Well, I am glad to see you this week! It's always
a joy to know you're reading these little tips!
Thank you so much for your e-mails encouragement
as I am recovering from joint replacement surgery.
I actually took a new photo because I figure you
were getting tired of the old one, however, it
doesn't really look much different, although.
I do actually have some mascara on in this one
Many of you have asked how the healing and progression
is coming. I am hopefully passed the point of
being high risk for infection so an extremely
relieved that the wound is nearly closed. However,
since I am on prednisone-- and even though the
surgery was a month ago-- the skin has just recently
closed and is still scabbed.
Regarding the 4 new joints, they are healing
well, however, the hand therapist said yesterday
that due to the prednisone (again) I am healing
slowly, so rather than keeping me in the
splint for six weeks, she will require that I
wear it eight weeks. (Sigh...) So
I am feeling a bit disheartened in a way because
I thought I had hit the halfway mark this week
and instead have five more weeks to go. This also
means five more weeks of not being able to drive.
So I'm arranging rides for Josh to get home from
school, and trying to figure out how I will get
to my physical therapist which is 20 miles from
my home one-way.
Like many of you despite the fact that I have
friends, and they are all very busy with their
lives, and busy with "the holidays."
It is hard for people to make a 3-hour commitment
to drive someone to a therapy 45 minutes away
and I understand that. I'm taking one day at a
time. My mom leaves to go home Monday, December
14, so we are trying to figure out arrangements
for the things I will not be able to do. You may
be interested in my most recent blog post today,
on How People Respond to Visual Pain
I know I am extremely blessed in what I have
been given, however, I am also learning just how
difficult it is to be dependent on other people,
especially when they have their own lives and
are not able to follow through despite their best
In many ways, I feel this is God's reminder and
lesson to me, as I am working on my book for moms
with a chronic illness: It is easy to give advice.
It is much more difficult to take one's own advice.
Ironically, I wrote this part below a couple
months ago as I prepared newsletters in prep for
I know that this time of year can bring forth
a bunch of emotions and not all of them are what
we may think of as being "Christian."
People may say something that gets under our skin,
or maybe we are just pessimistic about all the
bell-ringing people in Santa suits and seeing
our Lord's birth used as a economy booster. Or
just maybe. . . you wish YOU could be volunteering
to ring that bell, or even hang out at the mall
for a few minutes to buy a dear friend something
special and yet you just cannot physically do
I hope this article on anger may be something
that encourages you.
And just a reminder that since I am the author
of the article I can give you full rights to reprint
it. You are welcome to post it in your newsletter,
blog, web site, etc. Just leave the article and
footer "as is." This is one of the ways
we spread the words about Rest Ministries!
it Okay to Be Angry with God About Your Illness?
by Lisa Copen
I was first diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome,
I was relieved at first," shares Cindy. "So
many doctors kept telling me to see a psychiatrist,
but I knew it was my body, not my head, that was
in trouble." She explains, "I had spent
so much time before my diagnosis being mad, having
my illness finally validated was a great feeling.
But six months later, the anger set in the pain
management of the illness seemed to barely exist."
Many people are familiar with the book "On
Death and Dying," written by a well-known
doctor in Switzerland, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.
The book explains how people deal with any kind
of loss, but especially that which they face when
coping with an illness. It includes a description
of the cycle of emotional stages that people go
through in dealing with loss. Anger is the third
stage, following the stage of shock and denial.
When we are diagnosed with an illness, feeling
anger is the most natural reaction. Realizing
our dreams may be out of our control now that
our body is redefining what is "normal"
for us, can be devastating.
Acknowledging these feelings exist and learning
how to manage them is part of the mourning process.
People have a variety of time frames for each
stage of the grief cycle, but sooner or later
one will likely enter this phase. Surprisingly
your anger may be worst during the third year
of the disease than the first.
Says Krista, who lives with chronic fatigue syndrome,
"I know that my anger stages come and go.
I have been angry at doctors, at God, myself,
my church, even my husband and daughter and other
One thing is definite: anger will come. For some
people it will be a mild irritation with everything
in life, and for others a flaring temper that
doesn't seem subside.
"It is my observation," says Linda
Noble Topf, author of "You are Not Your Illness,"
"that the absence of anger in the face of
a serious illness suggests that we have already
withdrawn from life, that we have relinquished
our passion for living, that we are resigned and
Anger can be seen as something shameful to express,
especially if you are a Christian, who has been
told that angry emotions are not excused or even
"allowed." You may experience some of
- If my faith in God is solid, I should trust
that He wants what is best for me. Doubting His
hand in my circumstances to shows my lack of faith.
- If I reveal to other Christians that I am angry
about my situation, won't they think I am weak
in my walk with God?
- I know it says, "wise men shouldn't anger"
in the Bible. How can I, in good faith, express
the emotions that I am feeling?
- I know that anger leads to bitterness. So if
I don't acknowledge these feelings I will be a
"better Christian" and I won't ever
become bitter about life.
All of these thoughts are normal, but that doesn't
mean they're correct. By burying our anger and
not acknowledging it, we prevent ourselves from
moving on to the next phase in the grief cycle,
learning how to effectively manage our emotions
and our chronic illness.
Here are a few tips to help guide you through
the process of dealing with your anger:
1. Are you angry? Acknowledge your authentic
feelings and then get on with life.
If you insist on ignoring your emotions, believing
that in the end you will be a spiritually healthier
person for it, you are wrong. Topf advises, "Think
of anger as a resource that you can learn to harness
and refine for your own benefit." If you
can learn to recognize your anger, it will help
you reclaim your authentic identity. Faking it
won't take you through this.
The Bible explains how Job got angry about the
events in his life and cursed the day of his birth.
He said, "Do I have any power to help myself,
now that success has been driven from me?"
(Job 6:13). In the end though, God blessed Job
in many ways and Job told the Lord, "Surely
I spoke of things I did not understand, things
too wonderful to know" (Job 42:3b). Through
his feelings of anger and frustration, character
and understanding was built.
2. It is all right to get angry.
God designed us to feel a wide variety of emotions
and one of these is anger. There are numerous
instances in the Bible where Scripture specifically
tells us about how even God got mad. What does
the Bible tells about how to cope with our own
- "For man's anger does not bring about
the righteous life that God desires" (James
- "Wise men turn away anger" (Proverbs
- "A fool gives full vent to his anger,
but a wise man keeps himself under control"
God understands that anger is a part of our human
instinct, but it should never become our lifestyle.
Some people may point out that it takes anger
to get things accomplished. Even Mothers against
Drunk Drivers seem to have an appropriate acronym
of "MADD." Topf says, "We discover
that anger is first and foremost a demand for
change." Some would argue that the attitude
has been the beginning of great changes in our
history. And this is true, but the key is not
to get stuck in that anger phase for the rest
of your life.
In Amos 1:11, God says, "I will not turn
back my wrath... because his anger raged continually."
God understands how we will feel anger, but when
we feel it continually, He becomes annoyed. When
all of our energy is spent being angry (and it
does takes a lot of effort) none of our focus
is on Him. We must find a way to use our anger
effectively so we can bring God the glory.
3. Walk with God beside you and He will walk
with you through your anger.
In the Bible, David experienced this promise
and wrote, "Though I walk in the midst of
trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out
your hand against the anger of my foes, with your
right hand you save me" (Psalm 138:7). God
is always waiting for you to stretch out your
hand to Him, especially when in anger reigns.
He will protect you from using it unwisely.
"I'm still dealing with anger toward this
illness, after eight years of being sick,"
shares a woman who lives with fibromyalgia, Peggy
says, "Each time I experience a new limitation,
I get angry all over again. But as I learn to
cope with living with chronic fatigue syndrome
and fibromyalgia, and the limitations it places
on my activities, I expect God's perfect grace.
I pray that He will become slow to anger, as I
am depending on the scripture, 'The Lord is compassionate
and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love'"
Coping effectively with anger will be a challenge
we deal with for the rest of our lives. Some of
the most vital guidance to cope with it is in
a scripture that I point to in my book, "Why
Can't I Make People Understand? Discovering the
Validation Those with Chronic Illness Seek and
Why" where I steer one through emotions of
bitterness, jealousy and anger that accompanies
illness. Hosea 7:13b-14 says: God says, "I
long to redeem [you] but. . . [you] do not cry
out to Me from [your] hearts, but wait upon [your]
beds." So don't flop down on your bed and
wail "Why is this happening to me?"
Instead pour out your heart to the Lord and merely
ask Him for help.
"Why Can't I Make People
Understand?" is author, Lisa's hottest book
that will get you through your emotions of anger
at <a href="http://www.WhyCantIMakePeopleUnderstand.com">www.WhyCantIMakePeopleUnderstand.com</a>
. Free download of 200 Ways to Encourage a Chronically
Ill Friend from when you <a href="http://www.restministries.org/res-ezine_ill.htm">subscribe
to HopeNotes</a> at Rest Ministries. Lisa
is the founder of Invisible Illness Week.
So until next week, may you continue to know
that we are here for you to pray for you and offer
encouragement of the Lord during this difficult
I know times are difficult right now. Proverbs
15:16 says, "Better a little with the fear
of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil."
Lisa Copen, Rest Ministries Founder
Rest Ministries Chronic Illness Pain Support