Saturday, December 9, 2023

Complete Healing


There is a common trend, of picking a word of phrase for the new year, to inspire you or even tell you what the coming year has in store for you. While I don't give credence to any kind of  "sign" as such unless given by God Himself, after listening to a great faith-based podcast called "Abiding Together" at the beginning of this last year, they discussed the idea of praying and asking God to give you a word for the year, so in a quiet place, free of distractions, I did pray this prayer, and was surprised when I heard the words in my heart "complete healing". I thought, ok, that's a nice thought, and quite honestly didn't think much of it. 

For over a decade now, I have followed a winding path of searching for answers to healing, what I have always believed to be, a physical health condition. I have written many posts about it. It has been worse or better to varying degrees depending on the year, month, or day even. I have worked with many doctors, nutritionists, and health professionals, had lab work done multiple times, showing negative results, read many books about it, tried more medications, shots, and supplements than I could possibly list here. I have learned a lot along the way, mostly coming to the conclusion on one side of it, that gut health is paramount to all other health. Refined sugars, processed foods and frequent use of antibiotics will damage your health over time, and keeping your diet and life "clean" of chemicals, dyes, and synthetic fragrances is the easiest way to minimize things like frequent illness, allergies, headaches, skin conditions and other chronic health problems. 

But nothing is a guarantee. I know that. Illness still comes to the healthiest of people. What I started to ponder though over a year ago, was that many times, I would start a new regimen with a doctor or health professional, get better for a time, my skin and gut health issues would clear up, then out of the blue it would all get worse again. 

I am not convinced there is only one type of diet that is right for everyone, except that we all need to eat more fruits and vegetables, healthy forms of protein, and less processed food. Trim, Healthy Mama, of all the ways of eating I have tried, and believe me, I've tried it all, has been the most balanced way I have found, including all parts of the human person, body, soul, and mind. 

And it is this last part that was the final piece for me, the mind.  

Several years ago, they came out with a book after all their cookbooks called "I'm That Girl" about the power of your thoughts, and how your health can be seriously affected by them, for better and for worse. Having listened to their podcast which focused a lot on this theme, I was so excited about the book when it came out. I ordered a copy, and when it came, I promptly opened it, read a page or two, and put it, on my bedside table, where it sat for quite a few months. Ahem.

In the meantime, one day I started listening to a different health podcast called "The Less Stressed Life" in which the host shared how she had helped many people with gut health, food sensitivities, and chronic eczema. She spoke often about stress being a huge factor to health issues. As I continued to listen to her and her guest speakers, I began to think she might be able to help me. I set up an appointment to speak with her, and sent her the MANY labs, medications and supplements I had been on. 

After listening to me and looking at all the evidence, she said "What do you want me to do for you?" I said "I need to know the missing piece. What's next. Hormones? more labs? what?" She paused, and looked at me thoughtfully and said "I don't think you need to take any more supplements or do any more labs, or spend any more money on your health." 

Um. huh?

"No one has told you to work on your nervous system. Go learn everything you can about neuroplasticity. and apply it diligently to your life. All your mind and your body has known for years, is that you are a sick person and you react to everything. It doesn't know how to heal. Start telling it- you are well. Focus on de-stressing, and this relaxed breathing method I am going to send you, and you will see a difference in a few weeks."

I was, to say the least, incredulous. She was about to end the call and I said "Wait, do we do a follow-up? What is the next step?" She said "we don't need a follow-up. If you do what I tell you to you will see a difference. The science is there if you research it." And she ended the meeting.  

 So after being dumbfounded for a bit, I began to research neuroplasticity, and started the relaxed breathing nightly, making times for eliminating stress, a priority. There was much scientific evidence for the healing of the body, through the power of the mind. Transforming your thoughts from negative to positive, from dying to living, from sickness, to health. 

The book sitting on my bedside table, that I had been ignoring,"I'm That Girl" was basically all about that, but using God's Word to do it. So my next thought was "well, if I am going to do this neuroplasticity thing, I want to do it with scripture, guess I should finally read that book." It was transformative for me. Each chapter in the book dealt with a different aspect of negative thinking and how to combat it with scripture. I began to see an immediate connection between my negative thinking including anxiety, depression or hopeless thoughts, and my symptoms. On a more stressful day or a day when I would let my thoughts spiral into a negative place, my symptoms would be worse that night and the following day. 

Scriptures I had never noticed before were sticking out to me like a sore thumb. 

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue." Proverbs 18:21

"Let the weak say I am strong." Joel 3:10

"Take every thought captive to obey Christ." 2nd Corinthians 10:5

"Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24

"Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." Romans 12:2

"As a man thinketh, so is he." Proverbs 23:7

"Thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trust in thee." Isaiah 26:3

And probably the most important one, which has become my mantra...

"I am the Lord, your healer." Exodus 14:26

I have put these on memory cards, and keep them on my bedside table, in my car, in my purse. I try to look at them often. I also try to guard my thoughts, and turn them around. Some days I do better than others. Are there still some types of foods and triggers that seem to give me symptoms? Yes. Am I determined I will always have those symptoms? Not anymore. I am still trying to grasp all this, but stress and my thought patterns seem to be the biggest factor to my healing. 

In addition to this new discovery, God has been introducing healing to my soul and to my marriage. My husband and I attended a healing conference through JP II healing center that was phenomenal. We both experienced some deep inner healing, and began going to a counselor that has helped us to heal parts of our relationship that needed healing. To better love each other and ourselves. Yes even after being married for 25 years you have a lot to learn about how to love each other, and your family. I tell you all this because I want you to know that no one is perfect, but God is. and he has a perfect plan for you. He WANTS your healing. He WANTS your family's healing. It's not just a fairytale. It's not a cute Christian idea. And he is absolutely capable. Put all your hopes, your brokenness, and your hurts in his hands. He can handle it. I promise. Not just that, he is waiting to heal you. Be persistent in faith and prayer, and above all, TRUST HIM!

"And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be open." Luke 11:9-10

Neurodiversity, Brilliance in Color

 As I read back through all the stories of my young motherhood, the phrase “hindsight is 20/20” comes to mind. Because just in the past few years, a great many things have been brought to light, by the knowledge that my family is predominantly on the spectrum with autism, a beautiful vivid variety of colors. We are as neurodiverse as they come. 

I was thinking today what a picture would look like of neurodiversity and I looked up and saw a beautiful, still glowing with orange and yellow, autumn tree. And I thought about how one person’s perspective of that tree might be that it is broken, even dying, in the way of giving life. While another person’s perspective is, that it is at its most beautiful and fullest version of itself. Maybe I’m biased as my favorite season is Autumn. But it felt like a revelation. 

There are certain aspects of autism that from outward appearances, can seem unacceptable to society. That make life in general, more challenging on a daily basis than someone who is not, on the spectrum. Processing all things sensory, lights, tastes, sounds, textures, new experiences, new people, large social gatherings, social customs and cues, can all be so overwhelming that it can cause internal (and sometimes external) meltdowns, shutdowns, or just a complete lack of comprehension of that given circumstance. 

The ability to follow multi-step instructions, keep a daily routine, even the simplest one, can seem like an insurmountable task, a mountain of impossibility. 

Autistic people can feel and experience emotions very intensely, this can create a beautiful advantage in relationships, but also present a huge challenge in communication combined with the difficulty in understanding the meaning or intention of another.

They have a supreme sense of justice. And have difficulty seeing and accepting the grave injustices we have all around us on a daily basis. 

When not distracted by other things, they can be very empathetic, almost to a superlative degree. This also, can be a blessing or a curse. As they may feel a sense of unresolved conflict if someone in their life is upset or unhappy, as if they are going through it themselves. 

They have an amazing ability to consume the knowledge of a particular thing or topic to the point of obsession, memorizing details, and being able to share vast amounts of information on a subject, as well as become highly skilled in a particular area of interest.  

In short, their brains are wired differently. But where I used to see the struggle, I more often see the incredible gifts that accompany it. And how blessed I am to be a part of it. That God decided to give me a significant role n their lives, as I am certain they will all do amazing things, with the gifts God has given them, for His greater glory. 

And as I can hardly wait for fall each year, to see the vibrant colors on all the trees, I can hardly wait to see what beautiful “colors” my neurodiverse family will bring forth, both now and as they continue to grow into the person God has planned them to be! 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary: The Pentecost


“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Acts 2:2-4

Sometimes a theological idea, liturgical theme, feast day, or simple teaching, has to “slow cook” in my mind and heart for quite a while. We are all a work in progress, aren’t we? The way I understood the sacrament of marriage, for instance, 23 yrs. ago, when I first said my vows, looks very different than how I understand it now. Because of experiences God has given me, insights, observing other marriages that have been around longer than my own, obstacles we have faced, joys we have experienced. It will look very different to me 20 more years from now for the same reason. 

We celebrated the feast of the Pentecost 2 Sundays ago. I have been thinking about it ever since. It is also the 3rd glorious mystery of the Rosary, right after the Resurrection, and the Ascension. I used to and even still sometimes, be tempted to expect some kind of “experience” on Pentecost. After all, the Holy Spirit is alive and working, is He not? and I am a baptized Christian, a follower of Christ, so couldn’t I experience maybe even just 1 “tongue of fire”? 🤔 

Don’t mistake me, I have had experiences, with the Holy Spirit. And I have felt His presence strongly, at certain moments of my life. But the day to day work of the Holy Spirit in me, is not usually “consumed with tongues of fire” or emotionally exhilarating ecstasies or visions (sorry to disappoint). 

It is a sloooow, refining, burn. 

It is the gentle but sometimes it hurts a little, stripping of my attachments- be they actual possessions and people, or personal ideals and principles, pride, vanity, and the like. It’s Him shining a flashlight in the dark areas of my heart, one corner at a time and whispering “it’s time for this to go, so you can make more room for me.” It’s the reminder to get back up and try again, say “I’m sorry”, die to self. over and over again, every day, until it slowly, starts to get a little easier. Then, He moves to the next room. 😄 And we begin to clean the house of my soul, little, by little by little. And I try not to look at the things we’ve left behind, and focus on what He places in front of me. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary: The Ascension


The Ascension of the Lord Jesus is the 2nd of the Glorious mysteries of the rosary. We celebrate the feast of the Ascension, today, Sunday. It’s the moment the apostles see their master in all His glory, rising up to heaven to sit on His throne. It’s the great commission, when Jesus calls upon them to go and preach the gospel to every nation, and baptize them into His Church. 

When I imagine myself at the moment of the Ascension, I can’t help but think, there may have been mixed feelings. While I would feel joy and complete awe at the sight of my Savior in glory,  I might also feel some sadness and a little childlike fear, when my sight of Him is covered by clouds. “What am I going to do without you?!” and “Did we not just get you back Lord? after having grieved so horribly over your death? Where will I find the courage to press forward in your name?” 

I was with my mother today. I am blessed to still have her in my life. Some of my friends do not have that privilege. Even when I can be so burdened by the cares of life, anxious about current events and about the future, being with her always gives me hope, joy, and courage to keep on in my vocation. To just keep being faithful. As she has been so many years. to the Lord and to her family. Don’t you know that’s why the Lord left his mother with the apostles and the church? That she must have longed to leave this world with Him more than we can imagine? But she was needed here, to encourage the apostles, console them. Being the first spouse of the Holy Spirit, she needed to be with them when He came to anoint them all with His Holy fire. Being the mother of Christ she was called to the great purpose, of being a mother to us all. She is mother to you now. In the dark, in the unknown, she will gently lead you in the path of light to her Son. When she spoke to St. Juan Diego in 1531, a peasant man from Mexico in Guadalupe, as he was distressed about the health of his dying uncle, she said “Am I not here who am your mother?” and continued with many other comforting words. 

And so, while we still await the Lord’s return, and with all creation groaning (Romans 8:22) for the fulfillment of God’s kingdom and glory, she is still saying “Am I not here? Who am your mother?” There is no one longing for the fulfillment of the kingdom of her Son more than the Blessed Mother. She went through everything with Him; she knows the level of faith required of us right now. Ask her to intercede for you every day, to be faithful, have courage, and never lose hope. Christ is in fact, still coming back. And what a glorious day it will be! 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Great Things

Picture I stopped to take on a run today 

I am in my mid-forties and have had 6 children. I was diagnosed with a hypothyroid a little over 10 yrs. ago. In addition to that, adrenal fatigue, candida overgrowth, and a hyperactive immune system. Some of those conditions are improving, some have disappeared. 

You know what I say to all of that? Whatever🤷🏻‍♀️. I started running again a few weeks ago. Actually, I started walking. But one day I was walking and I heard in my heart “Run towards Me and hold nothing back!” So I literally started running and kept it up for at least 20 minutes. I don’t plan on doing marathons, yet. But I’ve been running ever since. And on every run, I pray and think, about running towards my Savior, in all areas of my life. Because my coach is Jesus, and he’s not bothered by my age, diagnoses, or what anyone else says I am capable of. Maybe right now it’s running, further down the road it may be something else. 

I am not saying there are not legitimate health problems that may immobilize a person, or keep people from doing things in life. But I do believe this. You are as “old” as you believe and tell yourself you are. Your health, your life, every day, is an opportunity laid at your feet. How will you defy what’s “expected” for you? Because God expects and plans great things. Great things.