30 Days of Gratitude: Days 1-3

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” – Colossians 30:17

November started out with some of the coldest temps on record in South Carolina. The early snow in Columbia, a few hours south of us, broke the record set in 1909. A hundred years of warmth ended with that early snow – three inches in some places. While it didn’t snow on our little homestead, around us friends and neighbors were posting pictures of their white yards and snow-covered Halloween pumpkins. I even saw a car covered in snow driving down the road in front of me! All Saints Day started with a brisk… pace.

I am booked the next few weekends – well, basically all of the weekends between now and Thanksgiving weekend. So here’s how I’ll make the most of it and focus on what I’m supposed to do. (Including trying to stay healthy, since I’m currently sitting at home nursing a tummy bug.) These are things I’m grateful for – days 1-3.

1. Prayer. I am going to spend more time in prayer (and now that I say it, in swooping from all directions all the things that will try their best to distract me… as if on cue.) But, with His power and focus, I’m planning to learn a bit more about my relationship with Jesus and plug into more focused, and intentional prayer times. My prayer status has been “without ceasing” for a long time, but I just want to get more intimate, more snuggled up with the Savior, and so I’m going to push into the Word more and complete the weekly devotional from our Disciple Life class. It’s a question posed from the guest pastor last night, which are you going to serve? The flesh or the spirit? Whichever one you feed, is the one that will win. It’ll be stronger and overpower the one that you don’t feed. I really liked that analogy.

2. Drugs that work and remembering to take my meds like I’m supposed to. I’m resolving to finally go buy a weekly pill sorter. It’s a stupid thing but if I don’t remember to take my meds at regular intervals, I can tell… as side effects are not something to play around with (random, fast-onset heart-racing, anxiety attacks, to be exact). Maybe this is TMI (and I admit, to say it here does scare me a bit as I’m not one to broadcast health things) but I’ve been struggling with the management of a chronic illness for a while, and even before I was officially diagnosed in March, but I’m making it, drugs are working and I’m not allowing myself to be defined by the illness. It doesn’t get to decide my fate. It’s just something I deal with, like someone who has to deal with diabetes or allergies. I have fibromyalgia. It’s a really stupid thing, and it won’t get the best of me. I manage it with proper, balanced nutrition, learning to be kinder to myself and discovering my limits (and how to say “no”) and staying on the meds, which seem to be working. The problem, fibro fog is real. And it’s funny to be so sure you took your meds that morning, when you realize at lunchtime that really, you were remembering the action of taking the meds the day before… so a pill sorter will be great! I love lists. Lists are my superpower. Get pill sorter – going on the list.

3. Number three thing I’m grateful for is my awesome husband. He’s my strong shoulder to lean into. This last year has been such a beautiful time of growth and understanding in our marriage. Learning to be married has been awesome and crazy and wonderful all at the same time. Taking time to celebrate each other in our busy, loaded lives is one key to our happiness. We traveled to Table Rock State Park yesterday just to see what there was to see. And, we found this.

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We discovered the back porch at the Table Rock State Park Visitor’s Center. Sitting in the side-by-side rocking chairs, soaking up the sun, listening to the crickets in the nearby field and holding hands while enjoying the view and light chilly breeze, that’s a perfect Sunday afternoon. I’m so blessed to be able to say that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend and God’s best for me!

A few notes:
On point #1: If you’re looking for a good devotion on prayer, check out Michael Catt’s “Power of Persistence” in the Fall 2014 MasterWork from Lifeway. Or, one of my favorite online daily devotional sites: Proverbs 31 Ministries. Today’s devotion on the “Power of a Simple Prayer” is awesome. These devotions are always perfectly timed – just what I needed, right when I needed it – even if I didn’t know I needed it!

On point #2: I say all this so someone, not sure who, will read this and feel empowered and think positive thoughts about this illness and not think that it needs to define them. That it’s a label, or a prison sentence. I thought at first it was, for a split second of about a week, because I was so shocked that it was happening to me, but since I have lived with the symptoms (all random and seemingly disconnected) for so long, to now know what was wrong – and to have some answers on how to fix it and make it better, make it livable, that was the relief. That was the victory. That is the solution. So, don’t be hard on yourself if you get this same diagnosis. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, these things are real, but you can take steps to make them, and your life, better. Off my soapbox. And, yes, I’m learning as I go.)

On point #3: I just can’t say enough how much I love him!

p.s. Happy (Belated) Halloween! Can you guess who I am dressed as?

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