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The Invisible Elephant

March 8, 2016

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When you look at someone with an invisible illness you never really see what is actually going on. Sure they may look fine, normal even. But, the fight is happening on the inside and there is no way of knowing what is happening. As for me, my butterfly rash that shows up from time to time is one of the only visible signs of my disease, that and probably the fatigue you see on my face on occasion, but that’s it.

My latest battle with Lupus is struggling to breath on a daily basis. Since my diagnosis in 2012 I have always had some shortness of breath and chest pain. Typically it would come and go, but last summer it just never went away. It is a constant and daily struggle. What do I mean struggle breathing? Basically it feels like someone is squeezing and restricting my lungs while I try and breath, or like a giant elephant is firmly planted on my chest, all day, everyday. Yeah, it’s not fun. Sometimes you might catch me taking several shallow breaths trying to actually catch my breath.

I have gone through rigorous tests to ensure that I did not have asthma or allergies causing this issue. My results were unfortunately not very satisfying. My lungs are functioning properly- no asthma, no allergies, nothing… simply Lupus. But, with Lupus it is never that simple, this disease can attack any organ in your body, and my lucky organ is my lungs, and with any treatment option it may help or it may worsen the condition all together.

To look at a variety of treatment options and know that it’s kind of a coin toss on improving can be a little overwhelming! I took several weeks to pray and research my options. Honestly, I decided that it’s okay if my lungs were never fully healed (in this life) as long as I could find some relief! I felt a peace about my decision to add essential oils to my existing treatment plan. I’ve known people who have used essential oils for a number of things, and I will be 100% honest, I was skeptical…sorry! But, I decided I had no reason not to try it and I felt God nudging me in that direction so I felt like I should listen. I’ve been using 2 oils (Raven for breathing and Immupower for Lupus) daily for about a month now and felt like I have seem an improvement. I noticed the most drastic difference when I went two days without Raven and noticed the increased difficulty in breathing. I know it may not work for everyone, but for me I was so happy to find the relief that I have so desperately wanted for such a long time. I’m so glad that I was obedient and listened to the direction that God was directing me.

It would be so easy to dwell on the what if’s or worry. I decided from the beginning of my diagnosis that my life, my health and path are in God’s hands. He can use every struggle and every invisible pain for the betterment of His Kingdom. I firmly believe that my illness will never be wasted, my life will not be wasted. He has a perfect plan for my life and Lupus holds no bounds to what my God can do!

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 

 

 

Being pregnant is one of the most exciting times but it can also be a stressful time. One of the struggles I had at the beginning of my pregnancy was fear. I was afraid of all the possible bad outcomes that could happen. Nine months is a long time to allow ourselves to fret. My husband knew from the start that I had fears and was having a hard time releasing these concerns. He bought me a book Praying Through Your Pregnancy by Jennifer Polimino. This was the best thing that he could have done for me. The book is a week by week journal. You read about what is going on with your baby that week, there is a place to journal and a prayer to say. This was the beginning of my prayer life for my son. What an amazing experience, praying for my unborn baby! God used this book to heal me of my fears. I gave every concern I ever had to Him and truthfully was able to be at peace. My pregnancy was honestly one of the most carefree times of my life. During my pregnancy my prayer life was brought to a new level and it was all because I learned to truly trust God with my fears. I knew that God would watch over me and my son but I had to live like I believed it. I was finally able to tell God what I was feeling, say “amen” and not pick my burden back up again. Because I learned this early on in my pregnancy it has been something that has carried over into other areas of my life even now after my son is here.  Starting to pray for my son before he was born has carried into continuing to pray for him daily now that he is here. I believe because my prayer life was transformed my prayers have been transformed. I know that I can give any and everything to God. I am not perfect, I still struggle with trying to carry my own burden. However, I know what it is like to pray and truly give it all to God. I know the peace that is given so I strive in every prayer and every burden I have to truly give it to Him. Your experience may be different, you may not be pregnant right now. No matter the case we all need to give everything to God in prayer. It is not easy to completely release our burdens but it is totally worth it. Sit down and pray today, release your burden to Him and see how amazing it is to no longer carry it on your own.

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22 (NIV)

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 (NIV)