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Life With Lupus

Faith and Lupus

hi friends!

hope tonight finds you each as happy and well as possible. I had wanted to seek how faith had played a role in your journey with Lupus, but most of the most recent activity dated back to a year ago and older, so I thought I'd start a new thread. so all in all, I guess I want to know how faith (or any other means of coping for that manner) has aided you in this journey we take with Lupus.

my first lesson learned upon my diagnosis was that I can't do this 100% on my own. I need to let go of some of this 'independent streak' of mine and accept help in something that truly has no control. it's a hard transition- but not impossible. it was at this point that after consulting with the rheumy and my family, that I needed to consult in the one entity that can and does handle everything for me: GOD.

as for myself, I can honestly say it's drawn me closer to God and taught me to slow down, rest and listen to him. in my "pre-Lupus" life, this was something I was not good at- at all. now, I pace myself. I rest. I pray. I work. I talk to God more and I've learned that sometimes we are given something not only because we are strong enough to endure it, but to help someone else that might have a hard time at first. here's where you all have come in...I came here seeking validation for what I was experiencing and I got that and a lot more.

while strengthening my relationship with God, I learned more about the things my Mom experienced in her final years of life. it gave me more patience and understanding with her. I've been shown a lot through my growing faith and Lupus. there is still plenty I don't understand, but I feel faith has had a huge role in how I cope today. so...with all that said, tell me what aids in your walk with Lupus:

God does get me thru this also. God shows Himself to me thru my husband that helps so much and my family and friends that are always so supportive. I am on this journey for a reason so I have learned to listen better and give better. My philosophy is there is a reason for my life as it is. I don't have to know the reason but live it the best possible way. All my health issues have helped me to give more of my soul to friends (this includes family) in a way I never have. I believe that we make an agreement with our Creator before we come to this earth as to what our mission will be and how we will accomplish this mission including all the "bad stuff" that we endure. This we do with our own free will. When I fail to live the way I should then I know that I have to repeat this lesson again and again. I "chose" lupus and other "problems" for this life to be able to help others on their life journey as well as allowing others helping me. I don't ask why anymore that I have all the health issues that I have but instead I ask what I am supposed to be learning from whatever is going on with my body and how I can help others thru the issue. Now...do I always accomplish this? NO!! My biggest challenge is dealing with the doctors! I would love to give the majority of them a swift kick in the behind. Maybe this is what I need to learn? Probably and I am not learning very well at all. I also know that my life could be far worse then it is. I have learned to appreciate my life as it is and know that God is always with me. My biggest pet peeve is that all people that all people do not respect other peoples beliefs about God. So, I want to make it clear that if there are others on here that don't believe in God or the way I interpret my relationship with God, then I respect that totally. This is only my opinion and thoughts and I do not expect everyone to think like I do. I am finding that more and more people are becoming obnoxious in thinking that we all have to believe the same thing about God. It makes be angry since our country was founded on the principle of respecting everyone's philosophy or religion. Walk you path the best way you can and if chronic illness is part of your walk then do it the very best way that you can.

The grace and love put upon me everyday gets me through. My faith in Jesus Christ is my pillar and the only way!

Like you said, I have learned to let go of some of that independent streak. I am very stubborn and like to do everything myself so it was really a battle to full leave certain things up to God and be ok with it. I have found a lot of hope and comfort in praying and reading the Bible. I know He won't give us something we can't handle, but I also know that I have lupus for a reason and not just because of genetics and gender. It has helped me connect with patients and truly understand what it's like for my patients to have an invisible illness. It helps me connect and provide support not only with you all, but with other people as well.

Validation can make all the difference when you’re suffering and there is no better place than here when seeking that validation. I can still remember when I was suffering in silence because nobody understood how I felt. Then I found lupus support groups are the earthly answer. Of course, first and foremost God is the heavenly answer. I do speak to Him regularly and on a daily basis. I can’t help but feel that without my belief in Him I wouldn’t appreciate and be thankful for all of the good in my life. I was hanging laundry outside the other day and couldn’t help but notice how pretty the sky looked. I thanked Him for my eyesight so that I could see all the beauty He has surrounded us with. It’s all around us. All we have to do is notice it. When I took the laundry down I couldn’t help but to deeply inhale the scent of my sun-dried laundry. Again thanks be to God for making me aware and appreciate all of His blessings.

I learned the difference between religion and spirituality. My church abandoned me when I got sick. Some called me a "faith failure." Others told me the devil was attacking me, or that I had hidden sin in my life. Many insensitive and unhelpful things were said by people from my church. Not everyone - a few people were truly wonderful to me. But as a whole the church dropped me on my butt. And that is when I left church but really began talking to God, and hearing that small still voice myself, which has guided me through many a decision and helped me untangle confusing thoughts. Including why the church people acted so crazy when I needed them. I asked God about this. And the answer that came to me was clear and simple: they were afraid. If it could happen to me, then they didn't feel safe unless they could find some reason I brought it on myself. Fear, I could forgive. When I didn't know why they did it- maybe they didn't like me, or whatever, I remained confused and upset. Once I understood it was just fear, I had compassion and forgiveness. I've had other revelations during this journey, form this same wise voice. Being in touch with spirit/ God is one of the gifts that came from the illness for me, as well as finally having the courage to be my true self and pursue my dreams.

A Must Read "Loving God While Living With Lupus" on Amazon.com

346-2013LovingGodWhileLivingwithlupus.docx (144 KB)

I worked for over 20 years in a busy ER. As a Christian I felt so blessed to be able to help people in physical need. About a year ago my I developed a pretty good case of neuropathy which made work impossible. Slowing down was a hard lesson for me. Yet in the long days on the couch I began to see His hand in all of this. My life is very different today. I have more time for reflection and direction. Some days I can thank him for my Lupus. Sounds funny doesn't it? But the Lupus has forced me into a direction that I never would have chosen on my own. And yes I now have a strong bond with others in similar circumstances. Just reading your posts is an encouragement to me. You folks are so on track. Rest Ministries is a site that I frequent for support. I suggest it to you. Blessings

First, I would like to tell you that you have definitely turned to the right person. God is number one in my life. When I was first diagnosed in 2011, God gave me the peace that I needed to make it through each day. Sometimes I just sit back and smile and tell God how thankful and Grateful I am for him Loving and taking such good care of me.

I know that there is a reason that I am going through this "LUPUS" thing. I don't know why. I do know that God would never put more on me than I can bear and Lord knows, sometimes I feel like I can't bear it. But He gives me the strength to make it.

So you keep the faith and I will put you in my prayers. God is sooooooooo good. We can always count on him when no one else is around.

Be Blessed!!!!!!!!

Ah yes, the good old guilt routine. The very reason I will never attend a church again as a member only for weddings and funerals. I have such a strong love of God that I can no longer put up with other peoples versions of a vindictive God.

Ann A. said:

I too am a very spiritual person. I believe that many of my experiences with less than stellar health have been designed to teach this "slow learner" how best to help others. For example, I believe that I experienced what it feels like to have a vitamin D level - 25(OH)D - of 4 ng/mL in order to help me recognize that increasing awareness of vitamin D in my community is an appropriate mission for this stage of my life. If I had never had that experience, I would not have recognized that there was this important need in my community and that I could help to meet that need.

At this point in my life I have returned to participating in a religious - Christian - denomination that tends to blame those who are chronically ill for their conditions. My pastors will claim that this is not what they do and then preach a sermon that definitely carries the message that if you are chronically ill it is because you do not believe strongly enough. It is a holdover from an older tradition in which illness was seen as a physical manifestation of sin. I find that perspective off putting at best and potentially alienating.

While I was at home waiting for and recuperating from my back surgery, I spent a great deal of time thinking and reading about how to resolve this. I found a theological perspective which says that

The Grace of God is manifest both in those he chooses to heal and in those to whom he brings peace when he chooses not to heal them.

I believe that God answers prayers and that for some reason, which we do not have the capacity to understand, the answer is sometimes, "NO." God has chosen not to heal me. That does not mean that he has withdrawn his Grace from me. I am working on accepting his will for me. I am working on finding peace in the life that I have. I am working to serve others. I have a better life than many people who are physically healthy. I am grateful.

What a wonderful discussion, and some great sharing going on here.. God always know when to slow me down, when I really need a rest. This week is one of those, I've been taking a few MS office classes and I'm pretty tired.

Wow! I can't believe how many responses I've seen since starting this thread. Makes me so happy. I have seen some churches where they turn on folk and even heard where some thought your 'affliction' was your fault due to lack of faith. Well, my thoughts on that is there is no where in the Bible that says your faith isn't good enough...just to have it. In my humble opinion, people like that aren't living to be Christ-like. But I digress... I've seen God move mightily and he answers prayers. It took me forever to understand that sometimes the answer is 'not yet' or 'no'. I've gotten mad at God a time or 4 and despite it all I feel him with me. He's with each of us in our walk- of that there is no doubt. God loves us all the time. He gives us what we need. We don't understand why he placed each of us in the roles we are in with Lupus, but perhaps it's to help another soul that is new to this that may be scared. It may be part of it at least. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you all. I've read every post and smiled and nodded in understanding of what each of you have said. But when you find yourself feeling bummed, remember with God being for us, who can be against us? Keep the faith friends. God's with us every step of the way :)

This is a really wonderful thread. I find and lose my faith on a regular basis. And I'm relatively new to Lupus. I am still trying to understand my and others responses to this change in my life. Lately, what has helped me is to name off everything I have to be grateful for. I do this when I'm really feeling bad. I try to name each one and thank God for each of them. It makes me feel better every time. I hope that someday I can learn to trust God more. I hear what he says but I don't always follow his lead. You all have reminded me of the need to do that more. Thanks

FWIW, Here are some verses that were quoted to me by people "blaming the victim."

I don't blame myself (anymore) for developing lupus. But it took me a while to shake free of the blame that was placed on me by others, as well as my own guilt and feeling of failure. I was 24, just getting out in the world, and felt like I fell on my face. Then to have people blaming me on top of it... I guess I still have some hurt. I thought I had completely forgiven them, but looks like I need to revisit that.

New International Version (©2011)
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

Mark 11:24 - Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].

Matthew 15:28 - Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great [is] thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Matthew 13:58 - And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Matthew 9:29 - Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

vrr1970 said:

I have seen some churches where they turn on folk and even heard where some thought your 'affliction' was your fault due to lack of faith. Well, my thoughts on that is there is no where in the Bible that says your faith isn't good enough...just to have it.

I love this discussion of how each of us deals with our faith and lupus. AND how accepting each of us are of each others journey and faith as we see it and live it. Some of us go to church and others don't and the acceptance of that. The fact is we accept one another. Don't you feel that lupus and other health issues have given us this openness and understanding? I know it has helped me. After I had my car accident a long time ago, I was allowed to use the restroom finally while in x ray. I was sitting in the bathroom when I suddenly "heard" my father say:" Re Re (his name for me) , Jesus and I are here and we want to know when are you going to slow down and smell the roses?" I nearly had a heart attack when this happened. I knew then that I had let my life get out of control and I needed to slow down and get my priorities in the right order again. When I get to busy to talk with God I remember that day many years ago and focus on what is most important. This is also what I am hearing from all of you. It doesn't matter how you chose to recognize your Higher Power, but that you do that. I am so enjoying reading everyone's journey and how you live it. Thank you all.

Well, to me that is 'bending' the word. How can anyone earthly measure another's faith? Are people with cerebral palsy, mental retardation or deformities that way because their faith isn't strong enough. What about people that develop diseases such as cancer? Is there lack of faith why some die? If I was going to follow a verse to give to others it would be John 3:16- 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." I'm a 'whosoever' and so is anyone else that believes. I agree with Ann....sometimes the answer is 'no'. I just don't get how a person can look down upon you when you are sick. But I know people do it. God makes our spirit pure upon accepting salvation- the perfect bodies come after we leave this life. We can do what we can to preserve our health as the Bible says we should, but I just can't imagine casting doubt upon someone who is ill. Sorry to sound 'rant like'. Carla, I truly hate you had to endure that. But know this: you have no need to feel bad about your health. I tell you a lesson I'm just starting to learn is that forgiveness isn't necessarily for who you forgive. It's for you. It's taken me a long time to work through forgiving some, but it kind of goes back to the 'spoon theory'- decide if they are worth your spoons. Most of the time, the answer to that is 'no'. I sometimes wonder if people like that are placed in our lives to show us what not to be. I don't know. But thanks for the correction on my part. I don't understand it, but I still hate to see anyone have to endure such treatment.

Carla Ulbrich said:

FWIW, Here are some verses that were quoted to me by people "blaming the victim."

I don't blame myself (anymore) for developing lupus. But it took me a while to shake free of the blame that was placed on me by others, as well as my own guilt and feeling of failure. I was 24, just getting out in the world, and felt like I fell on my face. Then to have people blaming me on top of it... I guess I still have some hurt. I thought I had completely forgiven them, but looks like I need to revisit that.

New International Version (©2011)
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

Mark 11:24 - Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].

Matthew 15:28 - Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great [is] thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Matthew 13:58 - And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Matthew 9:29 - Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

vrr1970 said:

I have seen some churches where they turn on folk and even heard where some thought your 'affliction' was your fault due to lack of faith. Well, my thoughts on that is there is no where in the Bible that says your faith isn't good enough...just to have it.

This is why I hoped this thread would take off as it has. We can remind each other of what faith is and give each other support and reminders of what faith is. I'm so happy about this. It makes me feel like the more we share, the more assurance we can give others. Thanks all of you who come by and contribute.

Vicky :)

Hanging on the promise of a glorified body when I meet God in heaven! My favorite church song talks about meeting Jesus face to face and saying, "I overcame!"

Hi Vicky

I'm glad you started this discussion, and I'm sorry I couldn't add much more. I have been so tired this week, as I took a couple of classes. God is love, and since I've been diagnosed, and gone through my surgery, I try to engage someone in a wheelchair and let them know they are a person. I remember all too well, the looks, and the ones that totally looked past me and ignored me. I try to put my faith in action and be kind to others. I admit, I find myself getting up in the morning and just starting my day off - and I need to slow down spend my time with God each and every morning. I needed this, and thank you : )

I too have a very strong faith and my God Jehovah has supported me all the way since Diagnosis 4years ago .I agre having Lupus has made me a lot more patient than I used to be and far more compassionate .not saying I didn’t have concerns it’s just now in the foreground much more . Never forget that God will not test you beyond what he knows you van cope with