If You Don’t Mind

My most recent drawing for a handmade book I want to make.

I’ll Share My Creativity

Something has been bothering me lately. How can I host and maintain four blogs with podcasts on three of them, and videocasts on one?

I’m an artist and author and have a lot happening in my life regarding my health. I have been diagnosed with five rare diseases or disorders, yep five. Not to mention what I call my lesser diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes and Fibromyalgia which are a result of some of the other illnesses. The annoying five are:

  1. CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)
  2. EDS-3 Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3)
  3. POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
  4. DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder)
  5. PNES (Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures)

I have separate blogs for CRPS and DID. I also have a site I rarely post at which is janarawling.com for my art making (though I forget to post stuff). Add to that, I am a Believer in Christ Jesus and have a blog site for that at HardwiredForLife.com (I have a partner on this one), and well, you see where I’m going with this. I get very tired and can’t post to all of them consistently, and I don’t. I suffer from symptoms every day mainly including pain, seizures, overall fatigue and falling down (sometimes breaking bones). I’ve had to stop working as a commercial art professor, which I miss very much. But I can still write when I feel okay, and I can make some art, which brings me joy through the pain.

I was wondering if I should combine some of the blogs, but I’m pretty sure that someone with CRPS doesn’t care about my DID, DIDers don’t care about POTS, and so on. I’ve been asking the Lord about it and He told me that the common denominator for all of my sites is not only me, but also is my art making, my creativity.

God told me that DIDers, CRPSers, Believers, and Artists all enjoy creativity. So, if you don’t mind, I will post the same art making and writing to all of my sites. That way, I have some universal content. I will still keep everything separate, but some creativity will be the same.

Whew! I feel better now. I feel that sharing my creativity is something I can do that will bring me tons of joy. Plus, I’m working hard on my healing and joy is a precious remedy.

Thank you for participating in my journey from wherever you’ve come.

With Love,

Jana

P.S.: Can I pray for you? If so, contact me via email, or just say, “Yes” and I will be honored.

P.S.S.: I’m currently writing a book called, “Hardwired for Creativity: Art Supplies for the Mind” that should be finished sometime this year. I’ll let you know when that happens.

Mental Illness & Jesus

Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

There’s Always Hope

I haven’t blogged for months until the other day. I really needed a break from everything, though I continued to write. I had this book going that I wanted to finish because it was so hard for me to work on. It’s done now, but it took a toll on me. It was extremely emotional to get through. I’ll explain later.

You see, in addition to physical ailments that I cope with on a daily basis, I suffer from mental illness too.

Physically, I was diagnosed with CRPS, EDS-3, POTS, PNES, and now Fibromyalgia, Type 2 Diabetes, Stage 2 Kidney disease, a fatty liver and obesity. Yep, four rare diseases and a newer plethora of accruing illnesses. Let’s just take one, CRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, it’s scientifically more painful than childbirth only it’s 24/7/365. That alone is tough to deal with and attempting to cope for over 20 years with the chronic pain and loss of mobility has taken a further toll on my mental state.

Now, with the added weight, diabetes and renal issues I am at a loss in many ways. I hit a physical rock bottom a few weeks ago and have further changed my diet and am exercising every day. It’s a great start but it’s hard.

Mentally, I was diagnosed with DID which is rare, Major Depression, Bi-Polar II, PTSD, Compulsive Disorder and a couple of others I can’t remember at the moment. Let’s take the one I’ve dealt with most throughout my life, DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder, it used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder until the 90s. It has cost me relationships and has ingrained in me a knowledge that I’m not like other people—not acceptable, worthy or loveable.

And with all of this I wouldn’t change a thing. Why? Because of the relationship I now have with God, Jesus and Holy Spirit.

Don’t Pity Me, Love Me Instead

I just want to be honest. I want to share this with you because I’m hoping it may help someone. I’m hoping that someone can relate and maybe feel better about their own life. Because there’s nothing impossible with God. If I can overcome, survive and thrive again in so many ways, so can others.

I struggle daily and in doing so have basked in God’s sufficient grace. My life looks messy in so many ways, but I am so much stronger for it. I’ve had ample opportunity to mature through these trials and tribulations. I have come so far from my sexually abusive childhood, and I’m proud of all the work I’ve done to get here. Is life perfect now? No, but it’s pretty great.

The Most Difficult Book

The book I just published is called, 21 Pieces: Finding Wholeness in Spiritual Truth. 21 Pieces is a novel based on my DID story. It’s full of examples from my life that were difficult to experience. I decided to write the story as fiction because it’s hard for me to remember all the details of my life, let alone be able to write them as pure non-fiction.

21 Pieces is a salvation story, it’s a redemption story, and it shows sides of DID that others may find unbelievable. Hey, even physicians find DID hard to believe even though it’s defined in the America Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V manual.

It was hard to write and then rewrite and edit part of my DID story. It was an emotional rollercoaster ride for months. Once finished, I crashed mentally and emotionally. I got extremely depressed and low enough to cut, which I hadn’t done in a long time. I’m not suicidal anymore thanks to God. So, it wasn’t about that, it was about externalizing the internal pain I was feeling. And it scared the crap out of me. The knife was sharper than I thought, and the cut was long and deep. I will now carry that scar as a reminder of that low in my life.

I’m Not the Only One

Others have suffered more than I have or ever will. We all have our own versions of testing that the enemy of God will toss our way in life. If anything, I’m a living testament to the fulfillment of God’s goodness and promises. I trust Him now more than ever to take care of my needs and finish the work he started in me. He is faithful and will not let me down. If He can do this for me, He can do it for you.

Seriously, I’m not looking for your pity. I’m writing this to offer hope. I have felt like I’m hiding the truth. I want to be transparent and authentic with you. So, here we are. I’m not sure where this will go. I don’t know how it will be received. Selfishly, I feel better for getting this off my chest.

I pray that if you are struggling physically, spiritually, mentally or emotionally in any way that you know God is for you. I pray He lift you up today, gives you answers to challenges, and shows His deep love for you. I pray that you know you are not alone in your suffering. And I pray that joy and peace overtake you. Be blessed in the way you go.

With deep affection,

Knit Together

omar-lopez-586402-unsplash

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Made for a Purpose

Recently, a friend told me I reminded her of Hannah, Samuel’s Mother, from 1 Samuel in the Bible. Hannah was the most loved wife of her husband, Elkanah, even though she was childless. Hannah’s rival, Elkanah’s other wife would taunt her out of spite. When she went to the temple to pray she pleaded and cried for a son. She vowed to the Lord that if He gave her a son she would never let a razor touch his head. I’ll stop here.

I was diagnosed with three rare diseases, one is very painful called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This medical condition causes parts of the body to feel like they are on fire 24/7/365. If you take a bowl of water and ice and dip your hand in it for 60 seconds, you’ll get an idea of the pain. It’s almost two-times more painful than childbirth without any medication to help.

CRPS also affects internal organs. It messes with the central and peripheral nervous systems, so I deal with a plethora of what I call minor diseases, like Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The other two rare disorders are Ehlers-Danlos Type 3 and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. They come with a whole other host of issues, like an inability to regulate body temperature and random falling.

So, back to Hannah. I’ve cried to the Lord to be healed. Others have taunted me, saying things like maybe you can ask the Lord to reveal the sin you need to repent for; telling me not to say “I have” these diseases; suggesting I have a few SOZOs; and the like. As if I haven’t tried these things over the years…. I’m here to say, I’ve tried everything I know how, but I am still hopeful and willing to learn. I know God won’t abandon me in this forever.

That said, God asked me if I would drink this cup (Another thing I’ve been judged for doing.). I’ve said, yes. I know no greater honor than to suffer for the sake of the body of Christ. Look at 1 Peter 4:1-2 (AMP):

1Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh [and died for us], arm yourselves [like warriors] with the same purpose [being willing to suffer for doing what is right and pleasing God], because whoever has suffered in the flesh [being like-minded with Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [having stopped pleasing the world], 2so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living for human appetites and desires, but [lives] for the will and purpose of God.

This is only one of the Scriptures talking about suffering. There’s Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (AMP) saying:

7Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; 9but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 10So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].

I’ve been told that Paul’s thorn was not physical, and at this point it doesn’t matter. Either way, I’ve cried over my illnesses with Paul and this Word, which has helped me tremendously over the years. The point is that I have received from God a mandate (Psalm 96) with promises attached for the betterment of Christ’s followers and I am all in. My purpose is to “Proclaim good news of His salvation from day to day.” And I will.

Here it is: You have a purpose too. You may not know the specific details of your call, but you know that you are also supposed to share the Good News. I implore you to dig deep and ask Jesus for your purpose as only you can give to the world. After all, you were knit together in your mother’s womb by God (Psalm 139:13). He designed you for today. He designed you with a purpose. He loves you always and wants the very best for you. If I can do it, so can you.

Be Blessed,

Jana Rawling 

†By God’s Grace.
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified Bible. 
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

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