Fighting Back: Reclaiming Joy

Whenever you hear of someone having an illness, they’re always “fighting” it. Pray for so-and-so . . . they’re fighting cancer. Pray for this person . . . they’re fighting “fill in the blank.” Since the neurologist has been tossing around the term intracranial hypertension, I’ve been doing my part to research it – which basically means I’ve been googling it. Here, again, are people “fighting” against this rare disease. Now, I haven’t been officially diagnosed with anything. We’re still trying to find answers. But I am learning what it means to fight against whatever this is.

It’s not easy fighting something that’s invisible. When you fight chicken pox, you know to where exactly you need to place cream to sooth the itch. When you have the flu, you know to get fluids and rest. But what do you do with something that’s invisible? You may look fine to everyone else, but inside you live in pain. What makes it harder is when you realize that all you’ve done is complain, so you try to tone that down . . . and people just assume you’re better. You’re over whatever that was… Or worse – you made it up in the first place.

I believe that fighting back means to live – to try to continue life as normal as possible – to fake it ’til you make it. The pain doesn’t dictate my life – at least, that’s the goal. For me, fighting back against this disease, condition, ailment, what have you, begins with baby steps.

1. Sing along to the radio. I used to have the volume set to 12 before the headaches began. After they started, I had to turn the noise off altogether. It was just too painful to have added noise in the car. I slowly began to see how I wasn’t just aggravated by the volume, but by the actual words of the songs. Since I listen to Christian radio, it really hit me when I realized that I was turning the radio off, because I was actually angry with God. I didn’t want to hear how I was supposed to trust him. I didn’t want to hear how much He loves me. None of it. It all just made me angry and bitter.

My heart broke when I realized that. I had to humble myself and ask for forgiveness. Slowly, I turned the radio on. It’s not just good enough for me to listen to the music. I have to sing along. I have to verbalize the truths of the songs. Now, I still can’t handle the volume above 4, but I have over an hour in my car almost every day devoted to praising the God who made and can heal me.

2. Spend time with loved ones. When you’ve been working all day after not being able to sleep at night, it’s easy to want to come home and crash. Some days, I still do that. But for the most part, I try to spend (at least part of) my time on the floor. If you have kids, you know that sitting on the floor is an open invitation to become a jungle gym. Arms are monkey bars or swings. Shins are sliding boards. You get the idea. What makes it worth it are the hugs and kisses I get along the way. My middle child, Faith (no accident in the name there), is my little encourager. She will shower my head with kisses to make it feel better and tell me how she prays for me to feel better. Then she’ll do/say something absolutely crazy and make me laugh. She’s very good at that.

That’s probably why Proverbs 17:22 says,

prov. 17-22


Laughter is the best medicine.

laughter through tears


3. Distract yourself. I call Danville the “Land of Hobbies.” Everyone has at least two or three simply because there’s nothing else to do. The most popular hobby by far is eating. You either cook a giant meal in and invite all your family, or you go out to eat, or you are the family invited to eat at someone’s house. Everywhere you turn, there’s food. My first hobby is dieting. It’s what happens after you’ve been around someone with a food hobby. I.E. Mama D’s BBQ.

mama d


You know it’s a serious hobby when you have business cards made. 🙂 This hobby is how we paid for Christmas, so I’m very thankful for it. Since we moved up here, it’s been bothering me that I don’t have a hobby. I was a wife, mother, employee, and nothing else. I never did anything for just me or for fun. That is until Daniel’s grandmother gave me a sewing machine. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I’m not a girly girl. However, I do like a challenge. Give me a set of instructions, and I can do just about anything.

Daniel’s grandmother is one of my favorite in-laws. She’s a woman that gets straight to the point – no muss, no fuss. I love the way she “calls them as she sees them.” I catch myself laughing whenever I’m around her thinking, “You can’t say that. She just said that. Well, I mean . . . it is true.” This is how she gave me the sewing machine. “Here. I thought you might could use this. It’s been sitting in the church for ten years, but I think it’ll still work. I’ll show you how to get the thread on, but you’re on your own from there.” Challenge accepted. I battled that machine. It was NOT going to beat me. For a year I fought with that thing. I just assumed I never got the thread on it correctly. I had admitted defeat several times and asked for help, but (after a year) I had given up almost altogether. Then . . .

A girl at school ripped her shirt. Not on the seam – in the middle. She asked me to use the sewing machine to fix it. Now, I’m still a novice, so I explained it wouldn’t be perfect. (How’d she rip the thing anyway?) But she told me to go for it anyway. I did it! It wasn’t half-bad either. But the machine worked instantly. It’s like heaven smiled down on me for just a moment. I went out and bought a new machine. Yep, I’m in love. I’m still learning, but it is such a great distraction. Sure, my head hurts while I’m using it, but I’ve got a bigger challenge in my hands to figure out.

I’ve begun a new hobby. It keeps my focus off my head and onto the task at hand. It helps when you have little girls with a tremendous amount of confidence in you.

Faith wanted a dress.

faith dress


So Sophia just had to have one too . . .

sophia dress


Which made me want one too!

photo (19)


This is how I’m fighting back. This is how I seek to find joy amidst the pain. I don’t know if this is how other people do it, but these are my attempts to stop excess fluid on my brain (if that is what my problem is) dictate my life.

How do you fight back against the evil one who seeks to destroy your joy?



2 thoughts on “Fighting Back: Reclaiming Joy

  1. This is a truly inspiring post. Thank you for sharing your strategies for continuing to thrive in the midst of challenges. In answer to your question, sometimes I read, sometimes I write and sometimes I just have to sleep. All these things replenish me and give me renewed vigour. I wish you every good thing with your life story. And another thing, those dresses look fabulous!


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