30 March 2014

Naomi Rawlings Shares About Thankfulness in the Midst of Trials--Lyme Disease

Author Naomi Rawlings

Thanks for having me back today. Last time I was here, I did an interview and talked about the isolated place in which my family and I live and how God had called my husband to pastor a small church in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I also talked about my debut book, Sanctuary for a Lady.
Now I’m back again, this time to tell you about the second book in the Belanger Family Saga, The Soldier’s Secrets, and to share some of the ways in which both my family and I have grown over the past two years.

Growth, by and large, is a rather ordinary word, and we usually tend to think of it in a pleasant way. Sometimes growth can be pleasant and fun, like riding a bike for the first time or getting your driver’s license. But growth isn’t always happy and easy. Sometimes skinned knees accompany learning to ride a bike, and accidents accompany getting your driver’s license.
For my family, the past two years have been full of growth, but it hasn’t been a happy, pleasant kind of experience. 2013 is one of those years I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Kind of like the people who lived through the Great Depression will always remember 1929 and the people who lived through WWII will always remember 1941 and 1945.
So what huge disaster happened this year? My son’s Lyme disease came back. And when I say came back, I mean the infectious disease literally flooded his body for a second time. It was supposed to be gone. We’d discovered the tick bite three years earlier, got the positive blood test, and treated him according to our pediatrician’s and the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations. And he did get better for three years.
Until he didn’t.

Lyme is a complicated disease, wrapped in a bunch of political and HMO crap, and then ignored by most doctors and insurance companies. I won’t go into the details here, though these articles on the Huffington Post (link to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-m-rubin/the-global-search-for-edu_b_4244055.html )  and New Yorker (link to http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/07/01/130701fa_fact_specter?utm_source=thanksgiving+2013&utm_campaign=T-giving&utm_medium=email ) will give you a hint.  (Severe cases can leave people bedridden and riddled with seizures, while therapy involves years of IV antibiotics.) Most people with Lyme disease are indefinitely poor because the disease is very hard and expensive to treat, and insurance companies won’t cover beyond a month’s worth of treatment. 
In short, Lyme disease is not something I would wish on anybody, ever.
But God allowed my son to contract it for some reason I still don’t truly understand. So what am I to do? I suppose I have two options: I could get bitter, or I could be thankful.

I choose to be thankful.
“For what?” You might ask. What do you have to be thankful for?
Well, I’m thankful for my family.
I don’t have my family right now, at least not in the healthy way I had them at this time two years ago. I also don’t have the thousands of dollars we’ve spent treating my son over the past twelve months. And I don’t have a dependable vehicle—my car is 13 years old and riddled with problems. I don’t have matching furniture in my bedroom (one of my dressers is pea green—who paints a dresser pea green???) I don’t have clean house at the moment. I don’t even have paint on the upstairs landing.
So how can I be thankful that my seven year old has an infectious disease that seems incurable?
By looking at my heart instead of my situation.

Do you remember those old MasterCard commercials and the things that they used to call “Priceless”? Those moments when our kids laugh. Those times when our spouses pull us close and kiss us until we’re dizzy and the kids are making gagging noises. Those instants when your child catches a frog he’s chased around the yard and his face lights up into a grin.

Laughter and kisses and frogs are not paid medical bills, debt-free houses, and functioning vehicles. But they matter. They’re important. They add up. And we can choose to be thankful for them.
That’s a novel thought, isn’t it? That we can CHOOSE to be thankful. That thankfulness doesn’t revolve around the number of things we own or the amount of money we’ve stashed in our savings, IRAs, and stocks. That thankfulness starts and ends in our hearts.
I don’t need a matching bedroom set and new car to be thankful. I don’t even need a healthy son to be thankful.
And neither do you.
Because laughter and kisses and frogs count for something, and instead of thinking about all the things I don’t have to be thankful for, I’m thinking about the things I DO have.

The Soldier's Secrets

Bio:
Naomi Rawlings:
A mother of two young boys, Naomi Rawlings spends her days picking up, cleaning, playing and, of course, writing. Her husband pastors a small church in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula, where her family shares its ten wooded acres with black bears, wolves, coyotes, deer and bald eagles. Naomi and her family live only three miles from Lake Superior, where the scenery is beautiful and they average 200 inches of snow per winter. To learn more about Naomi and her novels, visit her website at www.NaomRawlings.com. You can also find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/author.naomirawlings.

Giveaway: This week we will be giving away a copy of each of Naomi's two new releases (international winners ebook choice only.) "Like" Naomi's Facebook page and put FB in your comment and answer this question: What are you most thankful for? Leave your email address so we can contact you.




49 comments:

  1. NAOMI, thanks so much for being with us this week on OWG! Your testimony really touched my heart. I'm convinced that as Christians we often disobey the commandment in the Bible that says in everything give thanks -- for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I know I fall short in that area if no one else does.

    I had been married for 29 years before I had a brand new matching bedroom suite, so I can identify....but not with the pea green color (bless your heart!) Praying you won't have to wait that long, but that God will provide you with a nice new bedroom suite, but more importantly praying for your son. My 7 yr. old gson is over here today, and I'm so thankful for his health. I just can't imagine... God bless you, NAOMI!

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  2. So thankful for my family and friends that have encourage me and stood by my side the last 3 years since my car wreck in 2011 .Sad to say I can not say that about all family and friends the ones who should have been there were not but God made sure the right ones have been .Thanks for the chance to win.Blessings ,DanaGirl

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  3. I am most thankful for my family.

    Facebook!

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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  4. We just finally got matching dressers this year ! Free too, so I am very thankful for Real Mahogeny wood dressers in my bedroom. I am very thankful for Salvation of course, thankful for the Lord giving me health even if its had some issues this past year. You know we had wildlife like that in TN, very rural and hilly Thank you for a chance to win your book.
    FB and checking out your website too. Made a pinterest board for you on my wall there.
    Hugs
    Linda
    Faithful Acres Books
    www.faithfulacres.net
    faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

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    1. So happy for you and those dressers, Linda!

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  5. What a great post! I really enjoyed it because it put some things in perspective for me, and I need that A LOT!!!! I'm most thankful for memories with my late husband and thankful for my aging parents, who are so precious and dear to me. Thanks again for this message that you gave me. May God bless you and your family. Prayers for your little boy!
    Susan in NC
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. We all need those reminders sometimes, don't we Susan? Glad the post was a blessing to you.

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  6. Sorry, forgot to put FB.
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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  7. Hi everyone, thanks so much for your kind comments. I hope and pray the post is a blessing to you. Sometimes life's lessons aren't fun to learn, but they're needful all the same. :-D

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  8. Thanks for sharing your experience with us! A friend of mine was having vertigo and other symptoms for several months before they finally diagnosed her with Lyme Disease. I didn't realize it has such controversy associated with it.

    Liked you on FB! I'm most thankful that our baby girl's adoption is soon to be finalized! She is such a blessing.

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com
    http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com

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    1. Congrats from the OWG gang, Heidi, on your baby girl!!!

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    2. What a wonderful opportunity that you get to adopt, Heidi! And as for your friend, I hope God gives her swift, easy healing.

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  9. Naomi, I am so sad about your little boy and the Lyme disease. I lived in a small town in KS. for 16 years. Went rabbit hunting, and also deer hunting for many years. Had lots of ticks. But thank GOD we never got this horrible disease. I heard that their is only one medicine that can get through the protective skin around the brain, which it attacks. We had kids and grandkids come every summer and run helter-skelter all over the places around. so just really thankful that no-one got sick.I'm thankful for my Salvation, my GOD-loving parents(gone now) and my 7 siblings(5 gone) and 4 children and 2 steps, 12 grands, 19 greats. All of my furniture is old, most is as old as my youngest daughter, 53. I did have a new BR suite once. It has been through a flood in KS. and still in service.(got 53 years ago.).Don't even remember the last time I had a new piece of furn. Have added some used pieces here and there. Doesn't matter much to me as long as it is still good. After all, I am old too. LOL I do have so many things to thank GOD for. There has been some bad things happen, health wise, but too many good things to be thankful for like Naomi said. Hope all of you OWG girls are well, and Naomi too. GOD bless you all. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Maxie, you are such a blessing to us here at OWG, and I'm thankful for you! Hugs!

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    2. Maxie you are truly a treasure. I always love your sweet replies. I hope your family takes good care of you and knows how precious you are!! I wish we lived closer so I could give you a huge hug!! :-)

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    3. Hi Maxie, it certainly sounds as though God has blessed you with a lovely family, and that's more important than so many of the material things we try to fill our lives with, isn't it?

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  10. I always think that's the best way to think. To be thankful for what you do have.

    A wonderful post thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  11. In Australia they say we dont have Lyme disease but we do and from the stories on the current affairs shows its not something I would wish on anyone. I also know some people with Occipital Neuralgia started out with Lyme disease. Praying the treatment helps him and insurance companies get a heart.
    I am glad you choose to be thankful Having a chronic illness can leave one either bitter or you can accept it and find ways to cope and look for the positives. I use Hope as my word to help me. I found an acronym for it Hold On Pain Ends. and I am holding on to that myself.
    Cant wait to read your book.

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    1. Jenny, I love that acronym! Praying you are feeing all better soon and fully recovered from your surgery!

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    2. thanks Carrie Im over the Gall Bladder surgery its just the Occipital Neuralgia thats the issue.

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    3. I forgot to say fb and what I am thankful for. I am thankful for a caring dr and a great physio who helps mes deal with my health issue. I am also thankful for finding a forum with other who suffer the same issue I do.
      ausjenny at gmail.com

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    4. What a lovely testimony, Jenny. I'm certain you can relate to a lot of my post, but for different issues than Lyme disease.

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  12. FB. It is so hard living with illness that is chronic or recurring. Bless you and your family.

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  13. Naomi, I am SO sorry to hear about your son suffering from Lyme Disease. And then your sister's accident and all these other issues. What a blessing that you are choosing God's joy in the midst of this. Hugs!

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    1. Thanks, Carrie! Knowing there's support and people praying is always a blessing. :-D

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  14. So very sorry you are going through this NAOMI, I can't imagine how difficult that would be for you. Please know I'll be keeping you both in my prayers.

    I've learnt the lesson of finding things to be grateful for instead of constantly complaining some years ago. But before that, I was in the habit of looking at only the glum side of things and talking about them only.How wonderfully releasing it is to look to the many, many things we can be grateful for!!

    Looking forward to reading your books Naomi! God bless you & your family.

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  15. NAOMI I am so very sorry your precious child has to go through this again. I didn't realise how bad it could be until Brandilyn Collins was here with us and shared her experience. I will be praying for your family and I will pray that GOD will heal your son. If He healed me of horrible asthma I know He can heal your son. Thank you so much for joining us again. :-)

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  16. Hi, Naomi!

    I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for my dad. This time last year we almost lost him when he was hit by a drunk driver. For a while, it looked like he'd be in a while chair indefinitely. ...He ran the other day. :)

    I'm so glad God sees the future. I'll be praying your little boy's story has a happy-ever-after so God will be glorified through this. Thank you for sharing with us. It reminds me how blessed I am, even when things aren't looking very "blessed" on the outside.

    I will be praying for you, your son and all of your family. Your sweet spirit and outlook are an inspiration.

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    1. Wow, Natalie, what an encouraging story about your dad. God is so good to us, even in the midst of trials!

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  17. I am most thankful for my family and that my dad came home last night from a work trip to China.

    oh.hello.hiya@gmail.com

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  18. Well said Naomi. First and foremost I am thankful for my salvation. Next I am so thankful for my husband and daughters. My husband, I know, is a gift from God just for me. He was brought into my life at a young age and we married when head fine with college and I had been in college a year. Thankfully we are still going strong. We have been blessed with 2 daughters. He has been a rock for me on this earth.
    Nancycooks4u(at)gmail(dot)com and I like her FB.
    Praying for your son Naomi.

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    1. It sounds like God has been exceedingly good to you, Nancy. And thank you for your prayers for my son. I so appreciate them!

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  20. Naomi will be praying for your son and your family! So sorry about this disease; we live among ticks..this makes me so thankful we have escaped the disease.
    I am also thankful for my family.....and thankful you reminded us about being thankful!
    I don't do FB
    Am anxious to read ALL your books.
    Blessings~~~
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

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    1. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them, Jackie.

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  21. Naomi, I to lifted you all in prayer.
    I loved the reminder to be thankful where I am in life and for what I have.
    I am thankful for my faith., My family, home and my dog.
    you are right about life isn't about things but the people in it.
    I liked your F B page
    Also thank you as your books are always inspiring.
    mcnuttjem0(at)gmail(dot)com

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  22. Thanks for all the lovely replies! Life looks so much better when we dwell on the things we have to be thankful for instead of all the things we think are going wrong. :-D We all carry burdens and will face different trials at various points in our lives, but God is bigger than all of that, isn't He?

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  23. Naomi, I was so inspired by your post. Thank you. My great niece also has Lyme's Disease. She has been able to actually attend school this year (so far), after being on homebound the year before. They have ramped up her antibiotics as it was beginning to flare up again last month. I am always praying for her. To answer the question: Isn't it hard to come up with something special that we are most thankful for? There are so many, many blessings! One of the blessings that I've been thinking on in the recent months is that our God is so gracious that we have the opportunity to access His presence at any moment of every day. When I think about that, I am truly amazed. FB
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I'm so very sorry for you great niece, Kay. Lyme is a terrible, terrible disease, though it does sound as if your niece is making progress. Personally, I've been homeschooling my son, and that's been rather essential, because there's a lot of days he's too sick for school, and a lot more days he mentally can't handle school. The mental issues have honestly been the biggest struggle for us. It seems easier to treat the physical than the emotional in many ways.

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  24. Im praying God heals your son.......Im praying for your whole family too.......
    It can be super hard to be in big messes like you have but those are the times you grow in our Lord and get stronger
    God bless u
    Chris Granville
    granvilleATfrontiernetDOTnet

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  25. Hi Naomi, I am moved by your openness and appreciate the honesty revealed. As I read about you 'choosing' to be thankful, my heart is in total agreement. Life's circumstances can often be harsh but they can also often be worse. It's seeing with eyes wide open and focused on the Lord that allows us to choose the positive over the negative.

    I sincerely hope your son makes a full recovery from his illness, and soon. I will pray.

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    1. Anne, you are such a wonderful prayer warrior! Bless you!

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  26. Hi, Naomi and Carrie!!

    Oh, Naomi - thank you for that beautiful post!! It brought me to tears, and is so timely for me - as I am, right now, facing the possible recurrence of a serious issue in my own life (hence, my lateness in commenting).

    Behind every person's smile - there is eventually a broken heart, about which we may be unaware. We should never take life and it's blessings for granted, nor should we judge anyone only by those things that are visible. Health is one of those things we may tend to take for granted - until we no longer have it. When trials come we can, as you said, choose either to be bitter - or thankful!! It's not always easy to be thankful in the face of adversity, I've found it requires a strong relationship with God - and trusting that He has the situation under control, a purpose for it, and I will indeed grow through it - as you and your family have!!

    I'm praying for your son's healing, for you and your family, and a resolution to the insurance/financial issues!! I would love to read both of your books - thanks for the opportunities to win copies, ladies!!

    I'm most thankful for my salvation - next would be my family and friends, and my Christian fiction author/writer/reader friends have certainly been a blessing to me!! With maturity, aging, and adversity - I've also learned more appreciation for the blessings of the smaller things in life I may have taken for granted!! God has blessed me greatly - even in the face of adversity!!


    FB

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

    OWG

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    1. Ah, I'm sorry for your own struggles and difficulties, Bonnie. And you're exactly right about us taking health for granted until we don't have it anymore. But even in the face of adversity, God is always there and God is always sufficient. And you're right about bitterness. It's a choice we make, and one we can easily fall into if we're not careful. Thank you for that reminder!

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    2. Bonnie, you are such a blessing to us at OWG. Thanks so much for sharing. And encouraging and praying! Hugs!

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  27. I'm thankful for so much--where to begin? It's important to have a thankful spirit. This was what Paul tried to teach Christians. At this point, I'm especially thankful of God's presence and direction in my going back to a university. I'm a retired teacher who loves to learn. Right now, I'm too tied down to do the traveling that's the best way for me to learn new things, so I'm taking university courses "just for the fun of it." LOL. There was some insecurity in going back that caused me to lean more and more on God, and I find that's a good place to be. I thank Him multiple times each day. Trust is very freeing!
    wandrnlady@aol.com

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    1. What a lovely testimony, Janice. Thank you for sharing!

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  28. Thanks to everyone who's stopped by this post. A lot of you have commented that my story has inspired you to be thankful in your own lives, and I'm so very grateful for that. I think it's very important to remember that NOTHING is ever too big for GOD. Problems and trials may arise that we can't face on our own, but with God we can always triumph.

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