Tag Archives: spiritual

A Twinge of Envy?

tn_wayfarerjonIf you are going through a hard time or in a prolonged stressful situation, it’s tempting to look at others and feel you are missing out. On the surface at least, they seem to be sailing through life and have it easy in comparison. Before long you may even indulge in a little self pity, which, if allowed to continue, can be a destructive path spiraling down to despair.

My wife is long-term disabled and increasingly mobility-challenged. Over recent years, I have been finding a way through two chronic illnesses and found the sudden physical restriction and loss devastating at first. There was so much stimulating and fulfilling activity, including Christian service, that I could no longer be part of.  But slowly, as I painfully let go of all that, I entered into another world.

This was a world where we were in the slow lane Continue reading

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under bible, biography, Christian, chronic fatigue, disability, lifestyle, personal, seniors

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 –

2 Comments

Filed under Christian, Christianity, chronic fatigue, healing, health, health & wellness, illness, lifestyle, personal, spiritual

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Christianity, chronic fatigue, healing, health, health & wellness, illness, lifestyle, personal, spiritual

Daddy Oh Daddy

This was a time when the child in me was deeply touched and moved by the closeness of Father God. I had never written a song before, but these words, simple and personal, just burst out as I walked along the beach. I offer them to you now, just as they came, unfinished. There was a tune too, but I didn’t write that down.

Father Oh Father
I love you I do
I want you to come and love me too
I want to feel you close to me
To walk and talk and play with me
How I love you Father I do
I love to dance and walk with you
I love to see the twinkle in your eyes.

Son, Oh son, I feel so proud
When you come and reach out your hand;
Something happens inside of me
When you want to walk and talk with me.

Daddy, O daddy, I love you too
I love to dance and skip with you,
Come and put your arms around me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Christianity, healing, personal, spiritual

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Christianity, chronic fatigue, healing, health, health & wellness, illness, lifestyle, personal

Surprised by Angels

I once thought of angels as fluffy beings with wings, like the images portrayed in books, magazines and greeting cards. I was aware of recent reports and biblical angel encounters, but their existence remained theoretical, outside my realm of experience. As a pragmatic male, I believed Christians should concentrate on following Jesus, rather than an “experience”. While grateful for those blessings, or ‘consolations’ I received, I had no idea I was destined for my own very personal angelic encounters.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after several months of acute loneliness that defied any human solution. It was a most painful emotion of abandonment and anxiety, that kicked in after an eye operation that didn’t go to plan. I felt I was the only person in the whole world, like an infant, left out in the cold. I didn’t know which way to turn, except to God. The problem was He seemed to have left and was nowhere to be found. I had no sense of presence or awareness whatsoever. It was my own Dark Night of the Soul.

Even though He seemed far away, God had caught my attention as never before. I wanted to trust Him to take me through, but desperately needed answers and reached out to Him the best way I could. I spent time searching the bible, to see what was relevant to my situation. I recorded in my journal all that spoke to me, including my feelings at the time.

I liked to be outside in the freedom of the fresh air and was in the habit of going down to our beach. I used to sit on a low rock, just ‘being there in my wilderness!’ I became very aware and sensitive to those things close to hand, such as the surf gently washing in and rattling back over the shingle. I sat there one day, when I became aware – I can’t put it any other way – of Jesus kneeling at my feet, saying “What can I do for you?” This just stunned me. This was my God, kneeling at my feet, desiring to meet my needs.

A week or so later, when my anxiety levels were still high and I hadn’t driven far for a while, I drove my wife and a disabled friend, to visit a garden. On arrival, I left them in the formal garden while I explored a shady wooded area. I sat on a moss-covered tree stump, relishing the lush quiet all around me. I reached out to God in my isolation and almost immediately, I was aware of angels surrounding me. Some standing and some sitting, but all looking at me, protecting, waiting. It dawned upon me, that they had really been with me from the very beginning. I recalled some of the verses I had written down: I know it’s hard …. but you will come to no harm …. I will send my angels to protect you.

About three months later, after a brief appointment in town, my wife and I drove on to a favourite garden. It’s an incredible mix of several gardens, where there’s always a riot of colour, just like an artist dipping his brush in a paint box of flowers. After an hour or so, while my wife explored an old building, I wandered into a small secluded walled area. I was immediately struck by the quiet intimacy of this ‘secret’ garden. I sat on a sturdy wooden bench at the end of the close-cropped lawn. The seat was inviting like an armchair and so old, that the oak was bleached white with the sunlight.

As I soaked in the atmosphere, it suddenly felt like I was sitting on Father’s knee, with His arms around me. I could feel the warmth and comfort of His gentle embrace. I sat there enthralled, mesmerized, not wanting to move, in case He went away! I just sobbed with relief! That was a precious moment, Father and son together and possibly a promise of more to come?

Then, nearly five months after the onset, the state of desolation left as suddenly as it came. My senses began to return, the aching void inside receded and I felt covered by a warm comforting blanket of love.

I look back at that time now and just know that without me having to do anything, God did something deep inside. He knew my deepest need and just how much I could take and arranged those ‘angelic’ visitations to reassure and comfort me that He really was with me. Not the feeling, but the real God.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Christianity, chronic fatigue, healing, health, health & wellness, illness, lifestyle, personal, spiritual

Fatigue and Knowing Yourself

I firmly believe that CFS/ME is the result of a virus of some sort or other, but I am also convinced there are other factors involved. I wonder how much I really knew myself before I was diagnosed? Why was it that I would work on without giving too much thought to food or drink. Why did I work on our house until I was treading on my tools in the dark? Why did I not give enough heed to what my body was telling me? In other words I was pushing myself and why? I just wasn’t being kind to myself.

What was my heart saying? Looking back now, I know my heart was saying something like “You are giving all this time to listening to others, but what about me? I want to stop!”

Once I was forced to slow down, there was time to get to know myself more. How do we do this? By just giving time to listen and get in touch with our hearts. If we are a Christian we should ask God to show us. But that may not come easily to some of us, especially if we have been entrenched in unhelpful or self-destructive behaviour patterns. To get in touch with our hearts may seem daunting, as we could be in for some surprises. So we may need help to start with. Someone who will give us their full attention and really listen. Such a person may not be easily found and we may even have to go down the route of paying someone.

Some may consider all this to be self-indulgent and introspective. Well, look at Jesus! He was extremely busy, but even He needed to get away to the hills to recharge. Some years ago when I was faced with making a very important perplexing decision, I tramped the moors for a day to find out what to do. I asked God to tell me, but all I got back was, “What do you want to do?” Why did I find it difficult to answer that question? Because my head had not fully connected with my heart! Being a Christian is a heart to heart relationship. If we say we know Jesus, then we must know ourselves. The two go together.

I surprise myself by saying that despite the physical restrictions of chronic fatigue, in some ways I am more alive than before. I am more myself. More of a human being than a human doing. However, the journey of discovery continues and there is more, much more to come.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Christianity, chronic fatigue, healing, health, health & wellness, illness, lifestyle, personal, spiritual