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It's hard to believe
that another autumn is nearly over and I'm pulling out the Christmas
lights. I went to the store today and purchased a couple extra extension
cords and wrapping paper in preparation for the 4-day weekend ahead
filled with decorating and wrapping. My goal is to try to wrap up gifts
and send them off to family in the other states quickly so that I can
concentrate on just experiencing JOY this season and not "Just
Opportunities to Yell..."
This last week has
been a big reminder that this world is only temporary. One friend discovered
that her adoption plans for a baby girl to arrive Christmas Day (due
date of Dec. 26th) fell through. Last week, my other dearest friend
and mentor experienced the horror of her 25-year-old son taking his
life. Her entire life has revolved around a ministry of praying for
her son, writing books about being a mom, and creating music and lyrics
about her son growing up. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach--
and then the next day we got up and went to take our son to see Thomas
the Train. While Connie stepped on a plane to go see to her son, we
went to an outlet mall. It seemed so unfair that I just got to "go
on with life" when other's around me will never be the same.
I shudder to realize
that my mind has been on when to get to the store before they are out
of turkeys and why the line was so long to get a photo with "Thomas
the Train." And yet, after a physically difficult August and September,
I'm enjoying a bit of "coasting" and the precious moments...
like last night when Josh said "Baby Jesus" for the first
2 Corinthians 4:18
says, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is
unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
We can't fix this
world... as much as we'd like to. But we CAN fix our eyes on Jesus and
for the eternal world filled with JOY that will be completely uncomprehensible.
I am very grateful
for all that I have and the many blessings God has given me. However,
this Thanksgiving I think I will be singing praises that we were not
made for this world! In John 16:20 Jesus reminds us, "I tell
you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You
will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy."
While those around
us seem to be without health problems, we may weep and morn, but when
we rejoice--and we WILL--our joy will be eternal. For that I
am very grateful. I look forward to sharing a Thanksgiving banquet with
you on that day!
Founder, Director Rest Ministries
Editor, hopekeepers Magazine
case you haven't heard, I've actually succumbed to the internet trend
of "blogging." I hope my ramblings might "introduce"
you to me a bit more in case you're interested in knowing who is behind
Rest Ministries. You
can read here.
Visit our sponsor
ORDER the actual
"When the doctor
said I couldn't exercise, not even walk around our beautiful neighborhood,
because exercise makes post-polio muscle problems worse, that was a difficult
thing to hear. I felt cut off from part of life. Then we got a tandem
bicycle. My husband does the work and I get to get out of the house!"
Post Polio Syndrome
yourself or a friend
for our Reader Spotlight & send us photos!
on around Rest Ministries web site? It's gotten so big that sometimes
those of us in leadership don't even know about all the happenings.
This will be a place where you
can tell us. Send us your experience or what's new in your group.
Photos are great too! We look forward to hearing from you -- both participants
Our big news is that
are now an affiliate of Joni
and Friends. This means we will have the chance to partner with
them in various events, etc. We were recently encouraged to join them
by a Director of Communications, Steve Appel, who has chronic fatigue
syndrome. He's been an amazing advocate for Rest Ministries and people
with chronic illness within this already all-encompassing ministry.
We're eager to see how God directs our partnership to His glory. (And
it's pretty exciting for our director, Lisa, who remembers watching
the movie "Joni" and reading the book when she was just a
kid. We're thrilled with the honor!)
Time of Refreshments" chats have started back up after a summer
break. Meet with special guests and authors each Wednesday at 11 a.m.
pacific (USA). Watch the daily devotionals for announcements. Don't
miss November 30 on the topic of "Communication with Family is
(Time converter too)
Magazine is offering free trial copies to EVERYONE! Over
100 people have signed up their friends in the last 24 hours since we
made this announcement! Sign up for your friends to get a free copy
Church in Cameron Park, CA asks for prayers as they launch a new church
specifically welcoming people who live with chronic illness. Pastor
Vince Warde says, " I am currently networking with churches, chaplains,
hospice, etc. We are also trying out voice conferencing software that
will allow us to conduct online Bible study without leaving those who
cannot type behind. Creating a Christian Community is the greatest challenge
- but I think the technology is available to include even those who
Did you know...
3033 people get our free online daily devotional! Wow! If you don't
yet get it, it's a great way to be encouraged and also get daily announcements
in the footers from Rest Ministries. Sign up here:
cheers to Judy Gann, Rest Ministries' coordinator for Vencher
Quencher, our writer's group. Judy is the author of God
of All Comfort (a devotional in our bookstore for the chronically
ill). And she has been traipsing all over the country doing TV and radio
interviews. She was recently on "Aspiring Women" in Chicago
and "The Harvest Show" in South Bend, Indiana. And lots of
radio programs. Congratulations, Judy, and thanks so much for spreading
the word about Rest Ministries and how God really does comfort us in
our troubles. See
We're excited to
announce Robert Farrar as our new moderator of the group "Wife
with Illness." This group of men is awesome and supporting
and praying for one another and has needed a moderator for some time!
We're blessed he is so qualified as a caregiver, an ordained minister,
and years of technical experience in office equipment, software, and
computer networking. Welcome, Robert!
of Rest Ministries participants, Rev. Greg Harvey, has a new book out
called, Finding God Faithful in Turbulent Times. Greg has managed
chronic degenerative disc disease with two failed back surgeries and
has struggled with spine issues for 25 years. For a signed copy of the
book email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost is about$10.
for your encouraging site. It is almost 2 a.m. and I cannot sleep so
decided to come online and I came across the website by chance. I no
longer feel isolated. God bless you." Vicky in UK
"My love for
your ministry is abounding--not a day goes by the Holy Spirit doesn't
touch me in some way with a message of admonishment, love, encouragement,confidence."
"I want to
shout from the roof tops how EXCITED I am that I have found Rest Ministries!
I came here a depressed person and God told me he wanted to start praying
for people. I did and it has taken my mind off of me and helped other
people feel encouraged! I thank God for this place. You are my new "FAMILY"
online. I used to lay on the couch feeling sorry for myself but now
I have a place to come! Praise Jesus that I can pray, share and chat
with people. You are SUCH a blessing to me. I could not have made it
w/o this website. Thank you." Penny
an experience you've had at Rest Ministries!
like to nominate Carlene Bean! Although she has plenty on her own plate
she continues to be a wonderful moderator and encourager. She always prays
for the needs expressed by our Splash members and often sends out snail
mail cards too. Love, Sheryl
one of Rest
us know what is happening in your hopekeepers group! Changed
lives, health faires, radio programs, parties! We'd love to post your
ST. LOUIS, MO
A ministry fair
at my church last spring prompted me to establish a booth for a new
support group for the chronically ill. Our hopekeepers(R) chapter
began that weekend as many people signed up, grateful to discover a
place where they could be accepted and understood. As is true for most
groups, our members represent a variety of diseases and conditions,
but our common "language" is the same-a desire to be validated
as a believer who faces the challenges of a situation they can't control,
but whose faith and trust in the Lord is unwavering.
God has continued
to add to our numbers each month as the awareness of our hopekeepers
chapter has grown. Our members have formed a tight bond with each other,
yet extend welcoming arms to those who arrive in our "country"
due to their own discovery of a diagnosis. Our time together each month
is spent exchanging thoughts about our situations, praying for one another's
needs and reviewing a Bible lesson provided through the resources of
Just listen to how
some of our members feel about the group at Grace Church, Saint Louis,
- I found hopekeepers
after crying out for a life preserver. Jesus provided a life raft full
of others; and never again will I feel alone and hopeless. -Beth C.
hopekeepers is a group of individuals who feel comfortable talking with
one another about the invisible! The members of hopekeepers have a common
thread woven between them. When someone needs to share, the others will
listen and understand. -Jim G.
- We come together
to encourage one another in our walk with Jesus. Along with encouragement
the group provides a forum to exchange all types of medical, emotional
and personal concerns. It strengthens my faith. God has a plan for all
of us. He is in control. I look forward to every meeting. -Delores F.
- Our hopekeepers
group is a safe, supportive environment where I can open up and be completely
transparent knowing everyone else in the group understands-it's Christ-centered.
Illness is hard enough to deal with, but it gets much easier knowing
He is in perfect control. I'm comforted that He has a plan for each
of us battling a chronic illness, and is using it for good. Every time
I leave one of our meetings I feel nourished spiritually, and am reassured
of God's involvement in all of this. It has been a light in the midst
of a difficult journey. -Bob B.
In Paul's letter
to the church at Galatia, he encourages the believers there to "carry
one another's burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,"
(Galatians 6:2, NLV). Certainly, the weight of bearing a chronic illness
can be a heavy load, given all the various physical and emotional challenges
it can bring. But distributing that weight to a group that is willing,
even out of their own pain, to bear the burdens of others must indeed
please God. Our hopekeepers group at Grace, like so many He has raised
up across the nation, demonstrates a fulfillment of the law of love
which honors Christ by loving one another.
will be happy to give you more information about her group. Contact
her at Khowell52@aol.com or her
church at 314-291-6647. Kristy is a member of the pastoral staff at
Grace Church, Saint Louis in Maryland Heights, MO. She also is the director
of the Steps to Freedom ministry and Bible teacher at the church. Kristy
is married to her junior high sweetheart, Randy, who is a physician
at Washington University School or Medicine. They are proud of their
four children and son-in-law. Kristy has Parkinson's Disease.
Are you organizing
at your ministry fair?
Be sure to check out
to help your table shine!
is fully supported by the sales of books, t-shirts, and other resources
on our web site AND by the donations of people like you. We know that
nearly all of those we serve have financial shortages, but if you are
looking for encouragement in books or gifts for friends, etc. we encourage
you to purchase
from us! Because of your generosity we are able to stay online.
And we don't pay any salaries--all the funds "just keep us going!"
God is so Good Why Do I Hurt so Bad? Just $4.99
David Biebel's keen insight and experience in human suffering makes this
book a must read. Written from a Christian perspective, the material contained
in these pages will help you make sense of pain and suffering, while providing
hope for your situation. Simply put, this is a great book that I would
recommend to anyone going through a difficult time in life.
Features on back "Top 10 Things
to NOT to Say to Someone with
a Chronic Illness" $15 each
A great fun way to
spread the word.
At the bottom it says, "Care enough
to be informed."
I come across
a lot of news and there just isn't room to share it all in hopekeepers
Magazine's print format. I thought you may find the following of interest.
Diego minister in mental
illness documentary on ABC-TV
of San Diego, an ordained United Methodist minister, will appear in
a documentary, Shadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illness airing
Dec. 4 through Feb. 4 at the discretion of local ABC stations. Gregg-Schroeder
founded an organization called Mental Health Ministries which operates
in conjunction with the California Pacific Conference of the United
Methodist Church. She educates people in faith communities on mental
health issues. Gregg-Schroeder, who kept her depression secret for two
years, eventually broke silence and says, "If you look out on a
congregation on a Sunday morning, one in four families has a member
struggling with a mental illness. That is something unfortunately that
most of our churches do not address. Many of our parishioners are struggling
The program was
produced for the "Vision and Values" series for ABC-TV by
Mennonite Media in partnership with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission
and the Communications Commission of National Council of Churches. For
more information visit www.ShadowVoices.com.
The program will be available on VHS and DVD for purchase after Dec.
15. The DVD includes bonus content. Resources
for educating congregations on mental health issues are available at
aren't alone in pain
may feel like no one understands, but the truth is more people may understand
your pain than you realize! More than half of Americans suffer from
chronic or recurrent pain, and nearly half (46%) of poll takers
reported pain in the last two weeks. This doesn't count the "usual
minor annoyances," says the ABCNews/USA Today/Stanford University
Medical Center poll. After hearing the descriptions, recurrent pain
was cited by 34% of poll takers, and nearly one in five (19%)
said they had chronic pain. Forty-four percent said their pain was
is where people hurt:
Legs (not counting knees): 7%
what is the upside?
Rest Ministries is NEEDED! Whenever
you hear of someone saying they are
in chronic pain, take a chance and tell
them about us! (Hint: most people are
interested in the magazine,
hopekeepers, even if they are not a
believer.) It's a great way to introduce
us to them. Tell them to go to
they can sign up to get a free copy!
is National Family Caregivers Month
want to personally thank all of you who are caregivers (and the many
caregivers who live with illness themselves.) The National Family Caregivers
Association has put together a nice list "Guide for Congregations
and Parishes" which has a list of ways to help.
a prayer during each service, not only for those who are sick, but also
for their family caregivers. Family caregivers tend to be invisible
and their contributions minimized or ignored. But illness and disability
are a family affair and by offering prayers for caregivers and care
receivers during the weekly service you will be both raising the self
esteem of caregivers and honoring the bonds of family devotion that
are part of every faith tradition. Consider disseminating a prayer chain
to those who pray independently at home. Print
out the guide by clicking here.
Do you have an
item that is you think is newsworthy? Send
it to us for consideration!
Each day in our
online daily devotionals we have a question and ask you to TALK BACK!
You do and your answers are a great source of encouragement to others
who live with chronic illnesses. It's nice to know we are not alone.
do you find encouragement when things get tough?
When I need support and encouragement I fall on my face before the Lord
Jesus and cry out to... and draw near to Him. HIS WORD is filled with
comfort and guidance...especially The Psalms. During times of "mountain
top" days or moments when the Lord has spoken to my heart I have
made marks in my Bibles so that when I fall into discouragement (not
having physical and/or mental strength to do much more than OPEN His
Word)...those marked places jump off the pages at me. There is no substitute
for the Scriptures to create comfort and consolation to a hurting, downtrodden
soul. These words from Scripture may come from Christian radio, Gospel
music, Preaching and teaching of God's Word and from fellow
believers in conversation along life's way. My task is to make myself
"available" to HEAR and receive HIS WORD! MaryLou Hartman,
New Bern, North Carolina
I have several sources:
(1). My family--my mother, my husband; (2). I have a friend who is dearer
than life to me; (3). My boss; (4). My doctors; (5). I have a CD burner
on my computer, so I went through the CD's I have and chose every encouraging
song I could. I burned those onto CD's that I listen to whenever I am
down. I am up to two CD's and I am sure I will find more songs to add
to make another. I play them at work a lot, and one day a customer came
in and heard one of the songs and ordered the original CD. It was pretty
neat. My boss lets me play Christian music, so it is a testimony to
our customers. Becky Guinn
Besides the obvious--devotions
and time spent with the Lord, as well as Fibrosplash/ Rest Ministries
-- I am blessed with a wonderful family and great friends. My next-door
neighbor, Lynn, is a Godsend! She also has some health issues but we
get together as often as we can and go
walking around our housing tract. She's a really neat Christian and
I'm so glad God chose to make us neighbors. Carie Anderson, Oklahoma
My husband is my
major source of encouragement. He shows me he believe in me even on
days when I can't lift a finger to help around the house. Chris Corliss,
I find encouragement
from the word of God and Jesus Christ. I love Billy, Ruth, Franklin,
Ann and all the Grahams. They are such a blessing with their Decision
magazine and newsletters. My husband is my angel sent
from heaven who picks me up. God is definititely using him and I am
so grateful. I also love to read and listen to Dr. David Jeremiah. I
have so much to be thankful for. Thank you all at Rest Ministeries for
your caring letters.
I have discovered
that support and encouragement can come from many sources which include:
(1) being the leader of a Hope Keepers group;
(2) thinking of others - sending a card, making a phone call, visitation;
(3) the unconditional love and affection from two great dogs - Madison,
a four year old golden retreiver and Darie, an 11 year old rescued Greyhound;
(4) listening to gospel music or watching a Gaither video;
(5) spending time with a friend;
(6) solitude in a great environment- ocean, mountains, path in the woods;
(7) allowing friends to help - making your needs known; being vulnerable;
(8) focusing on God through scripture, prayer and waiting for His still
small voice offering love, compassion and hope. Lucy Gay
I find encouragment
in praying for other, praising God for answered prayer for others, my
church family, Musice and other devotionals. I always Thank God for
my chronic health problems when I see and know of others worse off than
I am. I also have two scriptures God has given me when I am down. Romans
8:28 and Phillipans 4:13. Beckie
One of the things
God has shown me is that suffering is a good thing! In the early years
of my illness I was thinking one day about how people say that God allows
us to go through things. I was thinking about the word "allows."
It's like he lets us go through it. As children we are "allowed"
to do things by our parents and they are always good things, not things
that are bad for us. Shortly after this I found the scripture Philippians
1:29 which says "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ
not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him." In my
NIV study Bible it says that the word "granted" means "given
as a gift or privilege". So that means that my suffering is a gift
and a privilege. He has chosen me to suffer for good reasons! I don't
know what all those reasons are, but I can trust God that he only wants
what's best for me. I know that some of those reasons are to bring me
into a closer relationship with him and to refine my character, hopefully
making me into a better person. My suffering has caused me to rely on
God more than I needed to in the past. I feel privileged that I have
this experience, because healthy people who are full of energy don't
have to rely on God the way I do. I hope that all makes sense! Debbie
I often find support
through friendship. I am so enjoying this daily devotional! Thank you.
I have the CD My
Utmost for His Highest and it gets regular play time in my worship music
which I play during the days I can't concentrate on reading the Bible.
It stays right beside the CD player by my bed. It is so uplifting. I
also have the sequel to it. Linda Dalgliesh, Winnipeg, Manitoba,
I have a MS swim
group I join every Tuesday & Thursday.A few of us go out for a little
lunch afterwards.It's a great network for me. Mary Jo Winzenburg
is a complimentary e-zine supplement to hopekeepers(R) Magazine
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