Isaiah 35:3 - Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way.
When battling a chronic health condition, there are times when we are unable to leave our homes. It may be we’re in so much pain that we can hardly take care of ourselves let alone go somewhere.
You have a toolbox, though, full of ways to combat the pain you’re experiencing and and decide to try and fix your day.
Whatever tool you choose to pull out sometimes nothing helps. And so you sit alone with tears streaming down your face, as you realize, life has passed you by and no one has noticed.
You’ve been left behind.
Here’s the other side of the story – What if you’re not the one who has a chronic health condition, but someone who is healthy? You get so busy with your day that you forget you also have a toolbox of your own, and you could be the one to lift off a burden.
The point is, we are charged to leave no one behind.
We aren’t to stay so busy in our lives that we forget there are others out there who would love to be busy and active in their world, but are unable to do so.
Being homebound can make each moment of our day drag on. We long for someone just to notice us and take away our loneliness.
No matter which side of life you find yourself, together we can become a community of friends helping friends. Huffingtonpost.com has some ideas on how to help someone who is chronically ill and may be homebound in their article, “Have a Friend With Chronic Illness? Here Are 10 Ways You Can Help.” Their ideas include giving companionship even if it’s only bringing them a hamburger and a milkshake, and validate their experience by letting them know that you see their struggle and recognize the destruction is real.
Life can be hard. But with a little effort we will leave no one behind; especially those who are homebound. We can be the ones to strengthen the feeble and unsteady, and be used by God to lift the burden of another soul.
Isaiah 43:2 - When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
I live in Northern California and this year has been an especially hard fire season. We’ve lost hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land and residential areas. One of the biggest of the fires actually went into a large city near me. Peoples’ homes and businesses were lost, and sadly, people’s lives were lost as well. Many of those lost were the fire personnel fighting the fires.
In addition to these terrible losses, there was another difficulty blown our way. Literally. Smoke and ash came down like as if it was snowing. Many areas were covered in the ash. I saw little bits of paper falling down on me from the fires only 30 miles away.
For those who have breathing conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) it made it almost intolerable to go outside. And it was advised that people who have compromised breathing should limit the amount of time they were outdoors.
The smoke can also affect the heart, diabetes, kidney disease and blood pressure.
Be on the lookout for symptoms of smoke inhalation coughing, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes, and runny nose.
If any of these factors are affecting you, especially chest pain and shortness of breath be sure to see a health professional to evaluate your symptoms immediately.
What can we do other than limiting the amount of time outdoors, to relieve some of the health issues due to fires? Time.com posts the article, “Wildfire Smoke Can Be Terrible For Your Health. Here’s How to Stay Safe,” that provides answers and advice during a wildfire such as don’t rely on paper masks and what kind of masks do help, along with make sure to be careful with cleanup because particulate matter can hang in the air even after a fire is out.
Though none of us can imagine just how terrible it would be to live through the dangers of a wildfire know that you won’t be alone. Be comforted, as the Bible verse above states, God will be with you when you walk through a wildfire and will give you the wisdom to keep your body and health from being overtaken by the dangers from the fire.
Isaiah 57:10 – You were wearied by all your ways, but you would not say, “It is hopeless.” You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint.
Chronic pain can bring many changes to your life:
When you battle chronic pain you miss out on more things than your family and friends realize. Even what you eat changes.
Before you were injured and ended up with chronic pain, you could go shopping by yourself and choose healthy ingredients to cook what you wanted. Now it’s frozen TV dinners and fast food which are high in salt and most of the time high in calories. This can cause you to gain weight which then makes it harder to carry yourself which increases your pain level.
Medications may also cause an increase in weight. They can cause water retention, and may cause your appetite to increase which causes you to eat more and gain weight.
Lack of exercise can pile on the pounds as you’re unable to do even the simplest workout. And forget a ride to the gym to work out. Driving is next to impossible now due to mobility issues in your neck, shoulders and legs.
Because of chronic pain your emotional state can head downhill causing depression and anxiety. This can lead to eating to cover up what you’re feeling and your weight goes up.
Eating can also become a coping mechanism for dealing with chronic pain. You may reach for that bag of potato chips for a short-time elevation in your mood.
Whatever the reason, chronic pain can lead to weight gain. So what can we do about it? Practicalpainmanagement.com posts the article, “Weight Gain Means More Pain.” In the article, one of the things that hit home with me was the idea of stop trying to lose weight, but take steps to stop gaining and maintain your weight instead.
Gaining weight can be demeaning and cause you to believe you will never be able to get a hold of it. This can cause you to reach for more food.
Take a look at the Bible verse above. Isaiah, a prophet in the Old Testament times was worn out by his ways. He had his own battle to fight, though it wasn’t weight gain, but none the less he didn’t say that it was hopeless. Through God he found a renewal of his strength so he didn’t faint from the discouragement he felt. You also can find renewal to help you move past feeling hopeless.
Isaiah 46:4 - Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
You have a friend who is 48. She eats healthy and takes care of herself yet, she’s already turning gray and in a big way. She’s still strong and doesn’t get sick very often. In every way she appears to be younger than her age, if only her gray hair would listen to the rest of her body.
You have a son who is 39 and also eats healthy and takes care of himself yet, he’s already almost completely bald. Yes, it is in style for a man his age to shave his head, but it makes him look older than he really is because you can still see where his hairline is.
The question is, are their things that we’re doing that are causing the premature gray and balding? Can we cause ourselves to turn gray early? Is going bald early our fault?
As for men going bald prematurely, take a look at medindia.net’s article, “Premature Balding.” The article discusses hair thinning out and how a receding hairline can lead to balding at a younger age such as a male in his twenties. They also discuss the reason for balding, that it can happen to women as well as men, and it’s causes can be due to a hormonal imbalance and genetics.
As for turning grey prematurely, refinery29.com posts the article, “4 Health Reasons for Getting Gray Hairs in Your 20s.” The article discusses hair pigmentation and how it fits in with premature gray hair, as well as reasons why you turn gray early such as your genes, thyroid disorders, autoimmune disorders, smoking, and nutritional deficiencies.
Your hair turning gray or going bald early can sometimes be suspended as the articles above tell us. But even if you end up gray, know that God will care for you when you are gray and even if you’ve gone bald. He loves us no matter what and wants us to accept how we look and focus more on what’s in our mind and heart. Try your best to keep yourself looking healthy and full of energy, but don’t let it be your focus. And remember, God knows exactly how many hairs on your head. He’s counted each one and loves you just the way you are.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.