Over the years I've read many articles listing the "dos" and "don'ts" regarding chronic illness. Such as,
"What NOT to say to someone living with a chronic illness."
"What TO say to someone living with a chronic illness."
"Ten ways to encourage someone living with a chronic illness."
"Five tips for the caregiver of someone living with a chronic illness."
Recently the Lord began to reveal some of the "dos" and "don'ts" in my own personal journey with chronic illness, and I'd like to share them with you, praying they'll be an encouragement and a help.
This week is my personal list of "The Dos" and next week will be my personal list of "The Don'ts"!
- DO ask for help
If someone asks if they can do anything for you, honestly share your needs, whatever they might be.
Walking your dog!
A shoulder to cry on!
Getting your groceries!
A listening ear!
When Brian was in the hospital way back in January, and as he recovered at home for five weeks, l HAD to have help from others.
I asked friends and neighbors to pick up Brian's medications, buy us groceries. A friend cleaned our house, another friend put fresh sheets on the bed. Church members made us meals. One of our neighbors brought the mail in and put the trash out!
All the help was quite humbling, but absolutely necessary.
I must ask my hubby for help on a daily basis. I wish I didn't need his help, but praise the Lord I have a husband who goes above and beyond for me!
All my "helpers" were putting into practice the truth of Acts 20:35
- DO use medical aids if necessary
I never EVER thought I would be using a shower bar, a shower chair and a hand-held shower head! But those things allow me to shower independently, and at the same time safely
Whether you use a shower chair, a cane, crutches, a scooter, a wheelchair or any number of medical aides, please don't ever equate that with being weak.
Neither allow using medical aids to ever cause you to think you are giving up, giving in and allowing your chronic illness to rule you.
No, you are using the medical equipment to aid yourself in living a productive, yet safe life.
"For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
- DO ask for prayer
At times I feel guilty asking my friends and church family to pray for me when I find myself in yet another major flare up. But how will they know to pray for me if I don't ask them?
I'm extremely thankful for my prayer warriors!
As much as we are blessed by being on the receiving end of the prayers of others, we need to be mindful, as well, of lifting up others in prayer.
- DO enjoy simple joys
Chronic illness has a tendency to turn lives upside down and inside out. Doctor appointments, tests, unrelenting pain, tears, unanswered questions, more tests, medications, more unanswered questions.
It's a ride on a never-ending merry-go-round.
Take time to soak in the simple joys of life.
A truck date!
Watching two beautiful butterflies flutter around amidst the pretty blue flowers while on a truck date (this happened to us just recently!)
Bask in the magnificent sunsets.
Breathe in deep as soon as the rain stops. When the air smells clean, fresh, and revitalized.
The laughter of children as they play carefree!
A scoop, or two, of your favorite ice cream!
"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time."
- DO sing unto the Lord
Have a playlist of your favorite worship music "ready to go" so at any time, especially on the really rough days, you just hit play and have music which will soothe your spirit and chase away those demons.
No, we're not all professional singers, but sing along with the songs anyway, and sing LOUD!
- DO stay in God's Word
Even on the most difficult days when you can't concentrate, let alone read your Bible, still stay in God's Word.
There are plenty of apps which can be downloaded in which a narrator will read the Bible to you!
On the days when my head is pounding and my vision is a mess, I just listen "to the little man" (that's what I call him!) read to me! It's a wonderful way to stay in The Word of God even on the rough days.
The free app I use is called Bible from Life.Church or also known as You Version Bible App. You can download it free from the Google play store.
- DO find a hobby
Once chronic illness enters your life, you can't always enjoy the things you once did. However, even amidst chronic illness, it's a good idea to have a hobby.
Something to calm, relax and distract from your symptoms as much as possible!
For me, it's creating greeting cards and playing games on my tablet! For you, it may be crocheting, baking, reading, gardening, doing crossword puzzles. The list is extensive.
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
I Corinthians 10:31
- DO praise the Lord
Okay, I admit this one needs much work in my life! When I'm in pain and my world is spinning around like a fast-moving ride at Disney World, the last thing I think to do is praise the Lord!
My words are usually,
"Please, Lord, make it stop!"
"Jesus, I need your help!"
But I can surely praise and thank the Lord when my world stops spinning, can't I?
I can praise Him as I'm lying in my own bed, knowing I'm not stuck in a hospital bed.
I can praise Him for the care my wonderful hubby provides for me.
I can definitely praise Him for my salvation.
And the praises go on and on and on!
- DO rest
I'm aware many living with a chronic illness need to be out in the work place, which I can't even begin to fathom how difficult that must be.
If you are able to be at home, please know it's okay to rest.
To do nothing but rest your mind, body and spirit.
Don't beat yourself up if you don't accomplish anything in a day, a few days, a week, a month.
Remember, you ARE battling an illness.
On the days when you feel up to it, do what you can and enjoy it!
On the rough days, stay in your pajamas. Prop up your feet. Listen to your music. Let "the little man" read the Bible to you! Take a long nap. Rest in Jesus.
Don't feel guilty for whatever you can or cannot do!
I pray my suggestions are a blessing, encouragement and a help!
Join me next week for a list of "don'ts" while dealing with a chronic illness!
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May God Bless You,