Did you miss me?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
If you've been following me on any type of social media within the past 5-7 months or so, you'll know that I've been silent in a way that is not so common in the blogging world. The way that I've been an open book on my blog for so long was forced to take a back seat because I was too busy rummaging through brokenness, heartache, and confusion to find a spare second to think about staying in touch with this beautiful online community. But so many of you have reached out with encouragement, love, truth, and sweetness that I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams. Because of this, I need to say thank you.

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Thank you for sticking around even when my blog turned private and I barely responded to any of you until this blog post right here. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you to those of you who have given me money! Thank you for continuing to reach out even when I didn't/couldn't respond. And most of all, thank you for understanding that this has been and continues to be the most difficult and painful season I've ever gone through; I promise to respond when I have the energy and emotional capacity to do so.

A summarized timeline of the past months:
If you disagree with or have any desire to tear me down
for any of these things, please leave.


March - began receiving unemployment insurance (not enough of course)
April 1 - Dan and I separated
April 29 - admitted self to ER for mental health, diagnosed with mood disorder
May 9 - moved down to south OC county for the weekend
May - began going to therapy every week - such an amazing decision!
May 12 - moved in with a sweet older woman who let me stay till May 30
May 30 - moved in with the most amazing ladies who have since then, changed my life
June 19 - Dan and I filed and signed divorce papers together
June 19 - my parents came to visit on furlough from Beijing for a few days
Not sure the exact dates of the following events, but they're in chronological order:
+was sick in bed a bunch of the time either due to migraines or hardcore nausea
+went to the medicinal marijuana doctor to talk about use to help said migraines and nausea, as well as my depression, insomnia, and other fibromyalgia symptoms - was approved, it's helped like nothing ever has,
thank you Jesus for natural herbs
+ God led me to a new church with an amazing community of believers
+ God provided a beautiful life group full of some of the most beautiful women I've known
+ was subletting and lease was up July 26
+ moved in with another group of amazing Christian women - Dan helped me move in, showing God's beautiful heart for our broken marriage: giving us redemption and healing in our friendship in a way that brings Him so much glory, and brings Dan and I some healthy closure.
Got my fifth tattoo that I'm beyond obsessed with (view here).
Went on a 3 day impromptu road trip to Palm Springs last week!

I will probably begin blogging much more often now that I've taken the time to come back and summarize the past months for all you lovely people, which I'm quite excited about! And even though I've been quite silent on this blog, I've been much more active on my tumblr, as it takes much less time and emotional attachment.
You can view that here.

Love you ladies!

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The necessity of self-love,

Thursday, April 25, 2013
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Today I'm blogging over at the So Worth Loving blog on the necessity of self-love.
Read, feel, enjoy.

The photo reads: "Once you start living as someone who is worthy of love,
someone who even in loneliness or sadness can be lovable and highly valued,
you start making different decisions."


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Struggling in the dark abyss,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
For too long I've allowed Satan to push me off the cliff I thought I was standing on, prepared to jump off in full trust in God - when really I was walking along in circumstance, waiting for God to show me His face even when Satan was using everything he had to cover my eyes. I could see nothing - still see nothing - but somehow feel stupidly encouraged, knowing that right now as I sit here - my low back aches worse than it has in months, that having a migraine at least twice a week is becoming the norm for me, and that on top of taking care of myself, my husband is suffering in pain as well - while we both dwell in an apartment covered in mold. It's embarrassing to say the least, but God has provided the strength needed to go through each day - days I didn't think would ever end - and even clean up and get rid of some of the mold. It's a slow process, and it beats my spirit down; feeling worn and tired and lonely is the worst mixture of painful feelings I've felt in a long time, but how do those women of God do it? How do I glorify my God in this awful dark abyss when to be honest, I don't trust what He's doing? Or no, that's not right - I do trust Him, with everything inside of me - He is the only thing I have to truly hold onto. But I'm just tired of it - I want it to end. The pain is debilitating, tiring, killing me, will I ever be able to give birth?

The questions come in waves, the pain comes in waves, and so I walk three blocks and stand on the beach to watch the waves. This is my life, living in breathing and walking distance of the most Beautiful Ocean, seeing the sunset over the water in March, so in love with my husband that I notice when we go just a little bit of time without cuddling - I feel more distant from him than ever. God is present, in all things, but my brain is so fatigued and lacking energy to realize that circumstances are not God. My healthy marriage, amazing job, gorgeous environment I live in - these aren't God. Happiness isn't God. I just am dying for Him to teach me how to see this trial as a blessing - to gain it as a prize, to be carried through this daily burning furnace with my face glowing from the bright flame of His perfect face.

He is my daily bread. My daily bread. The lamp before my feet, but only the next step. In order to want more of Him, to trust Him fully - which these two things I desire above all else - I must throw my face down at His feet in His throne room depending on Him and reminding myself that I am blind - that I am walking behind Him and all I can do is wrap my arms around His waist, trust, and follow. (Inspired by this awesome post.)

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Dan and I leave for Pennsylvania tomorrow, and I'm convinced Satan has been doing everything in his power to keep us from going (which gives me even more drive and determination to just be there already). But these things include: acupuncture making my back and neck worse, not better; my pain getting increasingly worse (being evened out by yoga and walking); Dan's pain getting worse; my period starting two weeks early; and my sciatica acting up for absoluetely no reason at all. Please pray for both Dan and I tomorrow that traveling will not make us worse and that we will have the energy and the strength to glorify God all day in our fatigue and pain. Thank you!!!

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My Fibro History

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
I've been doing a lot of browsing and research on some awesome fibromyalgia blogs lately and Sunday afternoon it hit me like a ton of bricks: I need to start documenting in detail the things I've done over the past four and a half years since I was diagnosed: not only so I can look back and see what worked and what didn't, but also so I can really start to help other people who suffer from this disease.

Four and a half years ago, the joint and muscle pain began (August 2008).
Around this same time, I had just moved to Michigan to go to Bible school in an old, moldy school building, and also got stung by a bee that let the doctors know I was deathly allergic. The sting, or something around that same time, left a red spot in the shape of a perfect circle on my left shin which is still there to this day. My digestion was getting worse by the minute and I finally thought to go off gluten, finding that to be the culprit: have been gluten free for five years now.
I went to see a rheumatologist over Christmas break (in 2008) and was checked for rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, lupus, lyme's disease, osteoporosis, and everything else I'm forgetting at the moment: they were all negative so I was then diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The pain slowly but surely got worse once I went back to school, was home over the summer, and went back to MI for my third semester, being forced to make the toughest decision to drop out of school and move back home three months later. About seven months after that I was diagnosed with clinical depression, went on 150 mg of Zoloft for the very first time along with 20 mg of Elavil. I felt and saw a fairly immediate response to being on the anti-depressants which I was very thankful for, and it was helping to ease my pain a tiny bit as well.
Time passed and I got to begin attending college again, but this time while living at home, and was walking a lot every single day for exercise and it began to show in my weight, but didn't help too too much with my pain - especially with the cold weather western Pennsylvania likes to boast of. I was still on Zoloft and Elavil, and was getting a massage about every other week or so which helped with my pain, and drank a glass of wine every night before bed which helped me sleep better.
The symptoms that were showing their ugly heads around this time were:
awful joint and muscle pain
depression (obviously)
chronic fatigue
extremely low energy
mood swings
forgetfulness, but not very extreme
bad digestion issues
migraines
blurred vision
insomnia
muscle spasms
off and on nausea
very very low immune system (everything made me sick)
sensitivity to chemical odors
restless leg syndrome
like, 14 UTI's
and a few more that I can't quite remember at this time.
I then had my first panic attack of my life in the spring of 2011, two and a half years after being diagnosed, and 3 months before I packed up and moved from western PA to southern CA. This threw me into a deep depression covered in tons of anxiety, but things lightened up once I took my trip to Cali and met the man I would later marry. A few other things I tried before making this big change in my life were: physical therapy, water therapy, laser therapy, supplements by themselves, and chiropractic care along with stretches and exercises.
A few months after I moved to Cali, I got a job at the local newspaper and was hit with deep sciatica pain for the first time ever - which has still not gone away to this day - had bad allergies to some stuff in the building, was let go due to health, and got another job for a much better organization! I also saw an immunologist around this time who turned out to be a scam artist. He got my hopes up only to drop out of treatment after taking $1000 of our money, so that sucked and sort of jaded both Dan and I when it comes to doctors that insurance won't cover. // Now I'm in the process of finding an acupuncturist in the OC area who specializes in fibromyalgia relief, along with a massage therapist and hopefully a better primary care physician who actually believes in my disease. Next time I come back and share some of my fibro history, I'll be sure to go into detail about all of the anti-depressants I've tried so I can keep track of and hopefully help other fibro fighters know which ones might be great and which might be the devil. See you then!
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He has not forgotten me,

Monday, January 7, 2013
I think I need to blog about what happened yesterday.

You see, since Dan and I got married in 2011, we've been pursuing healing in both our lives - physical healing - because we believe God for that, we believe His word and we take Him at it; we believe that we have authority given to us because the Spirit dwells within us (Romans 8:11), that the power of Jesus' name can move mountains and that Jesus was speaking literally when He said that we only need a mustard seed of faith to do that (Matthew 17:20); and we believe that as God's children, that we not only should receive, but have a right to His good gifts (Matthew 7:11).

So when I say we're pursuing physical healing in both our lives, that's what I mean. We've been prayed over countless times, we've prayed over each other, we've spoken truth into our hearts against the enemy, and yesterday at church Dan got called out in the service not by his name, but by his exact injury in a room of at least 600 people to receive prayer over his body; we're pursuing it but we're not receiving it. And then yesterday I finally went up to ask to be anointed for healing since Jesus says in His word that we should receive anointing from the elders of the church if we want healing (James 5:14); nothing happened, to either of us. (Please don't tell me that that means there must be something wrong in our hearts, because there is nowhere in God's word that backs that up; there is no sin present that is keeping healing from us, because again, that is not Biblical. And one more thing: God's timing? That is also not Biblical, not in the new era of grace.) The power of prayer is a HUGE thing and Dan and I both believe in it because we see evidence of it working, we are encouraged by that: but what about us?

So we were sitting in church once the service was over, holding each other and crying, and feeling so forgotten and passed over, and why is everyone else before us receiving healing besides us? We desire to please God, we are pursuing Him in every single area of our lives, we are obedient, and we are being used by him, so why aren't we being blessed in this one area we both need? Anyway, as we were sitting there, a miracle happened that took the loneliness right out of both mine and Dan's hearts:

I had just been feeling so forgotten, and repeating those words over and over to Dan, just how forgotten I feel by God, and at that exact moment, the wife of the awesome pastor who had been praying over Dan and wrestling with him in prayer came up to Dan and I, and said these words to us: "I have to be somewhere in a minute, so I don't have much time, but God has really put it heavy on my heart that I needed to come over here and tell you just one thing: He has not forgotten you."

(This is also awesome on the authority we have to heal the sick.)
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Carry me through the valley.

Friday, January 4, 2013
God, you are the only reason, you are the only thing, you are the. only. one. that is worth this pain; this pain of separation, of physical fibromyalgia pain, of pushing through depression to find my faith through it all; you are what I give myself up for, you are the one I carry my cross daily for, you are the one I let the dead bury the dead for;

I cry tears onto my office floor after saying goodbye to my brother as he prepares to fly back to Afghanistan after a two week stay at home for Christmas, and I break; family being far away - it's not how it should be, but like Tenth Avenue North tells me:
if You God promise suffering, it can't be for nothing.

So I follow your steps, I cling to your robe, and I ask you to please comfort me as you promised you would, for you are the only one, the only reason, the only thing worth dealing with this pain for. I give it up again for you, I pursue you and I promise you that You are who I will always choose. Jesus you. You comfort me. Feed me your daily bread and please, carry me through the valley of the shadow of death, and help me to fear no evil, for thou art with me.