Called to Suffer

>> Saturday, September 14, 2013

by Sarah Forbes

If God made "the Captain of our Salvation perfect through suffering" (Hebrews 2:10) and He wants to make us like Christ (Romans 8:29) why do we suppose that He would NOT choose to mature us through suffering?

Even Paul suffered and asked that his affliction be removed but God refused, instead telling him "My grace is sufficient for you" ( 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Why do I suppose God would do any different with me?

Too often I hear references to the end of this verse, but those references skip the beginning of the verse which states, the part that HOW we will be like Christ: that we will suffer. "For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps." (1 Peter 2:21)

Called to Suffer.

That is a hard pill for me to swallow. It doesn't line up with our modern idea of God making my life better. But it is Bible. If I follow Christ, I will suffer. If not through persecution (we don't have much here in America yet) then God will use another kind of suffering to mature me in Christ. Perhaps an illness or financially difficulties. This is how I become more like Him. It is how I learn that I am utterly dependent on Him for my being (Acts 17:28).

After considering all this, I realized that I have been praying wrong. I was praying, like Paul, that God would take my illness away when the illness is evidence that God is working in me. Previously, I had seen it as keeping me from doing something for God. In reality it is what God is doing in me, what He is using to make me more like Him.
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Living with Hashinoto's





I have tried explaining the issues I have with Hashimotos Thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease) and feel that I regularly fall short of explaining just how debilitating this disease has been for me. I think this article best describes what having Hashimotos is like. I first saw it in Hashimoto's 411 Facebook group.


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Hi. My name is Hashimoto's.


 I'm an invisible autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid gland causing you to become hypothyroid. I am now velcroed to you for life. Others around you can't see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me.

I can attack you anywhere and any way I please.I can cause severe pain or, if I'm in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over.

Remember when you and energy ran around together and had fun?I took energy from you, and gave you exhaustion. Try to have fun now.

I can take good sleep from you and in its place, give you brain fog and lack of concentration.

I can make you want to sleep 24/7, and I can also cause insomnia.

I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else feels normal.

I can also give you swollen hands and feet, swollen face and eyelids, swollen everything.

I can make you feel very anxious or very depressed, too. I can also cause other mental health problems.

I can make your hair fall out, become dry and brittle, cause acne, cause dry skin, the sky is the limit with me.

I can make you gain weight and no matter what you eat or how much you exercise, I can keep that weight on you. I can also make you lose weight. I don't discriminate.

Some of my other autoimmune disease friends often join me, giving you even more to deal with.

If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away from you.

You didn't ask for me. I chose you for various reasons:That virus or viruses you had that you never really recovered from, or that car accident, or maybe it was the years of abuse and trauma (I thrive on stress.) You may have a family history of me. 

Whatever the cause, I'm here to stay.

I hear you're going to see a doctor to try and get rid of me. That makes me laugh. Just try. You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively.

You will be put on the wrong medication for you, pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given anti-anxiety pills and antidepressants.

There are so many other ways I can make you sick and miserable, the list is endless - that high cholesterol, gallbladder issue, blood pressure issue, blood sugar issue, heart issue among others? That's probably me.

Can't get pregnant, or have had a miscarriage?That's probably me too.

Teeth and gum problems? TMJ? I told you the list was endless.

You may be given a TENs unit, get massaged, told if you just sleep and exercise properly I will go away.

You'll be told to think positively, you'll be poked, prodded, and MOST OF ALL, not taken seriously when you try to explain to the endless number of doctors you've seen, just how debilitating I am and how sick you really feel. In all probability you will get a referral from these 'understanding' (clueless) doctors, to see a psychiatrist.

Your family, friends and co-workers will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and just how debilitating I am.

Some of them will say things like "Oh, you are just having a bad day" or "Well, remember, you can't do the things you use to do 20 YEARS ago", not hearing that you said 20 DAYS ago.

They'll also say things like, "if you just get up and move, get outside and do things, you'll feel better." They won't understand that I take away the 'gas' that powers your body and mind to ENABLE you to do those things.

Some will start talking behind your back, they'll call you a hypochondriac, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity trying to make them understand, especially if you are in the middle of a conversation with a "normal" person, and can't remember what you were going to say next. 

You'll be told things like, "Oh, my grandmother had that, and she's fine on her medication" when you desperately want to explain that I don't impose myself upon everyone in the exact same way, and just because that grandmother is fine on the medication SHE'S taking, doesn't mean it will work for you.

The only place you will get the kind of support and understanding in dealing with me is with other people that have me. They are really the only ones who can truly understand.

I am Hashimoto's Disease."
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(This is originally from Gena Lee Nolan's thyroid page in her "notes" section. https://www.facebook.com/thyroidsexy)




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The Testimony of a Strong Willed Child

>> Friday, September 13, 2013


The Testimony of a Strong Willed Child
by Sarah Fobes

I was THAT child.

You know the one. The explosive, high maintenance, strong
me, 5 years old
willed one. The one that the teachers thought --at first-- was really sweet, until something didn’t go my way. Then ...watch out world! I stomped, yelled, kicked, and threw things. I ran away from school. All this was before fourth grade when my parents brought me home for school.

I didn’t like public school. I could blame my behavior on the school system, but that wouldn't be the truth. I’d like to say that homeschooling changed my behavior and all that nonsense stopped. But it didn’t. My brother still cringes over the Saxon math book I threw at him when I didn’t like his explanation of my math questions. I can’t count the number of pencils I broke and doors I slammed in frustration at the world which I thought was set against me.


I am sorry to say that my mother must have endured many tears and sleepless nights over me.

So what did she do? She prayed. She endured. She corrected me. She insisted that I do right. She taught me Scripture. She kept on loving me no matter what. Oh, the drama I put her through. It grieves me now, as a mother myself, to think of the hurtful things I did and said to her.

Once, in a fit of anger after running away from home at age 11, I told her she didn’t love me and never had. I can still clearly remember the wounded look on her face. Even as I said it, I knew it wasn’t true. In fact, I was a miracle baby and my selfless mother had spent nights awake caring for me, listening to be sure I was still breathing, vigilant on my behalf. Her love for me was always evident in what she did. This is one of those moments in my life I regret. One of the memories that Satan uses to discourage me when I am down. I used my words to crush someone who loved me and cared for me more than anyone else ever had.

Back then, I didn’t really care what my parents thought. I did what I wanted with little regard for their rules or standards. I overheard a conversation between two ladies at church: they were sure I would be pregant by fifteen. But the seed of my parent’s love for God had been planted in my heart, and it was slowly growing. In my rebellious moments, I could hear the Lord calling. I could see my mom snuggled in bed with her Bible, my dad on his knees by our couch in the early morning hours. I could feel a draw to God. I heard Him calling through the life, love and daily example of my parents.

One day shortly before my 13th birthday, I went to a friend’s house. She was an unbeliever. The family situation was deplorable. She had been smoking since she was seven and “physically active” since ten. She was the only girl my age in our the neighborhood, and I thought I wanted to be like her. She was pretty and fun. All the boys liked her. That day, I didn’t know that her parents were not home and that she had invited boys over for a “party.” As soon as I got there, I realised what was going on --that they were pairing off in different rooms. An older boy picked me.

At that moment, my world stopped.

I had watched my friend live a life of promiscuousness. I saw the seeds of darkness in her life. I wasn’t sure that was the life I wanted. I saw two paths separated in front of me. One was the life my parents lived, one of seeking to serve God --imperfect though that service may be. The other was a path to sin and destruction. I had not read “Pilgrim’s Progress” nor Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” But I to this day when I hear references to either of those, I am taken back to this moment. This defining moment when I would choose to follow God or abandon my parent’s faith.

So what did I do when this boy “laid claim” to me? I fled. I ran. As fast as I could and I didn’t look back. Joseph and Potiphar's wife comes to mind. I ran home and locked myself in my room. I urged my friend to come with me, but she refused. She was even excited to stay.

Though I had fled from sin, I had not yet decided who I would follow. At home in my room, the weight of this decision was heavy on my heart and my mind. I struggled to decide if I was going to follow the world or the Lord. I barely ate or emerged from my room for days. All the while I could feel the Lord calling to my heart. I remember sitting with my back against the door rocking back and forth with sobs, all the while letting the desires of this world melt away. I had seen how the sin of this world was destroying the life and family of my friend. God’s love and forgiveness stood in stark contrast. God’s love compelled me so strongly that I had no desire to say “no” to Him. All else paled in comparison to following Him. I didn’t say a special prayer, though I had “asked Jesus into my heart” when I was four. What I did was I DECIDED. I chose the less traveled path and have never --not for one moment-- regretted it. (To this day, praise the Lord for prompting me to flee. I fled with my innocence intact. My friend was pregnant before her sixteenth birthday. Had I not fled, the overheard conversation at church may very well have come true.)

I didn’t tell anyone about this battle in my heart until many years later. After I had children of my own, my dad and I were discussing the salvation of my children. That was when he described the change that he and my mom saw in me: Suddenly, out of nowhere it seemed to them, I changed: I cared what they thought, I started to obey without fighting them, I sought their wisdom, I began to choose better friends and modest clothing, I wanted to go to church, I read my Bible of my own accord. When Daddy described this change I knew exactly what had facilitated it. I always knew I had changed in that moment, that the Lord had changed me. What I didn’t know was that everyone around me saw it too.

It occurs to me now that God made this change in me without my parents direct involvement. They didn’t even know what had changed or why. They simply lived a godly life in front of me as an example for me to choose to follow. They were not perfect parents, but they were sincere in their faith.

So Mama... so Dad.. out there reading this... wondering about

your own little spitfire. Don’t despair as you watch your child strong-willed child struggle. Plant the seeds of a godly life and let the the Lord water that fruit. Live a godly example, love unconditionally like Christ, and pray fervently... and then pray some more. Be an example of a sincere godly life that your child can clearly see. God IS calling your child. Even in my darkest moments, God was calling me to Himself. He loves your child more than you ever could and He will never give up on him. When you are at the end of your rope, remember... even when you can’t see it: God IS working.

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HASHIMOTO'S-- the "unofficial" symptom list

>> Thursday, November 1, 2012

What I wish I'd been told when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's



When I was diagnosed with Hashimotos I wish that the doctor had taken some time to explain to me exactly what having this disorder would mean.... that in essence my life as I knew it would change forever...that it was an autoimmune disease (and what an autoimmune disease is)...that it would be a lifelong illness...that it would go hand-in-hand with other disorders (and some autoimmune diseases) which would complicate efforts to treat the thyroid (such as psoriasis, diabetes, irritable bowel, polycystic ovarian disorder, gluten intolerance and other food allergies, adrenal fatigue, ADHD, anxiety, and candida). The blood tests seem, for me, to be useless. I have regularly been so sick I cannot function, yet still had the bloodwork turn out in the "normal" range. The best thyroid doctor in my area threw up his hands and didn't know what else to do for me. I have not found a list ANYWHERE that can do justice to the amount of chaos this disorder had caused in my life

This is the "unofficial" symptom list. This is how it is affecting my daily life. I am slowly getting getting better.

--Some days I am so weak I can barely walk; on really bad days I cannot stand.

--I get random hot and cold sweats, usually combined with dizziness... even when I am on a supplement

--I cannot take synthetic supplements, my body doesn't accept it. What I do get is all the side effects. Joy.

--Despite the fact that I have an IQ over 140, some days I cannot think with enough clarity to boil an egg... things you normally wouldn't have to think through, like which pan to use (you'd instinctively grab the right one), where the fridge is located in the house, where the eggs are in the fridge, etc. Things I normally know instinctively I cannot remember. I actually had one day when I wasn't sure if I was supposed to stop on the red light or the orange. I simply couldn't remember. Imagine trying to run a house, homeschool, and pay bills like this.

--I have so much trouble sleeping that I am bordering on sleep deprivation. All it takes is one night of not enough sleep and I am like a completely different person.

--Because Hashimoto's causes thickening of the skin and tissues, I had to have carpal tunnel surgery on both my hands when I was 31. The surgeon told me he had no idea why my hands were so bad. His words were something like "Worse than the 90 year old ladies I treat." Now I know... thickening of the tissue due to the Hashimotos. I was nearly diagnosed with diabetes because of numbness in my feet and stiffness in my ankles. Same issue. Thickening of the tissue. Oh, and when I had my surgery, they had to poke me 8 times before the I.V. would lace. My blood vessels are also very tough-- all the cause of this disorder.

--My house looks like an episode of Hoarders. That is an exaggeration to make a point. It is getting better, but I cannot manage my families things because I cannot think clearly. To add to the trouble, since I have so low energy, when I have a burst of energy, I tend to go "stock up" on what I think I will need. The thinking is that then I will have it when I need it. However, by the time I get home from my stock run, I am so wiped out I cannot think clearly enough, nor do I have the energy left, to organize and put away items. The result it half finished projects and piles of supplies.

--I almost had my children take away from me because of the condition of my house. I do not choose to live like this. I am just so sick. I am doing the best I can-- cross my heart and hope to die. I am seeking treatment from an alternative medicine doctor and am improving! I am feeling better than I have in nearly 8 years, but it is a slow process. Because of the above listed symptoms, I am not able to manage my home very well. If I cannot remember when I keep the silverware, how am I supposed to remember to tell my son to put his coat away?

--On the days I am feeling better, I get REALLY angry. Angry at life. Angry at God. Angry at doctors. Angry at my husband for not doing more. Angry at my kids for being disorganized kids (but I haven't really been able to train them to be otherwise). But mostly angry at myself for being such a bad wife and mother (that is what the "voice" in my head tells me), for not doing better, for not living up to expectations.

--I am jealous of those who are able to see what they want and go get it. I remember being like that. It was a long time ago. But I still remember.

--I have continually been misjudged. When I first started seeking treatment, I was told by a pastor and his wife that what I needed was to read the Bible more. Now I am not saying that the Bible ISN'T a good idea. But you don't treat a broken arm with a Bible verse. It may comfort a person who has a broken arm, but generally it doesn't make the broken arm go away. Because of the condition of the house, I have been judged as less than a good godly woman. Even by those I love dearly. I have nearly stopped having people over to the house. I don't have the energy to get it presentable, and don't have any desire to deal with the judgments of others. If I set a date and trust the adrenaline to work for me, I end up with adrenal fatigue. Last time that happened I slept for almost 5 days straight. I had someone close to me tell me that, if I could not find a way to take care of my children properly, they would take the children and care for the properly "for" me (a veiled hint at taking the children from me).

--I usually cannot schedule more than one thing in a day. If I have a doctor appointment, I cannot focus on homeschooling that day. My brain doesn't have the extra energy to multitask.
--I was surprised when my dr said that when one of her patience is diagnosed with Hashimotos, she has a meeting with the family and tells them that the family will either have to do the work that the diagnosed member has been doing or they will have to hire a maid (if it is the wife) or find an alternate means of income (if it is a "working" member). She said that, until the hashimotos is properly treated and under control (I am still trying to figure out what that means), the diagnosed person cannot be expected to perform any of their "normal" duties. That is yet another thing I wish someone had told me when I was diagnosed with Hashimotos. Would have saved me YEARS of heartache.

--I have ADHD, but sometimes wonder if it is actually just the Hashimotos....?


I will add more as I think of it. It helps me to write it out. Maybe this list will encourage others who find the "official" lists greatly lacking in content and clarity.


Blessings!

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Don’t Miss the Blessings

>> Friday, August 10, 2012


by Sarah Forbes

Sore and tired. Worn from continued sickness. Wearied by chronic illness. I awoke this morning with a clear recollection of what God had been trying to teach me. My heart knew. But I was not a willing pupil. He whispered again today, Don’t miss My blessings. Sitting here in pain. Crying. Listening to praise songs. Trying to encourage myself. Seeking to lift my own spirit. I hear my children. Happily at play. In harmony together. Pounding small rocks on the patio. To a rhythm. Singing joyfully. Contentedly. And again I hear The Voice, Don’t miss My blessings.


Overwhelmed. Indecisive. Feeling guilty about what I should be doing. Wondering what I possibly can do in such pain. Procrastinating because of my sinful self. I would rather wallow in self-pity and misery. Rather that, than showering and facing the day. Which might make me feel better. My sinful self doesn’t want to feel better. Conviction strikes me heart. And again I hear His voice, Don’t miss My blessings I rise. I choke on tears. I shower. I sing what my heart feels. I comfort myself with verses. Scriptures hid in my heart long ago. I see my children's smiling faces. I choose to focus on their smiles. The happy smiles of my children. I choose to laugh and joke. I choose to not see the unhappy things. I find strength to face my day. He is my strength.

It’s not long. Not long until I forget Him. Forget to rely on Him. Forget to focus on Him. I lose sight of who I am in Him. I stop looking at Him. Stop trusting in Him to be my strength. My flesh is weak. I am drawn away from Him.

Bored little boys in a checkout line. Waiting. Hungry. Annoying me. Little things that annoy easily. Requests. Repeated by excited children. I snap. I should have held my tongue. But I did not. My sinful heart says “Go away.” “Leave me alone.” “I have no more to give.” “I don’t WANT to give anymore.” “See me? I hurt. I bleed. I can’t give when I hurt so much.” And I remember my Lord. And I am ashamed. He bled. He gave. He gave all. He asks no less of me.
Getting dinner. Busy, impatient children. Spilling, toppling food. Messes. And more messes. On top of already-uncleaned messes. Anger. Boiling up inside me. “Why can’t I ever get it right?” “Why can't it be pretty?” “Why can’t it be perfect?” I know I am prideful. That’s what craves the perfection. It’s my sinful pride. And again I hear the Still Small Voice, Don’t miss My blessings. And I pray. My mind searches for the thanksgiving. For something to be thankful for. I remember from before... this could change my heart-attitude. Selfish anger fights against the joy that could be. All I must do is choose to be thankful. If I’d only choose to be thankful. And I pray some more. I hear the patient Voice still repeating, Don't miss My blessings. 


My family happily munches dinner. I close my eyes and I pray. I pray away my bitterness. Bitterness that life has not been what I wished it to be. What I planned it to be. Through my prayers, my heart chooses joy. I seek a renewing of my mind. A centering of myself in Christ. Things that before were irritation, transform. 

I find myself thankful. Thankful for the spills. Thankful that I have children to make spills. Thankful I have food to be spilled. Thankful I have eyes to see the spills. Hands to clean the spills. Thankful I have children with willing hearts ready to help tidy up messes. 

Thankful --even that I have sickness. Sickness to make my heart tender. Thankful that I have learned to give others understanding. Understanding and grace. I realise that the pain and sickness has changed me. It is still changing me. It is making me more like the One I Hold Most Dear. It is the crucible, the Refiner’s fire my Lord has chosen to purify me. And I have disdained it. Despised it. 

Not understanding, I let the anger, and the bitterness, keep me from seeing the blessings. Blessings poured out from Heaven. All around me. My heart sees no pain now-- only joy. And I hear a Voice, See. See My blessings.

Hebrews 12: 5-12 (NASB)
“...and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.’

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”


...my little blessings... 

NO COPYRIGHT. PLEASE PASS IT ON!
May the Lord use my struggles to bless others.
Sarah.beyondallmeasure@gmail.com
This is a cross-post from my other blog thepursuitofgodlywomanhood.blogpsot.com





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All this is a result of my personal hard work. Do not take any of it and claim it as your own. Feel free to link and use my photos IF you give me credit. Please be honest. Any other use will need permission. Email me at (sarah.beyondallmeasure at gmail.com) to request permission for other uses.

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