Saturday, 28 May 2011

God given desires

It's not a secret that I'm ill. I have Myalgic Encephalopathy or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome of which there are 250,000 other sufferers in the UK. It's an illness that has taken me completely out of my comfort zone and dumped me in a sea of emotions and pain that I didn't know existed, in a world I can't control.

Anyone who knows me, knows I like to plan. They also know I like to be in control of a situation. I had my five year plan so to speak, when I started university. I was going to train as a Nurse for 3 years, work for a year and then do the 18 month bridging course to Midwifery. Except I got ill in January 2010 with glandular fever, then got admitted into hospital again in March and then again in September. By the time I got out of hospital in September my health was on a downward spiral to where I am now, housebound and wheelchair dependent.

But you know what, I know that God still has a plan. That even on my worst days (and today has been pretty bad) when I'm feeling low and wondering whether I'll be stuck like this forever, I know that I can still count on God. My five year plan was something that I'd cooked up, I hadn't really prayed over it and I was confident that I could do it in my own strength. Having M.E is probably God saying 'hold on a second, what about my plan?!'

Psalm 37:4 says "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

It's important to note the differences between our own desires and God given desires. We need to make sure that they match up with the bible and keep in line with what we know the character of God to be.

I was thinking about what my God given desires were the other day. Was it just to get better and be able to go back to my course? Or was that my own desire (don't get me wrong I don't believe that God wants me to be ill, just that everything happens in his perfect timing). I was flicking through my notebook and I read something which I'd written about a year ago when I was doing bible study with my friend Hannah.

I wrote this "My desire is to have a home that is a safe haven for not just my family but for anyone who wants it. A home where the door is always open and the kettle is always on." And underneath I'd written 1 Peter 4:8-11

Now I had to look this up again but it says "Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen."

I'd like to think of myself as a fairly sociable person, I'm at my best when I'm surrounded by my groups of friends. I also love to cook or bake and, aside for one or two disasters in the kitchen, I think I'm fairly good at it! This is something I've prayed over quite a lot and discussed with a couple of friends. I wanted to make sure that this was from God not me.

This is also something I won't be able to do in my current condition, I can't even wash my own hair let alone cook a meal. Yet rather than being disheartened this makes me excited about the future. If this is definitely from God, he's gonna have to give me a lot more energy to do it!

I might not be able to achieve my five year plan anymore. But I'm no longer worried about that. What my illness has taught me is that dependency on God is SO important. I've been able to have quiet times now that I never would have had before, probably even if I'd had the time. And because of all this, my relationship with God has grown deeper and stronger and I'm able to consider what HIS desires are instead of my own. I used to look at Psalm 37:4 and interpret it as, he will give me MY desires. When actually it's more like this; he will give me the desires of my heart, because my relationship with God is such that my heart is a reflection of his heart.

My friend Andrea has a great quote on her skype which sums it up pretty well "God's dreams for us reflect His heart. If we are not maturing in sync with his heart, how would we distinguish others-centred dreams from self-centred dreams"

I want my heart to be a reflection of God's heart, and my life to be a reflection of the life that Jesus led on earth. I want my desires to be God's desires and if it takes being ill for that to happen, then so be it =)

Friday, 27 May 2011

Pass It On: Save The Children

If you only take part in one blog meme this year – let this be it. If you don’t blog then please please read this post and then sign the petition linked later on anyway – every single name counts and YOU could make the difference between life and death for children out in developing countries and it won’t cost you anything other than a couple of minutes.

Back in January Save The Children launched their ‘Born To’ campaign to raise awareness that no child should be born to die.

They released the horrifying statistic that 8 million children under the age of 5 die every year from treatable or preventable illness like pneumonia and diarrhoea. 8 million – that’s an almost unimaginable number and it scares me.

On June 13th David Cameron will be hosting a significant conference in London attended by world leaders. This meeting marks the chance to ensure the funding shortfall for vaccinations (4.7 billion) is met by all the donor countries. That sounds a lot but it is easily achievable, even in the current economic climate. It will just take some commitment from those in power and it has the potential to save those millions of lives.

Please SIGN THE PETITION which Save The Children will present at this global vaccine summit – every name counts.

Save the Children are taking three bloggers/vloggers to Mozambique to follow the journey of a vaccine from the coldstore in the city right down to a rural community. They will write, make films and tweet about their experiences, the children and families they meet and the challenges of “cold” vaccinations in hot countries.

The bloggers are: Lindsay Atkin (@Liliesarelike), Chris Mosler (@christinemosler) and Tracey Cheetham (@tchee). You’ll be able to follow all of their journey on Twitter using the hashtag #passiton, as well as through exciting content on other social media channels.

As for us Bloggers – we’re spreading the word with this meme. Children in this country are lucky, they are warm and well fed, they get their inoculations free of charge  and if they get sick we can just take the to the nearest doctor or hospital and know they will get treated.

What better way to raise awareness for Save The Children than by including our own children (or in my case the children that I live with)? So our challenge is to get our little ones to draw a self-portait of themselves either of now or how they think they will be in the future.
 Abigail's picture :)

Now I’m going to #passiton to some fellow bloggers and if you aren’t tagged but want to do it – go ahead. The more people signed up the better!! Once you do your post pop over HERE and link up your post so we can all share and see. Also, if you don’t have a Small of your own why not borrow one?! Or see if you can dig out an old picture you drew when you were younger, or draw a new one. And if you don’t blog? Post a picture on Facebook with a link to the petition or Tweet it if you’re on Twitter. Spread the word!

With Jesus I Am The Best Me I Can Be
But you don't look ill

Just want to make it clear, I don't have any children! I just got one of the children I live with to draw it for me =)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Reasons to be cheerful 1, 2, 3...

So it's that time again! I can't believe an entire week has just flown by. I've now been 20 for a week! This week has been quite a difficult week as my health has been particularly bad and I've had to spend a lot of time in bed. But there are still plenty of reasons to be cheerful!

1. I had a fabulous birthday BBQ
10 of my friends came over on Saturday for a BBQ and I had such a lovely time. I felt like I was a student again and 'normal' instead of 'person with M.E'

2. I managed to go to Wednesday Group
Wednesday Group is our bible study group and it was so lovely to chat and fellowship with people. It's helpful too as its the only bit of bible input I get at the mo (aside from my own study) as I can't make it to church

3. I got post!
The past couple of days I have had lots of lovely parcels and letters :) From my guardian Ruth, my grandma and some lovely AYMErs :)

Pop over to Mummy From The Heart's blog to see what other people's Reasons To Be Cheerful are =)

As an aside, reading Carole's blog reminded me that we are supposed to recommend blogs this week and I have a couple that I really enjoy reading.

The first is With Jesus I Am The Best Me I Can Be which is my boyfriend's blog and is a very honest and personal blog about his walk with God.

The second is my lovely friend Carole's blog over at Carole Finds Her Wings. I started reading her blog long before I started blogging. I love reading about the exploits of Tori and Arthur and how she is doing as a Mummy and a budding author.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Spending time with God

I've been a Christian for more than half my life. Until recently I had rarely missed a Sunday at church (and even now I only miss it because I can't physically get there) yet I still go through the same struggle of finding time to spend with God pretty much everyday. Now that in itself sounds rediculous to my own ears. I'm housebound, sometimes bedbound, the most I do in a day is make some cards or do a bit of knitting and yet giving a portion of my time to spending time with God is still difficult!

God loves to hear our voice, he longs for us to spend time with him, the same way my Dad enjoys spending time with me. Every morning I do take the time to spend some time with God, I benefit from it. I enjoy getting down on my knees and praying to God. I love it when I find a bible verse that has significant meaning to me. God doesn't ask us to spend time with him for his own benefit but for ours.

Philippians 4:6-7 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Spending time with God will give us peace, it will calm our fears and wipe away our anxieties when we place them before him. It is through spending time in his presence that he is able to mold us into the men and women he desires us to become.

Luke 10:38-42 says "As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

God is after our hearts not the work that we do for him. He would rather we sat for a few minutes just talking to him than spending the whole day doing work in his name. So next time you have a spare few minutes, spend some time praying and reading your bible and see how it changes the outlook of your day.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Reasons to be cheerful 1, 2, 3...

Well I missed last weeks coz of the problems with blogger but I'm back and blogging this weeks reasons to be cheerful!

1. I was made a fabulous birthday cake
Susie is the eldest daughter of the family I live with and she and her friends made me an amazing sweet-covered birthday cake! It was a complete surprise and it made my day!

2. I've had so many messages and cards and presents
I've been so touched by how many people posted on facebook or sent me a card or a gift. People from my church, people from AYME, friends and family it's so amazing!

3. My boyfriend has come to stay for two nights =)
We live 3 and a half hours away from each other so we don't get to see each other very often, so this is a lovely time just to spend time together =)

Pop over to Mummy From The Heart's blog and check out everyone elses reasons to be cheerful this week :)

God doesn't make junk

I got the idea for this blog from my friend's blog With Jesus I Am The Best Me I Can Be. Last week he posted a video by the skit guys and it was the line 'God doesn't make junk' that struck me the most.

'God doesn't make junk!' I found myself nodding along until I realised that for so long I believed (and probably a part of me still does) that I was junk. That of course God doesn't make junk, but he made an exception to the rule with me. I bought into the lie that who I was and how I looked just didn't make the grade.

Genesis 1:27 says "So God created mankind in his own image. in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

God says he created us in his own image! If we were created in the image of the God of the universe that makes us pretty incredible beings, doesn't it? People used to say to me that God doesn't make mistakes and if I hated myself then I was saying that God made a mistake. It used to make me really angry to hear this because I knew in my heart that what I was saying to myself was hurting God. I knew that the biggest thing that was stopping me from going deeper into a relationship with him was the hatred I had for myself. Because whilst I still believed that I was fat, ugly, stupid and not worth very much at all, I was pretty much calling God a liar!

Psalm 139:14 say "I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

I have this verse tattooed on my leg in Spanish. Everyone who has read it has asked me 'why spanish?' but no one has ever asked me 'why that verse?'. And I think that is a much more important question. I desperately needed the reminder that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I needed it with me at all times in a place where I wouldn't lose it. And even with it there, I still forget. I sit in front of the mirror not liking what I see in front of me.

I want to say that you ARE fearfully and wonderfully made! That each and everyone of you is precious in his sight, because God does NOT make junk! If you take away nothing else from my blogs, please take away this... You are beautiful/handsome, amazing, precious individuals because you were made in the image of the God of the universe and he does not make junk.

I just wanted to add, this was a really hard blog for me to write as it meant dealing with my own self-esteem issues. It's still something I struggle with but I know that I need to believe that I'm beautiful because I don't want to hurt my creator, who loves me unconditionally just the way I am.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Mountain Mover

When I was in India our youth group was called Moun'ain movers, which I believe is an americanism for mountain movers! Anyway this youth group was full of amazing people but obviously not one of us was strong enough to move a mountain physically, we just believed what it says in Matthew 17:20. "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

God's been speaking to me a lot about mountains recently, it started a couple of months ago and then last Wednesday when Rachel came round to do a bible study, mountains really seemed to be the theme. After we'd done the study I heard people talking about mountains, I saw them in pictures but it wasn't until later that I really understood what God was saying.
I'm reading Bill Hybels book 'Too busy not to pray' at the moment, I probably read a chapter a night as my concentration isn't that great and Thursday nights chapter was all about mountains.

An extract from the chapter reads "How do you pray a prayer so filled with faith that it can move a mountain? By shifting your focus from the size of your mountain to the sufficiency of the mountain mover and then stepping forward in obedience"

When we face problems we tend to look at them and see the vastness of them and put our head in our hands in despair. All too often we will try and work it out for ourselves, we will push and strain and try to do whatever it takes to get that mountain out of the way. In reality the idea of our human trying to push a mounain out of the way is laughable, yet we still try it with the mountains in our lives!  I'll hold my hands up and say that I still do that, even after being a Christian for so many years. What God wants us to do is look to him, because when we stop focusing on the mountain in our life, we realise that we have our mountain mover standing right there in front of us. Our God is bigger than any mountain in our lives He's bigger than our health troubles, bigger than our financial troubles and bigger than our job situation!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

M.E awareness week - Day 7

So today is the last day of M.E awareness week, and the last day I post blogs all about M.E I promise! I really hope you've learnt something about M.E this week and it starts to break down the stigma that's attached to this illness. We aren't just a little bit tired, this is a very real, very painful neurological illness. Just wanted to leave you with a link to the spoon theory which is written by Christine Miserandino to explain in an easy to understand way, what it's like living with a chronic illness =)

Thursday, 12 May 2011

M.E awareness week - Day 5

So today is the official international M.E awareness day =)

I wrote this poem the other day in about 5 minutes (as you can probably tell!) I wanted to try to explain what Strength is to M.E sufferers.

Struggling but
Raw but
Engaging and
Never complaining
Guiding each other
Through good times and bad
Hope is all that we have

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

M.E awareness week - Day 4

I realise I said I was going to do a blog a day for M.E awareness week but I've been really poorly the past two days so that's not been possible. I wanted to do something more personal today but as I'm already exhausted from typing I'm going to upload some videos done by the amazing Chlay who is also very poorly but has done a charity single which is available to buy on and itunes I think for just 79p. She's also doing other amazing things for M.E awareness week that I shall leave the videos to explain it to you. you can hear the full version of Chlay's charity single here.

Monday, 9 May 2011

M.E awareness week - Day 2

Today I thought I'd write about how M.E affects me personally. It's quite a foggy day today so please ignore any mistakes!!

I'm housebound and wheelchair dependent. That doesn't mean I can't walk at all but I can only walk a few metres in extreme pain and usually only by hanging onto furniture. There are odd days that I can go out but will have payback for at least the next couple of days.

Other symptoms I have are:
* Extreme fatigue and exhaustion
* Aches and pains in my muscles and joints (I usually experience about 5 different types of pain)
* Headaches
* Muscle spasms
* Sore throats and swollen glands (I often have reoccurring tonsillitis)
* Nausea and dizziness, sometimes collapsing from being so dizzy
* Sleep disturbances (I take sleeping tablets to help me sleep through the night)
* Light sensitivity (I wear sunglasses from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed)
* Noise sensitivity (I have to wear earplugs whenever I leave the house)
* Brain fog (trouble forming sentences, difficulty concentrating, sometimes forgetting entire conversations)

This is what I experience everyday, some days are worse than others. The problem with M.E is that we don't look ill, you can see us and not see what is going on inside. It's hard to make people understand what it's like and that's what I want to do throughout this week.

Thanks for reading =)

two website that will give more info on M.E are: and

Sunday, 8 May 2011

M.E awareness week - Day 1

Today is the first day of M.E awareness week 2011 and I want to try and do a post per day (health permitting) to give people an insight into what it's like to live with M.E.

I'm going to post a couple of videos today made by someone who had M.E, as I think this explains it better than I ever could. Thanks for watching!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Facing fears

I went out for a walk with my grandparents this afternoon. My grandpa got Dexter (my wheelchair) out and we prepared to go. I was really excited, I'm rarely well enough to go out. We got out on the road and I started to panic. The noise of the traffic was too loud and I'd left my ear plugs at home, there were too many cars, too many people. I got really worked up until my grandpa told me we should give up and go home. I knew that if I turned back I wouldnt go out again for a really long time, even if I was healthy enough. So we kept going. We stopped at a quiet cafe for a cup of tea before turning back, and I sat praying that God would take away my fear. The ride back was easier, it was still noisy and busy but I wasn't so scared, I was visibly more relaxed.

I'm sure the next time I go out I will have to tackle the same fears, but I know that I can face anything with Christ.

Philippians 4:13 says "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."

1 John 4:18a says "Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear."

God helps me through the little things like taking away my fear about leaving the house, or bigger things like dealing with this illness and how it's affected my life. Most of all I can stand under the assurance that God loves me unconditionally without reservation and through that I know I don't have to be afraid of anything.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Dear So and So

Dear M.E

Can you go away now? It's been 16months, surely that's long enough!

Tired and hurting sufferer


Dear Gardeners

I don't appreciate being woken up to the noise of a loud lawnmower, especially as it means I have a headache for the rest of the day.

Grumpy and headachey quiet lover


Dear Nanna,

Thank you for washing and drying my hair. I really appreciate it!

Love, Nice and clean granddaughter =)


Dear people-that-send me-post,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me. It makes me smiley =)

Love, a very happy Jess

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful 1, 2, 3...

Ok so this is the first time I've linked up to someone else's blog so you'll have to bare with me!

1. My Dad arrived from India today =) 
the first time I've seen him in 8 months =D

2. I saw my beautiful, fabulous best friend Ally today!
First time I've seen her in about 10 months. We had a lovely catch up and a giggle and it was lovely to see her!

3. I got a card in the post from the lovely Lizzy
Just what I needed on a bad day, especially after my awful trip to the doctors.

Pop over to Mummy from the heart's blog to check out other people's reasons to be cheerful this week

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

My M.E

It's M.E awareness week from the 8th to the 14th of May. The Association of Young People with ME's theme is 'Missing moments, hidden lives'. So many people with ME are bedbound or housebound and if they are able to get out, they have a very restricted social life.

This is a poem I wrote about how M.E has affected my life:

Running, jumping, laughing, skipping
Fields, playgrounds, icecream dripping
1o clock, 2o clock, 3o clock, 4
What time I got in mattered no more
Uni, family, friends and work
Essays, portfolios, what a nerd!

Walking, hobbling, a crutch or two
Fatigue, spasms, crawling to the loo
A foggy cloud hanging over my head
Those darkest moments I wish I were dead
Sitting, standing, it all feels the same
Each waking moment consumed with pain
Diary filled with doctors and clinics
Who see 'M.E' and think we're all dimwits

My world has shrunk from what it was
But I wouldnt change it because...
I've made so many amazing friends
And this is far from where it all ends....   

Me in my wheelchair on a rare occasion I get outside =)

The little things

It's the little things in life that brighten your day isn't it

Things like having clean hair after my Nan washed and dried it for me this morning

or receiving a card from a friend.

A text from someone I care about

or just a smile from a stranger instead of a stare when I'm out in my wheelchair.

It's the little things in life that make you thankful for being alive which is so important when, if like me, you are stuck inside day after day.

So take some time to appreciate the little things in life =)

Monday, 2 May 2011


"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful" Hebrews 10:23

I haven't been able to get this verse out of my head for the past few days. I memorised it a while ago when I started getting sick and now I'm sicker than I've ever been it's a verse I need to cling onto.
I struggle with the concept of hope, I have days when I'm so sick I don't have any hope of getting better and so hope becomes foreign to me. The thing is, I believe 100% that God has a promise for me that can't be fulfilled whilst I'm sick. I also believe 100% that God is faithful. And it's from these two things that I can draw hope from because if I believe that, then I don't have any reason to think that this sickness is forever.

God asks us to hold unswervingly to that hope, he knows that we are going to have good and bad days but he want us to stand in the midst of our trials and say that we have hope that God is going to bring us through this. So if you're sick or broken, if you are struggling or hurting then let me tell you this, you can have hope in God because he is faithful and he will fulfil the promise that he's given you.

I just want to add one thing, being sick has made me realise how temporary life is. I remember a pastor telling a story of a 17 year old boy who was paralysed from the neck down and was asked whether he was angry with God for allowing this to happen. And his 17 year old boy said 'No, coz God's got eternity to make it up to me.' Whatever we are going through is temporary, and whether it gets better in this life or not we have eternity with Christ.. This isn't the end, in fact it's only the beginning!