"Hope When You're Physically Down" By, Nancy Alexander
Beauty in Nature CAN Inspire Hope…
How do you keep going when you're physically down? I keep getting asked this question over and over. WOW, where do I start?
First of all, there is one thing that I find really helps me and I encourage you to do this too. I want to encourage you to appreciate the beauty found around you today in a smile, in nature, and in those who are dear to you. I have learned through my own chronic illness that the things I always thought were the most important in this life really aren't.
"I am only passing through this moment…" ~Beth Moore~
Chronic Illnesses are as severe a problem for you as they were for me. Pain was the main focus of my life for so many years. It colored the way I thought and felt, and reacted to the world around me. I had to learn this the hard way. I used to beg and plead with God; "Please show me what I need to do – please show me what I need to change – please teach me the lessons I need to learn – I will do anything to only get well or even better." God, in His wisdom knew that the lessons I needed to learn came only with time. As always, He sees "Eternity" and we see "right now".
Picture I took recently of a Night blooming Cereus at my neighbor's home.
It is hard to see the beauty in a flower, a sunset or sunrise, or even a loved one's eyes when you are suffering in silence. It is hard to think of doing something that would make your day productive when it is clouded with this "thing" which has such a deep, dark hold on you. It is hard to see the needs of others when your own pain is first and foremost in every single day. God used this to mold me and shape me and prune me. All of these were painful experiences, but I truly believe He did this so that my heart would be one that would 'break' for others. I see your pain, I feel your pain, and I sincerely want to do anything I can to relieve your pain and make your life joyful!
The answer for me was, and is God! I don't know where I would be today without all of the miracles God worked in my life. I do know that I would not be sitting here at my computer writing to all of you, my friends, students, and faithful followers were it not for God and all the Miracles 'He' has performed in my life. For example, all of the "Professionals" who were finally able to diagnose and treat the causes of my chronic, debilitating illness. This illness was so bad that when we built our home 12 years ago, my husband and our builder decided to make every doorway 3 feet wide because they thought I would very quickly need that space to maneuver a wheelchair through each. I didn't find this out until about 3 year ago. And, no, I no longer need that wheelchair that I used to be forced to use from time to time.
I am speechless when I think of the people who were sent into my life to encourage, uplift, inspire, diagnose and help me to heal. My friend and mentor, Jim Cockrum and I have talked about this many times calling them "Divine Appointments". You may not believe in them, but I certainly do.
I don't want to push my faith on you knowing that every person has their own beliefs, but in telling a story of me; "Beautifully Broken Me" as my friend Molly Alexander writes in her blog, I cannot forget the obvious and must share with you how I got to this point in my life. That's what many of you have been asking me all these years. I do believe God has led me on a path for many years for a specific purpose, and that is to be able to help and encourage YOU!
"By picking up the pieces of a broken life and putting them back together, a person cannot help but be changed. This change is a beautiful thing that results in a deeper understanding of others and their situations, and gives us a chance to share our experiences with them, showing them that there is a way out – a light at the end of the tunnel."
"I believe that I have not just been broken, but put back together by God in a beautiful way – a way that I could have never imagined on my own." ~Molly Alexander~
Molly has expressed my own thoughts and feelings in such a beautiful way. Isn't it amazing that I can now see, live, and enjoy the beauty around me? I am blessed every time I look into my husband's eyes and see how much he cherishes me. I am blessed when our home is filled with our boys, their wives, and our four precious grandchildren running around calling "Mimi come outside and play with me." "Mimi do you have a surprise for me?" "Mimi, read to me."
God has used over 30 years of pain and brokenness to bring me to this place; this moment, where I am right here and right now. He brought me here for a very specific reason and that is to be an encourager of those of you who are suffering and in pain! There TRULY is hope!