I've been walking a long road toward wellness, since my body fell apart from chronic Lyme disease over 12 years ago. Since then, I've learned that becoming whole isn't just a matter of whacking some bugs with an antibiotic or eating organic salmon and salads. It's not just a matter of healing the daddy wounds or coming to grips with a lifelong story of rejection.

It's about finding a relationship of unconditional love with God, because it is love- not a doctor, herb or belief system- that ultimately heals the whole person. Yet God gives us answers to healing through holistic medicine, as well as by His supernatural hand.

Indeed, most of the focus of the books that I've written has been upon medicine, but I realize that it's time to share all that I have learned from God as I have walked through the dark valley of this past decade. This includes strategies that heal the heart and spirit, as well as the body.

My knowledge is based upon my belief that Jesus Christ still heals supernaturally today, and that spiritual healing is the highest level of healing that we can attain to. Spiritual health can make us completely well, but it is also noble and good to seek healing at the physical level.

The journey to wholeness is always a journey, as none of us ever completely arrives this side of Heaven, but we can enter into a place of relative health and peace, with joy as the centerpiece of our days. I'm not there, but I am not the same person I was a decade ago. May victory be upon your horizon as it has been upon mine...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Person with Chronic Illness (i.e., Lyme Disease)

I'm often grieved when I hear about how some family members and friends treat their loved ones with Lyme disease, or other "invisible" chronic illnesses. They don't mean to be insensitive, but along with Lyme disease and other invisible chronic illnesses, comes a lot of unbelief by family members about just how much pain the person with illness is going through. I guess because, unlike a cancer patient, you can't see their body wasting away from illness, or dark circles fringing their eyes, and they may act relatively normal- so it's hard to believe that they are really THAT sick.

In their efforts to be helpful, they may unintentionally say things that make the afflicted one feel even worse.  If you are one of those well-meaning friends or family members who doesn't quite know what to say or do to help your loved one- I'd like to share a few tips about what to not say or do...followed by what you could say or do that would help them to feel better!

Do not say...

1) "But you look so good!" Yes, people with chronic illness often look quite normal, or even fantastic and trim, due to the extra pounds that disease often melts from their frame, due to malabsorption and other metabolic factors. But the problem with this statement is that the sufferer doesn't see it as a compliment, but rather, a statement of disbelief about how much they are actually hurting, since, if they look so great, they couldn't possibly be that sick. A more helpful suggestion? You could say, "Wow, it's amazing you look so good, considering how terrible you must feel inside." A person with Lyme disease has MS-like brain lesions, damaged organs- including the heart, liver and kidneys; a torn-up gastrointestinal tract, broken-down connective tissue, toxic cells, and severe malnutrition- no matter what they look like on the outside. Really.  Not to mention lots of bugs...

2) "You might feel better if you just exercised (or fill in the blank) more."  People with chronic illnesses such as Lyme disease cannot exercise (or work) and reap the same benefits from exercise as a healthy person, due to metabolic problems and a lack of cellular energy and properly functioning mitochondria, among other reasons. A day out jogging could land them in bed for a week. No, this is not a good thing.  It may be difficult for you to understand your loved one's limitations and struggles- no matter how compassionate or sympathetic you might be- so rather than assume that you know best how to help them, it's better to say something like, "I'm sorry you are going through this. I'd love to hear more about how this disease affects you, and find out if there's anything I might be able to do to help."

3) But don't just say...."Is there anything I can do for you?"  This is a wonderful sentiment, but the question is too generic and when asked such a question, your sick loved one, not wanting to burden you, will likely pause, and then say No.  In our "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps"society, it's hard for people to say Yes when offered help, and even if they are inclined to say Yes, they won't know what to ask you for, because they don't know what YOUR limitations are, and they don't want to oblige you to do too much for them. I think that's how most of us are, anyway.  So if you want to help them, say such things as: "I'd really like to help you. Could I come over this week and clean your house for you? Could I buy you some groceries?" Insist! "Are you able to pay for your treatments and basic needs? If not, I'd love to send you some money."  Insist! If they look sad or depressed, say, "It seems like you are going through a lot right now.  Would you like to talk? Or, can I just sit with you for awhile or pray for you? Would you like to watch a movie together at home?" And then emphasize how much you would LOVE to do this for them- as if it were a privilege or a blessing to be able to help them- not an obligation or burden.

4) "Just think more positive."  Trust me, if people with chronic illness could do this, many of them would. Their lives are plagued by day-in, day-out symptoms that sometimes make their existence feel like sheer hell.  It is a noble thing to want to think more positively, but when your biochemistry is a mess, you don't sleep for nights, are in extreme pain, or have pathogens pooping on your neurons, it's hard to be positive. Never mind find joy in a life of isolation and non-functionality.  I believe that God can help us to have more positive thoughts, but apart from God, and in our own human effort, and especially when chronically ill, it's difficult to achieve. Seek instead to empathize with your loved one. If they tell you they are depressed, say "Wow, I'm so sorry. It must be so hard to keep on going, day after day, and function, with such difficult symptoms. It makes me sad to hear of your suffering. Tell me more about what it's like to go through this on a day to day basis." And then-  "Can I pray with you, take you to see a funny movie (or for a drive to the mountains, etc..) or do something that might cheer you a little? Would you like to talk? Would you like a hug?"

5) "I already told you that last week. Don't you remember?"  Chronic illness will often make your loved ones spacey and forgetful. Their cognitive functions- memory, ability to process information, remember dates, names and locations- and respond effectively to you- may be compromised. So when it seems like they aren't listening to you, and they go all ADD on you or act like they don't remember what you told them last week, it may not be because they aren't interested in you or are trying to be disrespectful and forget your appointments with them- they just can't remember or "stay with it" all the time.

If you say things like, "Don't you remember?" or "As I already told you..." and/or act annoyed when they can't remember your friend's name, or where you were supposed to meet for dinner- they might feel stupid and condemned.  Instead, make things as easy as possible for them by not telling them detailed stories, or expecting them to remember dates, names, and events- or to give you their full attention at all times. This one is tricky, because often, the things that loved ones expect to be easy for the sick person, are not, and the things that are easier for the sick person to do, the loved ones doesn't expect to be easy (and so they assume the person isn't as sick as they say!).

By following these guidelines, you will help to make your loved one's journey toward wellness softer and easier, and help them to feel understood and loved in the process.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Why God Doesn't Just Rescue Us Out of Our Diseases

Maybe you can relate to this. You've begged and pleaded God for healing for years. You've fasted, had hundreds of people lay hands on you and pray for you, and still...here you are, waging a daily war with fatigue, depression, brain fog, pain or any other number of symptoms.

So if James 5:5 in the Bible says that "the prayer offered in faith will heal the sick" and Isaiah prophetically stated in Isaiah 53 that "surely He (Jesus) has borne our sicknesses" and "by His stripes we are healed..." and Jesus commanded his followers to heal the sick (not pray for the sick, but heal them!), as stated in Matthew 10:8, then why oh why, do some of us seem to get more healing than others? 

That's a huge question that can't be adequately answered, even in the best of books on healing, because God's ways are not ours, and life is full of unexplainable mysteries. That said, God does give us insights into the question, and I believe that one of them is found in Matthew 10:8, through Jesus' command to heal the sick.

When Jesus went to the Cross, He was made an atoning sacrifice not only for our sins, but also our sicknesses. He literally carried our diseases so that we would not have to...but the healing isn't always automatic or happen when one, or even 100, people pray for us, or we ask God to heal us. 

Through my current battle with insomnia, which has at times been agonizing, I have often cried out to God. The voice of misery manifests at times in such demanding phrases as "What do you WANT from me? I thought you said this was over!" 

In our humanity, when the pain is intense, we beg, cry and scream at God, wondering why He's rejected us or forsaken us, or why the promises of the Bible don't appear to be true. While He understands our pain,  if we knew the truth about what has been given to us, and what He gave up for us, we might not hurl so many angry words at Him, or beg, cry and give up, believing He doesn't want us well. 

This past weekend, during my prayer time, He brought to my memory a picture of the face of Jesus while He was dying on the Cross. A face of agony, torn, bruised and bleeding...and His body, lacerated, ripped to shreds and trembling in pain; ....from head to toe....and nails, driven deeply into His hands and feet, through the muscles, tendons and bones...as He suffered in indescribable emotional and physical agony...for me.  

And then, it was as if He were saying to me, "I did this for you so that you would have a weapon with which to fight disease...

... That weapon is sitting there, right there at your feet. Do you see it? That beautiful, powerful, shiny weapon, called the Sword of the Spirit....

I know it doesn't look like much, but do you know that it cost me My life? It is priceless, and it is yours. With it, you can win wars- the war against your body, and the war against disease in this world.... 

But you aren't picking up my gift and using it right now, and so it just sits there, at your feet...

...Still, I died so that you could have this gift. I didn't work 40 hours a day or sacrifice a retirement savings to pay for it...no, I gave up My very life so that you could have it!...

.... How can you ask me for healing from insomnia, when I have already said Yes by this gift that I have given you? I suffered indescribable pain and agony so that you could take hold of this precious gift, but you ignore it because you want something more. You want me to simply rescue you. Well...I already did rescue you, just not in the way you expect.  You see, I need you to pick up the weapon...because with it, you can be healed." 

And then I realized that begging God for healing was really another way of spurning His gift; of saying that Jesus' work on the Cross meant nothing to me, and that the sword of the Spirit; the Word of God, and the presence of His Spirit within me, were worthless. 

Because the deal was, "I'll give up my life for you, and if you receive Me as your Lord and Savior, you will receive My Spirit, and with the Spirit and My Word, you will have all that you need to fight sin and disease."

With such a great sacrifice made, and such a great gift given, why then, should He bend to my cries to just take away the pain? My wee pain, compared to His agony on the Cross. No, our suffering is not insignificant, but asking us to pick up the weapons of our warfare, such as praise and thankfulness, and by speaking and meditating upon the Word of God- so we can be free, really isn't asking much of us by comparison. 

Just speak a few Holy Spirit-filled words into the atmosphere, and trust in Him- quite often, that is all we need to do, and is all He asks of us, in exchange for the torturous death that He suffered. What a deal!

So can we blame Him when He refuses to simply rescue us? Or don't we know that He already did? It cost God the Father His Son's life to free us, but sometimes we need to appropriate that healing. How it must grieve Him to think that He gave up so much, and that we just disregard the sacrifice? 

Or maybe it isn't that we disregard anything, but that we remain ignorant of what His sacrifice means, not only for eternity, but also for our lives here on earth. 

I know that when I hurt, it's as if I totally forget about Jesus' sacrifice- and that not only did it purchase my salvation in Heaven, but also my victory on earth. But again...with the gift came a responsibility; a responsibility that He doesn't even expect me to carry out on my own, but with the help of His Spirit. Because His Word states that it is He who works in me to will and to do (Phil. 2:13)

It isn't about positive affirmations. It's about, supernatural, holy, Spirit-filled words, and the presence of God, and the healing power and love contained therein, which is released through those words, combined with an attitude of trust, belief, surrender and gratitude toward Him. It is something entirely different than positive thinking. It is about feeding, growing, healing and empowering our human spirits with His Spirit, and His love. 

And so God impressed it upon me to put a photo of Jesus on the Cross on the wall beside my bed, so that when I can't sleep at night, instead of getting mad and begging and crying for help, I might look up, and recall His suffering, and remember what that suffering purchased for me. And then, reach down into my spirit, and pick up my weapons, to fight the lies that assault me when I'm tired...

It's not an overnight thing. Change happens first in the spiritual realm, and then, over time, it manifests in the physical realm. Of course, God heals us sometimes without requiring a single utterance from us, but at other times, He wants to convince us by His Word of that healing. In my case, I believe that there's no other way that I will win the battle over insomnia- and no other way that I will know of His healing power for others, until I apply the Word to my own life.  Yes, He has used medicine to make me well, but He also wants me to see the body, soul and spirit healing contained within His Word; within Jesus' sacrifice, and through relationship with Him. 

Seek His face, and you will learn more about who He is for you, and how He can make you not only well, but whole, by His Spirit, and by His Word- the most powerful medicine there is. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

12-Webinar Series on How to Heal from Chronic Illness- In Body, Mind and Spirit

Beginning (approximately) October 1st, I will be doing a series of 12 webinar teachings on how to heal from chronic illness- using the power of prayer, inner healing methods from a Christian perspective, medicine, and more. 

The series will be bi-monthly on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, through March 2015, for approximately 1.5 hours, beginning at 6 PM PT, 7 PM MT, 8 PM CT, and 9 PM ET. (Dates occasionally may be subject to change due to holidays or unforeseen emergencies). 

Each session will include a teaching, and then an interactive healing session and/or prayer to practice concepts shared in the teaching, and to identify and heal hidden blocks to healing. The teachings will last approximately 45 minutes to an hour, and the interactive sessions will be approximately 20-30 minutes. I will leave 15-30 minutes of time at the end for questions and sharing. This schedule is subject to change but so far, this is the plan!

The topics include:

1) The Hierarchy of Healing- Spirit, Mind and Body. How to heal on each of these levels and why spiritual healing is the highest level and can effectuate change at the other levels.

2) Why God gave us healing as part of Jesus Christ's sacrifice and atonement; why it is always God's will for us to be well, and how we can appropriate that healing.

3) How God heals through relationship with Him, the power of His Word, and by blessing your spirit. 

4) Identifying and eliminating harmful inner vows, bitter root judgments and expectations, fragmentation, and other roadblocks to healing

5) Healing from rejection and abandonment (the principle emotions that open the door to Lyme disease, according to Drs. Cowden and Gilbert Renaud) and hopelessness.

5) Tailoring a diet to your unique biochemistry. Based on my upcoming book with Dr. Cowden, Foods that Fit a Unique You.

6) How to detoxify and keep your body and home clean and free of environmental toxins. Based on my recent book with Dr. Cowden, Create a Toxin-Free Body and Home...Starting Today.

7) Lifestyle strategies for wellness and overcoming a sickness/Lyme disease identity

8) Discovering and breaking generational curses that cause or contribute to disease

10) Using amino acids, nutrition and bioidentical hormones to heal from depression, insomnia, brain fog, anxiety, fatigue and other symptoms common to those with chronic illness.

11) Identifying and healing from a poverty spirit

12) Setting boundaries in relationships 

I will not be charging for the sessions; however, I will be taking donations, which you can send me via Paypal at: Connie9824@aol.com. (Setting up a Paypal account is easy if you haven't done this before). You can also send me a check or a one-time donation via credit card.  

Because of the immense amount of time, energy and expense involved in doing this six-month series, if I find that I'm unable to cover my expenses through donations, I may need to charge a nominal fee of $10 per person per webinar after the first webinar. If this happens, I will offer a discount to those who want to pay for the remaining 10 sessions as a package. I don't want finances to be a reason for anyone not to attend, however- as I believe that God wants to bless many through this teaching series- so if it becomes necessary to charge for the series, I will offer a limited number of scholarships to those who truly cannot afford it. And please don't be shy about asking- if you want to attend, God will make a way!

These are all topics that I'm passionate about and which I have learned to be essential to recovery. God placed this idea upon my heart so that those who have not found healing through their current medical protocol might find it through Him and these teachings. It is based on my 12 years of research and study on healing, personal experience of illness, and what I have learned from doctors, ministers and other health care professionals. Hope to "see" you there!

I will post sign up information here and on Facebook in September.