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#61 - 6.3.09


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Are you getting the supplemental HopeNotes?
Lisa posts lots of small articles of interest on her blog in order to keep this ezine less cluttered. Just click here for the Hope Notes category. If you're missing these you're missing some of the best stuff!

A BRAND NEW Comfort Zone Bookstore!
Lisa has been working on this since... October! And it will open this weekend--Lord willing! Watch your email for the announcement, sales and specials. It has some cool features including the ability to keep a wish list, write reviews and find out what other people are buying!
Christians with Chronic Illness Blog Carnival
Each month we gather some of the best blogs around the internet from Christians who live with chronic illness or pain. They will make you think, stretch your faith and gasp in recognition. Don't miss it!

Lisa CopenGreetings,

Welcome to Hope Notes! We have a lot of visitors who have just recently signed up for Hope Notes, so forgive me if I back track just a bit and share a little bit about my story.

I can admit that I do know first hand how hard it is to live with chronic illness, as I have had active rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 24. Currently I am in a "new season" with a level of pain and weariness that I've never experienced before. I'm not a "director" hired by Rest Ministries, but a volunteer who has seen how getting online and connecting with others can change your life - and others!

Each day the people here at Rest Ministries encourage me. I hope that through this newsletter I can point you to different areas of our ministry where you can find that same kind of encouragement and friendship.

I began Rest Ministries in 1997 after I was unable to find encouragement for those with chronic illness or pain that had a Christian foundation. Since then I am constantly amazed at how God has used my weaknesses to build Rest Ministries. I do this as a volunteer, but have found so much joy and passion for chronic illness ministry that it keeps me going on those mornings I just want to stay under the covers.

If you'd like to hear more about my story, you can watch a very nice video that a Christian organization did a couple of years ago about Rest Ministries at

I hope it introduces you to who I am and why I do this. I do it as a volunteer only, and all of our book sales (mine included) help keep the ministry going.

It's amazing to me that we began in 1997 and have survived far past many "dot com" companies. Our magazine HopeKeepers Magazine, is now digital, but sadly I just read that Today's Christian Woman has only recently stopped printing and laid off their staff.

It's because people like you give donation and make purchases at our Comfort Zone Bookstore that we are still around. But more than that-how you share your limited energy, precious time, and special gift of encouragement.

Thank you for making Rest Ministries a family for many people who don't feel they have a family who understands their daily pain. Psalm 68:6 says, "God sets the lonely in families." I hope you need a family you will find one here. If you just need a daily dose of encouragement, you will find it through one of our groups or something like our daily devotionals.

So! This weekly email will be filled with coping tips that I believe are important when you live with a chronic illness. I will also be sharing book reviews, web sites I love and more.

Well, let's get started with your first coping with illness tip!

Don't be afraid to seek counsel if you are feeling "blue." (And there are many definitions of that light-hearted word "blue.")

There is a large spectrum of depression and yes, Christians get depressed just like anyone else. I won't share the depressing statistics with you about chronic illness and how it can impact marriages, you relationships, and your ability to cope with other stress factors in life. But let's just say that living with illness is HARD and you should never be ashamed to seek out a counselor to get you through a difficult time.

Let me say that again (because I recently spoke to someone who kept apologizing for the fact that she was seeing a counselor)... it's OKAY to talk to someone about what you are going through.

The best thing you can do is make sure that it is a counselor who you respect and who has the same biblical beliefs that you do. Ask people you respect, including your pastor or parish nurse who they would recommend. If you can find a god referral you can find a Christian counselor list at (National Christian Counselors Association) and (American Association of Christian Counselors).

And remember, just because a Christian is a counselor, doesn't mean he or she is the right counselor for you. If you feel it's not working or helping, don't be afraid to find someone who can better meet your needs.

Don't delay putting off counseling until you are feeling suicidal or making a major life-changing decision like leaving your family.

Proverbs 4:5 says, "Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them." It can be a blessing to get counsel from others, and pray for wisdom from the Lord.

You'll receive a tip like this one each week for as long as you like.

Again, I appreciate your joining me - and I'll see you in a few days! In the meantime, I always have loads of news, resources I find on the internet, that kind of thing that I post in my personal blog at and in my twitter at . I invite you to scan these every now and then to make sure you are up to date on things that are happening with the ministry as well as great resources I find. For example, new disability application tips or Invisible Illness Week news (which we sponsor).

If you participate in our social network, Rest Ministries Sunroom, at it has all of these (blog postings, twitters, etc.) along the columns so it's a great place to scan for updates too!

Well, that's all for now. May you feel God holding you in the palm of His hand as He promises in Isaiah 49:16: "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."

Take care,

Lisa Copen
Founder and Director
Rest Ministries Chronic Illness Pain Support
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