Apr 29, 2015

All Natural & Easy Essential Oils Bug Spray

To prepare for Spring and for my daughter going away on a retreat this weekend, I decided to make an essential oils bug spray to keep her protected from tick and bug bites.

The reality is that more than just ticks carry dangerous pathogens. Mosquitoes, spiders, biting flies and fleas also transmit Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia and other bacterial, parasitic and viral infections.

Today I made my bug spray in 1 oz. bottles that I recycled from our herbal medicine. There are many places online where you can purchase these new.

I use Young Living Essential Oils. I love that I can trust their purity, company standards and their quality. I've been using Young Living oils for years for pain from Lyme, side effects from the antibiotics, general sickness, wounds, infections and everyday well-being.

Now, I'm using essential oils to make an insect repellent. I'm super paranoid about any of my kids getting another tick bite so I added a lot of different oils but it's probably not necessary.

This is really the first time I'm making a bug a spray for my family. Years ago I made a tick repellent for our bunny. We soaked her collar in a recipe for pet repellent that we found online and let it dry before putting it on her. Once we started using it she never brought another tick inside.

I've seen many different recipes floating around the web so I think as long as you're including some of these key oils (Geranium and Eucalyptus or Citronella) you should be fine.

Here's the recipe I put together today. 


EASY ESSENTIAL OILS BUG SPRAY

Directions

1 oz bottle
1 tsp witch hazel, vodka, or even white vinegar 
5 drops each:  Cedarwood, Geranium, Eucalyptus, and Lemongrass.

Other oils you can add are Purification, Citronella, Lavender and Peppermint.

Fill the remainder of the bottle with water, shake and spray.

Increase the recipe for larger bottles. An 8-oz bottle would have approximately 30 drops of each essential oil.

Grab these cute labels over at Amber's Easy Green Mom site. While she uses a different brand of essential oils then I do, I just loved her cute labels.




If you have Purification on hand, used alone it is quite amazing for bug and spider bites. It reduced the pain and swelling of a spider bite I had within a few hours and feels great on mosquito bites too. It really is a must have during bug season.

Have you used essential oils for your own bug spray recipe?  I'd love to hear how you make yours and how they work to repel ticks.


Interested in Essential Oils?  


If you're interested in Young Living Oils, I'd love to help. Head on over to the Young Living Website, find your products and once you're ready to checkout, decide if you'd like to be a Retail Customer or take advantage of the wholesale prices and become a Wholesale Member, this will give you a discount each time you order essential oils. If you become a wholesale member, let me know in the comments or send me an email. Use my number when checking out, put 1206972 in the Sponsor/Enroller ID. 

If you have any questions just send me a quick email and I'll help you out.



New Lyme Survey Results

On March 9, 2015 the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) announced that it will update it's Lyme Disease guidelines.  The IDSA provided a 30 day window for the public to make comments.

LymeNet.org created a patient survey and made it available on March 28, 2015.  This survey was for those who have had or still have Lyme Disease.  There were 6,100 responders in roughly 10 days. 

This survey will hopefully give Lyme sufferers a voice with the IDSA so that they can understand the desperate need for better diagnostics, testing and treatment for early Lyme as well as recognizing that Chronic Lyme Disease and other tick-borne infections are a serious problem.

The IDSA plans to review their standards and make revisions without the input of Lyme patients or the physicians who treat them.  It concerns me that even doctors like Dr. Jemsek, who is a member of both the ILADS and IDSA, are not allowed to participate in this review.

As a Lyme sufferer I appreciate the many Lyme Disease advocates like LymeNet.org and the MaydayProject who are bringing awareness to the serious problems which exist with getting the needed testing and treatment. Lyme Disease and other tick borne infections have become an ignored epidemic which need immediate attention.

The Mayday Project is a nonprofit group of Lyme Disease sufferers and their families who are advocating for research and patient rights.  Mayday 2015 kicks off April 29, 2015 with events through May 1st, 2015.  They will be hosting a Scientific Conference as well as a two day rally in front of the IDSA Headquarters in Arlington, VA.

LymeNet.org did a fantastic job putting together the results of their survey into a beautiful format which is easy to understand.  Be sure to head on over to review their IDSA Guidelines Survey Results.

Further Information:
IDSA Guidelines Revision Plan
The Mayday Project 2015 and The Mayday Project




Apr 26, 2015

Dr. Mom, Ph.D


Not so long ago I read a comment on Facebook that caused me to stop and think.  The comment made reference to those who get their Ph.D from Google University.

The Internet has been an invaluable source of information for many and has opened the door to learning anything you want.  Personally, it's helped me through my years with chronic illness. I'm sorry to say that I've developed a love-hate relationship with doctors and the medical establishment as a whole because of my personal experience with tick-borne infections and some other serious medical issues where I did not get the diagnosis or treatment that I needed.

Living with chronic illness has taught me to be more compassionate with others.  The harder lesson I'm learning is being compassionate with those who have no idea what it's like to have chronic pain and fatigue but try to compare our suffering with some minor ailment they had for a week.  I have a hard time remembering when I was healthy and when I was the one who wasn't able to understand those who were sick or in pain.

I'm sure it's difficult to understand what it's like to watch your own child suffer day after day, struggling for air from Babesia attacks or suffering from severe fatigue, nerve and joint pain. I'm sure it's hard to understand what it's like to sit up in the middle of the night almost every night for years because your child is so overcome with anxiety that they're just sure they're going to die.

It would be hard to know what it's like to sit in countless doctor's offices being told your children are fine, nothing shows up on the lab reports, maybe your kids are just depressed or worse that you need better parenting skills.  When you're not able to find the help you desperately need from the hospital or the doctors in the surrounding area or the feeling of defeat when you're given the diagnosis "psychosamatic."

Most wouldn't know the desperation that causes you stay up throughout the night researching and reading everything you can, trying to find a way to help your family. 

Google has much to offer, you can find just about anything you want online.  I agree that you really do have to be careful where you find your information.  There is a lot of misinformation online and when it comes to medical information it's very easy to misdiagnose yourself and even completely wig yourself out by reading all the "worst case" scenarios.   What's worse is finding those sites where people share their stories or who try to help diagnose you. 

Great wisdom and discernment needs to be used when researching online.  I have found physicians whom I can trust and seek counsel from.  They know I like to study, research and be in charge of my own health as well as that of my children.


Years ago as I sat in my pediatrician's office for the hundredth time with each of my children only to be told they were fine when they clearly were not, I realized that I needed to take matters in my own hands. 

When we were under the care of a knowledgeable Lyme Literate MD, I continually advocated for my children.  Much of Chronic Lyme care is experimental, especially when typical treatments fail.  I refused to allow my children to be a guinea pig.  When prescribed medications I always asked questions and a lot of them. I researched the medications, spoke to my pharmacists and sometimes called the drug company itself.

Recently someone asked me, "what would ever make you question your doctor in the first place?"

I had never thought about it before, I just thought that's what you're supposed to do.  As I mulled over that question in my mind later I realized that most people place too much trust in their doctor.   

Doctors are well educated, much more then I am, most of them really want to help people.  Unfortunately, most are also trained to place too much faith in a system that is failing us.

The most obvious reason for why I questioned our doctors is because this is my health, these are my children, I knew they were very very sick. 

If I had not already been diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease I shudder to think how long it would have been before my children would have gotten a correct diagnosis. 

How much sicker would they have become and how much more would they have had to suffer being misdiagnosed or taking unnecessary medication.

I do respect doctors and I respect the fact that they have a tremendous amount of education, training and experience.  I however do not respect doctors who dismiss their patient, label them as stressed or depressed just because they can't find a reason for illness or refuse to believe that a disease even exists.

Thanks to Google University I found the information that I needed about the many ways Lyme Disease can and does present in children. 

I found information explaining why Lyme Disease is so controversial.  I found the information I needed in order to get a correct diagnosis and I was able to find good doctors.

So, maybe I have a degree in Google University or maybe I'm just a Mom with a relentless passion and purpose to care for my children and to make sure that they have the best treatment that they need and deserve to get better.



Apr 23, 2015

Help, I Found a Tick!

Not the actual size.
It's always frightening to find a tick attached to you or your child and it's very important to know what to do in order to protect yourself from one of many detrimental tick-borne infections.

My family's physicians followed the CDC's guidelines regarding diagnosis and treatment for Lyme Disease and because of this our illnesses went undiagnosed for years resulting in unnecessary suffering from chronic tick-borne diseases.  We have also had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket for treatment.

This is the reason for my blog.  I want others to be aware and educated so that no one has to suffer with this disease.

You can avoid chronic tick-borne illness if you know what to do and how to protect yourself.  I wrote about this in 10 Ways To Protect Yourself From Lyme.

Now, let's go over what you should do if you do find a tick.

IF YOU FIND A TICK

1.  Don't panic.  I know what it's like when you find that nasty little bug attached.  Your immediate response is to scratch it off or remove it as fast as you can, but if you panic you could increase your risk of infection.  

Be very careful while removing the tick so you don't leave the head attached to you.  If the tick is imbedded go to your doctor or to the ER as soon as possible and allow them to remove it.

2.  Use a pair of sharp tweezers.  Using tweezers, place them over the tick's head and as close to  the skin as possible, pull the tick straight out. NEVER smother the tick, if you do it will immediately inject all of its gut contents into you.  Lyme Prevention

3.  Store the tick.  Put the tick in a small plastic or glass vile or in a plastic Ziploc bag.  There's no need to add alcohol or anything else just put it in a storage container by itself.  

It's far more accurate to have the tick tested for disease than to test people.  There are many labs that will test your tick for various pathogens. The Bay Area Lyme Foundation offers free tick testing.

4.  Disinfect. Clean the area with rubbing alcohol or another antibacterial cleaner.

5.  Observe.  Keep a close watch on the area where you were bit but don't wait to go to the doctor. Circle the area with a sharpie or pen and watch for any discoloration, swelling or rash.  Also be aware of any fever or flu-like symptoms.  Symptoms could appear soon after the bite or they could appear weeks or months later.

6.  Treatment.  Seek the advice of your physician as soon as possible but understand that most doctors follow CDC guidelines and that by following their advice you could end up with a chronic infection which could spread to every organ and affect every system of the body.

A Lyme infection can go chronic in as little as 4 weeks.

Here's a great chart put together by Dr. Ray Charles Jones that you can print out and take to your doctor.  Treat Tick Bites

I always recommend seeking out an ILADS trained physician or one knowledgeable in diagnosing and treating tick-borne infections.


IMPORTANT TO KNOW
ILADS physicians are now recommending treatment for every tick bite.  A longer treatment period with higher doses of antibiotics are recommended for any tick bite producing an EM rash or other symptoms.  (Read the updated guidelines. ILADS Treatment Guidelines)

Treatment could last for up to 6 weeks which seems like a lot but really is not as significant as years of antibiotic treatment and out of pocket expenses for a chronic infection.

There are many natural ways to prevent tick-borne infections. Some use herbal medicines like using Astragulus and Cats Claw.   Banderol and Samento have been shown to be effective when used together. Others have used homeopathic remedies such as Ledum.  

While natural treatments are an option antibiotics are recommended to completely cure an early infection but only if the dose is high enough and the duration is long enough.

This treatment course is very difficult to obtain from most physicians.

Symptoms do not always appear immediately after infection.  Many times symptoms appear gradually over a period of weeks, months or even years.

*  The classic bulls-eye rash appears in approximately 25% of people who are infected with Lyme bacteria.  Other rashes are common but not always present.

*  Ticks also carry and transmit many other pathogens such as Bartonella, Babesia, Erlichia, Mycoplasma, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Epstein Barr Virus, worms, parasites and viruses.

Ticks can transmit infections in less than 24 hours


*  It is important and helpful to identify the type of tick that you have.  

Ticks of all types carry bacterial, parasitic and viral infections.  By knowing which type of tick you can learn which infections they carry and be on the lookout for those particular symptoms.  Keep in mind that research is showing a crossover of pathogens in ticks, meaning that Borrelia is now being found in ticks other than the black legged ioxodes.

FURTHER INFORMATION
The Importance of Proper Treatment
Lyme Disease, What It Is and Why You Should Care
Effectiveness of Banderol and Samento
Homeopathic Lyme Disease Evaluation and Treatment
Auricular and Homeopathic Treatment for Lyme Disease

TICK TESTING
Igenix Tick Tests
TickReport Tick Testing
Clongen Labs




Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor and what I have stated here is only my opinion based on my research.  Seek out a knowledgeable Lyme Literate Physician who can better help you.  Visit ILADS

Apr 18, 2015

10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease

This is the time of year we expose ourselves to tick-borne diseases.  The weather is warming up, most of us are coming out of our homes and getting back into our outdoor routines.

We will once again be outside walking, hiking, making plans to picnic or even to go camping. We're not the only ones out of hiding, ticks are too and spring-time is when nymph ticks, which are the size of a dot, are most problematic. 

How can you possibly protect yourself from Lyme Disease and the many other vector-borne diseases that have become so prevalent?

Apr 13, 2015

Lyme in the News

There is so much going on right now in the news about Lyme Disease.  It seems as though each week there is another famous person sharing their battle with the disease, another viral infection found in ticks or legislation that hits the headlines.

I thought I'd highlight some of the key happenings and rather than reinvent the wheel I'll share with you some great links where you can follow-up and get more information

Apr 11, 2015

Chronically Ill Homeschooling Part 2 - When Your Child Is Sick


If you'd like to read my story about how my family decided to homeschool and how we worked through homeschooling when I became ill with Chronic Lyme Disease.you can find it at Chronically Ill Homeschooling Part 1 - When Mom is Sick.

As homeschoolers, we work very hard to meet all of the demands of the family's busy schedule, managing and balancing the needs of the home and educating our children.  

We carefully choose the right curriculum and work hard to implement it while teaching to each child's learning style. 

We try hard to minimize meltdowns and teach character while at the same time keeping our cool.  

At times we may wonder if we're even good enough to educate our own children.

Homeschooling is hard work but add to that a chronic illness or special needs and it could make most consider throwing in the towel. 

Homeschooling Sick Children
When my children began having symptoms from chronic Lyme Disease our homeschool had to make adjustments and changes once again in order to make it work.  

I had already made huge adjustments when I became ill but found that things needed to change again. 

Thankfully, when I recognized that my girls might be dealing with Lyme Disease, I was showing some improvement with my treatment but still struggled with pain and fatigue.

Each of my girls' illnesses were different in severity and they each had different needs. There were times when they all needed me at the same time. This was difficult especially when I felt like I didn't have the strength to care for them.

Because we had already been homeschooling I knew what my kids were capable of before their illness.  

Moms usually know when their kids are really sick or just trying to get out of something. It's much harder to know when it comes to Lyme Disease because of the nature of the symptoms especially recognizing fatigue or cognitive impairment. 

I was able to understand when two of my children began having difficulty with the very things I had been.

I often think about how much harder it would have been if I hadn't experienced the severe brain fog and cognitive dysfunction before they did or even the severity of the pain that comes with Lyme.  

I'm not so sure I would have been able to understand what they were really going through. 

Gathering Tools
As we encountered this journey of homeschooling through Lyme, I had to relearn some things, like how to help them learn because of their brain fog. 

The learning techniques my children once found useful no longer worked, so I had to adjust. 

One of the hardest things I've had to do was to learn how to help one of my daughters approach her school when everything brought about a great struggle because of severe anxiety. 

I strongly recommend that if you're experiencing difficulty with your child that you can't work out, get the help you and your child need and set up a support system for yourself. I believe getting help will give you the tools needed to continue to educate at home.

I spent time studying how the brain works, how it's nourished, how food and amino acids can help minimize symptoms and how a person learns and retains information. These things proved to be very helpful for teaching all of my children.  

I studied how to teach children with special needs because I realized that I needed a new plan.  

There was nothing specific that I could find about teaching children with Lyme disease so I scoured books from the library as well as medical and educational websites online.

Even with all of my studying and the help we received it wasn't enough for one of my daughters. 

She didn't begin to improve until we changed her Lyme treatment from antibiotic and herbal therapy to homeopathic remedies but the plan that I had set up helped me to approach each day with purpose.

Day to Day
Each day I needed to make the decision as to whether or not I should let my children rest and whether or not they were even capable of completing their assignments for the day.  

Most importantly I had to learn to fully trust God for direction and help, letting go all of my well laid out plans for my children's future.  It wasn't about me, it was and is about God's plan for their life.

Our requirements for how learning took place and when a class was completed also changed.  

Sometimes my children needed me to sit with them and provide more help than normal.  This was very time consuming and required a ton of patience and again I had to rely on God because I'm just like everyone else and I get tired and impatient.

As my children started getting better, I think the hardest thing for me was recognizing when they really didn't feel well and when they just didn't feel like doing anything.

Many Lymies look great even when they feel like their whole body is shutting down on the inside and you can't see "Lyme brain".

Balancing my children's social life with time spent on school was also difficult and completely different than if they were healthy.  

Sometimes our children would have to spends weeks in bed because of their symptoms. When they started feeling better and had the opportunity to go do something fun, my husband and I always allowed them to go even though I knew they were behind in their schoolwork. 


It's so important for us to think the best of our children. They want to succeed in life, they may just find that it's harder and sometimes if they've been sick for a very long time they may struggle to believe that they ever will.  

We have to be their greatest encourager and help them see that while they may have to work a lot harder than others around them, they can accomplish their goals.  

Help them to be reasonable about their expectations for themselves. Obviously, no one can do whatever they want just because they want to.  

We need to help guide our children and help them to find what they're capable of doing and discover what they enjoy doing. They may need to adjust their goals so that they're attainable.

Although my children have lost countless hours of school compared to healthy children, they have worked harder than I ever did in school and much harder than many kids I know today who are healthy.  

My children love learning and they each have the tools for learning anything they want to.

Each of my girls have lost much time in their schooling because of illness but something that has really encouraged me is that in High School they each took at least one outside class in a Homeschool Co-Op where they were taught and graded by another teacher.  

Each one of them excelled beyond what I thought they were capable of. 

This was not only a good thing for me to see but it was a wonderful boost for them to see that they can do it.

Using Technology
For a number of years our homeschool has looked more like a home stricken with a continuous bout of the flu; everyone lying around with heat packs, pillows, and blankets.  

When this happens we have either taken time off from school and rested or if it was possible we listened to audio books or watched educational DVDs.

The use of electronics and the Internet have been very helpful for us during our illness.  

The amount of educational material on the Internet these days can almost be overwhelming but with a little effort it's easy to put together a complete curriculum or supplemental course work for the student to listen to or watch as they lie in bed.  

Pinterest has been extremely helpful for setting up specific subject boards with safe places for them to explore.

On days when the kids are feeling well they often hear me say, "get as much of your school done while you're feeling well so that you don't have to push yourself when you're not."  

This has become routine, though the kids haven't needed the down time like they have in the past. We've also done our fair share of school during the summer months and during holiday breaks.

More Than One Right Way
Great flexibility and patience are needed when homeschooling through any trial.  

I've learned to think outside the box when it comes to education. I don't believe that my child has to sit and work through pages of material from a textbook in order to complete a grade.

I've seen the value of using many different tools like the library, Internet, videos, audio books and real life in order to supplement my children's education. 

Field trips are amazing but when you barely have the energy to walk to the bathroom they're not very practical.  

With the use of the Internet we've traveled the world, watched Old Faithful, Victoria Falls, seen the light show on the Eiffel Tower, visited museums and were exposed to culture and art with the click of a button.  

Sometimes our greatest field trips were to the doctor's office or lab. I try to ask questions of the doctor or the staff in order to provide a learning experience for my children. As a result my three girls are very interested in fitness, health, nutrition and helping others and if you ask them anything about tick-borne infections be ready for an education.

Finding Support
I can't stress enough the importance of feeding your soul during these difficult times. Spend time in prayer and pray about everything.  

Find scriptures that will encourage and strengthen you and place them where you can see them to remind yourself of God's truth.

With help from homeschool Moms who have been through similar situations and the support and guidance of Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) I've been able to customize each of my children's educational needs for each year.

Sometimes finding support and encouragement came from family or friends and sometimes from a blog or online webinar.  

I found the support I knew that I needed because I looked for it and I asked for it.  I knew it was crucial in order for me to get through this time.

We've been through many challenges through the years while homeschooling through illness, some years have been the most difficult I've ever experienced in my life.  

Some of you are going through similar times and some much worse.  God promises to help those who love Him and He promises to provide for His children.  Look to Him for your help.

The Joy of the Lord is my strength.


Apr 9, 2015

Staying Home for Spring Break

It's Spring Break, so far this week we haven't done anything exciting.  We didn't go away to the beach or even on any local trips to go sight seeing. 

Normally, just hanging out around the house and sticking with my normal routine wouldn't bother me but sometimes when I log onto Facebook and see all the fun things everyone else is doing I can begin to feel like I'm not doing enough.

It's easy for my children to feel left out and discouraged that they're not filling up their days with fun activities or trips out of town.

I sometimes wonder whatever happened to the lazy spring days where as a child the most exciting part of the day was playing outside with friends, exploring the creek and coming home only to eat lunch, check-in and return for the evening. 

Most kids today spend their free time busy with sports or playing the latest gaming systems.  Teens head to the beaches for Spring Break and unsupervised party time.  As my children have grown older my teens definitely want to be busy with their friends regardless of whether that means shopping, going to the movies or just hanging out.

It's a hard balance, especially when Mom is exhausted and barely has the energy to do normal everyday tasks.  Today I find myself feeling that way.  I'm not sure if my allergies are zapping my energy or if something else is causing it but either way, I really don't want to be out running my children all over town.

So, how do we balance this?  Well, sometimes my children just need to be understanding and know that Mom isn't going to run just because they want it.  We stay busy enough especially now that most of us are doing so much better.  I think you would be tired just looking at my calendar and seeing how many miles I put on my poor ole van.

I guess you could call me "old school" because I don't feel that it's necessary for my children to be entertained.  I don't feel it's necessary to keep them out of the house in order to occupy their time.  I'm even that Mom who doesn't want my children playing every sport out there just because their friends are.

I would much rather my children read a good book outside in the sunshine or snuggled up in a blanket inside.  I'd rather they learn a skill or be trained in music in order to bring a blessing to others.  I want them to be exposed to the culture, to history and other people.  There's nothing wrong with sports but for me personally, unless the family is involved I'd rather we not spend 5 days a week at practices and games for one child.

I guess my attitude about all of this is very different than for most but that's OK with me.  It hasn't always been easy for some of my children but at the same time with our history of having Chronic Lyme Disease for the past 8 years it really didn't matter much anyway.

Our children were involved in sports but only as we could include it in our schedule without separating the family or running Mom ragged and I don't regret my decisions.  I hope my children grow up to be balanced and less stressed because of the choices I made in this area for our family as a whole.  I hope they look back with memories of the meaningful things we did together rather than a cluttered mass of events and busyness.

As far as Spring Break for this year, well, I'm enjoying my break as a Homeschool Mom.  I decided beforehand that I was going to use my break to do a little spring cleaning, catch-up on grading, begin planning our curriculum choices for next year and most importantly to catch-up on some much needed rest.  It's turned out to be a cold and rainy week so it's been the perfect week to stay home.

My little guy is having fun playing with his friends and my girls each have been making plans to spend time with friends, catch up with schoolwork or just to hang out at home.

I hope you're doing what you want to do this Spring Break.



Apr 7, 2015

Chronically Ill Homeschooling Part 1 - When Mom's Sick

 
Choosing to Homeschool
My husband and I chose to homeschool when our now 20 year old daughter was finishing up Kindergarten.  Looking back I sometimes wonder to myself, "what were we thinking?"

At the time we wanted our daughter to have the best possibilities for learning without the distractions and interruptions she had experienced in school.  She was and is still very bright.  She was reading before entering Kindergarten and became very frustrated with school for a number of reasons.

Apr 2, 2015

Easter and Our Greatest Hope


Easter will be here in just a few days.  Many families come together for Easter egg hunts, dying hard boiled eggs and eating lots of chocolate.  On Easter Sunday some of us put on our best attire and head to church.  

Over the years, Easter has become the most meaningful religious celebration to me.  

It has absolutely nothing to do with Lyme Disease but everything to do with how I live out my life with Lyme Disease.


Eighteen years ago I made the decision to surrender my life to Jesus, it was when I realized for the first time that I was indeed a sinner in need of God's saving grace. 

Before hearing this I really didn't think I was a sinner.  I thought sinners were people who murdered or broke the law.  I began to realize that just hating someone was murder in my heart and that broke God's law.  I discovered that everyone sins. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

I heard the Gospel and it changed me!  I learned that because of my sin I was separated from God and would continue to be until I recognized myself as such and accepted His free gift of salvation.

I was captured by the salvation message and overwhelmed that God loved me, even in my sin, and that He gave Jesus Christ, His only son, the perfect lamb of God, fully God yet fully man, to die on a cross for me and for the world.  He was resurrected on the 3rd day, conquering death and bringing the hope of everylasting life to anyone who believed.  (John 3:16).

Jesus is the only one qualified to do this, He is the only one in all eternity who has never sinned.  

He is the only one who can forgive us completely and transform us.  

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to by men by which we must be saved."  Acts 4:12

So why does this mean so much to me and why is Easter the most meaningful holiday to me?

That God would love me overwhelms me, that He would die for me and forgive me of all of my sins so that I can live for eternity with Him is beyond my understanding but has become my greatest comfort, my greatest hope.

I've learned so much about God's great love, care and provision for me by reading the Bible.  

Because of His sacrifice I don't have to be overcome by the troubles that are going on in this world or even in my personal life.  I don't have to be defeated by the pain and suffering because I have the hope that Jesus gives for peace, strength, healing and most of all eternal life.

When these things do come into my life they can be used by God to help me become more like Jesus, to be more patient, to be more understanding of the suffering that others go through, to be able to empathize and show compassion and to even identify with the pain that Jesus suffered.

This has been a great blessing, it gives meaning and purpose to the struggle.  

Without this hope, being chronically ill can make one bitter and angry.  Quite honestly, even if we know all of this already, we could still choose to have the wrong response to suffering.  I sure know that I have.  It's hard, it's painful and no one likes pain.  It's hard to see clearly when we're in the midst and sometimes it's hard to see an end.

Our suffering can have a greater purpose and our hope can be full if we look to Jesus and allow Him to comfort us, to strengthen us and to work in our hearts and our lives.

We all have only one life and we all have a choice as to whether or not we want to believe the greatest message of hope, the gospel of Jesus Christ, salvation freely offered to all.

Courtesy of Simply Summer Photography

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13

Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter and Resurrection Sunday.



Do you have questions about my post?  Send me an email or visit Got Questions?org