The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

I Believe…

1 As many of you know I've been recovering from a bad infection on my ankle the last month. "Recovery" is a difficult word to define. My wound that became infected with the flesh eating virus is healing at a rate that is not even measurable. I've had the PICC line since early November (I am getting it out today!) where I had 4 weeks of IV antibiotics.

But being off of my main medications for rheumatoid arthritis since August has slowed me down considerably and I won't be able to go back on them for months. My tendon I was supposed to have surgery on is still close to rupturing, so once I "recover" I have a surgery to plan on.

Physically and mentally I've never felt so exhausted and that has been more difficult to cope with than the physical pain.

I was very blessed that my parents came to help for four weeks. They did project around the house, helped taxi Joshua from school to Tai Kwon Do to Little Gym. Mom made dinner and did laundry. Dad got my car up to par. I couldn't have done it without them. But that doesn't mean it was easy — for any of us. I know I will never understand what they experienced seeing me hurt and not being able to fix it. And simple words could easily have led to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. After all, I've never spent so much time with them since I was 17 and living in their house.

People have asked, "How did you do it? Was it hard?" and I've just said, "We all gave each other grace." I recently read "article" below on the internet somewhere and have not been able to track down the author. As the holidays approach I know that many of us deal with the emotions of trying to accept that people are not always exactly how we want them to be. None of us are perfect. But that doesn't meant we love one another any less. Instead, we must just offer grace and remember what is really important in this life.

And most importantly, we must remember where to put our faith — in the Lord, not in people. Romans 5:5 says, "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

I hope you will find hope in the article below… and you may even want to consider printing it out for your refridgerator. When someone complains about that turkey being too overdone, one of these references may just get you through the next few moments.




I  believe . . . That just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

I believe . . . That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I believe . . . That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I believe . . . That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I believe . . . That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I believe . . . That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I believe . . . That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I believe . . . That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I believe . . . That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I believe . . . That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I believe . . . That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I believe . . . That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I believe . . . That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I believe . . . That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I believe . . . That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.


I believe . . . That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe . . . That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I believe . . . That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe . . . That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I believe . . . Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I believe . . . That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I believe . . . That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I believe . . . That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I believe . . . That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.


1 Comment»

  Jacquie Lewis-Kemp wrote @

A chronic illness can definitely consume you. I believe those successful at managing a chronic illness also lead busy lives. If someone concentrates on the daily regimen of testing and treating and medicating a chronic illness, it can easily become all you have time for—or all you allow time for.
I am fortunate that I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 7. I say fortunate, because I can’t imagine learning to incorporate glucose testing, meal planning and insulin requirements balanced with exercise as an adult. At seven, taking an insulin injection was much like putting on deodorant—it’s what you do in the morning. As a child, of course my mother prepared my meals and gave me a snack before going out to ride my bike (to prevent hypoglycemia from exercise). But in high school, I took a second shot and ate a meal before cheering at a football game.
Going off to college required me to manage my illness all by myself—without Mom’s daily help. I learned that Mom and the doctor’s rule to always carry a piece of candy in my pocket in case of an insulin reaction, particularly applied when walking around on campus with no money in my pocket.
Fortunately what my parents had taught me was that I could do anything I wanted to do, as long as I worked hard at it—diabetes couldn’t stop me. So as a young adult that meant getting up early to test my blood sugar, excusing myself from a business dinner to take an insulin injection, maintaining a constant level of exercise, but it kept me healthy while pursuing my career.
As a working wife and mother, even more balls were thrown up in the air. Besides all the normal additional responsibilities of child rearing, housecleaning, business entertaining for my husband as well as being an executive myself, there were still glucose monitoring, doctor’s visits, and insulin dose adjustments for public speaking or confrontational meetings.
Once I thought I had the hang of that, I began to experience the long term complications of diabetes. Retinopathy caused a blood vessel in my right eye to bleed causing me to be legally blind in that eye. Surgery called a vitrectomy removed the blood clot and restored my vision. Ten years later my kidneys failed and I was on dialysis for seven months. Because I ran a business, I kept my kidney failure secret. If customers knew, I would lose business; if the bank knew, they would call my loan; if employees knew, they’d all find new jobs; if suppliers knew, they would demand payment immediately. The time I spent on dialysis is perhaps when my health care regimen was the most aggressive. I did peritoneal dialysis at home with a cycler (machine I connected to in order to dialyze all night), and one dialysis exchange midday. I still had diabetes maintenance: glucose monitoring, insulin injections, meal planning; and I had other dialysis monitoring like blood pressure checks three times per day, weighing myself for fluctuations from fluid retention, and a sodium, potassium and phosphorus restricted diet to add to the sugar free diet. Whew!
My brother agreed to donate a kidney to me and we celebrated the transplant’s 8th anniversary last Sunday. The doctors’ complete plan was to follow my kidney transplant with a pancreas transplant. A functioning pancreas would maintain normal blood sugars thereby better preserving my kidney. As a side benefit, I would no longer need to take insulin injections. Eighteen months after the kidney transplant, I got the call for a pancreas. Growing up used to so much health care monitoring made simply taking 40 pills (anti rejection medications) seem like nothing. Getting used to that automatic pancreas (as I refer to it) took some getting used to. In the months to follow, I could feel my blood sugar raising and lowering on its own without me taking insulin. It was an adjustment and ultimately a wonderful adjustment.
I shared all that to say, I believe that not only does a busy life make chronic illness not so depressing, but a chronic illness regimen makes a busy life better organized.

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