Finding Hope in Grief 

Finding Hope in Grief 

My guest on By His Grace this week Lauren Birchmire and I are kindred spirits when it comes to grief and loss. We both experienced the loss of our father’s suddenly and had to get married without our Daddy’s to give us away. We both know the anguish that comes from losing a child, and our hopes being crushed. But we also know that where there are deep wounds there is deep grace that comes from Jesus. When we cast our cares on Jesus we exchange our heavy burden for His peace that transcends our understanding. Lauren shares a little more of her story on the blog today. She offers some practical tips and advice on how to help a friend or loved one who is grieving.


Finding Hope in Grief 

by Lauren Birchmire

We use the word hope in many ways; I hope my children behave today, I wish the monthly budget is balanced, I want to get that raise, I hope my husband starts listening to me more, I think I can get this “to do list” done today.

It’s not wrong to hope for these things, but it can turn into hurt or hang-up when we ONLY put our hope in earthly thinking. I’ve hoped in the same way. I longed for my husband to stop drinking, I desired a healthy child.

I hoped for the miracle that didn’t come.

I’ve learned I can’t put my hope in just earthly events. We live in a fallen world, and it doesn’t work as God created. I have to remind myself daily of this truth. I ask God for peace and to put my peace and hope in Christ.

When you lose something so precious, we can either ground ourselves in that hurt; and be bitter or say to God, USE IT.

I have hoped and grieved a few times in this earthly life.

I suddenly lost my father to pancreatic cancer. We had no idea he had cancer until two weeks before he passed.

I’ve grieved my husband being an alcoholic, and not trusting him any longer.

Thankfully, by the grace of God, we will celebrate six years of sobriety in March. In April of 2017, we found out the news that our first child, our daughter Makena, would be born with a heart defect. We had two precious weeks of parenting her before her first surgery in late August of 2017. She had her second surgery on September the 6th, about 12 hours after that second surgery she went into sudden cardiac arrest, and went to heaven. We will never know this side of heaven why she went into cardiac arrest. My daughter lived for 3 ½ weeks.

These hurts that have occurred in my life have provided me the opportunity to learn about grieving well and finding hope in Christ. Click To Tweet

You might be feeling the stain of grief or some other emotions, but one thing I know for sure, YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

We grieve many things in this life, loss of job, money, a hurt that a loved one caused, separation from family or friends, the death of a loved one, etc.

We need to grieve and allow others to mourn too.

We are a society that pushes things away; if I pretend it is not there, then I won’t feel it.

That is a lie from Satan; he loves to twist the truth and make it sound so believable. We enter a pit of despair that we feel there is no escaping, but There is a way out! God provides the way, and through entering into that pain; you will come out the other side.

This does not mean the grief ends. It can hit you on the most mundane moment in a day, one simple memory will provide a puddle of tears, but I know who is collecting all those tears…Jesus. He will walk through that grief with you if you allow it. I had days that I would start sobbing while changing the laundry over because it reminded me of all the baby clothes I washed and prepped for Makena. I sobbed while washing the dishes because I felt I should be washing bottles or her little body instead.

I say to enter the pain, feel it, allow yourself to cry and cry out to God; He can take it, the good, the bad, the ugly. HE wants to hear it ALL.

Do not fear to reach out to someone you trust to share these deep hurts with, find a trusted Christian counselor, dive into a bible study about grief and loss, or find a Celebrate Recovery group near you. I’ve done all these suggested, and it allowed me to be in a healthy place with my grief; that I could not have done without Christ.

We aren’t meant to do grief alone.

What can you do for a friend or loved one who is grieving?

  • BE PRESENT!
  • Offer to do those dishes or laundry, sit with them and listen, watch a movie, and offer more than once.
  • Don’t try to keep the pain away, but enter it with them. Don’t say the cliche things like “oh they’re in a better place,” “oh they wouldn’t want you sad,” “Thank goodness the illness was short, not drawn out.” Or “at least you had time to say goodbye.” Lastly, the biggest one of all, “God must have needed them.” God doesn’t need anyone; we need him!
  • Don’t say the contrite things as it just makes that person feel like they shouldn’t grieve. Be present, offer to help, listen, validate their feelings, speak God’s truth to them lovingly when Satan tries to whisper lies to them. That is it. If they cry, go ahead and cry with them. When we grief well it keeps us healthy and prevents us from seeking other hang-ups or habits that bring us into bondage, not freedom.

I do have some earthly hope, our second daughter will make her entrance in about eight weeks, but my daily hope that gets me through each hardship, each day of grief is that this life is temporary in the long term and one day it will all be set right.

God never wastes a hurt if you allow Him to use it. Click To Tweet

God has called me into public speaking on grief, addictions, and hope. My loving husband and I are starting a ministry called, Makena Ministries “United in Tragedy to bring hope” I believe God is using my story to share what true hope in living in Christ’s care can do even in the darkest of circumstances.


Nothing is impossible with God! He makes beauty from the ashes and promises to carry us through the storms of life. For more information about Makena Ministries, you can email the Birchmire’s at birchmire@icloud.com.

We are celebrating the 10th episode of By His Grace today!! If you are enjoying these podcasts would you mind sharing your favorite episode with your friends? Also, you can subscribe under the podcast tab or on iTunes and they will come straight to your inbox each week. Hope you have a great week!

Much Love,

 

Misty Phillip

Finding Purpose After the Pain

Finding Purpose After the Pain

When we give God the brokenness and pain we endure in this life, and we allow him to heal our hearts, we become beautiful instruments of his love and grace. This week on the podcast my guest Stephanie Scott shares the painful wounds of losing a child, and how God’s amazing grace brought healing and comfort in her life. Today on the blog she shares how God took one of life’s most difficult losses and turned it for good. Stephanie recounts how she now has found purpose in pain.



by Stephanie Scott

Writing this was beyond my wildest imagination almost 20 years ago. There is a picture from then of me holding my tiny infant son while he took his last breath on earth. In the picture, tears are pouring down a face full of despair with a bright smile for the camera. 

     My son, Wyn, was to be my only biological child on earth.  Despite every heartbreaking effort in my quest to “be a mother.”  Accepting God’s will in this was as far from reality as the desert is from the sea.

      I won’t pretend it has been quick or easy. The anger I felt at God churned through my belly with a ferocity matched by the fires hell in intensity. 

      But I put a pretty face on for the world. I figuratively buried my pain so deep and covered it with concrete. Then spread rich and fertile soil. The seeds planted were sprinkled with the rain of held back tears. So the flowers could bloom in a brilliant hue.  For years I coasted in this way.

      Through God, the grief and anger escaped through the cracks in the concrete and porous nature of soil though. Little by little letting go and learning what He’s saying so. God ‘s staying power over dismaying power every time.

Through God, the grief and anger escaped through the cracks in the concrete and porous nature of soil though. Little by little letting go and learning what He’s saying so. God ‘s staying power over dismaying power every time. Click To Tweet

        Now I am the team mom for Reinhardt University football where my husband is the Defensive Coordinator. I held my son and know the love I have for the players entrusted to me is no different. 

       When people thank me for what I do them, I always answer, “Oh, I am the blessed one.” And mean it! They call me Mama Scott and their love for me is all my mama’s heart ever needed.

       Some of these boys come from such broken circumstances.  The mothering I give is the first they have ever known.  A lot of them are learning about Christ’s love for the first time too. The best part of my job is praying for them and watching them come to Christ.  

        I am like the little old lady that lived in the shoe except God shows me what to do. All I ever yearned for was another son, and God has given me hundreds     

        It is just like it promises in Jer. 29:11.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

There is meaning and purpose in tragedy, and it IS God’s greatest blessing. My smiles now are not for the camera.


Stephanie Scott is a coach’s Tommy’s wife and team mom at Reinhardt University. Stephanie’s motto is faith, family, friends, football, and service. You can find out more about Stephanie on her blog www.hopeshaping.com      

Contending for the Covenant

Contending for the Covenant

My sweet friend Angel Penn is featuring a series on her blog Experiencing Freedom on Biblical Marriage entitled Contending for the Covenant: A 20 Day Marriage Series.    I am honored and so excited to be one of the featured bloggers in this series! Check out this amazing lineup of guest bloggers.


Behind Every Great Man

As a young wife and mom with a house full of boys, I struggled to keep it all together. Our house was busy and loud most of the time since we homeschooled our boys. A great deal of my days were consumed with teaching, and training the boys, mountains of laundry, and trying to cook healthy meals to boys that were bottomless pits.

On one particular day, we finished our school early and made plans to go meet some friends at the park. Before we left, I wanted to get a head start on dinner so put a pot of dried pinto beans on the stove, covered them with water and planned to quick soak them before we left to go to the park. That way dinner would be quick and easy to cook when I got home. 

Between looking for a lost shoe, trying to find the bb’s to the airsoft gun, and getting out of the house in one piece. It was a usual but hectic time just getting out the door to go meet our friends. Finally, we get to the park, and the boys all run off to meet their friends, and I look forward to some much-needed mom fellowship….


My post goes live tomorrow and I would love for you to check it out. Behind Every Great Man  Find out What a Pot of Beans Taught Me About Being an Excellent Wife!

While you are there check out some of the other powerful posts in this series, and give Angel a follow. #Istilldo

Much Love,

 

 

 

Misty Phillip

With Jesus We are Enough

With Jesus We are Enough

As women today we are bombarded with the images of perfection. From the fashion or home magazines, perfectly curated Instagram feeds, or Pinterest boards. Everywhere we go we are faced with the unattainable standard our culture portrays is the “perfect everything”.

the perfect body

the perfect husband

perfect kids

perfect home

perfect car

The perfect EVERYTHING!

Many women have bought into the lie of perfection and that leaves us feeling inadequate, discouraged, and insecure. The lies we believe impact how we live which is why many women today struggle with self-worth, feeling like they don’t measure up, or that they just aren’t enough. 

My guest today Missy Lewis has struggled with feeling like she is not enough, and is on a mission to tell women that through Christ we are enough. 

Friends, the truth is on our we will never be enough, we will never live up to an unrealistic standard of perfection. But praise God when we are weak Jesus is strong. When our identity is rooted and grounded in the love of Jesus Christ, we learn that in Jesus we are enough.

The problem begins when we compare ourselves to others. Comparison is a trap and a joy killer. It takes our eyes off of Jesus and puts our eyes on what we perceive we have or don’t have, or what others have. And that will leave us coming up empty EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Comparison takes our eyes off of Jesus, put our eyes on what we perceive we have or don’t have, or what others have. And that will leave us coming up empty EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Click To Tweet

Instead, we should laser focus on Jesus. Not on our friends, our sister, our family, our kids, our neighbors, our social media profiles, our bank accounts, our stuff, our house, our cars, our problems, or anywhere else but Jesus. Jesus is the only one who can satisfy, and meet all of our needs. 

We love the Olympics in our house and always watch them. Different family members like different events. My son Connor loves watching the swimming and was a huge Michael Phelps fan. He would go around the house imitating his arm motions and starting position. When Michael Phelps swims he doesn’t look at the swimmers in the other lanes to see what they are doing. He is focused on doing what he is supposed to do. I think this is a great visual for our lives. We don’t need to worry about what others are doing, we just need to focus on swimming hard and fast in our own lane. Keeping our eyes laser-focused on Jesus.

In the book of Hebrews Chapter 12:1-2 states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

In these verses, our Christian life is referred to as a race, and that we should look to Jesus, the founder, and perfecter of our faith. Fully man but fully God, Jesus did what only He could do. He is the perfect sinless, spotless lamb, that died that we may live. On our own, we will never be enough. But because Jesus paid the price of our sin on the cross, and defeated death, hell, and the grave, we are made enough. 

Here are a few thoughts from my guest Missy Lewis on being enough.


 

Not Enough… by Missy Lewis

Is there anyone else out there who feels as if you are never enough?  Not pretty enough.  Not athletic enough.  Not thin enough.  Not smart enough.  Not old enough.  Not young enough.  Not funny enough.  Not outgoing enough…

You get the picture.

I have spent a lifetime in this state of “un-enoughness,” and I’m fed up with it!  I invite you to join me and, on the count of three, we can all yell, “ENOUGH ALREADY!”

Ready?

One!

Two!

Three…

ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

Doesn’t that feel better?

You are enough already!

I am enough already!

We’ve had enough already!

Enough of listening to the enemy whisper those vicious lies into our ears about how we can never be enough.  Because you know what the Truth is?

We. Are. Not. ENOUGH!

Not alone, anyway.

God knew this, though, and He never intended for us to stay that way.  He made a way through Jesus so we can be enough.  The choice is ours, though.  If we choose Jesus, we are made complete in Him.  If we deny Him…we will never know enoughness.

Missy Lewis is a wife, Momma, and “Minnie” (that’s her grandma name) from rural West Texas. When she’s not playing with her two precious granddaughters, she blogs at themissylewis.com. She is a scribe and a messenger with one urgent message – God loves you just as you are! You are ENOUGH already!


Friends, we are in a battle. We have an insidious spiritual enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He is a liar, and a thief and he is bent on our destruction. That is why we must take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. We need to know the truth of God’s word because the truth sets us free. The truth combats the lies that try to derail us from being all that we were created to be!

I challenge you to get into the word of God, study it, know it, believe it, and use it to combat the lies.

Much Love,

 

 

 

Misty Phillip

LoveNudge App

LoveNudge App

Are you looking for a fun new way to connect with your hubby, just in time for Valentine’s Day? Then you are going to want to check out this fun new application LoveNudge App!

The LoveNudge app for couples from Moody Publishers Limited is the official 5 love languages application based on the best selling book by Dr. Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages®. We have apps for all kinds of things, to organize our day, track our food intake, and fitness goals. So why not use an app to be intentional with your spouse?

A playful, engaging tool that helps couples experience love more deeply. It's like a fitness app for relationships. Click To Tweet

Peter and I had fun playing with LoveNugde app. Once you register and set the app up, you can add a picture of yourself and then take the 5 love languages quiz. After taking the love language quiz I learned a lot about both myself, my husband and what makes us feel loved!

The Love Nudge App is an insightful tool to help you create a connection with your spouse by knowing their love languages. I was surprised to find out that my #1  love language was Words of Affirmation, but I wasn’t too surprised that Peter’s top love language is Physical Touch.  Quality Time was my #3 love language, but it is Peter’s number #2. Understanding our love languages can help us be intentional in filling one another’s love tank.

The 5 love languages are Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts. There is a brief description of each of the five love languages, and a short video that accompanies each love language. The allows you to set goals and reminders to do various activities like go on a picnic, date night, or send an encouraging text. Send messages aka love nudges to your spouse through the app. You can rate and measure your love tank, and there is even a stats page to track your love tank progress over time and measure your love goals.

Download the Love Nudge App and be entered to win Dr. Gary Chapman’s #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages®, The 5 Love Languages® for Men, AND The Love Languages Devotional Bible (hardback)! To enter and for more details see the giveaway.

Hope you enjoy the Love Nudge App and be sure to share it with your friends on social media!

Much Love,

 

Misty Phillip

Loneliness in Marriage

Loneliness in Marriage

Hey friends, today I have a special treat for you!  I want to introduce you to my friend, author Sarah Geringer. Sarah is this week’s guest on the By His Grace Podcast.  We initially met online through our blogs and social media. Then we finally got a chance to meet up in person last year in July when we both attended the She Speaks Conference!! Sarah is absolutely precious, and I have really enjoyed getting to know her better.  We are both passionate about encouraging women to know and love Jesus more.

What you may not know is that Sarah and I are both on the contributor team at A Wife Like Me! How cool is that?!?

Just in time for Valentine’s day, we are doing something really special for wives at A Wife Like Me. Join us for  the 14-day challenge and you’ll receive a daily challenge in your inbox that will spark love in your heart and in your marriage. A Wife Like Me is searching for wives JUST LIKE YOU to join us in the mission to spread LOVE to create thriving marriages. Join us the 14 days of love challenge.

14 Days of LOVE Challenge

Starting on 2/1/19, you’ll receive 14 days of practical and simple love challenges that fit into your busy lifestyle yet spice up your routine. I along with several other AWLM Contributors will join our fearless leader Amanda Davison to go Live in the A Wife Like Me Gathering Facebook page to encourage you along the way!

I hope you are enjoying the By His Grace Podcast! People are listening in from all across the United States. This week on the podcast my guest Sarah openly shares about her lifelong struggle with loneliness, and how she found hope through faith and fellowship. Loneliness can strike at any time and for a variety of different reasons, from physical isolation, moving to a new location, divorce, loss of a loved one. However, some people can be surrounded by people, yet feel so very alone. Please welcome Sarah Geringer.


How to Deal With Loneliness in Marriage by Sarah Geringer

Do you deal with loneliness in marriage? I’ve dealt with it frequently in the past 18 years. But I’ve learned how to handle it with God’s help.I’m blessed to write monthly for A Wife Like Me, a beautiful and encouraging site for wives of all backgrounds. Visit the site and join the Facebook group for loads of inspiration and blessings.

Do you deal with loneliness in marriage? I’ve dealt with it frequently in the past 18 years. But I’ve learned how to handle it with God’s help. Click To Tweet

Here’s a snippet from Sarah’s recent post at A Wife Like Me:

Loneliness has long been my unwanted companion. My parents divorced when I was 4, and that’s when loneliness started knocking on my door. It sat at my bedside during childhood, walked beside me in high school, and didn’t leave my side in college.

Loneliness carved a hole in my heart that only God could fill. Yet when I met my husband-to-be, I thought his love would be enough to fill up that hole.

Only two weeks after our wedding, loneliness took up residence in our little-rented room. Its presence shocked me! I thought getting married would banish loneliness forever, but in some ways, I felt its presence more keenly after marriage.

Loneliness can threaten to undermine your marriage. Through our many trials in the past 18 years, I’ve learned ways to set loneliness outside on the porch instead of letting it in.

Please head over to A Wife Like Me to read my three suggestions for overcoming feelings of loneliness in marriage.


If you are on social media I encourage you to follow me there. You can find me on all of the social media channels as Misty Phillip. There are links at the bottom of the page,  and to get the latest from Misty Phillip. Also, I have started a By His Grace Podcast Facebook community, and would love to have you join me there!

No matter what you are going through, or what you struggle with today, I want you to know that YOU ARE LOVED and HIGHLY VALUED by your dear friend Jesus! He wants you to cast your cares on HIM because HE cares for you! Please let me know how I can pray for you!

Much Love,

 

 

Misty Phillip

Standing for Life

Standing for Life

What happened in New York is a tragedy. Elections have ramifications. Who you vote for matters! This week New York passed a law allowing late-term abortions up to nine months. There was thunderous applause when the law passed, and then the One World Trade center light up pink to celebrate. Unbeleivable.

At the end of last year, I was asked to speak at an abortion recovery retreat. I was excited to get to share the grace, forgiveness, and freedom available to all in Jesus Christ.

I posted something on my Facebook page about voting for pro-life candidates in the upcoming election. This is when I found out the person in charge of the retreat and I have differing political ideologies and experiences. She contacted me explaining her stance and offered to allow me to back out. After much prayer and consideration, I decided to let the election pass and tried to reach out to her in love and compassion to explain why I believe it’s important to vote for pro-life candidates. 

Our God created life. Life is important to God, and it should be important to us as Christians. Click To Tweet

Then a few weeks ago she uninvited me to speak because of my unwavering pro-life political stance.

I hadn’t planned on saying anything about it to anyone, even though I had already posted on social media that I would be a speaker at this event. But in light of the legislation that passed in New York this week. I can’t be quiet. Not because I was invited to speak and then uninvited to speak, but because what we stand for matters. As Christians, we have a duty and a responsibility to stand for what is noble, good, and true. 

I am not ashamed of the gospel. 

I will fight for Christian values and morals to be upheld whether it is popular or not.  

Who we put into office matters. We can’t call ourselves Christian, and pro-life and then vote for pro-choice candidates. 

Last week I attended the March for Life in Washington, DC with the http://Savethe1.com team. It was so encouraging to see hundreds of thousands of people peacefully marching for the unborn. Save the 1 is a non-profit organization that advocates for 100% percent pro-life laws, with no exceptions for rape or fetal abnormality. At Save the 1, we believe everyone deserves a chance at life. 

My son Ian and I arrived in Washington, Dc on Thursday and went straight to the Law and Life Summit, and the March for Life Expo. Thursday evening we attended the Save the Storks Ball. http://savethestorks.com Save the Storks is revolutionizing the pro-life movement with its fleet of over 40 buses equipped with mobile medical units and ultrasound machines to help mothers make the choice to chose life. They partner with local pregnancy resources, and up to date have helped saved the lives of over 4,000 babies. 4 out of 5 women who board a Stork bus chose life for their baby.

We had an amazing evening complete with a fantastic line up of pro-life advocating guest speakers, including Vice-President and Second Lady Pence. A highlight of the evening was hearing the Vice-President quote scripture and proclaim the importance of life. Other special guests and entertainers included;

  • Kirk and Chelsea Cameron
  • Eric Metaxas
  • Allie Stuckey
  • Matt Hammitt
  • Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Bob Lenz

Friday morning we assembled on the National Mall to hear conservative radio host Ben Shapiro live podcast to advocate on behalf of the unborn at the March for Life rally. The March feature an incredible lineup of pro-life speakers.

  • Sidewalk Prophets
  • Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)
  • Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL)
  • Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ)
  • State Representative Katrina Jackson (D-LA)
  • Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire
  • Abby Johnson, founder of And Then There Were None
  • Dr. Alveda King, Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn with Priests for Life
  • Dr. Kathi Aultman, fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Ally Cavazos, President of Princeton Pro-Life
  • Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus
  • Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-life Activities Committee.
 

While in Washington, DC Save the1 filmed a documentary. After a series of pictures, and interviews with the Save the 1 team we gathered to take a photo in front of this jumbotron that tells the story of several Save the 1 team members. I am humbled to serve alongside such brave men and women who have chosen life in the most difficult of circumstances. 

We made our way to the end of the line near the supreme court and stood on the corner holding our signs and thanking people for marching for almost 4 hours. I was overwhelmed and in awe by the incredible sea of people that flowed through the street for hours on end. There was easily at least a million people in attendance. Men, women, teenagers, children all peacefully assembled to stand for the unborn. 

The March for Life ignited a spark within me. This weeks news is both horrific and unsettling, but it makes me want to shine my light brighter for Jesus. Many Americans are deceived and need to know the truth and hope of Jesus Christ. Please be in prayer for our country, and pray about how you can make a stand.  Matthew 5:14 ESV declares, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” As our world continues to grow darker, I encourage you to you shine brighter.

Much Love, 

 

Misty Phillip

Struggle for Family: Peace and Provision through Chronic Illness

Struggle for Family: Peace and Provision through Chronic Illness

Chronic illness affects millions of Americans and being a full-time caregiver for a loved one with chronic illness can be taxing to family members. I know this struggle first hand. My son has a brain injury and requires constant supervision. When chronic illness is a part of your life, there is no escape. You may have a temporary respite or retreat, but the burden is always there. When you or someone suffers from a chronic condition, and healing doesn’t come, you have a choice to make. How will you let this impact your life? If you can’t change the physical illness, disease or chronic pain, then all you can do is manage your response to the situation.

My guest today Susan Wilder handles her struggle for her family with such grace. Please welcome Susan as she shares a blog post previously published on her blog, entitled This Is Us. Susan’s blog: https://www.byfaithandcoffee.com

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This is us…

by Susan Wilder

 

This is us…

THIS is hard…

 

Are you a fan of the show, “This Is Us”?   I should have known, but I didn’t, so just checked, and Season 2 begins on Tuesday.  We were fans of Season 1, not saying we agreed with all the characters’ decisions during all the episodes or even the writers’ choices in all storylines.  Regardless, we were hooked.  The title of the show says much and then really nothing at all.  If I remember correctly, the pilot episode included the celebration of birthdays… four different people – adults, at first, seemingly unrelated.  Not far into the show, we were brought along for the creative story of how each of these lives were so intricately intertwined.  Each week brought new eye-opening, tear-shedding moments of the deepened understanding of each character and … usually with a twist… the intricacies of their relationships.
Many moments were sprinkled with scenes from the past mingled with present-day events in their lives, then just with a blink, back in time again.
What might your pilot episode include?  Would you share about your “now”, or would a past event be key to understanding the progression of life?
Seems I’ve been busy lately with a time of figuring out… researching unexplored territory… asking questions… discerning much of what I don’t feel qualified to discern.
How did we get here?
 Anyone else ever asked that question?
 Our family’s journey, really it is Frank’s journey, of chronic, unrelenting pain (we will never forget the gift of that pain-free six months!), has offered little relief and even less explanation.  Frank has battled hard often through gritted teeth with a determined resolve to fight with every ounce of energy he could muster.  Realizing early on in this 14-year struggle his strength and will simply couldn’t carry him through, his dependence on God’s promise for help and sustaining presence became his lifeline.
Recently our “this is us” scene catapulted with such force, we’ve had a little trouble bouncing back.  Let’s be honest… we’ve had a little trouble crawling back.  Without bunches of details of what we and some “much smarter than us” experts are trying to define, Frank has experienced a significant, for lack of a better word, my very medical term: brain fog… from days of memory loss, sleep deprivation, confusion, sadness, and honestly, deep despair.  This is hard.
For years we’ve laughed out loud at the term pain management.  Our discussion seemed to return to we have no interest or desire to manage pain… we’d simply prefer to remove pain.  That hasn’t been the case, so management became the goal.  With much help, we learned to live in a new normal of the managing reality.
Managing this new normal… that prayerfully, will be short-lived, is hard.  Nobody has offered us the rule book, the ABC’s to follow, even a list of “here’s the likely way this will run”.
This is us… and this is hard.  We will continue to trust our God is the midst of very hard.  
We have prayed much… and will continue to.
We have asked others to pray… and know they have and will continue to.
We have grieved the unknown… and agreed that God knows.
We have feared uncertainty… and know Who conquers fear.
We have pleaded for understanding… and realized His grace is indeed sufficient.
We have asked for clarity… and hear the word of God give grace and peace.
We have looked for help… and know the HOPE of Jesus is our answer.
His word is active and alive… and brings comfort to these weary soul:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.  Psalm 121
 
Praying His comfort in your ‘hard’, friend… and thankful for your prayers in ours.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jesus warned us that we would have tribulation in this world, but to take heart and have peace, because He has overcome the world. Our prayers for healing may not come. Chronic illness or disability may cause a lifetime of struggle, but Jesus promises never to leave us or forsake us. When we are in the midst of the battle we can be comforted knowing He is near.
I hope you are enjoying the Podcast and the accompanying guest series as much as I am! Please, sure your favorite podcasts and posts. Sharing is caring! Also, make sure you subscribe on iTunes and don’t forget to leave a review or rating.
Much Love,
Dealing With Chronic Illness

Dealing With Chronic Illness

This week on the By His Grace Podcast I talk to Gena McCown about living with a chronic illness. Gena suffers from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. After Gena surrendered this illness to the Lord as a thorn in her flesh, God took over to do what only He can do. By the grace of God Gena is a powerhouse women’s ministry leader and doesn’t let chronic illness slow her down. Listen to podcast here

She wrote this super insightful post about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis awareness. Please welcome Gena McCown to the blog this week.


Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Awareness 

by Gena McCown

If you are reading this, it’s because you ARE or you LOVE my people, those of us who suffer from a thyroid disorder.  My specific disease is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

And I am taking back my life, one step at a time.

What Is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis:

Some people who have thyroid disease, have a simple explanation… their thyroid is working too hard or not hard enough.  They take medication daily to manage it.  Others may have NO thyroid at all because of cancer or by removing the thyroid to manage the symptoms better.  These people also take medication daily to manage it, but at a higher dose because there is no thyroid function at all.  Then there are people like me, who have an Autoimmune based thyroid disease.  This basically means that my body is actively trying to KILL my thyroid.   Some days, it is a more brutal assault than others.  Unlike other thyroid diseases, I can swing between being HYPER (too much) and HYPO (too little) thyroid from day to day.   I am given the same medications as other thyroid conditions because honestly, modern medicine has no clue how to treat my disease.  They treat the thyroid the best they can but ignore the autoimmune aspect.

How Does Hashimotos Thyroiditis Affect A Person:

symptoms

In the years since I have been diagnosed I learned a hard, cold, truth.  Hashimotos Patients and their symptoms are like snowflakes.  There are no two alike.  My sister and I, both have the disease and our symptoms are VERY different.  I chose the image above, because it’s a good start.  Hashimotos sufferers will fluctuate between hyper and hypo, so you can have symptoms that fall on either side, or both of that graphic.

Additionally, it is becoming more recognized that once you have an auto-immune disorder, you are more likely to develop MORE AI diseases over your life time.

Hashimotos alone has over 300 symptoms that can affect a person, on any given day… at any given time.  To most, Hashimotos is considered an invisible illness. We look ok, but we are very much NOT.  We struggle daily, it’s just that some days the struggle is easier than others.  The following chart has the most common:

sympt2

What Are the Biggest Obstacles for Someone with Hashimoto’s?

  1. Lack of Adequate Medical Caredue to the general lack of information and research on our disease, most Hashimoto’s patients are receiving sub-par care.  Doctors will look at our blood work results, adjust our medication, and send us on our way.  They do not look at the root cause, the autoimmune disorder.  Unfortunately, most of the doctors that will are not covered by insurance.  This puts many Hashi’s patients at a disadvantage for getting proper care.
  2. This Disease is, in Many Ways, Totally Out of My Controlmany Hashi’s patients will suffer from symptoms that come and go as they please, which can lead to us canceling plans last minute because we are having a flare-up.  Other symptoms stick to us like glue and are at times an impossible hurdle to overcome, like our weight or fatigue.   The medications that are currently on the market are not curing us, and often not even making us remarkably better.  They are really just helping us get by from day to day.
  3. This Disease is Invisible, Which Means We Get Judged A LOTby family members, friends, coworkers, and even health professionals.  You would be amazed at the cruel things people will say to us because they lack any understanding of what we go through.  We get accused of cheating on our diets or mocked for changing our diets, accused of being lazy, making excuses, blah blah blah.  These judgments hurt us to our core because see number 2.
  4. This Disease Affects My Entire Bodyhead to toe, it is apart of my everyday life and nothing is left untouched.  Hashimoto’s will affect your mental faculties, your hair may fall out, you will have issues with your dental health including bone loss in your jaw, you will experience swelling and discomfort in your neck, heart palpitations, your body will swell and diuretics won’t stop it, you will most likely suffer from some sort of food sensitivity, your libido will decrease, your muscles will ache, your skin will hurt to be touched, you may end up with balance and coordination issues, it can impact fertility, and the list goes on and on.  In fact, there are over 300 possible symptoms and no two Hashimoto’s patients are alike.

What Are We Learning About Treatment?

  • Integrative, Functional, and Holistic Doctors seem to have the best approach because they look at the whole body.   However, most insurance companies do not cover these doctors leaving patients to foot the bill.  I have been fortunate that our insurance covers my doctor.
  • We need to ensure the proper blood work is being done which includes testing for thyroid antibodies, food allergies, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, hormonal changes, adrenal fatigue, and other autoimmune disorders.
  • Every patient will be different in regards to the severity of disease, deficiencies, food allergies, symptoms, etc.  Thus our treatment will differ from each other, and this is figured out one step at a time.  Often we are throwing things at it, simply to see what sticks.  Therefore patience through the healing process is imperative.
  • Exercise affects our body differently, high-intensity workouts can actually be detrimental to our weight loss because it puts our body under stress, which increases our cortisol levels, which affects our thyroid function.
  • Most Hashimotos (and autoimmune sufferers) will have LEAKY GUT and repairing the balance and health to your gut will help you feel better.  This often involves the removal of gluten, sugar, dairy and sometimes soy, corn for at least a year.  Your doctor (and your body) will help you know when you have healed.  Additionally, the addition of certain probiotics will help the process move along faster, including the addition of lacto-fermented foods to help with inflammation (sauerkraut, kimchi).

Currently, I am seeing an INTEGRATIVE DOCTOR.  Under her care, we are addressing my Hashimotos from a whole body approach.  We are not just treating my thyroid, but also addressing the autoimmune component.  She is covered under my insurance, although my co-pay is a smidge higher than my primary.   Since every patient is different, just because this protocol is working for ME… it doesn’t mean it will work for you.  So please be sure to work through your condition with your doctor.  You are welcome to share my protocol with your doctor to discuss if any of these suggestions will be beneficial for you.  Please also note, that all of the following have been discussed with my integrative and are under her monitoring.

Integrative Protocol:

  • Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar-Free diet.
  • UPDATE:  Thyrovanz 100MG  (I was on Armour Thyroid 90mg, before that 125mcg of Synthroid) 1xd
  • Hydrochlorothiazide 25mg 1xd
  • Potassium CL ER 10meq  1xd
  • Selenium 200mcg 1xd
  • 2500mcg Sublingual B12 (radiance brand) 1xd
  • 50mg Vitamin B6 (radiance brand) 1xd
  • 400mg Tumeric (radiance brand) 2xd
  • 5mg BioPerine (black pepper fruit extract) 2xd
  • 2000IU Vitamin D3 2xd (Sports Research brand w/ coconut oil)
  • Women’s MultiVitamin (Radiance Brand) 1xd
  • Calcium 600 w/ Vit D3 (Radiance Brand) 1xd
  • 1000mg Fish Oil (Radiance Brand) 2xd
  • Glutathione 50MG 1xd
  • Black Cumin Seed Oil 500mg
  • Myo-Inositol 2000mg 1xd

*Radiance Brand is gluten free, preservative free, sugar-free, dairy free, artificial color/flavor free, salt-free.

* There is some crossing of supplements…. my Multi V, D3, and Calcium all have D3.  Since I am supposed to get 5000IU daily, between these 3 I get as close to that number as possible without going over.   Same with Selenium, it’s in both the Selenium supplement and in my Multi V.  However, combined I do not exceed the dosage amount my doctor desires.

Blood tests included thyroid levels, food allergies, vitamin/mineral levels, etc.

I am adding in iodized salt, b/c my iodine levels are the cusp of being too low.

Root Cause Suggestions:

Protocol Suggestions from other Sources:

  • Kefir Water, Probiotic Water – OR – Kombucha Tea   (min. 2 oz daily, up to as much as you like.  It is recommended to work your way up b/c too much too fast gives a bellyache)
  • Saukerkraut or Kimchi (Lactofermented)  1TBS – 1/4C daily

Midwife Suggestions:

  • Jarrow Formula’s Adrenal Optimizer 1xd
  • Acidophilus 1xd

Acupuncturist Suggestion:

Root Cause suggested that acupuncture works for some Hashimoto’s sufferers.  I tried it for a few months, and I didn’t notice any improvements.  I’ve decided to delay further acupuncture treatments at this time.

  • 1000 plus Bee Pollen Complex (Radiance Brand) 2xd

Things I’ll Systematically Add This Year:

  • 3omg zinc
  • 1mg copper
  • 40oIU vitamin E
  • For when I travel and may not have access to Kefir Water or Kombucha, I’m going to purchase Food Science Mega Probiotic-ND.

This year we are also looking into whether or not I am salt sensitive which could be having a huge impact on my weight.  God blessed me with a divine appointment by seating me next to two women who both suffer from thyroid disorders.  Each of us in a different stage of our fight to beat this disease.   The woman who was ahead of me, and able to shed a lot of her weight utilized “The Waterfall Diet” written by Linda Lazarides.  It is a book on how to control your water retention… swelling… and shed that water weight.  It’s a diet that is not lifelong, but rather a process of eliminating to their diet, with slow introductions over time.  I’m only a few chapters in, and I am checking off all of the signs and symptoms of water retention, and it even mentions in the book thyroid conditions causing water retention.  Unfortunately, if you are following the rules… you must read the book and not start the diet until you get to the end.  So, I have no results to share yet.

There are the books I have used in my own research, or have been recommended to me:

These are not affiliate links, I do not make money off of their sale.  I like to give visual references to help with shopping and direct links when possible.

hash1     hash2     hash3


I hope you found Gena’s post helpful. This is a resource, but you should not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any condition. This intended for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your physician.

For more from Gena McCown visit her website www.womensministrycouncil.com

If you battle chronic illness, I know it can be a long weary battle. But remember you are never alone. God is always with you, He loves and cares for you, and He’ll be there to see you through.

Much Love,

 

 

Misty Phillip

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