I know I've been dormant (again), but I'm really here, working behind the scenes (in spite of the incredible fatigue I've had this year). I am currently going through a blogging course to learn all the ins and outs of not just having a blog that I randomly post on, but an actual blogging website. And there's so much to learn!
I am determined, though. My life sort of depends on it, you see, because I have had no income for the past year. My long-term disability policy closed my case after 24 months because fibromyalgia cannot be tested for - it cannot be medically proven with blood tests - so they consider it a self-diagnosed symptom and therefore not subject to the coverage of "real" health conditions, and after two years of sitting in appeals, I finally have a court date for my SSD claim - May 11th (please keep this in prayer!).
Yes, I am determined to find a way because when you have an invisible disability and are unable to work and you've gone through all your savings and all your retirement and you have no husband or rich parents or grandparents... when you are very much alone in this world, it is frightening. I know I sound a little like Debbie-Downer, but this blog is about being authentic and I promise to get to the happy, encouraging stuff in a moment. For now, though, if you haven't been in a situation like this before (and I know many of you have), try putting yourself in my shoes for just a moment before you judge me about feeling afraid and alone. Seriously, I had a record month last month. Yes, I did. I broke the record on how many shut-off notices you can get in one month! I managed to keep the water, gas, and electric on, but the internet was shut off for about a week before someone at church told my roommate and she paid to have it turned back on. It's supposed to be included in her rent, and she frequently works from home. It was a difficult week for us both.
Only by the grace of God have I managed to keep my home and all my utilities on in the last year. I have three bedrooms and have been trying to rent two of them out (at the same time) for the last seven months, but now that I require first and last month's rent (because of damages incurred by a previous renter), I can't seem to find any interested parties. At least none with permanent jobs, anyway. I've also been working in my home for a friend's insurance business, but can only manage 4-7 hours a week. I usually have to chase him down in order to get paid and that adds to my stress (aka: fibro flare-up) and to my feelings of humiliation, "My water is going to be shut off, can you please pay me?"
I know God is teaching me through this humbling, frightening, and difficult time. Over and over He tells me, "I am providing for you." When I first lost the disability income, I received a check in the mail for two or three dollars from AT&T. It was a settlement check from an account I had with them 10 years earlier. The next day, I received free Reese's cups at the grocery store and I got so emotional. It was one of those times I wished I was home alone, so I could cry openly and thank Him because I knew it was Him. He typically needs to pound me in the head in order for me to trust that I really heard from Him (instead of things just being my own wishful thinking). And friends, there's no better way to get my attention than with Reese's peanut-butter cups!
Anyway, He is teaching me to trust Him for my needs and to stop relying on myself. I've been on my own since my senior year in high school so this has been a hard one to get, but I'm learning. And this is why I am so determined this year! I know that because of Him, I am not alone and my life is not over and there is still a purpose for my life! Cranky condition or not. No longer do I want to live a life determined by whatever temper tantrum or hissy fit fibro is having. God created me for a purpose and invisible disabilities, they don't surprise Him:
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
- Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)
He knew all the days of my life before He even formed me.
He knew all the days of your life before He even formed you!
So I prayed and I started researching and getting organized and setting goals. My research took me to some pretty amazing websites and blogs and I discovered people are actually making money by blogging and by doing what they love and helping others do the same.
All from the comfort of their homes.
Now granted, I'm never comfortable. I can't even lay down comfortably anymore because of the tailbone pain that isn't really my tailbone, but is a nerve next to my tailbone...
Anyway, it can be done! I can earn a living for myself using the gifts God gave me. I can blog, I can create printables (I've already created some I can't wait to share with you), I can encourage people and can help others (I hope). So I am working behind the scenes to learn all about it: branding my blog, monetizing my blog, setting up email, and ew - all kinds of techy stuff y'all know I'm so not gifted with.
Did you know plugins are not just those toxic smell-goods you plug in the wall?
And apparently, I'm going to have to start getting on Facebook more than twice a quarter, which will seriously cut into my Pinterest time, but you gotta do what you gotta do. And I hope you stay tuned because chances are, Authentic in My Skin will be moving and getting a redesign.