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Movie Review: Alabama Moon

Alabama Moon
(Released 2011)

Eleven-year-old Moon Blake has spent most of his life hiding out in the forests of Alabama with his father, an anti-government radical who clings to conspiracy theories and trusts no one. Moon's life suddenly changes when the land is sold and his father dies. 
Knowing only what he learned from his father, Moon decides to follow his last instructions; make your way to Alaska where "people could still make a living off trapping." In the path of civilization, Moon quickly lands himself in a reform school where he meets the mean-spirited Constable Sanders and learns what friendship is all about. 
Determined to get to Alaska, he and his new friends escape from the school outwitting Constable Sanders each step of the way. "Alabama Moon" is a classic kid's film (based on the novel by Watt Key), complete with adventure and survival that most kids only dream about.
(Movie Rating & Parental Info. from

What parents need to know:

Parents need to know that this family adventure movie, based on a bestselling 2006 novel by Watt Key, features some intense scenes of violence, including the death of a parent, and a shot of a broken leg with protruding bone and some gore. A second character also dies. There are knives and guns on view (no shots fired), as well as some threats and fighting. The movie features some gateway language ("d--n" and "h--l") and some offscreen kissing between teens. The 11-year-old hero makes some mistakes, but eventually learns some good lessons: he learns to trust others rather than hiding away.

Positive messages: The main character engages in some bad (and illegal) behavior, but there are consequences for his actions, and it's all in an attempt to undo his father's wrongheaded teachings: rather than living alone, hiding in the woods, it's more fulfilling to trust and love others. 
Positive role models: The main character, Moon, is resourceful and kindhearted. Despite being raised in the woods and taught to mistrust others, he's quick to sympathize and care about the people he meets. However, he is learning, and he makes several dangerous and unlawful mistakes along the way. The lawyer character (played by John Goodman) is also big-hearted and helpful toward a kid he doesn't even know. 
Violence: The movie begins with its most intense sequence: an 11-year-old boy buries the body of his dead father. In flashback, we see the father breaking his leg while crossing a fast-moving river. The broken, protruding bone and some gore are visible in one shot. A supporting character also dies (offscreen). Otherwise, the movie features knives and guns (no shots fired), plus threats and shouting, and some manhandling. There's also a brief fight between the boy hero and a slightly older bully. (The hero punches the bully in his crotch.) 
Sex: In one scene, an older girl kisses the 11-year-old hero offscreen, and he emerges visibly shaken. 
Language: "D--n" and "h--l" are heard at least twice each (from adults). Otherwise, we hear things like "crap," "shoot," and "shut up" from the kids. 
Drinking, drugs, & smoking: One boy apparently requires various medical "pills" each day, though it's not clear what these pills are or what they do.

Talk to your kids
  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Was it necessary to show the father's gory broken leg? Was it necessary for two characters to die? How does the hero react to, or learn from, these events?
  • At what point does Moon start to realize that his father's lessons may have been a bit wrongheaded? What parts of his father's teachings come in handy?
  • How does Moon handle the bully, and what happens afterward? is the bully scary? How would this attempt work in real life?
I liked this movie, however, I think as a parent you will need to be sure to review the rating information above to see if you feel it appropriate for your family and children.  It does deal with some issues that could definitely be misleading or confusing to small children, and the presence of profanity, while not as bad as many movies presently made, is still disappointing to say the least.  
Their are serious issues mixed in with this seemingly light-hearted adventure, such as the serious injury and death a parent, paranoid behavior, death of a childhood friend, child abandonment, and constant law breaking.
I believe that some of the issues regarding the boys' disobedience to authority are glorified under the idea that they are brave and adventurous, but these are things that may be very good for discussing with your child afterwards.

Overall I enjoyed the movie, however I would not recommend it for younger children at all and would suggest watching it and discussing with your older children.
Happy Movie Watching,

Movie Review: A Shine Of Rainbows

A Shine Of Rainbows
(Released in 2010)


I think I have found a well made 'family friendly' movie (available instantly on Netflix).  I feel that I should give the disclaimer that this movie does portray Irish folklore in such a way as to lead the watcher to wonder if it's true.  (Likely to be obvious to older children)  Younger children may need some parental explanations for the folklore told in this movie.
Outside of that, this is a story of love and acceptance, of finding courage in spite of tragedy, and of the power of family love.

I like the movies tagline "The Greatest Journey, is the One that Brings You Home."

Warning: You may want to have some tissue handy...

Happy Movie Watching,

Purpose Amidst The Pain - God's Wisdom

Have you ever wondered WHY God has allowed pain and suffering into your life?  I know I have!  In July (2011) I wrote about my personal journey with chronic pain and said I would be writing more about it (as well as writing about living in circumstances that we find unpleasant).

The bottom line is that no matter whether you feel life is difficult, not fair, painful, or just confusing...there is often an innate desire within us to find the purpose.

In The Beginning...

I feel that to give you some perspective on my opinion regarding this matter, I need to first show you where I start when it comes to this subject.  I begin at the beginning....Genesis.  

When God made Earth and Mankind, there was no sin, no death, no separation between God and man.  God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve.  They had eternal a perfect world.  There is a reason why we have an internal desire for a life without pain, suffering, sickness, and strife....that kind of world is the one we were first made to live in!

"God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them..." Genesis 1: 27-28

"God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good." Genesis 1:31

"The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Genesis 2:8-9

 In Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve were tempted and fell victim to the serpent's lies and therefore ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which they were expressly told not to eat.  

"The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”  Genesis 2:16-17 

Once this occurred, it changed the fate of humans and their life on Earth forever.

God told Adam and Eve that their consequences for their blatant disobedience to His instruction would be physical and spiritual death.  Spiritual death happened immediately - Adam hid from God and was aware of his nakedness and separateness from God as he was afraid of Him for the first time (Genesis 3:8-13). Physical death happened immediately as well - His human body began to die once the fruit was bitten.  This was the beginning of sickness and death (Genesis 2:17; 3:19).

From these first human parents, our DNA was changed forever.  Every generation from Adam onward would experience physical suffering, the decay of the human body and the vulnerability of the immune system.  In addition, mankind would live in a different kind of relationship with God, no longer together in the garden...but separate and in need of a Savior. 

Additional consequences were given as a result of eating the forbidden fruit. Mankind was expelled from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24) which was self sustaining and perfect, providing them with all the food they would need for survival via seeds and fruit (Genesis 1:29; 2:9).  Being outside of the garden also meant they would be unable to walk in a physical and unhindered fellowship with God. (Genesis 3:8)  The land outside of Eden was hostile and mankind would now have to work laboriously in the fields to provide the food they would need to survive (Genesis 3:17-19).  Women would now have pain during child birth.  There was also a shift in the role of a wife after the sin of eating the fruit.  She would have a desire of equality with her husband that would not be met, as her husband would now rule over her (Genesis 3:16).

Do you think any of these consequences of that first sin might contribute to your pain and suffering?  Would you have your current circumstances or trials if you were able to walk in the Garden of Eden, being in fellowship with God the Father and eating of the fruit? 

I had mentioned before that I believe that in order to really understand a purpose for our pain, we have to go to the beginning of our story.  Because of the first sin, and the way it changed the world and our lives, we live in a world that includes sin, death, injustice, crime, disease, heartache, and disappointment.

That is the bad news, but the good news is that the story doesn't end there.  God sent the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and He comes to give us abundant Life.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10 

We are instructed that even though we are required to live in this post-fall world for a time, the redeemed must keep our thoughts and our focus on Jesus and on the eternal life that He has provided us through His sacrifice on the cross. 

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4

We also must remember that God loves us more than we can even comprehend...that's why He sent His Son to be a sacrifice for all our sins to take the punishment for our crime. Even after Adam and Eve sinned, after He had to destroy our wicked world with the flood...he still loved us!  God wants to bless us, and He made sure that would happen for each of us who choose to follow Him!
"Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:4-5

So, you may be wondering, if God loves me so much then why is He allowing me to suffer?  One reason He allows such things is because we are subject to the consequences of sin in our current world.  That is why He has promised us a new world that we will live in for eternity.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1,3,4

The reason for suffering is 
not the same for every person or circumstance.  ONLY God knows the true reason, but the bottom line is that nothing happens in this world without God allowing it to happen.  That doesn't mean that it was His original desire for us (he showed us His original design in Eden).  

God does promise His people that He will give us strength and comfort to endure life this side of Heaven. 

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:28-31 

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

God will cause good to come out of all of our bad circumstances if we are His.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 

Sometimes God allows pain and suffering for the purpose of bringing other to Him or to bring Him Glory, which is a way of sharing Him and His ways with others.

In John 11 you can read the story of Lazarus, the man (a friend of Jesus) who died and Jesus brought back to life.  Jesus knew that Lazarus was deathly ill because his sisters Mary and Martha had come to Him and told Him. He was deeply troubled when Lazarus died because He loved him and his family. But there was a greater purpose, if he had just healed Lazarus in the beginning it would likely have only effected his family and maybe a few in his community, but raising Lazarus from the dead is a story still told 2,000 years later!

We may never know the details behind the 'why's' of our suffering this side of Heaven, but we can trust that none of it is a surprise to God.  We can trust that God will give us the strength to endure and if we let him, the courage to come through it victoriously.  We can't be overcomers without trials to overcome.  Sometimes the biggest testimony is to be going through things that are obviously too difficult to endure alone (to you and to those around you) and for God to give you His peace and joy right in the middle of it all.  

Having strength to endure, courage to continue going forward, and the faith to give all your emotions about your circumstances to Christ and replacing them with His peace, joy, and love.....these are acts that give Glory to God.  This process is supernatural!  It takes us laying down our earthly cares, hurts, and feelings and replacing them with supernatural gifts that come from The God of Love.

Focus on Jesus....someday you may know the reason behind the hurt, or perhaps you will lose your desire to want to know, but either way you will be in relationship with the One who made you...who also happens to be the only One who knows you fully and has the ability to heal you from the inside out.

My prayer today is for all of us who have suffered in our lives, that we would be able to stop focusing on everything that hurts or all that is bad and replace it with the promises of God.  That supernatural peace would wash over us...and in the middle of it all we would find Joy....abundant Joy....the kind that makes us smile.  May we take all of our cares to Jesus and ask Him to take care of them, knowing that we are leaving it in capable hands.  May God bless our efforts of obedience and may we bring Him Glory.  Amen.

Where's My Armor?

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
Ephesians 6:11

There are times in our lives when we can feel so bombarded with negative circumstances that it can be overwhelming.  

I was recently thinking about this and discussing it with my husband and I made note of how we can look back at our lives and often find seasons of difficulty where it was overwhelming and then also see seasons of difficulty where we did much better in handling the challenges that came our way.  What was the difference?

I had been thinking on this a bit and in my own life I had felt some conviction about how I was responding to life's trials.  Was I acting as though I trusted God and was I abiding in His Word and instructions?  

The scripture reference above is just a small piece of the instruction given.  Read the full scripture below.  This isn't just a portion of words from a book called the Bible, these are God instructions given for the purpose of helping us and instructing us so that we might live in victory!

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of Truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."  
Ephesians 6:10-17
(underlined emphasis is mine)

Before this scripture I wondered what could have been the difference between my times of difficult circumstances where I felt victorious, and the times when I felt defeated....I believe the answer is in that scripture.  I didn't have my armor on.

I have been a believer for most of my life, and although that might seem like a good thing, sadly there are times where I find myself being lazy or even prideful and forgetting to do things that were once foundational.  

We must not forget to put on our armor!  We are living in a world at war, and not just the physical world, but as the scripture says, we are warring "against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

What this means is that even though we may not see an enemy standing outside our doors or in our homes pointing his weapons at our head....he is still there.... in the spiritual realm.  Are we ready?

The point that I felt God stirring in my heart yesterday was this....why am I complaining about the sting of the arrows when God has provided me with full armor to protect me and it is all laying at my feet and I simply need to just pick it up and put it on?  Of course I am going to get hurt when I walk around unprotected against the enemy, why would I even think otherwise?

What can we do to put on the Armor of God?

BELT OF TRUTH - You cannot hold a sword without a belt.  This is listed first because without knowing the Truth of Jesus Christ as Savior, you cannot weild the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS - God made a covenant with His followers, His righteousness covers us when we are in relationship with Him. Righteousness comes by complete Faith in Him and with that you will desire to abide in His Will and be obedient to His Word.  I believe righteousness can not be earned, it is given to those who believe as a gift from the Father.  Therefore, to walk in righteousness we must walk in relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" Matthew 5:6

SANDALS OF PEACE - Inner peace comes from resting in Christ, knowing that He has taken your place on the cross and you can be in relationship with God the Father.  Christ also intercedes for you with the Father, you can rest in His care. Jesus is the "Prince of Peace" Isaiah 9:6. And we are also given peace from the Father, which comes from relationship with Him. "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:7  But we cannot spread God's peace without first spreading His gospel.  "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 10:14-15

SHIELD OF FAITH - This is the first thing listed that you don't just wear, you must hold it up.  If you have a shield on your arm and someone shoots an arrow at you, the shield is no good if you leave your arm down at your side.  You must raise the shield to cover yourself.  Faith is similar, we cannot just say we have faith, but must 'raise it' or execute it in our daily living.  Faith is not easy, it is linked to things we hope for but do not see.  It links back to Trust, we must trust in the promises of God and Christ to be able to live in faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

HELMET OF SALVATION - A helmet protects your head from attack, and salvation does the same thing only in a larger scope.  Salvation is to be saved (from something bad) and Christ saved us from eternal separation from God by dying for our sins and thus connecting us back with the Father through His love and act of sacrifice.  Since we have an enemy, the helmet of salvation will protect our minds.  If we focus on the hope that we have in Jesus, it helps to protect us from depression, overwhelm, and fear...which are all from the enemy.  "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT - The Word of God is the sword and the Bible calls the Word "a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105.  His Word sheds light on where we are, where we are headed, and where He would like us to be.  The Word is a most powerful weapon!  God gives it to us not only as a comfort and instruction, but also as a weapon against the enemy. "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 

Lets all make sure we have our full armor on.  Life feels better without the sting of the enemy's arrows constantly piercing our skin.

As many know, we are a homeschooling family, and last year I found an excellent in depth study of the Armor of God on a website called 'Bible Study Guides'.  If you would like a great Bible study for you or your children (especially boys since there is lots of talk of soldiers and weapons), I highly recommend this site.  You can get to the first study (Lesson 1) by following this link:

The following lessons can be accessed by clicking on the links on the right side of the page. 

May God richly bless you and may we all be motivated to clothe ourselves with the protection that God has given us to keep the enemy from infiltrating our minds and spirit.

Finding Joy In The Midst Of Your Circumstances

This past week I enjoyed some time with good friends. We had time to share details about our lives and talk about some very 'real' issues of the heart.

Have you ever been visiting with someone and you say something or give advice and later realize that you need to listen to your own advice? I do it all the time. It is so easy to encourage someone else, but be needing to do exactly what you were just talking about for yourself. We can encourage faithfulness and pray for peace, joy, or healing and need it all in our own lives.

As we were talking I said something that I later sat back and thought about in more detail and realized that it was one of these examples.

I was sharing that I believe that JOY and peace are issues of CHOICE.  

We can have them in spite of any CIRCUMSTANCE,  
if we choose to!

Lets first define what JOY is:

1. The emotion evoked by well-being, success,
or good fortune or by the prospect of
possessing what one desires

2. a state of happiness or bliss

3. a source or cause of delight
How do we find Joy?  Here is a scripture that tells us:

Psalm 16:11

"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with JOY in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (emphasis mine)

We will find JOY in the presence of God!  Not by having a great house, job, car, or by having the best husband or best behaved children....THERE IS NO EVENT THAT EVOKES OR CREATES THE JOY OF THE LORD EXCEPT BEING IN HIS PRESENCE!  I think in our culture we wait for events or circumstances to effect our emotions in a way that creates a temporary feeling of happiness and we confuse that with what true JOY is.  

The beauty of this is that we can choose to be in God's presence ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, NO MATTER OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.  This gives us the ability and the freedom to be joyful (because it is coming from God) when we are sick, when we can't pay the bills, when we are being treated unfairly, and when we are sad.  

We don't have to wait for an emotion, but we do have to become active in our efforts to be in RELATIONSHIP with the One who made us and saved us!  I can pray, I can read my Bible, I can sing songs of matter how I feel!  Many times these actions will bring about new emotions.  

Next time you are feeling the need for some added JOY, try some of the following ideas:
  • Get in the Word - Pick up your Bible (or find one online...I even have an app on my cell phone).
  • Take Time To Pray - Get away for a minute, even if you just have to shut yourself in your room or walk into the back yard, and take some quiet time with the Lord.  Tell Him your heart.
  • Read Scripture Out Loud - Read some scriptures aloud that remind you of the goodness of God. (Isaiah 30:18, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 34:19, Proverbs 16:3, etc)
  • Listen and/or Sing Songs Of Praise - Put in a good worship CD and sing or listen to songs that remind you to focus on God's Goodness.  If you don't have worship music, head to one of the internet music sites (,, etc) and create your own playlist or station...they're free!
  • Call Someone To Pray With You - Call a friend or family member and ask them to pray with you!  Prayer is a powerful thing and the Bible says in Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst."

If you follow the Biblical instruction of finding JOY in His presence, you will find happiness and JOY.  And the more that your true desire is to be close to God, then the faster you will feel abundantly JOYFUL just by spending time with matter what is happening in your day to day life.

Why is Joy important to have?  The following scripture shows us that a benefit of having JOY from the Lord is STRENGTH!  I don't know about you, but I could use all the strength I can get to walk through this life! 

Nehemiah 8:10  

"Do not grieve, for the JOY of the LORD is your strength." (emphasis mine) 

He has also given us the Holy Spirit to help us to understand and follow God's Will (John 14:26) and all we have to do is say YES, I choose to accept these gift from you Lord. I no longer want to allow Satan to control me with fear, stress, and worry and I will CHOOSE instead to take those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and replace the enemy's schemes for evil with God's gifts of blessing and freedom.

The Bible does give us some instruction on what to think about in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report - if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think on these things."

When we are more focused on God, and our inner Spirit is relationally connected with God, we will experience JOY, peace, and love because we can rest in Him. 

LORD, I pray that you would help us to be in Your Presence more often no matter how busy we think we are.  Help us to remember that Satan has a plan to keep us too busy for you, let us not fall prey to his schemes.  Be with us, be our strength, and be our present help in our time of need, and let us live our days in abundant JOY.  Let our hearts, our eyes, and our desires to be set on You, that You will show us that loving and serving you is all we need because you will do the rest!  Amen.

My Struggle With Chronic Pain

A little while back I posted an article called My Invisible Disease which I got a lot of feedback on.  Because this seemed to be a subject that so many could relate to, I wanted to write a little more on the subject in hopes that someone will be encouraged or at least know that they are not alone.

I plan to write a few posts on this subject matter, so I thought that first of all I would give you an idea of my history so that hopefully you will see that I indeed have experience with the things that I will be writing about regarding living with chronic pain.

I suffered from severe migraines all through High School, College, and the early years of my adult life (they improved once I had my son, but I still have them on occasion).  In my early 20's I suffered for over a year with ulcers (not knowing that is what it was) and later I found out, after finally going to the Dr., that I had over 40 ulcers!  Of course that was able to be cured with medicine once diagnosed, but when I moved 2 years later and was still complaining of stomach pain and gastrointestinal problems, my new Dr. discovered I had gotten rid of the ulcers but now had gall stones.  That was an intense pain, but was relieved by having my gall bladder removed.

When I was 25 I injured a disc in my spine one day while bending over to pick up a blanket, yes...I was simply bending over, nothing in my hands yet, and I felt a sharp pain shoot through my body.  That was the beginning of a very difficult and trying time of my life...that has effects that are still with me 11 years later.  

My back pain began to get better but I began having hip pain that soon stretched from my hip to my pinky toe.  I eventually found out that I had permanent nerve damage in my right leg.  I endured countless treatments, and many surgical procedures.  In the end I now have what is called a spinal neurostimulator which is sewn into my spine and sends electrical impulses to my brain to help to distract it from the pain.  

I could not stand up straight, or walk straight.  I crawled on the floor many times because I could not stand.  I was labeled by my Doctors and Surgeons to be permanently disabled and the likelihood of my working or walking normal again were slim.

To say this was discouraging would be a gross understatement.  You see, I was a single Mom, trying to support myself and my son and I was also a woman who had found much of her identity (in error, but that's another blog) in her work.  This left me with internal struggles as well as practical ones.  I struggled with grief over the loss of the life I thought I would have and the activities that I loved so much that I would never be able to do again.

My prescribed medicines gave me terrible side effects, one of the worst was severe gastrointestinal problems (I had all the symptoms of Crohn's disease but was never diagnosed with anything other than IBS--which I've since learned just means that they don't know.  Again, that's another blog in itself.)  This left me at 108lbs, which for me is very bones were sticking out and I had such severe stomach cramping, even after drinking water, that many times I passed out.  

It was horrible beyond horrible...I could not imagine living the rest of my life this way.  At this point of my life I was staying with family to help both physically and financially.  I didn't want to live like this....and I definitely didn't think I could live like this forever.  I struggled to find peace and joy in the midst of my circumstances.

I had never gotten mad at God, but had wondered WHY....WHY ME, WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO LEARN FROM THIS, WOULD IT EVER STOP?  

One day, while my son was in school, I was curled up on my bed crying (which I always saved for times when my son was gone) because of what had now become years of severe mind blowing chronic pain.  I was having a little talk with God in my prayers.... 

"God, I know that I keep asking you to heal me, I know I keep asking how long...when will it come, will I ever be 'normal' again, will I ever find a husband to love me (and my son) if I am like this for the rest of my life....BUT God, I get it now, you want me to just TRUST you...plain and matter how long, no matter 'if' my healing comes in this life, no matter what happens in my personal life, no matter how many more bills I seem to have than money to pay them....NO MATTER WHAT!  So, I SURRENDER!  I SURRENDER!  I see that I keep wanting control of the answers and you want me to have FAITH, so from today forward I will try my best to worry less and TRUST MORE!"

I wish I could tell you that I was healed overnight, I wasn't...but over time I was getting more relief from my implanted neurostimulator and was able (about 2 years after my implant date) to drastically reduce (and eventually totally stop taking) the massive pain medicines that I had been using for years.  And even though the Dr's were all insistent that these medicines were not the cause of my gastrointestinal problems, guess what....about 6 months after terminating their use....I was able to eat more regularly.  I gained enough weight to be healthy again.  And although I was still in pain, it was manageable.

I believe that the beginning of my return to independence started with the prayer I mentioned above.  A year later (now several years since my injury) I had moved back to where I had previously lived, had my own place, had a job, and was once again independent.  I was not pain free, but again...I had new expectations...I wanted only to have pain levels that would still allow me to function.

About 4 months after going back to work, feeling like I was regaining some sense of 'normal', I went to the Dr. because I had been waking up with pretty significant joint pain and having muscle weakness that had caused me twice to fall down the stairs in my home.  I was diagnosed with about a blow...had I not just gone through several years of terrible pain and agony?  Wasn't I just FINALLY beginning to re-enter society?  

As my Dr. told me the news I could not help but to just cry.  I knew what Lupus was, I have several extended family members with it.  I just stared at the floor as the tears came down and I finally looked at the Dr. and said, "I can't do this again.  It's too's just too much."

Because God is good, I believe that he had led me to this exact Dr. many years prior.  This Dr. has been through all my surgeries and major health problems with me.  This Dr. has a wife with Lupus....he gets it.  I will never forget what he said to me that day, he said, "Jessica, you CAN do this!  It will not be as hard as what you just went through but you will have difficult days, but when they're happening you will have to focus on the fact that they won't last forever.  YOU CAN DO THIS!"  

It has now been 7 years since my diagnosis of Lupus.  I have also racked up a long list of other issues, which include but are not limited to heart problems and rheumatoid arthritis.  There are a lot of secondary issues, which I like to call 'hitchhikers' that like to jump on the bandwagon when you have an autoimmune disease.

I was able to keep working for 6 years, and I no longer work, but I'm remarried and have the job as wife and homeschool teacher.

Because this is so long, I won't go into the 'how' I get through my daily life with nerve damage, Lupus, and all the problems I listed above, but I will tell you this....I'M STILL HERE!  Although I seriously questioned it at times, it is true that God will not give us more than we can handle.  I confess that I was really disappointed that I could 'handle' so much *smile*, but I did, I do, and I am....

I am not without pain, for sure, but I can walk...and they said I wouldn't be doing that.  They said I wouldn't work again, but I did.  My point is this, Doctors do their best to give you a diagnosis and a prognosis that is accurate, but none of them know for sure the plans that God has for you.  Even if they say you will never get better, they may be wrong.  Remember the old saying, "It's always darkest before the dawn."

Philippians 4:13

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Just in case you don't read my later posts, I do need to tell you that without my Faith, and even more importantly, my Relationship with Christ, I could never make it through my days!  I believe I would be dead.  I had two times where I almost died in the past 11 years...and I believe that prayer is what kept me alive and sane.

If you can relate to my story...maybe not nerve damage, maybe not lupus, but perhaps you can relate to the pain, the struggle, the wondering how you will make it through...please be encouraged that it is possible.  After almost 3 years of what felt to me like hell on earth, torture, and a breach of the Geneva Conventions by my internal body....I was getting discouraged that if things hadn't changed by then....they never would.  But I was wrong!  (I've never been so happy to be wrong in my life!)

Years ago I had the following quote taped to my computer monitor - "If it's possible, it's probable."  

If it can happen for someone, then why not me?  Why not you?

Psalm 31:24

"Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD."