Thursday, May 28, 2015

Step Away From The Drapes!

It's just that in the Deep South, women learn at a young age that when the world is falling apart around you, it's time to take down the drapes and make a new dress. ~Karen Marie Moning, author

How many times have you taken down the drapes and made a new dress? Sometimes I feel like my closet is full of new dresses—and they’re not the store-bought kind!

The scene of Scarlett O’Hara taking down the drapes to make a new dress in Gone With The Wind is iconic. Especially for Southern women. That mentality is bred into us. But what is it about women in general that when adversity strikes, we muddle through, plow through, or torpedo through? The intensity depends on what the situation calls for. If it involves our children, we definitely shift into overdrive.

While it’s important to see the glass half full and push through the hard times in life, it’s also important to take a step back and wait for God to show you the dresses you already have and what to do with the drapes other than rip them down.

There is such a thing as being too tough. Too self-reliant. Too brave. After all, as Christians, our strength comes from Christ (Philippians 4:13 NIV). When we rely solely on self, we often become hardened like drought-stricken land, unable to soak up blessings when showered upon us. Yet, a soft heart comforts others and receives blessings God intends.

Sometimes it’s enough to crumple into a heap at Jesus’ feet and wait for his healing hand to reach out and lift us up.

But there’s also a danger in not being willing to walk the tough road, in being tossed about in the wind, unable to find the strength to pray with confidence (James 1:5-6). 

So where is the balance?

Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. Isaiah 26:12 

Rest in the knowledge that God is already out ahead of you. He’s established a peaceful place for our soul to rest when trials threaten to overwhelm us. All that we have accomplished He’s done for us. Does that mean we don’t have to work? Certainly not. But He’s there—ahead of the work. He knows where our successes lie and where our failures will strengthen, not harden, us. Praise Him for meeting your needs and seek His wisdom in your life. His solution is always better than ours.

Next time you’re tempted to rely on your strength alone, remember the same God who furnished the drapes will provide the dresses. They may not have designer labels or even be new, but they’ll be sufficient for your needs.

Will you trust Him for that today?

Do you have a prayer need? Please leave a comment or email me confidential requests. I’d love to join you in prayer.

God bless,

What’s your favorite Bible verse(s) in times of adversity? Leave a comment this week (through 6/2/15) to be entered in a drawing for a free copy of my Kindle ebook, "While I'm Waiting."

© Laura Hodges Poole

“Young Woman Near River” image courtesy of marin/
“Young Woman Opening Curtains” image courtesy of FrameAngel/

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lyme Disease Awareness Month - Guest Post

I have known a few people over the years who’ve battled Lyme Disease. It is a debilitating illness that few understand. May is Lyme Disease awareness month. Click here to learn more about the cause, prevention, symptoms, and diagnosis.

According to the CDC, “Lyme disease is a multisystem disease…transmitted through the bite of certain species of blacklegged ticks… In 2013, state and local health departments reported approximately 35,000 cases of Lyme disease to CDC, making it the fifth most commonly reported nationally notifiable condition…as many as 300,000 persons in the United States might be diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year.” (

I’m privileged today to welcome Paula Jackson Jones to share her story through a poignant letter she wrote to herself five years after contracting Lyme Disease. If you know someone who has been newly diagnosed or has suffered for years, this will give you insight into their struggle. If you’re the one with the diagnosis, I hope Paula’s words will be an encouragement to you.

Dear Paula 2009,

I know this is going to sound strange, but in just a few short months something is going to happen to you, something that you are not expecting, something you didn't ask for or were even aware could happen. Your life is going to change in ways you never fathomed.

I am writing this letter in hopes to prepare you, to bring you some comfort, for what lies ahead is not pretty or easy. I know you consider yourself a strong, resilient woman. I know what you've been through, what you've survived. I am here to remind you that all that strength will be needed, will be used. All those coping skills will become an asset in ways you never thought you'd have to use them. I am here to assure you that you will survive it even though there will be times you'll cry out to GOD to call you home, when the pain is so unbearable it supersedes any other thought.

I am writing this letter because I know how you think, how you operate, and I want to tell you that what you think and what you know will be challenged. People you trust will fail you, turn their backs on you, and walk away. They will mock you because they won't understand what you're going through. I know how frustrated you'll become because you won't understand it either. You'll want compassion and support, and I am here to tell you that you'll get it—but in the most unconventional forms.

Don't worry about the ones who let you down, who walk away, because their absence will make room for all the new people who will come into your life; people who share this journey with you, who understand you in ways even those closest cannot. They will inspire you with their stories, educate you with their experience, and encourage you to fight the good fight and stay the course. One day, they will recruit you to join them as a fellow Lyme warrior, Educator, Advocator, and Supporter.

I am writing this letter because, although your body will break down and you will lose sight of the woman you once knew, you will be rebuilt into something stronger, something greater.

Now listen, you survived all those things before this, this path will strengthen you even more. It will grow you in a direction you never thought about but are needed in. And as you grow, you will have all the support you need for every step of the way. I need you to remember this part because you will lose every ounce of strength that you have. Even the most mundane daily chores will be taken from you. You'll be attacked from all sides—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I am writing this letter to assure you, although there will be some very dark moments filled with some of the worst pain you've ever felt, you won't be alone. Your cries will be heard, your tears collected. All your ashes will be saved and restored one day. I am here as living proof that you will survive this pain, the darkness, the despair, and even the heartbreak of everything that you will lose. I am here to tell you pride won't get you anywhere. You will have to ask for help. It will humble you and from there, you will grow. There are lessons to be learned, and whether you want to or not, you will learn them!

Now this next part of the letter may be difficult to read and even harder to grasp.

Those doctors whom you've place all your trust and faith in will fail you on the first part of your journey. They will challenge you and exasperate you. You're going to face some difficult times and hear some not-so-nice things. You're going to feel alone and desperate. You're going to feel lost and hopeless. But I am here to remind you to stay the course, don't give up because Hope is out there. You just need to keep going and connect the dots. You're going to have to listen to others who have gone down this path, and you'll need to filter things and do your own research (that part I know you will love). The frustration will come from the many walls you hit, but keep hitting them, for one day they will crumble, and you'll see a path that will take you in a different direction.

Please trust me—you want to take this path.

As unconventional as this path may seem, it’s going to save your life. You won't understand a lot at first, but the people you meet on this path will teach you in ways so you’ll fully understand everything and know what to expect. They will stay close to you and check in on you. You will never feel alone again. They will empower you with their unconventional ways and empower you to want to get better, to want to make a difference...for others.

I am writing this letter because I don't want you to give up hope. I can't say how long this bend in the road will be, for I am still here on this journey five years later but so much better than I ever was. I can say now that I never thought this day would come—but it did. I will tell you that you will get better but not before you feel worse. That is just par for the course but remember these words—you will feel better and you will see your life going in a new direction.

When you first become sick, you're going to think this will pass. I am here to tell you that it will, but it will take time. It will get worse before it gets better; that is just how chronic illnesses work. This illness will forever change your life. It will break you down physically as it grows you spiritually. It will strengthen core values within you that had been ignored and make them a priority. It will change your outlook on life and set your feet on a new path. You won't know where you are going or when you will get there, but that won't matter because you'll enjoy all the stops and people you meet along the way.

I am writing this letter because I know you will find all of this hard to believe. Doctors turning their backs, insurance wars, outdated guidelines by the IDSA and CDC, misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis, and failed treatment. I know how you think. But trust me, it will be bad. It'll be frustrating. It'll make you scream at doctors and reduce you to tears in public settings. You won't care anymore, but I am here to tell you DON'T GIVE UP! There will be many stumbling blocks, but you will advance. You will need to lean on these new friends and borrow some of their strength until you regain yours. Just remember to pay it forward!

I hope I've been able to get through to you, and I know this all sounds like crazy talk (and you will be accused of that too while on this journey). I am writing this letter to tell you to keep pushing forward, don't take NO for an answer. When you hit a wall, keep pounding until it crumbles. When you feel lost, cry out for people are there to help you. When you feel alone, lift your head and look at the thousands who stand with you.

You won't know or even remember all their names, but you'll know their stories and that connection will forever link you to each other and strengthen one another even from a distance. That connection will take a debilitating disease that can weaken even the strongest, toughest person and make them #Lymestrong \0/

Paula 2014


Thank you for sharing your courageous journey, Paula.

If you’d like to share your thoughts with Paula or offer encouragement, please leave a comment. I know she’d love to hear from you.

God bless,

“Disease or Health Direction” image courtesy of Stuart Miles/
“Unhappy Woman Hiding Her Face” image courtesy of Stock Images/
“Hope Puzzles” image courtesy of Stuart Miles/
“Hope For Cure” image courtesy of vitasamb2001/

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

When The Sun Shines On Rain

“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, author The Secret Garden

What a beautiful picture Burnett paints with her words. Here in South Carolina, the tulips and daffodils have long since bloomed, and the hot days feel more like summer than spring. We finally got rain yesterday, and it was glorious!

Seems like we went from winter to summer overnight.

Do you ever feel time races past you? It certainly has felt that way this year for me. In February, I blogged live from The Cove as I attended a writers’ conference. The weekend was cathartic for me, rejuvenating my writing and reigniting my love for the creative process. The problem? Not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I want. I suppose that’s something most people feel, whether they’re creatively bent or not.

Even nature seems hurried when it rains and sun shines at the same time!

The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. Ecclesiastes 1:5-6 NIV 

As the days fly by, I try not to feel the pinch of fleeting time and carve out time for quiet. It’s in these moments that God meets us. And if you’re really quiet and still, He’ll share His plans for your life. Not in the hurriedness of our requests, but in the moments of reflection and openness, we hear Him. His compassions are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). He makes our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

So, do I really need to worry about not getting things accomplished? Or feel rushed to do more than I possibly can each day? No, and this has been an ongoing lesson for me that God probably wonders if I’ll ever learn completely.

In the scope of life, the undone doesn’t matter near as much as how we’ve lived or affected those God has placed in our lives.

Our only goal should be to hear these words one day: Well done, good and faithful servant. Matthew 25:23 

How do you find quiet moments with God? Do you have a favorite place or time of day that you spend with Him?

I’d love to join you in prayer, if you have a need. Please leave a comment or email me confidential requests.

God bless,
"Winter" me at The Cove J
© Laura Hodges Poole

“Background Sun Indicates Raining” image courtesy of Stuart Miles/
“Bluebell Woods” image courtesy of Rob Wiltshire/