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April, 2014- HELLO ALL! I am no longer posting to this blog. For the latest on me and my work, I invite you to subscribe to my NEW blog: www.conniestrasheim.blogspot.com where I share my latest findings on how to heal from chronic illness involving Lyme and other conditions. Thanks!

Greetings and welcome to my Lyme disease blog, a comfy cozy (and sometimes crazy!) place for cutting-edge information, encouragement and insight into the fastest-growing epidemic disease in the United States. In this blog you will find everything from bug-killing strategies to immune system and hormone help, as well as lifestyle and spiritual suggestions for healing from chronic illness involving Lyme disease. The information contained within this blog is based upon my own healing journey and what I have learned over the past eight years as I have been diligently digging and researching my way back to a better state of health. May you find it to be a source of hope, inspiration and wisdom in your own journey towards wellness.

About "Insights Into Lyme Disease Treatment"

About the book:

443 Pages - $39.95
Published August, 2009
Written by Connie Strasheim
Learn More - Bulk Orders - Table of Contents

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Love That Is Greater Than Circumstances

Throughout my journey with Lyme disease, it seems that my god has admonished me to not fall into the trap of believing that my joy and freedom reside in a healthy body, because true joy is a thing of the spirit. If you read my book, "The Lyme Disease Survival Guide: Physical, Lifestyle and Emotional Strategies for Healing", you will see where I have written more about this personal belief.

But just because I can dish it out doesn't mean I can take it. Just because I hear it time and again doesn't mean I've found joy in inactivity or freedom in pain.
Sometimes I think I'm an idealistic fool to believe that anyone with chronic illness can rejoice in joints that are on fire and a body that creaks and snaps at every turn, and find freedom in a life of poverty, loneliness and inactivity.

Every once in awhile, however, my god throws a little experience my way just to show me how a life lived in communion with Him can dull the knife of difficult circumstances, as His love is made larger than all things.

If you don't believe in God or your god is not a person like mine, then you may only relate to the following abstractly. In any case, I think you will agree that it is possible for the unseen to be more powerful than what is seen.

I have a friend here in Costa Rica, Rosalina, who radiates God's love like the brightest beacon of light I have ever seen. You might as well be a mile away and you would still get blasted by her light, so brightly does she shine. With a grand heart of gratitude and compassion, I often see her soothing the ailments and aches of others. She is a display of smiles, songs and hugs, and when she opens her mouth, words of mirth, joy, peace and encouragement flow forth.

You would think she had been given the world to be so joyful. Or that she's in some kind of denial about how difficult life really is.

But Rosalina has a pretty rough life.

Last weekend, I traveled to a very sketchy part of San Jose to bring her and her mother some chicken, beans and rice, because she had no food at home, due to not being able to work and buy groceries because of an injury. I was a bit confounded by her joy and claims of a "blessed life" when I walked into her home, a dilapidated shack with a few cement walls, an aluminum roof, and a sloping, potholed, dirt floor. She has no refrigerator, no stove, and no place to cook. Her living room is the size of my bathroom with only two chairs and a broken television.

And whenever the skies would release their fierce storms upon San Jose, as she explained to me, she and her mother had to lift their mattresses from the ground, so that they wouldn't get soaked and ruined in the floods.

Rosalina is forty-eight. She has no husband and no children, but has always longed for a family of her own. She lives with her seventy-year-old mother. Since she injured her legs at work, she must rely upon charity in order to survive. Even when she does work, it's evident she doesn't get paid much.

But the light doesn't leave her. Yes, I am sure she gets sad and discouraged at times, just like all human beings, but she's not a soul to complain or curse God for her difficult lot in life. You just know by talking to her that negativity isn't a part of her existence, and if it is, it doesn't infiltrate most of her conversations.

"God provides, God is good," she often says. It strikes me as paradoxical. I have always wondered if it is possible for the homeless man on the street to be joyful without food or a place to live. If the chronically ill can be as happy as the more physically put together. My friend seems to be living proof that yes, indeed, all things are possible with God.

We often hear about how the circumstances of chronic illness cause depression. If pain and fatigue and Lyme bugs don't do it, then loneliness and financial ruin will. And not only do we have reason to be depressed, we have more than ample reason to be negative.

No doubt about it, the cards are stacked against the sick, and I still think it's idealistic to imagine that Lyme disease sufferers who are stuck in such circumstances can live completely free of sadness or depression. But can we live with joy? Is it possible for us to wake up in the morning, feel the pain in our limbs, and yet believe that God can free us from the greater pain of despondency
that physical pain causes?

That God can help us to sing when there's nothing to do but lie on the sofa, or to see with eyes of prosperity, when the world would say that all is scarce in our lives? Can God provide us with such a faith to believe in healthier days ahead, no matter that the world's wisdom would dictate that we might be sick and alone forever?

My friend is proof that anything is possible, because I don't think she was born a cheery, so-happy-you-want-to-smack-her soul, and neither was she transformed overnight. At some point in her life's journey, however, she was given grace to believe in a loving god who cared about her needs and well-being, despite the apparent contradiction of her life's circumstances. She also chose to spend her life in communion with this god, pray, submit her will to Him, and to counter the world's wisdom with that which she heard in her conscience; that which God spoke to her deep in her heart. That wisdom, she would tell you, is different than the world's wisdom, and it is what has given her joy and enabled her to see life from a perspective of prosperity. She knows she is loved.

And while she longs for a better home and the family she never had, she will yet tell you that she lives a prosperous life in her little shack. That's because her joy and her freedom have come from above, and from within.

Her medicine is more powerful than any drug, and more potent and effective than any therapy. It is a medicine that I believe we can all have a little bit of, if we believe in a god whose love can be made larger than circumstances, and if we listen to that quiet voice that speaks to us through our conscience and intuition. If we have faith to hope for things that are not yet seen but which will one day be manifest. If we spend time searching for truth, knowing that truth is often found in the spirit and not in the circumstances set before us. If we believe that our creator who made the heavens and the earth can also do above and beyond all that we ask or think, and is willing to do so, if we just ask. Just be prepared, because God's definition of prosperity may be different than yours; instead of getting a diamond, you could be made into one, that sparkles, just like my friend Rosalina, for all the world to see.


Michelle said...

Hi Connie,
It's amazing to me how happy one can be with so little. We need to learn to appreciate the good in our lives in order to be happy. A friend just recently broke her ankle and has been out of work. She is constantly complaining about how bored she is and commented to me that I must be extremely bored all the time. She can't believe how I survive day to day without a job. I tried to explain that I revel in the little things in life and appreciate that I was able to simply take a shower today!

Connie Strasheim (aka Killabugger) said...

Hi Michelle,

I think being chronically ill-if we allow it- can be a catalyst for emotional and spiritual maturity-as revealed by your response to incapacitation when compared to your friend's.

I agree with your perspective about how we need to appreciate the good in our lives. Very important, indeed!

It sounds as though you have found one of the great keys to health- gratitude! I'm still working on it :)

Thanks for your comments.


Anonymous said...

I love this blog connie, you are poet with a heart!


Michelle said...

Thanks for your kind words Connie. You said it perfectly about maturity. I totally agree. You are probably have more gratitude than you think. I think the first step is being able to recognize that gratitude is key to healing. Based on your writing, you are there. Believe me, I have some pretty bad days even after 11 yrs of living this life.
On another note, you have inspired me to finally send a book I have written about my daily life with multiple chronic illnesses to Bryan Rosner. I submitted it last Thursday and now await his response.
I have not read your book yet , but I will. I have purposely kept myself away from all Lyme story and survival books while I have been writing for the past 5 + yrs. I want my story to be from my heart with absolutely NO influences of any kind.

Anonymous said...

I've read most of your book and have enjoyed my visits to your blog. This whole lymes thing is very new and overwhelming to me right now. Your words help.

On the mornings that I can barely function because of exhaustion or aches or pain I get to my computer and go straight to this link:

By the grace of God it strengthens & encourages me. Sets my focus and priorities for the day. After rocking, singing, sobbing and praising Him I'm ready for my day.


Connie Strasheim (aka Killabugger) said...

Wallace, thank you for the lovely compliment!

Michelle, Thank you, also. :) That is GREAT you have written a book of your own! I hope to read it someday.

Lisa, I know how overwhelming this journey can be. I'm glad the blog is helping you.

I do something similar to you every morning, and seek God through prayer, song and (sometimes) tears. He is the reason I have made it through this thing! I love Casting Crowns, BTW. Music is so good for the soul, and that is definitely a song that speaks to a Lyme sufferer's heart. I wish you well on your healing journey. Things DO get better :)
I am not totally healed but my spirit gets stronger and my joy greater as time goes on. Yours will too, if you keep seeking Him and believing Him for good things, against all odds, and now matter how dark things get. There is light at the end of the tunnel!



wallace said...

This is on a different topic but I feel there is a connexion..

By doing a blog, writing a book etc or have a conversation you are telling a story and making sense of your illness.

This is normal in tribal societies but less common in the west.

I wonder if writing has helped you with your illness connie or Michelle?

A form of medicine called narrative medicine suggests it does or at least can. There are a number of books on the subject and a wikepedia entry on this. I have ordered the one below to see if expressing my illness might help!!!

Sounds good!

Below is a book on the subject I have ordered.


Narrative Medicine

The Use of History and Story in the Healing Process

By (author) Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D.
ISBN-13: 978-1-59143-065-0
ISBN: 1-59143-065-8

Quality Paperback

Page Count: 336; 6.00 (width) x 9.00 (height)

Imprint: Bear & Company

Availability: Usually ships within 1-2 business days.

Price: $20.00

Long Description

Seeks to restore the pivotal role of the patient’s own story in the healing process

• Shows how conventional medicine tends to ignore the account of the patient

• Presents case histories where disease is addressed and healed through the narrative process

• Proposes a reinvention of medicine to include the indigenous healing methods that for thousands of years have drawn their effectiveness from telling and listening

Modern medicine, with its high-tech and managed-care approach, has eliminated much of what constitutes the art of healing: those elements of doctoring that go beyond the medications prescribed. The typically brief office visit leaves little time for doctors to listen to their patients, though it is in these narratives that disease is both revealed and perpetuated--and can be released and treated.

Lewis Mehl-Madrona’s Narrative Medicine examines the foundations of the indigenous use of story as a healing modality. Citing numerous case histories that demonstrate the profound power of narrative in healing, the author shows how when we learn to dialogue with disease, we come to understand the power of the “story” we tell about our illness and our possibilities for better health. He shows how this approach also includes examining our relationships to our extended community to find any underlying disharmony that may need healing. Mehl-Madrona points the way to a new model of medicine--a health care system that draws its effectiveness from listening to the healing wisdom of the past and also to the present-day voices of its patients.
About the Author(s) of Narrative Medicine

Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D., is certified in family practice, geriatrics, and psychiatry and worked for years in rural emergency medicine. He is currently an associate professor of family medicine and psychiatry at the University of Saskatchewan and is the author of Narrative Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and the bestselling Coyote Medicine. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Praise for Narrative Medicine

"Lewis Mehl-Madrona is an extraordinarily gifted physician and healer. I saw him transform the lives of profoundly affected patients. Mostly, he was sitting next to them, listening carefully and telling them stories. I was amazed."
David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, author of Instinct to Heal


"Addressing shamnism, quantum physics, critical theory, and more, this book will appeal to a wide variety of readers, including healing practitioners . . ."
Blanche Angelo, Library Journal Xpress Reviews, July 2007


"The author writes very well, weaving examples throughout, as well as stories from a variety of cultures, showing how he uses stories in his practice with actual patients."

D. Tigermoon, The Pagan Review, Nov 2007