Sometimes, when I look at how hard I have struggled to only advance a step or two, I start to feel rather discouraged. As I look around me and see how far those who have put forth half the struggle, who barely gave 50 percent of their effort while I pushed my pain ridden body until it could not take another step, yet they are the ones with a comfortable home, family, and a job. And for all my persistence, my determination to give 100 percent so that I might reach my goal, I have nothing to show except a few bruises and an AA degree that can open no doors.
When I look at window and watch the cars go by, and think of all the dreams that will never be, of the family that I longed for, but will never know, and the country home that will never be mine, I must admit that for a moment or two, my heart drops, and hope seems so far away. As I look at my long list of failed dreams, and the success of others, I have to struggle to keep back the tears.
Why are others allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labor, and although I give my all, every attempt seems to end in utter failure? Why are my dreams always denied? Why cannot I find love? Why am I not allowed to have my own home and family? Why am I not allowed to have any real hope? Or is that the case?
As my broken heart looks upon the tattered remnants of my dearest earthly dreams, I am gently reminded to look up. To look up toward heaven and by faith behold the true hope. The hope that is free of sorrow and disappointment. The hope that is free of pain, suffering, want, and any taint of sin. To look up and by faith behold the wonderful day when sin will come to an end and as promised all my years of emptiness will, in one moment, be swallowed up, and transformed into an eternity of unending possibilities.
Some days are definitely harder than others, and today has definitely been one of those days. Today has been a frustrating day full of interruptions and delay. Task that should have taken 5 minutes were turned into an hour plus exercise in misery as every time I started someone would come and ask a question or needed me to hear something important. On top of that, it seemed that every program was eager to reveal their peculiar quirks, crash, or somehow erase portions of the work I had struggle to complete.
Irritating and pain inducing struggle that it was, I had brushed most of it off as the unwanted misery of one of those trying days when it everything goes wrong and you wish that you could just stay in bed until today turns into tomorrow. Tired and worn, I have learned to take a deep breath and remind myself that this too shall pass, and take an extra long break to recuperate.
All would have passed with only minor notice, if it had not been for an unexpected disappointment. For weeks I have planned to get a brand new math sheet creating program that was scheduled to come out tomorrow. For days I have watched every video that I could, and planned what I would do when I got it.
That was until tonight, when less than 14 hours before its release, the breaks were slammed shut because my mother feels the price is to high. Suddenly, without any warning, hours of waiting and planning went up in a puff of smoke.. In that second my heart sunk and discouragement took hold.
It reminded me how much has changed since my father died. If he was alive the price of the program would not have been an issue. As my eager cheerleader he would have helped me pour over the different bonus packages to help me chose the right one.
It is not that money was not an issue while he was alive. As long as I can remember money has always been tight. As much as my father would have loved to give me a blank check and let me get whatever I wanted, he had to settle for long talks to help us pick and chose which items were the most important and which we might desire but must pass on for now.
But things were just better enough, that there would have been no question about whether or not we were going to get this program. After a few minutes of seeing what this program could do, the question would have been settled, it might mean waiting on other things for my little business for a few months, but he would have said it was a deal too good to pass up.
Even then, some of the heartache of missing my father and the way things were before he died might have been avoided, if it were not for the fact that all of this is a stark reminder of how my life and business have stood still. ears of fighting to go to school, years of struggling to make books, and I am still in the same place as day one. A lifetime of struggling and doing without, giving up holidays and summer vacation to study, staying up till midnight to do homework, getting up at 4am to get ready for school, some semesters enduring 12 hours without food because I could not afford to go to taco bell and get a burrito, at times having to go to class in a wheelchair, pushing myself to the point that tears were running down my checks with each step because I was ignoring the symptoms of a massive infection, enduring long hours in class with an undiagnosed and untreated migraine, for what?
Even now, after school my dream of going to school and becoming a doctor, then settling to try and become a nurse practitioner, and for now even getting a bachelor degree has been demolished, I have pushed myself to the point that every bone in body hurt. Where my nerves were so raw that it felt like someone was scratching their nails down a chalkboard or putting bare wire in water, and even worse, triggering hours of intense nausea that kept me from eating or functioning until it passed.
Why, in hopes that this puzzle book, that poetry video, blog, notebook, or activity pack would be the one to take off and earn more than a buck or two here and there. That at last, my dedication and perseverance, my willingness to work until my body said no more, would at last be rewarded. And success, even a little droplet of success, would finally come my way. And finally the pain of having to spend a lifetime on the sidelines watching my family, my neighbors, my classmates, and you tubers get their dream job, graduate from school, some become doctors, get engaged, married, have kids, buy their dream home, and live the life that will never be mine, wash away.
In that one crushing moment I felt that bitter weight of failure. That agony of knowing that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I struggle, I will never know the thrill of success or the joy of being a part of life. For good or for bad, for some reason all of my best efforts have ended up in a sea of tears that could not be kept in a hundred bottles for their multitude.
It has taken a lot of effort, but most days I am able to bury the pain of missing out on life’s dearest mile markers. It is not easy, but most of the time I can put on a brave enough face to convince those who long to be convinced that I am content not to marry and have kids, that I am satisfied to be forgotten as I sit on the sideline and watch the world go by.
Thankfully, the effort to make my books and humble little videos, keeps just the tiniest enough sliver of hope alive, that most days I can ignore the deep ache in my heart. Over and over I tell myself today will be the day, and if not, surely tomorrow will be the one. Perhaps this book will the book that will change the course of my life and allow me to enjoy the pleasure of earning my own living.
But tonight, when yet another hope crumbled into a billion particles of dust, I had to admit defeat. In spite of all my pushing myself to the point of being bedridden, the multitude of missed meals and hours of sleep, and countless other little and major sacrifices so that I might finally hold up my head instead of always having to hold out my hand, I have gotten nowhere. In a cruel twist of fate, the classrooms full of students who barely made an effort, have enjoyed the thrill of victory, have known the joys and frustrations of work, love, and family, while I, the one who gave every ounce of her feeble strength, have only tasted failure and disappointment. And all my hard work and dedication has only netted my aches, pains, infections, migraines, emergency room visits, loneliness, tears, broken dreams, and more.
Will I rise or will I fall? Will the day ever come when my hard work will translate into something greater than an empty dream, unfilled longings, and a quietly broken heart? Will I ever know the joy of finding true love, of earning my own wage, or at least being able to earn enough that every once and a while I can have the pride of being able to say, it may seem expensive to you, but its my money and I think its worth it? I do not know. But it sure seems like on this earth, success will never be mine no matter how hard I try.
The only thing that I can do is give my broken dreams to God and ask Him to dry the tears of my heart and give me the strength to get up tomorrow and keep on fighting until there is no more time to fight. And trust that one day He will keep His promise to swallow up the years that the locust have eaten up, and exchange all my tears for shouts of joy and happiness.
Have you ever had one of those days where your mind is bursting with ideas and plans, but your body feels like it is weighs a ton and all you want to do is crawl into bed. For me today is one of those discombobulated days where my mind is longing to work. I had a post that I wanted to share about the day my family got Happy. But even though half the post is already composed in my head, my tired and achy body rebels at the thought of sitting down and trying to type out the lines.
So instead I thought I would share a poem that I had written a few years back that was inspired by the frustration of having to deal with the debilitating fatigue created by chronic health issues like iron deficiency anemia, fibromyalgia, and more.
Good news, hopefully anemia will not be controlling my day much longer! I am scheduled to get my first infusion this Thursday. Which is great, because even with the occasional iron pill and daily drinking of the prune, Rasin, grape, and date drink, my hemoglobin is quickly dropping, and it is becoming harder to do even simple task like eating without becoming short of breath. My iron is getting so low that even though I am spending a few minutes in the sun nearly every day to get some natural vitamin D, I am becoming as pale as a ghost.
I am still not a fan of spending most of my day hooked up to an IV, but at this point it is an answer to prayer. It will be so nice to be able to do simple things like stand up and walk down the hallway or get something out of the microwave without becoming winded. While there are many big things, I want to do like complete 5 minutes of exercise on my total gym without gasping for breath or spending ten or fifteen minutes a day completing my next poetry or story book, it is the simple things of life that I am looking forward to.
Each time my iron drops so low, I am reminded how easily we forget the many little gifts that God has granted us. The ability to eat without feeling like you are going to suffocate, to bend down without fearing that your breath will be completely taken away, or comfortably walk a few feet without hyperventilating are all too often taken for granted. Too often we spend our lives chasing the big gifts, and think ourselves ill-used and believe that our prayers have been ignored because we do not receive the big bonus that we deserved, the funds to take our dream vacation, get a promotion, or some other desire of our heart.
Hurray, after more than a month since I got my lab results back showing that my iron saturation had dropped to a 4 (the low end of normal is 15), I finally have an appointment with the hematologist. I wish that I could say that I was looking forward to getting an iron infusion. But while I appreciate the temporary increase in physical and mental energy an iron infusion brings, I am not a fan of having to spend 6-8 hours getting an infusion, and the uncertainty of how I will react. To make matters more difficult, this will be the first time that I have to get an infusion without the companionship and protecting watch of my father.
But even though I do not like getting an iron infusion, my stomach cannot tolerate taking iron pills for more than a few days at a time. After a few days it makes my chronic nausea so strong that I dread meal time to the point that I at times I am delaying and even skipping meals. To alleviate the nausea I have to stop taking the nausea causing my iron levels to sea saw up and down, and slowly causing my iron stores and iron saturation to drop to a point that I can barely lift my head off the sofa and where some days even a few steps leaves me gasping for air.
Fortunately, while I have been waiting for my referral to reach the the hematologist, I found a couple of natural ways to help me get enough iron to help me do one or two task and breath a bit more comfortably. One natural remedy is to drink a bit of beet juice mixed with another juice like grape or apple juice. Mixing it with another juice is important as on its own, probably due in part to its strong flavor, it can be hard to keep down. But mixed and diluted by another juice like apple or grape it become more tolerable.
Hope, it is something that we all desperately need to keep us going. With a good dose of hope, we would not have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Because it is hope that that cheers us up when everything around us seems glum and impossible.
It is hope that takes hold of the strong arms of trust and faith to keep our heads above the billowing waves. When discouragement seeks to suffocate us and build such a high wall that we will never be able to enjoy another ray of sunlight again, it is hope that points us to the great promises of God and reminds us of the importance of trusting in things that though yet unseen, will one day become a wondrous reality.
Like a vitalizing tonic, hope has the power to revive the nearly dead soul. Bringing it back from the brink of lifelessness into a vibrant and purpose driven life.
Sleepy head is a fun little poem that was originally inspired by my dog Happy on a rare day that he preferred sleeping in to getting up and having an adventure. But since my iron stores and saturation have dropped to near lows, it could easily have been written about me. It does not matter if I get a good night sleep, or I toss and turn most of the night away, the thought of getting up in the morning fills me with dread.
I have a million things that I want to do, so the dreaming and planning portion of my brain is excited by the day, but the rest of me is too tired and achy to respond. No matter how good a nights rest I get, I wake up feeling as if I spent the whole night marching in my sleep. The only way to survive the day is by taking a few dozen cat naps and one or two long naps.
Part of that is because the lower my iron saturation gets, the harder it is to catch my breath, turning everything from the mildest workout to the simplest stretching or bending task into a major workout. Without enough iron, my body is struggling to get the oxygen where it needs to be, increasing recuperation time and massively decreasing my already limited energy levels.
Hopefully it will not be too much longer before I can see the hematologist and get a much needed iron infusion. Until then I guess I will just have to be a sleepy head with a greater appreciation not only for its important role in helping you to enjoy a vibrant and energetic day.
There are days when following the Lord just seems to come naturally. Then there are times when everything goes wrong, and my eyes settle upon the problems of life, instead of focusing on the beacon of hope that Jesus longs to shine upon my troubled path. Caught up in the frustration of my struggles to make even a modest success of my life and the never ending disappointment as something always seems to come along and snatch away my few, hard won pennies of achievement, I forget that my eyes are supposed to look steadfastly upon Jesus and not down at my trembling feet.
Sometimes, worn out by sickness and chronic pain and the discouraged by the constant battle to take one step forward only to be pushed back five or ten, I begin to look away. Without even realizing it, my attention begins to focus on myself and before I know what has happened, all the problems of life rise before me eyes. Instead of dwelling upon the promised joys to come, my heart begins to mediate upon the quiet pain that I try to bury deep within some forgotten corner of having to watch all of life’s dearest dreams pass me by.
As I look at my life, and behold all the times that I worked so hard only to get sick or have some financial crisis come along and tear my dream into pieces, all the hopes that now lay in ashes at my feet, and all the longings of life that will never be, discouragement fills my heart and before I know it has created a thick wall between me and the path of life.
In that moment all I can see is my hopeless state. Pain, frustration, want, loneliness, and all that makes the heart to ache seems to be my lot in life. Instead of feasting upon the promise of the heavenly Canaan where sin and pain are unknown and of the day when the years of famine will be swallowed up in an instant, my eyes have been held captive by the misery of the hear and now.
Thankfully the Lord is full of mercy. And even though I made a mistake in taking my eyes off His wondrous promises to focus upon the wilted landscape of this barren desert, God lifts up His mighty arm, and sends bright beams of light to break through the darkness. Tenderly He reminds me that this world is not my home. This life of sorrow and trail is but for a moment.
True, my pain and sorrows may be great, and my basket of disappointed hopes heavy. And if this short life, that at its best may last a little over a hundred years, were all that I had to look forward to, then I would have every right to shed a fountain of tears. Then I would be justified in filling the ocean with the deep rivers that would have every reason to pour forth from my eyes as I mourned my pitiful state.
But God has made a way of escape from the sentence of death. He has paid the price of my sins and although I have done nothing to deserve it, has opened the door to eternal life. An eternal life filled and overflowing with opportunities that I have never imagined. A life where I will build my own home, walk golden streets, speak with unfallen angels, investigate the far flung corners of the universe, take a ride on the back of a giant dinosaur, swim in the river of life, eat from the Tree of Life, compose my own music, understand the inner workings of bacteria, and more.
For ceaseless ages I will have the opportunity to study the amazing story of salvation. To understand the intricacies of earth’s history as never before as link by link I behold how God’s hand was moving behind the scenes to reach the hearts of men. For endless ages I will be filled with wonder as I begin to see the golden chord that worked from the fall of man, up to the final days of earth’s history, and how a seemingly small event three or four thousand years ago, played a role in reaching my heart today.
Best of all, even greater than never feeling worn out and tired, never having to worry about earning enough money to pay the bills, greater yet than being able to eat any dish from the heavenly garden without fear of an allergic reaction or enduring nausea, I will have the opportunity to once again hold the hands of loved ones whom death’s cruel hands had taken from me. Having been woken up from their all to long sleep at the sound of Jesus trumpet, we will once more enjoy each other company. For all of eternity we will work and play together. We will gather together at Jesus feet, and like the disciples did, we will spend hours feasting upon the wonderful words of truth and wisdom. Our hearts overcome by gratitude as He tells us how He held our hands on our day of sorrow, of the many ways that He worked to rescue us from sin, and sings to us the very song that He sung on the day that we accepted His mercy.
As I listen to that still small voice, reminding me of a few of the many wonders that I will have a chance to enjoy on that great day, I cannot help but forget my sorrows. The wall of despair that blocked my eyes from the path of hope quickly begins to crumble as I think not of today’s pain nor dwell upon its sorrows. But instead I once more look forward to the glorious day when my pilgrimage is over and my days of trial and heartache have at last come to an end. When at last my empty years have been swallowed up by the endless years of plenty.
In that day the tears of today, though all to important seeming now, will fade into the background, as my eyes behold a billion glorious that I could never have imagined. And life, such an active and happy life like I had never dreamed possible, becomes mine to enjoy for evermore.
It is amazing how fast this world is changing. As I look upon the strange happenings in the political world and behold how close we are to war, as I see and experience the pangs of inflation, and watch in horror as it truly seems like men’s hearts are growing cold to the needs and desires of their fellow men.
More and more I cannot help but wonder where has joy gone? Where has the peace and happiness that makes our life upon this sin tinged earth disappeared to?
With great sadness, I look around and behold pitiful scenes of want. My heart aches as I see so many weighted down by fear of the future. And I long all the more for the wonderful day when true joy, a joy free of the taint of sin, will at last be ours. O how I look forward to the day when Jesus stand up and says no more and the battle between good and evil comes to an end.
Right now as the drums of war pound in our ears, as the bombs of what could easily turn into world engulfing war fall heavily upon the shivering soil, it is hard to picture a day when strife and blood shed will come to an end. Right now while hunger and disease rule, even a day without pain seems impossible. Yet that glorious day is almost here.
The very things that call us to cry out and ask where joy has gone, the very terrors which fill us with horror, are even now seeking to point us to the fast nearing approach of the last great battle between good and evil. Wars and rumors of war abound, the ears of man are closing to the rights and needs of their fellow men, disease almost seems to be falling like the rain from heaven, and pest are getting out of control, yet we were told that this would be state of things just before Christ returns.
But one of the biggest signs that the end of our days of trials and tears is drawing near, is the fact that we are starting to see the mask come off and we are seeing the first open attempts to rule the hearts of mankind. To tell men that for the sake of freedom you must give up your freedom. That if you want to enjoy the God given right to work for your daily bread, to buy and sell, you must silence your conscience and follow the rules and whims of man.
While these ground breaking attempts to grab power have come as a surprise to many, God’s word has warned that a day was coming when only those who receive the mark will be allowed to buy and sell.
And that no man might buyorsell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Revelation 13:17
Clearly this is a mini quiz in preparation for the final exam. Showing us that our graduation is quickly drawing near.
And while our earthly joy is fading, our heavenly joy is drawing near. Soon we will know a joy that knows no bends and will never come to an end. Because it will be a joy holy and pure, inspired by the endless wonders of Heaven and an earth made new.
As I consider that wondrous day when death and sorrow are forever buried, my heart once so heavy by the many sorrows taking place around me, cannot help but leap for joy. As I look forward with longing to that great day of release. And it is my hope that you will give your heart to Jesus and even now begin to taste a slice of this never ending joy.