12 March 2017

The Wreath -- Marking Time, by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Although I tried to "pretty up" this pitiful wreath, no matter how you look at it you can see it is falling apart. I left this Christmas wreath, which has gone up most of the past fifteen+ years, to remind me of how long I had been feeling truly awful. You see, it was there marking time. Time for me to do something about that awfulness of Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disorder.

When I first bought the wreath, we'd moved to Virginia and after a season of intense financial drought (see my testimony in God's Provision by Cynthia Howerter and LaTan Murphy). This wreath was COVERED with Christmas "floral picks" items hot-glued on by the student at the local school that offered a course on training for florist shops. I loved it! Truly over-the-top, the entire faux greenery pine was almost not even evident. That's how I felt about us getting moved up to Virginia -- covered with blessings all over! Over time, though, with the sun beating down through the glass door covering the wreath each Christmas, more and more of the goodies fell off the wreath. It was sad, but I didn't want to throw away the wreath.

The remnants of the wreath got a new task. I moved the wreath to the back door after Christmas 2015, right near the trash can, where this wreath it heading. I left it there to remind me to DO something about feeling so awful. I'd nearly died from the last biologic I was on, seven years ago, so I didn't want to try that route, but was getting desperate.  But I had a bunch of book deadlines to meet. Overtime I thought about going in to discuss this with my Rheumatologist nurse practitioner it seemed I was too swamped to figure out how to do that (plus I have a family to take care of.)

Finally, seven months after leaving that wreath up, in late summer, I did something about the situation -- because my autoimmune issues had persisted that long.  I acted. The wreath was a visual reminder of time passing and it prompted me to keep thinking about what I needed to do. I know I was hoping things would magically get better. But sometimes, Overcoming With God means we have to get help and not think all our woes will be lifted by God without us doing something ourselves. When we pray, and God urges us to call our doctor, it is still disobedience if we delay. And delay. And delay.

I wish I could report a happy ending -- that the medication change, after finally going in, has all things better. In fact, though, I had so much improvement on my new RX that I began to have a lot of hope about the things I might be able to do. Then I made a healthcare decision that I thought was a good idea, but which I think is responsible for a lot of the other physical issues I have had since. I don't know if it was a coincidence that the shot I had seemed to bring them on or not. But now I've slowed life down again and I have been taking action to try to figure out what is going on.

Question: Have you ever gotten so busy, so distracted by life, that you needed some kind of physical visual reminder to get you to act? (We have a giveaway this week for my re-release of Tea Shop Folly, under new cover. Leave a comment here and on Teresa's review to enter the contest for winner's choice of ebook or paperback copy! AND the ebook is FREE to Kindle Unlimited Readers and only 99 Cents on sale this week!!!)

19 comments:

  1. Carrie, this is such a wonderful post. Thank you! Sometimes I thought if I just did everything I thought God wanted me to do, keep so busy til I was exhausted -- encouraging others and encouraging authors (which I love doing btw), I would magically feel better. Ignoring the prodding of the Holy Spirit until I finally started praying to know EXACTLY what His will was for me. I have no doubts my ministry on OWG was His will and that His timing for me to leave was in His perfect plan. But it took me awhile to "get" just what He wanted me to do and as you said, Carrie, I delayed, delayed, delayed. He wanted me to start concentrating on "my" needs for a change, my eating habits, go to the doctors, do research and see if there is anything that would help me to know better how to deal with what I'm going through and how to get rid of it. It's hard, Carrie, bc a lot of times it's in our nature to do everything for everyone else and put ourselves on the backburner. It feels self-centered and goes against the grain. But one of the most important things is that I have had more time to spend at His feet. I guess I should have co-written this post with you. I'm so sorry. LOL But I feel that so many women need to slow down, and listen to God's voice and stop trying to be Superwoman!

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    1. I am so glad this post resonated with you Angel Diana!!! And glad you are seeing progress with your own health issues with obedience to God!

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    2. Progress is so slow Carrie, but I didn't get this way overnight. Even though it seems that way. It's not an easy fix, but God is in control. Thank you!

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    1. I removed my comment, it was way too long, so I shortened it a bit....

      Carrie, this is a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your testimony.

      I can so relate with this on so many levels. God called me to be a nurse many years ago, that was my ministry and I loved it. I worked on the Oncology unit in our local hospital for 13 years and loved it but felt God leading me to leave and finally did in 2001. In 2007 when I started having many different health problems I had started a new job as a unit manager in a nursing home and worked long hours, which my struggling body could not handle, but I continued on barely making it each day, crying I was so exhausted. Finally I listened to my body and went to the doctor and was told to cut my hours. My pulmonary doctor told me I had to go on disability and I stopped working April 2008.

      I prayed to get better and didn't realize that part of it was I needed to slow down and just possibly God was trying to tell me the whole time to do just that...slow down and take care of myself. It is hard to have others take care of me, when I am the caregiver, like when I had multiple surgeries in the years that followed and falling and needed help, very humbling and a blessing.

      It has been hard to slow down when I was always so active, up early and going non stop until I went to bed at night. Always caring for those who needed help. I still suffer from chronic exhaustion on a daily basis among other things. He has blessed me with a different ministry now which allows me to work within my health limits. I still have health problems that God, doctors and I are working on, it is a slow process but I can see some progress in some areas. All in His timing. Through all this God has shown me that He is my strength despite the weakness my body, I cling to His strength and guidance.
      Blessings, Tina

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    2. What would we do without God, Tina? I am glad you enjoyed the post. I've thought about this one for a while. I'm continuing to pray for you. What a blessing you are to your family, especially to your mom and grandkids and what a blessing you are to us in the CBA writing community. Thanks for coming by to comment!

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  3. I so relate to what you and Diana have said, Carrie. We often do get busy with what we do for others and put ourselves "on the back burner". We must make a conscious choice and expend effort/take action toward improving our lifestyle - by spending time with God to determine what He would have us do. Yet we must also take care that we don't go too far in the opposite direction by letting our health and/or other lifestyle decisions consume us.

    After my cancer diagnosis - I spent so much time researching natural treatment options (there are thousands, which I wasn't aware of previously) and doctors, talking to friends who had similar situation as myself. It became exhausting, expensive, and overwhelming. There can be many different opinions by doctors re: choice of treatment on the same health issues. Likewise, there are similarities in the same cancer from one patient to another and also from one patient's body to another. Yet there are also differences in each patient - finding the best treatment can be a lengthy, time-consuming, expensive, painful process.

    He is in control - at times, He immediately directs us towards the proper course of treatment, at others - we are told to wait. The answer will fall into place per His timing. Taking time to appreciate my blessings - large and small - and be more attentive to the needs of others has helped me become more patient, positive, and more easily deal with my own health issues.

    Thank you for a wonderful testimony that many readers will relate to, Carrie!!

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    1. Later, later, later seems to be what we say to ourselves even when we need to take action, Bonnie. I'm glad you did what you needed to do as far as going ahead and checking on and doing what you needed to do for yourself. I know it is so hard to let go and I know you love taking care of your family members. Sometimes we have to take care of ourselves, though!

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  4. There does come a point when you have to say enough. It's not always easy.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Exactly! Sometimes enough is enough. I need a reminder, though, of just how long things have been going on!

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  5. Carrie, what a wonderful post! I feel like you spoke directly to me! This past year has been one that I would rate at the top of the scale on stressful. To make a long story short, I was so concerned with my mother and her downward spiral with health issues, I didn't give a thought to myself. Well, after my bloodwork in November, I was told of two chronic diseases that I now have to live with. I am now paying attention and with the help of God and my doctors, I will work hard to be the best that I can be. I will work hard to do the best I can for me.


    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. MELANIE, I'm sorry to hear that! I've known so many folks with exactly the same thing -- while they were taking care of a loved one their own health took a huge nosedive. Praying you are feeling better soon!

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  6. Thank you for sharing this inspirational and personal post with us. I pray that God will help you through your health problems. (Will keep you in my prayers.) As your post says in the end we must give everything to him.

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    1. LYNNE, When it is our kids or spouse we get right on things but for ourselves it always seems like there will be time later. But we have to create some kind of urgency for ourselves, too.

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  7. Thank you for sharing. Feel better.
    JoanEC128[at]AOL[dot]com

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  8. Wishing you better health. Thanks for the giveaway.
    MarionMPC[at]AOL[dot]com

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  9. Feel better soon. Thanks for the giveaway.
    MarilynDKC[at]AOL[dot]com

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  10. I just pressed the wrong key and deleted my entire comment!! Think I need my coffee. ;) This is a wonderful testimony, Carrie—thank you for sharing! Be blessed, sweet pink lady. :)

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  11. CARRIE, thank you for being transparent! It took courage to do so. I can relate to time marching on. I've been living with my Mom since November 2007. It is now a DECADE later. UGH! The Lord placed me to here to work on "issues". I am doing that at this time. I am holding on to the scripture that He works in ALL things to bring about our good."

    Love and ((((HUGS))))

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