I’m not afraid of the dark

http://www.diamondgallery.com/diamonds-are-forever/
source: http://www.diamondgallery.com/diamonds-are-forever/

If God granted your biggest wish right now, would it change your faith in Him forever or just sustain you temporarily until you had another wish you wanted fulfilled?

I ask this because at the depths of my angst and the heights of my chronic pain, all I wanted was to be healed.  I thought if God would just heal me, it would change everything for me.

  • My faith would be restored.
  • I could finally make a difference in His kingdom.
  • People would see me and say “wow, God still performs miracles!”
  • I could find reasons to smile again.
  • Nothing would ever hold me back again.
  • I could fill my schedule back up with pool parties, coffee visits, bible study groups, serving here and there and there and there…. if only He would heal me.

But God didn’t heal me.  In fact, I will always have fibromyalgia and arthritis.  I will probably always struggle with some form of depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.  However the journey, in and of itself, has strengthened my faith in God.  I now have some wisdom, some life experience, and some ways to connect to other people.  I never would have had these gifts if God would have healed me the first or the seventeenth time I asked.

I used to live landmark to landmark – waiting to see what was on the horizon and telling myself, “once this thing is past me, I’ll be fine.”  And, “when I get to that next thing, everything will be GREAT!”  And, “when I have a job again, we will be financially secure.”  I was scared of the pressure while I was suffering physically.  I was terrified of the life change.  I felt forgotten, isolated, segregated, removed.  The pressure of not knowing when or if I would feel good again was too much.  I was scared of being in the dark.

I didn’t know how to rely on God.

And when I lived that way (constantly waiting for the next thing), I was essentially covering my ears and rocking back and forth … and shutting out God.  He was trying to whisper to me, and sometimes He would send people to try to speak truth into me.  But I couldn’t hear them because I was too busy making my own plans.  I didn’t even see them because I was too focused on my anticipation of the next thing on the horizon.

Your life is now, not later.

Dont’ wait for the next thing, because you’re going to miss THIS thing.  And believe me when I tell you, there is a lesson to be learned in every situation.  There is joy to be found and there is sorrow to shake your soul.  Just like the Bible says in the book of Ecclesiastes, there really is a time for everything.  Don’t wish away these times like I did.  Because gems are only produced under pressure.  You are a gem to Him.  I am a gem to Him.  Don’t believe for a second that your worth is what this world tells you it is.  DO believe that you ARE a precious gem of the Lord’s.  He formed you.  He made you.  HE PICKED YOU!  You have worth and you have sparkle.

So dont’ be afraid of the dark.

God has the ultimate flashlight. He sees you and He loves you.  He has not forgotten you.  Don’t give up hope in Him.
Look for His light.
Because that’s where you’re going to sparkle.

Stop the Insanity of Chronic Pain!

(see update at the bottom)

For the past 6 and a half weeks I haven’t stopped moving and doing and laughing and smiling and running/dancing up and down the stairs — because I CAN.  I CAN do all of those things.  Stella has her groove back! — wait, totally wrong reference, but you get the idea.

I want everyone to know right off the bat, that I am not cured.  The supplements that have changed my life will not cure me.  I have a chronic illness that I will most likely have until the day I get to go be with my Savior in heaven!

I took the plunge in late December and ordered Plexus products.

What the heck IS Plexus?

Plexus is a wellness company that has many products. These products are 100% Natural and all have a 60 day money back guarantee. There are several different products that can help you with many aliments.  The company does not claim to cure any illness but has a 93% Success rate to help and aid you with the following conditions:

  • Headaches
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Celiac’s
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Anxiety
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Sugar Cravings … and the list goes on

What do I take?

I take Slim, Accelerator, a killer ProBiotic called ProBio5, a multivitamin, and a cleansing agent called BioCleanse.  Sounds like a lot, right?  It is NOTHING compared to the regimen I used to be on.  Nothing.  No comparison.  If you have chronic illnesses you might also be thinking – just 6 things?  Yes.  Just 6 things.   But I started out on just two things.  Slim and Accelerator.  Because if you recall, I was a total skeptic and just knew this wouldn’t work for me.

http://annskaehill.myplexusproducts.com/
http://annskaehill.myplexusproducts.com/

 

What should you take?

I recommend that everyone start with the Slim, the Accelerator, and the ProBio5.  If I would have looked more into the ProBio5 when I started, I would had added it in from the get-go.  The combination of these three things will most likely put you into a detox  state and it won’t be pretty for a while.  I’m not going to lie.  You might get bloated, have migraines, break out in acne, have aches and pains and so on.  What’s going on in this process is the good elements (such as the vitamins) are trying to kick the bad elements to the curb (such as candida, inflammation nd so on) – and the bad stuff in your system is so comfortable, it just doesn’t want to go.  So it has a bit of a temper tantrum.  My detox period lasted a solid 2 weeks, but I have a friend who has also struggled with fibromyalgia and her detox lasted a little over 30 days!  Whew!

Why in the world would I want to do this “detox” on purpose?

Why in the world would you want to continue feeling the way you feel right now?  You’re already trying medications, therapies, treatments, stretches, exercises and saying  every prayer ever written just to feel better.  If you have made it this far, you can totally make it 14-30 days so that you can find some freedom from the grip your pain has on you right now!  And, if by day 45 or so you don’t feel any difference at all, you can make a simple phone call and get your money back.  Remember?  I had every intention of getting my money back after I proved to everyone that it wouldn’t work for me.

Will I have to take it forever?

You don’t HAVE to do anything.  Will I take it forever?  You betcha.  As long as they make it, I will be taking it.  I ran out of my products for three days and found that I was begging my friends for some of theirs until my next order showed up in my mailbox!  The fatigue came back almost immediately.  These products are natural – there’s no hidden weird stuff in them.  Due to company policy I can’t post them, but I will absolutely email them to you if you leave your email address in the comments.  Take the list to your doctor.  Research the ingredients.  Do some homework.

Will it cost me a lot?

It depends on your definition of “a lot.”  I was on SEVEN prescription medications, had regular appointments with my pain doctor, had to get terrifically painful massages to get the knots out, and was constantly reordering pain lotion.  So for me?  This is cheaper than all of that mess.  And I feel better on this than I did on ALL of that combined.  You need to talk to your doctor if you plan to get off medications while you’re taking these supplements – so keep that in mind as well.

This isn’t a sales pitch.  This is a freedom pitch.  Stop doing the things you’ve been doing if they aren’t giving you the freedom to get back into the land of the living.  Or at least give this a try.  This has been an answer to the prayers my family has been saying for almost three years.  I feel so alive!

Leave your email address in the comment section – or send me an email to annskaehill@gmail.com – let me help you get started so that in 2 months YOU can be praising the goodness of God in a body that isn’t keeping you from living your life!

http://annskaehill.myplexusproducts.com/
http://annskaehill.myplexusproducts.com/

It’s now mid-May 2014 and I am working 30 hours a week, cleaning my house, and running errands like a normal mom.  I play football outside with my family and I go for 4-mile walks and 12-mile bike rides.  I feel AMAZING!  I know I’m not cured but it sure is nice to be part of my own life again!!!

rest vs. lazy

lazy

Most of us go through our day jumping from one thing to the next and trying to squeeze in that one last thing before dinner or sports practices or bed times.   After all that, we need rest!  When our chronic pain is more than medications or therapies can tackle, we need rest!  When our brains have been going 100mph, we need rest!    Even God rested:

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  Gen 2:2-3

But then there is just plain lazy.  We tend to pin this word to our kids’ foreheads on a regular basis… shoes out, backpacks lying around, a trail of winter clothes all the way up the stairs … and there they are planted in front of the XBox.   Sometimes I wish I had duct tape for my OWN mouth because there I go, spouting off brilliant and love-giving things like: “Dude, why are you so LAZY!?!?!  Pick up after yourself!”

And then I go sit on the couch and scroll through Pinterest for 30 minutes, because mommy needs to “rest.”
Really?
Or am I just being lazy?

REST

  1. :  reposesleepspecifically :  a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities
  2. :  freedom from activity or labor
  3. :  a state of motionlessness or inactivity
  4. :  the repose of death
  5. :  a place for resting or lodging
  6. :  peace of mind or spirit

Ok, sure — I had minimal function except for my scrolling finger on my tablet and definitely experienced FREEDOM from activity/labor.  Motionless, check.  Repose of death???  Um no.  And blah blah blah — peace of mind or spirit… YES!  Child upstairs, mommy downstairs… just yes.

LAZY

  1. : not liking to work hard or to be active
  2. : not having much activity : causing people to feel that they do not want to be active
  3. : moving slowly

I’m not going to pick those apart because it will cause too much harm to my Pinterest boards.  Ok not really — but you know what I’m getting at here.  How do we know when we are needing rest and when we are just being lazy?  Here is my opinion after 3 years of truly needing rest for my aching body.

The top 3 signs you’re just being lazy and using “rest” as an excuse.

1. You feel fine, you just “don’t wanna.”

I know.  I’ve been there.  You’re finally home, homework is done, chores are sort of done… and then comes dinner prep.  I personally do not enjoy cooking.  People like my sister can’t wait to try new things or mix this spice with that meat or whatever — we may look an awful lot alike, but I’m definitely not like her in that aspect!  I tend to lean towards eggs and toast for dinner because it’s easy and a crowd pleaser at our house.  Yesterday, I wasn’t in pain – but I just didn’t want to make dinner.  THAT was laziness.  Pure and simple.  Sitting on the couch with Pinterest for an hour?  More often than not, that’s REST for me — I’m resting my body and finding creative things that I can do with my hands once my energy is restored.  Be honest with yourself.  Try to push through the lazy times so that you can give yourself grace when you need the crutches of rest.

2. You’re considering picking up carpool in your pajamas.

Yes.  I mean afternoon carpool.  And I get it — BELIEVE ME, I get it.  There are days your pain is so bad that brushing your teeth makes you cringe!  The thought of buttoning your pants makes you imagine that your fingers are just bones with zero skin and tissue padding.  Doing your hair?  Not going to happen.  But If you’re capable of driving a car to pick up kids from school, you’re capable of putting some clothes on (and maybe a hat if the hair just doesn’t work out for you.)  Chances are if you’re still in your pajamas and it’s time to walk out the door, you’ve done plenty of resting and you can push through for an hour to get the kids home safely.  Getting dressed will help YOU feel better about yourself, and it could potentially save your relationship with your middle schoolers.  PS: Sweats counts as clothes.  You’re welcome.  If being a stay at home mom or dad is your current job, then do your job.  Once everyone is settled at home you can reassess and see if your body is telling you to rest some more or if your mind is telling you to just throw in the towel because you’ve already accomplished zero stellar things today.

3. You’re not fulfilling your commitments.  None of them.

I like to be busy. But when paralyzed with pain and fatigue here’s what happens.  I keep signing up to do things, make things, lead things because in my HEAD I am still a healthy adult who can be an active member of her family, church, and society.  But then I start cancelling left and right because I can’t physically do the things I signed up for.  This is not laziness, this is absurdity.  STOP SIGNING UP FOR THINGS IF YOU CANNOT DO THEM!  It’s ok, give yourself some grace, people!  Just because you can’t be the soccer mom who works out at 4:45am and finishes her day with grocery shopping at 9pm does not mean you are less than, that you are useless, that you “can’t” do things.  Once you have your list whittled down to what you CAN conceivably master (and I’ll tell you it’s much much less than you think it is — even for those who are physically well), fulfill those commitments.  Don’t use “I need to rest” as an excuse.  You set the pace.  You set the routine, and stick to it!

If you can’t seem to pull yourself out of the laziness rut, it could very well be time to seek some medical help.  At the very least verbalize it with a friend or your spouse.  Unspoken issues can become stone walls if we let them.  But once they are spoken and addressed, ANYTHING is possible!

 

pain-free… not kidding

pain-free

If I owned a white outfit and had a nice trim belly, I might allow someone to take my picture like this whilst making a leap of joy in a field of green goodness.  But in all seriousness, this photo accurately depicts exactly how I feel.  Let’s back the truck up a little, shall we?

Over the summer I watched people post on Facebook about this great new product they were using to “lose weight and feel great” … I wish you could see me rolling my eyes.   It sounded like just another fad diet to me, but yet I was intrigued because I started getting text messages and emails from these people saying that folks with chronic pain have experienced significant reductions in their pain levels while taking this “miracle product.”   Now, when you’ve been to a bazillion doctors and you’ve tried every medication known to man to help you with your medical issues – it doesn’t seem plausible that a product being sold via Multi-level Marketing is going to be worth your time.

I even talked to my doctor about it after the kids were back in school.  I asked what she knew and she said she hadn’t had the time to do deep research on it, but she had indeed scoped out the ingredients for some of her other patients.  She promised me there wasn’t anything in there that would make me feel worse than I already did – and she had actually heard of the ingredients.  That was promising.  But still I did nothing.

November and December came around and folks, I’m telling you — those two months just plain sucked.  In December, out of a sheer act of defiance, I ordered some through a precious girl who hadn’t completely turned her Facebook account into a constant pink advertisement.

That’s right kids, we’re talking about Plexus.

My thoughts went something like this:

  • Fine.  I’ll try this stupid pink drink and prove to all you people that it won’t work for me!
  • I’ll take it for a month and then get my money back with their 60 day money back guarantee
  • You’ll all see that THIS TOO will not work for me — just wait, you’ll see!

But this is what really happened:

  • Week 1: I started craving nutrition — like celery.  I was CRAVING celery!
  • Week 2: I suffered three brutal migraines this week (side note: I didn’t know it at the time, but my body was going through a detox period)… and I was now craving broccoli with my celery.
  • Week 3: This week was miracle territory.  I was getting myself out of bed without help from my husband.  I cleaned my ENTIRE house by myself, AND got groceries, AND cooked for my family, AND played games and laughed with my kiddo, AND got some sewing done. Fatigue?  What fatigue?  I even worked out THREE times during week 3.  And I cut my fibro med dosage in HALF.
  • Week 4: My husband and I kept waiting for it to end – and for my real body to wake up and take over… but it never happened.  I still feel amazing!  And I cut my fibro med dosage in half AGAIN.  That’s right — I take 1/4 of the medication that I did just a month ago and I feel BETTER than I did when I was at the prescribed dosage!

Side Note: I AM NOT CURED.  I still have fibromyalgia.  I still have arthritis.  I still have a whacked immune system that functions at 50% — but I FEEL amazing!   I haven’t lost any weight but I DID go down a pants size.  I had so much inflammation in my body that it took two full weeks to dissipate.

If you are reading this from your bed and shaking your head — I get it.  I completely understand.  It took me 6 months to try it and even then it was because I intended to prove everyone wrong.   There is no miracle drug/drink/oil/pill/food — but Plexus has made my symptoms go from a 10 to a 1 on my scale of being bothered by them.

I’m not an advertising kind of girl.  I don’t bug people to buy things or try things — but if chronic pain has literally re-written your life plans, PLEASE consider trying this for a month!   I currently take the Slim drink and 1 accelerator pill each day.  That’s it.

Scope it out.  Ask me questions.  I’ll be honest with you and tell you if I don’t think it’s for you.  And if you think I’m crazy, I am not offended because I thought everyone else was crazy for 6 months.  It’s cool…. it’s not the first time I’ve worn that label with pride.  http://annskaehill.myplexusproducts.com

I plan to use up the $200 worth of vitamins I have on hand right now (that I take daily) and then I will add in the XFactor multi-vitamin to my regimen… when it’s all said and done, the Plexus plan I am building for myself will be cheaper than my prescription meds, therapies, doc appts, massages, and pain lotions that I’ve used thus far.  And I feel better ANYWAY than I did previously while doing all that stuff!

And I, Ann Skaehill, promise that this will be the only post that includes a link about Plexus —- but I cannot promise that you won’t hear more about getting my life back, because I have three years of life to make up for!

I can’t help but wonder if God was knocking and knocking and knocking that whole time and I was just too darn stubborn to open the door.  Well now it’s WIDE open and the blessings are still pouring out!  He is so good, and He is faithful — and good golly my prayers were answered in a way I LEAST expected!

quit focusing on the drought

drought-weather

I’ve been quiet for awhile now.  No blog posts and very limited Facebook posts have come from me.  That’s always a sign that something is wrong.  If Ann isn’t talking or laughing — something is very wrong!   My precious friend pointed out in a text that she was worried about me because I saw no humor in her text message …and that my friends is a sure sign that I’m in a dry place.

We had two incredibly rough months – November and December.

  • 4 illnesses
  • 4 ER visits (one of which was out of state)
  • 1 puke virus in the middle of nowhere, Arkansas
  • 1 car accident and all the associated fees
  • 1 rental car and all the associated fees
  • multiple migraine headaches
  • a cracked windshield on the OTHER car
  • the heat went out (which is actually a hilarious story for another time)
  • Dallas had an ice storm = brutal body pain when that sucker moved in
  • and oh — Happy Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas … er something like that

Here’s the deal, y’all… none of these things killed us, maimed us, bankrupt us, or caused us to hate each other.  But the final straw for me was the stomach bug in the middle of nowhere Arkansas.   Remember in the Looney Toons cartoons when that one feather would dance so elegantly on-top of the TNT handle and then BOOM — Wiley Coyote was toast! It was sort of like that for me.

Dude.  I was dry.  I had nothing left to give myself, my family, or my friends.  No laughter.  LOTS of sarcasm (and probably a little cussing if I’m going to be honest here), and a pretty constant stream of … well … self-pity.

Where was God in all this you ask?
Well, had I kept Him at the forefront of my mind I don’t think TNT even would have been in the picture, quite frankly.   Know what I mean?

Here’s where I went terribly wrong…
I stopped making time to pray, to read from my bible or devotionals, and I kept thinking to myself, “well, now we have had 3 things happen – so nothing else will…. ok, now there have been 4, so we are good… um, make that 5… 6… OH FORGET IT!”  I put myself in the dry place.  I did it to myself, y’all!

God never promised that we wouldn’t go through hard times.  So what in the world made me think that I was exempt from them?  Especially after a set number of problems… “Ann Skaehill, you’re next… let’s see… you’ve had 1,2,3,4,5,6… oh, you’re good.  No more problems for you.  NEXT!”  That’s SO ridiculous!  But I thought it.  I really did.

I love these verses from the book of Jeremiah:

7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,

   with roots that reach deep into the water.

Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

I am such a visual person that I can SEE this picture — I can SEE the tree planted by the water.  I can SEE the roots reaching with all they have to get to that water.  I can SEE their carefree nature because they aren’t concerned about the drought.

And I can SEE that I did not do that when I needed to the most.  I just sat there and withered.  Every now and then someone would try to show me some water and I turned my nose up at it.

After identifying my droughtiness, I signed up for a class through my church where we are really digging into hymns and the stories behind them.  Our precious leader, Gwen, opened with a sweet prayer that felt like a BUCKET of living water was dumped over my head.

Now I can’t get enough.  I can’t get enough hymns and prayer and reading from our class book.  I can’t get enough joy and enough laughter and peace.  I don’t want the hydration to stop so I am going to plant myself next to the living water.  I’m digging in.  Yo, I was thirsty, people!

If you’re focused on your drought and you’re pushing everyone away, please please please stop and ask yourself how that’s working for you.  Because I have a feeling you’re pretty stinkin’ thirsty right now.   Get your rear up and get to that water.  Call a friend so he or she can drag you there if need-be.

 

i’ve been robbed

This week my doctor told me she wanted to me to rest.  Seems simple enough… so why do I struggle to do that?

Maybe if my room looked like this I would actually rest in it:

Yes, I totally pulled that off the web — and the website knows it’s a great looking room so much that I had the pleasure of embedding their advertisement as well as their photo — that’s fair I suppose.

Why do we struggle to rest?  I know I’m not the only one.  Maybe you work.  Maybe you’re a stay at home parent (which is also work, by the way), maybe you volunteer in multiple areas and your phone never stops ringing, maybe you teach and people are counting on you to show up, maybe you don’t have any sick time left, maybe you struggle with depression and when you rest it makes your depression worse, maybe your sheets are dirty (just keeping it real)…. there are so many maybes.

So what’s MY problem?  I have a feeling my chronic illness buddies can relate.

I feel robbed.
There.  I said it.

Already I have changed so much of my lifestyle and I have set really healthy boundaries for myself.  I limit my activity level so that I don’t run my body down — and when I say activity level this is what used to consume my life:

  • volunteering at my son’s school
  • volunteering and working for our church
  • running errands for my family
  • doing the laundry / sheets / towels
  • making sure dinner was prepared each night so we weren’t eating out often
  • having lunch with friends / hanging out with friends / running errands with friends / having coffee with friends
  • crafting / scrapbooking
  • bike riding and going for 4 mile walks
  • working in our yard and tending to the beautiful flowers and plants my mother-in-law helped me plant
  • going to and leading a bible study group
  • going to potlucks and cookouts with neighbors and friends
  • setting up Care Calendars for families who were going through rough times
  • attending all the fun things up at our son’s school / and our church

These are not BAD things, right?  So when I had to become incredibly strategic in knowing how many spoons I realistically had available each day, it was clear I didn’t have enough spoons for all of these things anymore.  I like to describe it as my life pie.  I pretty much cut that sucker down the middle and had to “get rid of” half of my life pie.

So here I am with my remaining half.  And I feel pretty good about this remaining half most of the time, because I know it’s healthy for me and I don’t feel nearly as run down and ill as I used to.  Until I got this crazy virus last week.

I.
Cannot.
Sleep.
… because all I do is cough, and blow my nose, and cough, and take medications, and drink water, and go to the bathroom, and cough.

But my doctor wants me to rest.  And all I can think about is that half-pie life of mine that’s just sitting there.  I’m not sewing and making any money to help with the things that are falling apart in our house.  I’m not figuring out dinners.  I’m not able to go to the grocery store.  I barely make it through the carpool line each day.  I’m not raking the leaves in the yard.  I’m not doing the laundry.  I had to bail out of a theology class that I REALLY wanted to take.  I’ve missed three weeks of church and serving at church.

I want it all.
But if I can’t have it all, GIVE ME BACK MY HALF!
I’m bitter.

God sprinkled my bitterness with some of His sweet sugar this morning when in the midst of my bitter-party I opened my bible app to find this verse of the day:

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.  Colossians 3:17 NLT

Dude.  I was NOT representin’ today.  And I certainly wasn’t giving thanks today either.

Here’s my prayer for me — and for you — on the days that I have to shelve my half-pie life because it’s important in the moment:

God, thank you for knowing in advance that giving me everything I want just isn’t good for me.  Just like I don’t give my child everything he wants, you protect me in the same way.  I am so sorry that I haven’t been thankful for the generous serving of life that you have given me.  Please forgive my selfish behavior. I don’t like feeling bitter, Lord.  Thank you for showing me the verse from Colossians this morning, it reminded me that peace really can be found in your Word.  Please help me turn off the scrolling to-do list in my head and appreciate the opportunity to be still and rest, even if my sheets are dirty.  I want to be your representative here on earth, and I can’t do that when I am spewing bitterness left and right.  Doing your will doesn’t require a cup of bitter along with a pound of love.  Thank you for loving me and for helping me set my mind and heart back on You.

Amen.

 

waiting, waiting, waiting… and worn out (Part Two): learning to be still

In the Fall of 2011, I had to wait over three months to get in to see a specialist.  A reputable one.
Notice the word “wait” — it’s a pretty important word.

In that time I had no medications available because I didn’t have a solid diagnosis.  I did a lot of research and decided to try a clean diet to see if it helped.  I ate only lean meats, vegetables, nuts, and fruits for over three months.

The end result?  No change.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  Nil.  And every other word you can think of that means the same thing.  My pain remained the same.

What did I learn in those months of waiting to see a specialist?

  1. I learned to slow the heck down.  My sister emailed me a link explaining The Spoon Theory about a year prior to my physical issues.  If you haven’t read it — you must.  It isn’t just for people with chronic illnesses, it is applicable for ALL of us.  I noticed that I couldn’t keep up with the mad raced pace of society around me and you know what?  I was TIRED of trying.  I didn’t want to go to this party and that one, to this lunch, and that girls night out.  I wanted to be home with my family!  We started playing board games with our son, taking family walks, going to the park together, and more.  The more time I spent with my family, the more I CRAVED it!  I didn’t want to crowd them out again by filling my calendar with other things.
  2. All I needed, I already had.  The biggest revelation came in the form of realizing I didn’t “NEED” people the way I thought I did.  I had a husband, a child, two sisters, parents, four nieces and a nephew with whom I hardly spent any time.  On holidays, I was more concerned about seeing my friends than I was about spending quality time with my own family.  That revelation stung quite a bit because my husband had been hinting at it for several years but I just wasn’t getting it.  I can appreciate that people don’t have family around them and their friends become their family — more power to you, seriously — but I didn’t fit in that category.  I plain and simple had a family that I was ignoring.
  3. God was (and still is) in the details.  While I was busy moving and grooving, I longed to see God in the daily things around me — but I didn’t have TIME to see God.  I had things to do, people to see, emails to write, phone calls to answer, social events to arrange and attend, blah blah blah.  The only way I would see Him in the details is when He would do things like this to get my attention:
    But once I slowed down, I started seeing him in people at the grocery store.  I saw Him in the mailman when he would bring all of our mail to the door along with a package.  I saw my husband making room for Him in his heart and mind.  I saw Him in scripture, in the abundance of food we have available to us, in the warmth of the heater, and in the clean water I took for granted.  He was (and still is) EVERYWHERE.  But I had been too busy to acknowledge Him.
  4. I needed church.  I used to be someone who would say, “but why do you HAVE to go to church?  I can worship and read the bible at home just as easily as I can in church.”  But I never followed through.  I never cracked open my bible  before I started attending church.  Pastors go through years of classes.  They read books constantly. They have knowledge that I realized I could tap into!  It was completely worth an hour of my time to listen to them pick apart scripture and to learn what certain things meant in the bible.  I NEEDED that nourishment just as much as I needed food and water.  When left to my own devices, well — that’s exactly what I would do — get on my “devices” (which is what the kids at my son’s middle school call iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and so on).  I would easily fill my time with other things, none of which were God-centered.
  5. I had become selfish. I stopped seeing my husband’s needs and my son’s needs, and even the needs of people around me because I had become completely consumed with NEEDING an answer for my physical pain. I felt odd.  I felt like I no longer fit in anywhere.  But you know what?  I did that to myself.  I was thinking about my pain 24/7 – and if you’re in pain I know what you’re thinking: “How can I possibly think of anything BUT the pain that is agonizing me all day and all night?”  Honestly?  That’s something you have to figure out on your own.  But I know it isn’t healthy for you.   I wanted so badly to give God the glory by being someone He could use, even while I was hurting — but I was so inwardly focused that He could only use me in teeny tiny ways.

So how do you slow down and not become selfish?  This is going to knock some of you off your rockers — so put your seat-belts on:

Resting, being with your family, and seeing God in the details
does not make you selfish – what you allow to consume your thoughts
and drive your motivations could be what’s making you selfish.

After reading this list – what is something that you know you need to change but you just haven’t followed through? Be Brave.  I dare you.