Does Jesus Really Understand My Chronic Illness and Pain?


Jesus knew suffering, but does that mean He understands long-term chronic illnesses? Lisa shares. I have heard many believers share how they know God understands all that they experience--chronic pain included. But it takes a brave person who steps away from the expected "appropriate questions" and admits those feelings of "How does Jesus really understand chronic illness? He didn't experience ongoing pain like I do." I understand how this question is valid. We can relate to the extreme suffering Jesus went through at the end of His life, but it was still a small amount of time. Over the years, I have met thousands of people who are physically suffering or who have experienced intense emotional pain. When I was your, I believed our … [Read more...]

Embracing Life’s Changing Seasons – A Note From Lisa


"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23). This is not a devotional today, but rather a personal note from me (Lisa), with a glimpse behind the scenes of Rest Ministries and the recent happenings. Last week I received the call from husband at work. "Well . . . it's over." I immediately knew what he spoke of--his job. A season had ended. Nineteen years ago he began working for one of the top video game developers as a sound designer for sports-related games. As a trained musician who had previously been self-employed this job was a Godsend. We had only been married a few months. I had finished my degree and financial aid was gone. It was time for me to get a … [Read more...]

Do You Confidently Share Your Testimony?


We have each been given a testimony that we can boldly share because of the authority of God behind us. Lisa shares. "When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law" (Matthew 7:28,29). I was at a friend's home with other members of my small group and a woman who was visiting asked, "so what do you do?" "I have a ministry for people who live with chronic illness." "Oh. So do you actually have an illness or what?" she responded, giving my body a quick once over. This is the typical response I have received for nearly two decades. It is obvious in people's eyes to see the skepticism. She doesn't look ill. She … [Read more...]

Can You Do Ministry Through Tears


A new year. Another year. On Sunday evenings I open up an electronic device to see what appointments I must gather the strength for during the upcoming week. I once scheduled activities, paced myself for fun events. My calendar was always full. Full equaled a sense of worth. Empty spaces were meant to be filled or I felt guilty that I was squandering opportunities. As I filled up 2 weeks of my pill holders recently, I realized this is now how I measure the passing of time. Sometimes I look at those empty spaces in my pill holder, Monday . . . Tuesday . . . Wednesday. . . .and it's hard to comprehend that it has just been a week. There are weeks when so much life is thrown at me to juggle. Other times, as I fill my pill holder, I … [Read more...]

How to Prevent Your Life From Falling Apart


What simple choice can you make to assure that your life doesn't fall apart when something goes wrong? Lisa shares. "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock... But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash" (Matthew 7:24, 26,27). On what are you building your life--rock or sand? Each year as Rest Ministries sponsors National Invisible Illness Awareness Week, I hear hundreds of illness stories--especially the emotional pain. As an outreach to a … [Read more...]

Are There Outbursts That Rule Your Home?


Are the emotions that rule your home a reflection of the glory of God--or of Satan's darkness? Lisa shares. "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house" (Matthew 5:15). Our homes are our sanctuaries. Or they can be our prisons. I was recently talking to a friend whose son left for college. She said how quiet the house was, despite her two other children. Her son, though incredibly kind, evidently has a personality that quickly reflected his unhappiness about something--so that the entire household knew it. The household cannot be peaceful again until he has resolved his challenge. "It is so quiet now," she said. "None of us have an … [Read more...]

Every Day Really Is a Battle – In More Ways Than We Realize


Fighting our illness is a daily battle, but ultimately we are fighting for our soul. Lisa shares. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12). Ever since my son was young he loved the Bible's battle stories. Whether it was David versus Goliath or a battle against a storm, He wanted to hear how God entered the battle and defeated the enemy. Many of us take comfort in Exodus 14:14, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Sounds simple, right? God will fight our battles. Yet, just as David had to find the courage to walk forward with a few rocks … [Read more...]

Embracing Our Freedom In the Middle of Pain


God gives us freedom. Lisa shares how this applies to her at this moment today. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). It is the Fourth of July here in the USA. We celebrate the freedom that we are so very blessed to have. For the first time in years my family has plan to go to the home of some friends for a BBQ. I had 2 decent days this week, finally recovering from my Rituxan infusion. And then a new infection hit. Hard. I believe it improved the smallest bit this morning so I am hoping to avoid ER on this holiday when it is sure to be busy at the hospital. Still... my body is tired from fighting this … [Read more...]

Are You Wasting Your Life by Ignoring ‘Little’ Sins?


The suffering of illness can allow in sinful thoughts or actions and we become too tired to address them. Lisa shares. "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). What struggle are you facing today that is causing you to respond with sin? Physical pain was the greatest tool satan used when trying to get Job to turn from God (Job 2:7). He is still using physical pain in our lives, attempting to separate us from the Lord. While we may appear spiritually healthy to those around us, it is easy for our illness to allow sin into our lives in small ways. These can quickly escalate and take over, destroying relationships, our spiritual walk, and even our body. So … [Read more...]

A Summer Parenting Creed for Chronically Ill Moms


Are you ready for the next few months? If you are a parent, you are realizing. . . it is that time of year. School is out--or nearly so--and you may be experiencing a feeling of panic. It's not an unusual feeling for many parents, but for those of us with chronic illness, it can be a big concern. How will we keep up with their energy? What will we do? How will we make all those fun memories despite our pain level and our limited budget? How can we make sure our kids aren't lacking what other kids are--like camping trips and hikes, bicycle rides and trips to the amusement park? It can feel like a marathon. We start trying to build ourselves up for it, training ever since they went back to school after Spring Vacation. We looked … [Read more...]

When Everyone Seems to Have God’s Blessings But You


Odds are, if you are counting your blessings Lisa explains how your list may be less representative of Jesus' blessings for you than you imagined. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness" (Matthew 5:3-6, 10). Have you looked around at your circumstances and wondered why you seem to be lacking God's blessings? I am quick to say how blessed I am, but sometimes it's because it is what I am supposed to … [Read more...]

Are You Spending Yourself or Squandering Yourself?


When you consider how you are spending yourself and who you are, despite your chronic illness and pain, are you encouraged or discouraged? Lisa shares. "If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame" (Isaiah 58:10-11a). It is hard to truly appreciate each day, isn't it? We are told to not take anything for granted. As more natural disasters are occurring, from earthquakes, tornadoes, mudslides, and fires, we pray for those who have lost their lives. And yet we get up and try to accomplish a list of … [Read more...]