At the beginning of 2021 I wrote a piece on my thoughts of the previous year and the year which was to come, and it was late. The same is happening for this year round, but for different reasons. This year I was quite ill. I had a Sickle crisis and it was horrendous. It started on Christmas Day (in the evening), got progressively worse very quickly and ended approximately 10 days ago. In all my years, my crises have only been that long on a few of occasions. I am now 48 years old.
Leading up to the end of the year, I was able to bash out a few pieces for the blog and had in my mind a few ideas for what I would write about in 2022. It was my intention to vamp it up and do new things, more frequently, but since having the crisis I have been empty. When I say empty, it’s as though I didn’t know what to write about or even how to write. Ideas would come to mind, I’d witter away to myself, and as soon as I sat in front of my iPad, my mind would be blank. Literally blank! I couldn’t remember what I had been saying to myself and there would be nothing for me to try to say. Prayers said offline or that I would put on my blog before, now appeared to be impossible to do. Yesterday, however, as I wittered away to myself I did it with a hope that everything would be okay and it was. HalleluYah!
My day started early, as I had to go to the hospital because I thought I had gone almost completely deaf in my right ear. I actually wear hearing aids in both ears and the right is worse than the left. I had previously been told that it was moderate to severe but I hadn’t realised the gravity of the situation. I went in for an emergency appointment to see the Audiologist.
She checked both ears, everything was clean and not blocked, questions were asked, then I was sent for a hearing test. The tests were done; the last time I had one was at the beginning of last year and I was told that there was little change. On this occasion, the reason I couldn’t hear was because the setting on my hearing aid was incorrect. This was the moment of realisation of exactly how deaf I am. The left ear isn’t as bad as the right, but that is where most of my ability to hear is coming from. Thank God for His tender mercies! Another appointment has been made for me to have the hearing aids retuned. If that doesn’t work then they will be upgraded.
I have been wearing hearing aids for several years now. Years ago, I went to sleep and woke up unable to hear in my right ear. Complete silence! Gradually, over several months, I began to hear: slightly! Even my GP thought I either had a cold in my ear OR there was water in it! It took a long time to be diagnosed but I was eventually told my Sickle Cell was the cause; something about a blood clot around the nerves (or something similar). The night before the hearing loss, I went to a family get-together and was sitting right beside the music box, so it was suggested by some, that was the cause. Who knows! I queried it with the medics and they have said that may have had something to do with it, but they really doubt it was the whole reason. I’m leaning on what they have said because I know how I was feeling at the time. As I sat near to the speakers I was feeling locked in (will explain that at some point in the future!). I didn’t understand what was happening, but a change was occurring. With regards to my ears, I’ve had to cope for such a long time, being unable to hear properly. The hearing in the left began to deteriorate gradually, over time. It must have been overworked. I was also diagnosed with epilepsy, so I know strange things were happening in my head, that I didn’t really understand. There were parts of my brain that were not doing what they were supposed to and I still have the problems now, but not as much as I used to.
At first I would pretend to hear; stuck in meetings being unable to hear properly and then for some reason my brain couldn’t understand the information it was receiving. They were just words! Words which seemed to be in another language, that I couldn’t comprehend. However, rather than trying to seek help, I would tell myself that I was ‘just stupid’, ‘…can’t understand simple things’… and wonder…’what’s wrong with me?!’ It was only a few years ago that I started to become open about the fact that I couldn’t hear. I would let people know that I hadn’t heard them or couldn’t. I began to wear the hearing aids more often. Friends were really shocked to see me wearing them. I began to accept it and was able to apportion the blame on being partially deaf, as I wasn’t the only person in the world in that situation.
During the lockdown I had begun to meet up (online) with the Sickle Cell Group for South London. It is so refreshing to meet with people that have the same issues as you. After growing up with being totally reliant on prayers when feeling unwell, being aware of what problems can occur provided clarity. It was via this group that I was able to discover that sometimes people with Sickle Cell have cognitive issues. This is something I will need to look into further. Now I’m not saying that Almighty God shouldn’t be included in such matters, because He should. It is Him providing the strength I have to keep going. After all, it is Him that has provided man with the intelligence to understand the deeper things of this life and beyond.
In my time I have spoken to people who are of the view that Sickle Cell Disease shouldn’t be acknowledged, but how can one pray against it if you don’t call it out as, and for what, it is? My blood has been tested, it is repeatedly tested every time I go for my reviews, it shows up that I have Sickle Cell Disease and I definitely, no qualms about it, feel that I have Sickle Cell Disease. The excruciating pain is not a figment of my imagination. You cannot pray effectively against something if you do not recognise it for what it is. To do other than that, you are in denial!
A Church service I watched on Sunday (link below) was entitled Forever Grateful. I so needed to hear the words, as I found that I was being enveloped in my own thoughts and the problems I face, rather than focus on what I need to be grateful for. I was focused on only negative things; doubt, fear, lack, loneliness. It was by receiving God’s Word on Sunday, that I was able to face yesterday, without feeling as though my world was falling apart. I awoke, being grateful. I boarded the bus, it took me to a stop and advised me that it was being held where it was, I then alighted and took the tube (which I had forgotten could take me where I wanted to go in minutes!): I avoided the traffic from the morning rush hour! All the time I gave thanks. I arrived at the hospital in time, was tested then was given the good news. I say good news because even though I had come to the realisation that my hearing was so bad (moderate to severe), it could have been a range of reasons why my hearing had changed. Obviously it hadn’t changed but I have to be grateful for that fact.
Whenever I post anything I like to post things that are encouraging. I suppose they are words I like to hear; encouragement, enlightenment and truth. 1 Thessalonians 5:10 tells us to encourage and comfort one another.
Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11 (AMP)
Even the tags I place within my pieces will only be positive words. It is not my aim to focus on the bad, unless I am forced to, as I try not to put negativity into my mind. The Lord knows that over the last couple of years it has been hard! However, we have to try. There are times where I allow myself to think negatively, because I want to feel pain; emotional self-harm. Bishop James Nanjo said we should stay focused on our own lives and The Lord. But what if the picture we see when we focus on our lives is not pleasing? Not what we want it to be? Then we change our focus to all the things we know, ordinarily, we should be grateful for. It is through gratitude that we grow. Not many people want to be stagnant. In fact being stagnant usually leads to mental or spiritual pain and on some occasions, even physical pain.
But as for us, we will bless and affectionately and gratefully praise the Lord from this time forth and forever. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)Psalm 115:18 (AMP)
Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity].Proverbs 4:25 (AMP)
For he will not often consider the [troubled] days of his life, because God keeps him occupied and focused on the joy of his heart [and the tranquility of God indwells him].Ecclesiastes 5:20 (AMP)
“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)
The eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive, focused on God], your whole body also is full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. But when it is bad [spiritually blind], your body also is full of darkness [devoid of God’s word].Luke 11:34 (AMP)
but just as it is written [in Scripture], “Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].”1 Corinthians 2:9 (AMP)
who died [willingly] for us, so that whether we are awake (alive) or asleep (dead) [at Christ’s appearing], we will live together with Him [sharing eternal life].1 Thessalonians 5:10 (AMP)
The last scripture is our goal! This piece may seem a mish mash of thoughts, but it is all linked to being grateful. I have begun a journal called The Weekly Gratitude Project. Amazingly I had bought it in December, suggested by a friend, but I just started it on Saturday! Then the live service I watched on Sunday was Forever Grateful! (I must attend physically rather than virtually, in the very near future!) There was good news at the hospital yesterday. I don’t believe in coincidences. Whenever you give thanks, God will fill the gaps, place you under His shelter, lead the way and so much more. This is where I am psychologically. My next step is to remain focused on a book that I have never read. I have so many books laying around, that had been bought many years ago: some haven’t been opened; some, only the first few pages have been viewed; but too many have not been read in their entirety. So, the one thing I have decided to do, is read them and then document it on my blog. The one I have started is Mindset by Dr Carol S. Dweck. I had actually thought it was my daughters book, which she had used at University, but it wasn’t. At some point I had thought to myself it would be a good book to read, and purchased it. I’m not stupid after all! The front page reads Mindset – How You Can Fulfil Your Potential – Business, Parenting, School, Relationships. I am excited! I intend to read and document my thoughts on it. I hope you will hop onto this journey with me and read my posts to follow.
Here’s to a change of my mindset. Here’s to a new grateful me. Here’s to a Growth Mindset. Here’s to 2022 and whatever it brings as, by the grace of Almighty God, I will be ready!
2 thoughts on “Thinking Out LOUD – Forever Grateful”
God is gracious
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