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.
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
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.
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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:
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:
What Are the Biggest Obstacles for Someone with Hashimoto’s?
- Lack of Adequate Medical Care – due 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.
- This Disease is, in Many Ways, Totally Out of My Control – many 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.
- This Disease is Invisible, Which Means We Get Judged A LOT – by 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.
- This Disease Affects My Entire Body – head 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.
- 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
- Jarrow Formula’s Adrenal Optimizer 1xd
- Acidophilus 1xd
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.
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.
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