Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vulnerability and the Blog

My friend Susan, who is also the director of women's ministry at my church wrote a very interesting blog post about "taking off the mask". This was also the theme of the women's retreat I was unable to attend because of the smoke at Lake Tahoe. Judging by her post, I missed a lot! Her post talks about how when we are hurting, we need to take off the mask and we need help. Wow! It's much easier to give help than receive it, isn't it?

For me, sometimes writing on my blog is taking off that proverbial mask. It is somewhat safe to do so here where only a few of my real life friends and family read. There is some risk involved and yes my feelings could potentially get hurt, but there is a certain degree of anonymity. Yet, in the alternative world of the web, I think a blog can also serve as a mask. It shows a certain persona, a part of our own persona, but it remains two dimensional.

Today I feel vulnerable. I have been swimming in the Overwhelming Sea for several months and the events of the last few weeks have shown me that it is time to quit struggling. Just like a drowning swimmer's struggles often prevent their rescue, so my emotional flailings often prevent the Great Physician from treating me. I took my mask off, I'm readjusting my vision and I'm trying to follow His plan, not mine! Sounds simple, right? Not really.

Since 1991 I have struggled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and "chronic severe migraines" since 1995. I have rarely discussed the CFS because most people don't understand it and therefore think you are a hypochondriac. I have tried ignoring it for many years, but that does not make it disappear. The recent struggles with our son in discipline and attitude issues as well as the extreme grief have worn me down physically to the point that I often feel useless to my family. And as I have made more friends at my new church, the fatigue issues come bubbling to the surface. When I deal with the minimal amount of people, then I can keep the mask on. The more I deal with people, the more difficult it becomes. It's hard for people to understand when I cannot participate on the same levels that they can. If I do something one day, then I am "wiped" for several days or a week. Even more frustrating to me is the fact that in the last year I have had "surges" of "normal people energy" when I have been able to paint, help put in our laminate floor, decorate and organize. But our home shows the obvious signs of what happens when the energy surge ends!

I know I am rambling now. I don't feel sorry for myself, but I do have times of being sad and remorseful. I am afterall human. And today I have decided to ask for help. Will you pray for me? Will you ask the Father to heal me that I may glorify Him in caring for my family and in serving Him?

In the meantime I have been doing some research and reading and I am trying to do things that will help myself. I am looking into a gluten free or at least a wheat free diet to help with my asthma and body fatigue and hopefully lose weight. (Gluten is inflammatory in the body...asthma and allergies are inflammatory diseases, so some people have had great success) It's not very easy. It seems like having another job. But, this does seem to be the next step in the journey I have been taking to eat healthier. Now, if I could get rid of my insomnia so that I could wake up early enough to exercise with my husband, that would be good. One step at a time.

Do any of you deal with chronic fatigue or pain? Do you need to lose a large amount of weight? May I pray for you too? I think I am going to blog my health journey here...that way I have a way to be accountable.

In closing I want to share from a devotional I began re-reading yesterday, called Rekindly The Inner Fire: You are my Hiding Place by David Hazard. It is a 40 day devotional focusing on the writings of Amy Carmichael, an Irish woman who spent the majority of her days serving as a missionary in India. She was the first person to take on the horrific practice the Hindus kept of dedicating small girls to temple prostitution service. She also lived her last 30 years or so in severe pain. Her writings are sometimes difficult to read because of her style but if you persevere, you will find gems of faith.

The first day's reading is titled "Learning to Live 'At Home'". She wrote, "We need to live more at home" and goes on to further discuss that Jesus is our home! She continually re-directs the reader to the price Christ paid for our redemption:

Home of my heart, lest I forget
My redemption's cost to Thee,
Let my earliest thought be set
Upon thy Calvary.

David Hazard writes in closing prayer, "My Father, something inward tells me I have been living scattered. Sometimes anxious. Restless. Distracted. Wandering inside. I fix my eyes upon the cross now -- upon the post and crossbeam which became my one bridge back to your side. And I lift my eyes beyond the cross, to the One who sits beside you -- to Jesus, the Risen One! My Lord, my brother, with arms outstretched in welcome. Calling to me: 'Come home.' I come, Father, to hide myself in you."

My scattered, restless heart is going Home. Will you join me? I know He will open His arms as the father in the Prodigal Son parable, to welcome us in joyous love!

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7


Donna B said...

praying for you, Theresa. I know that struggling with sin (whether yours or others) and difficult circumstances can be a heavy weight, and I have felt that weight a lot lately. Keep looking to Jesus, and remember that He is our thankful that I don't have to come up with some on my own! As for the circumstances, I will pray for those, too.

Debby said...

Hi Theresa,
I like reading your blog and your Christian witness throughout. It is uplifting believe it or not. Your struggles are to others as well by the way you choose to give them to the Lord. I'll pray for you.
I had back surgery a little over a year ago. (couldn't even walk upright) My surgeon told me to lose some weight or the back surgery may not be as effective. I needed to lose 60 lbs. About the same time our pastor's wife started a program called Prism at our church. I did lose the 60 lbs and have kept all but 10 of it off for over a year. I'm working on that 10. But the life changes have remained. I not only lost the weight but feel so much better. It is a life change not a diet. Just thought I'd pass it along. Basically you cut out sugar and processed foods.

sherriknits said...

Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your heart.
I, too, have been blessed by your blog. I prayed for you and will as you continue to share your journey. God bless you.

Charlotte said...

Praying Theresa! I love you just the way you are!!! You have been and are such a blessing to me! We can never know how we influence those around us...your faith in God helps your light shine. Feel free to email me for gluten-free recipes. My hubby has Celiac's and eats gluten free.

Melissa said...

Praying for you Theresa! It must be difficult, esp. with 3 little ones. I know what it's like to struggle to care for 3 children all day long, plus keep house, plus cook good healthy meals. If you want to pray for me, I am so busy right now, and I need to lose baby fat from my body and I have arthritis in my hips. The hips were awful during my pg and continue to be stiff. I hope you find some good resources for you GF diet, it's tough! You're right, it's like an additional full time job. God can give you strength though. I am unable to keep up with any groups right now, I've unsubbed to 3, and while I still belong to 3, I'm not reading them. I read blogs about once a week. I like being able to keep up this way, so I'm glad that you are faithful with your blog. Anyway, didn't mean to write a novel. I hope you find that the GF diet works for you. Take care!