especially careful at times like this. It is so easy to get carried away when I have a spurt of energy and overdo things. I have to be aware of the danger. Adrenalin kicks in and it can feel like I can go on forever and before long I’m back into relapse again. You cannot live on adrenalin, it just does not work. I have been an adrenalin junkie in the past and I discovered where that can lead.

This is where the ‘sacred’ 75% rule for chronic fatigue sufferers comes into play, although I have never found it easy to apply. For example, what if you are out for a walk? How do you know when to turn back and still have 25% energy in reserve at the finish, without being finished yourself? There has to be something else!

The something else for me is intimacy with Father God. Trying to stay close to Him and having a peace, knowing that what I am doing is right. I know that is when the Holy Spirit provides the strength needed and I am at my most efficient and economical with energy. In other words, I am in the flow. So there is a supernatural help, but at the same time I am human and afterwards have to rest and recoup for the next time.

This poses the question. What is the difference between Holy Spirit power and adrenalin? I could come up with a response, but I am sure there are those who could provide a more theological answer.

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Are You Sitting Too Comfortably?

If someone had said to me over the last few years, I was lethargic and lazy and must pull myself together, I would probably have felt like hitting them. As a good Christian, I would of course restrain myself? Some may have thought it but kept quiet. The fact is, you just don’t say that sort of thing to someone with chronic fatigue syndrome – CFS/CFIDS/ME – or a similar chronic illness. Right now however, there is some truth in the statement.

It took quite a while for me to learn to be kind to myself. After all it was probably because of the lack of that, because I was pushing myself, that was one of the contributing factors to the illness in the first place. But there is a difference between looking after yourself and over indulgent comfort. I found that the years of fatigue can have a dulling, if not soporific effect upon the mind and body and it is possible to develop ‘lazy’ habits and attitudes that can become the norm.

Now that I am in recovery – by that I mean most of the peripheral symptoms have long gone and the levels of fatigue are much lower – there is a need to sharpen up. I am keen therefore to recover that which has been lost. I don’t mean that I can go back to how it was. No more mountain climbing – possibly? I have let go of what was and have to go forward into the new things and ways and recovery is a process of discovering what these are. One thing is for sure. They will not be handed to me on a plate. That means taking action. No matter how seemingly small and insignificant, any action can be powerful. I am discovering over and over, what can be achieved with God’s help and strength, with very little physical effort upon my part. Something I needed to learn long ago!

I still have to be kind to myself, but things such as falling asleep in front of the TV of an evening or eating just too much, must stop. Any lazy habits that have been picked up must change. Just as muscles that have atrophied must be carefully and slowly brought back to life – and that can be painful – so the mind needs to be exercised and sharpened.

I looked up the dictionary meaning of comfort: “The act of consoling: giving relief in affliction:receiving moral or emotional strength: to make physically comfortable: a state of ease and satisfaction of bodily wants, with freedom from pain and anxiety:” I have also discovered that there is no real comfort that can rival that which comes from God. Any other comfort addictions such as sex, drink, chocolate, food, warmth, sleep, television or any other distraction are just a pale shadow of the real thing.

So, forward with changed attitude, sometimes with difficulty, but with God all things are possible!

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