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What I've learned watching my husband suffer with ME/CFS...

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Christine, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Christine

    Christine

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    My husband has carried the burden of ME/CFS for five years now. My heart aches for his suffering and for all of you who experience this same suffering. This illness has challenged everything I believe about God. Does He love us? Does He care that we are hurting? Why does He allow this? Will it ever end? Can I trust Him? In the past five years I have wrestled with these questions. Asking God to help me better understand the answers. He has been faithful. Again and again, my heart has been encouraged by His presence, strengthened by His love and my belief in Him and all of His promises solidified. A couple weeks ago on February 23, 2013, I was asked to speak at our church’s Women’s Retreat on the topic of “Resting in God’s Grace During Suffering.” Here I was able to gather all the things the Lord has taught me through the past five years and share my heart. I do not have all the answers, but I hope it is an encouragement to you, if you so desire to listen to it. Please know that I am praying for you as I pray for God to give strength to and heal this illness community. Even if I do not know your name, God does. I would also love to pray for you by name if you would like to share your name with me.

    This link leads to our Caringbridge site, http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/tomjarrett. My talk can be found on the February 25, 2013 entry titled “Resting in God’s Grace – Link Below.” Once you follow the link listed on that entry, here is what to look for:
    Series: Women’s Retreat 2013
    Title: Session 3: Resting in God’s Grace
    Speaker: Christine Jarrett
    Date: 2/23/13
    Ember likes this.
  2. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    I was interested too in Dr. Gordon Broderick's recent findings concerning resting states and immune-endocrine modulation in CFS and GWI: “This is for males only...and what we see is that chronic fatigue syndrome, as a persistent state, is quite far removed from the ones that occur naturally.” (See the discussion at 26:00 – 28:00: http://www.nova.edu/promo.html?id=c...3&subtitle=Introducing the new GWI Consortium.)
  3. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    I'd be happier listening to the experiences of someone who actually had CFS or ME. It may be that your husband doesn't share your ideas or sees things in a different way.
  4. Christine

    Christine

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    I completely understand your skeptisim, ukxmrv, and I appreciate you voicing it because that means many others were probably thinking it, too. But it is true that my husband and I are together on this.

    Did you have a chance to look at our Caringbridge site, or listen to the talk? You can see that he writes many of the entries (when he is able) and is quoted often in my talk. I do not speak in public often. My husband helped me prepare for my talk, and from home, he prayed for me by himself, and with our sons and over the phone with others during the hour I was giving my talk. He was praying not only for me, but for all of you who share his illness.

    My husband says that living with this illness is the hardest thing with the most intense amount of suffering he has ever experienced. I watch it first hand everyday and although I can't personally experience his pain, I do everything I can to ease his burden and support him. I would never want to trivialize his pain (or anyone else's here) with my words.

    One of my main objectives in giving this talk was to educate a room full of healthy people about the seriousness and devastation of ME/CFS. I even included a link to the 2011 ICC Case Definition on my handout to this group of 150 people. As a wife of a husband with ME/CFS, and a mother of two sons who long for their dad to be healthy, I join my husband in praying for and being an advocate for everyone in this illness community.
    dsdmom, bleusky and Ember like this.
  5. bleusky

    bleusky

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    Hi Christine,

    Thank you for posting! your words truly come from a wonderful heart and faith. I enjoyed your talk very much and felt awe for the faith both you and Tom live this illness and also for your incredible knowledge of the word of God. All of this can only be the fruit of a powerful presence of the Spirit in both of you.
    I'm sorry for all that has happened to your family. I can sympathize for all the obstacles and hurdles that life seems to throw at us and pray God will free Tom from his illness.

    Your story made me realize how much blessed I have been. Although I was unable to stand or leave the house for almost three years, I never suffered as much as Tom. I had MCS but was healed through intercessory prayer, at another time I experienced a complication from a medical procedure and again I was healed. Moreover, thanks to the right treatments I have been able to gradually recover to the point of living a decent life, although I am not fully recovered.
    And all of these blessings have come as I was turning my back to God, living in a state of anger and aversion towards my faith for all the "bad luck" that had happened to me while looking for alternative spiritual answers to my troubles. And in spite of all my unworthiness, God has pulled me back, literally grabbed and drawn me back to Him. So, as I was listening to you, I could not help feeling quite ungrateful and small next to Tom's ability to carry his cross with such faith, hope and grace.

    I firmly believe Jesus can and wants to heal all of us, including Tom.
    I have been fortunate enough to come across examples of extraordinary healings, happening now, which being of wobbly faith, are of great encouragement to me. As someone said at a recent seminar I went to, Jesus never ever refused to heal anybody when asked, or never replied to those who asked him "wait a minute, this illness is good for you" or "yes sure I will heal you at some point but for now just keep praying" and so on.
    So I believe his healing power is here, available to us NOW but why we seem unable to harness it in full, is still a mystery to me. Yes, certainly treatments can help us get better but I believe this illness has a spiritual dimension (and may be a cause) and only through God's power I believe we can achieve true healing.

    God bless Tom, you and your family!
    Christine likes this.
  6. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Clear Light
    The founder of The Grace Charity for M.E. was healed via a tiny informal prayer - thought her website may be helpful to you.
    bleusky and Christine like this.
  7. brenda

    brenda Senior Member

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    Christine

    I just want to encourage you and Tom not to fall into the traps that many of the long term sick fall into. On the one hand there is the one that says God is ready to heal you now, leading to the logical conclusion that we are failing somewhere if we do not receive this healing and have an extra burden of guilt to carry.

    We are to live in this world according to the physical laws in place and the fact is that many who are sick are put under an umbrella of a diagnosis in merely stating one of the symptoms, which only means that doctors do not understand it so it goes really undiagnosed. The other trap is to give up searching and feel that only an intervention of God can heal us and spend our days waiting - and waiting.

    There are many here who have had their genes mapped and found answers why they fell through the hole, and who are using nutrigenetics to improve their body chemistry and some have become functional again. To give an example, some find that their faulty genes make their bodies produce too much ammonia, and when they take substances to reduce this, and alter their diets, they feel better.

    Many doing this have tried many other avenues of therapies which have failed but are now gaining understanding and help.

    I wish you well.

    The worst suffering comes when ones family and friends desert and God seems to close His ears and eyes on us too and we are left truly alone. Be grateful as this level is not required of all.
    Christine likes this.
  8. bleusky

    bleusky

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    Brenda,

    I hope you were not referring to my post, firstly because I was certainly not discouraging anybody to pursue appropriate treatments and secondly because I have tried myself possibly most of the most popular treatments in the ME community and a few of those have helped me get much better.
    But I disagree on your logical conclusion that we who do not receive healing are somewhat failing. There is no failure. Each person have their own individual relationship to God, the details of which none of us know, but nobody ever fails when we do not receive healing because that is a blessing always available to everybody.

    Incidentally, I also have your same MTHFR C677T mutation as well in some glutathione transferase detox enzymes (don't know about other possible mutations as I was tested years ago with less sophistication than is available now), although the nutrigenomics stuff never really helped me. But the ammonia thing is really interesting as my healing from mcs came about after my body started "inexplicably" to excrete/release ammonia smelling sweat etc. My improvements from cfs also came about with strange smells (not ammonia-like this time) being released but those have so far being as a result of some treatment.

    Best wishes.

    PS:
    Honour a physician with the honour due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him: for the Lord hath created him...in thy sickness be not negligent: but pray unto the Lord, and he will make thee whole... Then give place to the physician, for the Lord hath created him: let him not go from thee, for thou hast need of him.There is a time when in their hands there is good success. Eccles.38
  9. brenda

    brenda Senior Member

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    Hi bluesky

    Sorry to be unclear but you have misunderstood me. I was not saying that a person who has not been healed while thinking that only faith is needed has failed. Far from it. The problem is the theology that says that if one believes then it will happen automatically. Because so many believe this, a person who does believe that if they have enough faith they will be healed, and then does not get healed which is very common indeed, then they will feel they have failed in some way though they have in reality not failed. I know, I`ve been there before I got deep down into scripture to see that the healing in the OT is about backsliding.
  10. Christine

    Christine

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    Thank you for your words of encouragement and warning (Brenda and bleusky). I agree that the topics of suffering, healing and God are ones that have been used for encouragement as well as used to heap guilt on the sufferer. Someone who is already suffering enough physically does not need this extra emotional and spiritual burden strapped to them. It always grieves my heart when I see a Christian accuse a person who is sick (and I see this frequently) of not having enough faith, or having a sin problem. Honestly, if this were the case, would anyone be well?! I don’t think so. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I think it is the exception rather than the rule that sin or lack of faith is the reason for someone’s ongoing health condition.

    I believe some of the danger comes when we look at our circumstances and use them to define God, rather than looking at the Bible to understand who He is. We have to keep in mind that there is also an enemy, Satan, who loves to be the Father of lies and clouds our thinking about God, and who feeds us lies constantly. So, how can we know what God is really like? We can read His word. He tells us who He is, and we can pray to Him and He reveals Himself.

    So when we look at the Bible, the inspired word of God, it is interesting to see what we find out about healing and faith. This is a topic that I am not an expert on, but wanted to share a couple stories regarding healing and faith from the Bible. I think two good examples are the woman who had been sick for 12 years with bleeding, and Paul, who had a “thorn” in his side. Both had faith, but one was healed and the other was not. So to say that if someone on earth “just had enough faith they could be healed” is not supported by the Bible. Many in this illness community have faith in Jesus Christ and are not healed (yet).

    Sick Woman’s Story
    Here is the story of the woman who was healed because of her faith. This passage reminds me so much of this illness community with verse 26. This woman is healed and I believe God is showing how sometimes He chooses to show the sufficiency of His power in healing. He is the Great Physician.

    A large crowd followed and pressed around Him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. 30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 “You see the people crowding against you,” His disciples answered, “and yet You can ask, ‘Who touched Me?’ ”
    32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:24-34

    Paul’s Story & Our Story (my husband’s illness)
    Here is the story of Paul, who also had great faith. He pleads with the Lord three times to remove the “thorn” from his side. The thorn, although not defined, is thought to have been a physical ailment. God’s response to Paul’s repeated prayer is that His grace is sufficient for Paul. I believe this is the answer He is also giving to my family right now as my husband carries this illness. This is actually my husband’s favorite verse. We have seen God’s sufficient grace during this illness and that is what my talk at the beginning of this thread discusses in detail with personal stories as evidence of His grace.

    I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
    2 Corinthians 12:7-9

    In Tom’s case, instead of being immediately healed, we believe that Tom was placed in this illness community, and has remained here, to share Jesus Christ and to bring hope to the hopeless.


    So what does faith have to do with healing and suffering?
    Everything! Do I sound like I am contradicting myself? :) God has the power to heal and He wants to heal. Those who have faith in Him, those who take Jesus Christ up on His offer at the cross to come to Him and confess their sins and believe that He is indeed the Son of God who took their place on the cross, will be saved. Was this act not proof of His love for us? He died so His blood could cover our sins and reconcile us to a Holy God. And this faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will bring a day of healing for those who suffer. It is a guarantee…in heaven…for eternity.

    ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

    18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

    For those who decline Jesus’ free invitation to be covered by His sacrifice, suffering will go on for eternity (even if someone recovers from M.E. during life, suffering will resume upon death, by being separated from God for eternity).


    Will healing ever come for Tom and others like him with M.E.?
    With faith in Jesus Christ, healing is yours. Will it be on earth? We don’t know. For sure it will happen in heaven, but for some it could happen before.

    But what does Jesus do for Tom now? Tom tells me that God equips him to bear this illness. He provides for Tom and our family. Tom says he is blessed to have Jesus guiding him through this confusing illness, and he receives God’s daily strength to endure his suffering, and Tom is at peace (even while enduring pain) because he knows he has eternal life with God through Jesus Christ. Tom wants others who are sick to have this gift of ultimate hope…to set an official “end date” to their suffering. :balloons:

    Many times as people have prayed for Tom to be healed, he has stated that although he would love to be healed, he desires that God would bring salvation to the entire M.E. community and work through Science to bring healing to the entire M.E. community in a way that the hand of God is evident. That continues to be our prayer. And as we wait, His grace is sufficient for those who love Him. He is with us. He is for us.

    31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

    37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Romans 8:31-39


    Thank you to those of you who have shared your name with me to be prayed for by our family, and by a group of prayer warriors in our local church. If you would like to be added to this list, comment here, or PM me with your real name.

    Tom and Christine
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